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Old 11-12-2010, 10:13 AM   #1
Animo OP
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The way to break in a 2010 Super Tenere --- YUCATAN TO CHIAPAS ---

After owning an F650gsT and traveling all over Yucatan, Belize etc I figured a bigger and more comfortable bike was required. I had drooled over a 1,200GSA forever, until the new 1,200 Super Tenere come to the market, after much debate both in my mind, at home and on ADV I purchased the ST and decided to break in the TS in one shot. We traveled from Playa del Carmen (in Quintana Roo, south of Cancun) to Campeche, Tabasco and Chiapas, return, for a total of 2,100km. 4 day of fun, and the only time I was not frustrated and impatient to reach the 1,400km break in period. This is part RR and part bike review.



We were traveling 1,000km each way and would be encountering two different climates. The first climate would be hot and tropical, with possible rain (81F+). The second climate would be considerably cooler (50F). My first impression with the panniers included with the ST was the relatively small size as compared to GSA's panniers (not included) I will admit I was wrong, and we were able to easily pack for two types of clothing, laptop, chargers, shoes etc with ease, and with leftover space. We also included a waterproof duffle bag which we tied to the luggage rack by doubling the straps on the smartly placed panniers handles in order to keep the bag from sliding forward when breaking. The duffle bag had leather jackets, boots, rain gear, bulky stuff.....


Day 1
Playa del Carmen, Quinatana Roo to Palenque, Chiapas
Distance: 720km (approx)
Time traveled: 9hrs

I only had 20kms on the bike and had ridden the bike from the dealer to my house before loading all the additional weight. I did have my concerns of riding a new bike weighing 70kg+ more than my old bike, especially such a long way and on steep mountain roads. After loading all the gear we took off, and I could not believe how light the bike felt, even at full stop. The ST weighs in at 261kg, unfortunately I did not weigh all the bags but I would guess the panniers were 40kg each, duffle bag about 40kg , and with two passengers combined we had an additional 124kg. The bike was definitely heavy, but felt the same weight (if not lighter) thank the F650gs (199kg without added weight) Not only was the ST a dream to ride, I found the bike extremely forgiving. At a full stop, or on a 180 turn, a simple shift of weight would add a lot of weight, but a simple shift in weight on the opposite side would make the bike stabilize immediately, without the "I'm gonna drop the bike" feeling.



The ride to Chetumal was slow and easy, with perfectly paved and straight roads. The bike only had a few kilometers on it, so keeping my rpms to a minimum was essential. On 6th gear at 3,800rpms we were traveling at 110-115kph, we were in no way crawling. The seats were comfortable and the wind nicely buffered by the stock windscreen. I will say it was the first time in my life that I could have my visor open, and travel at 110kmph without losing an eye or two. Turbulence was nonexistent; the bike hardly gave any signs of vibrations when passing a huge truck. The other noticeable thing was the windscreen catching all the bugs instead of my helmet/visor/eyes. You cannot not see it, but my avatar is a picture of my visor with 1,000,000 bugs splattered on it, a common occurrence in the tropics. Bugs were either deflected or slammed on the windscreen, what a novel idea. In 2,100km I had maybe 4 bugs make it through: The first one hit me straight in the eye (how does that happen!) the second and third just hit my visor, the fourth was a light bug that smeared florescent green all over my visor. Under different circumstances that would have been a great trip, but while riding it was fascinating until it became annoying.




The beautiful part of having "the first ride" which lasts 4 days is encountering various terrains and weather. Of course the beautiful sunny day threw us a thunderstorm within 3hrs of leaving home, thankfully we did pack raingear.





The squall was ferocious and broadsided us from the right with enough force to make the ST feel like a sailboat without reefing the sails. The size of the bike made it sway over every time a gust of 40 + knots would hit, and it did take some over leaning to counter react the wind.



The rain come down in buckets, and the cement road was soon slippery with the sudden puddles that quickly appeared. That is when the traction control I had heard so much about showed its true colors. On purpose I would accelerate as to tease the traction control, and the rear tire never faltered once. The ST felt as if I was still riding on the perfectly sunny day with perfectly dry roads. I could not believe it. No matter how hard I tried to have some slippage, which I would otherwise not like the ST never skated, slopped or made the road what it was really like; Wet, slippery, and unsafe. If it were not of the rain I would have never known the conditions of the road at that time.

To be continued......
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Animo screwed with this post 11-12-2010 at 11:38 AM
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Old 11-12-2010, 11:03 AM   #2
Animo OP
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Cont......

