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Ridden: Yamaha T7 prototype!

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From motorcycle-magazine.com

Motorrad gets exclusive ride on the concept that will become the next Ténéré

For those outside Germany, Motorrad is the country’s biggest motorcycle magazine and the driving force behind Motorcycle-Magazine.com. The magazine’s latest issue contains an exclusive test ride on the Yamaha T7 concept bike, which was unveiled at the EICMA show in Milan last November. Nobody else outside Yamaha has been able to swing a leg over this unique machine, but it is the basis for a future 700cc Ténéré production bike.

The prototype’s rally-inspired looks come at the cost of a towering 990mm seat height, which led to an embarrassing low-speed manoeuvring topple, but until then things were promising.

“Everything went smoothly on the road and the trail. Fine ergonomics, good-natured engine characteristics, an almost magical weight for an adventure-enduro – all this immediately gives you great confidence in the Yamaha T7.”

Fortunately the radical seat height of the T7 won’t be carried over to the production bike. The prototype was built as a homage to rally machines, using the forks from Yamaha’s WR450. The suspension travel is much longer than you’d expect on a normal adventure bike as a result. The off-road-focussed seat is also guaranteed to change for something more comfortable. The result is that the production bike is likely to have a seat height of less than 900mm.

An unanswered question remains over how Yamaha will position the production model.  Will it be a radical, sports-minded enduro or a middleweight adventure tourer? What is certain is that many of the prototype’s rally-inspired parts will change. The aluminium tank will surely be swapped for plastic or steel, and must grow to at least 16 litres, changing some of the bike’s proportions in the process. The carbon-fibre body panels will be swapped for plastic, the brakes will be changed – adding ABS and a second front disc – and the subframe beefed-up to cope with pillions and luggage.

One element that will stay the same include the engine. Straight from the MT-07, it makes 75hp and works well in its new home. The Akrapovic exhsust will be gone, of course, and the bike’s weight is sure to rise. Motorrad measured the T7 at 185kg, complete with fuel. That’s impressive for a big, twin-cylinder enduro. In road-ready form a production model is more likely to be 210-220kg, ready-to-ride.

Yamaha is keeping quiet about when the bike will be launched, but a test mule was spied on test last year and there’s strong speculation that the final version will be on sale in 2018.

Original test by Markus Biebricher and Thorsten Dentges

Photos: Markus Jahn – markus-jahn.com

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