Test rode Tenere vs 1200GS today

Discussion in 'Land of the Rising Sun: ADV Bikes from Japan' started by California, Nov 30, 2012.

  1. California

    California Motorcyclist

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    I rode my WeeStrom down to the Yamaha/BMW dealer in Ft. Worth today so I could ride and compare the two back to back.

    The reason for doing this? I have a Harley RoadGlide and the Wee, and a Ruckus, but my wife won't ride with me on the Harley any more. She has Scoliosis, and the potholes and pavement heaves are painful for her when riding pillion on the Glide. The Wee has about 7 inches of travel, and she now won't ride with me unless we take the Wee.

    Now, I love the Wee, but have to admit when two up and loaded, it doesn't have enough uumph at highway speeds, and cruising at 80mph or about 6500rpm, is a little buzzy and my fingers get tingly after a while.

    So, we've decided to get a bigger dual sport, for the cushy suspension, and make it our primary ride. I've put the HD up for sale, and as soon as it's gone, we're going to buy either a Super Tenere or a R1200GS. When it's farkled and broken in, we'll sell the Wee

    So I went for back to back, same road, same weather, test rides, and here's what I think.....


    The Tenere has better wind management, stock, but on either bike, a new windshield would be one of the very first things replaced. The number two replacement would be the seat, which on the Yammy was absolutely horrible. I was uncomfortable within 15 minutes. I tried all three seat positions, and it's not that, it's the shape and foam. It's frikkin AWFUL! The BMW seat is better, marginally, and was much narrower at a stop and easier to put my feet down at a stop. So either way, I'd have to buy a Russell or Meyer or aomething similar, and as we all know, they ain't cheap!

    Engines? Under all situations, the Tenere engine is much smoother, however the throttle response at low speeds was disturbingly jerky.. I've read in other threads that's there's ways to minimize this, so I'm not really concerned, it's just that it amazes me that a manufacturer would build something like this. The BMW motor sounds, feels, and vibrates like a tractor! The BMW tranny is smooth and silky, but the clutch was hard and abrubt.

    At 70 to 80 mph, the Yam was smooth, light, and virtually free of vibrations, while the GS buzzed enough to start the tingling in my hands that I get with the Wee.

    For me it was an obvious difference, and made the decision almost a no brainer, I'm buying a Tenere as soon as the HD is gone!
    #1
  2. F16Viper68

    F16Viper68 Trapped in the Sandbox!

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    Thanks for the write up. I currenlty have a 2008 Wee and on Sunday I'm picking up a used Tenere with 13k miles. I haven't done anything but sat on one but it seems to be getting great reviews. It has an upgraded windscreen (Givi) and a Corbin seat so it soulnds like two of the issues you mention have already been addressed.

    I'll let you know what I think on Sunday. :clap

    Dave...
    #2
  3. California

    California Motorcyclist

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    Cool, I'll be watching for your report. I'm reading everything I can find about the S10. I've been tossing back and forth between the two for about three months now, the test ride ended the internal discussion!
    #3
  4. 2tallnwide

    2tallnwide Long timer

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    Don't know how many miles the GS you rode had on it but my '05 1200 started out like that too, but got better, and better, and better. It didn't really feel completely broken until 15 to 20K miles...YMMV.

    I rode a new Tiger Explorer last trip home, really liked it as well. I'll ride it again, and the Tenere back to back while I'm home next trip hopefully.

    Looking forward to trying out the new water cooled boxer when they arrive too...it's all good....:ricky
    #4
  5. cug

    cug --

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    If the GS was so bad in vibration either the throttle bodies were horribly out of sync or something else was wrong. The boxer vibrates, but it's not that bad. The Tenere vibrates differently but not that much less.
    #5
  6. everetto

    everetto Been here awhile

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    Throttle on the Tenere is drive by wire - push the button once on the handlebars and go from Sport mode to Touring mode and the aggressiveness of the throttle goes away completely. Nice to have two "response curves" to choose from.
    #6
  7. Wolfgang55

    Wolfgang55 Long timer

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    Have you considered a SideCar?

    Surprisingly fun & the Ladies like them a LOT. You would be making better friends w/ your dog too.
    #7
  8. pedalmike

    pedalmike Horizontally Opposed

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    The Tenere or the GS will be a huge improvement in pillion comfort for your wife. When the pillion is happy, everyone's happy. My wife loves the pillion riding position on my 2007 R1200GS with Ohlins front and rear. We use Alaska Sheepskin butt pads on the stock seat which is pretty good but I'm sure there are aftermarket seat solutions that would be better. She is comfortable so we end up riding more hours on a given riding day as a result. Good luck.
    #8
  9. pluric

    pluric Gimpy Adventurer

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    I've been a happy Tenere owner for over a year now. I was surprised to read your
    vibration complaint on the Beemer. This last weekend 4 of us went down to Moab.
    KTM 990, 2010 GS 1200, Tenere and a KLR. At one point I traded the BMW owner bikes.
    We drag raced and did roll ons. That BMW just plain ate the Tenere. My bike has
    had the reflash done and clutch mod. I was really surprised at the difference.

    Vibration wise almost sixes. Maybe a tad more on the BMW. Many have said the Tenere
    needs to get a few thousand miles on it before it smooths out. Mine was always pretty
    smooth.

