Two Takes On Touring: The 2013 Yamaha Royal Star Venture S and Super Ténéré

Sometimes you just have to answer the call of the open road, clear your calendar and take a day, or week, or month and ride.  And ride.  And then ride some more.  Yamaha has seven motorcycles it classifies as touring or adventure touring models.  Six of them are marketed under the Star Motorcycles badge.  We look at two very different bikes here, both made specifically for long days in the saddle, but each for a very different kind of touring.

Royal Star Venture S

The Royal Star Venture S is Yamaha’s top-of-the-line touring bike.  Matter of fact, as far as price, it’s Yamaha’s top-of-the-line in any category, the only motorcycle Yamaha offers for the 2013 model year with an MSRP above $20,000.  For that kind of money you’d expect to get a bike that’s loaded with luxurious standard features, plenty of storage room and the muscle to get you across the continent as smoothly as across town.  The Royal Star Venture S delivers on all fronts.

2013 Yamaha Royal Star Venture S

You want standard features that cost extra on most full-dress touring machines?  Start with a Star-branded, 8-gig iPod Touch connected to a four-speaker sound system with AM/FM radio.  Add an on-board intercom system and CB radio.  Then there’s the ergonomically designed bucket style seats with wraparound passenger backrest.  Electronic cruise control makes motoring away the miles a breeze.  A 15-gallon trunk and two 9.3-gallon sidebags combine for 33.6 total gallons of lockable storage.  To top it off, Yamaha backs the Royal Star Venture S with an industry-leading 60-month, that’s five years, unlimited mileage warranty and 24-hour roadside assistance program.

The Venture S provides plenty of wind and weather protection with its wide, fork-mounted fairing, windshield and wind deflectors.  Lower cowlings are frame-mounted and keep the elements off the rider’s legs.  Both the rider and passenger get full-sized, floating-type floorboards to make shifting leg positions easier.

2013 Yamaha Royal Star Venture S

The console is pure vintage in looks but provides all the information you need, including digital speedometer, odometer, dual tripmeters, fuel tripmeter, clock, fuel gauge, cruise control indicator, self diagnostics, speed sensor and indicators for neutral, high beams, turn signals and low oil level.  All the controls are within easy reach.

The audio system, which also includes cassette and six-disc CD changer, has a single-point control system and drives 14 watts per channel through the four speakers.  Automatic speed-regulated volume control helps makes sure you can hear your tunes over wind noise.  The CB radio is handlebar-mounted and there’s a dual antenna for the CB and AM/FM radio.

If you find yourself needing more electric accessories than those that come standard on the Venture S, there’s a convenient cigarette lighter-type DC accessory connector in the fairing and a two-pin DC connector under the seat.

Powering the Venture S is a 1,294 cc, liquid-cooled, DOHC, 70 degree, 16-valve, V-4 engine.  Fuel is delivered via four heated 32 mm Mikuni carbs.  The engine generates a more than adequate 97 horsepower at 6,000 rpm, 89 foot-pounds of torque at 4,750 rpm and has 10.0:1 compression ratio.  A wide-ratio five-speed transmission has a fifth-gear overdrive for low rev cruising speeds and passing power.  The Royal Star Venture S has a shaft final drive.  With a pipe on each side of the bike the four-into-two exhaust gives the Venture S a nice full-throated exhaust note and enhances its long, low profile.

Yamaha ensures a smooth ride on the Venture S with air-adjustable suspension front and back.  The telescopic front fork has 5.5 inches of travel and the solo rear shock has 4.1 inches of travel.  Powerful hydraulic disc brakes provide plenty of stopping power, with dual 298 mm discs in the front and a single 320 mm disc in the rear.

This is a big, long bike with an overall length of 104.5 inches and a wheelbase of 67.1 inches, plenty of room for rider and passenger to stretch out during a long ride.  Rider seat height is a comfortable 29.5 inches.  Did we mention the Venture S is a big bike?  Wet weight is 869 pounds.  Given that it’s that heavy, and has four cylinders, the claimed 39 mpg is pretty impressive.  With its 6.1 gallon fuel capacity you should eat up around 235 miles of highway between fill ups.

