Update: November 9th, 2016
Yamaha has presented its much anticipated mid-size Ténéré concept at the EICMA 2016. For more information on this concept, please follow this link where we provide information from Yamaha’s press release on this bike and other information as well: Yamaha T7
For a history on this bike and on the original Ténéré, where information has been gathered for the last two years, including a follow up on April 2016, please continue reading below.
Update: April 13th, 2016
Has Yamaha finally heard its customers?
We originally put together this post about a possible XTZ 700 or XT700Z in 2014, when we realized what a gem of a motor the 700cc parallel twin motor is with its compact size and 270 degree cam, and how it could work for a mid-size adventure motorcycle. The XT660Z has been past its expiration date long time ago.
Maybe, just maybe, Yamaha has a response to this request from motorcyclists in search of that capable middle weight dual cylinder adventure bike – and it could be based on the 700cc parallel twin motor!
Since the speculations on Yamaha’s middle weight Ténéré started, Honda launched its Africa Twin. The original speculation about the new Africa Twin had it under 450lbs. Honda instead chose to go with a larger displacement motor, also a parallel twin, moving their adventure bike to the larger group of bikes with the Africa Twin tipping the scales at more than 500lbs.
BMW and Triumph maintain their 800cc adventure bikes at just below 500lbs (more than 500lbs depending on the option). These are all capable bikes, but they are heavy bikes.
Some of us tired of waiting for manufacturers to build a desirable middle weight machine, myself included, went their own route and built their own lighter, multi-cylinder adventure motorcycle.
There are rumors about KTM developing an 800cc parallel twin and you know KTM means business when it is about developing something with off-road vocation. If Yamaha will really develop its own true mid-size adventure motorcycle, together with the possible KTM mid-size bike, we have finally some hope for true mid-size, multi-cylinder, adventure bikes to be available in the future.
Where was Yamaha and their 700cc motors? They were expanding the line of bikes using this motor. The MT-07 (FZ-07) is a good motorcycle, however, it is just one more of the many street “transformer” bikes out there. It is time to move on. The XSR700cc was a move in the right direction.
For us, who like adventure motorcycles, we may have at some point in the future, the best version yet of a Yamaha bike to be built around the 700cc power plant. Yamaha may have just heard our collective request to develop an adventure motorcycle with that little motor. The size, 700cc, delivering about 75hp, seems to be just enough for lots of fun on off pavement situations, hopefully keeping the bike light, and ready for real action.
Here we go guys, this photo is just the beginning, now we can start speculating about other details about this bike. Upfront, we like the “rally” front end on this bike. We like the 21 inch front wheel, the rear could as well be an 18inch wheel, but a 17inch will do. The bash plate could be telling us it is meant for fun times on off pavement roads. Forks show that a good amount of suspension travel could be available. Handlebars are tall. It is all good.
However, that front end seems to be rigged, the rear body work is missing, this whole thing seems to be rigged, which is possible – either for the customary disguise during testing periods or because it is someone’s private attempt to make an adventure bike out of the 700cc parallel twin. We will hear more soon, we hope. Meanwhile, let’s hope for the best in the adventure front, with more variety of competent mid-size adventure motorcycles.
Note: This post has been very popular as we all seek for signs indicating Yamaha will develop a mid-size adventure motorcycle. We want you to know the original post, below, was written in 2014 when rumors about a mid-size adventure motorcycle from Yamaha started circulating in tandem with Honda’s Africa Twin rumors. Yamaha continues to develop products based on the MT/FZ 07 and 09 motors (and now there is even an MT-10). However, as of EICMA 2015 the much anticipated mid-size adventure, or Ténéré based on the MT-07 or MT-09 motors continues to only be speculation from us the public at large. We can still talk about it though, and this post reflects such a conversation. Please keep in mind this post was written in 2014 and lots have happened on the motorcycle adventure front since then – so keep in mind some information on this post is old news.
Original Post (written in 2014):
We are not surprised to see a drawing of a speculated XTZ 700 (or 750) Yamaha Ténéré surface on the internet. Motorrad sketched something that looks really interesting, with design cues from the XTZ 1,200 Super Ténéré and using a parallel twin motor, likely a variation of that motor from the Yamaha MT-07 (or FZ-07 for the American market). That’s not likely to be Yamaha’s own view for such a bike (if they have a view for such a bike in the first place), but certainly this drawing looks interesting and to a certain extent, makes sense as an evolution of the XTZ660 and XTZ1200 styles.
The launch of the MT-07, the speculation about Honda’s New Africa Twin, Yamaha’s own Dakar history, a perceived gap in the adventure market, and the age of the XTZ660 has led us to believe something could come up from Yamaha’s camp sooner or later in the midsize adventure market. This article from Motorrad suggests Yamaha may be finally taking action. The same article indicates Yamaha will have 15 new models to be revealed on the fall motorcycle shows. Something similar to the bike depicted in the drawing above could be one of these 15 new bikes. That would be quite a large market attack from Yamaha. Can we say blitzkrieg?
