Review: Key Updates For 2024 Improve Yamaha’s Ténéré 700

Photo By: Yamaha

Back in 2022, Overland Expo chose the Yamaha Ténéré 700 as our Ultimate Motorcycle Build platform, and for good reason: It’s a solid, popular, and easily upgradeable middleweight used by thousands of overlanding and ADV riders the world over. Our build, headed up by Overland Expo’s Master of Moto adventuring, Eva Rupert, resulted in a very well-equipped Ténéré 700 (say “Ten-Array”), commonly known as just the “T 7.” It was a comfortable and highly capable companion as I traversed many of Colorado’s Rocky Mountain Alpine Loop passes and colorful towns on a fantastic multi-day late-summer excursion made possible by the swift and svelte Yamaha adventure machine.

Yamaha Tenere 700, Yamaha Ténéré 700, Yamaha T7, Yamaha ADV motorcycle, T7, quickshifter, adventure bike, dual sport, overlanding motorcycle, dirt bike, adventure bike,
High in the San Gabriel Mountains east of L.A. traffic, the T7 is at home in the dust and loose rocks. Photo by Yamaha/Joseph Augustin Photography

The T 7 is back for 2024, and while it is largely unchanged. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The updates that it has received are welcome and useful. I recently rode the 2024 model in the mountains near Lake Elsinore, east of Los Angeles, California, as well as on the highways around the big city.

2024 Yamaha Ténéré 700 Overview

Yamaha got the Ténéré 700’s ADV ingredients pretty much correct from the start, way back in 2019. The model debuted in Europe and Asia first and came to North America in 2020, and has stayed pretty much the same since – in the U.S. and Canada, that is. Those lucky European riders get to choose from six versions of the T7, while neglected North Americans have to make do with a single base version that now retails for $10,799, a $300 bump. Good thing it’s as capable as ever, either bone stock or all gussied up with goodies.

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Basic bits include the reliable fuel-injected 689cc CP2 parallel twin engine, which produces 65-ish horsepower and just under 50 lb-ft of torque, along with a sonorous exhaust note thanks to its 270-degree firing cadence. The six-speed gearbox has cogs ideal for chugging up steep, muddy inclines or calmly cruising down the interstate a fair bit over the posted limit.

Yamaha Tenere 700, Yamaha Ténéré 700, Yamaha T7, Yamaha ADV motorcycle, T7, quickshifter, adventure bike, dual sport, overlanding motorcycle, dirt bike, adventure bike,

Photo by Yamaha

Yamaha Tenere 700, Yamaha Ténéré 700, Yamaha T7, Yamaha ADV motorcycle, T7, quickshifter, adventure bike, dual sport, overlanding motorcycle, dirt bike, adventure bike,

Photo by Yamaha

Yamaha Tenere 700, Yamaha Ténéré 700, Yamaha T7, Yamaha ADV motorcycle, T7, quickshifter, adventure bike, dual sport, overlanding motorcycle, dirt bike, adventure bike,

Photo by Yamaha

Yamaha Tenere 700, Yamaha Ténéré 700, Yamaha T7, Yamaha ADV motorcycle, T7, quickshifter, adventure bike, dual sport, overlanding motorcycle, dirt bike, adventure bike,

Photo by Yamaha

Yamaha Tenere 700, Yamaha Ténéré 700, Yamaha T7, Yamaha ADV motorcycle, T7, quickshifter, adventure bike, dual sport, overlanding motorcycle, dirt bike, adventure bike,

Photo by Yamaha

Yamaha Tenere 700, Yamaha Ténéré 700, Yamaha T7, Yamaha ADV motorcycle, T7, quickshifter, adventure bike, dual sport, overlanding motorcycle, dirt bike, adventure bike,

Photo by Yamaha

Yamaha Tenere 700, Yamaha Ténéré 700, Yamaha T7, Yamaha ADV motorcycle, T7, quickshifter, adventure bike, dual sport, overlanding motorcycle, dirt bike, adventure bike,

Photo by Yamaha

Yamaha Tenere 700, Yamaha Ténéré 700, Yamaha T7, Yamaha ADV motorcycle, T7, quickshifter, adventure bike, dual sport, overlanding motorcycle, dirt bike, adventure bike,

The small attachment on the shifter rod tells the engine to pause for a split second while the upshift takes place. Photo by William Roberson

Yamaha Tenere 700, Yamaha Ténéré 700, Yamaha T7, Yamaha ADV motorcycle, T7, quickshifter, adventure bike, dual sport, overlanding motorcycle, dirt bike, adventure bike,

2024 looks much like 2023, but that’s a good thing for the trim, sporty T7. Photo by William Roberson

Suspension front and rear is from KYB and remains highly adjustable, with eight inches of travel on average for the 18/21-inch wheel pairing. The triplet of disc brakes with ABS provides stout but also easily modulated braking power. Quad-LED headlights behind a slim but effective segmented windscreen give the T7 a strong dose of rally racer style and do a decent job of lighting up the road or trail ahead after dark. The seat is all-day comfortable (for this rider), and stand-over riding is easy, at least after I quickly adjusted the bars and levers to my liking.

