Overall rating

Next up: Ride & brakes

4 out of 5 (4/5)

The Yamaha Ténéré World Raid is still the old Ténéré 700 at heart, which is a good thing. You’ve still got the that same joyful, willing CP2 motor (though it now pulls more weight) and a chassis that works well on the road. But now you also have a bike that is better suspended off-road, can cover huge distances without stopping and has a level of build quality, trinkets and toys that make it feel more special.

Some will criticise the bike for its lack of rider-aids, but the WR coped with everything we threw at it – and the simplicity is attractive. Building a stock Ténéré to this level would cost a lot more than the £1900 premium you pay for a World Raid, but there are some very accomplished middleweight adventurers out there for similar cash. There aren’t any prettier, though.

Ride quality & brakes

Next up: Engine

4 out of 5 (4/5)

The new suspension is impressive – fully-adjustable at both the front and rear, the World Raid now boasts 230mm of travel. It works well off-road, soaking up holes and big hits with panache. The quality of the damping is much improved – staying controlled throughout the stroke and barely ever bottoming out. However, new, softer bump-stops mean that if you do bottom it’s far less unpleasant than the old bike.

On the road, it’s well-balanced and has plenty of feel, though it did benefit with more rear preload (with a hydraulic adjuster) for my 90kg mass to speed up the steering. There is more movement and weight-transfer than you’d get from a road-based adventure bike, but hustle it down any road and the quality of the damping shines through.

Brembo’s two-piston sliding calipers are from the standard T7 and perform well enough, with good lever feel, perfect predictability and not too much dive from the forks. The rear single-piston caliper has enough feel and progression to be useful both on and off-road. The brakes do have to stop 16kg more than they do with a standard T7, though.

Yamaha Ténéré World Raid turning left off road

Engine

Next up: Reliability

4 out of 5 (4/5)

The 689cc CP2 motor is a wonder – delivering textured, satisfying torque and pleasing throttle response at all revs. Carried over from the MT-07 and now with Euro5 compliance, the throttle response is smooth and predictable in every circumstance, meaning its lack of engine modes is never a problem.

While 72bhp might not sound like a headline figure, on the dusty trails of Spain it was more than enough for any level of rider, especially with such a broad spread of torque. The Ténéré’s motor is a masterpiece of flexibility, pulling smoothly from extremely low rpm, never stalling or flaming out in more technical sections. It really is your willing friend. The benign, friendly nature also helps find traction off-road.

On the road, it still feels good, but there is no getting away from the fact that this isn’t a fast motorcycle. It now has to pull 220kg and the World Raid has a larger frontal area than a standard T7, too, so needs working hard for fast road riding – harder than a standard T7.

Yamaha Ténéré World Raid engine

Ride the bike in this way and that 72bhp just doesn’t feel enough and this is certainly a weakness compared to other, more powerful adventure bikes around the same price point. However, if you knock the pace back a bit and go with flow there is huge character to appreciate from the motor and lots fun to be had.

Reliability & build quality

Next up: Value

4 out of 5 (4/5)

The standard T7 has a very good reputation for reliability with a proven motor and simple electronics. A new airbox is designed to reduce the chances of dirt making its way into the engine, which should aid reliability further.

Time will tell how the new TFT dash will cope with water and dust ingress as this is the first time Yamaha’s TFT tech has been used in an adventure bike. We would purchase a stick-on screen protector, though. Just like the stock T7, the exhaust can be pushed into the swingarm in a low-speed drop, but it is also straightforward to pull out if that happens.

The lack of electronic rider-aids boosts the reliability score – long-distance travellers loved the old T7 because there is much less to go wrong than other adventure bikes and it is a similar story here.

Yamaha Ténéré World Raid KYB forks

Build quality is good. Paint finish is high and graphics are perfectly-judged and hark back to retro desert racers. The new Kashima-coated forks look stunning and the new Öhlins steering damper set it apart from other adventure bikes. The World Raid looks and feels like a premium product – this is a bike that will easily sell on showroom appeal.

Value vs rivals

Next up: Equipment

3 out of 5 (3/5)

At first glance, nearly £12k for a parallel twin 700cc adventure bikes seems a little OTT… but the World Raid comes bristling with top-notch parts. It is much better value than its £11,200 T7 Rally brother, for example.

If you were planning on buying a Ténéré and then upgrading the suspension and fitting a bigger tank, the World Raid makes a lot of sense. Also, if you truly desire a middleweight adventure bike that can hit big miles between fill-ups, this would be our choice. BMW’s F850GS Adventure, for example, is a much heavier beast.

The World Raid’s problem is that there are some seriously sophisticated bikes on sale for similar money. The Yamaha is only £300 less that a base-model Triumph Tiger 900 Rally and it is actually more expensive than a base-model KTM 890 Adventure, which boasts a 20-litre tank. Neither have the T7 WR’s cachet or are as off-road ready, but they have at least 30% more power and cutting-edge rider-aids. They wouldn’t look as stunning in your garage, or go as far on a fill-up, though.

Yamaha Ténéré World Raid rear

Equipment

4 out of 5 (4/5)

The new, twin-filler tanks boost capacity to 23 litres (up from 16 litres), increasing range to a claimed 300 miles. The outboard design of the twin tanks means the system sits lower than on the standard bike, allowing a redesign of the bodywork and seat. This means the centre of gravity is as close to that of the original bike as possible, despite the extra weight.

You fuel the bike using both fillers, though a pipe does equalise fuel level between the two. On the road you do notice the extra mass when changing direction quickly, while the large frontal area and weight also blunt high-speed acceleration slightly. Riders with long legs will feel them splayed more, too. Low-speed balance off-road is barely affected, though.

The new Öhlins steering damper is a well-executed and a real feature while the new, wider footrests are a boon on the trails. Likewise, the new flatter seat is easy to move about on but grippy when you need it, too.

Yamaha Ténéré World Raid twin filler caps

The WR also now boasts a new five-inch TFT dashboard, designed specifically for this bike and boasting some connectivity. You get the choice of three visual themes and there is also a new roadbook-style screen with countdown tripmeters.

It is simple and easy to use and swap between display modes, although the display is smaller than you’d ideally want. The dash can also communicate with your phone via Yamaha’s MyRiDE app, displaying text messages and call alerts. There is no facility for navigation. However, the aluminium bar above it allows you to attach a satnav or smartphone. There’s a USB port, too.

No traction control, no riding modes, just like before, but the ABS has had some tweaks. As well as having full ABS for the road, you get the option of front-only and fully off, pleasing extreme off-roaders. In reality, most riders will be happy with the front left on for trail riding. Not having cruise control on a bike with a 300-mile range is an omission, though.

Yamaha Ténéré World Raid TFT dash