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ADV NewsMid-Size ADV Matchup: Yamaha Tenere 700 vs KTM 790 Adventure R

Mid-Size ADV Matchup: Yamaha Tenere 700 vs KTM 790 Adventure R

Two of the most athletic ADV Bikes in the mid-size category go head-to-head.

Published on 12.16.2020

The winds of change have been blowing through the adventure touring segment in recent years. The iconic image of a 1200cc machine, clad with aluminum panniers, has lost some of its luster. Many Adventure Riders have been yearning for something smaller, lighter, and more capable in the dirt, yet with enough comfort to enjoy long-range travel. The sweet spot for many seems to be around that 700-850cc twin cylinder middleweight range, where there is good potential for a balance between nimble off-road handling and smooth, effortless power for the super highways. Two brands that have been among the first to answer the call have been KTM with the 790 Adventure R and Yamaha with the Tenere 700.

Both the 790 Adventure R and Tenere 700 follow a similar mold with Rally-inspired styling, dirt-friendly 21”/18” wheels, off-road friendly one-piece seats, a parallel-twin engine, and a lightweight, compact chassis that pulls technology from each company’s respective off-road racing programs. These are two of the most athletic mid-sized adventure models available, and they are well-rounded enough to handle long slogs on the highway or miles of twisty bends without breaking a sweat. On the surface there are several similarities, but the deeper you look the more they differ.

Yamaha Tenere 700 vs KTM 790 Adventure R comparo

Tale Of The Tape

Looking at the specs sheets, we can see some separation in their designs – differences which give us some insights into each company’s philosophy for addressing this evolving market. Starting with the engines, the KTM LC8c motor has a 110cc size advantage over Yamaha’s CP2 powerplant, along with 23 more ponies and roughly 15 ft-lbs of additional torque. But size isn’t everything when it comes to performance in the dirt, and the Tenere 700 has a longer-stroke motor that focuses its power in the low to midrange compared to the faster-revving, aggressively-tuned KTM mill.

Yamaha Tenere 700 review
KTM 790 Adventure R review
One of the major differences between these two bike designs is how they carry their fuel. The Yamaha’s fuel tank carries it up high on the bike while KTM stores it down low with its signature tank bulges.

The Tenere 700 also weighs in at around 20 fewer pounds than the 790 Adventure R on a full tank. Although, some of that weight can be attributed to the larger fuel tank of the 790R, which supports 1.1 gallons more capacity. Where that fuel is carried also differs, with the Yamaha putting it up high on the bike for a lighter handling feel and KTM storing it down low for slow-speed stability.


The most notable difference between these two bikes though is probably in the price tag, with the T7 coming in at $3,500 USD less than the 790R. Yamaha’s cost-cutting decisions (or KTM’s increased spending decisions) are revealed in the way these bikes are dressed. Yamaha has bet that a stripped-down, simple design, with few electronics, is what customers are looking for. Alternatively, KTM went cutting edge on their tech-laden 790R to maximize performance and versatility. For example, the Yamaha’s primary electronic gizmos are limited to a basic ABS on/off button and old-school LCD display, while the KTM is loaded with a color TFT screen, slipper clutch with electronically-induced auto blipping on downshifts, lean-sensitive ABS, 9-level adjustable traction control, four configurable rider modes, and more.

The KTM is equipped with a color TFT display to configure ABS, TC and Ride Modes, and can be connected to your phone via Bluetooth, while the Yamaha uses a basic LCD screen with an ABS ‘off’ push button.

Along with the electronics, the KTM gets higher-spec componentry that includes a beefier suspension with 48mm forks (vs. 43mm on the T7) and a PDS rear shock, both adapted from KTM’s off-road racing line. The 790R offers an additional 1.2 inches of bump-gobbling suspension travel in front and 1.6 inches more in the rear as well, along with an inch of extra ground clearance. The spoke wheels on the 790 Adventure R are also tubeless and it’s windscreen is 2-position adjustable with tools. Other componentry differences can be seen in the brakes with the Tenere 700 sporting 282mm dual front discs and a single 245mm disc in the rear, whereas the 790 Adventure gets dual radially-mounted 320mm front discs and a 260mm rear disc for more bite.

