We’re Still Waiting; Is It Worth The Hype?

Yamaha’s Ténéré line expands down into the mid-range with the all-new Ténéré 700 (XTZ700). The “700” brings solid dual-sport capability to the adventure-touring range with an off-road bent that definitely favors soft terrain. Yammy’s CP2 engine delivers the goods with a transmission and chassis tuned specifically for trips off the beaten path, much more so than its bigger brothers in the Super Ténéré family. After a race to the top, this model marks a new front in the battle for market supremacy as the factory seeks to fill in under the 1,200 cc units, so let’s see where the balance between price and value lies on this newest and smallest Ténéré.

  • 2021 Yamaha Ténéré 700
  • Year:
    2021
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    Parallel-Twin
  • Displacement:
    689 cc

2021 Yamaha Ténéré 700 Design

2021 Yamaha Ténéré 700
- image 809151
This is just the thing for traipsing across Hell's Half Acre in some God-forsaken desert or another.

The Ténéré name invokes images of hostile riding environments such as the Dakar rally and other far-flung endurance races. It starts off with laced wheels and street-knobbies that make for confident handling and traction. The front fender comes with splashguard-style uprights that are necessarily quite tall in order to accommodate the great suspension stroke of the usd front forks. That alone speaks volumes for how the factory intends the 700 to be used.

Since the fender is mounted to the lower fork-ends, it leaves the face with a snub-nose not entirely unlike Honda’s Africa Twin. A clear plate covers the rally-style quartet of LED headlights that are much more resistant to damage from vibration and shock than their filament-style counterparts; just the thing for traipsing across Hell’s Half Acre in some God-forsaken desert or another.

Up top, a vented, rally-style screen punches a hole in the wind for a little protection for the rider’s upper torso, and the cheek fairings flare out rather abruptly to create leg pockets for your stems. This attention to comfort-related detail extends to the handlebar in the form of stock handguards that’ll protect your meathooks from weather and terrain/foliage strikes.

In profile, the 700 presents a fairly genre-typical silhouette, allowing for that snub-nose front end, of course. The flyline tumbles down the backside of the 4.2-gallon fuel tank to a narrow waist where tank and saddle meet. A smooth, upswept bench seat is built to allow you to shift your position fore-and-aft as you negotiate rough terrain, and it creates a nice, long lever to help you finagle the front end.

A compact taillight rides tucked away at the juncture of subframe and mudguard — well out of harm’s way — with the rear blinkers and tagholder bolted up on the mudguard itself. I’m a little surprised at the lack of a hugger on that rear wheel, but if you look closely, the underside of the subframe is all sealed up to resist and repel the rear-wheel fling.

Finally, the upswept exhaust pipe gives the muffler plenty of ground clearance so as to avoid terrain strikes, and it certainly adds to the overall off-road-tastic panache the 700 brings to the table.

2021 Yamaha Ténéré 700 Chassis

2021 Yamaha Ténéré 700
- image 809164
All the metrics scream 'off-road' as do the standard-equipped spoked wheels, hand guards and engine guard.

The factory designed a brand-new, purpose-built set o’ bones for the 700 that the factory claims is light in weight, yet it persists in holding that metric close to the vest. No big surprise there since our subject of discussion today is actually slated to be released sometime in the second half of 2020 as a 2021 model, and since it isn’t quite production-ready, many of the specs are still up in the air.

Whether the factory is trying to retain a certain sense of mystery or hasn’t hammered out the final details yet is a matter for speculation, but here’s what we do know; the saddle rides at 34.6-inches off the deck which is appropriate for the genre, and the layout of the bars and foot controls is just right for a relaxed, upright riding posture when sitting or standing. Wheelbase measures out at 62.6-inches long, and ground clearance is generous at 9.5-inches high. If you still manage to get a terrain strike on the engine section, there’s a bash plate that covers the bottom of the double-downtubes and most of the cradle, so you’ve got good protection for your plant.