More details are yet to be provided so, as we have been doing with our Honda Africa Twin is Back post, we will update this Ténéré post as new information becomes available about this speculated motorcycle.
For now let’s talk about how this segment of the market is shaping up and the basis for this new speculated motorcycle by Yamaha.
The Perceived Gap
It just may be that finally we are experiencing saturation on the large adventure bikes’ market, the 1,200 cc segment of the adventure motorcycle market. It makes sense: you first take care of the most profitable segment, stake your claim there, then you go after the second best, the midsize market. And of course, the motorcycle industry has heard the cry of the adventure enthusiasts who have been asking for more multi-cylinder mid-size bikes on the adventure segment. And we should add there is that almost permanent quest from a minority of us for a more enduro or rally oriented motorcycle in the adventure market, I’m not sure this group has been heard really. Bottom line, as we’ve discussed on the New Honda Africa Twin post, there is a perceived gap in this market and it seems there finally is some action from the industry to provide bikes for that portion of the market.
On our interpretation of this market there are no multi-cylinder motorcycles that are dirt oriented in the segment from 700 to 1000 cc of displacement since KTM stopped producing the 990 Adventure. Some people consider the BMW F800GS and the Triumph Tiger 800XC to be “dirty enough” and to a certain extent, they are. But that’s it. And that’s where Honda seems to be targeting with at least one of the possible and speculated versions of the New Africa Twin. Or so some of us hope.
On the 1,200cc segment you have many options, but they are more touring-adventure types of motorcycles. It seems every motorcycle manufacturer has captured one slice of this profitable large bikes’ market in their quest to erode BMW’s R1200GS dominance of this segment. But the GS remains the best seller. And these large bikes have evolved along the years, perhaps even including the KTM 1190R, to become more street oriented. If not for anything else, it is for their larger weight and, of course, their price. Some of these bikes perform well enough on dirt (for their size), but very few owners take them off road. Yamaha recently let us know only 12% of the Super Ténéré owners take their bikes off-road. Where’s is the next Starbucks?
Of the two mid-size adventure bikes worth mentioning when we talk about dirt orientation, the F800GS is probably the measuring stick today. Although BMW was not the first motorcycle manufacturer to conceive, develop and successfully market a motorcycle for this mid-size portion of the motorcycle industry, it is the BMW F800GS, launched in 2008 in Europe (2009 in the US), the leader of this segment. It is the more dirt-oriented mid-size machine of this multi-cylinder segment.
Triumph successfully entered this market in 2011 with the Tiger 800XC, and I happen to have one of these machines and I do take it on off-pavement adventures on occasion, where it performs rather well, I would say. Like the BMW, the Triumph could be better, though. And this is where I would like to see new bikes being offered in the market deliver: a better dirt package, perhaps a more enduro or rally oriented suspension, and if possible, a lighter multi-cylinder motorcycle. And maybe that is not possible.
Back-tracking some more in the history timeline of adventure/enduro bikes, to before the time BMW, let’s say, re-discovered the 800cc market with the F800GS, this displacement size was the top size of the enduro market. It was the Paris-Dakar rally what brought the appeal for a motorcycle that would travel the world and would be capable of traversing any terrain. The BMW R80GS was the machine that turned this segment into reality. This is the origin of the multi-cylinder adventure bike which evolved into the very successful BMW R1200GS and this entire larger displacement segment. Some of this bike’s (and this segment’s) consolidation can be traced back to the adventures of Ewan McGregor’s and Charley Boorman’s Long Way Round and Long Way Down series and other individuals who have taken these bikes on round the world adventures.
Yamaha and Honda were also leaders of this 700-800cc segment of the market by also winning the Paris Dakar race several times and by also producing Dakar-based motorcycles under the Ténéré and Africa Twin brands respectively. But that was a relatively short lived period for these two manufacturers. They have invested on it, produced bikes that carry their name in the imagination of riders to today. But they lacked a commitment to further develop the bikes, and lacked presence across some markets in the world.
Consider that before the KTM era (total dominance since 2001), from 1979 to 2000, Yamaha and Honda were rather successful:
- Yamaha – 9 wins
- BMW – 6 wins
- Honda – 5 wins
- Cagiva – 2 wins
Yamaha was the brand with the most Dakar wins until KTM entered this circuit. Like BMW, Honda and Yamaha before them, KTM themselves have developed a series of motorcycles based on the prestige of the Dakar bikes. Differently than BMW, Honda and Yamaha, though, until recently KTM did not seem to propose to lead the market in sales volume, but in developing motorcycles that have better enduro or off road aptitude than the offerings from other manufacturers.