Up front, the KTM gets dual radially-mounted, 4-piston calipers on 320mm discs while the Yamaha sports twin 2-piston floating calipers on 282mm discs.

You can start to see a tale of two machines with two very different personalities appear. But let’s step away from the spreadsheets for a moment and look at how the 790 Adventure R and Tenere 700 compare in the real world.

First Impressions

Thanks to our friends over at Camel ADV, we were able to get in some early testing on the Yamaha Tenere 700 before it was made available here in the U.S. They imported the bike to North America to get the jump on developing new aftermarket products, and they were generous enough to lend the stock bike to us for a few days of hard testing for this comparo. We also had a chance to test the Tenere 700 once again, after it officially arrived in the states. 

Yamaha Tenere 700 vs KTM 790 Adventure R comparo

Having several adventures under my belt riding the 790 Adventure R, I was already familiar with its nuances and intricacies. The 790R had set a new standard for the segment with its lightweight, compact chassis, yet now sitting next to the Tenere 700, the 790R looked relatively hefty. Throwing a leg over the T7 for the first time confirmed what my eyes were seeing: the Tenere 700 feels even smaller and lighter than the 20-pound weight difference would indicate.

The KTM 790R has fairly neutral ergo measurements at all of its touch points (seat, bars, pegs), while the tall bar position on the Tenere 700 had me wondering if Camel ADV had installed a set of aftermarket risers; they hadn’t. Standing on the pegs, the tall bar position felt perfectly suited for my 6’2” frame, and even better than the 790R. A relatively low seat compared to the high bars made it feel almost chopper like in the seated position though. The T7’s fuel tank shape also puts you further back from the bars, while the 790R lets you scooch up on the tank for a more dirtbike-like seated position.

In the Dirt

For our back-to-back testing in the dirt, we mounted up a fresh set of Shinko MX 216 DOT knobbies to explore the full off-road potential of both machines. With the Shinkos installed, the Tenere floated effortlessly over deep sand ruts and it was able to easily switch lines without getting jostled around. Rear traction was also excellent, lessening any need for traction control.

Yamaha Tenere 700 vs KTM 790 Adventure R comparo Shinko MX 216
We spooned on a set of Shinko MX 216 knobby tires in sizes 80/100-21 and 140/80-18 for our back-to-back off-road test.

Riding the Tenere 700 on a separate occasion with the stock Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR tires was a different experience, particularly in sand where the more street-oriented Pirellis have a tendency to tuck the front. Also, rear tire spin is a more frequent occurrence with the Pirellis, making the absence of traction control more apparent. With the KTM’s stock Metzeler Karoo III Tires, it had more grip in the sand than the Pirellis. Yet regardless of tire choice, the KTM’s aggressive power delivery can be a handful without the aid of traction control.

The Tenere’s engine feels very thumper like, making good power down in the low to midrange with a soft hit. The KTM has its power focused more in the mid to upper RPMs and revs up quickly, which can catch you off guard if you get aggressive with the throttle. Which is better? Depends on how you like to ride. The KTM gives you instant response and that pop to get the front end light or to steer with the rear, while the Tenere is more tractor like, always giving you a linear, smooth surge of predictable power.

Yamaha Tenere 700 vs KTM 790 Adventure R comparo
Yamaha Tenere 700 vs KTM 790 Adventure R Shinko

The KTM does have a sophisticated traction control system to help tame some of that arm-ripping power, and it’s actually very good off-road. Typically, level 1 is about the only usable setting for most adjustable traction control systems in the dirt, but the KTM lets you put it anywhere in the 1-5 range on loose terrain and it will modulate the throttle better than most wrists can. No doubt KTM’s TC system will be appreciated by new off-road riders but even experienced off-road riders will find it useful.

Riding the Tenere 700 on tighter, technical trails, it feels very nimble for a twin-powered adventure bike. Up on the pegs, it has a ‘Rally-Bike’ feel and the soundtrack coming from the exhaust is amazing to listen to. With its lighter steering and flickability, you can pick your lines precisely with the T7. The KTM feels a little bigger, heavier and less agile when navigating a fast, rocky trail or choosing an ideal line on a rut-covered hill. 

Yamaha Tenere 700 review
On tighter trails, the Yamaha feels more nimble than the KTM.

