The concept is simple. Inject a
little lot of Ténéré into Yamaha’s hot little MT07 you’ve got yourself an adventure bike that is surely causing a little grief over at BMW. The Bavarian’s are currently developing their long-awaited F800GS replacement – expected to be called the F900GS – and Yamaha’s T7 Ténéré Concept is looking like stealing its thunder.
Yamaha has been teasing us with images and videos of their T7 concept for the past 12 months with a working, rideable concept being shown at EICMA in 2016. Set to replace the firm’s now ancient XT660 Ténéré thumper, the T7 has been developed in conjunction with Yamaha’s official rally team in France, their Italian R&D arm and GK Design from the Netherlands. All in all, the T7 promises to be just as off-road focussed as its XT660 forebear but with a lot more power and on road civility.
The T7 takes the 75 horsepower, 270 degree cranked, 689cc parallel twin from the street focussed MT07, albeit modified for off road use (likely a heavier flywheel to prevent stalling) and throws it into a new frame with serious dirt-cred. The 270 degree crank gives the Yamaha the packaging advantages of a parallel twin, with the characteristics of a V twin – good torque, great noise. The move from MT to T7 sees the horizontal shock layout dissapear, while the engine is hoisted skyward for increased ground clearance. While the frame, subframe, and swing-arm are all new, the concept’s alloy fuel tank, carbon panels and wild LED headlight are unfortunately not likely to make it into production.
Both the T7 concept and development mules spotted recently, roll on dirt-bike esque 18 inch rear and 21 inch front wheels, meaning riders will be spoilt for off road tyre choice. Both ends are suspended by beefy KYB suspension which Yamaha claims will deliver a bike that can ‘offer the genuine long distance versatility and pure durability of the original Ténéré’.
If you haven’t noticed yet, the T7 is sounding a lot like Honda’s revised and revered Africa Twin, which to date has been Japan’s only credible answer to BMW’s F800GS. One thing that’s certain is that a relatively light weight Yamaha powered by the lovely, 75 horsepower ‘CP2’ twin will be welcomed with open arms by the serious ADV crowd. But will it take buyers out of BMW show rooms come its 2018 launch? Have a look at the video below and see if you’d be tempted. We are.