Find us

255 Kingsway, Manchester, M19 1AN.

Yamaha Logo

To The Balkans and Back On a Yamaha Ténéré

The bike I’d pick to ride round the other half of the world!

Yamaha Tenere 700

One of the most experienced bikers we know, and a great friend of ours here at Hunts, Shaun recently took delivery of a new Yamaha Ténéré  700 and immediately set out on a 3,500 mile round trip to the Balkans and back. We asked him what he thought of the bike and if he’d do it again …

Is the 700 Ténéré  the perfect mid-size adventure bike?

Am I qualified to make this assessment? I’ve owned close to 90 bikes, covered a million miles on bikes and ridden halfway round the world, so maybe. The Ténéré  is the bike I’d pick to ride round the other half of the world!

This is my second Ténéré , having sold the first for it’s obvious competitor, the KTM 890 but have come back to another Ténéré . The KTM is way more powerful, but I still prefer the 700.

Why? Well, the 700 engine is amazing. On paper the claimed 72 hp doesn’t look very exciting but it’s a real masterpiece. The way it pulls all the way through the range, no matter what gear you’re in, defies its claimed power. The engine is so flexible and friendly, plus one of the best engines I’ve ever used in the rain or poor conditions having ridden it all through the winter. It just breeds confidence. Yet rev it and it goes surprisingly well. 122 mph on the speedo though only 112 mph according to the GPS but this was with full luggage and my excess weight. OK it won’t compete with a big bore engine but if you want that, buy a 1250/1290 but be prepared to pay the penalty in weight.

I normally go round Europe on big bikes but covered 3,500 miles on the trip to the Balkans on the 700 and never found it lacking. A lot of my travelling to far flung places outside of Europe has been done on a 690 single which is better off road because the lighter weight but believe me it’s much harder work on the road stretches. I wouldn’t want to drag a big GS out of a muddy bog so the 700 makes a damn good compromise.

Another factor is the German magazine Motorrad found that the 700 CP2 engine used in the Ténéré  and various other Yam’s to be the most reliable engine currently available, indeed they stripped one after 50,000 km and it was near perfect. Reliability counts for a lot and doesn’t cost the earth either.

I find the handling very neutral and cosseting, great for our badly maintained potholed British roads, equally good for Bosnian tarmac which is even worse. One thing I would recommend is get the right springs for your weight. Mind you this is something that applies to any bike, not just the Ténéré .

The bike is sprung for something like a 75 kilo rider and just changing the rear spring for the correct rate makes a huge difference, though ideally the fork springs to match. You may shudder at the thought of doing this, but it’s cheap and easy. The likes of Rally Raid UK or K-Tech do a rear spring for around £90. If you don’t have a spring compressor, get your friendly shop or mechanic to do it and grease the suspension linkage at the same time. It’ll pay huge dividends.

You can go much further and spend a fortune on suspension, but a very well-respected suspension specialist once said, getting the correct spring weight for the rider is 80% of the battle. Spend your money on this before a new pipe or gaudy bling. If you’re too heavy the bike will squat at the rear and make the front end feel vague. OK. That’s enough of my rant over setting up suspension, onto more mundane stuff such as fuel consumption.

If you thrash the bike, consumption will drop to 50 mpg or less if you’re being evil. On the other end of the scale 56 mpg cruising at 80 mph and an incredible 78 mpg round the mountains in the Montenegrin rain. Average fuel consumption generally being somewhere in the mid 60’s, which I was very pleased with.

The bike was good enough for 600 mile days, though my one big complaint is the seat on the standard model, so much so that I bought a Touratech seat in Germany. Not cheap but for all day riding my arse was delighted. I can’t comment on the World Raid seat or the one piece rally seat, though rumour has it that they’re better. Maybe Hunts will sponsor me to do another 3 week trip to do a seat comparison!

Overall, I’m very impressed with the bike, the engine is superb, the handling is great and it just feels natural and comfortable. It looks good, can cross continents, is comfortable (once the seat is sorted). It’s versatile, good for motorways, fast roads though to dirt tracks. Special shout out for the really good headlight as well.

On my trip to the Balkans and the Adventure Bike Rider rally I’d say it was the most popular bike I saw apart from the ubiquitous BMW GS. I’ve owned a GS, emphasis on past tense. Give me a Ténéré  any day.

It’s the bike I’d pick for the unfinished business for riding around the world, though it’s equally as good for commuting and weekend fun. Well done Yamaha for producing such a gem. 9 out of 10 Yamaha. Sort the seat out and I’d give it 10, enough said.