One of the first things you notice on the Tenere is how plush the suspension feels over small chop and rocks compared to the KTM. Playing with the KTM’s clickers can help remove some of this harshness, but it’s hard to hide it completely. Once speeds increase, the Yamaha starts to go through the suspension quickly and it can get overwhelmed and bounced off its line once the bumps get bigger. On some sharp-edged rocks, the forks will “clunk” in protest and the T7 bottoms out pretty quickly on big whoops or flat landing jumps if you are a larger rider like me (215 pounds without gear).

By comparison, KTM has a lot of bump absorption in reserve and it will rip through big whoops and rocks without complaint. What the KTM gives up in maneuverability, it gains back in being able to go straight over pretty much any nastiness is in front of it – absorbing punishment without being knocked off its line. Bottoming out on the KTM 790 Adventure R was a rare occurrence.

KTM 790 Adventure R review

The KTM definitely has the more powerful stoppers of the two bikes with a one-finger pull. The Yamaha’s on the other hand have a more average feel to them. Also, the rear brake has a tendency to lock up on steep descents. Conversely, the 790, with its slipper clutch and auto-blip downshift technology, was super smooth on technical descents. The Off-Road ABS system on the KTM is also very good, working only on the front wheel. KTM seems to have mastered this technology better than most manufacturers and it does a better job than I can do 99% of the time.

KTM 790 Adventure R review
The KTM’s 9-level adjustable traction control is surprisingly useful in technical off-road terrain.

ABS on the Tenere is a basic on/off button on the dash which is nice for simplicity’s sake. But any time the engine is restarted, you have to remember to push and hold that button again. The Tenere’s ABS is really a street-tuned system, so if you forget to turn it off, it can leave you out to dry in an emergency braking situation. On the KTM, once you engage the ‘Offroad ABS’ system (front wheel only), it stays in that configuration until you change it, and it actually works well off-road. However, if you turn Traction Control or ABS completely off, they will come back on any time the engine is turned off as well.

Yamaha Tenere 700 review

Weight balance was another area where these two bikes have very different personalities. Yamaha’s high fuel tank design helps give it a more flickable feel while the KTM’s low fuel carrying design gives it a more stable feel at slower speeds. The KTM gets knocked around less by rocks when you are chugging along at slower speed than the T7. And when it’s time to turn around on the trail, the Tenere feels like it wants to tip over. This caught me by surprise a few times until I started to anticipate it, and the behavior was more noticeable when riding with the optional “Tall” seat on the Tenere 700. Experienced riders will rarely notice the T7’s tippiness, but newer off-road riders who are learning to carry their momentum may find the T7 to be a bit more cumbersome at slower speeds than the KTM.

Timed Off-Road Test

So which of these bikes is better off-road when going all out? We went to our secret ADV Pulse desert test loop to find out. This timed course takes roughly 5 minutes to complete and features a range of different types of terrain from deep sand and big whoops, to hill climbs, steep descents and rocks over its 2.3 mile length. Not only is the course designed to test the bike’s ability to absorb punishing terrain, but it’s also a test of maneuverability and power. By pushing these bikes to their limits on a controlled course, we can better understand each model’s strengths and weaknesses. 

Yamaha Tenere 700 dirt test

After multiple timed runs were conducted on both bikes, with the same rider, on the same course, on the same day, and same tires, we had our winner. We compared the fastest times for each bike and somewhat predictably, the KTM got the better of the Yamaha in this matchup, completing the course 7 seconds faster. For comparison, in a recent test we ran the KTM 790 Adventure R versus the KTM 990 Adventure R over the same course and the 790R bested the 990R by 2 seconds.

On The Street

Accelerating from a stop light, you’d think the Tenere had the larger engine of the two. The low-end power is very impressive on the T7, giving it plenty of grunt for cruising around town or making passes in a high gear. Yamaha’s CP2 motor doesn’t mind revving out either but it feels pretty flat throughout the powerband. The acceleration doesn’t change much as revs increase, it just sounds more menacing.

KTM 790 Adventure R street test

On the other hand, the KTM comes to life in the midrange of the powerband and gets your adrenaline synapses firing when you wind it out. It’s a potent powerplant for a middleweight but it doesn’t quite have the warpspeed mode of a liter bike. Getting it to break loose or power wheelie isn’t much of a problem in Rally Mode with traction control off. Getting the Tenere to wheelie takes some body english and a good tug on the bars, and if you do give it a healthy dose of throttle coming out of a turn, it will kick out.

