On Monday I got to do what is probably the first of a few test rides while I decide what I really want. Currently Yamaha are running out the old 2013 Super Teneres (no '14 model and the '15's are on their way) and they can be had for a reasonably good price.
And so I found myself in at the local Yamaha dealer swiping the keys to the S10 on their floor. One good thing about this test was that I had just stepped off the Vee so it was going to be pretty easy to compare the two bikes...
My first surprise is that they're actually not that big in person and when I swung a leg over the bike I found that I was just about flat-footed - nice start. I also discovered that they hide their considerable (263kg wet) weight very well - the bike was very easy to get off the stand, move around and even put on it's centre stand.
I fired her up while putting on my helmet and pulled out into the rush hour traffic. Initially I thought the throttle was a bit jerky (not used to it) so I changed the engine mode to "T". This settled things down a bit but when I got out on the open road I was left wondering if I really was on a 1200. Stopping and switching to "S" mode soon stopped the wondering...That jerkiness disappeared too once I got my head around the bike a bit more.
To be honest, the bike pulled in a pretty similar fashion to the V-Strom. Plenty of torque which got things happening pretty quickly but delivered a fair bit more smoothly. At one stage I tooled along at 80km/h in top gear and the bike didn't mind at all, pulling pretty cleanly (and this a brand new motor) away once the throttle was opened up. With just over 3,000rpm on the dials at 100km/h there should be plenty of range in the 23l tank too. At higher rpms there was also some nice noises coming from behind me too. The gearbox and clutch was sweet as a nut too.
Cruising along on the open road I found myself very comfortable with the wide, flat seat and handlebars that were in exactly the right position - high and wide. I got a fair amount of wind noise but like an idiot I had left my ear plugs behind and was wearing my noisy adv helmet. I wish I'd had my plugs so I could have compared the noise to the Vee (which is pretty good wind noise-wise).
Getting back to that weight, the bike felt planted to the road in a similar fashion to the Connie and very stable in what was fairly windy conditions. The weight sure is carried low and the bike could be flicked around at low speeds very easily. At higher speeds that planted feeling felt great when I punted it hard through a couple of sweepers. While it was wearing more road oriented tyres than the Vee, there is no question that the S10 out-handles the Vee.
One thing I had expected more from the bike was the brakes. Don't get me wrong, they are fine and better than the Vees but I kinda thought that they'd be a bit more special as Yamaha usually puts very good brakes on it's bikes. That being said, at least they weren't grabby - you don't want that sort of behaviour on the gravel...
|A former Yamaha owner in full-on drool mode|
One thing I do know is that the S10 is a very nice bike (if someone gave me one, I would not complain) and would be pretty fantastic to tour NZ on. The thing is, there's a lot of choice out there...