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ADV BikesYamaha Tenere 700 Review: Is It Everything We’d Hoped For?

Yamaha Tenere 700 Review: Is It Everything We’d Hoped For?

The rally-bred T7 has arrived - a light, simple, nimble ADV for the masses.

Published on 06.23.2020

Ever since the Tenere 700 was first introduced as a concept in 2016, it became one of the most highly-desired bikes among adventure riders. This was at a time when adventure bikes kept getting bigger, heavier and more complex every year. Yet tastes had changed in the segment and many ADV enthusiasts were looking for something smaller, lighter, simpler, and more off-road oriented. The T7 concept, with its aggressive rally styling and compact design, looked like it could be that unicorn bike many had been yearning for. 

When Yamaha revealed the Tenere 700 production model about a year later, it was toned down a bit with a lower suspension and some of its bling removed, but it still followed the same basic mold of the T7 concept more or less. After several years of teasers, the bike finally  became available for sale last year as a 2020 model in Europe and here in the states we had to wait an additional year to get it. So was it worth the wait? Read on for a full rundown on this new machine after several days of testing on some of our local riding areas in Southern California. 

What You Get At A Glance 

2021 Yamaha Tenere 700 Ice Blue

The 2021 Tenere 700 is powered by a 689cc parallel-twin engine (dubbed the CP2) that was pulled straight out of Yamaha’s MT-07 naked bike, with a few minor tweaks to the ECU. This proven powerplant produces roughly 73 horsepower and 50 lb.-ft. of torque. Its long-stroke design is optimized for low-end grunt, giving it lots of traction in the dirt. In addition, the Yamaha’s 270° ‘Cross-Plane crank’ makes a sweet sound that soothes the soul, even with the stock exhaust can.

2021 Yamaha Tenere 700 exhaust
2021 Yamaha Tenere 700 engine
Yamaha’s torque-tuned 689cc parallel twin with a 270° Cross-Plane crank makes a sweet sound when you crack the throttle.

As far as the chassis, Yamaha relied on its Rally Racing heritage to develop a narrow, lightweight perimeter steel frame with a rearward weight balance (48% front / 52% rear) that makes it easier to lift the front wheel. Additional bracing ensures it can handle punishment from more-aggressive off-road riding and removable lower frame rails make pulling the engine an easier job. While its subframe is designed for carrying luggage, it’s welded on rather than bolted.


Suspending the bike is a 43mm KYB fork with 8.3 inches (210mm) of travel and a rear KYB shock with 7.9 inches (200mm) of travel. Both front and rear suspension are adjustable for compression and rebound damping, and the shock has a hand crank for adjusting preload. There is no preload adjustment on the fork, nor does the shock have high- and low-speed compression settings.

2021 Yamaha Tenere 700 handlebar mounts
2021 Yamaha Tenere 700 front fender.
The low front fender is adjustable by 8mm to help with muddy terrain.

Yamaha’s new mid-size adventure bike rides on proper off-road wire-spoke wheels sized 21” up front and 18” in the rear, shod with Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR adventure tires. Getting things stopped are Brembo Brake calipers clamping down on twin 282mm discs up front, and a single 245mm disc in the rear. Standard seat height is 34.4”, with a low seat (-1.5”) and tall ‘Rally’ seat (+1.6”) option.

The Tenere 700 comes well-equipped from the factory for adventure featuring a 4.2-gallon fuel tank that Yamaha claims is good for up to 200 miles with an easy throttle hand. Plus it has a decent-sized windscreen, a powerful quad LED headlight setup, GPS mount crossbar, 12V outlet to charge electronics, wide serrated footpegs with removable (without tools) rubber covers, a basic skid plate, wrap-around hand guards, and an adjustable-height front fender (for mud rides) – all as standard equipment. About the only thing missing is a rear luggage rack and maybe a center stand, which are available as factory accessories, along with engine guards, heated grips, a beefier skid plate, auxiliary lights, and more.

