So the 2016 EIMCA season has finally drawn to a close, and now I get to sift through the preponderance of new-and-exciting items, then pick and choose my favorite bits and bobs to come out this year. A concept bike from the Tuning Fork Company floated right to the top with the rest of the cream, though I don’t really consider it a concept since Yamaha actually has a working prototype. Of course, I am referring to the T7, Yammy’s next-generation adventure bike that paradoxically borrows heavily from the simplicity of the popular and venerable XT600Z Ténéré of ’80s and ’90s fame. This is no soccer-mom adventure bike, but a true off-road capable machine that one could expect to find in serious cross-country competitions, such as the Dakar Rally for instance.

Continue reading for more on the Yamaha T7.

A Real Off-Roader

Yamaha T7 Concept
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According to Yamaha, “Many existing mid-size adventure models are perceived as being too road oriented and too sophisticated, and are unsuited to real off-road riding. The adventure world needs a new kind of motorcycle that can offer the genuine long distance versatility and pure durability of the original Ténéré, combined with contemporary design plus cutting edge engine and chassis technology.”

No kidding! Most of what passes for “adventure bikes” today wouldn’t be able to negotiate a grass median, let alone any sort of real work. Just a glance at the pragmatic design and nasty-looking knobbies is enough to know that Yamaha meant to reach back to the capabilities of the original “glorified enduro” style of adventure bike. I gotta say, few things cheese my grits quite like copying a shape and name/genre for marketing purposes, but engineering in very little in the way of real-world capability. Yammy seems to have neatly sidestepped that minefield with honest design and marketing.

Yamaha goes on to say, “This lightweight machine is based on an all new chassis that has been designed to complement a specially developed version of Yamaha’s highly acclaimed 700cc CP2 engine, delivering strong torque and an easy power delivery for perfect traction in all conditions.

Equipped with an aluminium fuel tank, 4-projector LED headlight, a carbon fairing and skidplate, and a custom made Akrapovič exhaust - as well as high specification KYB front suspension - the T7 is a vision of the ideal adventure machine, and is playing a major role in the development of Yamaha’s next generation adventure models.”

As you can see, this is no collection of bottom-shelf parts, but will likely be near the top of the Adventure range if/when it starts rolling off the production lines. Time will tell for sure, but I’m gonna’ go ahead and call it; this ride will wind up right there with the Super Ténéré, Africa Twin and Multistrada, but more on the brown and less on the black. That’s ok though, the world already has enough street-centric “Adventure bikes” that make far better urban commuters than true adventure seekers.

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TJ Hinton
TJ Hinton
T.J got an early start from his father and other family members who owned and rode motorcycles, and by helping with various mechanical repairs throughout childhood. That planted a seed that grew into a well-rounded appreciation of all things mechanical, and eventually, into a formal education of same. Though primarily a Harley rider, he has an appreciation for all sorts of bikes and doesn't discriminate against any particular brand or region of origin. He currently holds an Associate's degree in applied mechanical science from his time at the M.M.I.  Read full bio
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