The spoke wheels get Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR tires as stock, and the footpegs feature removable comfort inserts that reveal boot-gripping teeth. The switchgear is instantly familiar – almost – and like the T7s that came before, the bike is easy to ride both on the road and well off of it. So what’s new?

New Ténéré 700 Tech For 2024

While North American markets still get just the one base model versus the half dozen fancy variants in the EU, a few important EU-only features have now come across the pond for 2024. The most obvious is the new display panel in the cockpit. It retains its rally-ish vertical format, but it graduates from the clunky, blocky, monotone LCD display that looks like it was designed circa 1983 to a crisp 5-inch color TFT screen with two display modes, Street and Explorer.

Yamaha Tenere 700, Yamaha Ténéré 700, Yamaha T7, Yamaha ADV motorcycle, T7, quickshifter, adventure bike, dual sport, overlanding motorcycle, dirt bike, adventure bike,
Explorer mode on the left, Street mode on the right. Photos by William Roberson

Explorer mode (above left) is the default and looks familiar, as it is basically an update of the original display mode. Still, it’s now much clearer, more colorful, and with additional data points, especially when paired with Yamaha’s Y-Connect phone app via Bluetooth, a connectivity ability North American T7s have not had until now. For off-road riding, the rally bike style Explorer mode is likely going to be the most popular choice, but Street mode works well for those of us still used to the “round clocks” layout typical of road bikes.

Street mode (above right) shows a round tachometer with a digital speed readout and adds a coolant temperature display. For older scoot jockeys like myself, the Street display seems more familiar, and I used it the most on our ride. When connected to the Yamaha app, the display will also show phone battery status and small icons for incoming text messages, phone calls, and emails. No, it will not display a text message on the screen itself, thankfully, but you now have the option for self-induced unread text/email/phone call anxiety if that’s your thing. Remember, pairing to the app is optional, but once connected, it can also remember where you parked and show you fuel consumption history along with maintenance alerts and some other tidbits. It’s your call on assimilation, captain.

Yamaha Tenere 700, Yamaha Ténéré 700, Yamaha T7, Yamaha ADV motorcycle, T7, quickshifter, adventure bike, dual sport, overlanding motorcycle, dirt bike, adventure bike,
It may seem like a minor feature, but for adventure riders, this kind of control over ABS is a big deal. Photo by Yamaha

Perhaps the most key change to the North American Ténéré 700 is the ability to better control the bike’s anti-lock braking systems. On the 2023 bike, the choices were ABS “on” for both wheels or ABS off to the rear wheel only. Now, there’s a crucial third option: Turning the system off completely. While most off-road riders appreciate having control over the rear brake for sliding the back end as needed, many experienced riders also want the option to fully control the front brake. Wish granted. Of note: Once the T7 key is taken out of the ignition, ABS defaults to fully “on” for the next ride. ABS status outside of the default “all on” mode is shown on the display while riding.

Yamaha Tenere 700, Yamaha Ténéré 700, Yamaha T7, Yamaha ADV motorcycle, T7, quickshifter, adventure bike, dual sport, overlanding motorcycle, dirt bike, adventure bike,
The small attachment on the shifter rod tells the engine to pause for a split second while the upshift takes place, no clutch required. Photo by William Roberson

Also for 2024, the U.S. T7 gets the $200 clutchless quick-shifter option (above) Euro riders have been enjoying. Our review bikes were fitted with the shifter tech, which installs easily with plug-and-play wiring and activates a “QS” icon in the display. It only speed shifts UP through the gears; it will not rev-match for downshifts. Oh, and the turn signals are now LED types, with the front blinkers staying on as marker lights for better visibility in traffic. Color choices are black or glossy Yamaha blue.

With the new display and ABS options, Yamaha has added a small thumb-operated click wheel to the right bar pod to make it easy to change the display format and ABS as needed while underway, instead of having to push buttons on the display itself as on the old models.