2021 Yamaha Tenere 700 LED headlight

As for the electronics, Yamaha went back to basics with an old-school LCD screen and simple on/off ABS system. There is no traction control, touch screen, rider modes, IMU or any of that advanced tech that many riders fear will fail on them out riding in the middle of nowhere. Keeping things simple also helped reduce the weight with the Tenere 700 coming in at 452 pounds fully fueled. And it comes with a lightweight price tag of $9,999 USD for any of the color options (Ceramic Ice, Intensity White or Matte Black ).

2021 Yamaha Tenere 700 color options
The U.S. gets all three color options – Ceramic Ice, Matte Black and Intensity White.

First Impressions 

Sitting on the Tenere 700, it is small and light for an adventure bike – feeling similar in size to a rally-kitted KTM 690 Enduro. Ergos are excellent for standing up with a handlebar mounted in a dirtbike-height position. Although, the seated position is another story. It seems Yamaha may have been trying to get their seat height to look lower on the  spec sheets, and in doing so, the standard seat feels awkwardly low in relation to the bars. For taller riders like myself (6 foot 2 inch), the seated position felt a bit cramped in the legs as well. 

2021 Yamaha Tenere 700 testing in the dirt
2021 Yamaha Tenere 700 stock seat
The stock saddle offers a seat height of 34.4 inches but feels too low in relation to the high handlebar position.

Luckily, I got a chance to try out the optional Rally Seat that is 1.6 inches taller. This significantly improved ergonomics with a flatter seat-to-tank transition that allows you to scooch forward on the tank in order to weight the front end in turns. It lets you ride on top of the bike rather than in it. Plus the extra cushion makes the seat significantly more comfortable for a long day in the saddle. If you can handle the 36-inch seat height, the Rally saddle is highly recommended. 

2021 Yamaha Tenere 700 LCD Display
Yamaha Tenere 700 handlebar controller
A basic LCD screen can be adjusted by menu buttons on the display or a handlebar thumb controller, and a simple dash button disables ABS.

Getting familiar with the display was pretty easy to do with the basic LCD screen that is in stark contrast to the sophisticated color-TFT screens found on most adventure bikes these days. It has all the standard information you need though like a fuel gauge, trip meters, fuel consumption, outside temperature, and more, which is controllable by menu buttons on the display or a handlebar thumb control. Hold the ABS button down for 5 seconds and it turns ABS off for both the front and rear wheel. ABS resets every time you use the kill switch or turn the key off. 

Street Test 

2021 Yamaha Tenere 700 street riding

Cruising around town on the Tenere 700, its fuel injection feels refined and smooth in the lower RPMs. There is plenty of good torque there and enough acceleration but it comes on with a mild surge that is a bit underwhelming compared to some of the bigger middleweight twins. This is a sub-700cc engine after all. Getting it to wheelie takes a fair amount of revs and clutch in first gear. Yet there is ample power there to merge into traffic, pass cars or do anything else you might ask it to do. Passing without a downshift usually isn’t a problem either. 

On the highway, the Tenere’s motor is dead smooth with no significant vibration or tingling in the bars or pegs that might cause concern. Even dropping it down to 5th gear at 75, it was still smooth, 4th as well!  To match that smoothness is a smallish windshield that blocks a lot more wind than you’d expect. It pushed the wind nearly over my head (at 6 foot 2 inch) and around my shoulders, for a nice clean pocket of air to ride in. And with the cushy Rally Seat, it’s a bike I wouldn’t dread riding for several hours on the highway enroute to the trails. 

Yamaha Tenere 700  windshield
Yamaha Tenere 700 highway cruising
Wind protection was surprisingly good and the motor is dead smooth on the highway.

Heading into twisty asphalt roads in the mountains, I thought the tall Tenere might feel like a fish out of water but it was actually a well-balanced and nimble machine. There is a fair amount of dive and squat entering and coming out of corners but not enough to upset the bike. The Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR tires held on tight during sporty riding and only rarely did the rear kick out without a Traction Control safety net. For the experienced hand, Traction Control is really not a requirement with the smooth, predictable power of the Tenere 700. And the motor gets livelier in the upper revs, making it fun to wind out, but acceleration is still pretty much the same no matter what the RPM. 

