Yamaha entered the burgeoning adventure touring market in a big way in 2012 with its 1,199cc parallel-twin powered Super Ténéré, featuring standard engine modes, traction control and linked ABS. For 2014, updates to the engine promise modest increases in horsepower and torque, but bigger improvements down low, more exciting character and smoother acceleration. Drive Mode settings have been revised to provide more pronounced differences between the Touring and Sport modes, and electronic cruise control is now standard. The windscreen has been enlarged and reshaped for less noise, and height can now be adjusted without tools. To improve comfort, the handlebar has been moved nearly a half-inch higher and closer to the rider, and a new triple clamp has removable risers. A new instrument panel is said to be easier to read and operate, and above it is a bar for mounting a GPS or other electronics.
New to the lineup is an ES version of the Super Ténéré, which has an electronically adjustable suspension system similar the FJR1300 ES, with four preload settings, three damping levels and seven finer damping settings for each level. As a bonus, heated grips are standard on the ES.
Both models are available in Team Yamaha Blue or Matte Gray/Matte Black. The 2014 Yamaha Super Ténéré is $15,090, and the ES model is $16,190.
If the Super T is too big or modern for your tastes, Yamaha is offering a small, nostalgic alternative for 2015. Available in Japan for a few years and recently introduced in Europe, the SR400 is based on the SR500 that debuted in the U.S. in 1978, but is powered by a shorter-stroke version of the air-cooled, SOHC, 2-valve single, dropping displacement to 399cc. It has electronic fuel injection but is kickstart-only, which was considered old school even back in the late ’70s. Yamaha says the compression release on the handlebar makes it so easy to kickstart that you can do it by hand. The engine and 5-speed transmission are bolted into a double-cradle frame, and wheelbase is just 55.5 inches. With a modest 26 horsepower and 384-pound wet weight, Yamaha says it gets upwards of 66 mpg (fuel capacity is 3.2 gallons, so range should exceed 200 miles). Retro details abound, from the chrome steel fenders, chain guard and seat rail, to the fork gaiters. Only color is Liquid Graphite, and MSRP is $5,990.
As I remember the SR 500 was great exercise because you would have to kick it all afternoon to get it started.
Not really. There was a trick to it. If you knew the trick, you could impress the girls by kickstarting it first time, every time. If not, well, then you got the exercise.
i wanted an SR 500 from the very first moment i saw one in 1978. never could afford one at the time. came across a few used ones over the years, either beat half to death, or lovingly restored and very expensive. so now here comes an SR 400. if it was on the dealers showroom, i’d be over there this afternoon seeing what kind of a deal i could make. i’ve always liked kick starters, and one of my current bikes is kickstart only. somehow, it just doesn’t feel like a motorcycle unless i kickstart it. when i think of all the bikes i’ve owned, the ones that bring back the fondest memories were all kickstart. take my kawasaki 500 triple for example…
the SR400 has a window on the right side of the engine such that you can see when the piston is in the proper position. This, along with the compression release, should make 1 kick starts a breeze.
The only problem is that at $5990, it’s priced too high. At $4500, or even $5000, I’d be sorely tempted to buy one now. As it stands, I’ll put my money on the CB500, which makes more power and has better brakes, and a six speed transmission.
I bought a new black ’79 SR500 leftover in 1980 for $1700. It was my first bike and something about it attracted me…probably its good looks and how it felt..nimble, light. I bought a Ruby Red ’80 SR500 used a couple of years later (missed my ’79 after selling it) and kept it 10 years. I sold it in 1990 for a mere $600. (couldn’t give it away then. I always toyed with going for an XS 650 or Maxim 650 but I always come back to the SR
I will be buying a new ’15 SR400 next month…The first one to arrive at the same dealer (and salesman) I bought the ’79 from. I don’t care if its $5000 or $6000. If you plan on keeping it for 10-20 years does it really matter? If it was $2000 35 years ago, $6000 isn’t unreasonable. I’m very excited I can buy my favorite bike all these years brand new. I might even buy another ’78-’81 SR500 eventually.(I was planning on that this year) But there is something about a new one. It is hard to resist despite the cost. Who would have ever thought Yamaha would bring it back to the U.S. I heard they will be limited. Because of its limited availability and pricing, the new one might end up more rare than the surviving originals. I will not miss out on what could be the only chance to buy a brand new SR.. I love the handling, the thumper sound of the big single and the bike’s clean good looks. I do prefer the alloy mag wheels of the original over the spoke wheels of the new one however and wish there were color options. Can’t have everything.