It’s been rumoured for a long time, but if recent spy shots are for real, Yamaha is finally building an adventure bike around their FZ-07 platform — a new Tenere.
Currently, Yamaha has the XT660Z Tenere as their mid-sized adventure bike, although it isn’t available in North America. That single-cylinder platform is getting very long in the tooth, and likely won’t be able to meet ever-restrictive Euro emissions and safety restrictions. Yamaha could go ahead and build a new thumper, but the dual sport market is increasingly moving towards smaller, lighter bikes, while the adventure market is moving towards bigger, smoother, bikes.
Given these market trends, governmental restrictions, and the practicality of adapting an already-existing platform, an adventure bike built around the FZ-07 makes sense. People have been asking for one ever since the twin-cylinder Yamaha debuted.
This snap (we saw it on Visordown, but it’s in other Euro mags as well) shows the prototype seems to be aimed at legitimate off-road use — it eschews easily-chipped cast rims for wire wheels. The bodywork is a bit of a mess, but it seems to sport a large rally-style fairing, similar to the existing XT660. Expect to see more rally fairings in the future, as adventure bike designers seem to be taking to the style.
There’s also a large bash plate to fend off boulders and rocks. The low-slung front fender might cause trouble when slogging through heavy muck, but most adventure bikes aren’t used for that these days.
Overall, it’s encouraging to see this photo floating around, as it’s a bike that might actually show up in North America, because we aren’t likely to ever see the 660 thumper arrive at this point.