Back in the early 1980s, Yamaha launched a bike that was to start a whole new movement in motorcycling. With its big tank, rugged engine and versatile chassis, the original XT600 Ténéré made long-distance adventures a reality for anyone with the desire to discover new landscapes and different ways of life.
Developed by Jean-Claude Olivier from the XT500 enduro bike Cyril Neveu rode to victory in the first two Paris-Dakar rallies in 1979 and 1980, the XT600 Ténéré single-cylinder machine would change the world and come to symbolise the “spirit of adventure” of Yamaha. The bike was genuinely revolutionary and boasted a 600cc engine, a big 30-litre fuel tank, the first front disc brake on a Yamaha off-road model, a bell-crank Monocross suspension, an aluminium swingarm and more.
While the XT600 was a landmark machine, it was the arrival of the more powerful production twin-cylinder XTZ750 Super Ténéré in 1989 and the factory YZE750T race version at the Dakar in 1990 that signified the beginning of Yamaha’s golden era in Rally.
In 1991, Stéphane Peterhansel rode the YZE750T to the first of his six motorbike Paris-Dakar titles, with Yamaha securing a podium lockout for the first time. This bike would be developed into the factory YZE850T in 1992 and later, the production XTZ850R & XTZ850TRX, as Yamaha dominated the Paris-Dakar during the 1990s, winning six of the next seven races. Peterhansel cemented his legacy by storming to victory in 1992, 1993, 1995, 1997, and 1998, while Edi Orioli secured the crown in 1996, all on factory YZE850Ts.
The know-how and technology Yamaha gained in its Paris-Dakar Rally challenge were later applied to the XT660Z Ténéré and XT1200Z Super Ténéré models that eventually established the Ténéré brand name of Yamaha machines.
Ténéré in the Tuareg languages of North Africa means “desert”, and the Yamaha Ténéré World Raid Team will continue the name’s legacy by competing on a twin-cylinder bike based upon the 2022 GYTR-kitted Ténéré 700 World Raid. This special edition is the latest long-distance adventure motorcycle from Yamaha that has the power to change the way you explore our planet - but upgraded to take on the challenge of some of the most demanding rallies in the world.
The team spent a year testing and developing the standard bike and have made several modifications to make it more suitable for the specific demands of the AER. These upgrades include keeping the dual front fuel tank standard but adding a new fuel cap that is easier to open by hand, plus adding Kayaba 48mm front forks with special CNC machined triple clamps to provide a more rigid setup. The engine remains standard but with a new airbox to allow them to change the air filter more quickly, plus a dual-fan radiator to keep it cool in arid conditions and a carbon/Kevlar bash plate for protection.
The team changed the chassis slightly by adding a bolt-on subframe different from the standard bike to accommodate the two rear 6.5l fuel tanks and a fuel pump, plus the seat has a quick-release mechanism to allow removal without tools. On top of this, they swapped to a lithium battery and simplified the wiring harness to save weight, plus added the navigation instruments and a new LED light setup behind a one-piece windshield for ease of access.
The team replaced some plastic fairings with carbon to make the bike lighter and split the main panels to allow easier removal and replacement. The wheels were also upgraded with reinforced spokes for extra durability, while they changed the handlebars and levers to allow for quick adjustments while riding.