Instead of the eagerly anticipated middleweight adventure motorcycle based on the T7 prototype that Yamaha displayed at 2016 EICMA, we are still treated to another prototype: The Ténéré 700.
At the 2016 EICMA, Yamaha wowed the world by unveiling what looked like a very promising motorcycle: the Yamaha T7 Rally prototype. It looked the business, with its rally tower and headlamp cluster visible behind a clear plastic windscreen, long travel suspension, enduro-style seat, and those huge wheels shod with dualsport rubber.
This year in EICMA, when Yamaha unveiled a rather tall motorcycle sitting under covers, it was not the much-expected middleweight adventure motorcycle, but yet another prototype based on the year-old T7. The new prototype did wear the badge of Yamaha’s line of hardcore adventure touring bikes, the Ténéré, but a prototype is as good as a design on the drawing board unless there is a definite launch timeframe on it.
The Yamaha Ténéré 700 World Raid Prototype is powered by Yamaha MT-07’s crossplane parallel twin with a 270-degree crank. Aboard the MT-07, the engine produces 75 hp and 68 Nm, respectable numbers for a middleweight naked bike. As such, the Ténéré won’t be as powerful as the MT, owing to the different tunes of engine required for these two bikes.
Herein lies the problem: positioning the bike as a worthy alternative against serious contenders like Ducati 800 Scramblers, KTM 790 Adventure and its derivatives, Honda’s wide range of NCX badged motorcycles, BMW F750 and F850GS, and a whole lot more of the new generation of adventure motorcycles.
Yamaha claims that the Ténéré team needs more time to put the bike on road, which will probably happen by 2019. In the meanwhile, so many manufacturers have hogged the limelight with their promising motorcycles, Yamaha might find it to stay relevant in the middleweight ADV space. The Ténéré 700 World Raid is just a way to keep interest alive, and hopefully convince Yamaha loyalists and other takers to wait before they empty their wallets for a machine that isn’t from Team Blue.
The Yamaha Ténéré 700 World Raid will tour all continents of this planet in a bid to show its worthiness as a true-blue adventure machine. This will also allow the design and development team to rigorously test their creation all over the world in all sorts of situations. After all the testing has concluded, Yamaha will formally launch the Ténéré 700 as a 2019 model. We hope.
Stay tuned for more updates from 2017 EICMA!