Trail therapy at its best.
Back in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, the Yamaha XTZ 750 Super Ténéré was a solid, capable, much-loved dual sport in many places that weren’t North America. Europe had a particular love for this slightly top-heavy but mostly very manageable machine. The liquid-cooled, ten-valve, parallel twin made a claimed 69 horsepower when new, and was extremely capable off-road and on.
Cult classic? Check. Unavailability in the North American market? Check. Gray market import? Absolutely. You’re still more likely to see the similarly not-sold-here Africa Twins of the same vintage out in the wild, but enthusiasts did what enthusiasts do, and have brought some of these first-gen S10s to American shores.
This video showcases a 1990 XTZ 750 tackling part of the Trans-Euro Trail in France, and both rider and bike look like they’re having a great time. There’s no info given on any modifications or other changes the owner may have done to this bike since it’s 35 years old. YouTuber Grip World does mention that there’s a Michelin Anakee Wild tire on the front and a Shinko E805 on the rear, but that’s it. No talk about suspension tweaks or maintenance on this 30-year-old adventurer, nor any other changes.
As the northern hemisphere shifts into autumn, a standup ride through some nice forest trails on a sunny day seems so inviting. There’s also an undeniable charm in looking at this bike, and I’m certain in riding it as well. Sure, in 2020, Yamaha has seen fit to finally grace the world with the new Ténéré 700, but there are absolutely good reasons that riders love and keep riding their S10s that are 30 years old. Some, like Colombian Dakar racer Marco Saldarriaga, even take what they loved about their classic XTZ 750s and give them a few modern touches to bring them into the 21st century.
It’s difficult to form an opinion on a bike you’ve never ridden from a video that’s under two minutes long—but you know what? It makes me want to ride this bike, and isn’t that the point?