2014 Super Ténéré Gets Major Updates, But Is It Enough?
Yamaha plays technology catch-up with top Euro Adventure Bikes.
Last January, Yamaha announced that a new 2014 Super Ténéré model would be coming to Canada. Now Yamaha has confirmed the same new model, the Super Ténéré ES, will be coming to the U.S. for 2014 as well.
While the bike remains largely unchanged since 2012, the new Super Ténéré ES has received some significant updates that will help it compete with the top European Adventure Bikes in its class. Are these new refinements enough to generate excitement with new buyers? Or does Yamaha need an aggressive new model release to become a contender? First, let’s take a look at what has changed with the new Super Ténéré for 2014.
Electronically Controlled Suspension: Pre-load and damping settings are now electronically adjustable with the push of a button. The handlebar controlled electronic suspension offers four pre-load settings and three damping settings, along with additional fine tune damping settings. The technology is similar to what is currently available on Yamaha’s FJR1300ES.
Increased Power: Yamaha added 2 horsepower and 1.5 lb.-ft. of torque to the 1199cc parallel twin. Modest increases, but the motor is said to have more exciting character, improved throttle response and stronger mid-range power.
Electronic Cruise Control: The 2014 Super Ténéré receives cruise control for the first time, now standard equipment on both Standard and ES models.
Improved Traction Control: The Drive Mode control has been reprogrammed to provide a more noticeable difference between the Touring and Sport settings.
Fuel Economy: The 2014 Super Ténéré’s fuel efficiency has increased moderately from 40 mpg to 43 mpg over the 2013 Super Ténéré.
Comfort and Convenience
Adjustable Windshield: The new four-position adjustable windshield can be adjusted by hand without tools. The new windshield was designed in a wind tunnel to reduce noise and buffeting while offering better wind protection to the rider.
Tapered Aluminum Handlebar: The new handlebar is now 10mm taller and 10mm closer to the rider for better leverage and comfort.
LCD Instrument Panel: A new Instrument panel offers a modern high-tech appearance and is said to be easier to read and operate.
Accessory Bar Mount: A new accessory bar mount sits atop the instrument panel offering a convenient place to mount your GPS navigation device.
Heated Grips: Multi-setting heated grips are now available on the new Super Ténéré ES.
LED Lighting: LED turn signals and brake lights offer a more attractive appearance and shine more brightly for better safety.
Standard vs. ES Model Differences
Yamaha will offer a “Standard” Super Ténéré and “ES” model for 2014. The Super Ténéré ES is essentially a premium option package. The Standard Super Ténéré offers all the same upgrades for 2014 as the ES, except for the electronic suspension and heated grips. Weight increases on the Super Ténéré ES by eight pounds with the additional equipment.
Visual Changes for 2014
The Standard Super Ténéré will be available in two colors, Team Yamaha Blue and Matte Gray/Matte Black. The ES model will only be available in the Matte Gray/Matte Black color. The 2014 Super Ténéré has a subtle change in the front end appearance this year. The new windscreen has more of a bulbous shape and the front area under the headlights appears to have a new grill opening. The new front grill area gives the 2014 Super Ténéré an “open mouth” appearance. New LED lighting also improve the appearance of the 2014 Super Ténéré.
Competitors at a Glance
|Adventure Bike Models||Wet Weight|
|2014 Suzuki V-Strom 1000||503||Yes||Yes||No||No||Opt.||99||76||$12,700|
|2013 Yamaha Super Ténéré||578||Yes||Yes||No||No||Opt.||108||85||$14,800|
|2014 Triumph Tiger Explorer||571||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||137||89||$15,700|
|2014 Yamaha Super Ténéré ES||586||Yes||Yes||Manual||Yes||Yes||110||87||$16,090|
|2014 KTM 1190 Adventure||518||Yes||Yes||Manual||No||Opt.||150||92||$16,800|
|2014 BMW R1200GS (Std. Pkg)||525||Yes||Yes||Auto||Yes||Yes||125||92||$17,600|
Japanese Playing Catch-Up
For several years Japanese motorcycle manufacturers buckled down and kept expenses low during the economic downturn. During that time, European brands like KTM, BMW and Triumph were able to carve out a competitive advantage in electronics (ABS, traction control and suspension adjustment). We are now seeing Japanese manufacturers like Suzuki and Yamaha trying to get on equal terms with their European counterparts, as they offer their own advanced electronics packages.
The new Super Ténéré ES now offers similar electronics to the BMW R1200GS and KTM 1190 Adventure. Although, KTM’s lean-sensitive traction control and ABS (MSC) and BMW’s automatic adjusting suspension (ESA) are still one step ahead. Yamaha’s electronically controlled suspension, cruise control and power boost are all welcome additions to the Super Ténéré though.
Top criticisms of the Super Ténéré have been that it is underpowered and needs to lose weight when compared to the KTM 1190 Adventure and BMW R1200GS. In addition, the Super Ténéré still does not offer a way to shut off ABS for technical off-road riding situations. The question is whether Yamaha has closed the gap enough to attract new buyers. Considering that you could be riding a KTM 1190 Adventure or BMW R1200GS for about $700-$1,500 more, it seems like a hard sell.
On paper the KTM and BMW have superior performance, more advanced electronics and the price difference between them and the new Super Ténéré ES is not large. However, many will opt for the Yamaha simply because it is a Japanese motorcycle.
One would expect the cost of maintenance and repairs to be lower and the long-term savings of owning a Super Ténéré higher. Evidence of this can be found in a recently released Consumer Reports Research that ranked Yamaha as the most reliable motorcycle brand, while it ranked BMW near the bottom of the list. When you consider the price on reliability, then the gap is much smaller than it initially appears.
This was definitely not the aggressive new model release that many have been speculating about. Some may be disappointed Yamaha didn’t produce an innovative new Ténéré model. Hopefully, Yamaha is just trying to squeeze out a bit more profit by adding some exciting new features to an aging model. For now we’ll just have to continue speculating on what Yamaha will do for next year.
The new Super Ténéré Standard and ES models will be arriving on U.S. showroom floors sometime in April. Visit the Yamaha website for more information about the new 2014 Super Ténéré.