New T7 spied

Se­cret Yamaha re­vealed

Motorcycle News (UK) - - News - By Jor­dan Gib­bons SE­NIOR RE­PORTER

Yamaha are about to un­leash an af­ford­able and funky new MT- 07 ad­ven­ture bike. Yamaha showed the T7 con­cept at last year’s Mi­lan Show in Novem­ber, claim­ing it was im­bued with ‘the Ténéré spirit’ – and th­ese spy pic­tures sug­gest it’s not far away from hit­ting a show­room near you.

Yamaha have a strong off-road his­tory with nine Dakar vic­to­ries in the 1980s and 90s, so it was a sad day when the long-in-the-tooth XT660Z Ténéré was forced out of the range due to ev­er­tight­en­ing emis­sions reg­u­la­tions. The sad­ness could soon be over.

We are fam­ily

The 689cc twin en­gine in the MT-07 has pro­pelled the bike to a lot of group test wins over the last cou­ple of years, and in 2016 Yamaha trans­planted that en­gine into the Tracer 700 to cre­ate an easy-go­ing tour­ing pack­age. Now the en­gine has found its way into an ad­ven­ture bike. The par­al­lel-twin puts out an ac­ces­si­ble 74bhp and the en­gine’s free-revving na­ture makes it a lot of fun – and it should work well in an ad­ven­ture bike.

As well as the en­gine, the T7 has also bor­rowed the LCD dash from the MT-07, which is a good thing as the dash is clean, clear and sim­ple to use. A colour, more rally-style stacked clock unit would have been lovely, but we ex­pect this to be a cost-con­scious of­fer­ing.

Ready to flirt with dirt

De­spite be­ing dis­guised to look like a me­dieval joust­ing steed, it’s clear that this bike is al­most ready for pro­duc­tion. The ex­haust, tail unit and sus­pen­sion link­ages all look to be pro­duc­tion items, and bear none of the tell-tale signs of a rapidly bolted-to­gether pro­to­type.

It’s also clear from the de­sign that the T7 has been built for gen­uine of­froad use rather than this just be­ing a cyn­i­cal styling ex­er­cise. For starters, the bike ap­pears to have a 21in front wheel matched to an 18in rear wheel – both of which are shod with Pirelli Scor­pion MT90 tyres, which is an of­froad fo­cused dual-sport tyre. The big wheels, com­bined with the longer travel sus­pen­sion, should give the T7 am­ple ground clear­ance for head­ing off the beaten track. Fur­ther off-road fea­tures in­clude wide, up­right han­dle­bars and en­duro foot­pegs boast­ing re­mov­able rub­ber in­serts.

Amaz­ingly, quite a few of the rally styling fea­tures from the T7 con­cept seem to have made their way onto the pro­duc­tion bike. The most ob­vi­ous clas­sic rally fea­ture is the stacked twin head­lights, which will pre­sum­ably nestle be­hind a large screen that con­tin­ues up past the dash – as per the con­cept. The other big rally fea­ture that we ex­pect to be fea­tured on the pro­duc­tion bike is the large lower shroud and bash guard. The ex­tra frame­work and mount­ing points are clearly vis­i­ble – and not pre-ex­ist­ing on the MT-07. There’s also a large, finned ra­di­a­tor guard for ex­tra pro­tec­tion.

While the en­gine and elec­tron­ics are likely to be very sim­i­lar be­tween all the Mt-07-pow­ered mod­els, the new Ténéré’s rolling chas­sis is no­tably dif­fer­ent. The swingarm, while still cast, is now a straight dual-beam af­fair, sup­ported by a monoshock on a con­ven­tional look­ing link­age. The main chas­sis looks largely sim­i­lar, but has been com­ple­mented by a cradlestyle set of down-tubes that wrap around the lead­ing edge of the en­gine to pro­vide more crash pro­tec­tion, and mounts for a bel­ly­pan and ra­di­a­tor shroud. Mean­while, the con­ven­tional fork has been up­graded to an in­verted unit that’s likely to boast some ad­justa­bil­ity. The side­stand has a large foot for off-road se­cu­rity, but there’s no ob­vi­ous pro­vi­sion for a cen­tre­stand.

It’s not all hard­core rally parts though, as the sin­gle-piece seat seen on the orig­i­nal T7 con­cept has given way to a two-piece seat com­plete with pil­lion perch. And the rider’s seat on the pro­duc­tion bike also looks con­sid­er­ably lower, mak­ing it more user-friendly.

Ti­tle fight loom­ing

For now its big­gest ri­val is likely to be Tri­umph’s Tiger 800 XC, but this is go­ing to be a boom­ing part of the mar­ket over the next 12 months. We’ve al­ready seen pic­tures of KTM’S new 790 ad­ven­ture in test­ing as well as BMW’S new F850GS. There have also been sug­ges­tion that the Royal En­field Hi­malayan will be one of the first bikes to re­ceive the firm’s new 750cc par­al­lel-twin.

While Yamaha haven’t con­firmed the bike’s price or avail­abil­ity, we ex­pect it to be a wal­let-friendly model like the MT-07 (£6199) and be un­veiled of­fi­cially in Novem­ber.

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