Long-Term Review: 2015 Yamaha Super Ténéré ES

2015 Yamaha Super Ténéré ES
2015 Yamaha Super Ténéré ES

February 2016 Report

6,602 Miles / MSRP $16,190

In addition to our Kawasaki Versys 1000 LT and Yamaha FJ-09 long-term test bikes, we’ve been racking up miles on another Yamaha, the Super Ténéré ES adventure tourer. Its liquid-cooled, 1,199cc parallel twin uses a 270-degree crank and an uneven firing interval to give it the feel of a big single, and power is sent to the rear wheel through a hydraulic clutch, 6-speed transmission and shaft final drive. The “ES” (electronic suspension) model offers pushbutton adjustable damping and preload.

We’ve used the Super T for freeway commuting, day trips and weekend jaunts, and Clem Salvadori took it on a 3,400-mile trip up to Washington State, where he did some off-road exploring. Over the course of 6,602 miles we averaged 44 mpg (low of 36.6, high of 54.5), yielding 268 miles of range from the 6.1-gallon tank. While the Super T’s virtues are many, our complaints focus primarily on sloppy response from Yamaha’s YCC-T throttle-by-wire, especially at low speeds. We sent the bike back to Yamaha to have it checked out, and everything was within spec. Sport mode is way too abrupt, so we leave it in softer Touring mode. Also, during Clem’s travels, one of the rear wheel’s spokes worked itself loose, and ultimately got bent rattling around at speed.

We bolted on a set of Touratech Zega Mundo panniers (31/38 liters, $1,099) and the Zega Pro Topcase (25 liters, $749, plus $199 for the topcase rack), which are rugged, versatile and easy to use. (Read our full Touratech review here.) We also added a GearBrake Smart Brake Light Module ($99.95), a plug-n-play system that illuminates the rear brake during deceleration even when the brakes aren’t used, for added conspicuity. We’ll have the Super T for the foreseeable future, so look for more reports in upcoming issues.

Amazingly, we got nearly 9,000 miles out of the original Bridgestone Battle Wing tires, shown here soon before getting replaced by Avon TrailRiders.
Amazingly, we got nearly 9,000 miles out of the original Bridgestone Battle Wing tires, shown here soon before getting replaced by Avon TrailRiders.

May 2016 Report

8,901 Miles

Since our last long-term report on the Yamaha Super Ténéré ES adventure tourer, we’ve racked up another 2,299 miles. As much as we’d love to hit the open road on the Super T for a week or more, with the Touratech panniers loaded for bear, deadlines, press launches and other obligations have kept us—and the Yamaha—on a short leash, limited mostly to day trips and daily commuting. Such road-warrior riding has dropped our fuel economy into the 38-41 mpg range, with an overall average of 42.8 over our entire long-term test.

We took the Super T to Wheels in Motion (818-576-0003), a Yamaha-only dealership in Chatsworth, California, for its 8,000-mile service, which included changing the oil and filter and completing a 23-point inspection. Everything was within spec and, believe it or not, there was still some life left in the original Bridgestone Battle Wing tires. With long-distance riding plans in the works, we had them install a set of Avon TrailRider 90/10 adventure tires. Total outlay for the service and tire installation was $381.06, not including the tires.

We installed the new TomTom Rider 400 GPS and secured its quick-release cradle to the Yamaha’s accessory/navigation bar located above the meter. That places the GPS front and center, well protected behind the adjustable windscreen and just below our line of sight. And with the Super T’s battery located in the right-side fairing, routing the GPS power cable was easy. The only downside we’ve noticed is that the navigation bar is built into the windscreen’s mounting system, and the entire unit flexes in the wind and over uneven pavement, which can make the GPS vibrate and appear blurry. You can read our full review of the TomTom Rider 400 here. We’ve also started testing TomTom’s Bandit Action Camera and will have a review soon.

2015 Yamaha Super Tenere ES
With more than 11,000 miles on the clock, the Super T is just getting broken in.

August 2016 Report

11,196 Miles

Since Yamaha’sSuper Ténéré ES adventure tourer joined our long-term test fleet in March 2015, we’ve logged 11,196 trouble-free miles. In the hands of staffers and contributors it’s been up and down the West Coast, on- and off-road, everywhere from Washington’s Olympic National Park to California’s El Mirage dry lake. We’ve filled up the 6.1-gallon tank more than 60 times, averaging 42.5 mpg (260 miles of range)—just below the 43 mpg claimed by Yamaha.

2015 Yamaha Super Tenere ES
The Vstream windscreen, shown in the highest position, greatly improves wind protection.

To improve wind protection, we installed National Cycle’s VStream Sport Windscreen (#N20319, $159.95, nationalcycle.com), which is made of 4.5mm FMR Hardcoated Lexan Polycarbonate, has a dark tint and bolts on with stock hardware in 5 minutes. Measuring 19 inches high by 14.5 inches wide (at the top), it’s taller and wider than stock; the Sport/Tour (light tint) and Touring (clear) versions are even larger. The screen’s patented inverted-V shape improves airflow, offering a quieter ride with less helmet buffeting, especially in the highest position, though we’d prefer a clear option in the Sport screen size to make it easier to see through.

One of our persistent complaints about the Super T, as well as several other models that use the Yamaha Chip Controlled Throttle (YCC-T) ride-by-wire system, has been snatchy throttle response, particularly in S (Sport) mode but also to some degree in T (Touring). Part of the problem is that, when rolling off the throttle, the fuel injectors turn off completely, which feels like an anchor has been thrown out. Rolling on the throttle has the opposite effect, with power coming on like a light switch.

At the suggestion of a reader, we installed a Throttle Tamer from G2 Ergonomics ($79.95; 815-535-3236, g2ergo.com), a throttle tube featuring an eccentric cam with a reduced initial radius, requiring more grip rotation to achieve the same throttle body opening as the stock circular cam. Though beautifully machined from 6061 aluminum and made with self-lubricating Delrin bushings at each end, it didn’t fix the problem on our test bike. Next, we had John Ethell of Jett Tuning (805-482-4192, jetttuning.com) reflash the Super T’s ECU, which allows the injectors to stay on during deceleration, among other changes. Throttle response improved dramatically, but with the major caveat that the bike is now non-compliant and considered “for competition use only”—not terribly practical for an adventure touring bike. Furthermore, the reflash could void the warranty as it pertains to the ECU and related components. If you’ve got a Super T and have found other street-legal solutions to the throttle response problem, we’d love to hear about them.

5 COMMENTS

  1. Has anyone found a solution to the so call snatchy throttle response? agreed is tamable in touring mode however sport mode in city driving can be a bit of a chore.

  2. Hi Guys, I am from South Africa. I believe the issue is actually with the throttle bodies. My solution was to adjust the air to fuel ratio. Back out throttle body air screws 3/4 turn, do a sync between throttles and adjust the CO on the dash. My 2014 with 24000 km pulls like a loco. She now pulls in sixth gear from way below 40 km/h right up to as fast as you need to GO. I did not flash the ECU. Just way to expensive here. I never use T-mode. Read up on YamahaSuperTenere group

  3. There is a guy on the Super Tenere forum that makes a very nice professional looking set of braces that make the windshield and accessory bar rock solid. They mount under the clamp for the windshield adjustment down to the holes for the side deflectors. Probably the least expensive and effective mod I have done to my bike.

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