Yamaha Tenere 700 cornering

Once you start pushing it in the corners, toes begin to scrape. You’ll also notice the Brembos don’t have a lot of bite and can feel a bit mushy for aggressive street riding. Nonetheless, it’s still an incredibly fun bike on a twisty road that’s more than capable of chasing down a sport bike in the tight stuff. 

Off-Road Test 

In the dirt, the Tenere’s ABS system feels unrefined compared to the more advanced off-road ABS offerings on the market. It’s really a street-tuned system that should be turned off as soon as you hit the dirt. The less than stellar braking performance on the street was not really an issue in the dirt though. The only time I did have problems with braking was with the rear wheel on steep declines. Going down hills at a hot pace, it was hard to be smooth on the rear brake. Without a lot of feel or a slipper clutch, the rear wheel would start to chatter and loose grip, forcing me to rely more on the front brake. 

Yamaha Tenere 700 suspension
The Tenere’s stand-up ergos are excellent for off-road riding.

What really shines in the dirt, is the motor with its smooth fueling and predictable torque throughout the powerband. You wouldn’t expect a small-displacement twin to offer this much torque. You can bog the motor up hills and it doesn’t protest. The beefy low-end, makes it easy to forget to downshift. Sometimes I’d look down and realize I was doing 10 mph in 3rd gear on the trail. There isn’t a lot of ‘pop’ though if you need to get over obstacles. 

Rear tire grip is good under power even without Traction Control, until you get into the softer stuff. But that is really more about the tires. Riding with the stock Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR tires, I found it easy to break traction in sand or loose dirt. Yet power slides were always easy to control and predictable. The front tire also had a tendency to surprise you with a no-warning tuck riding over patches of sand. However, I got a chance to test the Tenere 700 with a set of Shinko 216 MX knobbies and the feeling was significantly improved. The rear tire grabbed excellent traction and the bike floated through deep sand like it was on rails. The 21”/18” wheel combo and longish 62.8-inch wheelbase gives it excellent stability as well. The differences in sand was a reminder of how much tire choice can have a big impact on handling. But the Pirelli’s are still a step up compared to the smooth 80/20 (street/dirt) tires many manufacturers typically mount on new adventure bikes. 

Yamaha Tenere 700 traction
Yamaha Tenere 700 singletrack
Handling feels light and quick on tight doubletrack trails, and it’s easy to adjust your line mid turn.

Handling feels light and quick, almost dirtbike-like when going through windy doubletrack. It goes where you point it and you can switch lines fairly easily. Although the front end begins to push in tighter turns, and the Tenere starts feeling less agile at slower speeds. One reason is its fuel tank design carries the weight up high. But that isn’t all bad… The high CG contributes to its quick handling as the weight falls into turns. Since the bike is fairly light, it’s easy to control that weight while you are moving at faster speeds. But at slower speeds, that weight gets harder to control. You notice it most when trying to do a U-turn on the trail. The bike suddenly starts to tip and can catch you off guard if you don’t have a solid footing yet. 

Yamaha Tenere 700 rocky terrain
The suspension is supple on smaller bumps but as speeds increase and the rocks get bigger, the Tenere’s suspension does start to lose some of its composure.

Probably the biggest disappointment with the new Tenere 700 was with the suspension’s bump absorption. It definitely feels nice and plush over smaller rocks and chop with good damping and supple springs. As you get into mid-sized rocks though, it gets bouncy and a little overwhelmed. And if you hit a sharp-edged or a flat-faced rock at speed, the front fork lets out a loud clunk to warn you ‘don’t do that!’. 

Although, a bigger problem is when you get both wheels off the ground. The first time I caught a small amount of air, it was a bit unnerving when the Tenere 700 completely bottomed out both the front and rear suspension. At 215 pounds I’m a big guy, so it’s no surprise that I might bottom out occasionally while riding aggressively. But this was a casual jump at a casual speed.

Yamaha Tenere 700 catch air
During our testing, the Tenere averaged 37.7 MPG with a heavy throttle hand, which translates into about 160 miles between fill ups on the smallish 4.2-gallon tank.