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Ride Time

Properly acquainted with all the new features, we saddled up for a ride out to the dirt roads in the mountains east of Los Angeles. Threading through the infamous L.A. morning rush hour traffic, we split lanes between cars at safe speeds, and while the lanes of the California freeways seem wider than those where I live (Oregon), the slender profile of the T7 made this maneuver a low-stress experience for those of us for which it remains illegal at home (sadly). It sure beats sitting in traffic. As traffic thinned out and the highway narrowed to two curving lanes, the T7’s excellent road manners allowed for some aggressive corner strafing on the way to our off-road chapter of the ride. It was a reminder of how well-rounded the Ténéré 700 is.

Yamaha Tenere 700, Yamaha Ténéré 700, Yamaha T7, Yamaha ADV motorcycle, T7, quickshifter, adventure bike, dual sport, overlanding motorcycle, dirt bike, adventure bike,
Photo by Yamaha/Joseph Augustin Photography

We reached the trailhead and prepped the bikes for off-road riding, which included airing the tires down a bit and adjusting the rear suspension preload, which was made simple with a twistgrip located under the rear fender. Most riders switched off rear wheel ABS; some of the more experienced went full analog. Out on the (very) dusty trail, the T7 powered up steep grades, navigated rocky descents, and crossed deep G-outs that cut across the trail with an ease that belies its comparatively hefty 450-pound fueled weight. Granted, we weren’t hauling any gear on our press bikes, but even when I was banging my way through the Rockies on a loaded-up ’22 T7, the Yamaha enabled passage through challenges I initially hesitated to attempt. Fortunately, I had only one get-off, but the crash bars and other measures expert builder Eva Rupert added to the T7 fended off any damage. On this trip, I managed to stay upright.

Yamaha Tenere 700, Yamaha Ténéré 700, Yamaha T7, Yamaha ADV motorcycle, T7, quickshifter, adventure bike, dual sport, overlanding motorcycle, dirt bike, adventure bike,

Photo by Yamaha/Joseph Augustin Photography

Yamaha Tenere 700, Yamaha Ténéré 700, Yamaha T7, Yamaha ADV motorcycle, T7, quickshifter, adventure bike, dual sport, overlanding motorcycle, dirt bike, adventure bike,

Sliding the back wheel gives riders more control in the dirt than ABS, which is why the option is given to turn ABS off. Photo by Yamaha/Joseph Augustin Photography

Yamaha Tenere 700, Yamaha Ténéré 700, Yamaha T7, Yamaha ADV motorcycle, T7, quickshifter, adventure bike, dual sport, overlanding motorcycle, dirt bike, adventure bike,

Even at 6 foot 1, standover riding is still easy and comfortable on the T7. Photo by Yamaha/Joseph Augustin Photography

Yamaha Tenere 700, Yamaha Ténéré 700, Yamaha T7, Yamaha ADV motorcycle, T7, quickshifter, adventure bike, dual sport, overlanding motorcycle, dirt bike, adventure bike,

High in the San Gabriel Mountains east of L.A. traffic, the T7 is at home in the dust and loose rocks. Photo by Yamaha/Joseph Augustin Photography

After riding to the top of Santiago Peak, a ridge festooned with TV and cellular antennas, we navigated down a challenging steep stretch to have lunch and then transitioned back to road riding. Satiated, we throttled onto the Ortega Highway, a swirling, scenic but technical strip of pavement that wound back into the Los Angeles megalopolis. Fatigued from the highly active stand-up riding for the last several hours, it was nice to sit a bit in the saddle as the T7 wound along the spine of the Ortega passage. As an on-road mount, the T7 is comfortable and peppy, with extra passing power a click down from 6th gear if need be. The stock windscreen, while small, punches a decent hole in the air for this six-foot tall rider’s midsection, and helmet buffeting is minor, if noticeable at all.

Soon enough, we were on Interstate 5, with what seemed like 12 lanes packed with cages and trucks in each direction, all going at walking speed as commuters stewed behind the steering wheels in the evening crush of traffic. We slipped through between lanes once again, joining riders on growling Harleys, towering KTMs, and hyperthyroid sportbikes in leaving the traffic behind. Why isn’t this legal everywhere?

