“Neil, the good news is the bike is ready, but you have to pick it up in Los Angeles.” I heard this as “fun as soon as you can get a flight down from Portland”. So that is Ultimate motorcycling Yamaha Ténéré 700 Project Bike Adventure begins.
I drive 2007 adapted to my comfort Yamaha Venture exclusive since 2013. I rented a couple of day trip bikes to test the gear in real-life situations, but nothing like LA-to-Portland on anything other than my riding couch.
I really didn’t know how my knees, back, and most importantly, butt was going to handle ergonomics, so I planned my first day outside of LA only 140 miles.
With a personal stride length of 30 inches, I equipped the bike with 3/4 inch lowering to reduce the standard seat height from 34.6 inches to a measured 33.5 inches. At the same time I added the rally seat for more comfort. That brought the seat height back to a measured 34.5 inches.
The first time I tried to assemble it Ultimate motorcycling Yamaha Ténéré 700 Project Bike, I wasn’t prepared for the actual seat and pannier height. I have a 30 inch inseam and I wore mine Klim Adventure GTX boots with their high soles. For the knee, I first went with the trailing boot approach, which the pannier rejected.
I thought again about how to get my leg up. On the second try, I twisted my left hand on the handle to the rear of the bike and swung a straight boot over the seat. When my boot cleared, I twisted on my left foot and let my right leg down the right side of the bike slide the floor. Success, but on tiptoe.
I should have stood on the left stake, knocked my leg and sat down, but I didn’t think about that. I pulled up the stand, started the engine, and moved forward a little. Then I found that the zipper on the bag containing my wallet was closed. When I tried to put the stand down, it did not extend fully even when the bike was upright.
Then it dawned on me that lowering the chassis of the Yamaha Ténéré 700 significantly reduced the angle of inclination of the stand. From now on I had to look for deep spots in the ground or test that the kickstand was lowered to make sure the bike wasn’t too vertical to either tip over on its own or tip over for assembly. Most gas stations have higher driveway concrete near the pumps for drainage. Knowing this, I approached the pumps on the wrong side so that I have a certain angle of inclination to comfortably go up and down.
It turned out that 140 miles was just a hop, skip and a jump on the Ténéré. I would have gone much further, but I couldn’t cancel my prepaid motel. I hadn’t ridden in LA traffic in two years, but it was a given to head for the dashed line between lanes # 1 and # 2 as the traffic on 101 slowed to a creep speed. I am a seasoned lane judge on my 2007 venture. Do it on the Tenere 700 is a better experience as it is lighter, more agile, braking faster and with a higher seating position.
When I finally got to where the traffic was thinning and I could relax on the freeway rhythm, I put in 6th gear and settled down on my 1,120-mile road trip home. The miles flew by and I really enjoyed driving the Ténéré 700. Sixth gear at 65-70 mph is a smooth ride. I didn’t notice any hum in the handlebars or in the footrests. As I fell down the Conejo Grade in Camarillo, I could both feel the temperature drop from the 90s and the temperature gauge in the lower right corner of the very easy to read LCD dash.
I wanted the Yamaha Ténéré 700 where it could take me. Fortunately, it turns out that it is also fun on the motorway. The quick throttle response, agility at slow speed, stability at highway speeds, the stock windshield’s surprising ability to keep the high-speed bump off my chest, and ease of keeping a steady pace, and the sensational crossplane crankshaft engine sounds were all immediately standout. I wore that Klim carbon adventure helmet, both with and without an attached umbrella. I didn’t experience a https://ultimatemotorcycling.com/2021/09/09/klim-adventure-helmet-test-krios-karbon-on-and-off-road-lid/buffeting during the entire trip, regardless of the speed .
It took me a couple of hours to get to Santa Maria. So, with some space between the cars, I started getting used to what can be seen on the panel, how to pull the front brake lever on the twin rotors rather than dipping the front end, how much stroke the gear lever takes to move between the Change gears and remember to turn off the indicators after signaling a lane change.
The 140 miles of the first day passed quickly as they were all traveling on the freeway. I arrived at the motel with both suitcases full of utensils that I had carried in a backpack on the plane.
The waterproof aluminum side cases from Yamaha Parts & Accessories have securely lockable lids (with the ignition key) and snap firmly into the screwed-on mounting brackets. A quick turn of the key and a pull on a lever, and the case is instantly loose. The suitcases have handles at one end so that they can be easily carried into the motel room. They stand flat on the floor, so using them as a small suitcase is a welcome perk. Replacing the suitcases in the morning was as quick as removing them. They can be locked but not keyed if you want keyless access to their contents.
