YAMAHA TENERE 700 (2019 - on) Review

Highlights

  • Stripped-back simplicity
  • Torquey parallel-twin engine
  • Cheaper than the competition
MCN AWARDS
Best Adventure 2019
WINNER

At a glance

Owners' reliability rating: 4.2 out of 5 (4.2/5)
Power: 72 bhp
Seat height: Tall (34.6 in / 880 mm)
Weight: Medium (452 lbs / 205 kg)

Prices

New £8,699
Used N/A

Overall rating

Next up: Ride & brakes
4 out of 5 (4/5)

We waited a long time for the arrival of the Yamaha Ténéré 700, but in it’s first two day test in Spain it lived up to expectations, and continued to do so when we took it around the MCN250 test route in October 2019.

Instead of following in the foot steps of the majority of manufacturers in the adventure bike class where engine size weight and electronics have continued to increase, the Ténéré comes at things from a different angle with a dry weight of 187kg (205kg wet), 74bhp and no electronic aids apart from ABS which can be switched off for off-road use.

Powered by the MT-07 engine it has 74bhp and is a fun and engaging ride with an impressive spread of power that works well both on and off-road.

It may be a relatively simple bike, but it has clearly been well thought through, giving a package that is truly useable. It’s impressive engine, chassis and suspension negate the need for complicated electronics and rider aids. It is also very competitively priced, be it on a PCP or bought outright.

During 2019 MCN's Ben Clarke ran a Yamaha Ténéré 700 as a long-term test bike. Find out how he got on here.

Watch: Yamaha Ténéré video review

Ride quality & brakes

Next up: Engine
4 out of 5 (4/5)

The KYB 43mm upside down forks give 210mm of travel and have compression and rebound damping. At the rear there is a Sachs shock with 200mm travel.

The initial impression from the front is that they are soft, but once into the stroke they are well supported giving good feedback on road. Off road it as that initial softness that inspires confidence and gives good grip.

Brakes are Brembo and they offer good power while retaining excellent feel. The initial squeeze is soft braking power, a trait that shows the off-road focus of the bike where fine control is needed for loose, dusty, low grip trails.

But the power is there and even when riding hard on road it was only necessary to use one finger on the brake. The rear is the same giving good levels of control even when wearing bulky motocross boots.

In fact, it's worth noting that on the MCN250 in October 2019, we awarded the Ténéré 700 the win when compared with the two other Yamahas on test - the MT-07 and Tracer 700 - as a road bike, completely disregarding its off-road talent.

Yamaha Ténéré 700 in Spain

Engine

Next up: Reliability
5 out of 5 (5/5)

The 689cc parallel twin motor comes from the acclaimed Yamaha MT-07 which was introduced back in 2014. It may only have 74bhp but it delivers everything is has in a fun, easy and engaging way.

There is no vibration through the handel bars and the range of power and torque is impressive allowing you to let the revs drop to as low as 2500rpm and still pull completely cleany and smoothly.

There is more than enough power to make brisk progress on any public highway especially if you rely on the torque (50 ft-lb) and character of the motor and learn to use higher gears than you would initially expect.

The way the power is delivered in conjunction to the chassis and suspension means the bike generates an impressive amount of mechanical grip and in turn gives the rider good feedback as to what the rear wheel is doing.

Yamaha Ténéré 700 turning right

Reliability & build quality

Next up: Value
4 out of 5 (4/5)

From an engine point of view it’s proven and reliable technology as it shares the same motor as the MT-07. It has high quality suspension and Brembo brakes and as a package has been a long time coming so expect benchmark Japanese build quality and reliability.

Our Yamaha Ténéré 700 owners' reviews show a few problems with wheel spokes corroding and poor paint finishing. Take a read before you take a testride... 

Watch: Yamaha Ténéré long-term test

Value vs rivals

Next up: Equipment
4 out of 5 (4/5)

Priced at £8399 if ordered before the end of July 2019 or £8699 there after it is extremely competitively priced in the adventure bike class. While there are reasons why it is cheaper in terms of spec and equipment levels, it still offers excellent value for money.