Flying around tight bends on the stock tires, which offer similar grip on asphalt, both bikes feel equally fast but the Tenere surprised me with how enjoyable it was to ride on twisty asphalt. The only problem is that it will start to scrape pegs sooner than the KTM, so you need to hang off the seat a bit to improve the lean angle. Also, its supple suspension does exhibit more dive and squat than the stiff KTM. Braking feel and performance of the T7 wasn’t on par with the excellent brakes of the KTM either. However, the Tenere felt even more fun to ride than the KTM in the twisties.

Yamaha Tenere 700 street test

Another surprise was how good the Tenere was on the highway. The motor is dead smooth even cruising at 75 MPH in 4th gear. The windscreen is more effective than the KTM’s at blocking wind as well. Riding with Yamaha’s optional “tall” seat during this portion of the test, it deflected most of the wind over my head. Whereas the KTM’s shorty windscreen only blocks the wind to about mustache level. Both seats were decent, but the stock T7 seat felt too low compared to the bars and it forced my legs into a more cramped knee bend.

Range would be my biggest concern with long-distance travel on the Tenere 700. It has a small 4.2 gallon tank which is able to achieve around 200 miles under optimal conditions. But when putting it through its paces in mixed riding I was only getting 37.7 mpg, which is good for about 160 miles. In contrast, the KTM would do 215+ miles regularly during our rides.

Yamaha Tenere 700 street test

The Bottom Line

Which bike reigns victorious? The KTM wins on performance, but with a $3,500 price difference, things get a bit more nuanced. Looking at it more holistically, the gap between the two lessens. Depending on your riding skill and intended usage, some features may be valued more than others.

After putting each bike through its paces, the KTM had a big advantage in more wide open high-speed desert terrain. In a more technical woodsy type terrain, the Yamaha was the more nimble of the two. In slow-speed technical terrain, it’s kind of a wash because the Tenere has a lighter feel and tractable motor, but it’s also a bit top heavy. The KTM’s engine doesn’t have as much finesse in the low-RPMs, but the bike has a lower CG for greater stability that makes it less likely you’ll dab a foot when the going gets slow.

KTM 790 Adventure R

If you like your ADV Bikes to accelerate hard, look no further than the KTM. Plus the electronics package gives you the flexibility to tame the beast, or unleash it. In the standard Offroad mode, it can be pretty docile. The safety net of usable Off-Road ABS and Traction Control systems can be a major advantage for new and experienced riders alike. 

While lacking all out performance, the Tenere does have some intangibles the KTM can’t match, and those may be some of its biggest selling points for some. Many riders are looking for something simple, stripped down and light, without extra electronics that could become a liability on the trail. Yamaha’s reputation for reliability, especially for the “Made in Japan” US models, is something highly prized. Cheaper maintenance and parts, plus valve clearance checks on the Yamaha motor every 26,600 miles (compared to 18,600 miles on the KTM) are another major bonus. A softer-edged, more forgivable nature may also be desirable.

Yamaha Tenere 700

For long-range travel, both are comfortable cruising on the highway and carrying all your gear, but the KTM has the fuel range advantage and the Yamaha has better wind protection. Adding a taller windscreen is an easy fix compared to adding a larger fuel tank though. Either bike would be a willing Sport Touring mount, and when the road ends, you’ll have no problems exploring the backcountry on dirt roads to find that idyllic camping spot. 

Personally, I’d be happy with either of these bikes as my primary motorcycle. Although, I would need to have the T7 re-sprung at the local suspension shop. However, I doubt it would be able to match the performance of the KTM in rough terrain with just stiffer springs. I’m also the type that doesn’t mind having electronic aids catching my mistakes, as long as the interference is rarely noticed and configuring things is easy to do, and the KTM does that well. 

Yamaha Tenere 700 vs KTM 790 Adventure R comparo

The KTM has a more-sophisticated and well-rounded feature set, plus there’s room to grow in ways the Tenere 700 can’t with factory optional equipment like cruise control and Bluetooth integration for those who like their gadgets. There are also a range of options readily available in the PowerParts catalog to improve performance further like the XPLOR ‘Pro’ suspension upgrade, or heavy-duty off-road wheel set. 

