BMW G 800 GS vs Yamaha Ténéré Comparison

Date 28.3.2011

Presented by
  • Motorcycle Trader

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BMW G 800 GS vs Yamaha Ténéré

This comparison is worthwhile because anyone shopping for an adventure bike would initially have these two bikes on the list. You’d scroll down the list of features from the showroom brochure and try to make some assessment of each bike’s suitability and value for money. It won’t take long to appreciate the differences, but let us give you a shortcut.

One is made by the king of adventure bike manufacturers today. The other is from the king of adventure bikes of yesterday. The F 800 GS is an extension of a thriving family, while the Ténéré is the reincarnation and stands alone.
So what, aside from the family tree separates these two bikes?

 
BITS AND PIECES

•  The BMW’s switchblocks are better than the Ténéré’s.

•  The Ténéré has removable pillion pegs but the F 800’s are there to stay, and they get in the way in snotty off-road stuff.

•  The Ténéré’s windscreen is better than the BMW’s.

•  BMW gives you grip warmers, for which we should all be thankful. Yamaha doesn’t but you can by them yourself for about $60.

•  The Yamaha’s footpegs suck.

•  The F 800’s seat is too hard. The Ténéré has a nice seat.

•  The BMW has handguards but the Yamaha doesn’t.

•  The Yamaha weighs 2kg more but the Beemer feels heavier.

•  Both have steel foot pedals. We like this – if they bend one way, you just bend ’em back.

ENGINE

•   The BMW has 138cc more than the Yamaha.

•   The F 800 GS is more powerful than the Ténéré by a factor of infinity.

•   The BMW is jerky off zero throttle.

•   The Ténéré is smooth but Euro 3 regulations have killed the fun.

•   Both are geared well.

•   The Ténéré’s exhaust note sounds like someone blowing raspberries into an empty Coke can. The Beemer’s marginally better.

•   Both bikes will appreciate better pipes. The BMW can wait but the Ténéré can’t.

•   Both are incredibly fuel efficient.

•   The Yamaha is a five-speed; the Beemer is a six-speed.

•   The BMW’s ‘box gives plenty of feedback while the Ténéré’s feels tighter – like an enduro bike.

SUSPENSION AND BRAKES

•   The Yamaha has stronger brakes.

•   The BMW’s brakes lack feel.

•   BMW offers ABS – Yamaha doesn’t.

•   The F 800 GS feels softer than the Ténéré.

•   The Ténéré is well set up for faster riding off-road.

•   Both clutches feel reasonably light.

THE VERDICT

The F 800 GS is a better-fitted-out bike than the Ténéré. It’s right to go anywhere straight off the showroom floor.

The engines can’t really be compared. It’s like two heavyweights fighting it out, but with one strapped into a straitjacket. More needs to be changed on the Ténéré than on the F 800 GS to be an honest, go-anywhere adventure bike. This then brings the two bike’s prices much closer together.

The BMW’s seat is a shocker, for rider and pillion alike. This might be something you’ll want to deal with and therefore spend more money on.

If you’re serious about getting a bike that can go anywhere then the Beemer is the best choice. If you want the bike that’ll go there but with less excitement, then the Yamaha will do the job.