Day 1:

Unfortunately we do not have pictures of the rain/flood, we did not have a waterproof camera, but the pictures above should give you a rough idea of what the road looked like under that super dark cloud.

Later in the afternoon we rode on without mishaps, stopping regularly for breaks, coffee, wicked food and stretches.






Then came the mandatory Army blocks/searches. The bad thing about having a decent bike (if there truly is one) is that at all the checkpoints they must stop you. They do not stop you because you look like you are a bandit, they have to so they ask you all about the bike. "How fast is it", "How much is it", "What kind of a fuken bike is that?!?!?!!" (They have never seen a ST before, many people have not) They are so busy checking out the bike I could have had 10 Kilos and they would have never noticed them. They check out how we store our things, the gauges, engine etc, never our belongings. They are a great bunch of guys and I never mind stopping to talk to them, I get ot have a smoke and a few laughs.... (Soldier looking at the pannier, "So, this is where you keep the pistol?" Me, "No way man, that is where I keep the folding bazooka!" etc etc etc etc.



Then we just rode on, and on, and on......









Until it turned dark. I enjoy riding at night, and have never had a problem, until we passed Escarcega. The seemingly small stretch of road (It took friggin forever!) between Tabasco and Chiapas must have the darkest, ill kept roads in Mexico. Street signs are non=existent, pot holes are the size of compact cars, massive trucks holing ass everywhere, road construction where the road simply disappears without warning etc. After riding for 7hrs it made the ride pretty difficult, and slowed things down considerably, but this brought on other observations of the new ST.

We hit a pothole about 2ft deep (felt like) the bike slammed hard but the seating never threw us, nor was the spoke rim damaged.

Out of nowhere the biggest blown out tire appeared out of nowhere (traveling at 100kph), on the left I had a ditch, on the right massive holes, I decided in 1/2 second to ride over it. The tire was absolutely massive, the St rode over it, the noise was heart stopping. No apparent damage occurred on the undercarriage, the bike tires survived the massive alligator teeth sticking out of the blown out tire.

The road simply disappeared, had to quickly swerve to the left where the road turned to loose dirt, with numerous potholes the size of the bike itself. On my BMW the ABS is either on, or you can turn it off for dirt/crazy gravel etc or the ABS simply does not work in gravel. On the ST the ABS together with the traction control made the new found dirt road seem as it was paved. My legs turned numb, but for no reason. I was expecting a sudden slide, crash, WTF! But nothing happened, the ST happily rode on as if on a rail.

I slowed down, wayyyyyyyy down.

We finally arrived at Palenque, tired, hungry and laughing about all the crazy close call we had during the night, and could not believe how well the bike handled all the crazy events.

We went to the mandatory El Panchan Restaurant for excellent food, much needed tequila and the fun fire show.









That is when it started raining again, buckets of rain. I had parked the bike (for those of you who have been there) in the parking lot over the little bridge on the elevated side overlooking the restaurants. The parking spot in front of the restaurant in prone to flash flooding, and it did. The bike was about 4ft from the drop off into the river, and due to the slope I could simply sit on the bike, go backwards, and ride away after dinner. The bad part was when I returned to the bike after the rain. All the rain had loosened the ground and the bike was sitting half a foot (or more) sunken in the loose river sand. So here were my choices: 1) Go forward, as now my front end was lower than the back (forget that! I would have ended up in the river, no go) 2) pull the bike back (as if! The bike weighs 5 tons!) So I looked at the bike and tried something inconceivable: c) I clocked the handlebar to the left, I placed by left foot firmly on the ground and gunned the bike in first. The ST made a complete 180, the front wheel never moved and I was now facing the correct direction with the river behind me. I set there for a few moments in disbelief, the bike never dug in and acted the same as my 250cc cross bike would have, friggin crazy! (Sorry, no pictures, it was super dark and I was to amazed to even think about that until later)

We then went on to the hotel.

I had been worried that because I had liked the GSA for so long I would somehow regret over my ST purchase. A soon as we pulled into the hotel we looked up and there was a huge banner, it read: "WELCOME BMW CHIAPAS -- OCTOBER 2010 CONVENTION" The entire parking lot was packed with BMW's, GS's of every year and model, GSA's, F800's, you name it, and that is when we really laughed.

I pulled up and parked in front of all the BMW's, took off the luggage end went to the room. The next day the SS stuck out like a bike in Avatar, and the apparent difference was Super True. The Super Tenere was like looking at a modern building in the middle of the Historical Center of an old City.