In October 2019 MCN took the Ténéré around the infamous MCN250 test route alongside fellow Yamahas, the MT-07 and the Tracer 700. The Ténéré had the best fuel economy, returning 54.5mpg, and once the 16-litre tank was factored in, also accounting for the highest range of the three, at 191 miles.

At time of publication, you could get a Ténéré 700 for £99 a month on a PCP deal over 36 months.

Price is a long way from the only thing the Ténéré 700 has going for it, but it’s hard to ignore the fact that it’s £2800 cheaper than a KTM 890 Adventure and £2555 cheaper than the cheapest off road Triumph Tiger 900 (the 850 Sport has cast wheels so it doesn’t count).

You do admittedly get a lot less bike with the Yamaha - there's no traction control, rider modes or clever off-road ABS to be found - but many would argue the Ténéré is better for it.

Equipment

3 out of 5 (3/5)

Given that it is priced at £8699, which is over £3k cheaper than a KTM 790 Adventure R compromises have been made to achieve this price point. While the hardware is high quality, there are no electronic aids on the Ténéré – so no different maps, traction control, quick shifter or auto blipper. The dash is basic, one colour and hard to read in dust or direct sunlight.

The switches on the Ténéré are fairly similar to Yamaha has been using since the '90s, but it all works well.

The suspension is soft and underdamped and heavier riders in particular might want to consider a tougher spring on the rear shock at least or potentially a more involved suspension upgrade.

K-tech Yamaha Ténéré 700

K-tech Yamaha Ténéré 700 on the road

Riding this very special Yamaha Ténéré 700 as re-worked by British suspension gurus K-tech is like watching the digital remaster of an old film. Indiana Jones still outruns that big rock, cracks his whip and complains about snakes but the experience is brighter, richer and clearer. In the same way, the K-tech T7 is still unmistakably a Ténéré - it’s just that bit better.

Just like with the film, the difference is more pronounced when you go back to the original version, the one you didn’t used to think there was anything wrong with. While each upgrade is an improvement in its own right - and can be felt individually - the overall effect is something a little bit more special. So, what has changed in order to achieve this?

The biggest gripe for many Ténéré 700 owners is with the suspension and, as K-tech are a suspension brand, this is where they started. New piston kits have been fitted in the fork and shock to vastly improve damping and they’ve been filled with higher-quality suspension oil.

The settling effect on the bike is incredible and eliminates the pogoing sensation you get with the stock equipment. The parts for this upgrade cost just over £400.

Next, K-tech turned to another UK firm, Dynojet, to address the fuelling. The parallel-twin CP2 engine can surge a little when you initially tap the throttle and also judders under load at low revs (a common situation when you are riding off road).

K-tech Yamaha Ténéré 700 off road

These rough edges were taken care of using Dynojet’s Power Vision module to flash the ECU (costing £430). The result is a smoother but also more immediate throttle response and power delivery that pulls without hesitation from almost no revs at all.

If you’ve been keeping up with MCN’s updates on our long-term test Ténéré, you’ll know that I’ve been searching for the perfect rubber for the type of riding I do (mostly on road but occasional muddy green lanes).

I’ve been to both ends of the tyre spectrum and not found the ideal middle ground… until now. The K-tech T7 is fitted with Bridgestone Battlax AX41 tyres and they’ve handled everything from wet mud to Tarmac brilliantly. Expect to pay about £200 for a pair of these beauties.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the standard Ténéré, just as I love the old, grainy version of Raiders of the Lost Ark. All the K-tech version does is show just how good the bike is capable of being with a few nips and tucks. A great example is that while taking pictures for this feature, our photographer asked me to spin the rear through some mud for an arty shot.

K-tech Yamaha Ténéré 700 right side

Try as I might, the combination of improved fuelling, the rear shock sitting where it should in the stroke and the Bridgestone rear tyre meant that however much throttle I gave it the bike just gripped and accelerated through without drama.

So, why would you spend £970 plus labour over and above the cost of the T7 instead of just buying a KTM 790 Adventure, which is better equipped, in the first place? Well, one of the Yamaha’s selling points is that it is basic.

