A ride report of the Yamaha Tenere, with special attention to properties which are important for beginners, or for motorcycle riders who take up motorcycle riding after a pause of years.
This report is a first impression; we will take a longer test ride for a more detailed report later.
Because we took the test ride together, we were able to describe the Tenere from the point of view of the pillion rider as well.
Er is een Nederlandse versie:
Getting on: the seat height
Because we were in the neighbourhood of Nijmegen, we decided to pay a visit to Termaat, to check whether the new Tenere had arrived. And it had.
We could take a short test ride.
When we took off together, the idea was that I would sit in the back,
so my first task was climbing on.
First impression: it is high. No, High. No, H I G H.
I was proud to be able to get on it without help, and not even by playing horse by using the footpeg as a stirrup. It took a big swing.
On the back, your head is above that of the rider in front, and he himself is sitting high already.
You cannot look over the trucks, but it's close, that's how it feels.
And you have plenty of space: I cannot remember being seated on the back of a bike that luxurously.
Height for the rider
In order to ride myself, I had to climb onto the saddle first.
Retract the side stand (because I won't be able to do that when on the seat), have the front wheel point a bit to the right, and grab the front brake; I knew how to do that from the times that I had to get into the saddle of a fully packed R1100GS.
Swaying the right leg over the buddy seat is difficult because of the high seat for the pillion, but in the end, I succeeded.
When I move my right buttock to the left side of the seat, I am able to get about one toe of my left foot on the ground.
It should be enough, but it is important to be able to glide to each side on the seat: the combination of trousers and seat should allow that.
Center of gravity
An extra complication is that the center of gravity is high (for instance because of the high ground clearance, see below).
A motorcycle with a high center of gravity is harder to keep upright when stopped than a bike with the same weight and a lower center of gravity.
Seat height and length of the rider
For your information: My length is 1,69, and I have rather short legs. When you're shorter, it will be hard to ride the Tenere. When you're longer, or when you have longer legs, then there will no problem.
The dashboard and the mirrors
The rpm meter has the form of an old fashioned round clock, so you can check the rpm's in one eye blink.
The speed is showed digitally, so you can spot, from the corner of your eye, whether it is in the 3-digitals or 2 digitals, but to check your exact speed you have to look deliberately to the display.
The information display shows you the amount of gas, the oil temperature, the coolant temperature, the day trip kilometers etc.
Below the display are knobs to reset the day trip meter and such. To be honest, we have not examined what functions the display has to offer beyond these.
A nice little detail is that, when you start the engine, not only the rpm clock cycles through the numbers, but also the digital speedometer (until a maximum of 180 km/h if I remember correctly). That's why you see a speed of 165 km/h in the photograph.
The mirrors could be a bit bigger, and they also could be placed a bit higher.
On the positive side: they hardly vibrate, even though the Tenere is a big thumper.
Starting and riding
Where should I put the key?
You will find the lock in an unfamiliar place: on a spot where most motorcycles have their tank (but in the same place as the BMW F650GS. The place seems an obstruction for tankbags.
In almost every review of the Tenere, they state that Yamaha would have a special Tenere tankbag, but I could not find it (maybe it will come later).
Until then, the German Off-The-Road does have a tankbag for the Tenere, so you won't have to live without one.
Starting the engine is without problems, and you are treated, see above, on a special show of the speedometer.
In the front, you even sit more comfortably than on the back. You really
I don't have to stand up for the first 24 hours, just let me sit
here, and I will be happy wherever I will have arrived by then.
You sit straight up, high above the rest of the traffic. The seat is very comfortable: not soft, but hard to the amount that you can easily sit the whole day long without getting pain in the ass (a soft seat will form itself exactly around your buttocks, and will therefore keep you in exactly the same position all the time, and no buttock likes that for hours long).
On the back
It was apparent while sitting on the back: it is almost unbelievable that the Tenere has the same engine as the Derbi Mulhacen. The Tenere has the engine of the Yamaha XT660, which is, aside from the Mulhacen, also used in, for instance, the MT-03.
The engine in the Tenere runs incredibly smoother and more even, without
even a hint of the
Konstantfahrückeln (irregular running
with constant throttle) which hinders other
motorcycles using this engine.
The engine of our test bike had only 130 kilometers on the clocks, so after breaking in it will be even smoother.
It runs happy and steady, from the lowest rpm's.
In the front
Of course, when riding myself it was also remarkable how evenly the Tenere reacts on the throttle.
Another thing which struck me: I was riding relaxed, and I estimated my speed to be between 60 and 70 km/h, but when I checked the clocks, it said 100.
That's because the engine is so smooth and relaxed, without much vibrations.
Torque and power
We have seen the (measured) torque curve of the Tenere in one of the German magazines (always gründlich, the Germans), and it is incredibly flat and broad.
That makes sense when you ride the Tenere: the reaction on the throttle is very predictable, very straightforward so to speak.
We didn't test the top speed of the Tenere. But the same German magazine told us that the Tenere, with the Yamaha cases, and with a 100 kg rider on it, happily rode 170 km/h on the German Autobahn, for a long time.
So the power is enough.
Most important: cornering
The handlebars are wide apart, giving easy control to get the bike into a corner by pushing against the handlebar into the direction you want to go (see our page about cornering).