It all depends on what features are important to you though. The lack of electronics on the T7 is something many riders will consider a strong selling point, along with its wallet-friendly price tag. It will be interesting to see how this category continues to evolve with KTM’s move to the 890 platform and the introduction of new models from Husqvarna and potentially Aprilia coming.

Specs Comparison

ENGINE TYPE:4-stroke, 8V, DOHC Parallel twin4-stroke, 8V, DOHC Parallel twin
DISPLACEMENT:689 cc799 cc
BORE / STROKE:80 / 68.6 mm88 / 65.7 mm
CLAIMED POWER:72.4 hp @ 8,000 rpm95 hp @ 8,000 rpm
CLAIMED TORQUE:50.2 ft-lbs @ 6,600 rpm64.9 ft-lbs @ 6,600 rpm
CLAIMED DRY WEIGHT:N/A417 lbs (189kg)
CLAIMED WET WEIGHT452 lbs (205 kg)N/A
1ST GEAR RATIO:13:3713:37
2ND GEAR RATIO:17:3417:34
3RD GEAR RATIO:19:3120:31
4TH GEAR RATIO:20:2622:28
5TH GEAR RATIO:22:2424:26
6TH GEAR RATIO:28:2723:22
STEERING HEAD ANGLE:63.0 degrees63.7 degrees
TRAIL:4.1″ (105mm)4.3″ (110.4mm)
FRONT SUSPENSION:KYB 3mm inverted fork, fully-adjustableWP XPLOR 48mm inverted fork, fully-adjustable
REAR SUSPENSION:KYB single shock, fully-adjustable w/remote preload adjusterWP XPLOR PDS single shock, fully-adjustable
FRont SUSPENSION TRAVEL:8.3″ (210mm)9.45″ (240mm) 
Rear SUSPENSION TRAVEL:7.9″ (200mm)9.45″ (240mm)
WHEELBASE:62.8″ (1595mm)60.16″ (1528mm)
WHEELS FRONT/REAR:Spoked 1.85×21″; 4.0×18″Spoked 2.50×21″; 4.50×18″
TIRES FRONT/REAR:90/90-21″; 150/70-18″90/90-21″; 150/70-18″
FRONT BRAKES:2 x 2-piston floating caliper, brake disc Ø 282 mm; switchable ABS2 x radially mounted 4-piston caliper, brake disc Ø 320 mm; lean-sensitive/adjustable/switchable ABS
REAR BRAKES:1 x 1-piston floating caliper, brake disc Ø 245 mm; switchable ABS1 x 2-piston floating caliper, brake disc Ø 260 mm; lean-sensitive/adjustable/switchable ABS
SEAT HEIGHT:34.4″ (874mm)34.65″ (880mm)
GROUND CLEARANCE:9.5″ (241mm)10.35″ (263mm)
FUEL CAPACITY:4.2 US Gallon (16L)5.3 US Gallon (20L)
SERVICE INTERVALS:Oil Change: 4,000 mi (7,000 km); Valve Clearance: 26,600 mi (42,000 km)Oil Change: 9,300 mi (15,000 km); Valve Clearance: 18,600 mi (30,000 km)
WARRANTY:1 year (Limited Factory Warranty)1 year or 12,000 miles
MSRP ($USD):$9,999$13,499

Photos by Sam Bendall, Stephen Gregory, Joseph Agustin and Spencer Hill

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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46 thoughts on “Mid-Size ADV Matchup: Yamaha Tenere 700 vs KTM 790 Adventure R

  1. I think both bikes suck. They’re way too heavy. I owned a T7 for 3 weeks. I definitely prefer my 701 Husky. A little more horsepower, about a 100 pounds less in weight and way better off road. On the highway you notice the lighter weight but what’s important to you? I’ve taken the 701 on a couple of Baja trips and it’s perfect for travel like that.

    • Your rides are probably mostly off-road I’d assume. In that case, the 701 makes a lot of sense. The suspension and weight savings are a big advantage in the dirt. However, the T7’s highway comfort is way better if you need to cover a lot of miles, especially if you want to cruise at 80mph. But as you say, it all depends on what’s important to you.