Inverted, 43 mm forks support the front end on 8.3-inches of travel, and it comes with the full trinity of adjustments while out back, the monoshock delivers 7.9-inches of travel with adjustable preload and rebound damping only. Dual, twin-piston Brembo calipers grab 282 mm, wave-cut front discs for the bulk of the stopping power with a single-piston anchor and 245 mm disc out back and switchable ABS protection all around.

Serious off-road riders still prefer laced/spoked wheels, and the 700 delivers with a 90/90-21 Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR hoop up front followed by a 150/70-18. Those tires come with generous street flats separated by deep grooves for traction on both black and brown, and while the factory doesn’t explicitly say it, I expect these tires to have decent water-evacuation properties as well.

Suspension, Front/Travel: 43 mm inverted fork, fully-adjustable/ 8.3 in.
Suspension, Rear/Travel: Single shock, adjustable preload (w/remote adjuster) and rebound damping/ 7.9 in.
Brakes, Front: Dual 282mm hydraulic disc; selectable ABS
Brakes, Rear: 245mm hydraulic disc; selectable ABS
Tire, Front: 90/90R21 Pirelli® Scorpion® Rally STR
Tire, Rear: 150/70R18 Pirelli® Scorpion® Rally STR

2021 Yamaha Ténéré 700 Drivetrain

2021 Yamaha Ténéré 700
- image 809161
Yamaha draws from its MT-07 program for the mill, but there's no traction control or power modes with this ride; just raw control and honest feedback.

Yamaha draws from its MT-07 program and powers the 700 with its CP2 “Crossplane Crankshaft Concept” engine that features twin 80 mm bores with a 68.6 mm stroke for a 689 cc total displacement. The 11.5-to-1 compression ratio is a necessary evil to develop the full 72-horsepower and 50-pounds o’ grunt, and it’ll have you at the premium fuel hook, but it is what it is folks.

Dual over-head cams time the 8-valve head, and a water jacket and radiator carry off waste heat and go a long way toward mitigating the heat wash when you come to a stop or are in dead-slow traffic. A standard clutch couples engine power to the six-speed transmission, and it sends power to the rear wheel via a tough chain drive.

It’s not necessarily a technological marvel as far as higher electronics are concerned; there’s no traction control or power modes with this ride, just raw control and honest feedback, so the lump is every bit as pragmatic as the rest of the machine. The overall drivetrain is kept fairly short overall by a “stacked” transmission that carries its shafts in more of an over-under arrangement than a tandem one, and that helps with load balance between the two axles.

Engine: 689 cc liquid-cooled DOHC 4-stroke; 8 valves
Bore x Stroke: 80.0 mm x 68.6 mm
Compression Ratio: 11.5:1
Fuel Delivery: Fuel Injection
Transmission: 6-speed; wet multiplate clutch
Final Drive: Chain

2021 Yamaha Ténéré 700 Pricing

2021 Yamaha Ténéré 700
- image 809170
MSRP is still TBA, but will likely come out around $12k.

Price is still TBA as of this writing, but I’m going to take a SWAG at it and say since the Super Ténéré ES rolls at the top of the line for $16,199, the smaller-displacement Ténéré 700 will probably be somewhere in the ballpark of around $12 K. We’ll know soon enough.

Warranty: 1 Year (Limited Factory Warranty
Color: Ceramic Ice
Price: TBA

2021 Yamaha Ténéré 700 Competitors

2018 - 2019 Triumph Tiger 800XCx
- image 809173
2021 Yamaha Ténéré 700
- image 809168
The Ténéré lacks traction control and rider modes, but I expect that to be reflected in the price once the figures are announced.

It’s easy to just roll with one of Yamaha’s domestic foes, but I wanted to go to the other side of the world for Triumph’s Tiger 800 XCx for my head-to-head just to get something a little bit different.

The “Tiger” rocks a proper bird’s-beak fairing over a secondary front fender for ample spray control, and it also sports a vented windshield that protects the upper torso and allows for a smooth ride with a reduced head-buffet effect. In profile, the two have similar flylines, but that’s to be expected. Typically British, the Tiger has something of an industrial flavor that instantly gives away its country of origin, probably because of the exposed Trellis frame.

