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.