      • Thanks for the reply. I agree to a point. When I’m riding around Baja I have no problem cruising at 80, except for the weight of the bike. The 701 can’t feel more solid on the highway because it’s too light. But that is a pleasant problem to deal with. It’s taking time but manufactures are coming around to the needs of riders like me that want a bike with superior off road manners.

        • Hey Douglas. Do you have a windscreen on your 701? With some wind protection, it’s probably not too bad. Riding a dirtbike on the remote highways in Baja is kinda fun in a Mad Max kind of way. Riding a dirtbike on the congested 5-lane highways in the states just feels sketch.

          • Yes I have a Mastad that only gets used on long trips like Baja. Here’s a quote I do appreciate. Walter Colebatch (Sibirsky Extreme) adventures, paraphrased: Choose a bike that will be the most fun in the challenging spots, not one that will be the most comfortable in the easy spots.

            • That’s good advice. I have ridden a 701 at 80mph on the highway, without a windscreen, and I thought I was going to get blown off the bike. I found that getting into superman position really helps though. LOL!

      • Expert comment. People ask me al the time which bike should I get. (I have 7) I tell them you have to decide what you want to do. If you can only afford 1 bike then your decision is different than mine. If you’re a Serious competitor then one bike won’t do it all and do it well. I try to tell folks go smaller not bigger. Funny thing is not One has ever listened and they ALL buy a bigger bike, then complain.

    • I almost bought a 701, but kept my DRZ400 and bought the first 790R in my area. The 790 does not suck! There are places (motocross and tight single-track) that the DRZ is the better tool for the job, but the 790R is capable of anything and blows away the DRZ on roads. My 790R has cruise control, Quickshift, caller ID/Bluetooth, ABS, gets better fuel economy than the DRZ, 250 mile range, 9 levels of traction, and better lights. Going from a dead stop to stupid speeds in Rally throttle is addictive. The 790 doesn’t need more power, but I bet the 890 would be even more addictive. And surprisingly, the 790R is just as easy to pick up after a spill as my DRZ. Now the 701 is much better than my DRZ, but the DRZ has plenty enough power in the dirt and an awesome suspension.

    • Those 2 bikes don’t suck. Your comment is as unsubstantiated as stating that a Bentley is too luxurious or an H2 Ninja is too fast. It’s something you’d expect a school kid to say just after he tells you how his daddy will beat up your daddy.
      “They are too heavy …” … for what ? For Moto-X riding ? Yes, they would be.
      For Hard enduro ? Sure….
      But those disciplines are not their primary purpose. The 701 is an enduro bike with a mf crazy big engine, and different geometry than the Dual Sports in the review. If I were to go riding outside my backyard into the mountains every day, I’d take the Husky. If I were to go on a journey with mates, along the highways through towns and then look for the trails and the paths less travelled, I’d choose the 790 if I had a pillion and the T7 if I were solo.

  2. Great article. One correction, the valve check on the KTM is 18,600 mi. Oil change is every 9,300 mi, according to the manual.

    • Although the high fuel tank on the Tenere was mentioned throughout the article It was only at the end of the test, that the Tenere was called ” Top heavy”. Thats a significant part of owning any offroad bike, or any bike. It was like the author was trying his best not to call it.

    • Hey Robert. You are correct. What each brand means by the term ‘service interval’ seems to be different. KTM’s website mentions service intervals are 9,300 miles. Drilling down into the owner’s manual, it looks like oil changes are every 9,300 miles and valve clearance checks are 18,600 mi. We’ve made this clear now in the text so there is no confusion. Glad you like the review and appreciate the feedback!

  3. I think the listed wet weights in this article are a bit off. A quick google search shows the KTM with a 2kg lighter wet weight (4.4lbs) not the 20lb heavier than claimed here. The KTM is 2kg heavier dry.

    • The claimed dry weight of 417 lbs ‘Dry Weight’ is straight from KTM’s press materials that were provided to us. They do not publish their wet weights. However, we weighed our KTM 790 Adventure R test bike fully fueled and got a wet weight of 470 pounds, roughly 20 pounds more than the Yamaha’s claimed wet weight. Not sure what Google result you were looking at but it is pretty common to see websites mix up wet and dry weights for KTM.

