Yamaha returns its middleweight adventure bike, the Ténéré 700 ($10,799), to its US model lineup for 2024 with some minor but welcome tweaks. And after spending a day in the saddle it’s clear that the Tuning Fork company has a well-rounded ADV that offers equal parts on and off-road performance.
Editor’s note: We’ve reported extensively on the Ténéré 700 during the 2021 Yamaha Ténéré 700 MC Commute Review, 2022 Yamaha Ténéré 700 World Raid First Look Preview, 2023 Yamaha Ténéré 700 and Rally Edition Preview, 2024 Yamaha Ténéré 700 Explore Preview, and 2024 Yamaha Ténéré 700 First Look Preview articles. Get up to speed on all things Ténéré inside those write-ups. Also watch the Yamaha Ténéré 700 Preview, Yamaha Ténéré 700 Review, and Yamaha Ténéré 700 T7 Review – Episode 2 videos.
Of course, aside from its competitive price, the standout feature of Yamaha’s 700 is its versatility. It performs well both on and off-road, making it an excellent choice for adventure riders. The design strikes a near perfect 50/50 balance between street and dirt, allowing riders to explore a variety of terrains with ease.
Powered by Yamaha’s tried-and-true 689cc CP2 parallel-twin engine that’s good for nearly 62 hp and 43 lb.-ft. torque at the business end of the 18-inch rear tire. The engine benefits from an uneven firing order which gives it the sound and feel of a V-twin. A hint of engine vibration is felt through the controls but it is the good kind which makes riding motorcycles fun.
The Ténéré provides a good balance of power, efficiency, and pleasing character in a compact package. It’s also easy on fuel with it registering 43 mpg during our mixed on and off-road ride. It puts power back via a cable-actuated wet clutch (no slipper function) and six-speed gearbox. Our Team Yamaha Blue testbike was fitted with its accessory electronic quickshifter ($199.99) which allows for full-throttle clutchless upshifts. Downshifts however have to be made the old-fashioned way.
If seeking electronic rider aids however, you better look elsewhere. Although the Tuning Fork brand is an early pioneer of ride-by-wire throttle technology (first employed on the 2006 YZF-R6 sportbike), the Ténéré uses a good old-fashioned mechanical cable setup to manipulate the throttle bodies. But considering how smooth and well-metered engine response is, we certainly don’t miss the electronic doodads that other bikes include in this category, like traction control, adjustable engine power modes, etc.
Keeping tabs on engine vitals is a fresh vertical-mount 5-inch color TFT that replaces the boring LCD of before. The display looks nice and crisp, however we wish the gear position indicator was larger. The display can be paired via Bluetooth with iOS- or Android-powered smartphones using the Yamaha Motorcycle Connect app. This allows phone calls and text messages to be displayed on the screen. Only problem is the system doesn’t allow you to answer or respond, even with a Bluetooth-enabled headset. We’d love to see added functionality and a moving map service similar to what’s offered on the 2024 Yamaha Tracer 9 GT+ sport-touring rig. LED turn signals are also new for ‘24 and replace the old-school halogen bulb setup.
Rolling on a sturdy steel main frame chassis with around 8 inches of suspension fore and aft, the Yamaha is capable of getting the rider well off the beaten path. The suspension settings are a good compromise between road and off-road use. The fork offers damping adjustment plus air bleeds atop each fork leg to remove pressure, just like a real dirt bike. A linkage-equipped shock with damping and a handy remote spring preload adjustment allow riders more setup options.
Despite its lengthy wheelbase, the 452-pound Yamaha is agile in motion for its size and feels like a big dual sport. It offers meaty footpegs and a slim midsection that is easy to grip with the inside of the rider’s legs. Riders who spend more time off-road than on should also consider Yamaha’s accessory rally seat ($219.99) which elevates seat height by 1.61 inches. It rolls on 21-inch front and 18-inch rear spoked D.I.D aluminum wheels shod with Pirelli’s fabulous Scorpion Rally STR rubber, which performs well on and off pavement. Although the tires are tubeless design, Yamaha opted for tubes to ease trailside repairs in case of a flat.
Although the suspension settings are a tad on the slow/fast side for a 200-pound rider, the Ténéré 700′s chassis package does an admirable job of finding grip in low-traction situations. The smooth and torquey engine dynamic exacerbates this trait.
Even with its more friendly suspension settings, it doesn’t inhibit pro level riders like retired racer Damon Bradshaw from riding it as if it were a 450 dirt bike, with the multitime Supercross/motocross racing champ able to power wheelie and slide virtually on command.
“The thing the most is how simple it is to ride,” the four-time Supercross champ says. “There isn’t a lot of electronics. You turn ABS off and it becomes a full dirt bike. You still have to put some effort into riding it, and when you do, it rides like a massive 450 in a way. It’s great on the street too, but in the dirt, it is way more capable than you think it is.”
Triple disc hydraulic brakes keep speed in check with just the right amount of feel and power. ABS returns, but now offers the ability to disable rear ABS independently of the front. Like before, riders can also disable ABS entirely with a few presses of the new multi-wheel button. Still, it should be more simple to turn off and it’s annoying that ABS defaults to on every time the ignition is turned off.
Adventure riders seeking a purposeful and no-nonsense midsize adventure bike with equal parts on/off-road performance will appreciate what Yamaha brings to the table with its Ténéré 700. It looks cool, it’s easy to ride, and it’s capable enough for exploration well off the beaten path.
Helmet: Shoei Hornet X2
Jacket: Rev’It Defender 3 GTX
Pant: Rev’It Defender 3 GTX
Gloves: Rev’It Cayenne Pro
Boots: Alpinestars Tech 7
2024 Yamaha Ténéré 700 Technical Specifications and Price
|$11,218.99 (as tested)
|689cc, DOHC, liquid-cooled parallel twin; 8 valves
|BORE x STROKE
|80.0 x 68.6mm
|Electronic fuel injection
|Wet, multiple disc; cable actuation
|Double-cradle steel tube
|43mm Kayaba USD fork, fully adjustable; 8.3 in. travel
|Kayaba shock, fully adjustable; 7.9 in. travel
|4-piston caliper, dual 282mm discs w/ ABS and Off-road mode (disengaged)
|1-piston floating caliper, 245mm disc w/ ABS and Off-road mode (disengaged)
|D.I.D spoked wheels w/ aluminum rims; 21 x 2.50 in. / 18 x 4.50 in.
|Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR; 90/90-21 / 150/70-18
|CLAIMED CURB WEIGHT