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Yamaha Tenere XT 660 Z

 
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nosnowking
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PostPosted: Thu May 09, 2013 12:57 pm    Post subject: Yamaha Tenere XT 660 Z Reply with quote

Thought I'd rewrite my Tenere review. I enjoy writing and find it therapeutic, so here we are... Smile

Well, it's been 600 miles over ten days and the Ten is finally run in. So, what's it like?

Firstly, let's get a few things out of the way: It's a 660cc single, five speed, 48BHP overweight monster of a machine. It runs 17" and 21" wheels on long travel suspension. Knee-down thrills? Best look elsewhere!!!

Even though I'd had a brief test ride I was unprepared for the sheer size of the thing. I felt a certain amount of apprehension as I clumsily swung my leg over the new steed outside the dealership. As my feet struggled to find solid ground on the extreme camber, and I fought to find the bite point on the clutch, I pulled out into the Aldershot rush-hour traffic.

"Oh, sh*t, have I made a mistake here?"

Once on the move, my fears were not allayed...the steering is oh, so light with the wide bars, skinny tyres and huge suspension travel. It felt like a tall, wobbly penny-farthing. Give it some revs then to stabilise it? Err, what revs? I had to keep it below 4k RPM and there's simply naff-all power to keep you moving. The thing see-saws under power and braking...it feels like one of those bikes mounted on a spring you find in kiddies' playgrounds.

"Oh sh*t, I really have made a mistake here!"

I had to get to work in Henley so got stright on to the A329 towards Bracknell. At 3.5k RPM in fifth gear I'm being overtaken by every single road user, from Beemers to mondeos to tractors to scooters. After the smooth and compact sports-bike I'd just given to the dealer, this new bike was dog rough, wobbly and slow. Great. Not long after this I found myself filtering through Reading traffic, and after a slightly terrifying few miles along with a fuel stop to top up the 23 litre tank I finally found some lovely, twisty Oxfordshire roads. Time to test the beast then!

The bike came shod with Metzeler Tourance tyres. Odd, since both Yamaha and Michelin state that the Ten runs Mich Siracs as standard. I'd already read on many a forum that the difference between the two tyres was nothing, so it never bothered me. Lean it into a corner and the beast transforms itself from wobbly toy into serious road bike. I was surprised to say the least...I was expecting a fluffy, bouncy, unpredictable ride on road, but the well-damped suspension gives you loads of feedback as to what the semi-knobbly tyres are doing whilst the wide bars and commanding riding position make the bike nimble and easy to steer. It does get a bit upset if you brake late into corners or try and power hard out of them, but then again, this is good practice for keeping the bike level when cornering and planning your speed appropriately. I've not yet had any tyre slip or squidgy moments, just grip, grip and more grip. Excellent! I've taken it down a few farm tracks and broken road surfaces and it still doesn't complain at higher speeds. In fact, it encourages you to corner hard on surfaces you'd normally back off from. My confidence has soared!

The engine is smooth. I don't mean, "Oh, it's smooth for a single." I mean, it's smoother than the Versys, the SV and the BMW F800 I tried recently. Sure, it's not got the power of those engines, but open the throttle up and it's got a lot of usable, linear torquey power for everyday riding. I very rarely go above 70MPH on a bike anyway, and the tall Tenere combined with that 21" front wheel make the bike faster than it feels...I regularly found myself doing 50 in a 30 limit and had to back off a bit. The gearbox is slick almost to a fault. Anyone who has ridden a GSX-R will know just how slick a gearbox can be, and the Ten isn't far off it. TBH when riding in MX boots it's kind of hard to feel when you have engaged gears, and you really have to stomp on the pedal and hope rather than feel...The engine definitely has a sweet-spot between 3-5k RPM. Anything below this and you can almost feel the chain and cush drive disintegrating as you gas it.

Filtering in traffic is a breeze so long as you don't have to get your foot down too quickly. Stand up on the pegs and you can see over the top of transit vans, it's that tall! Speaking of standing on the pegs, the bike feels very balanced when standing up, and the screen provides great wind protection meaning that at speeds of up to 60MPH+ you can stand up to see over a car or into a hidden dip in the road and not get blasted backwards off the bike. There is a well-documented problem of buffeting from the Ten at higher speeds, and this is due to a design fault whereby the wind hits the front of the tank and is channelled up under your helmet. The fix? A Hein Gericke handlebar bag for 9.99 or a Renthal bar pad. Both do enough to disrupt this air flow and smooth out the ride. A touratech Screen extension is also one of the things most owners buy to fix the problem. The buffeting is certainly not as bad as on the Versys, or any other faired bike I've tried.

There's some nice design touches on the bike. A reinforced clutch cover means you have some protection from putting the brake lever through the engine in the event of a drop. The gear lever is a foldaway unit as standard. There's a guard for the rear shock, chain tensioner, and all items such as air filter, oil filter and spark plug are easily reached with just the removal of the seat. The seat is grippy and quite comfortable, although it does force you to sit forward on the bike in an aggressive MX style. The exhaust note is pitiful, and may require some aftermarket help to make it sound less like a lawnmower. Then again, there's little more power than a lawnmower, so why attract attention to yourself?