It offers a stripped-back riding experience you don’t often get with modern bikes and the upgrades K-tech have chosen do nothing to dilute that. Sure, the KTM is better equipped and the release of the new 890 means there are some great deals to be had on one, but with lean-sensitive ABS, riding modes and a TFT dash, it is actually a very different animal to the Yamaha and I would argue, no better for it.

K-tech Yamaha Ténéré 700 rear

Specs

Engine size 689cc
Engine type Liquid-cooled, four-stroke, 4V, parallel twin
Frame type Steel backbone, double cradle
Fuel capacity 16 litres
Seat height 880mm
Bike weight 205kg
Front suspension KYB 43mm upside down, 210mm travel
Rear suspension Sachs rear monoshock, 200mm travel
Front brake 282mm twin-disc
Rear brake Single 245mm disc
Front tyre size 90/90 x 21
Rear tyre size 150/70 x 18

Mpg, costs & insurance

Average fuel consumption -
Annual road tax £96
Annual service cost -
New price £8,699
Used price -
Insurance group 10 of 17
How much to insure?
Warranty term 2

Top speed & performance

Max power 72 bhp
Max torque 50 ft-lb
Top speed -
1/4 mile acceleration -
Tank range -

Model history & versions

Model history

  • Although the T7 is a new model for 2019, it can trace its DNA all the way back to the 1976 Yamaha XT500 enduro bike. Yamaha’s thumpers became world renowned for their off-road performance and durability.
  • The first Yamaha to carry the Ténéré badge was the 1983 XT600Z, followed by the XT750 Super Ténéré and the XTZ660 Ténéré.
  • The latest bike uses the MT-07 parallel-twin engine as the centre piece of a simple off-roader to try and capture the spirit of these previous models.
  • 2020: Rally Edition version launched with special livery and an upgraded skidplate, Akrapovic end can, rally seat and guards for the chain and radiator. 
Yamaha Tenere Rally Edition

Other versions

Only version, launched in 2019.

MCN Long term test reports

MCN Fleet Yamaha Ténéré 700 long-term test round-up

MCN Fleet Yamaha Ténéré 700 long-term test round-up

I’ve spent the strangest year of my life as custodian of the Yamaha Ténéré 700 and some of the best bits of it were spent in the saddle. Here’s how the last 12 months unfolded. Previous MCN Fleet Ténéré 700 updates Update 1: Trans European Trail beckons for the Yamaha Ténéré 700 Update 2: Yama

Read the latest report

Owners' reviews for the YAMAHA TENERE 700 (2019 - on)

4 owners have reviewed their YAMAHA TENERE 700 (2019 - on) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

Review your YAMAHA TENERE 700 (2019 - on)

Summary of owners' reviews

Overall rating: 4.2 out of 5 (4.2/5)
Ride quality & brakes: 4.8 out of 5 (4.8/5)
Engine: 5 out of 5 (5/5)
Reliability & build quality: 4.2 out of 5 (4.2/5)
Value vs rivals: 4.8 out of 5 (4.8/5)
Equipment: 3.8 out of 5 (3.8/5)
3 out of 5 Best Japanes adenture bike... still miles behind KTM.
20 February 2021 by Bart

Year: 2020

Good bike, but not that great as everybody hype about it... Best Japanese Adventure bike, but dont expect same quality and performance as KTM or Husqvarna. On the road is civilized and fun (slightly underpowered compared to KTMs) but if you want to go fast offroad you will have to spend serious money on suspension and protection...

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

Excellent on the road, but go offroad if you weight more than 75 kilo's and suspenssion will bottom out very often. Brakes are good. Not sharpests, but good.

Engine 5 out of 5

Lacking power compared to KTM, but very smooth and has lot of low down power and torque. Very smooth and sophisticated compared to savage KTM's. Not much happening on high revs end, but this smoothness making up for it. Engine is the best thing on this bike.

Reliability & build quality 3 out of 5

Within three months and only 1500 miles spokes are corroding and needs changing under warranty. Matt paint is good to look at, but for offorad bike it is a nightmare, as you won't polish out any scratches. Paint will go shiny and patchy. Ferring material is not Enduro type - just your normal road bike ferrings that will crack easy during any offroad misshaps.