All other mid-size multi-cylinder adventure-styled motorcycles currently available are just it, more emphasis on the style and not the capability for off-road adventures.
In honoring the Dakar race history, it seems only four manufacturers are actually expected to produce machines that could offer the general public some level of the sensation of what it could be like to ride a Dakar capable machine (even though Dakar is now limited to 450cc machines, we are talking here about multi-cylinder machines). Yamaha, BMW, Honda and KTM are it. And then, on the outside of this circle, but looking into it, we have Triumph with the Tiger 800XC.
Rumors feed our dreams for what these manufacturers could bring to the market should they perceive a gap exists as well. And it seems they finally agree with us. I guess we are all looking for something new and exciting on this perceived gap of the market.
The Orange camp seems to be an obvious candidate, they are the ones that have been building the more enduro type of bikes of all of them. We have heard from forum participants the desire of seeing a 750 V-Twin with more rally-like specs than the 990 Super-Enduro. We’ve heard some faint rumors that it could be a reality, especially since KTM stopped producing the 990 Adventure.
The red camp talks about the revival of the Africa Twin, and these rumors seem to be the most realistic ones of all speculated stories on this front.
BMW already has the F800GS, but it eventually will need a revamp, something more radical than color, subtle styling changes and the addition of electronic packages of recent. The only changes to the 2015 F800GS are color changes, for example. Well, they built the Adventure version (I wish they had only expanded the tank with one extra gallon, by the way). But then again, the F800GS remains the benchmark on this size.
Triumph, who knows, they may surprise us again. Although I seem to think their way up will likely be with evolutionary changes on things they lag behind on the Tiger 800XC, such as an electronics package, the need to move the dash information control from buttons on the dash itself to controls on the handlebars, and a subframe (or making passenger pegs an added/removable part from the frame).
Other manufacturers may join this market, the same way they crowded the 1,200 segment. Although the midsize segment is not a hot market as the 1,200 cc market is, there is room for growth, and there is plenty of room for building exciting machines.
But we have hope that, akin to what happened in years past with the 1,200 market that, we may see fireworks on this segment of the market in the next couple of years.
Under the skin of a speculated new Yamaha Ténéré
With respect to this midsize development, Yamaha has been the silent one. But we haven’t forgotten that Yamaha is a member of this exclusive group of manufacturers with history and an interest in this market. Maybe they are still feeling the sting of the low sales volume they experienced with their Super Ténéré, an excellent motorcycle but which never generated much excitement in the market, except for the bike’s launch itself. Although very solid and proven to be reliable, this bike actually seemed to be somewhat obsolete by the time of its launch. I remember comments from journalists and riders at that time, that were actually wanting Yamaha to develop an evolution of the XTZ750 and not a 1,200cc bike. The 2014 XTZ 1,200 has shown a few improvements from previous years, a small diet, and the addition of an electronic suspension package. Progress, but still a soft selling machine.
What really triggered our interest in Yamaha’s camp, with the possibility of finally bringing a mid-size machine as a continuation of the actual Dakar-based Ténéré line, was the development of two new and exciting powerplants and the recent launch of two naked motorcycles based on these two powerplants. As soon as these bikes and motors came out adventure enthusiasts started to speculate whether these motors would work on a mid-size adventure motorcycle.
First was the beautiful new three cylinder motor that powers the Yamaha MT-09.
The MT-09 came to the market with appropriate fanfare. It is an exciting package with performance and a reasonable price. For some reason, three cylinder motors have a following, or a new found following in the market. There is something about flat, linear torque curves and smooth acceleration.
I know about this based on the 3-Cylinder 800XC. The Tiger 800XC performs really well on dirt roads, but in my case, I bough this bike thinking mostly about riding it on the road. This is where the power plant seems to better deliver its power and torque curve.
Because of an adjustment of the bikes in our shed (a Ducati showed up) I was reluctant but did make the Tiger into a more dirt-oriented machine. And I have been positively surprised by how well this bike behaves on fast dirt roads, with all original equipment, except for the Shinko 705 tires. Check this video (link below) where you can see how well this bike can do on dirt roads.
There are a few things one would prefer on an off road bike though, such as a better low to middle RPM 1st gear action for technical and high incline climbs, more engine braking, and a more lively throttle response, which are things you normally get from a twin-cylinder motor. Add a small weight reduction to better face technical terrain. And on more of a preference issue, the bark of a twin-cylinder when off road just sounds more fitting.
And that’s where a new Africa Twin and a possible mid-size Ténéré based on a twin-cylinder package sounds appealing. So it was as if on cue that soon after the story about the MT-09 came out and people started talking about a Yamaha adventure bike based on this new triple motor, I’ve heard of the MT-07 and another new motor, a compact parallel twin package.
