When the Yamaha Ténéré 700 was introduced in the summer of 2020, it was a rare bright spot during the dark time of lockdowns, masks, and toilet paper shortages. It was a new entry in the middleweight adventure bike class, slotting between Yamaha’s WR250R and 1,200cc Super Ténéré. Unlike midsized ADV models from BMW, KTM, and Triumph, Yamaha took a “less is more” approach with the Ténéré 700 – aka the T7 – eschewing electronic rider aids and other costly features and pricing it well below the competition at $9,999.
Contributing photographer Kevin Wing attended the T7’s debut in Tennessee, and he took a shine to it. “As someone who spends most of his time on lightweight dirtbikes without any electronic interventions, I felt immediately comfortable on the Ténéré 700 with its light clutch, smooth shifting, and excellent fueling,” he wrote in his test for the August 2020 issue (see Wing’s 2021 Yamaha Ténéré 700 review here).
When long-time contributor and dual-sport aficionado Arden Kysley got his hands on our Ténéré 700 test bike in California that same year, he added some factory luggage and other accessories and hit the road for 3,000 miles. “In my local mountains or out in the desert, the T7 has been an excellent partner for exploration, corner carving, and flat-out movin’ down the road,” he wrote in his 2021 tour test review. Kysely liked the T7 so much, he sold his 2009 BMW F 800 GS – which had 65,000 adventure-heavy miles on its odometer – and bought our test bike from Yamaha.
Consistent with the no-frills theme of the original, when Yamaha updated the Ténéré 700 for 2024, it didn’t go overboard. The monochrome LCD screen, which Wing and Kysely said required too much scrolling to access key info and was rendered useless when powdered with trail dust, has been replaced with a 5-inch color TFT display with smartphone connectivity. Like the old screen, the new one has a rally-style vertical orientation, and it now has two display modes: Explorer and Street.
Other updates include an additional ABS mode. Whereas the previous model’s ABS was only switchable between On and Off, the 2024 model also has an Off-Road mode that deactivates ABS at the rear only. To better access settings and menus on the TFT display and change ABS mode, there’s a new scroll wheel on the right switchgear. There are also sleek new LED turnsignals with clear lenses that replace homely amber “pumpkin” indicators, and the T7’s wiring harness has been updated to accept Yamaha’s plug-and-play accessory QSS quickshifter ($199.99), which allows for clutchless upshifts.
We had been testing a 2023 T7 for several months – that’s the bike you see on the cover and in the action shots, ridden by our capable contributor Thad Wolff – when Yamaha hosted a one-day launch for the 2024 model in December. I rode our 2023 test bike down to Yamaha’s SoCal headquarters, swapped it for a 2024 fitted with a quickshifter, and racked up a few hundred more on- and off-road miles.
Sending power via chain to the T7’s rear wheel is Yamaha’s CP2 689cc parallel-Twin, the same compact engine also found in the MT-07 naked bike, YZF-R7 sportbike, and – in highly modified form – MT-07 DT racebike that’s used in American Flat Track. For T7 duty, the engine gets a dedicated airbox, cooling system, ECU settings, and exhaust system.
The Twin’s 270-degree crankshaft provides more evenly spaced power pulses than a 180-degree crank. It also produces a torquey feel and a lively exhaust note yet runs smoothly throughout the rev range. Fueling is spot-on, and power delivery is linear, reaching a peak of 63 hp at 9,000 rpm and 43 lb-ft of torque at 6,500 rpm at the rear wheel, as measured on Jett Tuning’s dyno. There are no ride modes, selectable engine maps, or traction control; just calibrate the twist of your wrist for direct results.
Holding the T7 together is a durable steel perimeter frame with a double-braced steering head and removable lower frame rails for engine maintenance, and the steel trellis subframe is welded to the main frame. The long cast-aluminum swingarm enhances rear-wheel traction, and the distance between the axles is a lengthy 62.8 inches.
Sitting or standing on the Ténéré 700, it feels very narrow between the knees. The two-piece seat is long and slender, with a flat section that slopes down from the pillion to its lowest point directly above the footpegs and then continues up onto the tank. If the 34.4-inch seat height is too intimidating, Yamaha offers some relief with a low seat ($129.99) that reduces height by 0.8 inch and a lowering kit ($114.99) that drops seat height by another 0.7 inch, bringing the seat down to 32.9 inches.
For our test on the 2024 model, we opted for the accessory one-piece rally seat ($219.99), which has cover material that’s less grippy than the stock seat and a flatter surface that makes it easier to slide fore and aft when riding over uneven terrain. By eliminating the lower dished section, the rally seat has thicker foam and sits at a lofty 36 inches.
Yamaha Ténéré 700: Perfect for Roads Less Traveled
The popularity of adventure bikes is largely due to their versatility. The Ténéré 700 can go just about anywhere and do just about anything, and it’s aimed at riders who place a high importance on off-road capability. Its 21-inch front and 18-inch rear wheels are better for rolling over technical terrain and accommodate a wider variety of knobby tires than the 19-inch/17-inch wheels found on many adventure bikes.
