I got excited when I first saw Yamaha announcing “road-friendly” Tenere for 2024. Yamaha needs to have crossovers in their motorcycle lineup. All motorcycles are road- or off-road-focused, and you can find nothing in between. Yamaha’s two most popular travelling motorcycles are the Tenere 700 and Tracer 9 GT. They are entirely on the opposite spectrum of performance and the environment in which they are meant to be used. There is nothing in between. But let’s dive a little bit deeper.
Tenere 700 is an adventure motorcycle, one of the most popular middleweight motorcycles people prefer to choose for their next adventure. This bike is so popular that the waiting time to get one in some countries can be over six months. If you look among the travel community, you’ll see that most people choose this bike for its reliability, heritage, simplicity, and affordability. The motorcycle, which costs you nearly half the price of the BMW GS or a bit less than the Africa Twin, can bring you to the most remote places on the planet with no harm to your pocket. The only problem that the bike has got is comfort. First of all, it is tall for many riders. Secondly, considering off-road focus, the seat must be built to tackle long miles. Plus, there needs to be more electronics available on the bike.
So, over the past couple of years, Yamaha listened and introduced several variants of T7, all of which still needed to be road-focused. The first step towards long-distance touring was made with Tenere 700 World Raid. That bike is built to go anywhere. It is okay whether it is Tarmac sand or gravel. The top-spec KYB suspension setup is part of why it is that good on any surface. A lower centre of gravity contributed to the lower centre of gravity, thus better handling. But the bike is still tall for most riders.
In 2023, Yamaha will introduce the Tenere 700 Explore, which, judging by specs, is leaning towards road-focused performance. The bike is lower, has shorter suspension travel, and has some electronics such as Quick-shifter and additional touring-focused features. Yamaha made a significant step in the right direction because only a few people ride all those bikes anywhere but the Tarmac. Most riders choose adventure-style motorcycles instead of road-focused bikes because of their softer suspension. Here are a few things to make it even better. First – replace the 21′ front wheel with a smaller diameter, say 19, which is better for handling. Tubeless wheels will be a game changer. You don’t need tubed wheels on a travel bike. People looking for off-road severe will likely choose a regular T7 anyway. If Yamana can apply those changes to the next iteration of this bike, it will be an almost perfect travel bike.
I am attaching the first real pictures from the EICMA in Milan.