And the bike that came with it.
So I’m glad the Motorrad drawings depict this speculated new Ténéré with a parallel twin motor. This motor offers the hope for a lighter bike in an adventure package. And on top of that, this motor has a 270 degrees crank, meaning it will provide rideability and hopefully sound and feel similar to that of a V-twin, but on a compact package.
Specifications for these two bikes:
|Cylinders||Parallel Twin, 270 degree crank||Three in line|
|Torque||50 lb/ft||64.5 lb/ft|
|Tank size||3.7 gallons||3.7 gallons|
|Calculated Range (mpg x tank size)||214.6 miles||162.8 miles|
The 1991 Paris Dakar winner Yamaha YZE750T had these figures:
● Engine type: Liquid-cooled, 4-stroke, DOHC, 5-valve, in-line 2-cylinder, 802.5cm3
● Transmission: 5-speed
● Maximum power output: 74HP
● Weight: 194kg / 427lbs
The new parallel twin motor, if it is the one applied into an enduro package (adventure), would probably replicate very closely, the specs of the winning motorcycle, matching the exact 74hp of that bike, and perhaps the same weight, about 430lbs.
The new parallel twin’s 74hp is plenty good power in our opinion. It was plenty good for the race bike to win the Paris-Dakar race in 1991. The challenge is to keep the whole package light and make it fit into the gradient of bikes available as a lighter bike. Or that’s what we would like to see on a new bike.
Therefore, if Yamaha decides to build such a bike, and it is based on the FZ-07 motor (or a variation on the theme), it gives us hope this is going to be a light bike, perhaps in the 430-450lbs level. It could also be that Yamaha could make a dirt version with the parallel twin motor and a more touring version, 19 inch front wheel, with the triple motor. These two versions would make everyone happy, open up the options for the market, and for some, make it a difficult choice between two dreamed about mid-size adventure bikes.
We will keep an eye on information about this possible bike and this segment of the market, where we predict a few new exciting motorcycles will become available in the next couple of years. We will update this post (or create new posts) as more information becomes available.
Update: September 1, 2014
It seems someone has leaked a photoshop illustration of a sport/touring motorcycle based on Yamaha’s three cylinder motor. Drawn around the MT-09 (FZ-09) triple motor and frame, the concept illustration presented yesterday at CycleWorld (borrowed from Young Magazine in Japan) denotes a definite street orientation.
Certainly this concept, as depicted above, is not worthy of a Ténéré denomination. CycleWorld seems to think such a bike could slot in the Ténéré line up as a smaller option to the 1200 Super Ténéré. We instead believe the real mid-size Ténéré, if it will be built, will have a 21 inch front spoked wheel.
However, such a concept fits our earlier prediction that Yamaha would bring to the market two adventure styled motorcycles, where a street oriented version would be based on the triple motor and a dirt-oriented version would be based on the parallel twin motor.
However, we were expecting the street version to come fitted with a 19 inch wheel. Instead, this drawing shows it as a more popular and accessible version of the Multistrada and the speculated touring styled version of the BMW S1000R. That is, street bikes that can be used for touring, sport touring as many say. This is a growing market, it seems.
Anyway, such a sport/touring motorcycle, similar to what is shown on the illustration, could be one of the 15 motorcycles Yamaha is supposed to launch at Intermot or EICMA this year. We still believe Yamaha will bring to the market a mid-size Ténéré version based on the MT-07/FZ-07 platform.
Stay tuned for new updates.
Thanks for interesting reading! Hope Yamaha will have a success! but also waiting for reicarnaition of legend – CRF1000 Africa Twin ))
With love from Russia!
Another big adventure bike, just not as big as a 1200cc big adventure bike, and yet ask people what they’d ride around the world and they’ll say a small light bike, they won’t talk about how many horses or how many programs are available they talk about simplicity, reliability, light weight.
What we really need is for more manufacturers to look at the 450cc restriction that the Dakar imposes and build great bikes to suit and then tweak them to become great adventure travel bikes with decent luggage capabilities, great comfort, light weight and supreme reliability.
Great point Alex. I thought about this very issue as well: the current Dakar rules have made the race bikes situate themselves outside the range of bikes the public wants to buy. This hampers the enthusiasm of companies to enter the races, for one thing, and for them to offer the products a share of the public would be interested in purchasing, for another. It would be interesting if they changed the rules. Perhaps race bikes have to be street legal bikes you and I can buy and the same motor has to last the duration of the race. Endurance = enduro, right? That would make it really interesting and a real proof of quality and durability for the bikes that win. That’s the no B.S. rule. But then again, this has happened in the past for other motorsport races and eventually the process creeps back into an evolving set of modifications that eventually gets the bikes to become too different from the bikes you find in the dealers’ showroom floors. It is worth a try, they should do that for at least one category of the Dakar race, though.