Adding both compression and rebound damping, along with preload on the rear, did improve things for the Tenere’s bump absorption. Yet these improvements came at the expense of plushness and still didn’t fully fix the problem. I think Yamaha missed the mark here in the suspension department trying to make the Tenere 700 more approachable to a broader audience, or perhaps this was a cost-cutting decision. The suspension is much softer than you’d expect from a rally-inspired bike that is targeted toward off-road riders. It definitely suffers in this category compared to its competition, which have continually improved their off-road suspensions in recent years. 

The Bottom Line 

Yamaha Tenere 700 water crossing

The Tenere 700 isn’t without a few flaws like its soft suspension and lackluster brakes. A lack of traction control or other rider aids, which can improve your ability to ride faster safely, might turn away some potential buyers. But its minimal electronics are just as likely to be the bike’s biggest draw. It’s a simple, low-tech machine, built in a Japanese factory with a 24,000-mile valve adjustment interval. A bike you can take to the far corners of the earth and feel confident it will get you home after giving it a good flogging. 

Yet that is not to say the Tenere 700 is only for riders looking for a dependable adventure motorcycle. With its nimble chassis, it’s still a very capable machine that can run circles around most big-bore adventure bikes in the dirt. I think there is a lot more potential in the bike waiting to be unleashed at your local suspension shop too. If you are the type of rider that typically gets a custom suspension anyway, Yamaha has left some money on the table for upgrades. With an extra inch or so of travel and higher-spec internals in the fork and shock, this bike could be a top contender in the dirt.

Yamaha Tenere 700 river crossing

As far as how it matches up currently in the market, the Tenere’s closest competition would have to be the KTM 790 Adventure (Standard not the R), which is $2,500 more. That bike has a lot more power and premium bells and whistles, but it is closest in size and capability. Stepping up to a Tiger 900 Rally or BMW F850GS would cost $5,000 more, and those bikes just feel like they are in a different size and weight class. Those serious about off-road riding might also consider a KTM 690 or Husqvarna 701. But those are about $2,000 more than the Tenere and you could spend thousands more adding mods trying to make it as versatile for all-around adventure travel. 

What Yamaha has created is a bike with broad appeal for new and seasoned adventure riders alike, with a price tag that leaves you extra dough to customize it into what you want it to be. For a lot of riders though, it will be everything they need right out of the box. When you factor in its light weight (for the category), torquey motor, quick handling, all the standard equipment, and versatility both on and off the trail, the Tenere 700 is a pretty impressive package for $9,999. 

We’re looking forward to getting it out on more adventures to continue exploring its capabilities. Stay tuned for more!

Yamaha Tenere 700 Specs

engine 689cc liquid-cooled DOHC 4-stroke; 8 valves
Bore x stroke 80.0mm x 68.6mm
fuel deliveryFuel Injection
transmission 6-speed; wet multiplate clutch
final driveChain
Compression ratio 11.5:1
front suspension 43mm inverted fork, fully-adjustable; 8.3-in travel
rear suspension Single shock, adjustable preload (w/remote adjuster) and rebound damping; 7.9-in travel
front brakes Dual 282mm hydraulic disc; selectable ABS
rear brakes 245mm hydraulic disc; selectable ABS
FRONT TIRES 90/90R21 Pirelli® Scorpion® Rally STR
REAR TIRES 150/70R18 Pirelli® Scorpion® Rally STR
ground clearance9.5 in
fuel capacity4.2 gal
wet weight 452 lbs

Gear We Used

Photos by Stephen Gregory and Joseph Agustin

Author: Rob Dabney

Rob Dabney started a lifelong obsession with motorcycles at the age of 15 when he purchased his first bike – a 1982 Honda MB5. Through his 20’s and 30’s he competed in off-road desert races, including the Baja 250, 500 and 1000. Eventually, his proclivity for exploration led him to dual sport and adventure riding. Rob’s never-ending quest to discover what’s around the next bend has taken him on Adventures in Mexico, North Africa, Europe, and throughout the American West. As a moto journalist, he enjoys inspiring others to seek adventure across horizons both near and far.

