Writing about bikes for 20 years. Published in dozens of titles on five continents. Mildly obsessed with discovering how things work.
Back in February we brought the news that Yamaha was planning to launch a new ‘Rally’ version of the Ténéré 700 – and now that’s exactly what Yamaha has revealed.
Set to reach dealers in July, the Ténéré 700 Rally Edition celebrates the history of the Ténéré name, featuring colours inspired by the first versions raced at the Dakar rally in 1983 and 1984.
Blue paint, black ‘speedblock’ graphics, a yellow number board and gold wheels are all signatures of first-generation XT600Z Ténérés both in road-going form and on the racers campaigned by Jean-Claude Olivier and Serge Bacou. That 1983 event was the first Dakar to cross the Ténéré desert, giving Yamaha’s new adventure bike its name.
Yamaha had already seen success at the Dakar, winning the motorcycle class at the inaugural event in 1979 and again in 1980 with Cyril Neveu on an XT500, but the Ténéré was launched into the face of period of Dakar domination by BMW’s bigger R80G/S and then Honda’s exotic NXR750V. Yamaha wouldn’t reach the top step of the podium again until 1991, with the purpose-made YZE750 Ténéré rally bike derived from the XTZ750 Super Ténéré, which went on to win seven Dakars in eight years.
Technically, the current Ténéré 700 is closer to those 1990s winners than the original XT600Z Ténéré – with a water-cooled parallel twin engine where the original had an air-cooled single. In ‘Rally Edition’ form that engine is helped out by an Akrapovic slip-on that’s claimed to ‘enhance the torque sensation’ although the bike makes the same 72hp as the stock version from its 689cc engine.
Other changes that make the Rally Edition a standalone model rather than just a paint-scheme include a 4mm alloy skid plate under the engine, aluminium radiator protectors and a matching chain guard. It also features a ‘Rally Seat’ that’s 20mm taller than stock at 895mm, LED indicators at both ends, rubber grip pads for your knees and thighs, and off-road bar grips.
In dealers next month, the Ténéré Rally Edition’s price has yet to be announced, but the base model costs £9,147 so it’s sure to cost a little more than that.