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ADV NewsOld Meets New In This Stunning Yamaha XTZ 750 Super Tenere Build

Old Meets New In This Stunning Yamaha XTZ 750 Super Tenere Build

 Colombian adventurer builds an homage to Yamaha’s Dakar Rally golden era.

Published on 11.26.2019

It seems to be the trend lately for manufacturers to release new adventure bike models with retro styling that pay tribute to the Dakar-replica adventure bikes of the early 90s. Colombian adventure rider, Dakar racer, bike builder, and adventure-parts maker Marco Saldarriaga, decided to take the opposite approach, restoring and upgrading an older Adventure Bike from that golden era, to bring it up to modern standards of performance. 

He started with a well-used 1991 Yamaha XTZ 750 Super Ténéré, a bike with firm roots in the Paris-Dakar Rally being based on the race-winning YZE750T. He then stripped it down to the frame and improved or renewed virtually everything about the bike. The result is this incredible piece of eye candy — the Yamaha T7.5 Super Ténéré.

Yamaha XTZ 750 Super Tenere

North American readers are excused for not knowing that Yamaha ever made a sub-liter, parallel twin Super Ténéré because the bike was never sold here. Everyone else will recognize the machine as an homage to Yamaha’s golden days of desert racing.

Original 1991 Yamaha XTZ 750 Super Ténéré Marco Saldarriaga started with.

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After acquiring the bike, Saldarriaga fired up the recently-overhauled engine to make sure everything was in order. Then he quickly reduced the whole bike to a pile of parts. Some were replaced, some were sent off to be powder coated. He repainted the engine and after fitting new carburetor intake boots, oil lines and other hardware, it looks like a zero-mile unit from 1991. 

Yamaha XTZ 750 Super Tenere

Yamaha has long since stopped supporting the bike, so some parts just aren’t available. That meant Saldarriaga, who owns a dual sport parts manufacturer in Colombia called Mastech, had to make things like wheel spacers, pistons for the brake calipers and a replacement cooling pipe. In fact, his custom bits are found all over the bike: radiator guard, bash plate, engine guard and luggage racks designed to work with his company’s own hard luggage.

Rear wheel on the XTZ 750 Super Tenere

He binned the stock rear shock and replaced it with an Ohlins S46DR1 unit custom valved for the application, and laser cut a set of custom dog bones to raise the rear of the bike 20mm. Of course a top-shelf rear suspension demands an equivalent set up in the front, so on went a set of Ohlins RXF 48 forks. He sourced an aftermarket triple clamp, intended for the more common XTZ 660 Tenere, from the German company OTR. The only adaptation needed to make it work was the addition of a 5mm spacer in the lower bearing. 

The front wheel is from a KTM 450 Rally replica Saldarriaga ran in 2014 Dakar, updated with a new 300mm disc and Brembo calipers sourced from a KTM 690 Enduro.  Keeping the mud in check, is a carbon-fiber front fender from Perfect Fairings. And an Arrow aftermarket exhaust system helps the weight significantly.

By building a custom mount, he was able to add an Ohlins steering stabilizer to the package. But one change up front necessitated another, as is usually the case, and soon he found himself designing new ways to mount the ignition switch, choke cable and steering stops. It’s a testament to his skills that they all look stock.

T7.5 Super Tenere LED lights

He also upgraded the lights to 5.75-inch twin LED units, but you know those didn’t just bolt in to a 28-year-old bike without some fabrication work. The same is true for the dash. Marco wanted to keep the clean, classic look while integrating modern digital instruments, which he accomplished by building a new dash and incorporating a digital tach and water temp display, along with a GPS-based speedometer/odometer. Larger Yamaha handlebars, carbon-fiber handguards with integrated signals and new mirrors finished the cockpit.

Bodywork was the final step. After making sure the the parts were perfect, Saldarriaga chose a classic white paint scheme with black and gold accents. The result is a bike that looks like a classic Paris-Dakra-era bike, yet modern and capable. As he said on his website when unveiling the result of countless hours wrenching, “Now you have to hold your breath and see the final bike.” It’s a stunning blend of old and new, form and function.

To see the detailed build process and evolution go to perfect-fairings.com

Photos by TwentySixColombia

Author: Bob Whitby

Bob has been riding motorcycles since age 19 and working as a journalist since he was 24, which was a long time ago, let’s put it that way. He quit for the better part of a decade to raise a family, then rediscovered adventure, dual sport and enduro riding in the early 2000s. He lives in Arkansas, America’s best-kept secret when it comes to riding destinations, and travels far and wide in search of dirt roads and trails.

Author: Bob Whitby
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