  4. This a good comparison! I’ve owned both bikes and this captures their character pretty well. The Yamaha motor is a gem. The KTM rider aids are great. Add 15cc of fork oil to the Yamaha forks, adjust the clickers, and the bottoming resistance is approaching the KTMs’ with far better small bump compliance. They are like two flavors of ice cream, neither is bad. They are both very good at the role they are designed for.

    I kinda think of it as the Yamaha is analog, the KTM digital. For me it came down nagging, expensive problems with the KTM, and how much time it was down for repair. The Yamaha has, to this point, been dead reliable.

  5. Is the T7 comfortable enough on the highway for 2hrs of slab to and from the dirt?
    Africa twin still seems to be the answer for my case.

    • The Yamaha needs about 30 pounds of armor before it can be ready for offroad riding. That means it it will be almost as heavy as the AT.

    • I’d say it’s comfortable enough for a few hours of slab. I primarily rode with the high seat though on the street, so I’m not sure how comfortable the standard seat would be for several hours of highway. The AT is a better road bike but the T7 was surprisingly good on the street.

  6. There are options out there to address some of the concerns on the T7. Camel has a bolt aux tank that helps with the range issues. The test on suspension, while completely accurate, you are testing the R model while the standard 790 would have put the travel closer. Though the KTM will still have better components. Rally raid make drop in suspension for the T7 which offer more travel and better valving. At that point the prices for the bikes get very close. Do you have any plans on a long term build and test of the T7?

    Great article thanks for the comparison. I found it on your Instagram account.

    • Hi Jon. Thanks for the feedback. Glad you liked the comparo. Most people were interested in seeing how the R model matched up with the T7, but after testing both bikes, it became apparent that a closer comparison would have been with the standard 790. Perhaps we’ll do a future comparo with the 890 ‘standard’ and the T7. It would be interesting to see which one is better on our timed off-road course.

  7. Well written and informative comparison of these bikes! Wondering if the change in rear tire size from the stock 150/70-18 to 140/80-18 was noticeable in seat height or overall geometry of the bikes. I ride my T7 mostly off road and the 140 is much cheaper! Thanks

  8. I dropped a tooth on the CS sprocket and it works fine, and still cruises fast. I don’t try to use it for single track. I have a TE300i for that.

  9. Very good article !, I have a ktm 790 r and I am a beginner driver, I have lowered the bike 3cm.
    the most important thing for me is that it be the easiest to ride off-road. I am considering changing it for the T7, do you think it is worth it? taking into account that I will lower the suspension of the T7 also 2cm. Thank you so much

    • Hi Jose. Why didn’t you get the standard 790 instead of the ‘R’ model? It already has the lower suspension. It’s about 1″ lower than the Tenere 700. Plus it has the lower fuel tanks for a lower center of gravity, so it should give you more confidence turning it around or going through rocks. Check out the new 890 also. Oh and thanks for the kind words on the story!

  10. Most everyone compares the KTM R but the S model should be compared to the T7 as the suspensions are more similar in travel and the price is closer. I was looking to upgrade my modded DR650 to something more substantial and sporty for street riding without sacrificing the off road capabilities. I’d been pining for the T7 for years since it was conceived but when it finally arrived I discovered it was too close in performance to my DR so went with the KTM R for it’s higher performance; it flat out rips like a sport bike when pushed. If I never had my ‘uber’ DR and was in the market for one of these, I probably would have gone with the Yamaha

  11. Great article and accurate comparison of both bikes. I wonder if Yamaha will produce 3 versions of the T-7 (like Rally/R/S). The KTM 790R Rally didn’t exist when I bought my R, but I knew I wanted the R over the S for about $1k more. If I didn’t have any bikes and had to buy one in 2021, the 890R Rally would be my first choice even if I had to rob a bank to buy one.

    • Thanks for the compliment! It would be nice if Yamaha produces a performance-focused version of the T7 with a more aggressive suspension. Something that matches up better with the performance of the KTM R models. We’ll see!

  12. The Tenere with the factory upgraded engine protection (much needed) and center stand is only 26 pounds lighter than a similarly equipped 1100cc Africa Twin “L” model with the manual trans. The AT’s perimeter frame already protects the motor better so it doesn’t need 30 pounds of extra armor hung underneath. The price is 1/3 lighter than the AT though, there is that.

