Craig and Monica Welsh of West Coast Yamaha took pity on me in my severe state of bikelessness and offered me the use of their demo model Yamaha Super Tenere for the weekend. I hastened to tell Craig that I wasn't yet sure what I was going to be doing with my BMW although I am a fan of the Yamaha after my test ride and write up some time ago.
I took the bike out for a relatively short ride when it first came out and definitely formed a favourable opinion but Janet had not been with me, it is essential that she should also like the motorcycle so a weekend would be ideal.
One of the most important considerations is of course; Do I look cool on the motorbike? I think we can tick that particular box with a resounding "Helloooo......Way Cool!"
We actually took the bike out on a particularly lousy day, the wind was pumping gale force out of the south, not conducive to a relaxed ride but it was perhaps good to form our first impressions in unfavourable conditions.
I immediately found that although I did not have the same degree of wind protection that I am used to, I was not being thrown around as badly as I expected. Janet claimed that she was perfectly happy behind me and that although she was occasionally buffeted with gusts from the side she was very comfortable.
We sat and discussed our first impressions over lunch, Janet liked the pillion saddle and her seating position but thought that the suspension might be a bit hard, she suggested we ride the notoriously rough stretch of road running from Hopefield to Velddrif. A good idea, it is a roughly 30km stretch of tarred road running for the most part parallel to the Berg river and it is in terrible condition, a good test of a motorbike suspension.
It is 30kms from the R27 to Hopefield, we sat comfortably at 150kmh in "Touring" mode with the wind hammering us from the right, although the occasional stronger gust made me lean to the right I had no problem with the handling.
We turned left at Hopefield and I settled down to 80kmh which is the speed I normally ride on that road. The bumps were sometimes fairly harsh but I felt that the Yamaha's suspension was ironing them out very well, Janet leaned over my shoulder and indicated for me to go faster, 90kmh - 100kmh - 120kmh with no problems for Janet, although she was sitting directly over the rear wheel the suspension smoothed the bumps out admirably. We were both very impressed.
At the intersection just outside of Velddrif we crossed over and headed again directly into the wind for the ride home, I must confess that I was getting considerably more wind pressure on my upper body and my helmet but I did not find this overly uncomfortable. We sat at a steady 130kmh with the superbly smooth yet torquey motor thudding quietly along.
It's definitely a good looking machine and there are a lot of accessories with which to personalise it, I'm looking forward to riding again tomorrow - hopefully the wind will have died down and we can assess it in more pleasant conditions.