2021 Yamaha Ténéré 700 | Long-Term Ride Review (Part 2)

RELATED: 2021 Yamaha Ténéré 700 | Long-Term Ride Review (Part 1)

Mileage: 9,035
MSRP: $9,999 (2021); $10,299 (2022)
Accessories: $1,015.86 (new); $4,350.78 (total)

2021 Yamaha Tenere 700
Contributor Arden Kysely liked the Ténéré 700 so much, he bought our test bike from Yamaha. (Photos by the author)

Our long-term Yamaha Ténéré 700, which I now own, has clocked over 9,000 miles. It would have more than 10,000 if heat, smoke, fires, and a toasted rear tire outside of Tonopah, Nevada, hadn’t conspired to shorten my summer ride. Mammoth Cycle Works (mammothcycleworks.com), the closest shop with a replacement tire, had me back on the road quickly after a slow ride from Tonopah on the compromised skin (pro tip: call ahead).

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Otherwise, the bike has been ideal for my kind of riding – comfortable on the highway, a hoot in the twisties, and capable off the pavement, whether sitting or standing, and no matter the surface. Fully adjustable suspension and the CP2 motor’s steady power delivery facilitate riding slow, riding fast, or just cruising.

2021 Yamaha Tenere 700
The wide, well-padded Sargent seat has greatly improved riding comfort.

In an era of complex machines, the Ténéré’s single ride mode – manual – is the same one I grew up with. Traction control is throttle and clutch, the latter holding up to abuse on technical climbs and digging out after stalling in sand. The T7’s absence of electronic aids has led to comparisons with the KLR650 (a great bike of which I’ve owned two), but the Yamaha’s horsepower advantage takes ADV riding to a higher level.

All the upgrades I’ve reported previously in our tour test of the T7 and Part 1 of the long-term review are working as expected, though one crash bar moved an inch closer to the bodywork after I dropped the bike in my garage. The Barkbusters have already each saved a lever, and the Pivot Pegz delivered zero slip, even in the rare wet conditions I’ve encountered.

2021 Yamaha Tenere 700
The AltRider skid plate provides robust protection for the undercarriage.

In addition to the Touratech soft luggage on the back, I added a Nelson-Rigg Trails End Adventure Tank Bag ($119.95; nelsonrigg.com).

An AltRider Skid Plate with Linkage Guard ($405.97; altrider.com) replaced the lightweight OEM unit before my Nevada trip for better protection, and the Sargent World Performance Seat ($359.95; sargentcycle.com) I wish I’d had for that ride is now in place, making a huge comfort improvement over the stock unit. Ditto the Kaoko Throttle Lock ($129.99; kaoko.com); a cramped right hand is a thing of the past now that I can safely release my grip.

2021 Yamaha Tenere 700
Other than switchable ABS, the T7 is a mostly analog machine. In lieu of cruise control, we installed a Kaoko throttle lock.

My biggest gripe is range. In mixed riding, the T7 ekes out 200-plus miles per 4.2-gallon tankful, which is marginal when exploring the empty spaces of the West. On a recent 650-mile backroads ride to the Mojave Desert, it returned 52 mpg. I’m dithering between an auxiliary tank and Giant Loop’s much lighter Armadillo fuel bag to extend its range. The robust OEM kickstand is a blessing, but its foot lever sticks out dangerously far, something a welder will soon be addressing for me.

Maintenance has been routine and simple to perform: changing the oil and filter, checking the air filter, and caring for the chain. Moving parts and cables are lubed, fasteners, bearings, and fluid levels get checked. The valves won’t need attention for another 17,000 miles.

2021 Yamaha Tenere 700
We’ve transformed the T7 into a full-on, go-anywhere adventure-touring machine.

Looking ahead, I see more fuel capacity, a Scotts steering stabilizer, AltRider crash bars (battle proven on my former BMW F 800 GS), and an oiled-foam air filter. A tail tidy would help clean up the rear, and I may lower the bike a smidge, since my legs aren’t getting any longer. It’s a safe bet the T7 is a bike I’ll be enjoying for many years to come – likely with more improvements along the way.

The 2022 Yamaha Ténéré 700 began arriving in dealerships in January. Its MSRP has increased by $300 to $10,299, and there are two new color options: Team Yamaha Blue and Raven.

8 COMMENTS

  1. I really like this bike. Fuel range and tube-type tires are the two things that might keep me from buying it though.

    The World Raid edition should help with the fuel range, but unfortunately not with the tires. Might still be worth checking out though when my KLR needs replacing.

  2. I’m sorry…. maybe I don’t understand the term long-term revi ew, but can someone explain to me how can it be a long-term after a year? I have a bike which is 35 years old and I’m riding it for 15…and another one which is almost 20 y.o. and I’m riding it almost 20….this is somehow more legit long-term, if I may say so. I hate to be the hater, but, please….ride it for 50 000 km (30 000 miles), bust the engine and tell us when did it happen, ride it 24/7 for one year just with brake for refueling and switching the riders, and then I can believe a Long Term Review. Sorry, it’s nothing against you guys, neither against the bike ….I’m little bit puzzled from these headlines

    • Manufacturers typically keep test bikes on a short leash, typically only allowing one to two weeks to evaluate a motorcycle (and only one day at a press launch). When we’re able to keep test bikes for longer, we provide long(er) term updates. Yes, thrashing a motorcycle for 30,000 miles and keeping it for a couple of years would be great, but manufacturers won’t allow us to do so.

    • it’s a long-term review because it’s not demo-day review, or first-ride review, etc. One would think after 9000 miles the owner would have learned much more about the bike and come to final conclusions by now. If not by a year or 9k miles, then when? After 15 years as you suggest, when the bike is no longer relevant and nobody cares anymore?

  3. I have large hands, with bark busters and most stock bars and controls I run out of room. With the throttle lock how can you get enough room fo your hands with cold gloves. I noticed non stock levers in the picture, what else did you do?

  4. Am looking at carrying extra fuel so clicked on your link. According to the web site:

    “Armadillo Bag is not a portable fuel container as described by ASTM, EPA, ARB or other state and federal agencies. Armadillo Bag is NOT intended for fuel storage, transport or use as a gas bag in the USA.”.

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