Africa Twin or Super Tenere or Tiger or BMW?

Discussion in 'Land of the Rising Sun: ADV Bikes from Japan' started by jayzonk, Jun 12, 2018.

  1. jayzonk

    jayzonk Been here awhile

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    Hi, I'm new to the forum. Looking for an adventure bike, primarily because I need a more upright riding position. Currently riding a VFR1200F sport tourer, which I love, but I need more of an upright riding position for the sake of my knee and my back. I don't plan on doing any offroading, but broken pavement and some gravel roads might be necessary to cross. Looking for something that I could ride across Canada, yet happily ride through the city. Here's my list of criteria, in order of importance:
    1) Upright riding position - I like to be upright, with a slight forward lean on the bars, with my knees as straight as possible.
    2) Excellent handling on the pavement - I'm not concerned about the dirt so much. I'm road-biased. I'd like a bike that still corners...like a sport bike (is this possible?)
    3) An extremely comfortable saddle - I'd like to ride from Ontario through the Smoky Mountains, so I'd have to put in some long days.
    4) Really good wind protection - I'm getting tired of having my head blow around like a bobblehead in the wind. I'd like more coverage with the screen. An electronic adjustment would be REALLY COOL but not necessary.
    5) Shaft drive - I'd prefer this, but I'm willing to give it up if it means getting the bike that's right for me. I'm a bit tired of checking chains and cleaning up grease but I'm willing to forego this.
    6) Weight - I don't want something that's so heavy that it impedes its cornering ability.

    Curious to know what you have to say. Right now, I've looked at a few bikes. Initial thoughts:
    1) Africa Twin - no shaft drive; non-adjustable windscreen; not sure how it is on a 10 hour ride day. Wondering how well it corners on pavement.
    2) BMW GS - costly; not crazy about the appearance of the base R1200GS, Rallye edition looks cool but I don't need the beefed up forks OR the price tag.
    3) Africa Twin Adventure Sports - even more legroom than standard; bigger bodywork to block wind. Wife not crazy about it's appearance (:_
    4)Triumph Tiger 1200 - lots of bells and whistles; adjustable windscreen; electronic suspension; I don't know how well it handles on pavement. As good as the Beemer? And...it's on the heavier side.
    5) Triumph Tiger 800 - lots of options and nice and light; has a chain (downer), not sure about how it is after 10 hours in the saddle (let me know! Maybe it's great!)
    6) Yamaha Super Tenere - comes with bags! Price with bags is good; not sure about 1200 twin cylinder engine; not sure about handling; it's on the heavier side; not sure about how well the shaft on the Yamaha works; seat looks comfy.
    7) Honda VFR1200X - there's a few of these left over from 2016. Also on the heavy side. 1200 V-Four is somewhat neutered to make it safer if taken offroad (I don't care); hear little positive about it; no rear wheel hugger so there's nothing stopping water from spraying up on the rear shock; good deals to be had since it's been discontinued!

    Unfortunately, none of my dealers have any of these bikes to ride at the moment and I missed the ride day. Curious to hear your thoughts!
    #1
  2. EastRoad

    EastRoad Road Viking

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    It's a personal decision and much boils down to the individuals specific needs and desires and likes.

    I ride a 2002 R1150GSA ... and wouldn't mind the bike to join weight-watchers for a few month to drop some of its weight ;)
    Other than the weight there is not much I can complain about as it constantly does all I ask it to do.
    One of the main advantages the GSA has for me is the big tank volume... read: long distance before refule.
    but of course a lighter weight bike and maybe slightly smaller engine has a better fuel consumption ratio (and usually a much smaller tank) to offset that abit.

    The AT (standard, not the AS) is something that I personally rather like and wouldn't mind owning.

    The Tiger's have never really appealed to me - rode one briefly and it was a good bike, but didn't make me want to own it.

    The Super Tenere is definitely a top choice in my opinion though - price/features is in a solid ratio.
    it's a performer with good track record (and it's comfortable, at least the one I got to ride while back).