Author: Rob Dabney

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60 thoughts on “Yamaha Tenere 700 Review: Is It Everything We’d Hoped For?

  1. ….but should this bike really get off the ground? Hahaha. Nice to see somebody finally putting this suspension through it’s paces. I guess this was worth the wait…but now I have to wait even longer cuz they’re all pre-sold.

    • As the article says, the T7 has been on the market all over the world for almost a year now, so you can assume that many people have already been “putting the suspension through it’s paces”. The Australians from MAD TV even have an episode dedicated to suspension upgrades for the T7.

      • Yes, I know the T7 has been “on the market all over the world for almost a year now” – who doesn’t? Of course, I assume that many people have already been “putting the suspension through it’s paces”. This is that first review I’ve seen where someone was actually constructively critical of the suspension. All of the N American reviews seem a bit too glowy and puffy. When I learn to speak Australian, I’ll check it out.

        • “All of the N American Reviews”?
          So you have been reading/watching Italian, French, German, Hungarian, Swiss etc. reviews?

          Don‘t get me wrong: I have no idea what journalists/reviewers in the aforementioned (and other) countries say about the suspension, and their views will probably also depend on the weight of the riders (in the USA, Western Europe, and Australia, people on average tend to be heavier than in other regions). I just wouldn’t blindly assume and claim such things.

  2. Yes, “All of the N American Reviews”.
    Since it hit the states there has been a deluge of reviews and this has been the first critical of the suspension or to “put it through its paces”; it confirms my suspicions and expectations based on the price of the bike. I do not know what blind assumption you are on about. I think we’re done here.

    • I seem to have misread your post: If you mean “N” as in the statistical notation for sample/population size, then I’m sorry. I initially read “N American” as “non-American” and thought you wanted to claim to know all T7 reviews the world has to offer.

  3. It’s a nice bike for a lot of people but it is too basic for those who want more performance. I wanted one of these early on but my 790 Adventure R ticks a lot more boxes and well worth the extra money.

  4. For those hoping for an update to their KLR650, it’s a freakin’ dream come true and ticks ALL the boxes. hahaha. I would have bought one a year ago, but couldn’t wait and went with the 790 AR too. I love the 790, but with a few tweaks on the T7 I doubt there’s going to be a big performance gap. Definitely wanna ride one. I must say that I do miss simple bikes without all the computers built in.

  5. Thanks for this writeup, good work! I learned here first about the welded on rear subframe. Anyone else lost a cycle because of a bent, non-replaceable subframe? Dont drop it, the insurance rep. will total the cycle! I usually ding Triumph for this, but their latest models are bolt on subs. Im thinking that I will be one of those missing the IMU based ABS, and traction control. Those features saved my ass, once in a dealer parking lot from fresh service and oil slick tires and pavement. Once is all it takes, to save those $$thousands$$ in repairs, wishing this cycle had it and now likely moving on to something else. Too Bad. Great entry price for this does allow suspension fixes, reads like you’re gonna need them, paragraph after paragraph.

    • Hey Bob. Thanks for the kind words. Glad you found it useful. Sometimes it’s the little details that are the decision factors. Yes, Triumph recently made their Tiger 900 a bolt-on subframe. Also, Honda did the same with the new CRF1100L Africa Twin. It’s nice insurance on a bike that’s going off-road. One big tumble can tweak it beyond the range of straightening. And the electronics are another thing that might be a deal breaker for some. Personally I think it was cool that Yamaha took the path of no electronics since there are plenty of bikes out there with them and many riders are looking for a simpler, cheaper option. Good luck in your search for your next ride!

  6. What Rider weight is it sprung for from the factory? I’d guess a rider weighing 160-180 might be just fine with the stiffness as is? If so you can’t fault Yamaha for that too much.

