Ever since Honda first rolled out its True Adventure concept (which became the Africa Twin a year later), manufacturers have enjoyed teasing models for longer and longer. It seems Yamaha has mastered the game, however, with the build toward the release of its Ténéré 700 now pushing toward its second year. If we’re reading the tea leaves correctly, the bike will finally be announced as a production model at EICMA this autumn, but before then the tuning fork company will be torturing fans by showcasing it at a number of ADV events around the world.
Yamaha first introduced its T7 concept at EICMA 2016, as a kind of response to the lukewarm reception its Tracer 700 had received from people wanting a replacement to the venerable and discontinued XT 600 Ténéré.
ADV bros responded to the T7 with a resounding: “Can we have this now, please?”
To which Yamaha effectively responded: “No, but we will take a year to release an even more polished version of the concept: the Ténéré 700 World Raid prototype.”
The Ténéré 700 World Raid attempts to exude the “rugged, rally-bred character of the T7 concept bike” (Yamaha’s words there) while also being realistically designed for mass production and the street use to which most of its users will keep it confined. Throughout the rest of the year Yamaha will be running its Ténéré 700 World Raid in a number of events to show off its authentic ADV chops.
The first leg of its journey has already happened. It included joining a number of Australian Ténéré riders on a 750-mile haul through Queensland. Piloted by the unfortunately named Rodney Faggotter, the bike raced against Ténéré models of various capacity from across the decades.
The next step will send French Dakar Rally legend Stephane Peterhansel to the Moroccan desert to tackle an old section of the Paris to Dakar Rally (the rally became too politically dangerous and was moved to South America a few years ago). Of the thirteen Dakar wins Peterhansel has racked up over his record-breaking career, six of them have been on bikes from the Ténéré line.
Stage three will see the bike heading to South America where it will be piloted by Dakar rider Adrien van Beveren, who finished just 1 minute short of a podium spot at this year’s Dakar Rally (Man, that’s got to be heartbreaking: to put in all that effort and miss out by just a minute!).
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The final stage will put the bike in the hands of grizzled British world traveler Nick Sanders, French enduro racer David Frétigné, Touratech founder Herbert Schwarz, Spanish enduro champ Cristóbal Guerrero, and Italian enduro legend Alessandro Botturi, who will take turns navigating it from the UK to the Italian Alps.
And what’s just south of the Italian Alps? Milan. So, to put that another way: Yamaha will be touring the bike through Europe’s largest ADV-buying markets en route to EICMA, where it will finally (hopefully) be announced as a production model.
You can follow the bike’s progress on its publicity tour exciting adventure by visiting World-Raid.com . I’ll admit I think the build-up to this bike is ultra silly, but I’m very eager to see (and ride) the finished product. I’ve already booked my hotel for EICMA week, so TMO will be among the first to see it in person.