WP products hold the Trumpet up with adjustable rebound and compression damping up front, and a hydraulic preload adjuster out back to fall behind the Ténéré a skosh. The brakes are comparable with dual discs up front and switchable ABS all around, so neither gain an advantage here. That changes in the engine department.

Trumpet shoehorns in a few extra cubes with an 800 cc lump that churns out 95-ponies and 58 pound-feet, and it gets some tech points for the switchable traction control feature and five-pack of riding modes. Triumph lets loose of the Tiger 800 XCx for $14,450, and that’s significantly pricier than my projected sticker of 12 K for the Ténéré 700.

He Said

“Hard to say until I have a solid price, but I’m confident that the Tuning Fork Company is going to beat the price on that Brit. That aside, it seems the factory hit all the pertinent high notes, though there’s room for improvement, in the electronics suite especially. I can’t get my head wrapped around why Yamaha would tease us like this with a projected production date so far out. I guess, eventually, we’ll see the method behind the madness.”

She Said

My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, “I don’t want to be a downer, but I just don’t see what all the hype has been about. Yamaha has teased us forever and they’re unveiling it way ahead of production, but without any real ’wow’ factor in sight. It’s a nice bike; it looks the part and has nice offroad features, but making us wait almost two years for the U.S. release, I don’t see anything worth waiting for. The KTM has its 790 Adventure hitting dealers early in 2019; there’s no reason to wait for the Ténéré.”

2021 Yamaha Ténéré 700 Specifications

Engine & Drivetrain:
Engine: 689 cc liquid-cooled DOHC 4-stroke; 8 valves
Bore x Stroke: 80.0 mm x 68.6 mm
Compression Ratio: 11.5:1
Fuel Delivery: Fuel Injection
Transmission: 6-speed; wet multiplate clutch
Final Drive: Chain
Chassis:
Suspension, Front/Travel: 43 mm inverted fork, fully-adjustable/ 8.3 in.
Suspension, Rear/Travel: Single shock, adjustable preload (w/remote adjuster) and rebound damping/ 7.9 in.
Brakes, Front: Dual 282mm hydraulic disc; selectable ABS
Brakes, Rear: 245mm hydraulic disc; selectable ABS
Tire, Front: 90/90R21 Pirelli® Scorpion® Rally STR
Tire, Rear: 150/70R18 Pirelli® Scorpion® Rally STR
Dimensions & Capacities:
L x W x H: TBD
Seat Height: 34.6 in
Wheelbase: 62.6 in
Rake (Caster Angle): TBD
Trail: TBD
Maximum Ground Clearance: 9.5 in
Fuel Capacity: 4.2 gal
Fuel Economy: TBD
Wet Weight: TBD
Details:
Warranty: 1 Year (Limited Factory Warranty
Color: Ceramic Ice
Price: TBA

Further Reading

Triumph Tiger 800 XCx

2018 - 2019 Triumph Tiger 800XCx
- image 809171

See our review of the Triumph Tiger 800 XCx.

Yamaha Super Ténéré / Super Ténéré ES

2016 - 2018 Yamaha Super Ténéré / Super Ténéré ES
- image 777326

See our review of the Yamaha Super Ténéré / Super Ténéré ES.

Honda Africa Twin

2018 - 2019 Honda Africa Twin
- image 803900

See our review of the Honda Africa Twin.

Yamaha MT-07

2018 - 2019 Yamaha MT-07
- image 799410

See our review of the Yamaha MT-07.

KTM 790 Adventure / 790 Adventure R

2019 KTM 790 Adventure / 790 Adventure R
- image 804365

See our review of the KTM 790 Adventure / 790 Adventure R.

Yamaha

no article
- image 788830

Read more Yamaha news.

All images featured on this website are copyrighted to their respective rightful owners. No infringement is intended. Image Source: yamaha-motor.com, triumphmotorcycles.com. honda.com, ktm.com (photographer: none given)

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