    • Hey Vincd. A rider in the 160-180 pound range may have no problem, or notice it less. But after adding luggage, you’d be close to my test weight (without luggage). I’m not sure what weight they sprung it for, but compared to many of its middleweight ADV competitors with 21″ front wheels, it doesn’t have as much bottoming resistance. Some bikes like the Africa Twin feel a little soft, but I wouldn’t necessarily feel like I ‘need’ to upgrade the suspension. With this bike I would.

    • Yes, Kawasaki needs to join the party. The KLR 650 has been gone from the lineup for a couple of years now, so there’s no excuse about pissing off the faithful. A replacement is well overdue. A 37 hp thumper is not going to get it done though. Time to go back to the drawing board and make a proper replacement that will last another 35 years. They already have a motor from the Versys 650. Bump it up to 700cc, drop that in a proper off-road chassis and let’s get it out there!

      • As a V650 rider, I agree and would lay some cash down for this motor in an off-road frame. Hopefully that would mean a bigger front wheel too…

    • Hi David. I’d assume you’d be good with the stock springs at 160 pounds. Also, there is the option to crank up the preload, rebound and compression damping if you are carrying a lot of luggage.

    • Yes, a fuel-injected KLR with a modern chassis, minimal electronics and twice the horsepower. An upgrade on the street, highway and dirt for sure. Maybe you don’t get the fuel range or simplicity to fix in 3rd world countries. But the T7 is likely to have better reliability and you can always bring an auxiliary fuel tank for longer-range rides.

  7. I’ve had mine for 2 weeks. The only immediate shortcoming I have found is the narrow footpegs. (What were they thinking?) I don’t get the numerous comments on the soft shock. I weigh 200# and have dropped the bike off of 2+ foot rock ledges at speed and never got to the bottom of the travel. I’ve owned over 3 dozen bikes, and can say honestly that this is the best out of the box set-up I’ve ever ridden. What a blast.

    • Hey Steve. I did not have the problem with the footpegs, although I had heard about others having this problem when I tested the bike. I think it could have to do with boot shape or other body positioning factors. Their size is pretty standard for dirt bike pegs, but maybe not oversized ADV pegs. Glad to hear you are not having any problems with the suspension softness. Typically, it would happen when there was any type of flattish landing. It happened on 2 different T7’s I rode, one Euro Spec and the other US. But maybe you are just a silky smooth rider. 😉 How about with luggage? Any issues?

      • Rob: I’ll get back to you on the shock performance when my luggage finally comes back in stock around 7/16/20 (RMMC’s Tusk soft rackless system) I’m going to give the T7 its’ first loaded ride on the Rimrocker, and will probably take some of the more technical side-loops to make this 160+ mile dirt ride more interesting. Just an FYI for other current and prospective T7 riders: I was in touch with the folks at Pivot Pegz yesterday, and they have a larger, wider-spread footpeg set-up for this bike in R&D right now. It should be available world-wide towards the end of the year.

  8. Hi! I wonder if the T7 is comparable with the f800gs (first genereration 2008-2012) that I own? In the specs they are very similar. I curious if someone compares them? Thanks

    • Hi Thomas. I’m a big fan of the old F800GS. It was fairly light and smooth with just enough power for adventure riding. Good on the highway and small enough to still get into some technical riding off-road. It has more suspension travel than the T7 but the forks are kind of soft and lacked adjustability. The T7 feels smaller, lighter, more nimble and more aggressive than the F800GS. The F800GS makes more power but the motor feels kind of bland, and I never liked how it sounded. The T7 sounds really good and has a lot of smooth usable torque.

      • Thx for answer, yes I agree about the poor fork quality, I upgraded it with hyperpro progressive springs, it’s better. Not a enormous difference but you can feel it, on braking specially.
        And I agree with you on the 2 others points, sound and the motor a bit bland! I think it will be my last season with it 🙂

  9. If weight is your primary concern, there are always the sub-500cc adventure bikes out there, or do your adventuring on a 450cc street-legal trail bike. Want even lighter? How about the CRF250L Rally, smaller DX’s & XT’s, etc? Either way requires compromises: Power/Agility/Comfort/Load capacity, etc. I’ve owned 3 KX450’s and find myself riding my T7 much in the way I rode those 3 green bikes off pavement, and in similar types of terrain. (short of tight single-track) At around 425# unloaded, it’s surprisingly agile.