    The newer GS, well it's the GS - we all know the thing...
    I don't know about reliability on the newer models, but my GSA has 126'000km on it and still runs really smooth and hasn't given me an big grievances in maintenance cost or needs.
    This is what essentially is something that I'd consider when replacing my current bike - the reliability is something I'd factor in.


    Last but not least: I'd go the extra mile and try to find options for a test ride once you've narrowed down your list.
    #2
  3. MCGMB

    MCGMB Been here awhile

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    The Super Tenere is a fine choice (I have one). The only difficulty is wind management. It wasn't until I installed the Yamaha touring screen and winglets, along with mirror extenders, that I got reasonably clean air and minimal buffeting.
    #3
  4. jayzonk

    jayzonk Been here awhile

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    I'm forecasting the need to buy a lot of farkles to get the Super Tenere to the level that the GS is at right out of the crate. Changing windshields, changing suspension, on and on...if that's the case, I might as well go with a standard R1200GS. It's $20,000 Canadian without the panniers and the GPS mount.
    I really want something with a solidly planted front wheel so I can push the corners a bit while still sitting upright. If not the GS, what would it be?
    #4
  5. jayzonk

    jayzonk Been here awhile

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    I'm wondering if I should be taking a look at Yamaha's new 900 Tracer GT. It's a lot lighter, somewhat shorter wheelbase, more road-oriented, with adventure bike [upright] geometry and a more padded seat.
    #5
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  6. XRman

    XRman Long timer

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    I have ridden my Tiger 800 XCx on long distance rides for 21 consecutive days on mixed sealed and rough dirt roads.

    The seat was adequate but I did use a slightly inflated Air Hawk cushion. Seats are a very subjective thing really. What suits my butt may not suit you.

    Motor: smooth and easy flat torque curve.
    Gearbox: smooth
    Windscreen: crap as standard. Most fit a Madstad
    Bars: too low and forward as standard. 2 inch Rox risers sort it.
    Steering: precise
    Brakes: need a handful to haul it down which suits dirt conditions more thanroad.

    The screen and bars are amongst the things they changed in the 18 update. Not much feedback from new owners yet.

    The road version comes with 19/17 cast wheels and less travel in the Showa suspension. The XC version comes with WP suspension that works well unless you weigh a lot more than 80 kg and ride hard.

    For me after my 21 day trip I would cross off any bike that does not have cruise control.

    I hope this helps.
    #6
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  7. realshelby

    realshelby FLAKE

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    You left out BMW RT! Probably checks more of your boxes than any of the bikes you have listed. I have ridden enough gravel roads on my '14 RT to know it is quite a surprise at how stable it is on gravel. Certainly not a bike meant for "off road" but the occasional gravel road is no worry.
    #7
  8. HeliMark

    HeliMark Been here awhile

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    Being a bit partial to the Super Tenere, even with the add ons, which can be personal, it most likely will still be cheaper. The shaft drive is used on several of the other Yamaha bikes, and you would be hard pressed to find any real amount of failures. And you have the solid reputation of Yamaha.

    It will stay with a sport bike through a curve. Scraping the pegs is not a problem with it.
    #8
  9. jayzonk

    jayzonk Been here awhile

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    That's good to hear. Coming complete with the aluminum panniers, there seems to be good value with the Tenere. Yamaha even has it's own frame/fairing protectors on it, stock. What's the wind protection like?
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  10. jayzonk

    jayzonk Been here awhile

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    Seating position/knee angle looks pretty good on the RT! Not sure about that big bulbous fairing up front, but I did say I wanted wind protection. Has shaft drive, wind protection, and comes with the bags. Hmmm...even though it's a sport tourer, it does have a lot less knee bend than my VFR. I'll go check it out at the local dealer.
    #10
  11. HeliMark

    HeliMark Been here awhile

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    Wind protection for the Tenere is average. Depending on your height, size...etc. Most go to a larger windshield, and put on the wind wings. Pretty good after that. Pretty much like any bike I have bought.

    I had an RT, and a good bike until the warranty ran out. But I like crappy back roads (not much of a dirt rider), and the RT did well, just not fun or imagining what the suspension was going through. Plus the thought of dropping the bike on the crappy roads was not appealing. My S10 has been down a fair amount in the dirt with no damage other than a quick spray paint to the crash bar.

