Yamaha Super Ténéré
Better adventures ahead
AFTER WATCHING THE EUROPEANS GET to play with the Super Ténéré a full year prior to its U.S. release, we were salivating to put it head-to-head against the adventure-touring class stalwarts.
It didn’t disappoint, proving that it was a better all-around motorcycle than either the BMW R1200GS or KTM 990 Adventure that we pitted against it in our “Ride There” comparison test.
But that doesn’t mean we felt the big parallel-Twin-powered machine was perfect; it simply proved that the bike was a jack-of-all-trades.
Room for improvement? Definitely. One of our biggest complaints is the fueling provided by the ride-by-wire throttle system (particularly in Sport mode), which is something we hope to remedy via the aftermarket. Another peeve is a massive amount of buffeting from the windscreen, which we experienced exclusively with billed adventurestyle helmets.
As we’ve discovered in the past, tires are a critical piece of the puzzle with adventure bikes. Running knobbies off-road is mandatory if the itinerary involves more than a mile or two of dirt; but if a lot of asphalt is on the menu, knobbies compromise handling, braking and wear. So, we’ll be experimenting with rubber, too.
After dodging a bullet or two during our shootout, we knew that we had to outfit the Super T with a skidplate to protect the vulnerable oil filter, exhaust headers and bottom of the engine. AltRider’s beautiful $358.97 unit just arrived along with $386.85 crash bars and a very trick $198.79 tail rack. More on those in our next update.
Kawasaki ZX-1 4R
W HILE OUR STOCK NINJA MAY BE THE most powerful production motor cycle CWhas ever tested, onboard electronics can make the metallic green monster amazingly docile when toggled into low-power mode and traction control level 3. It also has a reduced rev limit in sixth gear that restricts the beast from exceeding 185 mph, a top speed verified with our radar gun during testing.
Our multi-stage goal with this 14R starts with sourcing a module to unlock its true top-speed potential. Next, we intend to try some basic dragstrip-specific modifications, such as lowering links and fork tiedowns, a quick shifter and shedding weight with a performance exhaust. Ultimately, there may well be a turbo kit in our Ninja’s future. As any greenblooded performance Kaw-boy knows, why trot along on 192 rear-wheel ponies when you can truly gallop?
Although this long-term test is just getting started, smoky burnout photography drasti cally reduced the life of the original-fitment Metzeler Sportec M5 Interact sport-touring radials. Just shy of 3000 miles, we mounted Avon Ultra 3D Supersports in 120/70ZR17 ($190.08) and 190/50ZR17 ($284.02) sizes, tires with a more sport-focused intent certain to deliver ample backroad handling bliss between trips to the strip.