  10. Rob, thanks for the review. This is a bike my friends and I have been waiting for. I am a former Desert racer and Score Baja series racer from the 1980s. I currently ride a HD and a street legal WR 450 which is very well equiped. I am a short rider and my WR is professionally lowered 25mm. I would have no issues accessorizing this bike to meet my needs. Its on the top of my list for my next bikes. I love simplicity! Thanks again!

  11. Hi Bob, do you think the T7 with the rally seat is suitable for a 6 foot 5 inch rider? Or would the Super Tenere be the better option for somebody my size?

    • I think you would fit fine on the T7 with the Rally Seat. The Super Tenere is a completely different bike designed more for long-range touring and light off-road riding. If you are looking for something that is smaller, lighter and easier to maneuver off-road, the T7 is the way to go. Another good off-road bike that fits big guys well is the KTM 1090 Adventure R or 1290 Adventure R.

  12. This might be the closest KLR replacement to date, but it’s not the KLR replacement “we” wanted. The T7 sounds like a darn good replacement to those who view the KLR as a semi-lightweight ADV bike, and heck maybe semi-lightweight adv IS a klr’s ideal usage, but TONS (and I mean that by weight and number) of KLR owners use our pigs mainly as dual sports! From the dual sport perspective, I see basically zero ways in which the T7 has improved upon the KLR, other than more power. To the dual sporting side of KLRdome, a heavier “replacement” is a replacement NOT. Yes, more power is fine, but not at the expensive of the one thing that reaaaaally holds the KLR back off road!? Maybe weight is just the one thing new technology can’t fix, and more cylinders will always mean more weight…I’d just always assumed the REAL KLR replacement would be be a little lighter than the OG, with similar wind protection, same huge fuel range, BETTER stock suspension, and yes sure more power (and better brakes.) The T7 checked the power and brake box while flunking the weight and suspension and range box, so whyyyy are we supposed to all throw our hands up like He hath cometh??

      • It might sound like that’s all I’m saying, but I’d actually recommend YOU ride a KLR extensively off road, list its shortcomings, and then tell me that something even heavier, with equally crappy suspension is “the” fix for what ails ya…

    • I’ve composed myself, so let me just state more clearly – the KLR’s roots, it’s DNA, is dual-sport. It evolved to be the most highway comfortable/capable “dual-sport,” full stop. The KLR has always been measured against the XRL, the DR, recently the WRR…its competition has always been lighter, slightly simpler, more dirt bike-like, and it would behoove the gen3 KLR (and all of us!) to continue to measure itself against such simple and lightweight competition. Different story with the T7, its DNA is that of a street bike, it’s competitors are ADV TOURING bikes, things so grossly heavy and complicated – that 450lbs with 4gallon of fuel seems like a trials bike by comparison. The fact that the T7 and an imaginary gen3 KLR might looks similar is a matter of convergent evolution, but the two bikes are different species to begin with, and the difference is vitally important! I hope and I pray the gen3 KLR will be built up from a dual sport bloodline, and not built down from a street bike lineage. Please mamma Kawasaki, DONT measure yourself against the grossly overweight and over powered super-bike-on-stilts world and please do measure yourself against the dual sports world upon which the KLR grew up feasting!!

  13. hahaha. OK, Champ. I’m no stranger to the KLR off-road, having ridden 3 of then into the ground. Actually, the T7 is “the” fix for what ails me…which is why I bought one. Is it heavier? I would not have noticed because it sure feels lighter and way more nimble. “equally crappy suspension” hahaha…you are terribly wrong on that one…ask Pol Tarres what he thinks hahaha. Frankly, the weight of the KLR never bothered me. As long as I could pick it up fully loaded, I’m happy. If I want a “light bike”, I’ll take my WR450. You sound like a CB500X Rally Raid kinda guy…that might be “the” fix for what ails you…

  14. “The KLR DNA is dual-sport and the T7 DNA is road bike” hahaha. …and yet the T7 is a MUCH more capable off-road AND on-road machine… You’re just making stuff up to justify your asinine opinions.

