Yamaha has a rich history in rally racing which goes back to the mid ’70s. The Ténéré 700 has reaped the rewards from all that racing history and Yamaha packaged it into a lightweight go-anywhere adventure motorcycle that doesn’t break the bank.
Yamaha has always been known for their reliable, low-maintenance four-stroke engines and the Ténéré follows this same engineering discipline. First valve check isn’t until 24,000 miles. The Ténéré uses the new Cross-Plane 2 Cylinder (CP2) engine which was pioneered back in 1996 with the production TRX850 and they continue to use this technology in multiple models of their line-up.
The super-compact, low-vibration CP2 engine features a bore and stroke of 80 x 68.6mm with an 11.5:1 compression ratio that produces ultra-smooth and torquey power output. Even though the engine is basically the MT-07, the Ténéré 700 has its specific ECU settings, exhaust system, air box, cooling system, and final gear ratio of 46/15 that allows the engine to work perfectly in both on- and off-road situations.
This engine is a blast to ride, with more than enough power and torque on tap to suit almost any rider. Riding offroad, you can ride a high gear if you feel like getting lazy. Just roll on the throttle and it builds power as you keep rolling on more. I know some of you horsepower heads will think that the numbers on paper won’t satisfy you. But, trust me, the Ténéré 700 has more than enough to power to wheelie offroad and blast light-to light racing with your buddies.
The Ténéré uses an all-new steel perimeter frame with double braced steering to handle the rigors of off-road abuse. Lower frame rails are removable for easy engine maintenance. I was hoping for a removable sub-frame like its YZ siblings. But Yamaha decided to go with a welded, triangulated sub-frame. Out back we have a lightweight YZ-style aluminum swingarm designed to stand up to off-road bashings. All this translates to a 27° rake and 105mm trail, which is almost identical to the 2020 YZ450F. So, yes, the Ténéré absolutely does well in the off-road department.
SUSPENSION AND HANDLING
Yamaha has a long history with the KYB family so it’s no surprise that the new Ténéré comes fitted with KYB front and back.
Front forks are 43mm, with 8.26 inches of travel and fully adjustable compression and rebound damping. The range of clicks is impressive, with 0–22 clicks for compression and 0–24 clicks for rebound. For the rear, a piggyback KYB with full linkage is used with 7.87 inches of travel, offering full compression, rebound, and pre-load adjustability. Range for compression is 0–18 clicks with rebound 0–23 clicks while the pre-load offers 24–0 clicks to balance out your payload.
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