The KTM 950/990 are still the best adventure bikes ever made. I have been riding for 46 years, and I have raced off road and road raced on paved tracks. I know a great motorcycle when I ride one. The simple truth is that the rest of the bikes listed in the above table don’t even come close to the performance of a KTM v-twin in either Adventure or Super Enduro form. The big BMW GS rides like a Buick and has assisted brakes to match, the Triumph 800 XC has some of the worst ergonomics I have seen on a motorcycle, the Yamaha Teneré bikes are absurdly overweight, as is the BMW 650 single. And the BMW 800 GS has such poor suspension it is shameful. I have no affiliation with KTM but I spend by own money so I can ride one, because life is too short to ride lousy bikes. I can’t believe people buy most of the bikes in the table above. If I was forced to ride
some of that stuff I’d quit riding.
No one is questioning that here. Yet. But the 950/990 are no longer in production, as you know. You can only hope KTM will come up with a replacement for the defunct 950/990 otherwise eventually you and all guys like you will quit riding.
I guess you can’t handle the truth.
What? I agree with you, the 800XC has horrible ergonomics. And I go beyond that: the suspension needs help, and the motor is better suited for a street bike. But still, that doesn’t stop it from thrashing KTMs on dirt roads every now and then. When the KTMs are running, that is. The truth is KTMs are great motorcycles. But it is also true that most of the time there is something mechanical preventing them from running. I prefer passing them when they are running well, though. Yeah, great bikes they are. But it is also great to ride a bike that could be considered an underdog and make it run fast and better then the so called better ones. By the way, you should get one of those 1190’s. Maybe in 2015 KTM will have fixed the serious problems you find on the first two years of production of the 1190’s. If they do, I may get one myself. But I’m betting on them building a mid-size one, around 800ccs, to replace the 950/990s. Which better fits my needs or better saying, my wants. And of course, Yamaha and Honda may bring products to the market that will blow KTM out of the water for this type of motorcycles, bikes that will do what KTM does, but which will be more fuel efficient, and will be reliable. Meanwhile, I continue to chase and pass on the trail those aging 950/990’s with my Tiger.
Who needs a computer operated, planet sized bike with 100+ hp? What the world needs NOW (me thinks) is a 400 pounds dual sport that runs on regular gas (compression less than 10:1), a 5 gallon tank, an all day bench seat, Baja (Dakar) type cowling, small windscreen and 6 speed transmission made by Honda, Yamaha or whoever.
sounds like your talking about a KLR? 🙂
I would love a 750cc twin Tenere. I am late forties, not tall (177cm – 5’10”) and have no dirt riding experience. I would however love a twin for smoothness, seat height for manageability (say 840-850mm) and the looks of an adventure bike. There is a market out there for them. eg, I reckon Honda will make a killing with the CB500X.
Rally raid got the cb500x sorted but would be nice to be standard like the new benelli trk502 coming…..soon…..oh soon……hurry up.lol
Low comfy seat
Smooth twin injected.
Less than 1/4 of a ton 😑 (africa twin)dare i say more manageable. And easy (cost effective) to live with . Get with the times yamaha…wheres my xt700z twinzy 😉
I liked a lot your post, thank you very much. I was kicking F 800gs tyres not trully convinced after having studied throughfully the “whole” mid size trail bike market, i.e. F800gs, triumph xc800, the smaller v-strom 650 and the light and beautiful but so low powered tenere 660…. So now I will wait for new tenere mt07 or mt09 powered or why not new honda africa twin before changing both my perfect-for-the-road-but-not-on-the-streets FZ6S and my good old perfect-for-both-the-street-and-the-dirt-but-not-for-the-road TTR 600 into a brand new yammy tenere 07 or 09 with 80 to 100 HP and less than 200kg… Please Yamaha make our dreams come true!!!! Thanks for the post and let’s dream for a (hope little) while
It’s quite amazing that today right now with the adventure motorcycle market supposedly the fastest growing area of motorcycle sales and all the talk all the hype of this that and the next thing to be released, there is not one adventure motorcycle for sale from any manufacturer that is capable.
Firstly an adventure bike has to have a 21 inch front wheel simple as that, so that’s wiped most of them, I’ll start at the top the 1190R which I have owned and loved for the fun factor but like all the other 1200’s panzer tanks is too heavy if you can’t pick it up on your own it’s out.
Ok 800 BMW laughable for the price, suspension is absolutely terrible, fuel tank capacity not enough, nice engine, too heavy, it’s out.
KTM 690 mmmm, ok don’t have enough time to explain by the time I spend the money required I’m close to cost of an 1190.
