In 2010 I came back from riding the Yamaha Super Tenere for three days and some 600 miles in Tuscany and couldn't stop raving about how great of a motorcycle it was. Four years later, with the allure of riding motorcycles in the wine country of central Italy now a distant hangover, I was reunited with Yamaha’s adventure bike in the mountains of Southern California. Turns out it wasn’t the vineyards clouding my judgment. The raving has started all over again.

And, unlike in Italy, this ride even included some off-roading. And the Yamaha showed just fine there as well, thank you very much.

The Super Tenere has gone through a few changes since it first made its way to American shores in 2011 and a few more changes were made for the 2014 model or, more aptly, models as there are two: the Super Tenere and the Super Tenere ES. The differences between the two are heated grips and electronically controlled suspension. Oh, and the piece of paper that hangs from the handlebars: $15,090 for the standard model and $16,190 for the ES.

So what’s changed from the previous model? Let’s start with the 1199cc parallel twin that powers the Super Tenere. In an effort to change the character of the powerplant a bit, Yamaha made some changes to the shape of the intake and exhaust ports – straightening the exhaust port and changing the exhaust port shape from a D shape to round. The changes are designed to increase gas flow efficiency and to make the twin spin up quicker while also increasing power output. Additionally, in an effort to reduce friction, the Super Tenere gets new piston rings, the piston skirt curve shape has been changed, and the exhaust cam journal width has been reduced.

The exhaust system has also been revised with the connector between the two pipes getting eliminated – again to try and improve the power characteristics. The only other change to the engine is changing the clutch damper from a spring type to a rubber type. Yamaha says this is to reduce mechanical noise and vibration – i.e. get rid of the clunking sensation from the clutch.

The chassis on the bike is totally unchanged. It remains a stressed member –designed to keep the powerplant as low in the stiff chassis as possible.

On the suspension side of things, the only change is that Yamaha has changed the inner cylinder piston rod of its fully adjustable 43mm KYB fork from steel to aluminum in order to save weight. The quick-adjust (tool free with a nice big knob) rear shock remains as it was, offering up 7.5 inches of travel.

To read more of the 2014 Yamaha Super Tenere First Ride in this week’s Cycle News, click here

Paul Carruthers | Editor

Paul Carruthers took over as the editor of Cycle News in 1993 after serving as associate editor since starting his career at the publication in 1985. Carruthers has covered every facet of the sport in his near-28-year tenure at America’s Daily Motorcycle News Source.

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