Continuing with our Rider’s Rides feature after a break. Here we feature a TVAM member and their bike, talk about why they chose that model, what they use it for, as well as what they like and dislike about it. Want to see your bike featured? Get in touch at

This month we have Steve Dobson and his go-anywhere Yamaha:

Steve – tell us about your new Yamaha.

It’s a Super Tenere Raid Edition. The same as the XT1200ZE model with some extras.

And how long have you been riding this one?

Just 3 months at this point!

Did this replace another bike, or is it an addition to an existing fleet?

It’s a replacement. I had a Yamaha Tracer 900 (16 model) beforehand – a great bike, but I was on my third oil cooler in just two years! All fixed under warranty of course, but I wanted something reliable. I suspect it may be a design issue, as I notice that the recently-updated version of the Tracer 900 has a revised oil cooler. Hopefully that means anyone buying a new one today won’t have the same issues I did!

The Ténéré is a much more off-road focused bike than your Tracer, what with spoked wheels, a 19” front and, I believe, more off-road oriented tyres as standard. Do you intend to experiment with any light green-laning or are you intending to stick to pavement?

I visit lots of sites around UK for work and invariably the last mile of the journey is off road. I have started to use my bike for some of these work visits, so that capability comes in handy. The tyres are not what I describe as off-road but they do have more tread than my previous Tracer’s Pilot Road 4’s.  I would not use this bike for any serious off road stuff though, it’s just too heavy.

Indeed, 261kgs wet – shaft-drive will do that! Do you notice the weight when riding, cornering etc, or just when pushing it around?

You don’t notice the weight in corners or even when doing slow riding, I feel it’s precise and well planted.

There are a lot of great choices in the Adventure-bike segment these days; did you consider, say a Suzuki V-Strom 1000, KTM 1190 or BMW R1200GS?

Yes, all of the above – and even a few others, such as the Triumph Explorer 1200. They’re all great bikes – but then again, is there such a thing as a bad bike these days?

Oh, I could name a few…but with so much choice, and so many issues, why go with the Yamaha?

Honestly, it was easier to stick with Yamaha. When I looked around, the deals offered were similar but the trade in value on the Tracer varied massively, £4k low to £5.8k high.

Even so, sticking with the brand after all those problems shows impressive brand loyalty…

I am overly loyal sometimes, some would say I was mad to stick with Yamaha.  Then again, bikes are bikes – sometimes they break down, and not everything goes to plan.  When things do go wrong is when you can really get to the bottom of “dealer service” – find out how much they really care about their customers. Each time my bike went back their focus was on sorting the issue out, rather than debating whether or not the issue would be covered under warranty.  It was a pain, I’m not denying that, but I never had cause to believe it was not going to get sorted in the end.

Which Yamaha dealer are we talking about here?

Woking Yamaha. I also purchased the Tracer there, and I have to say that they were great when sorting out my previous oil cooler issues. Highly recommended.

Are there any specific features or particular capabilities you were looking for when you chose this bike?

Shaft drive, all day comfort, touring capability, reliability.

Have you made any modifications or installed any accessories? Do you have any planned for the future?

The RAID edition of the Ténéré came with all of the extras I wanted as standard: tank bag, skid plate, panniers, a touring screen complete with wind deflectors, even a set of LED fog lamps. So for now I have nothing else planned!

What sort of riding do you do/plan on doing with this bike? 

Commuting, touring, TVAM Rides – the same sort of thing as before really. It’s a versatile bike, like the Tracer, but I’m finding I’m using it more.

Are there any particular features/aspects that you miss from your previous bike?

Yes…the 900cc triple in the Tracer really was superb. That being said, the 1200 twin in the Ténéré pulls like a train. The whole bike is so well planted at all speeds, and actually easier to ride at low speed than my last bike, and you only notice the weight when pushing it in and out of the garage.

What’s the one thing about your bike you would change if you could?

Drop a few kilos. If only bikes were like people and lost weight the harder you exercised them!


Nick Tasker was talking to Steve Dobson

First published in Slipstream August 2018