My crush started on the swooping, speed-craving curves of Highway 125, just outside Rocky Mountain National Park. But I fell in love with the adventure-touring 1200cc Super Ténéré deep in the Colorado backcountry. With a lightweight engine that delivers gobs of power at low speed and an extremely durable shaft drive system, the Yamaha Ténéré was built to traverse the developing world’s notion of roads. Thanks to its unique traction-control system, I easily picked a line across a boulder-strewn track that would’ve pitched me off any other bike—including a mountain bike. Yamaha has sold smaller, less powerful versions of this Sahara-inspired trail genius around the world for thirty-odd years. The question is why it took the company so long to realize that it’s lustworthy in the U.S., too. But considering that a generation of real-world experience and reliability testing went into this bike, I can tell you it was worth the wait.
Brand: Yamaha $14,500