It came as a bit of a surprise to find that the Yamaha Tenere 700 had topped the sales charts in the first quarter of 2020. The capable, yet simple adventure bike is Australia’s most popular road-going motorcycle, but what makes it so appealing?

In the first three months of the year, Yamaha managed to sell 347 Tenere units, beating out Kawasaki’s Ninja 400 (224) and the Harley-Davidson Street 500 (205) as sales leader. This was surely helped by the fact that the Tenere 700 had only arrived in late-2019, but it takes more than good timing to be a best seller.

Yamaha had built tremendous anticipation for the new model, showcasing a concept version in 2016 dubbed ‘T7’, and revealing the production bike in 2018 – a year before its local release.

According to Yamaha Motor Australia spokesperson Christopher Dobie, the T7 concept bike was a lightbulb moment for the adventure category.

“Up until that point, adventure bikes were large in capacity, large in physical size and laden with electronic gadgets,” Mr Dobie told INFO MOTO.

“The T7 went against the trend, being mid-capacity, light and agile, and brilliant in its simplicity. Three years of solid testing and development produced the bike everyone hoped for.”

The bike launched in Australia with a competitive pricetag of $17,149 rideaway, although it is a fairly barebones prospect from standard. Speaking to owners, we found that many were looking for a ‘proper’ adventure bike, rather than a road bike with knobby tyres, and for this reason could live without the creature comforts found on rival machines.

Owners also said that brand loyalty and the pricepoint were the primary deciding factors, with many also considering KTM’s 790 Adventure.

The Tenere 700 uses Yamaha’s CP2 689cc parallel-twin engine, in this case tuned to produce 72hp (53kW) and 68Nm. This donk is also used in the MT-07 naked bike, however, the Tenere 700 features a unique airbox, fuel injection system and exhaust, among other changes.

Tipping the scales at 204 kilograms (wet), the Tenere 700 rides on a tubular steel frame, with fully adjustable long-travel suspension and off-road-focused Pirelli Scorpion tyres on 21- and 18-inch spoked wheels.

Other than that, you get a black-and-white LCD instrument panel, LED lights and plastic handguards, and Yamaha offers a fairly large list of optional extras.

We will have to wait until mid-year to see the next round of motorcycle sales figures, however, Yamaha’s local wing is confident that the Tenere 700 will retain its best-seller status.

“We are now seeing the emergence of the third wave of Tenere 700 buyers,” said Mr Dobie.

“It started with hardcore customers who pre-ordered a Tenere 700 more than a year in advance, some as early as 2018.

“The second wave of buyers waited for the new model to hit showroom floors before purchasing, and the third wave are the type of rider who does their homework first, and have discovered the Tenere 700 is as good as everyone is saying.

“So yes, we expect the Tenere to continue to be a sales success and end the year as Australia’s favourite motorcycle.”

INFO MOTO is currently testing the Tenere 700 to see if it really lives up to the hype.


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