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  • Glynn

Yamaha Tenere 700 - Swiss Army Knife?

Updated: Apr 23

Now this is a bit of a jump forward in 'A new take on old stories' timeline. But I felt it necessary to present a short write up on the bike that now focuses on most of my present day travels and in my daily life. So that we all get an understanding of where I am now, in my motorcycling career.

Sakura! Sakura!

On moving to Japan the importation of either my HD Road King, BMW G450X or BMW GS 1200 ADV was considered and was eventually narrowed down to the G450X! I know.... the GS was an enormous investment along with all of its Touratech add ons etc.. But with the cost of freight, importation tax and then modifications for riding on the left-hand side of the road, it was getting too costly. The Road King? Nah! Done that and in good old California, U.S.A., and anyway... it was never really my scene. Just nice to say I'd done it! The G450X made sense as it was a fun bike on road and off and was cheap to import and run once I was here in Japan. And as the road speed limits are pretty inhibiting, it seemed it was a suitable set of wheels to get used to the road and traffic conditions while I settled in.

Road King Call of Duty.... Highway 1, Northbound from Morro Bay C.A.

BIG GS! ... and the Sierra Nevada trails

G450X... preparing for the Lost Coast Trail ride to Eureka, C.A.

So.... why no BMW Enduro ride in Japan? It just so happened that I had kept in touch with the previous owner, and we had met up on frequent occasions. I could always see the slight look of regret that he had sold it, each time he saw the bike and the fact that I had replaced most of the body panels (I will relay the beauty of BMW's storage of parts for older models in another post) with new ones. Making it almost like new, was too tempting for him! It seemed just the right thing to do! It went to a home that I knew would treasure an old friend and so the logic of buying a new bike here in Japan, became ever more clear.

As it turned out, I had to retake my motorcycle drive test, anyway. Possibly leaving the G450X in long-term storage at the port (yet another expense). And I delayed applying for a Japanese Driver's Licence, as we had arrived at the start of the Corona Virus and travelling back and forth to complete DL applications etc. was not such an attractive proposition.

So... I had time to research and trawl the internet with some serious Corona Virus home time! And to be honest, I already had a bike in mind, but in keeping with good investigative journalism and having an excuse to idle away the hours in front of the computer and have a dream shop, I continued with my deliberations. Yamaha Tenere 700?

You see, the adventure bug had already previously hit, not particularly because of the industries blatant marketing strategy following on from the popularity of the 'Long Way Round', but that from a practical standpoint and my experiences in the U.S., an adventure style bike would go most places and tour with ease, a T7 seemed ideal, without the bulk of the GS. And buying two wheels that just so happened to be produced in its home country and that came with a vast dealer network also seemed to make sense. Although once the first main servicing kilometres had been reached, the servicing was going to be in my hands.

Colour options were... Blue, red or BLACK! Given my history, I thought I best stick with tradition and so a Black 2021 model was ordered. The options catalogue was abused and hard cases fitted (as I already had the soft luggage) crash bars, lighting, etc. The heated grips were a definite requirement (BMW is to blame for that) which I later fitted myself. Anyway... you get the idea. I won't go on about the following months breaking in or servicing with the dealership until the 20,000km. The only thing I will mention is that I went to replace the Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR's at 15,000km (plenty more km's left in them), but could not find any due to a Corona Virus generated supply issue, and so as the dealer had some Dunlop TrailMax Mix Tours tyres kicking around, on they went. They're okay, but I just liked that the Pirelli's felt much better than any knobbly tyre should, on road, and that I still had the option of some decent off-road ability. If ever these Dunlops wear out, a set of Pirelli STR's will replace them.

Now to the heart of the matter... is the T7 doing what I hoped it would and will it be here for a little longer. Let's see.....

  1. It carries stuff

  2. Its economical (62mpg)

  3. A proven and reliable twin engine with more than enough power for Japans restrictive speed limits

  4. Easy to service (oil change can be done in 15 minutes) the plugs?... cannot!! (ask my knuckles how I know, thankfully only every 20,000km))

  5. Paint and trim all keeping their usual Yamaha sheen

  6. A bike that is not so common here... because of the requirement for a reasonable inside leg measurement (making it less attractive to the light fingered)

  7. Top heavy? Could be, if you don't know how to lift a bike off the ground

  8. Adequate weather protection, comparable to the GS

  9. Less electronics to let ME ride the bike and not to rely heavily on the dealerships

  10. It ain't the prettiest bike to look at but then neither is a Swiss Army knife compared to a Katana sword (I like it... if I squint a little)

  11. Its tall! And perfect for looking over K cars here in Japan, for easier overtakes and seeing further ahead. (not such an advantage in the U.S.A. with their big trucks)

I think you see where I'm going with this... the T7 is fulfilling all my needs. And as far as I can see... well into the future. But I will let you into a little secret... a Honda Super Cub is tugging at my heartstrings! I'll keep you posted. Wink! Wink!

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A nice contrast with cherry blossoms!

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