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Yamaha Ténéré 700 Rally Edition

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For a three day adventure on Yamaha’s Ténéré 700 Rally Edition, we went to the first place nobody ever thinks of; Lithuania. Our friends at ( run five of these top spec T700s for their guided tours around the, surprisingly beautiful, Lithuanian countryside. While our host, Rik, taught us the fine art of off-roading, we got to familiarize ourselves with the Yamaha. More on the whole trip will follow. First, let’s talk about that Ténéré.

What is it?

The Ténéré is labelled as an adventure bike, but that class of bikes has become quite a broad spectrum over the years. It covers everything from the full fat BMW GS1200 Adventure (260kg) to the comparably tiny Honda CRF300L Rally (153kg). The T700 takes its place slap bang in the middle of the current adventure bike line-up. While, at 204kg, it is still a pretty heavy bike, it is considerably lighter than most other middleweight competitors. Though, for all its off-roady looks and light weight, a motocross bike it is not.

Inherently, adventure bikes try to be two things at once. They offer the comfort of a big tourer, while claiming off road capabilities. It is generally easy to spot where the manufacturer’s focus lies, as you will likely not encounter many Multistradas in the woods. Yamaha’s marketing lizard people wax lyrical about the Dakar history of the brand. The Rally Edition in particular is kitted out with a cool looking skid plate and whatever off-road grips are supposed to be. One would expect this Ténéré to be brilliant in the dirt then…

Does it deliver?

The power plant is the 700cc parallel twin we know from the MT07. In the Ténéré, it is an absolute peach. There is no need to do anything as vulgar as to compare torque figures. All you need to know is that this thing is almost like a tractor. You point the bike at any hill and it will happily chitty chitty bang you towards the top of it. It is friendly, it is predictable and very capable where it matters the most.

The whole combination of engine, chassis and electronics make for a machine that feels utterly trustworthy. All the controls are where you would expect them to be and none of them annoyed me, which is pretty high praise. The bike is slim, it feels light and nimble on the move. It was incredibly easy to chuck it about or to perform massive slides. In just three days it made me feel like a Dakar champion. Note, it made me feel like one. I probably should not be trusted to make it out of a toddlers’ sandbox.

In the video we did with OffroadLitouwen you can see that we took the bikes through all types of terrain. From the muddy, backwoods single tracks to the wide, swooping gravel roads, the T700 made it perfectly doable for a beginning dirt muncher such as myself. Off course there were a couple of spills, but they were certainly not the bike’s fault. If anything, it saved us many more times than we could save it.

Having mainly ridden the mighty middleweight in the dirt, I don’t honestly feel that I can judge the bike for its on road capabilities. Besides, it was on pretty aggressive off road tires for the short distances we did do on tarmac. I would be very surprised if it turned out to be a total dog though. Taking into account the short distances travelled and the tires, it felt as capable as it had off road. At the very least, it is going to be good enough.

Should we all want one then?

Want? Yes. Need? No. If you are that explorer that wants to travel great distances, away from paved roads or society, then yeah, you probably do want one. If your rides take place exclusive on tarmac, I would believe that you are missing the point of this bike. Then again, if you just like the way it looks, I could not fault you for wanting one anyway. You really could do much worse.

Any downsides? Honestly, nothing major springs to mind. Maybe the seat could be slightly more comfortable? Though I almost feel ungrateful for even mentioning it. My butt only outstayed its welcome on the T700’s seat at the end of day three. For something this focused on off-roading to be as comfortable as it is should really be a praised.

The Yamaha Ténéré 700 is a deeply impressive machine. It comes pretty close to dethroning the humble Labrador as man’s best friend.

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  1. Offroadlitouwen

    Totally agree with your thoughts about the tenere. Only one thing is missing on the Yamaha tenere. Its a big sign reminding you your riding an adventure bike and not an enduro. Because it’s so easy to ride you forget it’s a 200kg.

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