Remember the Ride™ - The Journey Begins: 2022 Yamaha Super Tenere 1200 ES

Entry 1

I bought this ’22 ST in December of 2023, sight-unseen. It was from a dealer in SoCal, Wheels in Motion (WIM). It was a decent deal, not unexpected because it was off-season. But it was also a bit of a gamble coming from a dealer, and not even being able to look at it close-up. You admittedly have to reframe your expectations when buying from a dealer, but you still really don’t want to get stung, especially from afar.

And, directly after pickup, I was to be riding it 300 miles, five hours, out of LA, and over a pass and through the desert. Without warranty or promise.

Leaving out a few gory details, there were some hiccups in the transaction, but they were ultimately resolved. A big ask for me was for WIM – before I got there – to fully inspect the bike, change the oil, and make sure it had the dinky tool kit…in case I need to find out what those crappy tools could actually accomplish.

I got what I wanted, but I was made to wait several extra hours and had to embrace the temporary role as chief taskmaster/possible asshole. It was a little painful and frustrating, but I got results. I have to give props, though, to the unlikely hero, the office manager, Elizabeth Sage (yeah, perfect last name). She made sure, ultimately, all was well. Thank you!

After I flew in, I took a rideshare and headed to WIM. At pickup, it had 13231 miles on it after being in service for about 1-1/2 years. With a fresh oil change, a kind-of-cleaning, what were clearly new tires, and a full tank of gas (thank you, WIM), things looked good. But by “in service”, I mean it. I had tracked the previous owner down to be an adventure rental company, Eagle Rider, and two scenarios were top-of-mind: either it was abused or it was faithfully maintained.

Turned out to be much more of the latter. Evidence here and there it had been used a bit off-road – comfortably stuck-on mud underneath – also inversely indicated it had never been dropped and had experienced very few bad cosmetic encounters. The downpipes were probably never, ever cleaned and compromised the finish for good (I found out later), but that was the extent of the bad stuff. The best news was Eagle Rider was incredibly open and helpful about the maintenance history, which had been followed religiously, and they even gave me a new toolkit (with all the tools in it…) and a brand new manual. Good guys, there.

The ride was uneventful, and my efficient packing job (just one stuffed backpack) was overly pessimistic. The weather was stupidly good so I didn’t have to dip into the extra layers, the bike had zero issues, and I got to know some of the cool ES-specific adjustments along the way, of which I am still playing with, and very much welcome. I got an average of 51 mpg while cruising mostly between 70-80 (corroborated by hand with my nav numbers). The speedo, turns out, is only off about 3-4 mph at those speeds, too. Pretty good for a motorcycle.

Overall handling was surprising: super stable on long straights even with crosswinds and trucks, and set-and-forget in the corners. It’s not exactly flickable, but on the harder suspension settings, the geometry, and the inherently stiff frame, you can really hustle this thing around corners without wetting your shorts.

Some testers complained about the weight, but – here – it’s welcomed. It’s got a decently low center of gravity even with a full fuel tank, and once moving it feels instantly lighter. Very smart engineering takes advantage of the robust build quality by providing train-like highway stability without the low-speed handling consequences.

Power was very useful in the midrange making passing a simple roll-on even in sixth. Cruise control is incredibly good, as is the wind protection (I’m 5’8″). I had some helpful, small side wind diverters installed at WIM before leaving. And the stock exhaust sounded good, but was as quiet as I hoped. Don’t get me wrong, I like ICE noises. But for a bullet-train-of-a-bike with 500-mile+ journeys in its future, this background-noise level is the ticket for me.

Very happy and very impressed with the iconic ST. I fully understand the rabid following. It’s clever, effective, and should prove to be a super faithful riding companion.

What’s next for the bullet train? The first things done, mods, and more saddle time coming up in Entry 2!


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