The Yamaha Ténéré 700 World Raid has finally landed in Australia! Zane put it through its paces with some seriously tough riding at the Australian Launch lead by RideADV... Photos: iKapture.
If you’re after one of the most off-road capable adventure machines to ever grace the mass-produced market, look no further. Yamaha Australia has finally presented to the Aussie public their Ténéré 700 World Raid edition, and my God, is it fun to ride off-road…
My experience with Yamaha’s Crossplane 689cc range is extensive. I’ve tested every single bike that has graced this motor: the YZF-R7, XSR700, Tracer 7, Ténéré 700, and I’ve even had a long-termer MT-07. Eager to complete the list, I headed out to Ourimbah for two days of physical off-road torture for a road rider with the RideADV crew.
Let’s go over the main changes of the World Raid compared to the Ténéré 700. The elephant in the room is KYB forks, now with 230mm of travel, Kashima coating and fully adjustable; these 43mm USD tubes are outrageously plush, but more on that later. Other enhancements include dual-mounted fuel tanks, motocross style seat, 5in TFT, Ohlins steering damper, new shock, switchable ABS, AND a revised airbox. It’s certainly not your standard run-of-the-mill Ténéré.
Our World Raid journey began the night prior at the RideADV HQ, I’ve been meaning to do one of their many adventure riding/off-road courses that they run there as I’m certainly not much of an off-roader. Prior to the adventure bikes I’ve ridden and launches I’ve attended over the past year, I hadn’t ridden off-road since I made the switch from motocross to road racing over a decade ago!
Of course, it just happened to be a 35-degree day, so we loaded our camel packs the next morning and saddled up for 200km of prime NSW trails. The only changes RideADV and Yamaha made from the standard World Raid were the tyres, swapped from the Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR to the much more motocross-inspired MST Scorpions.
A short ride to the first small single-trail proved that this wasn’t going to be what I considered adventure riding (long roads with sweeping corners and high-speed riding). Instead, this was going to be way more enduro style with slow speed and technical riding. That’s all fine and dandy if I was on something like a WR, but keep in mind a Ténéré is nearly twice the weight of 250F, with the World Raid weighing in at 220kg wet… Yep, this launch is going to be tough.
I need to point out the fact that in some photos my bike doesn’t have a windshield, yes, I crashed. I managed to hit a tree root after choosing the wrong rut and flung myself over the handlebars to execute a perfect face plant. This wasn’t a large accident, so seeing the windshield sheer off like a hot knife through butter is pretty disappointing. This is only made worse by the fact that the boys at RideADV (who have already had these bikes pulled apart) said that the whole tank needs to come off to replace the bracket it sits on. Metal brackets would’ve been a better fit.
It’s interesting. I had this same thought as Chris Moss did the world launch for us and mentioned that the rear sub-frame is welded to the main frame. This is an issue for those who want to hit some hard stuff as a bent/cracked rear subframe is a massive headache if it’s welded rather than just being bolted on. It seems as if easily replaceable parts are not on the radar for Yamaha.
Read Mossy’s thoughts on the World Raid here…
Getting a crash out of the way early on, it was time to sit back and recognise what a capable bike the World Raid is. As much as I’d like to say I was out of my element on the rutted-out single trails, the honest truth is that the World Raid handles these rutted-out and rocky roads like an absolute champ. Soaking up all the imperfections and just hammering through.
The stability this thing has on those longer and flatter gravel roads is second to none. Hitting higher speeds on loose roads with other adventure bikes causes them to walk and wobble, making for a terrifying ride. The Ténéré 700 World Raid, with its Ohlins adjustable steering damper and MST Scorpions fitted, is an entirely different story. As speeds climb to an undisclosed amount, the World Raid stays straight as an arrow.
“The stability this thing has on those longer and flatter gravel roads is second to none.”
Let’s talk comfort. As Greg from RideADV mentioned, he found that with the World Raid he could sit down along roads and be comfortable where he would be standing on the Standard model. I found this too, not just in terms of comfort but controllability, with the World Raid you can hit corners while sitting down without fear of the front end washing out. The KYB forks give absolutely spectacular feedback and are so bloody plush…
That increased travel has done wonders for overall comfort and rebound, even after launching the World Raid off jump after jump, it just handled it with ease, no bottoming out at the front. It could be maximised to suit my weight and size by getting someone who knows more about off-roading to set the front for me, but the stock settings work exceptionally well.
The rear did tend to feel like it was bottoming out landing flat over jumps, but that’s ok, keep in mind it is not a motocross bike. Hitting some of the tough stuff and how it soaks up the aggressive bumps amazes me. There are no bone-shaking vibrations while hitting cattle grates; there is some clattering, but it’s far superior to many others in the class.
Typical of the ill-informed opinions of the internet, people sooked about the Ténéré only having 72hp. I have to ask, when are you going to use any more than that? Especially on a bike that will most likely only ever be ridden on a sealed road to go from trail to trail. Any more power and this thing would be struggling to put it down. This engine is a proven torque monster with near-instant power delivery.
The main gripe I have with the engine is the lack of changeable engine-maps. In the slower speed sections, an adjustable throttle response would’ve been helpful, but you don’t have that option.
