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2021 Tenere 700 First Ride review


Wintersdark
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So I picked up my new T7 today, and man.  What a wildly different bike this is than the Tracer, and surprisingly even than the MT07.  More experienced dirt bike people may be unsurprised, but I haven't ridden a bike with 21/18 wheels in some 30 years, so I was pretty unprepared for how it was going to handle.

Particularly as one who's very familiar with MT-class bikes, the throttle doesn't even feel like it's a Yamaha fuel map.  Not even a little bit twitchy, in fact it's very smooth. 

The suspension - while undersprung for my hefty mass - is very plush.  Even riding over curbs (it wasn't exactly a "proper" ride home, and some local traffic regulations may have been ignored) didn't even feel like it warranted standing, the massive travel and large front wheel just seeming to ignore it. 

I have no experience to compare the stock Pirelli Scorpions, but they're super smooth and quite on the roads and where ridiculously confidence inspiring on the dirt lanes in my neighborhood.

On that topic, it rained a lot last night, and there where deep gravel patches, mud, and leg soaking puddles.  Many trips around those lanes, up and down hills, really sharp corners (they're the alleys behind and around the houses). In every surface, even really giving it the beans, the scorpions would just hook and PUSH.

Which brings me to that.  RyanF9 has a video about how the swingarm is set up on the T7, and how it's antisquat works.

https://youtu.be/5WJvQqeQpe8

What I feel he doesn't really cover is how it feels in practice.  Normally, like on the Tracer, if you really haul on the throttle you have that sensation of weight transfer, the tire grabbing the road, the rear suspension compressing and the bike launching forwards.  On the T7, it's entirely different.  It just *pushes*. The rear lifts a little bit and it just feels like the bike is being pushed forwards from the tail light.

The exhaust note is deep, surprisingly loud, and while very different from the stock MT07 exhaust it still has that awesome growling CP2 sound, though its own take on it. 

My phone's mic butchers it, much deeper than it sounds in the video, but:

There's no vibration at all. Even at highway speeds it's ridiculously smooth.  The bike is geared pretty low, so you're at highish RPM's at good speed, but it's so smooth it just doesn't matter and the powerband is so ridiculously broad that it doesn't feel at all strung out.  I didn't push speed hard as it's not registered and was wearing the wrong plates (big $$ if I where to be stopped) but it wasn't even remotely troubled holding 130kph, and felt very stable there. It's more comfortable on the highway than my MT07 was, wierdly enough.

It's not all sunshine and lollipops, though.  It does lose the wild rush of acceleration you get with an MT07 in return for that broad, linear powerband.  The dash vibrates ridiculously easily and gets really bouncy - it's attached to the frame at the steering neck by a long thin piece of metal and NOT to the front fairings at all -16314009040173268051507503940273.thumb.jpg.b51146e776c7659c3f43940355db3fbf.jpg

That setup seems to magnify any movement of the bike.  If it where just the instruments I wouldn't care, but the headlight assembly is connected to that too so the headlights bounce as well.

There's a fix for this with some foam wedged between the cluster and the fairings, however, and it's something I'm going to do soon.

It's strange, because the headlights and dash will vibrate sitting still at idle, but you don't feel anything in the grips, peg, or seat.  

It comes with an RFID keyset, no fob, but it won't start without the key present.  Neat bonus security feature in an otherwise very simple bike.

ABS!  I didn't turn off the ABS yet.  It works fine on the street (just like the MT07 or Tracer) but shockingly it works very well in the dirt as well.  After a couple tentative tests, I was confident *even in the dirt* just harshly grab'n'stomping both brakes, and it still stops very effectively.  In fact, I'd argue that the ABS is absolutely effective enough in dirt that I wouldn't bother turning it off unless I was in something REALLY soft.  

The Brembo brakes are quite good but very gradual - a better dirt rider could say if that's a good or bad thing, but it's trivial to lock up wheels, they just don't bite hard immediately.  