Overall? I'm impressed. It feels like a tough, rugged off-road bike with enough on-road ability to keep you entertained and travel large distances. The first tank of fuel took me 200 miles before reserve. The second has taken me 240 miles and the reserve light still hasn't lit yet...the reserve is 6 litres! For road thrills, it's enough for me. For pure enjoyment of the journey, whatever it throws at you, it's outstanding. For some it's simply too much of a compromise. I suppose it really boils down to what you want from a bike.
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biggus
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PostPosted: Thu May 09, 2013 2:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've ridden the XT660R previously and that was better than on paper, that was on Tourance tyres, they're not half bad grip wise are they? Although they're not "quite" sport touring tyres in the wet, but then it ain't that kind of bike.

I wondered if the extra bulk of the Tenere version would make it sluggish? I'd be interested to ride it back to back with the XT660R (do Yamaha still sell the R??)
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moriwaki
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PostPosted: Thu May 09, 2013 9:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great write up NSK. Smile Be interesting to see how it compares to the KLR, the description of performance and handling sound simular. Ran mine on Avons before the change to TKC 80's and i could hussle it around the lanes quicker than the ZRX Wink
Had some good reports in magazines recently, the Ten's strong point being it's true adventure ability both on and off road. Definately favorite for my next bike. Cool
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PostPosted: Fri May 10, 2013 10:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Like the writeup sounds like fun. Makes me miss my DRZ400SM a bit but would have prefered the E model and made it a dual sport with two sets of wheels. I found with the DRZ that I know it sounds dangerous but you would go into a corner at a speed that felt too fast and just threw it into the corner and come out the other side with a big grin on your face, and you were only left behind on A roads on a rideout. But I expect with 48BHP on tap it would be less so ?
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nosnowking
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PostPosted: Sat May 11, 2013 10:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I went out for a bimble yesterday evening in the sunshine...nothing like a bike ride to ease the soul.

I am truly impressed with its on road ability. Biggus, the tourances are a very grippy tyre and its only when you start approaching the knobbly bits on the edges that things start squirming a bit.

Waki, how did you find the tkc80 compared to a more road focused tyre? General opinion seems to be they are the one to go for with the best mix of on/off road performance. I don't want to sacrifice too much road performance, but then again I'd be wary of taking the tourances on anything softer than a gravel track.

Fred, I remember you on the drz on a ride out and was astounded as to how much corner speed you could carry.

The 48hp on the ten is deceptively quick. Itll get you to 70 mph quick enough, and 80 mph cruising is comfortable. Most of my riding is back road and B roads about 40-50 mph...less traffic and better scenery IMO. These types of "dual-sport" bikes seem to match my riding style far better than more sports-focused machines. A combination of comfort and bumpy-road handling make them perfect. I don't like the feeling of having track bike suspension bucking and skipping underneath me.

I know I keep harping on about it, but the versys was an outstanding bike in this respect. Long travel suspension, more than enough power to get into trouble, all day comfort, huge tank range, and able to carry full hard luggage easily. If it wasn't for its total lack of off road ability I would have bought another. And still might...

Just to throw a spanner in the works though, it's almost official that Yamaha are launching an 800cc triple engine (wonder where they got that idea) and will be using it across a wide range of bikes, including a new tenere 800.

Might have to wait a little longer before you take the plunge waki... Smile
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PostPosted: Sat May 11, 2013 11:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The TKC 80's 'feel' less secure than the Avons but saying that i've never had them slip or slid in any conditions. They are fitment of choice for most serious adventure riders. And they make the bike look hard core Very Happy
Really need the simple layout of the XT for my next bike....easy to fix no matter where etc.....plus can't be doing with any electronic gizmos that come with most new bikes Rolling Eyes

Found this on Horizons Unlimited which i'm in the process of reading....
http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/yamaha-tech/yam-xt660z-tenere-2008-a-55975
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nosnowking
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PostPosted: Fri May 17, 2013 12:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

moriwaki wrote:
The TKC 80's 'feel' less secure than the Avons but saying that i've never had them slip or slid in any conditions. They are fitment of choice for most serious adventure riders. And they make the bike look hard core Very Happy
Really need the simple layout of the XT for my next bike....easy to fix no matter where etc.....plus can't be doing with any electronic gizmos that come with most new bikes Rolling Eyes

Found this on Horizons Unlimited which i'm in the process of reading....
http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/yamaha-tech/yam-xt660z-tenere-2008-a-55975


It seems from reading the forums that the hardcore off roaders don't like it, and the street riders don't like it either! I've found it to be an exceptional bike for its intended purpose.

I kind of know your style of riding and am confident you'd be pleased with it. I'll make the offer again that if your insurance covers it, and you want to, I'll lend you mine for a day to get the feel of it properly without the constraints of a dealer test ride. Give me a call...

Mines in for first service on Friday 25th so any time after that feel free to go ahead and take it out. Maybe the weekend of the 26/27th we can do a bike swap for the day.
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moriwaki
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PostPosted: Fri May 17, 2013 9:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

nosnowking wrote:

I kind of know your style of riding and am confident you'd be pleased with it. I'll make the offer again that if your insurance covers it, and you want to, I'll lend you mine for a day to get the feel of it properly without the constraints of a dealer test ride. Give me a call...

Mines in for first service on Friday 25th so any time after that feel free to go ahead and take it out. Maybe the weekend of the 26/27th we can do a bike swap for the day.

Cool Sounds like a plan...the B/H Monday is best for me as i'm at the Muse gig on Sunday. Would be good to see how it compares to the 23 years older KLR Wink .....on which, by the way, i'll be off camping the following weekend with hundreds of adventure riders. Very Happy
More info on the XT if you're ever up for some tinkering...
http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=782959
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