Yamaha Tenere 700, Yamaha Ténéré 700, Yamaha T7, Yamaha ADV motorcycle, T7, quickshifter, adventure bike, dual sport, overlanding motorcycle, dirt bike, adventure bike,
Photo by Yamaha/Joseph Augustin Photography

As traffic thinned out on The 5, throttles opened, and get-a-ticket speeds began to appear on our speedometers, but the T7 remained confident and controlled and didn’t feel like it was being wound out to achieve our extralegal velocities. True versatility. Darkness gathered as we arrived back at Yamaha’s massive Cypress headquarters, the dual LED high beams lighting up street signs and oncoming drivers as well.

Observations

The updates to the 2024 Ténéré 700 may seem minor, and on balance they don’t change up the T7 experience in a major way. Still, they are definitely important tools many North American riders have been asking for since the T7’s debut, especially the improved control over ABS braking. Some have criticized the T7’s stock suspension as too soft, but they are likely more off-road-focused riders who want a bit more support in the rough stuff. To this rider, the suspension seems to have both off-roading and pavement stretches well covered.

The wide range of adjustability means it can be tuned for more aggressive off-road riding without resorting to having hard parts replaced as they were on my Overland Expo-built bike, which featured longer, taller, more sophisticated Tractive legs. If off-road riding is going to be a primary focus, spending large dollars on that sort of upgrade makes sense, especially in light of the Yamaha’s affordable $10,799 MSRP. But for the vast majority of riders, the KYB suspenders will work just fine as is, and a definite sweet spot for most riding styles can be found if you keep fine-tuning it as the miles and riding hours accumulate.

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Additionally, the sweet CP2 P-Twin, which also powers several other Yamaha models, is still a lovable, reliable, capable lump, typically able to lug the bike and rider out of trouble even if it’s in the wrong gear. The engine’s sweet spot seems to be wherever it’s turning at the moment, with a solid rush of acceleration as the revs rise. The T7 doesn’t have “ride modes” as many bikes do now, and Yamaha seems to have found the middle of the off-road/on-highway Venn diagram with the motor, and many riders feel zero ride modes is the perfect number of ride modes. Will that change? Maybe someday, but let’s hope one of the ride modes preserves the current state of tune. Maybe call it “Just Right” mode.

Yamaha Tenere 700, Yamaha Ténéré 700, Yamaha T7, Yamaha ADV motorcycle, T7, quickshifter, adventure bike, dual sport, overlanding motorcycle, dirt bike, adventure bike,
The 2024 Ténéré 700 looks much like 2023, but that’s a good thing for the trim, sporty ‘T7.’ Photo by William Roberson

What would I change? Highway droning is a less fun but typically unavoidable part of ADV riding, so cruise control would be a nice addition or option. But because the T7 has cable-actuated throttle bodies instead of throttle-by-wire, that’s not an OEM option – just yet. There are plenty of aftermarket solutions in terms of throttle locks, including the excellent Atlas unit I had on my ’22 built bike. Heated grips as stock would be another valued perk that wouldn’t cost Yamaha much to add, and why not just add in the quick shifter as standard? Riders can use it or not use it as they see fit. The current EFI setup also largely precludes “ride modes” that involve a lot of throttle adjustment, so the T7 has none. A wire throttle system and some additional digital processing power solves this and the cruise control issue handily, and I don’t get why Yamaha continues to miss adding these important features. Maybe next year.

Yamaha Tenere 700, Yamaha Ténéré 700, Yamaha T7, Yamaha ADV motorcycle, T7, quickshifter, adventure bike, dual sport, overlanding motorcycle, dirt bike, adventure bike,
Heading into Los Angeles as the sun dips into the Pacific Ocean. Photo by William Roberson

And that’s the thing with the Ténéré 700, honestly. It’s a solid, dependable, and familiar adventure bike that has launched countless adventures over the years, but in that time, the competition has drawn closer to figuring out its magic formula. Now, Honda is in the mix with its reborn Transalp 750, which is arguably more street-oriented but may also be an off-pavement contender with some different tires and a few other changes. It includes ride modes, a much more powerful (90hp) but similar p-twin engine, better weather protection, and what looks like a smidge more comfort on the road. It’s also less expensive by hundreds of dollars, and it’s just one of several mid-size adventure bike competitors, including offerings from market leader BMW, KTM, Husqvarna, and Suzuki with their new DE800 P-twin. Will the T7 need to change to keep up?

Rising competitive pressure may nudge Yamaha into adding in more features, tech, and capabilities to the North American Ténéré 700… next year. Or, it could be as simple as sending us some of the up-spec T7 versions those spoiled, er, lucky European riders now enjoy. Whatever the future holds, at least the 2024 Ténéré 700 we get to ride now is still a fun, capable horizon chaser.

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