The Ténéré is a really cool idea about 10 years too late (for me). Yamaha tried something like this in 1992 with the TDM 850 and that bike is still one of my all-time favorite motorcycles. It would have been much cooler if it had all of the adventure touring stuff the Ténéré sports, but the TDM was also lighter and skinnier. It was also the right bike at the wrong time. Yamaha is smarter now. They know the US economy is trashed and isn't likely to recover in my lifetime and they aren't bringing in a lot of their new bikes; hence, the sparse test ride opportunities. The TDM was oversupplied at every Yamaha dealer from 1992 till Yamaha started dumping the bike in 1994 for pocket change.
I was looking forward to seeing if there is a reason for 1200cc's in an adventure touring bike. For all of my dirt bike racing life, I rode a 125 two-stroke. I never considered the possibility that I needed more motorcycle than a 125. I played with (and sold) 250's, but they were boring. The slightly bigger bike didn't suit my riding style and almost seemed like cheating on most motocross tracks. However, just before I quit racing a mid-Nebraska dealership offered me a ride on a YZ400 and to seal the deal, they cut me loose on the bike in a big field behind the shop for the afternoon. From that day on, my make-a-wish dream has been to be given an open class motocrosser and a couple of hours on a golf course. Man, I shredded that field. You can dig a trench on a YZ400 way faster than with anything Caterpillar makes. In the end, I passed on the "opportunity" to break myself into dozens of tiny pieces in an open class motocross event and went on my with life.
Still, what could you do with a 1200cc "adventure tourer?" For one thing, you can spend a ton of money on fuel. Yamaha brags the Super Ténéré's 40mpg, but that means the bike has a 240 mile range and that is cutting it close for most adventures I know of; including most of western Canada, North Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, and a few other places where having some serious power might be fun if you could make it between fuel stops. One big reason I went for the 650 V-Strom and didn't consider the liter version was mileage. At $4-9/gallon, 40mpg is unacceptable. I'm still pissed that my WR250 only gets 55mpg (the same as my V-Strom). My Ford Escort is more efficient than the Ténéré considering carrying capacity and ignoring comfort and practicality. This is the wrong world to be hustling a 40mpg motorcycle.
However, I'm not going to find out if the Ténéré delivers the same visceral kick in the ass that I once got from the YZ400. You can forgive a lot of faults when you're tearing up the road and flinging it 40' in the air. I'm probably too old for the Ténéré, anyway.