The T7’s Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR tires have a 70/30 on/off-road bias, and they work quite well in the dirt yet also provide decent grip on pavement without being noisy at highway speeds. The T7 also has tube-type spoked rims, which are light and will take a beating, but they make flat repairs a more involved process than with tubeless tires.
Furthering the Ténéré 700’s off-road prowess is fully adjustable long-travel KYB suspension, which has good damping and soaks up big hits and dips like a champ. During the off-road portion of our photoshoot, Thad Wolff said he felt comfortable right away, allowing him to slide, jump, and wheelie the T7 like a big dirtbike. During my off-road ride through the mountains of Cleveland National Forest, I had fun jumping the T7 off water bars and lofting the front wheel over small gullies on the trail, maneuvers that were made easier by the bike’s 48% front/52% rear weight bias and 9.4-inch ground clearance. I appreciate the new Off-Road ABS mode because it provides more confidence in the front on sketchy, loose terrain while allowing rear-wheel skids or slides. The T7’s 452-lb curb weight is comparable to other bikes in its class. Though it’s light for a streetbike, its weight needs to be respected when riding off-road.
But when the trail ride is done, and you’ve got miles of slab ahead of you – like the 100 miles of pavement on my route home after the press launch – the Ténéré 700 adapts like a chameleon to the new environment. Its rally-style windscreen is small but does a good job of managing airflow. The engine runs smoothly at highway speeds, and the 4.2-gallon tank was good for more than 200 miles at the 49-mpg average we recorded during our test, which included some aggressive throttle twisting. On the downside, there is no cruise control, and the stock seat leaves much to be desired for the long haul. If the taller (and thicker) rally seat isn’t a viable option, there are aftermarket saddles from companies like Seat Concepts.
On twisty pavement, the Ténéré 700 handles with confidence without any untoward turning resistance from the 21-inch front wheel. Its torquey Twin, moderate weight, wide handlebar, and narrow tires help the T7 rail through curves like an overgrown supermoto, and its brakes shed speed competently if not impressively.
Yamaha Ténéré 700: My Next Bike?
When it comes to test bikes, I’m promiscuous. As a Rider staffer, I’ve tested hundreds of motorcycles over the past 16 years. But when it comes to personal bikes, I’m a serial monogamist. Soon after getting hired, I started borrowing former EIC Mark Tuttle’s Kawasaki KLR650, which is the bike I cut my off-road teeth on. After lots of cajoling, Mark finally sold me the KLR, and the bike and I enjoyed several faithful, adventurous years together. Eventually, having grown tired of the KLR’s finicky carburetor and lack of power, I got the seven-year itch. I sold it and bought our lighter, more powerful 2017 KTM 690 Enduro R test bike. It’s fantastic off-road, but its vibration and lack of comfort on the road get old quick.
So here I am, at a crossroads, wondering what to do next and seriously considering the new Ténéré 700 for my own garage. Thad Wolff also really likes the Ténéré 700, especially its price, simplicity, and capability, and he could see himself owning one, though he’d like to make a few modifications to improve its comfort and touring ability. I agree on all counts, and Arden Kysely’s 2021 tour test and his long-term reviews of the T7 cover some useful upgrades. Arden now has nearly 17,000 trouble-free miles on his T7, and he’s a satisfied owner – an endorsement that further stokes my desire for the T7. To help me decide, I’ll keep our test bike for as long as possible, tailor it to my needs, and report on the experience. Stay tuned.
2024 Yamaha Ténéré 700 Specs
Base Price: $10,799
Price as Tested: $11,219 (quickshifter, rally seat)
Warranty: 1 yr., unltd. miles
Type: Liquid-cooled, transverse parallel-Twin, DOHC w/ 4 valves per cyl.
Bore x Stroke: 80.0mm x 68.6mm
Compression Ratio: 11.5:1
Valve Adj. Interval: 26,600 miles
Fuel Delivery: DFI w/ 38mm throttle bodies x 2
Lubrication System: Wet sump, 2.75 qt. cap.
Transmission: 6-speed, cable-actuated wet clutch
Final Drive: Chain
Frame: Steel perimeter frame w/ removable lower rails, steel trellis subframe & cast-aluminum swingarm
Wheelbase: 62.8 in.
Rake/Trail: 27.0 degrees/4.1 in.
Seat Height: 34.4 in.
Suspension, Front: 43mm inverted fork, fully adj., 8.3 in. travel
Rear: Single shock, fully adj. w/ remote preload adjuster, 7.9 in. travel
Brakes, Front: Dual 282mm discs w/ 2-piston floating calipers & ABS
Rear: Single 245mm disc w/ 1-piston floating caliper & ABS
Wheels, Front: Spoked, 1.85 x 21 in.
Rear: Spoked, 4.0 x 18 in.
Tires, Front: Tube-type, 90/90-21
Rear: Tube-type, 150/70-R18
Wet Weight: 452 lb
Load Capacity: 417 lb
GVWR: 869 lb
Horsepower: 63.1 hp @ 9,000 rpm (rear-wheel dyno)
Torque: 43.4 lb-ft @ 6,500 rpm (rear-wheel dyno)
Fuel Capacity: 4.2 gal.
Fuel Consumption: 49 mpg
Estimated Range: 206 miles