I’ve planned a route north along the coast to avoid the over 100 inland temperatures. This of course required me to drive the legendary California Highway 1,100 miles from Cambria to Monterey Big Sur. Not knowing how many RVs to follow and with inaccurate timing to hit the San Francisco rush hour on Friday night, I planned 380 miles for the second day.
I started at the first light in Santa Maria and I think I hit the RVs on Highway 1 because I had the road to myself. When I got to the Hearst Castle junction, I felt like the Yamaha Ténéré and I were one. Although it took some getting used to that the frame-mounted mini fairing and windshield didn’t move with the handlebars, it almost disappeared from my field of vision. It was just me and the Ténéré 700 carving turns.
As I was driving on winding Highway 1, I found myself using the powerful engine brake as a speed control when my cornering became automatic. I didn’t need the selectable ABS because simply letting go of the throttle gives a consistent and positive delay.
I rode for the countryside and for pleasure so my pace didn’t require cornering techniques like trail braking. However, when I was obviously alone on the road, I increased some cornering speeds and added cornering techniques. I found that I was cornering a lot faster than I ever expected.
Knowing that I was getting around 50 mpg meant I didn’t have to worry about extended distances between gas stations. When I got to a more densely populated area, I drove the fuel gauge to the flashing E. A count-up starts when the E starts to flash and shows me how many miles I have driven with Leer. I got to a gas station that said seven miles and had 1.2 gallons left in the tank. That reserve gas would have taken me more than 50 miles at 65 mph.
When I got to 380 miles in Ukiah, California, my bum was sore – each bum has different levels of built-in padding. By moving slightly forward, backward, left, and right, I found that I was able to keep the discomfort to a minimum. Ten hours on almost any saddle gets uncomfortable, so I wasn’t surprised how my bum felt.
I took a bicycle gel pad seat cushion and attached it to the Accessories Yamaha rally seat installed on the bike. An uneven surface for changing positions also helped. Although the Ténéré 700 is not marketed as a long-distance touring motorcycle, I definitely took a long-distance tour with it and enjoyed every minute of it.
I sat in my motel room in Ukiah and assessed for myself how it felt to drive the 380 miles today. Like on day 1, I could have gone much further. The ergonomics of the bike are comfortable for me at 5’9 “, 190 pounds, and a 30” inseam. I had daylight and no mental exhaustion after enjoying the California Central Coast scenery, so I decided on the last day to fly and see if I could do all 600 miles of the Pacific Northwest Coast in one shot, preparing to quit, possibly just an hour or two away from home if I was feeling tired.
The third day was a joyride. The temperature was cool and the street ahead was empty. Although the only dirt I’d ridden so far was the parking lot to see the elephant seals on Highway 1 in San Simeon, I was excited just thinking about that Ultimate motorcycling Yamaha Ténéré 700 Project Bike in places inaccessible to my road bike.
As the coastal landscape passed, so did the miles. By late afternoon, I felt like I would be home before dark. If you stop to refuel about every 180 miles, the miles really stay in flux. Around 6:30 p.m. (about 12 hours on the bike) I called my wife on my Sena 10C EVO to let her know I would be home by 8:30 p.m. – 600 miles and 14 hours from the kickstand.
My first three days with the Yamaha Ténéré 700 were highway tours. I now know what it can do and what it feels like to get from A to B. If I want to go to an out-of-the-way or tourist attraction, I plan a manageable 350-400 kilometers of motorway a day. I can’t wait to get out into the field. I got 1120 miles of getting used to the ergonomics and even stopped diving the front end when using the front brake.
This is the first part of my adventure with the Yamaha Ténéré 700. For months I have been getting to know the local dual sport driving forums and asking questions about interesting rides and driving areas. Finally I can announce to the groups that I can do the next planned dual sport tour and meet new friends.
The project bike supplied by Yamaha is the Ceramic Ice color selection as well as a number of extras from Yamaha Parts & Accessories – an engine guard, underrun protection, lowering kit, rally seat and side case holder with aluminum side cases. As configured, MSRP for the Ultimate motorcycling The Yamaha Ténéré 700 Project Bike is $ 12,600 and I’m just getting started.