Yamaha’s anti-Shamu

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Yamaha-TRX-1200

A patent filing uncovered by Visordown reveals that Yamaha is playing with alternative platforms for the Super Tenere’s 1200cc parallel twin. This sketch, created by Luca Bar, shows what such a bike could look like, but isn’t based on a physical prototype or official information. Such a bike could herald the return of the basic, torquey, affordable sport tourer, the SuperTen itself is priced at only $13,900, $2,099 less than the over-complicated, overweight Shamu.

Not much is revealed in the patent filing other than that parallel-twin and shaft drive being housed in a package that looks like a sport tourer. We’re using “sport tourer” in the VFR800/Triumph Sprint ST sense, not the bastardized American definition of the class which bizarrely includes full-on tourers like the BMW R1200RT.

The Super Tenere’s 1199cc, liquid-cooled parallel-twin develops 108bhp at 7,250rpm and 84lb/ft at 6,000rpm. It’s an easy-going, flexible power plant that’s able to motivate the 261kg/575lbs (wet) SuperTen with reasonable gusto. It’s wayyyy too early to even speculate, but we’d hope to see more power and less weight if this sportier bike does enter reality.

The Yamaha TRX850 was sold between 1995 and 1999 and is considered something of a cult classic in Europe where it’s easily insurable, has accessible performance and accepts a bunch of suspension and brake components from the R1, R6 and other, fancier Yamaha sportbikes with minimal modification. Parallel-twins are generally considered a bit boring to their V counterparts; they make good power and torque but their delivery is flat. Advantages are chiefly packaging due to the compact package, but look at this particular twin in a SuperTen and it appears to be of at least similar size to the R1′s inline-four.

That Yamaha is seeking alternative platforms for its newly-developed parallel-twin is no surprise. Honda’s new V4 sort of did the opposite, starting life in the $15,999 VFR1200 which combines the comfort of a sportbike with the performance and handling of a big tourer, but will find its way into a big adventure tourer if the Honda Crosstourer concept is anything to judge by. In these days of industry austerity, the cost of engine development needs to be spread across multiple models in multiple markets.

Sources: Visordown, Bar Design, Motoblog.it

  • http://www.thisblueheaven.com Mark D

    Parallel twins may be a bit boring, but all other things being equal, they’re cheaper to produce, more compact, lighter, and easier to service. Every since Honda stopped making the reasonable sized VFR, looks like there’d be an opening there.

  • Tony

    YES! For the last 10 years, I’ve been bugging anyone who will listen with my complaint: “Why don’t we have more parallel twins?”

    That light-weight, compact configuration is perfect for a sport-bike.

    I guess racing has refined the inlines to the point a twin can’t compete, but with Superbike rules allowing 1200 cc twins, I would really like to see someone go for it with a parallel configuration.

    • Ben

      I ride a parallel twin. BMW F800s. I absolutely love the engine and the bike. Being able to coax the bike into the 70mpg range on the highway but then having all the glorious low-end torque in town sure is great. However, every time I hop on someone’s inline-4 I am very jealous with how smooth their engine is. Twins are extremely rough at low rpms.

    • Mr.Paynter

      I have a Kawasaki ER 6-N which is my first larger bike at 650cc and I wouldn’t trade it for the world!

    • Greg

      The Versys is a great small parallel twin. The better question is, “Why don’t people buy more parallel twins?”

      • Ben

        Yes! I rode the Versys before I got my bike and that engine is amazing. I found the bike itself to be a bit too twitchy through the corners for my taste, but around town that thing was perfect.

  • http://vtbmwmov.org Eben

    I had someone try to tell me the RT was a sport-tourer once. I guess because it weighs less than an ST1300 or FJR it must be?

    Regardless, since the loss of the R1200ST and discounting the VFR1200F, there just hasn’t been a proper sport tourer available here. Mid-500lb. wet weight, shaft drive, faux clipons, integrated luggage mounts and around 100bhp… where is it?

    • Glenngineer

      Ever ride one? The RT is a hell of a lot sportier than any of the 1300+ cc barges currently dominating the class.

      The overwhelming feeling I get is the RT goes where I point it, the others, like the FJR, which I have the most experience with, goes where it is pointing.

      • http://vtbmwmov.org Eben

        Yah, that’s kind of what I’m saying. Compared to what people are calling sport-tourers, the RT actually seems sportier. Next to an R1150RS or an R1200ST though, it’s more upright, cushy and overly faired.

      • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

        Oh I love the R1200RT, I just think we’ve confused the classes in this country. It, the FJR and the Honda ST1300 are tourers. Sport tourers are VFR, K1300S, stuff like that.

        • http://www.thisblueheaven.com Mark D

          Non-HD + bags = American sports tourer. Pretty simple equation we have here.

        • Ben

          Agreed. People call my F800s a crotch rocket and look at me like I’m crazy when I explain it’s a ‘sport touring bike’. At least Yamaha has kept the FZ6r around. Do they still make the FZ1? That was a great bike.

          • Ian

            Yep. 3 kinds of bikes in ‘merica:

            Harleys
            Harley Rip-offs
            Crotch Rockets

  • DoctorNine

    They are moving in the right direction by doing something creative with that wonderful engine and drive train. Lots of potential there. That said, I am way past kitty-kat glasses on the headlight styling, and that lower portion of the partial fairing is a remarkably weak/ugly design.