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ADV NewsPol Tarres Breaks Altitude World Record On Yamaha Tenere 700

Pol Tarres Breaks Altitude World Record On Yamaha Tenere 700

The trials champ reaches new heights on his twin-powered adventure bike.

Published on 05.21.2022

Keeping up with trials champ Pol Tarres and all the crazy things he does with his Tenere 700s —  a new build each year — is a steady job. Just a few weeks ago he was competing in the Tunisia Desert Challenge on Yamaha’s new Tenere World Raid Team, and now we see he’s ridden his personal T7 up a mountain in the Andes to break a Guinness World Record for reaching the highest altitude on a twin-cylinder motorcycle. 

The resulting video, Terrible 7, is the first time we’ve seen the super athletic Spaniard approach the limits of his physical prowess. There’s a lot of heavy breathing, just as you’d expect from a rider slogging a 700cc adventure bike up miles of steep bottomless shale and heavy loose rocks to reach an altitude of 20,203 feet (6157.5 m). 

Pol Tarres Breaks High Altitude World Record on a twin-cylinder motorcycle

Anyone who follows Pol knows he’s always up for a challenge. Enabling his wild endeavors is a full entourage of creatives known as Trece Racing Society, which includes The Who production company, aka brothers Javi and Mito Echevarría, who brought fans the dreamlike, stunt-studded Seeker video series.


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The idea for a vertical challenge came more easily than finding a big enough break in Pol’s busy rally schedule to travel to Argentina and attempt to summit Mt. Mercedario, the 8th highest peak in the Andes. Mercedario hadn’t been conquered on a motorcycle, with several other altitude world record rides having taken place on the more accessible volcano Ojo del Salado, which resides on the Argentina-Chile border. 

Yes, there have been other riders crazy enough to throttle a motorcycle to altitudes where the human body undergoes enough of an atmospheric pressure change to cause a variety of health complications, including pulmonary edema, brain damage and death. Swiss rider, Jiri Zak, claimed the world record for highest altitude on a motorcycle, reaching 21,476 (6546m) on his KTM 450 EXC-F in Feb 2020.  As for highest altitude on a twin-cylinder bike, that record had been held by Chilean enduro rider Fabio Mossini, who reached 19,570 feet (5965 meters) on an Africa Twin DCT back in 2017. 

Pol Tarres Breaks High Altitude World Record on Yamaha Tenere 700

In the beginning of the video we’re treated to a recap of some of Pol’s most astounding T7 rides, including stunts that redefined the perceived limitations of consumer-level adventure bikes. Then, as we move into his new challenge, we see right away how much the crew is affected by the altitude as they struggle to make their way from the 1st base camp at nearly 9845 feet (3000 meters) to the intermediate base camp at 14,764 feet (4500 meters). “The main purpose of our expedition was to test the bike and the rider in the toughest conditions possible,” says Pol, who took off from the intermediate base camp on his own, trying to get the Tenere as close as possible to Mercedario’s summit.  

Pol Tarres Breaks High Altitude World Record on Yamaha Tenere 700

It’s obvious nothing was easy about this challenge, especially since Pol had no experience with high altitude riding and didn’t go through any special training, as other riders had, including Jiri Zak, who trained for eight months ahead of his ride, including stints in a hyperbaric oxygen therapy chamber. 

So no one knew how Pol’s body would react to such an intense physical challenge at extremely high altitude, or how the Tenere would fare in such extremes. In fact, the engineer who redialed the T7’s injection mapping ahead of the run (from the standard 5500 to 8000m) didn’t think the bike was going to be able handle the harsh conditions. 

Pol Tarres Breaks High Altitude World Record on Yamaha Tenere 700

Well, as in life, there are times not knowing what you’re getting yourself into is best, otherwise you’d turn tail and run. The Spanish crew, which was joined by local guides from Inka Expeditions, as well as a doctor who would monitor and treat Pol and his crew for potential physical distress, struggled with the altitude just getting to base camp. 

Pol Tarres Breaks High Altitude World Record on Yamaha Tenere 700

Aside from the physical stress caused by a fast gain in altitude, Pol and his bike were severely hindered by deep shale-like gravel laced with sharp rocks. High speeds weren’t achievable on such a steep, loose grade, and the bike was constantly sinking into the sandy gravel, shredding the rear knobby long before he was close to reaching a record-breaking altitude. “I’m going up, but it’s extremely difficult, ” says Pol of the terrain as he leaves the bike to “sleep” alone on the mountain while he retreats back to base camp to recharge for another attempt the following day. 