Yamaha 660, oh dear a stepped seat, ridiculous weight, low power, fuel capacity nearly there, oh yeah and the suspension is a joke less travel than the road going 660 and very cheep poor quality but hey it looks cool, it’s out.
DR650 now we’re getting close, suspension that just needs a re valve bullet proof engine, but tiny fuel tank, it’s out.
KLR650 big tank low power crap suspension guess what it,s the winner, out of all the bikes made everyone of them the only bike you can walk in and buy that you can take on an adventure and very slow one at that, is the oldest slowest under suspended bike on the market, so with all the technology we now have abs traction control etc the only bikes you can buy out the showroom that are capable of a true adventure with least amount of mods have none of this and have a design base that’s ten years old.
I’d love to have ten minutes with a marketing exec from any of the top four what ever happened to the brand loyalty game make a 450 rally replica but not the real thing an affordable modified enduro bigger sump stainless valves big tank fairing etc, get them in young then the real do everything bike a twin cylinder 700 that looks the same rally spec with real off road suspension big tank fairing and then no not a 1200 adventure bike, a 1200 tourer cause that’s all they are and the only reason there popular is there’s nothing else to buy.
To only have one “Adventure bike” in your model line up and it’s a 1200 is quite ridiculous .
Frankly the press are as much to blame as the manufacturers not one has ever done a test on any of these larger bikes and laughed ” it’s what, an adventure bike I think your mistaken.
Our only hope is yamaha they have two engines that are capable already in production. The honda will be another let down to big too heavy too complex.
Not one manufacturer is giving us what we really want.
The real problem is that the “we” in question is a minority group. Honda has the “X” line, for example, which are bikes for the road, with a possible gravel adventure, and with an “adventure look” to them. And that’s what the market has been buying. A serious off-roader with street capability would no longer be considered “adventure” but an “enduro” or rally bike. Very few of us want that bike. Anyway, we all modify our bikes for our riding style and weight. What we need is a good starting platform, something that is light, comes with suspension travel (to be improved by us) and a 21 inch front wheel. And we also want a twin cylinder… I do at least, so there will be that extra weight. But I want a good starting point. And I think this starting point is coming… Will it be a Honda, a Yamaha or a KTM? Or all the three of them?
I’m extremely impressed with the analysis. First time to the website. Very nice work. I’m not sure this is a US oriented or Europe, but I believe now is the time for one of these bikes to surface in the US. In the past, it was fairly cheap to buy a specialized bike in the US. We had multi car garages to store them in, low tax rate made it easy to own a group of specialized bikes. Your Cruiser, the enduro bike, the Touring bike, and the sport bike. In Europe, taxes and space made it difficult to be the owner of multiple bikes. So Europe was forced to have all the bikes in one. A bike that you could tour on, maybe do an Adventure Weekend ride, Daily commuter, and be a sport bike. Needing all the capabilities on one bike create amazing bikes in Europe that we never received here. Things are changing. US Wages have been stagnate for the past 5+ years. This is making US buyers start to think like European buyers. How can I get a single bike to do multi-duty.
I’m a big fan of the Dakar. Wish I could have a bike like that. I spent many years trying to figure out how to import a African Twin or 750 Tenere. My first semi adventure bike I bought was a 1992 TDM850. I rode the jeep trails all over Colorado and Utah, long ride to Alaska with this bike. It sure had it’s limitation. When the KTM 950 hit our shores, I was terrified to go look at one, because it would be love at first sight… and it was. Now I’m a 55 Year old office worker and getting to the point that I can’t pick up the KTM950 alone. I lust for the XTZ660 as a reasonable alternative. Nice long travel suspension, could easily be a replacement for the KTM. I see the drawings of the Yamaha 700 and 950 rally like bikes and they look amazing. I just wish the manufactures of these bikes keep in mind:
1. We need a wide ratio gear box. A very low first gear for the trail and high 6th gear for highway cruising. These big bikes need versatility over 1/4 mile drag strip performance. If we gear it down for trails, it is almost unusable for highway use. Gear it up for highway, and riding off road becomes too difficult. Burn up the clutch. Give us a wide ratio and we will deal with the gaps.
2. Put a real gas tank on them. It is easier to not complete fill them for a make them lighter for a trail ride than to find ways to carry extra gas on trips. Find ways like KTM to carry the weight low!
3. If you have a great street motor, let the adventure bike have the same performance. Rarely do we complain, we just had too much HP. The improved Torque is not that impressive compared to the loss of HP.
Keep up the good work!!
Steven “scooter scum” Johnson
’08 Kawasaki Concours 14 – does this make my butt look fast?
