Launched in Europe last February, it’s just been announced that the 2012 Yamaha Super Tenere will be going on-sale in the US in May, 2011. That’s exciting news, finally giving Americans a fast, capable, high-tech, affordable adventure tourer from Japan.

That affordability is going to be key to the Super Tenere’s success. Priced at $13,900, it undercuts the class-defining BMW R1200GS by just over $1,000. Performance should be relatively similar to that bike too. The Yamaha’s liquid-cooled parallel-twin makes 110bhp, 84lb/ft and the whole bike weighs 575lbs (wet); the BMW’s air-cooled opposed-twin makes 110bhp and 88lb/ft, powering a bike that weighs 504lbs (wet). Both machines use spoked, but tubeless, wheels.

The Yamaha Super Tenere leaves the GS behind in one important area: rider aids. The Yamaha is equipped with a ride-by-wire throttle with two switchable throttle response maps; three-mode traction control; and, like the BMW, ABS brakes, but unlike the BMW, the Yamaha’s brakes are also linked. Perhaps crucially, the ABS on the Super Tenere can’t be switched fully off, potentially compromising its off-road ability.

The big Yamaha is also equipped with a 6.0-gallon fuel tank, shaft drive, an adjustable seat height (33.3 to 34.3 inches) and adjustable front and rear suspension. The front wheel is 19 inches in diameter, the rear 17.

Like the Yamaha R1, the Super Tenere is equipped with a crossplane crankshaft, claimed to improve a rider’s ability to feel traction at the back wheel.

Reviews from Europe indicate the Super Tenere makes an excellent long-distance touring bike that’s also capable of tackling twisty back roads. We haven’t yet seen a review of its off-road ability, have you?

Here's a numbers comparison on giant adventure tourers, including the Super Ten.

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