    • You’re taking it all so perfectly personally Carl, I love it! Now before you get too much spittle on your lip missing the point about the KLR and your new bike and decide to lash out at the wife when she calls you for dinner, let’s get one thing straight – there’s no question the T7 is a great bike – on that we front we actually don’t disagree. Better street bike than the old KLR? Without the faintest glimmer of a doubt. Make you feel more like you’re racing Baja while you’re actually just doing 3rd gear on a heavily maintained forest service road? Yes, absolutely. More off-road capable?? Have you even seeeeen what a trials champion can do on one!? Bahahaha, you should see what the pro Stuntrz can do on a K1600GT!! Truth is, I’ve seen one of the local boys put an aftermarket suspended gen2 KLR as far up in the air as anything in the Pol Tarres trials stunt flick, and I’d be willing to bet ol’Pol could manage nearly identical stunts on nearly any ol’pig, heck imagine what he could do on a DR or XRL. No Carl, the places the KLR struggles, where it gets stuck and it’s off-road chops become a trail liability, THAT hasn’t been addressed by the T7.

  15. hahaha. Clearly, I’m not the one taking this personally! Like I said: “You’re just making stuff up to justify your asinine opinions.” Thanks for proving my point X3. Your internet expert bloviating bravado is so…common.

  16. Carl, I want to ride my dual sport like its an ADV bike, and I think that’s fundamentally different than riding an ADV bike like its a dual sport…we may never actually agree on which approach is better (and you may never manage to conceptualize the difference), but irregardless I just hope the KLR 3.0 is more of the former and less of the latter half of the equation.

  17. Why are you being so aggressive and confrontational? It’s just a bike. You’re splitting hairs and arguing semantics and descending into ad hominem. You should really chill out.

  18. What tire pressure did you run? I’m looking for a good compromise for both street / fire road use. I am currently running 28 psi front and rear.

    • We ran the recommended pressure on the street and dropped down to around 26-28 on the dirt. 28-30 is a good range if you are transitioning between street and dirt fairly often during your trip. If I am going on the highway for more than 40 minutes, I’ll typically air up to save the tires.

  19. Pingback: Watch: 2021 Yamaha Tenere 700 Tested – Bikers Connection

  20. How would it be compared to the F850 gs, in terms of off-road riding? Yes, the BMW is much expensive, but they doesn’t seem to be very diferent in speks. Maybe BMW have better suspension,… but what about handling…? Thank’s very much. Nice review!

    • Hey Josep. There is quite a bit of difference between the Tenere 700 and the F850GS. The T7 is about 50 pounds lighter and feels significantly smaller. The handling of the T7 feels much more like a dirt bike than the F850GS off-road. It is a lot more nimble in the dirt too. Suspension travel is about the same but the BMW does have better bump absorption. Thank you!

  21. I do believe that this is one of the top two ADV bikes out there. But as a world traveler it is not for me. I was going to say that the 4.2 gal tank is a joke, but in reality it is a no laughing matter. Yes I know that some people have used it for transcontinental travel, easy to do in the US because you are never kore than may be 50-100 miles away from a gas station, but out in the boonies in some third world countries, a tank that small is something to worry about. A serious problem unless you carry an extra tank. Which takes up room for other important things. Which rules the bike out for me. A real shame because it is a very capable bike.

    But I get it, Yamaha wanted to keep the weight down. If they had put a 6.1 gal tank like in the KLR650 or 6.5 gal as in the Africa Twin Adventure, that bike would weight in more than the KLR. A bike that so many people criticize for being “too heavy.” What a joke, because the Basic KLR model is only 4 lbs heavier than the T7, and that is while carrying almost two gals more of fuel.

    • What is lacks in fuel capacity is EASILY mitigated. Probably gets close to the range of the KLR anyway with stock capacities. Non-issue. Next…

  22. Pingback: 2021 Yamaha Tenere 700 Review | Road and Off-Road Test | Driving Tips


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