’04 KTM 950 Adventure – Quick Silver – my dream 140 MPH dirt bike
’95 Kawasaki KLX250/321 – Just call me yellow britches
’92 Yamaha TDM850 – Dual sport of course
It looks like the FZ-07 is the bike I would like to adventurise to replace my unrealiable overweight BMW 2011 R1200GS. It just needs wheels to fit some Heidenau Scouts and TKCs. Hopefully Yamaha helps us out.
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Guys very nice job, great discussions and commemts! I’m really pleased to see such analysis and disappointed with yamaha and other manufacturers that they do no realize the huge gap in the market. They have the engine, the electronics, knowledge ready just need to hear us to provide a at least 20ltr tank, less than 170kg, good windscreen, comfortable seat, good mileage like 50 o 60… Its simple. Something between 450 to 700cc would be perfect. Here in Brazil yamaha launched a Tenere 250 some time ago. I used to have a xt660 and got TE250…inicially i thought it was going to a difficult with smaller engine, but the bike has 136kg, I ride 450km with 16lt tank! Nice ergonomics, very reliable and fun, on highway it runs 110-120km/h which is very good for a 250 and take you to the same place as others in almost same time. But unfortunately yamaha produced with some low quality parts. I was wondering if yamaha could use this concept in a 450cc engine, with good suspension (does not need to be a competition one) same ergonomics and weight might be a perfect bike. I’m a very experienced rider, crossed Andes in chile and weight makes the difference. Less weight means less fuel, less tyres, fatigue, chain everything. I simply can’t understand why we do not have in the market a adventure 450 mono and a another 700cc vtwin, they are blind? Everybody is claiming for that.
Guys very nice job, great discussions and commemts! I’m really pleased to see such analysis and disappointed with yamaha and other manufacturers that they do no realize the huge gap in the market. They have the engine, the electronics, knowledge ready, do not need to develop everything…main are just there. just need to hear us to provide a at least 20ltr tank, less than 170kg, good windscreen, comfortable seat, good mileage like 50 o 60… Its simple. Something between 450 to 700cc would be perfect. Here in Brazil yamaha launched a Tenere 250 some time ago. I used to have a xt660 and got TE250…inicially i thought it was going to a difficult with smaller engine, but the bike has 136kg, I ride 450km with 16lt tank! Nice ergonomics, very reliable and fun, on highway it runs 110-120km/h which is very good for a 250 and take you to the same place as others in almost same time. But unfortunately yamaha produced with some low quality parts. I was wondering if yamaha could use this concept in a 450cc engine, with good suspension (does not need to be a competition one) same ergonomics and weight might be a perfect bike. I’m a very experienced rider, crossed Andes in chile and weight makes the difference. Less weight means less fuel, less tyres, fatigue, chain everything. I simply b can’t understand why we do not have in the market a adventure 450 mono and a another 700cc vtwin, they are blind? Everybody is claiming for that!
Ah the 250cc Ténèré, one of my dream bikes, sadly not imported to Europe where the emphasis seems to be on power and electronics?
Why? If you’re actually going to travel on a bike, then surely you want to see the place, not just a blur. Dakar speeds are for the racers, travellers stop and start, nip down side roads that look interesting, take the path less trodden. If you’re blitzing through at 90 you’ll miss all this.
Yes I understand a lot of us don’t actually sell up, pack up and set off round the world for years, we get a couple of weeks and we want to get as far away as possible in as short a time. So the super-cruiser, adventure-style bike draws us in. Big enough to carry the kitchen sink, powerful enough to carry us to twice the legal speed limit and with a hint that maybe when we get there we can ride the odd dirt road.
In the mean time, anyone who really wants to travel out their door buys a secondhand trailie and bodges it to do the job, or buys a plane ticket to get far away and an old CG or YBR from the market and travels at 125cc speeds like the locals all do.
Not sure who bike manufacturers listen too but the forums are buzzing with demand for a Honda CRF450L & 450M, and, Yamaha MT07 in SM & Adventure spec. Tow obvious niches where there is cash to be made. Lots of cash.
Most fun in my 45 years of riding was CB77 Honda Dream -went everywhere, yes a bit of under-equipped off road riding- but it was light and got me to anywhere I wished. Since then I’ve HD sportster-ed ‘was the super bike of my youth -never a problem with it/ a Yamaha DT in the 70’s for true off road capability/ and then a long term love affair with a BMW R1100RS (which has recently found a new place to live. I’m selecting the next companion as we speak. But it’s truly the rider -not the bike that lends the adventure- why else would anyone ride a Ural Sidehack on a global adventure? And yes, slow the eff down and actually see where you’ve been. it’s really nice here, nec’st pas?
tr 650 with real dirt capable suspension would do me
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norm says: many people above on the right track, I have been modifying many bikes over the years trying to find the “perfect adventure bike”, with limited success. Single’s vibe to much on long trips (twins are better) and after riding the MT 07 the engine would be a great starting point and the weight is good (180 kg), alter the sub frame to keep the seat low and move the pegs for comfortable riding position, put the adjustable suspension and spoke wheels from the dirt models to give 200 + ml travel and a 20 lt tank and package would be close to a good alrounder.