In addition to the tire-eating terrain, there was also an unexpectedly high fuel draw caused by the remapped bike breathing so hard in the soft, steep, shaley soup, prompting crew members to ferry bottles of petrol to the bike. The grueling terrain and inconsistent momentum also put huge demands on the clutch, worrying Pol, though it did hold up. 

Pol Tarres Breaks High Altitude World Record on Yamaha Tenere 700
Pol Tarres Breaks High Altitude World Record on twin-cylinder adventure motorcycle.

We recently reported on this particular T7 build, a bike reimagined from the ground up by Dakar racer and FIM 500cc Baja World Champion, Manuel Lucchese. In addition to a carbon fiber skin and other cosmetic goodies, the Yamaha received an Outback Motortek crash bar set and custom bash plate, Mitas knobbies, new gearing and all-new suspension consisting of a custom-built 48mm fork from KYB that provides a custom travel length of 270mm and a Tractive rear shock from Rally Raid that offers 230mm of travel, an additional 30mm over stock.

Pol Tarres Breaks High Altitude World Record on twin-cylinder adventure motorcycle.

In fact, Pol’s new Yamaha killed the world record challenge despite taking an extreme pounding on the final sections. “I would never imagine a bike could resist so much!” said Pol, who pats the tank of his T7 like its the back of a best friend when he arrives at the El Diente del Mercedario, the mountain’s “tooth,” which isn’t the summit he was shooting for, but is high enough to break the altitude record for a twin. 

By the time Pol calls it quits, it’s hard to tell who’s more spent, the rear knobby or the rider. “It’s been an insanely challenging effort,” he says through ragged breath. He was using oxygen during the last part of the ascent, but said it hardly helped, acknowledging that the challenge would have been much easier had he had time to acclimate.  

Pol Tarres Breaks High Altitude World Record on twin-cylinder adventure motorcycle.

Pol says he burned 20,000 calories a day on Mercedario and temperatures at the higher altitudes dipped as low as -20c. “I was sweating yet freezing. But then breathtaking views revealed themselves. I’ve never felt so small in my whole life,” he says of being alone, racing up the vast, monochromatic mountain. 

As Pol watchers expect, the last five or so minutes of the video are credits over lots of fun b-roll that delivers a behind-the-scenes look at Pol and his Trece Racing Society friends, like actor Ahikar Azcona, who describes his best pal as a titan. “Anyone else would try this for ten minutes and turn back home.” 

Pol Tarres Breaks High Altitude World Record on twin-cylinder adventure motorcycle.

More to Come!

Filmmaker Javi Echevarría  says they learned so much about high altitude adventuring that Pol and the crew will soon be heading back to the mountains for more mischief. Also, for Seeker fans, he let ADV Pulse know there will be a new release before the end of the year featuring  “a very special new Tenere.”

Photos by Javi Echevarría.

Author: Jamie Elvidge

Jamie has been a motorcycle journalist for more than 30 years, testing the entire range of bikes for the major print magazines and specializing in adventure-travel related stories. To date she’s written and supplied photography for articles describing what it’s like to ride in all 50 states and 43 foreign countries, receiving two Lowell Thomas Society of American Travel Writer’s Awards along the way. Her most-challenging adventure yet has been riding in the 2018 GS Trophy in Mongolia as Team AusAmerica’s embedded journalist.

Author: Jamie Elvidge
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3 thoughts on “Pol Tarres Breaks Altitude World Record On Yamaha Tenere 700

  1. This is truly kinda mental. I live in the central CO Rockies at 8500 ft., and have lived as high as 10,550 ft just outside of Leadville. I’ve summited numerous “14ers”, and still do 1 or 2 a year, some of which can really take it out of you. It’s not just the fact that Pol was bagging over 20,000 ft. that makes this remarkable (and scary) but the fact that it is not only the altitude but the rate at which you gain it that puts you at risk of potentially fatal HAPE or HACE. Impressed: and glad to hear that neither Pol or anyone with him suffered anything too serious.

  2. The “bikes” (plural, because they usually don’t last long) he rides are only T-7’s by name. The motor mapping, cams etc. are different from any stock T-7, so is the complete suspension setup. His bikes are usually somewhere in the mid to upper 300 pound range and let’s not forget his riding pedigree. It’s like Chris Birch riding one of the KTM’s or Jimmy Lewis on a BMW. To suggest that the standard T-7 is as capable a bike, is ludicrous. I find a stock T-7 rather uninspiring. Solid, yes… but very boring… as for the altitude record: Who cares? It’s just another publicity stunt, never to be attempted in any useful manner in real life. Society is too bored. Go out and ride… yourself.

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