Regrets? 0%

To be continued.......

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Animo screwed with this post 11-12-2010 at 11:45 AM
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Old 11-12-2010, 12:41 PM   #3
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Old 11-12-2010, 01:14 PM   #4
SpeedStar
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Nice report, Looking forward to the rest of it. Thanks Matteo. I can't wait to get my ST!
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Old 11-12-2010, 01:14 PM   #5
GrahamD
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Thanks for that.

Looking forward to the rest

Cheers
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Old 11-12-2010, 05:31 PM   #6
tremor38
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First true ride report from an actual Tenere owner?! I've been waiting for this! Thanks Matteo. Keep it coming.
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Old 11-12-2010, 05:46 PM   #7
ThomasVolomitz
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I was wondering hoe you got an ST so soon? Can't get them in the US until May.
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Old 11-12-2010, 06:44 PM   #8
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Been reading your input in Beasts and glad to see you posted your first ride report on the new beast. Congrats and thanks for the report
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Old 11-12-2010, 06:57 PM   #9
Animo OP
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Day 2

Day 2
Palenque to San Cristobal
Distance: 265km
Time Traveled: 5hrs


The BMW guys were a great bunch . The night before my wife was worried that they would drop our bike, or even worse drop it in the river. I went on to explain that everyone there is most likely a professional or entrepreneur, in short I truly doubted anything would happen to our bike. Our bike was safer parked in a sea of BMW's with security, and they are not in any way related to the Hell's Angels mid 60's, I truly felt our bike will be just fine (the thought did make me laugh though. A gang of doctors and attorneys taking it out on a Yamaha, all very unlikely)

The next day we were all up early and ready to the ride to San Cristobal. It was the road I was looking forward to the most. Palenque is approximately 160ft above sea level. Tropically beautiful, the vegetation consists of humongous Ceiba Trees, Mangoes, Palm Trees and the sort. It is in the rain forest. San Cristobal is approximately 8,000ft above sea level. It is in the pine ridge and resembles Switzerland. The road is an uphill climb that will take you from the Tropics to the Mountain highlands one would never expect to see in Mexico.

All the BMW guys were also up early and tending to their bikes. It was a pleasure to meet so many adventure riders in one place. They were welcoming and friendly, regardless of bike ridden we are all the same, thirsty for new roads, challenges and adventure. They were from all corners of this side of the World, the US, Canada, Central America and South America. We shared fun stories and admired each other bikes. I only wish I would have been there earlier to meet more people, we were all leaving for San Cristobal and climb the Sierra Madre.



The ride was as beautiful I had expected, if not more. The ST has 2 drive settings: Touring and Sport. I switched to sport for the first time and could not believe the difference in torque. I did not need the Sport setting, the Touring setting was responsive and powerful enough, but the Sport turned the ST into a semi sport bike. The engine was aggressive, over responsive and high pitched. It was like riding a totally different motorcycle.




The only road hazards besides my own riding were huge trucks now and again, and roads in bad need of repair. The sport setting removed any need for passing power.





I had been told that there were at least 600 BMW's on town, as well as many other bikes attending the convention and all were heading to San Cristobal. We were taking our time checking out the amazing views, after all I was also breaking in my bike. Every so often a GS or GSA would come barreling behind us, I would pull to the right to let them pass, a quick wave at each other and they were gone. Most consisted of 2 riders per bike, all were smiling ear to ear digging the stunning road and views.

We were behind a huge truck and quickly passed it, I looked in the mirror and noticed 3 bikes barreling behind us: A F650gss, a F800gs, and a GSA. All 3 bikes had 3 single riders, they were booking. They also passed the Truck, and came up behind us while I was waiting for a break to pass a couple of cars and a minitruck. Once I passed the three vehicles once again the 3 bikes quickly came behind us and I though "ok, let me check out what this bike can do" .

I passed the car in front of us, the 3 bikes quickly followed. I entered the first curve, tapped the front break 2 times, leaned into the curve, gave it half throttle and exploded out of the curve. Came to the next curve, tapped the front break 2 times, leaned way over, 1/2 throttle, exploded out that curve. Repeat.



By the 5th amazingle tight uphill curve I was leaning so hard my knee almost scraped the ground, 1/2 throttle, EXPLODE! (Watching Yamaha take 1st and 2nd place on the Moto GP the same morning did not help with the slowdown process) We lost the F650gss within the first 3 curves. The F800gs fell quickly behind about 6 curves later. The GSA which was tailgating me earlier lost 1 curve for every 2 I attacked and was out of site within 1km.