The clutch action is hugely smooth despite not being fit with a slipper clutch. It’s still effortless to regulate the torque in first gear situations, which does somewhat make up for the lack of changeable engine maps. However, I was terrified that I’d get wheel hop while downshifting on these aggressive off-road tyres and I certainly did.
Also, no quickshifter? A strange choice for Yamaha, considering this is a premium model. Other bikes in this category have a quickshifter fitted, which makes a world of difference to the overall riding enjoyment and standup gear changes in general. The shift feeling is nice enough but not as good as it could be; after spending a few days riding off-road on the V-STROM 800DE, I cannot stress just how good a quickshifter is for standup riding.
Yamaha has been behind the times in terms of technology across their wider range, evident by the fact that they’ve only just placed a TFT screen on the World Raid to replace the LCD seen on the Standard model in 2023. It should also be mentioned that there is no traction control and no assists other than switchable ABS. Like really? I’m sure the internet will have a sook again: “I’m such a great rider, I don’t need any assists.” It’s good to have them; a bike at this price point in 2023 should have them…
The ABS cannot be switched off on the fly, and it will switch back on when you turn the World Raid off. It’s hidden in a little menu accessed via the scroll wheel on the left-hand side. It seems complicated to get to at first, but after a few hours on the bike, you’ll be able to switch ABS off within five seconds.
“Making the seat height close to the top of the tank not only raises the centre of gravity but eliminates you smacking your crown jewels on the tank like you would with a scooped seat.”
The ergonomics make for a remarkably nice ride, standing or sitting. That flat, motocross-inspired seat is flawless. Making the seat height close to the top of the tank not only raises the centre of gravity while sitting down but eliminates the possibility of smacking your crown jewels on the tank like you would with a scooped seat. It also means everything in general is away from your crotch area, meaning you can move around on the bike plenty.
The dual-mounted tanks do wonders for not only the fuel range, a conservative claim of a 500km range, but the overall balance of the bike. There is a solenoid that balances out each side when you switch the bike on, this means a centralised mass and something you cannot get with a rear-mounted extra tank, which is a popular option for standard Ténéré riders.
At 183cm tall, I feel at home on the World Raid, despite being above average height, I do still have to stand on my toes while at a stop. However, the reach to the bars while standing up is terrific, even for tall riders. You have so much space to move around and adjust your positioning.
The brakes have an excellent feel, which is an absolute must when switching off the ABS. Unlike a few other adventure bikes that had way too much initial bite, the World Raid allows for a smooth and comfortable brake application at the front. That feeling of control helps to not lock up the front and have a nosedive added with the simplicity and great feeling of the rear brake. There’s just a sense of safety with the ABS off on the dirt.
The weight is undoubtedly noticeable through the sandy and looser sections. You expect it to act like a trial bike, but it just sinks in and needs full commitment/speed. The higher centre of mass also makes it difficult to pick up by yourself when you drop it, and I’d considered myself to be of average strength…
The World Raid is also a very capable and comfortable bike on the tarmac with that long-travel suspension is like riding on air. The gearing is suited particularly well for Australian roads with it not being too long and allowing access to peak torque at 110km/h in sixth.
I can’t make any comments on the overall handling on tarmac as we tip-toed around on the MST hoops. I can say that fitting these tyres to a daily rider would be a terrible financial decision and borderline torture, the road noise is insane!
All up, the World Raid is an extremely capable machine, but there are a few things that make it fall short, like the lack of tech and its fragility. I’m extremely concerned with the parts that should be easily replaceable being a heartache to repair.
With that aside, I seriously enjoyed my time on the Ténéré 700 World Raid and it’s certainly the most off-road orientated adventure bike in this segment. At $25,499 rideaway compared to the $19,999 rideaway price tag of the Standard Ténéré, if you’re serious about taking it off-road, you’d be silly to choose the standard over the World Raid. You couldn’t modify the Standard to the level of the World Raid for under $6000…
Thank you to the team at RideADV for their expertise of NSW trails. Check out their packages here if you’re after an arrive and ride unforgettable adventure experience.
2023 Yamaha Ténéré 700 World Raid Specifications
Price: $25,499 rideaway
Warranty: Two-years unlimited km
Claimed Power: 54kW[72hp]@9000rpm
Claimed Torque: 68Nm[43ft-lbs]@6500rpm
Claimed Fuel Consumption: N/A
Wet Weight: 220kg
Fuel capacity: 23L
Engine: Liquid-cooled, DOHC, inline-twin, four-stroke, four-valve, 80 x 68.6mm bore x stroke, 689cc, 11.5:1 compression, lightweight one-piece two-into-one exhaust
Gearbox: Six speed
Clutch: Wet, multiple disc
Chassis: Tubular steel twin cradle
Suspension: 43mm KYB forks, fully adjustable, 230mm travel (f), Fully adjustable KYB rising-rate shock, 220mm travel (r)
Brakes: 282mm rotor(s) (f), twin-piston Brembo calipers and conventional master-cylinder, 245mm rotor (r), single-piston Brembo caliper
Wheels & Tyres: Spoked alloy wheels with Pirelli Scorpion Rally 90/90 – 21in (f), 150/70 – 18in (r)
Seat height: 890mm
Ground clearance: 255mm
Overall width: 905mm
Overall Length: 2370mm
Overall height: 1490mm
Instruments: 5in TFT Dash
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The Verdict | Review: 2023 Yamaha Ténéré 700 World Raid, Aus Launch