At last, it has arrived in the United States: the highly anticipated 2021 Yamaha Ténéré 700. The T7 concept debuted in 2016, which quickly led to the official announcement of the Ténéré 700 production. Since then, middleweight ADV enthusiasts They’ve been doing everything they can except pressing their faces against the dealership windows, cash in hand, and fogging up the glass ahead of time.
The 2021 Yamaha Ténéré 700 plunges into the center of one of the most contested and functionally most diverse segments of motorcycling. This category spans the entire spectrum, from machines with no tech frills and a heavy road bias, to those with all aspects of electronic magic under the sun and serious off-road performance. Yamaha has delivered smart equipment, a machine in the middle, excellent road manners combined with true off-road potential that is priced at just under $ 10k.
There are no novel driving modes or driver aids to speak of, other than basic ABS on the road; it is just a pure motorcycle, from start to finish. If the Dakar-inspired look hasn’t sold you on the T7 yet, its capacity and price might be flattering enough.
The Ténéré nickname dates back to 1982 when the Yamaha XT600 Ténéré was unveiled at the Paris Motorcycle Show, and the word Ténéré was chosen for several reasons. When translated directly from its Berber and Tuareg origins, it means “desert,” “desert,” and “loneliness.” Yamaha marketing wants you to know that bikes with the famous Ténéré name are all about exploration. The name is also a nod to Yamaha’s years of experience in the Paris-Dakar Rally and, more specifically, to the unforgiving Ténéré desert located in Niger and Chad.
Well, we’re a long way from the African continent, but the San Bernardino Mountains of Southern California offer a lot of fun in one place, and that’s where I spent time on the 2021 Yamaha Ténéré 700. Hit the streets, tamed fire trails , bumpy trails, two rocky tracks, and a small sample of some unique sandy track. The T7 impressed with its ability and friendliness, especially since I don’t spend a great deal of time riding ADV bikes off the pavement.
Now, let’s get to the heart of the matter. Powering the ’21 T7 is one of Yamaha’s crown jewels – the 689cc CP2 engine stolen directly from the popular MT-07 and XSR700 street bikes. With sumptuous low-end torque, fantastic mid-range, and more than enough over-rev when driving at highway speeds, it’s a treat.
The Ténéré is light, fun and cozy, with a wide torque curve that is one of the gold standards of tractability. Whether you’re on or off the road, finding and using power is never a problem. You won’t feel any numbing hum, either, unless you start pushing it into the upper regions of the rev range. From a value standpoint, this engine has also proven to be incredibly reliable and robust since it was introduced in 2015.
Taking the CP2 engine and making it suitable for ADV riding took a bit of work, though not as much as you might think. In essence, it is essentially the same engine found in street-facing models. To give it better distribution of torque and mid-range puff, a new exhaust system and spark-arresting muffler are in play, along with a Ténéré-specific air box. Working in conjunction with those changes is a new fuel map and, in the case of North American T7s, it is a map that is specific to our emissions requirements.
What riders will immediately feel is the final drive gear about nine percent shorter, going 15/46 from 16/43 sprockets. With that tighter gearbox, the already full-bodied p-twin engine is even more ready, and it starts up quickly, but in a controllable manner. It’s a significant and welcome change for this app, as it prevents the T7 from becoming unwieldy or unwieldy while driving off-road.
With a fast, smoothly tuned throttle wick, I can break traction with the rear or jump over obstacles as needed. On the road, it won’t feel like you’re twisting the T7’s neck, as it comfortably spins around 6500 rpm at 75 mph; that’s a bit higher than the MT or XSR due to the shorter gearing.
Fundamentally, I must point out that the sleek six-speed gearbox plays a role in its attractive off-road manners ….