  13. What a brilliant writeup !! this is by far the most unbiased, realistic detailed review of the 2 bikes that I’ve read thus far. I love my 1190 Adv R lump, but wouldn’t mind having either of these in my garage.

  14. I bought the new 890 Adventure R, and it is a amazing bike. I can’t ask for more. Sometimes I don’t understand the people. They don’t want Adventure bikes, they want Dual Sport bikes, but buy Adventure bikes and are so disappointed about the weight and how they perform off road. Get the right bike for the purpose and be happy.

    • Hey Alexander. Yes, a lot of people have unrealistic expectations of what the ideal adventure bike should be. The best solution is to have two bikes: a small dual sport and your adventure bike. But if you have to have one to do it all, either of these bikes would get the job done.

  15. Great in-depth review. I haven’t ridden the yamrmy so cant compare. I did some serious mods to my 790 including the WP Pro suspension. I’m a offroad rider/racer so this was quite a change for me. Its a new challenge to do single track on a 790 yet pretty darn fun. At 5-9 I’m vertical challenged and felt the yammy was too tall for me. Always felt the 690/701 was too heavy compared with my 500 and then we get to the 300 which is my go to bike for single track.
    Tried the 1290 for a year and it was just too tall and too heavy for me. The 790 R is a really fun bike. I bet the yammy is too. Again Super review. Happy new Year and be safe.

  16. I’d like to comment on that often read statement that more electronics mean more likely problems. Let’s take a closer look what you need for those!

    Both bikes need to be Euro5 compliant. This requires EFI, electronic engine management, ABS and onboard diagnostics. No way around that today. What electronic COMPONENTS does the KTM have, which the T700 does not have: an electronic sensor in the throttle (necessary for those riding modes, but also a traditional broken gas wire can leave you stranded if you don’t have a spare with you) and stepper motor for the flaps, an IMU sensor package for the advanced ABS system (the offroad setting is actually working great!) and that’s it. So actually not too many components that can break. I have not heard of a defective IMU so far. So it’s down to the throttle sensor and flaps control. EVERYTHING else offered are features like riding modes, ABS modes, anti-spin is software! And software does not simply break because it gets dusty, wet or shaken. The software is residing in the EMU and both bikes need to have one. So in my opinion electronic features don’t make a bike necessarily less reliable!

  17. PS: if you use the 790 R/S as a TRAVEL enduro, as the German category name “Reiseenduro” suggests, then you can get quite long with one tank. If travelling I am exploring, not racing, meaning I ride a safe speed (I am often alone out there) that allows me also to see what’s left and right of the road/track. I then consume less than 4.0l/100km which would result in a maximum reach of almost 500km, if I could squeeze the last drop of gasoline out of the tank. It can’t get better than this, if you are in the far north of Scandinavia!

  18. PS2: my own measurement of the KTM 790 Adv R weight (including some small extra lights, but I am now sure if that was with or still without center stand) is fully fuelled 212kg.

  19. I only have about 15 minutes of first-hand riding experience on the 790, and bought a T7 in June 2020. (First one delivered in CO) The 790 is a great bike. Well-appointed, nice feel. However; at $3500 more than a T7, and my long history of riding dirt with half a dozen buddies who are die-hard KTM guys; the 790 was never going to be my bike. Why? Great initial quality on KTMs, and then the nightmare begins… Less than reliable. High parts and labor costs. (Even if you do most of your own wrenching) I love ribbing my buddies with: “Orange you sorry you didn’t buy a Japanese bike?” I’ve owned 32 bikes, been riding 50 years, and the T7 might be my most very favorite scoot. It’s a riders bike. Simple. Pretty great out of the crate, and even better if you tweak it for your style and riding needs. Buy either one. Go ride.Lots.

  20. Sounds like the Tenere 700 is funner in the twisties, smoother on the hwy, more nimble in technical terrain, feels smaller and lighter than the 20lb difference and pulls like it has the bigger motor down low. ..Owners are getting 50+ mpg on the T7. btw

    I had the Ready to Race 1190 adventure . Where are you guys racing adventure bikes ? Whats the hurry ?


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