Yamaha is finally giving seriously dirt-oriented adventure riders what they've been asking for: a road-legal, long-range dirt squirtin' middleweight that looks a bit Dakar-ish and doesn't weigh as much as the giant Super Ténéré 1200.
Using the compact 689cc parallel twin platform that made the MT-07 such a successful middleweight machine, the new Ténéré 700 will make 72 horsepwer and 68 Nm (50 lb-ft) in a package that will weigh 205 kg (450 lb) in its European configuration, wet and full of 16 liters (4.2 gal) of fuel.
That weight should compare favorably with the KTMs, which weigh 189 kg (416 lb) dry – so you can probably assume they'll be significantly heavier than the Ténérés once you fill up the fuel, and add oil and coolant. The Ténéré looks a little narrower and more compact than the 790 Adventures, too.
Continuing to put the Ténéré side by side with the KTM, suspension tells an interesting tale. Where the KTM 790 Adventure R offers 240 mm of suspension travel at either end, the Yamaha goes for a "rally specification" setup with 210 mm of travel in the forks, and just 200 mm in the shock. KTM gets the jump here, likely due to its ownership of WP suspension.
The wheels, on the other hand, are much of a muchness: 21-in at the front, 18-in at the rear, spoked and shod with decent semi-knobbies. The front brakes use dual 282 mm discs, and the ABS is switchable. That 16-liter tank is said to give you a decent 350 km (~220 mi) range, which is great, but the KTMs hold more and go significantly further.
When it comes to looks, the Ténéré takes all the cred. Its four LED headlights behind a flattish thin screen look every bit the part of a Dakar machine, and indeed even the LCD dash is cheekily shaped to look a bit like the kind of GPS maps the Dakar guys use. It's a great looking bike – and a shout out to team Yamaha for killing it with the photos on this one, they look amazing – as does the promo video at the bottom of the page here.
The Ténéré 700 will launch in Europe and some other markets next year, but word on the street is it won't make it to the USA until 2020 – possibly even late 2020, as the US website is listing it as a 2021 model only. Pricing and dates are yet to be announced.
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