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Motorcycle riders who desire a versatile and friendly midsize adventure bike will do well with the 2021 Yamaha Ténéré 700 ($9,999). With a rally-racing-type design based around Yamaha’s T7 prototype concept, the Ténéré 700 makes it easy to get out there and explore Mother Earth.
Related Content: 2021 Yamaha Ténéré 700 Second Ride Review
Swing a leg over it and the tallish seat and handlebar make for a steed that feels similar to a dirt bike, well, sort of. The saddle still has a touring-friendly width and a nice dish that positions the rider down and inside of the bike. Yet, when standing at the controls, everything still feels right. Like a dirt bike, the sides are nice and flat so you can squeeze it with your legs when maneuvering treacherous terrain.
On a related note, it rolls on a 21-inch front and 18-inch spoked wheel combo, with Pirelli’s fantastic Scorpion Rally STR 50/50 tire. Although slightly more biased for road use, the Italian rubber still performs well over rocks and SoCal hardpack. The setup is designed to run with tubes, for greater durability against punctures and hazards found off pavement.
With its fixed windshield, the Ténéré 700 is perfectly happy cruising at freeways speeds. There is a hint of engine vibration from the CP2-generation 689cc parallel twin, but it isn’t off-putting and complements its peppy nature.
Despite being a couple of years old now in its current design, the CP2 engine delivers pleasing thrust right off the bottom. Rev it high or short-shift it low, the powerband is flexible and caters to virtually any type of riding style. The six-speed gearbox moves cleanly between each cog and benefits from gear ratios that are low enough for rock crawling and tall enough for freeway duty. There’s no traction control, nor adjustable throttle maps, however we didn’t miss these features. The engine’s friendly power pulses are a natural style of traction control.
A clean and functional LCD keeps tabs on everything. It certainly isn’t fancy, but it gets the job done. A horizontal crossbar is also standard, as is a 12-volt power port so you can add devices, like a GPS. Quad LED headlamps shine a bright swatch of light in a straight line, but could perform better through turns. It’s worth noting that the headlamp beam can be adjusted manually with easy-to-reach adjustment knobs.
Weighing in at 452 pounds with a full 4.2 gallons of 91-octane, the Ténéré is balanced and feels lighter than its curb weight implies. The wide handlebar and compact engine aid with maneuverability. The suspension floats over the road and delivers fantastic ride quality. However, more aggressive riders will note a fair degree of chassis pitch when either brake is squeezed. Still, the suspension offers the right level of control as it goes deeper in its stroke.
The chassis is sensitive to brake input but its squishy initial compression can be offset by brake pressure input. ABS helps ensure you won’t lose control if you get too greedy at either lever. It can also be manually disabled for off-road use. Even though it employs an older style axial master cylinder, brake feel from the double-pot Brembos is excellent—a tremendous plus when riding over slick hard-packed terrain.
Conversely, the back brake offers less feel at the lever. Yet it still delivers a high level of power, especially considering it’s only a single-piston setup. Added modulation would be a welcome feature, especially when riding over technical terrain.
For most riders, the Yamaha Ténéré 700 will check most of the boxes. It’s capable on and off road and is an easy bike to live with everyday. It looks the part too, and is a heck of a value not only in the class, but in the world of motorcycling.
Helmet: Shoei RF-SR
Gloves: Alpinestars Copper
Pant: Alpinestars Copper 2
Boots: Alpinestars Faster-3
2021 Yamaha Ténéré 700 Technical Specifications And Price
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|ENGINE||689cc, DOHC, liquid-cooled parallel twin; 8 valves|
|BORE x STROKE||80.0 x 68.6mm|
|FUEL DELIVERY||Electronic fuel injection|
|CLUTCH||Wet, multiple disc; cable actuation|
|FRAME||Double cradle steel-tube chassis|
|FRONT SUSPENSION||43mm Kayaba USD fork, fully adjustable; 8.3-in. travel|
|REAR SUSPENSION||Kayaba shock, fully adjustable; 7.9-in. travel|
|FRONT BRAKES||4-piston caliper, dual 282mm discs w/ ABS and Off-road mode (disengaged)|
|REAR BRAKE||1-piston floating caliper, 245mm disc w/ ABS and Off-road mode (disengaged)|
|WHEELS, FRONT/REAR||Spoked wheels w/ aluminum rims; 2.50 x 21 in. / 4.50 x 18 in.|
|TIRES, FRONT/REAR||Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR; 90/90-21 / 150/70-18|
|SEAT HEIGHT||34.4 in.|
|FUEL CAPACITY||4.2 gal.|
|CLAIMED CURB WEIGHT||452 lb.|