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ADV NewsWatch: 2021 Yamaha Tenere 700 Tested

Watch: 2021 Yamaha Tenere 700 Tested

We share our thoughts after getting some seat time on the new T7.

Published on 12.03.2020

A revolution is happening in the Adventure Motorcycle category. Riders have been clamouring for adventure bikes that are smaller, lighter, and more off-road focused, that can also travel longer distances comfortably. Now manufacturers are finally starting to listen. With its smooth yet powerful 689cc parallel-twin engine, compact rally-bred chassis, 452-pound wet weight and fully-adjustable suspension riding on 21″/18″ spoked wheels, the new Tenere 700 is clearly a part of the movement.

After what seemed like endless teasers, the Tenere 700 finally became available for sale last year in Europe and arrived this year here in North America as a 2021 model. With the release of the T7, Yamaha tries to hit the sweet spot in the segment by offering a capable performer, both on and off-road, that comes with a simplified electronics package and affordable price tag. Clearly the new Tenere 700 ticks a lot of boxes, but does it hit the mark? After several days of hard riding on some of our favorite test grounds, we put the Tenere 700 through its paces to see if it just might be the unicorn bike many of us have been longing for.

2021 Yamaha Tenere 700 Tested
2021 Yamaha Tenere 700 Review

In this video, we give a full rundown of the key features and core technology of the bike, as well as our seat-of-the-pants perspective on it’s performance after exploring the Tenere’s capabilities on a range of different terrain. The analysis also covers how it matches up with other dirt-capable ADVs in this growing middleweight segment. In addition, we share our thoughts on where Yamaha might have missed the mark or could use further improvements. 

Thanks for checking out the video and leave us your thoughts in the comments below. For those of you who prefer to read, you can check out our full review article of the 2021 Yamaha Tenere 700.


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Photos by Stephen Gregory

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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19 thoughts on “Watch: 2021 Yamaha Tenere 700 Tested

  1. I think a unicorn would be a modern 500cc bike that weighed in around 330 wet that could handle long distances on the interstate and off road with 6k oil changes. Suzuki is probably the closest with the DRZ400 but they need to update with abs, 6 speed gear box, FI etc.

    • Hey Joe. Yeah, the DRZ would probably be the closest. But by the time you added a windscreen, wider seat and larger fuel tank… all that equipment would probably put it at about 350 pounds wet. It would be nice to have a mildly-tuned enduro option with FI and a 6 speed though. Something that is smooth at 70ish mph in top gear. Suzuki should do it!

  2. Like just about any other test, this test was lacking in criticism. Yamaha made some design and finishing decisions that are questionable in my eyes.
    Which is a real shame since i was looking forward to this bike since the day they showed the T7 teaser, which made me apply for a test ride at my local bike shop.
    When they finally got their hands on one, i got excited for that test ride. But after visually inspecting the bike, i declined for the test ride.
    I still think the Tenere 700 is right at the top of the modern middle weight ADV class and i hope that Yamaha never stops the development of this bike!

  3. Pingback: Watch: 2021 Yamaha Tenere 700 Tested - ADVENTURE & OVERLAND MOTORCYCLE TRAVEL

  4. One of the best reviews on this bike. Thank you for going over some of the limitations and where the bike excels. Excellent analysis!

  5. Spot on review. I have 5,000 varied miles on mine (MABDR, CABDR, lots of road miles) and this review mirrors my views. Great tracable power, handles technical stuff with ease, great nimbleness on trails and handles high speeds well. Suspension is soft when hitting high speed whoop type sections. Rear brakes are soft and without good feel. Front brakes are adequate. And it is a pure blast to ride. I love my 1090 but this is now my go to bike when doing adventure rides that promise to be challenging.

  6. Last week I had the opportunity to take a friend’s new Tenere 700 out for a full day in the mountains of Chiang Rai Thailand – highways, twistee mountain roads, broken rutted concrete and dirt. Let me be clear, I ride street bikes and adventure bikes not dirt bikes. The Tenere 700 is very basic – too heavy high center of gravity- tall even for me at 181cm tall. No traction control for street and mountain roads. It’s basically a big heavy dirt bike. Fun? Yes and certainly fast enough on the highway. Glad I had the opportunity to try it but I will be getting a Tiger 900.

    • Yeah, I think for people coming from an enduro background, it makes a lot of sense. But if you are coming from a street perspective, it may feel too basic. I can see why the Tiger would have more appeal for you.

  7. Went and checked it out when it finally got to my local dealer. Great looking bike. If it would’ve come out a year earlier, I would’ve bought it. But I wanted a bike last year, so bought a f850gs.. Like it a lot, but it is HEAVY, I’ve too much invested in it now to get rid of it. But I think Yamaha is on the right track. I like the simplicity of it. The BMW just has to many gimmicks.

  8. Rob I really enjoyed the review… Just wish you would have gone into more detail about the options available to outfit for long adventure rides besides your mention of a rear top rack. Nothing available for hard or soft side cases? Guess I’ll have to go elsewhere to get that info…

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