    Personally I run the stock seat with an AirHawk pad and I'm fine with it. I'm sure a lot
    of it was because I'm used to the Tenere, but I like the ergos on the Yamaha better.
    The Beemer suspension was adjustable with a button and worked very nice.

    I was really impressed with that motor. The GS models I've been on before were okay,
    this one had a very noticible power edge. I'm not ready to jump ship over it. I'll
    just be more careful who I pick a race with.:D

    And you're right a few simple mods take care of the low speed hiccups.
    #9
  10. GB

    GB . Administrator

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    The Tenere seat has a slight tilt forward to it. You can modify it for the cost of 4 shorter rubber bumpers, so it sits flat. Once I did that, my comfort level increased dramatically and I cancelled the Russell Day Long seat build.

    Unleash the beast by lifting the restriction in the first 3 gears by performing the clutch switch bypass mod.. it's a 50 cent and 10 second operation. MiniATF fuse inserted.. You could do another test ride with the mod in place and see what you think.. just keep in mind the Touring mode no longer works as long as the mod is in place.

    [​IMG]
    #10
  11. Ham

    Ham Been here awhile

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    Two Words.

    Moto Guzzi. Your missing out.
    #11
  12. Wasp

    Wasp Supa10 pilot

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    That's five word's.

    Typical Guzzi rider...:lol3
    #12
  13. llamapacker

    llamapacker Mr. Conservative

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    The Wasp windscreen adjuster will allow you run the OEM screen with no wind blast or turbulence. I am on the Corbin, but it needs to be 1/2" higher in front, I have 12,000 miles on it tho so happy. I do have tank grabbers and I pinch with my knees to keep from sliding forward.
    #13
  14. everetto

    everetto Been here awhile

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    I am quite surprised to hear that. My ST will smoke my brother's GS, and I even tied my buddy on his FJR which DID surprise me, but he is a much bigger guy and I am more experienced so both factors probably allowed me to tie the FJ which should normally smoke a ST.

    I would not say in general that a GS is faster than the ST, quite the opposite in my experience.
    #14
  15. Xdriver

    Xdriver Been here awhile

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    I had an '09GS(purchased at FTW BMW as well) for a couple years and now have a Tenere. The Tenere I bought used and it came with the wind deflectors at the base of the shield and and deflector on the top of the shield. That being said, wind protection is better than it was on my GS. This Tenere also came with a Sargent seat, which is hard as a rock so jury's out on that. As for the engine, I like it better than the boxer motor. Great power delivery, addictive torque, and that's not even in sport mode. Above 70 passing passing power isn't as good, but still more than adequate.

    The ABS is way better than the GS. I rode some of the same dirt roads I'd previously done on the GS, and played with hard stopping and hard acceleration. The bike does actually stop on gravel with the ABS. The BMW I low sided under the same circumstances because I couldn't scrub off the speed(my fault for not turning ABS off). The traction control was great a well on the gravel.

    Gas mileage has been about 44mpg, and the 6 gallon is better than the GS 5 gallon tank.

    The only real downsides of the Tenere in comparison I can see is in the looks department and fit and finish. I really don't think that's as nice as the GS and again, the looks. It's marginally better looking than a Strom. That's about it.

    Get one. You'll enjoy it.

    [​IMG]
    #15
  16. Against the Wind

    Against the Wind I'm older now but still runnin'

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    Looks are subjective.. sorely tempted by the Tenere. I really like the looks, it looks better in person than in pics and best of all, it's about the only ADV bike without a beak from the new crop of ADV bikes. As a former GS rider, this bike ticks of a lot of boxes for me and the lack of a beak is a pleasant plus for me.
    #16
  17. pluric

    pluric Gimpy Adventurer

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    .......and it's you're:wink:
    #17
  18. pluric

    pluric Gimpy Adventurer

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    I agree. I was really surprised. Just my seat off the pants the GS pulled harder and
    the passing roll on was quite strong. I don't follw the history of motor mods on Beemers
    so I'm just going by what the owner said and that was that the 2010s on have the last
    major motor upgrades.

    I've said before it's not a class of bikes that HP shouldbe a huge factor, but I sure got
    a butt whooping. For him it was paybacks. My little SV 650 out ran his GS 1150.:D

    The FJR one is hard to buy as well. Having owned two of them I can't see the Tenere
    in the picture once the FJR hits about 6,000 rpm.:huh
    #18
  19. everetto

    everetto Been here awhile

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    I agree in a highway roll in top gear the GS might pull a bit harder due to the torque. In a highway drag (which is quite different than a roll) if the ST rider downshifts twice, maybe 3 times, and takes each gear to redline the GS will be in the mirror in my opinion.

    I could not believe that I tied my friend on his FJ (it is not a new one but it does have 2 Bros exhaust on it). It was from a dig and I think my experience allowed me to get off the line quite a bit harder and then he couldn't catch up (think we took it up to about 100). There was a considerable rider weight difference as well.

    It's all good.
    #19
  20. AtlantaDR

    AtlantaDR Anything on 2 Wheels

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    With 5000 miles on my Triumph Tiger Explorer 1200, I am loving it. Looked at the Tenere and the GS before I bought. Never thought I would own anything other than the remarkably dependable Japanese bikes, but this one is truly special. We have a 2011 DL-650 too, and it is a nice combination to have the Explorer and V-Strom in the garage. Good news is that you can't really go wrong with any of these bikes. They are all pretty amazing.
    #20