Entering the corner
Entering a corner is different from what I'm used to: it is as though the front is heavy. There seems to be a bit of a lag as opposed to the (rather direct) steering I'm used of the Mulhacen.
This is probably an effect of the big front wheel, in combination with the high center of gravity: the bigger the front wheel, the better the stability in a straight line (and the bigger the ability to climb curbs or big rocks), which means that the bike needs a bit more persuasion to get off that straight line.
But when you are used to it, it is easy to tell him to enter a corner, and once leaned in, he rides as on rails.
When riding corners, it is very convenient when the reaction to the throttle is predictable, and even, steady. It makes it easy to ride through corners with the throttle on, without nasty surprizes.
The other way around, lowering your speed by closing the throttle is predicatble as well. In practise, you can ride almost without ever touching the brakes. Riding in such a way alone makes that it is easy to cover long distances, because you wont get tired by riding in such a relaxed way.
Suspension, shocks and braking
The first thing I noticed about the suspension, sitting on the back,
was that the Tenere
eats bumps as though there aren't any.
While riding myself, this was even more apparent. You can imagine that the Tenere will be comfortable even during riding off-road. It is as though everything (seat, riding position, engine, suspension) works together to make the journey smooth, wherever you ride.
The suspension setting is rather hard: for me, it might be a bit softer, also because the seat height would become a bit lower, and I might reach with two toes to the ground.
The well working suspension helps shorten brake distances: because of the suspension in the front, the front wheel won't lock up easily.
The Tenere has two disks on the front wheel (opposed to the single one of its predecessors).
With such a long suspension travel, you have to be more careful than when you grab the brake of a Fireblade: it takes a bit longer before the motorcycle has dived: before that moment, the front tire doesn't have optimal grip.
At first sight, it seems strange, an allroad with so much
But when you take a better look, you'll see that it's smart. The plastic parts are not expensive fairings, but it's cheap plastic, easy to replace, on places that would otherwise cause damage to more vulnerable parts.
In the photograph, you see that even the blinkers will not be damaged easily when you lay the Tenere down.
When the Tenere was introduced to journalists, in the Sahara, the plastic parts were tested often (read: the journalists fell down often, which is not amazing on Aanakees and Tourances, through sand), and the Tenere proved to be tough and sturdy.
Suspension travel is shorter than that of the original Tenere. Whether they're long enough will be proven in practise. Compared to the suspension travel of the BMW R1200GS for instance, those of the Tenere are longer. Only the suspension travel of the Adventure models is as long as that of the Tenere, while the Gsses have bigger weight of course.
A very strong point of the Tenere, for off-road riding, is its big
ground clearance. It's much bigger than that of the traditional
The exhaust headers are placed high as well.
Of course, the 21 inch front wheel belongs to a motorcycle which is usable off-road: it climbs, so to speak, over stones and rocks. In theory, a wheel can climb curbs as long as they are not higher than the axle. So a bigger front wheel is an adventage.
If you would like to take unpaved roads, investing in the engine gurad is a smart move.
Adventages and disadventages (for beginners)
On the plus side
Even and predictable reaction on the throttle,
Runs smooth, from the low rpms on,
Riding position high and straight up, with a very good sight of the traffic,
Seat and riding position comfortable for long trips,
Broad steering wheel for good control of the bike,
Power enough even for Autobahn trips,
Power not too much, and coming in gently and even,
Plenty possibilities for lugguge,
Suitable for unpaved roads, or off-road riding.
On the down side
The seat is very high, the center of gravity is high, so it can be difficult for the short-legged among us, when stopping,
The big frontwheel and the high center of gravity make entereing corners slower,
Long suspension travel means you have to take extra care when braking (you certainly will have to practise), see our page about braking.
For the beginner?
When you just did your exam, you're probably better off with a more neutral motorcycle. When you feel entirely at home on such a neutral motorbike, cornering and braking, then the Tenere can be an excellent motorcycle for you.
For people who have made kilometers on a
or for people who have such a feeling for motorcycle riding that they
passed their first exam shining and easy, the Tenere will be a motorcycle
which will continue to please you.
And if you're planning to travel on motorbike, the Tenere is an excellent choice.
Riding after a long time
The same applies when you start riding again after years without a motorbike, and have taken a few lessons to remember what riding was, and have practised some kilometers on a neutral bike.
And of course, the Tenere is an excellent choice for anybody who want to spend holidays on bike. It's very comfortable, you don't have to avoid unpaved roads or off-road sections, and the engine already has proven to be reliable and long-lasting.
The Yamaha Tenere specifications
|Water cooled, single cylinder, 4 valves per cylinder,
single overhead cam (SOHC), dry sump
|Bore x stroke
|100.0 x 84.0 mm
|35,8kW (48hp) at 6000 rpm
|60Nm at 5250 rpm
|10.0 : 1
|catalytic converter, emission norm EU-3
|unknown (a test says 170 km/h with luggage)
|Multiple disc clutch, wet
|Constant mesh, 5 speed gearbox
|Steel bridge fraame
|Telescopic fork, diameter 43 mm
spring pre-load adjustable
|Steering head angle
(or 62, measured from the other side)
|Double disc, diameter 298 mm
|Single disc, diameter 245 mm
Dimensions and weights
|Weight, road ready, fully fuelled
|Permitted total weight