    Sent from my SM-G930U using Tapatalk
    #11
  12. Dreedr

    Dreedr Ready to Roast

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    S10 with a Givi D2119ST Windscreen. Great bike.
    #12
  13. jayzonk

    jayzonk Been here awhile

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    Saw the Africa Twin, the S10, and the V Strom 1000 side by side at the dealership today. Have to admit that the V Strom looks the simplest, and easiest to ride. I KNOW I need to ride them all to determine what they're really like, but I think that there's a lot of value in the V Strom. It's not a shaft drive, but the wind protection looks good, the 19" front tire is more road suitable, and it's about 75 lbs lighter than the S10. Not sure how this translates on the road because I haven't ridden either.
    #13
  14. neanderthal

    neanderthal globeriding wannabe

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    I ride an Africa Twin and find it great for what you're considering. Sure, there are better corner carvers. Sure, there are more comfortable seats. Sure , there ..., you get the idea.

    Any of these bikes will be great.

    Go out and ride them. Nothing will help you decide better than miles on the seat.

    Also, that AT can be a bit of a handful for lighter, shorter riders. I'm barely able to flatfoot it, being only 5'9, mostly thanks to my 230lb (105kg) lardass.
    #14
  15. jayzonk

    jayzonk Been here awhile

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    LOL. Maybe a Grom? JK.
    Yes, I can see how the high seat height could be a bit tricky. I'm 5'11", and I've sat on both the AT and the AT Adventure Sports, which is EVEN HIGHER. I cannot flat foot the Adventure Sports.
    #15
  16. neanderthal

    neanderthal globeriding wannabe

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    I have longish limbs and that coupled with my fatass allows me to ride the AT with something approaching ease.
    #16
  17. Gobius

    Gobius Been here awhile

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    I haven't ridden the AT, but I have ridden the Strom and the S10. I rode the VStrom 1000 first, and really liked it. Then I rode the S10, and I swear it felt lighter than the Strom. I know it's heavier on paper, but Yamaha has performed some kind of wizardry on this bike, and it certainly doesn't feel anywhere near as heavy as it is. The Strom is probably a better corner carver - and if you want a more sport bike feel, the Strom is probably the ticket. But I think the S10 is the more versatile bike of the two. More torque, better off road, better 2up, better world crosser. I think both bikes are a freaking bargain right now (compared to the AT). I voted with my $$ and bought a 2017 S10, and I have historically been a bit of a Suzuki fanboy.

    I did sit on the AT, and it seemed too tall for me - also I already have a DR650.
    #17
  18. jayzonk

    jayzonk Been here awhile

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    The bike that I want will need to fill my travel desire: 1) A trip through Rogers Pass in the Canadian Rockies. Lots of tight radius turns, uphills and downhills. Canada's Stelvio Pass (maybe!). What fits the bill the best?

    Was actually leaning toward the S10 for a few reasons. The shaft drive is one. Anyone have any comments about the wind protection and the seat comfort? OEM tires? How about the overall quality? To me, it looks really well built, solid construction with a thick, durable frame and subframe. Oddly, the Yamaha aluminum panniers look really well-built as well, with the plastic insert. Love the top-loading feature.

    My other option is the Triumph Tiger Explorer - lots of features, but, as I read, I keep hearing that it is "top heavy." Is that the case with the redesigned 2018?
    #18
  19. Happy Snapper

    Happy Snapper GOMOB.

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    Never mond all of the debate.. what bike "rings your bell?"

    Buy it!
    #19
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  20. twinrider

    twinrider pass the catnip

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    I've owned an Africa Twin DCT. Love the transmission and the bike handles fine on pavement. But unless you want a DCT or plan to do a lot of dirt riding I'd say pass on it. It's not that good for two-up touring without suspension mods and the tube wheels are a pita.

    I currently have a Super Tenere. Comfortable, low maintenance and reliable. I would say it or the Honda Crosstourer would be good for your planned usage. The S10 has cruise control, the Honda has a DCT option.
    #20