Kickstand is cast, rather than thinwall pipe as per the Tracer and MT07 (and something I pay a lot more attention to having broken one), and has a pretty large foot.  Pegs are excellent, a very bendy rubber pad on bitey frames.  The rubber pads can be popped out easily.

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The seat is curiously comfortable (though I'd like the taller Ralley seat, it's unobtanium currently) and flat, allowing you a lot of options as to where you're sitting, but it's also VERY grippy - there's no sliding on the seat.  It feels like medium tank grip material. 

It doesn't seem to straight up power wheelie at all, at least not with me on it and a full tank of gas, but it clutches up with ease.

The skid plate is functional, but if I was going to do really gnarly stuff, I think I'd consider upgrading it for a thicker aftermarket plate.  The stocker is 1/16th steel, enough to dissuade flung rocks and glancing blows but if the bike came down on a sharp rock, I feel it'd just punch through.  Also, I feel it ought to extend further back, to cover the rear shock linkage that actually hangs *below* the skidplate and strikes me as a real problem point if you where trying to get over big logs.

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Speaking of the rear shock, it's a fully adjustable remote reservoir model with rebound and compression settings, and of course fully adjustable KYB shocks.

It's tall, very tall - I can flat foot it at 6'4" with my weight on it, but just barely.  However, it doesn't feel so tall because it's so narrow: 

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Your thighs are much less spread than on the Tracer, getting your feet closer together.

The radiator guard... Exists.  It's plastic, and fairly flimsy.  I think a metal guard will be early on my to-do list.

Front fender height is adjustable by roughly half an inch.  That'll be helpful in the winter, or in goopy mud. 

The bike has virtually no storage whatsoever.  The area under the pillion seat is VERY small.  My buddies R1 seems to have way more storage.

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But it's enough to hold the toolkit which - surprise of all surprises! Includes four wrenches (spanning 6, 8, 10(X2), 12(X2), 14, and 17mm), a 4mm Allen key(removes seat) and torx somethingorother (fitting the torx/hex cap combination bolts securing all the fairings), and Yamaha's normal flat/Phillips screwdriver.

Another minor annoyance.  The gas cap isn't hinged, it just comes off.  Come on, Yamaha, it's 2021.  Nobody likes dropping their gas cap. 

Handguards have better coverage than the Tracer's, but are basically garbage: just a thin piece of plastic that'll break the first time it goes down.  I'll probably keep them till that happens, but barkbusters are definitely in this bikes future.

The windscreen is... Actually, not bad.  Much better than the Tracer's.  I'm too tall for it, but despite looking small the height of the front of the bike gets it up pretty high, and it actually does a decent, if not great job.  No buffeting issues found yet. 

Lighting - headlights function well (but for the bouncing), signals are Yamaha's traditional incandescent pumpkins - again, Yamaha? 2021. FFS.  Nobody likes these pumpkins.  Flushmounts for sure for me.

And I'll leave it there for now - I need to get my crash bars installed.

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Good review Wintersdark!  Remember Yamaha does not know how to make a comfortable seat be it stock or accessory. One really nice thing is you will have a huge selection of aftermarket accessories for your T7 enjoy.

He who dies with the most toys wins.

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54 minutes ago, roadrash83 said:

Good review Wintersdark!  Remember Yamaha does not know how to make a comfortable seat be it stock or accessory. One really nice thing is you will have a huge selection of aftermarket accessories for your T7 enjoy.

It's really not bad, even - by Yamaha standards anyways - pretty good.  Better than the seats both my Tracer and MT07 came with.  I think the Rally seat would be perfect for me.

But yeah, there's a fairly large T7 aftermarket which is great, though unfortunately it's predominantly overseas so there's often hefty shipping costs... Though shopping from the US has been gross for the last couple years anyways so it doesn't really matter.  

There's not much I'm really looking at right now, aside from basic farkles:

* Heated grips

* LED flushmount signals (pretty, and less likely to break)

* Another cheap AliExpress usb charger/voltmeter

* A couple small bags for the crash bars - hoping to get some Lomo drybags

* Phone mount

And that's about it.  I'd like a rear rack, but they're spendy, will probably make a molle soft rack for it.  

