The road less travelled?

Yamaha XT700 Tednere

Words and pictures by Thalassa van beek

Editor's Note: We introduced Thalassa van Beek a few months ago with the promise that she would be doing some bike and product reviews as and when she was able. And now she's delivering on that promise with a first look at her new 2021 Yamaha Tenere 700.

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5 Things I Get Asked About My Tenere 700 (And My Answers)

On the one hand, it's hard to imagine that it's been more than 4 months since my Yamaha Ténéré 700 arrived - I remember the day like it was yesterday. On the other hand, I can't believe it hasn't been longer than that. I'm already creeping up to the 10,000 km mark. And with many of those kilometers documented on my Instagram account, I get asked quite a few questions about it. To know the technical specs, you can check out the Yamaha website. This is about the stuff beyond those numbers. 

1. How do you like the Ténéré?
First things first:'How do you like the Ténéré?' Of course, this is the main question I usually get. The answer is very simple: I absolutely LOVE it! I have been dreaming about this bike since it was first announced. At the time, I was still only riding my R6, and fantasising about getting a dual sport. The all-new Yamaha Ténéré 700 seemed to be everything I would like, but I didn't want to buy a brand new bike with barely having any off road experience. What if I didn't actually like it? I got an old XT660R instead, but kept longing for the T7. After a year on the 660, I was lucky enough to borrow the 700 for a few weeks and I was sold. I caved, and ordered my own. One of the best decisions I ever made!

2. Did you get any extras?
I did! Before she even arrived, I had Outback Motortek crashbars waiting for her. From asking people who have tested plenty of them, I am convinced that those are the best ones out there. And it doesn't hurt that they make the bike look even better. When I go a bit more rough with off road riding, I'll get their skid plate as well. 

The crashbars together with the Barkbusters Handguards make the perfect protection for the T7. Being a good product tester, I tested both crashing on the left and on the right, and the bike didn't have a single scratch. I, on the other hand, had a nice purple bruise the size of a tennis ball. 

I also added SW Motech side panniers and top rack for the panniers and top case that I already had, but nowadays I ride more often with my Mosko Moto Scout panniers & duffle bag. In addition, it came with heated grips installed. It's my first bike that has them and I never wanna go without anymore. Another small thing I can't go without is the Quad Lock phone mount. I got it with a vibration dampener and wireless charger and it's perfect. 

I currently also have a one-finger clutch and new levers waiting to be installed. They are adjustable and while the original ones are just fine, I feel like it would help me if I can reach the levers a bit more easily. 

What's on my wish list? I'd like to get new suspension, probably from TFX, and I'm looking to get additional headlights. Lately, I've also been considering Camel ADV's 'Anti-Bobble-Head' because there is quite a bit of vibration that makes the headlight shaky. 

3. How tall are you?
I don't think anyone actually cares, but I assume people ask because it's quite a tall bike and they want to estimate how it would fit them. I'm 1.78m (5’10” if you prefer) and with my off road boots I can very easily touch the ground with both feet. Even with my lower riding shoes it's not a problem, although it does make me feel a little less confident. 

Having said that, there are some options. If you need the bike to be taller: the rally seat is a bit higher and you could get handlebar raisers. Or get the Ténéré 700 Rally edition - it's slightly higher than the regular T7. 

If you need it to be lower, there are lower seats and lowering kits available, although that might impact the handling of the bike. 

4. Is it a good bike for beginners?
Honestly, I think so. I may not be a beginner, but when it comes to off road riding, I absolutely am, and both on road and off, I'll take all the extra confidence I can get out of a bike. The T7 is just so smooth compared to other bikes I tried. And it's very forgiving; no matter which gear I am when I take a tight turn, it just keeps going without any hesitation. It handles way better than, let's say, my XT660R. 

Does that make it a boring bike? Absolutely not - just have a look at what Pol Tarres does with his Ténéré. As long as you don't have his skills, the bike can do more than you can. 

5. What's it like on the highway?
I'd rather avoid it, but unfortunately, sometimes highways are just something you have to do deal with. I'd say up until 130 km/h it's comfortable enough. I've gone up to about 150 km/h, but you can feel it working when you do. Having said that, what normally seems to be a very fuel-efficient bike, turns into a gas-slurping monster over +/- 125 km/h. Oh well, you don't wanna spend too much time on the highway anyway. Where are those twisty roads?

If you're curious about the Ténéré, I would suggest you don't come near it unless you're ready to fork over the money. Almost everyone I know that took it for a test ride ended up buying one. But if you do, make sure to let me know!

Editor's note (again): Thalassa is active elsewhere online as well, and you can see everything she gets up to (well, most things) on Instagram via @NoHighways. For MotorbikesTodayshe I will write gear reviews and share my travel experiences. Want to get in touch? Send her a message on Instagram.  


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