After they were no longer in my mirrors I slowed down (all was under 4,000rpms) and took pace again, petted my bike "Nice bikey, well done....." and the GSA came barreling down the street passing me with gusto . Overall the traction control of the ST was superb. No matter how far I leaned, no matter how much throttle I gave the bike was a non-slipping machine, I might as well been glued to the road. The handling was truly impressive, the acceleration hair bending, slippage nonexistent.


On a side note: I have never ridden a bike like the ST, I do not think many people have. I will explain this as I had the day I returned from our great weekend: All the bikes I have ever ridden have a mid-center engine, in short the engine was between my legs. I have always been "one with the bike", riding on top of a powerful engine between my legs. The ST's engine has been placed wayyyy up front, it is below your chest if you lean against the gas tank, it is not between your legs. The engine placement made me feel as I was steering a huge powerful engine into a curve, as if steering a shopping cart, rather than steering myself into a curve. Curve after curve I was placing the huge 1,200cc engine into a lean, then it would quickly pull me forward into another curve. Think of a kite board, or an acrobatic kite with two handles, it pulls you, you do not pull it. Definitely difficult to explain but the feeling was exhilarating, not the good old bike riding experience.







Once in San Cristobal we encountered cobblestones and traffic.



I had been worried about the size and weight of the bike, and in cobblestones and traffic a heavy bike can make a huge difference. I noticed this little bike passing cars and quickly lost my worries, I had to follow, being stuck in traffic on a bike is not what I own bikes for......


I squeezed between traffic without a problem (the cars on the right and the cars parked on the left), the seemingly heavy ST was agile and quick to respond, it felt as forgiving in traffic as my F650gsT.







We then arrived at our hotel, man I love that place.







And hung out in San Cristobal for some much needed drinks, great food and R&R.





Until the next morning for the ride back.


Thanks for reading.

To be continued.......

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Animo screwed with this post 11-12-2010 at 07:20 PM
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Old 11-12-2010, 07:50 PM   #10
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More great stuff Matteo, I love the pictures and inside info on your experience so far on the ST. Keep it coming.
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Old 11-12-2010, 07:51 PM   #11
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Well done

What a great review, story , and pics Matteo.

Thank you for the effort on a job really well done.
I enjoyed every part of it and am left gagging for more.

Greg.
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Old 11-12-2010, 09:00 PM   #12
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Thanks alot Matteo. I was doing OK until I read this report. You just made the next 6 months of my life a living hell. IS IT MAY YET?????
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Old 11-12-2010, 10:08 PM   #13
Animo OP
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Thanksssssssss

Thank you all, truly. BTW Gadget Boy, I need some ADV stickers BADLY! I took off all of the cheese Yamaha decals and the ST now lookS more like a real bike, but I need a couple of the Tourag ADV decals, the ST deserves them.

@ jgunsett: I cannot wait until you get your bike, you will not believe your forward body motion when you accellerate, enough said.

@ Wasp, more is coming.... not just this ride...many more will, including yours.

@ SpeedStar, many thanks, the pictures were hard to come by on bumpy roads. Tracy did a great job at capturing what she could while I was going going Velentino Rossi all over the friggin' place.

@ tetsouo: Ya know ?!?!?!?!!!!!!!!!

@ GHraham D: Thanks for participating earlier when I was deciding on the bikes. I told ya I would finally write this (badly, but hey, I did)

@ tremor38: Thanks man, I have read so many impartial reports on this bike that it really made me think. The Super Tenere is not the GSA, nor the GS. It is a revolutionary design, with a completely different feeling in handling. All the "first ride reports" I read were completely biased towards bikes in favor of the magazine they were writing for, or their impression rides too short to feel the real difference in bike design. I feel the ST will either be loved, or misunderstood due to the change in bike response as it is very different in conventional current bike design.

@ Rasthomas: by the time May comes you will be happy you waited.

@ Gadeget Boy: I NEED SOME TOURAG DECALS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 11-13-2010, 06:53 AM   #14
el tortuga
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Great bike, great country, lovin' it, subscribed!!!
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Old 11-14-2010, 09:56 AM   #15
ClearwaterBMW
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awesome RR and pics
contrats on the bike
well done
can't wait to read more
thanks for sharing
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