2024 Yamaha 700 Tenere First Ride
By Scott Hoffman, Photo and Video: Yamaha and Scott Hoffman
The world of ADV, or adventure bikes, is here to stay. Yet the sector can be confusing at times. When does a model jump from dual-sport to adventure? Can you adventure a dual-sport and can you dual-sport an adventure bike? For Yamaha, their dual-sport line is the XT250, more of a recreational model and not really suited for more aggressive off-road. From there, the jump is to the twin-cylinder Tenere 700, an adventure bike with a little flair for off-road/dual-sport.
When it comes to street-legal motorcycles that can take on some off-road, the gamut is huge and the range of engine sizes spans 125cc to just over 1200cc. There are a few single-cylinder bikes they call “adventure”, yet when it comes to jumping to twin-cylinder machines, the Yamaha Tenere is considered a mid-sized adventure bike. This ride’s range is kind of 650cc-900cc with a 21-inch front wheel with some dirt capabilities.
Although the name Tenere has been with Yamaha going back to 1983, the current Tenere 700 was first released in 2019. The engine is actually based off the Yamaha 2014 FZ-07, yet tuned for the Tenere.
Yamaha says it’s the sales leader in the 650cc-900cc adventure market, and rightfully so, this bike is really fun to ride. We got a chance to ride the updated 2024 Tenere for the day and had a blast ripping fire roads, chewed-up pavement, twisty canyons, and a stint through So Cal gridlock freeways heading back to Yamaha in Cypress, CA.
The Tenere 700 is proven but does not come with a huge list of bells and whistles, yet who cares. It’s simple, lightweight, has a good mix of on- and off-road prowess, and, in today’s market, is a great value for the price. For 2024, Yamaha made a few updates to the display, which is now very adjustable and comes smartphone-enabled with the Yamaha Y-Connect App. It shows incoming calls, missed calls, text and email notifications, fuel consumption, parking location, and maintenance interval alerts. Most of the display controls can be made using a switch on the handlebar.
From there, the ABS now has three modes, full ABS, ability to turn off rear ABS, and a mode to disable ABS altogether. We found on the slick fire roads, rear ABS turned off worked best. You could not even feel the front ABS was working but it was pretty seamless, yet you still felt like you had a lot of braking power on the dirt as well.
For a twin-cylinder adventure bike, the Tenere is very nimble and handles very well. While I rode the bike mostly standing, the chassis fits my 6’1″ frame fairly well. Yamaha swapped out the seat to the Rally seat once we hit the dirt, which was a little more fitting to my longer legs—it’s 41mm taller than stock. You can turn sitting or standing and the chassis is very comfortable off-road. There were a few times I wished I could get a little more forward over the handlebar, it was usually only while accelerating up hills. The bar mounts can be flipped and adjusted forward but we did not have time to test this on our ride day. The chassis is not as slim as an off-road bike but slimmer than some of the larger adventure bikes I have ridden in the past.
The suspension action is solid if you keep yourself in check and ride the Tenere like an adventure bike and not a full-blown dirt bike. Yes it can handle hits better than expected, however when it hits the limit, you are informed very quickly. Changing up the way you ride and using the throttle to your advantage is key to riding an adventure bike to its full potential. As a moto guy, I was looking for a little more bottoming control in the last few inches of fork travel. The fix was simple, slow down a little, change lines, and have fun. Yamaha did run off-road settings with regard to the suspension’s adjustable rebound, compression, and shock spring preload.
Off-road, the power of the 700 Tenere is right on point. The engine can lug down pretty far and pulls really well through the power curve. It’s enough power but not overbearing or too explosive causing crazy wheel spin. I actually like the 700 over the larger adventure bikes off-road. The high-horsepower machines can get scary on the trail and often get me into trouble if not kept in check. I feel like I can be more aggressive on the Tenere and have way more fun on trails vs having to ride around hardly touching the throttle on the larger bikes. Yes, there is a little drawback when you are on the pavement, yet for me, I will take the tradeoff. The Tenere is not slow but when you need that big pavement power of the larger bikes, it’s not quite there.
Other cool accessories Yamaha offers for the Tenere include a quick shifter (our bike was fitted with one). It allows clutch-free shifting. There is a beefier skid plate, radiator guards, and a lowering kit which includes a lowering link and lower seat.
Riding the Tenere is for sure not boring—it can be ridden with some aggression at times, it has for sure some off-road roots, is light-feeling for a twin adventure bike, and at the end of the day I felt like I got my money’s worth and wanted to do it again. You are often amazed where you can ride a bike like the Tenere but also realize where you should not. In the end, except for possibly softer grips, maybe a slightly different handlebar bend or position, I felt very at home on the bike and would not change much for most adventure rides. Although I don’t have an adventure bike, I could for sure see myself owning a Tenere or something similar in the near future.