LONG WAY HOME – REVIEW: 2024 Yamaha Ténéré 700 vs Ténéré 700 World Raid Back to News List

The Yamaha Ténéré 700 has achieved legendary status for a reason, and now there’s two variants.

Words: Pete Vorst / Photography: Motohead

You may feel inclined to equip your adventure bike with all the latest features, but, especially when you’re in the middle of nowhere, knee-deep in mud, and armed with just a few basic tools, perhaps simplicity is the key. The Ténéré 700 and Ténéré 700 World Raid embody this ethos perfectly, offering rugged durability and versatility without unnecessary frills.

Both models share a robust steel cradle frame and the refined and peppy 689cc engine plucked straight from the MT-07/YZF-R7. However, stepping up to the World Raid variant commands a $5150AUD premium. What justifies this cost? Besides outwardly distinctive features like dark gold fork tubes and dual fuel tanks that increase capacity from 16 (4.23 gal) to 23 litres (6.08 gal), the World Raid excels in balance and suspension performance despite weighing 14 kilograms more than the standard Ténéré.

The standard Ténéré is solid at $20,349AUD ride-away, and I adore the T7. However, the World Raid surpasses it—it just does. The 2024 updates for the T7 carry over to the World Raid, with suspension refinements and a new vertical 5-inch TFT dash that’s especially appealing for Dakar enthusiasts.

Yamaha claims, and I quote, that “the Ténéré is a no-nonsense machine that’s capable of taking on the most challenging adventures.” Please understand that this isn’t just marketing talk; I’ve seen Ténérés with massive kilometres on the clock, tackling terrain that would make any rider cry, and emerging unscathed. The carefree attitude Ténéré riders exude before disappearing into the desert confirms it—these bikes are the real adventure deal, make no mistake!

Despite their rugged appearance and modest engine size, both models are up to the challenge of long-haul rides. Their rally-style fairings provide adequate wind protection, with options for taller windscreens available if you need a bit more length…

Let’s discuss what, for some, can be the white elephant in the room: the Ténéré’s power and torque output. Is it the most powerful adventure bike? Not even close. Does it have enough punch to cart you, your gear, and a pillion around the country? Most certainly. Will it stretch your arms and try to peel the helmet off your head trying to get up to speed? No, but do you really want that? Think of the poor rear tyre, oh God, please think of the poor rear tyres.

What sets the Ténéré apart from pricier competitors like KTM’s 890 Adventure R and Aprilia’s Tuareg 660 is as I alluded to above is its straightforward approach. It lacks complex electronics and offers only switchable ABS. This simplicity ensures minimal distraction, low risk of failures and the promise of an easy fix if you breakdown near Wolf Creek.

The KYB suspension at both ends of both bikes is fully adjustable, but their similarities end there. The World Raid’s suspension is firmer yet more compliant; it soaks up both small and large hits with more finesse than the standard T7 – it is simply better in every way. There has been some criticism of the T7’s rear shock performance, and this has been addressed with the 2024 model and it is better, but the World Raid is even better. For a big lug like me, this is especially apparent when launching the Yamaha off jumps. The standard T7 blows through its 210mm of front and 200mm of rear travel far easier than the World Raid uses up its more generous 230mm and 220mm of travel.

It really is an eye-opener how different two bikes that are so similar on paper can be once you’re rolling. Sure, the similarities aren’t as apparent when you’re on the blacktop or if you’re cruising down your favourite fire trail, but if you want to get your Erzberg on, there’s no finer place to sit than aside a World Raid if you’re a Yamaha fan.

Simple, relatively cost-effective, and undeniably bulletproof, the Ténéré is pretty hard to fault as an adventure bike in my book. This is how it was meant to be; no electronics engineering degrees needed, just ride the sucker, and if you do have issues in the middle of nowhere, you have a chance of fixing your bike rather than ending up as a pile of bleached bones on an outback track.

Is the World Raid worth the extra coin? If you’re just chasing extra fuel capacity, then no. But it’s more than that; the World Raid’s suspension is a step up, the tank puts the weight lower and improves the balance of the whole package, and you know what? It just looks better, angrier, and more Dakar-inspired, and that really blows my hair back. For all my waffling, it’s as simple as this: if you want an adventure bike that is less likely leave you stranded in the middle of nowhere with an electrical fault, and an adventure bike with a 30k price point yet still perform, then you can’t deny the Ténéré is the only option. If you want to do all that better for longer, the World Raid is the only way to roll.

I still loved riding the standard T7 it’s a fantastic bike that’s a proven and reliable performer, it’s just that the World Raid is better. If cruising tarmac is your bag rather aiming your adventure bike down as many dirt roads and you’re wondering why anyone would choose a T7 of either persuasion over more high-powered, heavier and expensive rigs, then you’re probably missing the point of the Ténéré 700 and the Ténéré 700 World Raid completely.

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