Super excited for it's introductory adventure ride this Thursday.

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16 minutes ago, ontheroad said:

Nice bike congrats I have started to look for a more adventure type bike,to bad the T7 does not have cruise control.Maybe KTM or Triumph.

https://www.mccruise.com/collections/yamaha/products/cruise-control-for-yamaha-xtz690-tenere-700?variant=31604662009954

Its a spendy option, but it IS possible.

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***2015 Candy Red FJ-09***

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3 hours ago, whisperquiet said:

Congratulations on your new T700….it does have a great engine.  I’ve owned mine over a year and have 11,000 miles on it.

 

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I like the T7 and I see that cruise could be added,at 11,000 miles what is your honest opinion on long distance travel ?

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I don’t see any problem with long distance if you ride between 55-75 mph.  I have an an adjustable Moto pumps windshield bracket that helps.  I am also 6’4” with a 35” inseam and installed SW Motech Ion 15mm lower foot pegs plus I was able to buy one of the rare 41 mm taller Yamaha rally one piece seats. The two piece stock seat had me sitting on the seam which was not good.  My picture shows the Tusk side and tail racks plus I have an Ogio tail bag and small tank bag.  I installed Bikemaster heated grips and run a heated jacket when needed.  The only things I wish the T7 had was tubeless wheels and electronic cruise control.  BTW, my T7 runs flawless …… I think you will like yours.

I use my Super Tenere for big trips, my Tracer GT for all around riding and short trips, and the T7 for back road exploring.

 

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18 hours ago, ontheroad said:

Nice bike congrats I have started to look for a more adventure type bike,to bad the T7 does not have cruise control.Maybe KTM or Triumph.

Not gonna lie, I miss my cruise.  But I still have my MT07's sophisticated AliExpress Cruise Control: 16314856681775170160069840636908.thumb.jpg.2f3665c7ec8e9592e1e4760e04ed5855.jpg

So that'll have to do.  All $10 of high tech wizardry!

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Edited by Wintersdark
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4 hours ago, whisperquiet said:

I don’t see any problem with long distance if you ride between 55-75 mph.  I have an an adjustable Moto pumps windshield bracket that helps.  I am also 6’4” with a 35” inseam and installed SW Motech Ion 15mm lower foot pegs plus I was able to buy one of the rare 41 mm taller Yamaha rally one piece seats. The two piece stock seat had me sitting on the seam which was not good.  My picture shows the Tusk side and tail racks plus I have an Ogio tail bag and small tank bag.  I installed Bikemaster heated grips and run a heated jacket when needed.  The only things I wish the T7 had was tubeless wheels and electronic cruise control.  BTW, my T7 runs flawless …… I think you will like yours.

I use my Super Tenere for big trips, my Tracer GT for all around riding and short trips, and the T7 for back road exploring.

 

  I would thought, the T7 could do better than 55-75 mph for long distance slab running. I can do that all day long with my KLR650, just have to remember to have a quart of 20w-50 in the tail bag🙂

He who dies with the most toys wins.

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17 minutes ago, roadrash83 said:

  I would thought, the T7 could do better than 55-75 mph for long distance slab running. I can do that all day long with my KLR650, just have to remember to have a quart of 20w-50 in the tail bag🙂

The T7 is comfortable for me at those speeds…..any higher and you tend to get blown around a little.  A 2nd Gen KLR has better wind protection and is a good travel bike.  I doubt that my T7 has been over 85 mph…….older and slower.👍

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Mines only seen 75mph ish, but can definitely go a lot faster with ease.  Just didn't want to attract the wrong attention without valid plates :)

 

Being blown around, well, I dunno.  I've never had an issue with that outside of crazy windstorms, and can't imagine the T7 being any worse than any other bike.  It's not that big, open spoked wheels, basically the same weight as the Tracer.  But then I'm a pretty big guy.  I'm pretty convinced that riding for me is just different than it is for everyone else though.  

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