For 2013 the Royal Star Venture S is available in the two-tone Charcoal Silver and Raven.  Yamaha gives the Venture S an unlimited mileage, five-year, limited factory warranty.  The base MSRP is $20,590.  The 2013 Yamaha Royal Star Venture S should be on your dealership’s showroom floor right now.

Super Ténéré

The Super Ténéré is Yamaha’s sole entry in the adventure touring category, and it’s the only Yamaha tourer of any type that doesn’t wear the Star Motorcycle badge.  But when you have a bike outfitted with this many standard features, how many do you really need in the same category?

2013 Yamaha Super Tenere

Yamaha won the first Paris to Dakar Rally in 1978 and has won eight more times since then.  That experience inspired the introduction of the Super Ténéré as brand new model for the 2012 model year, and is still evident as the adventure tourer returns for 2013.

No matter the road surface, or for that matter, even if there is no road, the Super Ténéré is built to take you where you want to go.  Three-mode traction control regulates ignition timing and fuel injection based on wheel spin.  The rider can choose to turn the traction control off.

2013 Yamaha Super Tenere

Anti-lock and unified braking are also standard on the Super Ténéré.  All of those electronic gizmos will usually add unwanted weight to a bike, but Yamaha’s engineers use the same wheel sensors for both the traction control and anti-lock braking systems.  With the unified braking system, UBS, squeezing the front brake lever by itself provides some action from the rear brake.  Press the rear brake pedal first and UBS is overridden and you get traditional separate front and rear braking function.

Variable throttle control is another standard feature.  With two settings, the rider is able to adjust performance characteristics of the engine for riding conditions or personal preferences.  In “S Mode” the engine has a more sporty performance and “T Mode” is suited touring or in-town riding.

There are other ways to adjust the Super Ténéré to a rider’s specific style, size and preference.  The windshield is adjustable, as is the rider’s seat height.  And both front and rear suspension are fully adjustable to match load and rider and passenger weight and road conditions.

If there’s one negative thing to say about the Super Ténéré, it’s that no luggage comes as standard equipment.  Yamaha says this “flexible luggage system design” has three possible configurations; standard, which means no luggage, top case installed or side cases installed.  The Super Ténéré luggage was designed side-by-side with the bike so it all works and looks great.  It just would have been nice to equip an adventure touring bike with some way to take your stuff with you when you tour without forking over more money on accessories that some would consider necessary standard equipment by definition of the the type of bike.

A liquid-cooled, fuel-injected, DOHC parallel-twin engine with a compression ratio of 11.0:1 powers the Super Ténéré.  The six-speed transmission features a top gear overdrive for optimized for lower rpm highway cruising.  A shaft final drive gets power to the rear wheel.

Gonna be riding on the Interstate, or maybe your route takes you where there are no roads.  No matter.  Suspension on the Super Ténéré is fully adjustable to handle most any surface.  The 43 mm inverted front fork has eight spring preload settings, 10 settings for rebound and 13 for compression damping and provides 7.5 inches of travel.  Rear suspension, featuring a solo shock, has six spring preload settings, 18 settings for rebound damping and 7.5 inches of travel.

That ABS, UBS braking system features dual 310 mm hydraulic discs in front and a single 282 mm disc in the rear.  The seat height can be set at either 33.3 or 34.3 inches.  Wheelbase is 60.6 inches and the Super Ténéré has a wet weight of 578 pounds.  It gets a claimed 40 mpg with a fuel capacity of six gallons, good for an even 240-mile range, which will come in handy if your travels take you where the gas stations are few and far between.

2013 Yamaha Super Tenere

Yamaha gives the Super Ténéré its standard one-year limited factory warranty.  For 2013 you can choose between Matte Gray or Pearl White.  Base MSRP for the 2013 Yamaha Super Ténéré is 14,790.  The bike will hitting dealer’s showrooms in October 2012.

More Yamaha Touring Models provides you with lots of tools to research, compare and find these bikes and the full line of Yamaha motorcycles.  You can even compare the Yamaha and Star models to comparable bikes from other manufacturers.