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5

Cheap to buy stock, but add cost of crashbars (as ferrinng elements made out of regular road bike material, not enduro type) and new springs for suspension. First service also not cheaper than with KTM (Freestyle Yamaha).

Equipment 2 out of 5

It's cheap bike and you can tell... suspension for fast offroad is very poor, bike is not designed with any crash protection in mind (like KTM's or even Tenere 660), material used for ferring is same as on road bike, it's brittle and will crack very quick. Not flexible enduro type ferring... and when you need one you will hae to order stickers separatelly and it will be expenssive.

4 out of 5 Great bike. Lots of fun. Ver versatile
04 December 2020 by Lee

Year: 2019

Amazing all round bike.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

Quite firm suspension for an off-road bike. Makes it great fun on the twisted. Handles very well. Front brakes are not the best on road but that’s a compromise for off-roading.

Engine 5 out of 5

One of the best features. Enough power, spins up quickly and very smooth.

Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5

Very reliable. However the finish on the spokes is ruined after a few hundred miles and at 6k miles has rust on the front of the tank.

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

Cheap to service and 65+mpg.

Equipment 4 out of 5

Basic but all the better for it. Nothing to go wrong.

Buying experience: Dealer. No problems. £7995.

5 out of 5 Ten out of ten for the Tenere
07 July 2020 by Gary Stanbridge

Year: 2019

Having owned two XT660Zs previously and ridden them extensively, including Moroccan deserts and north American wildernesses, the new 'XT' is a revelation. I waited three years for this bike and whilst it is still early days I have been impressed. The engine, riding position, steering and simplicity made it the perfect adventure tool. Get one, and get new life!

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

Great all-rounder. Apart from a few short jaunts out I've only had one 500 mile journey on the bike and one decent off-road experience. The bike shone during both these experiences. Comfortable cruising on the hard stuff, great fun on the twisties and soooo comfortable and confident on the pegs. I have a 95mm rear spring fitted (I intend to carry luggage) up from 70Nm. When carrying a pillion the bike was rock solid.

Engine 5 out of 5

The engine is a peach! Flexible, responsive, smooth and sufficiently powerful.

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

Too early to give a truly informed comment but no issues so far. My bike has been given the ACF50 treatment and a neoprene sock fitted over the heavier rear spring to reduce corrosion risk.

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

Too early to say, given the bike has only had the one oil change. Given the simplicity of the bike I expect to do all the servicing myself, and I don't expect this to be involved. This is one of the reasons I go for 'simple' bikes. Its a big plus in my eyes.

Equipment 4 out of 5

I may be in the minority here, but I like 'minimal'. I want a motorbike to ride, not a mobile computer game. Perhaps I'm as simple as the bike but for me this style of bike is what motorcycling is all about. The equipment changes I would make are, 1.Fit a DIN socket, rather than a cigarette socket. Better still, fit a DIN socket (or two) and a USB socket. 2. Fit a 4mm sump guard as standard (one that protects the water pump and lower rear linkages)

Buying experience: I managed to get a bike at the pre-order price after the end of July when another customer decided they didn't want it, so no complaints here!

5 out of 5 XT7 can't get better than that
18 April 2020 by Paul Knight

Year: 2019

Easy forgiving ride, for an adventure bike it handles surprisingly well on road, and instills confidence. Tall seat height means good visibility, and road presence. Nice, not too Powerful engine, but gets to motorway speeds without problems.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

Good amount of brake progression, not to sharp, not up to sports bikes, but that's not what this is about. Good comfort, but quite tall in the saddle, any one with less than a 31 Inc inside leg may struggle, untill you get used to it .

Engine 5 out of 5

Nippy, gets along the road at a good pace , and keeps up with bigger more powerful bikes on the Twisties.

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

Typicall Yamaha build quality, and well thought out ergonomics.

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5

Got just what you need, no frills or bells, but that means less to go wrong, and do people really use every rider aid that some much more expensive bikes come with?

Buying experience: Bought from dealer £8495 paid as advertised , which included full tank of fuel and delivery to my door.

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