So many compromises to make with an adventure bike. Weight is our enemy on the dirt, engine capacity is our friend on the road. Long travel suspension is our friend on the dirt, but not our friend on the road. KTM LC4 640 had a fabulous off road package with good fuel capacity etc, but still made the road feel like a “big transport section”. Maybe that kool MT 07 motor would help a lot with that. Enough horses to get us down the road smoothly at the legal limit, while enabling the bike to be built light enough that mere mortals could actually handle it on the dirt. I think suspension needs to be carefully thought out – travel 200 – 250, good quality maybe WP, Ohlins or at least easily adjustable good quality Japanese a la WR, XR, KLX etc. Seat height not something to be so afraid of if the bike isn’t too heavy. It needs a good sub frame for carrying gear. Reliability and longevity need to be considered before outright horsepower.
Even the way the bike looks is a challenge for an adv bike. We want to be able to ride it across central Australia or around Africa, but then we don’t want to look out of place cruising down the highway or parked out the front of the local coffee shop with our street bike buddies. So many challenges, but these bikes get better all the time 🙂
it’s a difficult market segment for a manufacturer. A middleweight has to be good enough to satisfy the buyers in that segment but not so good it draws buyers out of the more profitable open class. Eg, suzuki could have fitted the low cost cartridge forks from their old dl1000 to their dl650, but if they did, who would buy the 1k? Likewise, how many riders can actually cope with ktm big twins and thier consumable consumption? Answer? Stop making the lc4 adv until the big market is saturated. Another example; what would it really have cost yamaha to squeeze the 10 extra hp out of their xt660z that the aftermarket manages for under $1000? Paoli make a cartridge that could have been dropped into those average forks, the result could easily be a f800gs beater that doesn’t break frames… But what woul be the effect on 1200 sales?
Well, an XT07 could look a bit like this..
Now THAT is a thing of beauty. I’d buy one in a heartbeat.
Wow .I guess suziki with there DR800sBig really was ahead of its time. They could re release a EFI
Single cylinder “adventure” bikes are still available today – but are a dying breed. This is another discussion. We are talking about smaller multi-cylinder bikes.
‘don’t like Shenko 705 rear tyre on wet bitumen, had two near death experiences before I got rid of it.
Yes, you have to be careful in the wet.
I guess no one remembers the TDM 850, which was sold mostly in Europe, because at the time, that kind of bike wasn’t popular in the USA. Jean Claude van Damme road one in a promotion for the movie industry, that was shown as a “preview” in theaters; which is how I discovered the bike. Though Wikipedia says it was sold from 1991-01, they were only sold in the USA from 1991-92. There was also a TDM 900 that was sold between 2002 to 2011. I missed out on that one, and was given some of this information talking with factory reps in 2011. Yamaha is constantly coming up with “revolutionary ideas” that aren’t accepted at first, and by the time the customers “get it”, it’s too late, and the product is out of production. This also happened with the Vmax; they brought back that one however. I “Play Yamaha and Ride Yamaha”, and the same thing happens with their musical division. My favorite cycle from the past was the Yamaha XJ650 Turbo Seca, (damn, I loved that bike) another “limited edition wonder bike”. (This is the model bike James Bond rode in the movie “Never Say Never” in 1983.) The Fukushima disaster put a slowdown on all motorcycles from Japan, I hope the business is doing better now.
Great insights Winston. Thank you!
Give me A H/O Mt 07, shaft drive, 20+ LITRE fuel tank, adjustable suspension under 180kg and then you will get my money Mr Yamaha.
Can you please tell me where you got the pictures of the Yamaha MT-07 engine?
It has been a long time… a Yamaha site, for sure. These motors are on several current motorcycles: MT-07 (FZ-07), XsR 700, Tracer, they are all over the place.
Even a modified XTZ with 65hp and better adjustable suspension and a different exhaust and an 18″ rear would be ideal and all thats needed.
The EICMA show is close, now. I’m very hopeful that Yamaha will bring out the XTZ 700 (or 700 Tenere, or you-name-it) based on the MT-07 twin.
Those poor people have been through so much! Lately, it’s been Super Typhoons. Previously and recently, it’s been earthquakes and Fukushima. They are very strong, resourceful people, I am glad they are at least trading partners, if not outright friends. Very Glad…
No kidding, when the Super Tenere was launched it was either the earthquake or floods, I don’t remember. And then when the Africa Twin was launched, another natural disaster followed. In both cases it affected production. But yes, EICMA is happening soon, lets see what will happen, what new bikes will be shown.