Yamaha didn’t necessarily steal the stage at EICMA 2021, the world’s largest motorcycle show historically known as the place for manufacturers to unveil their new bikes for the following year.
But it did have something on display sure to excite its legion of adventure bike fans – the Ténéré 700 Raid Prototype.
Now, as the name indicates, this bike is just a prototype (for now). But it’s based on the hugely popular Ténéré 700 – a motorcycle clearly not a prototype. What Yamaha have done is essentially raid (pun intended) its GYTR parts book and picked every item for the T700.
The result is a machine that looks easily capable of tackling a rally stage.
Here we’re going to take a closer look at the Ténéré 700 Raid Prototype and point out all the changes we see. Who knows, if enough people say they want to see it go to production, Yamaha might change its mind about its prototype status.
Yamaha Raid Engine
Using the standard Ténéré 700’s 689cc parallel-twin engine as its starting point, we can see the full Akrapovic titanium race exhaust. It clearly drops a lot of weight off the stock exhaust, and paired with the accompanying ECU from GYTR, there’s some power to be unlocked, too.
Yamaha says it has a “high performance” airbox and filter. We can only guess that means the airbox is bigger to let more air in. And we all know about performance air filters at this point.
Considering the extreme desert conditions a rally bike can face, keeping the engine cool is a big priority. With the Ténéré Raid an oversized radiator with dual cooling fans does the job.
There’s also a new water pump cover and new oil cooler to help with cooling and protection.
More power means a stronger clutch is needed, and Rekluse has provided its heavy duty clutch for the Ténéré to help put the power down. There’s a new two-piece clutch cover and a new clutch lever to round out the package.
To get better drive and acceleration, there’s a 48-tooth final drive sprocket in the back.
Yamaha Raid Suspension
One of the biggest weak points of the standard Tenere 700 is its suspension. Naturally, it’s usually the first thing owners address, and when Yamaha decided to make upgrades in this department, it pulled out all the stops.
The Ténéré 700 Raid Prototype now wears beefy 48mm forks with extended travel – a total of 270mm, to be exact. When paired with the CNC machined triple clamps, the front end feel must be completely transformed to something strong and sturdy and worthy of a race bike.
At the back is an upgraded shock, also with extended travel – 260mm. A new rear linkage is also used for better articulation and feel.
Yamaha Raid Brakes
Fast motorcycles need to stop, too, and the braking upgrades to the Ténéré 700 Raid are plenty. The front disc is now bigger, measuring 300mm, but it’s still just a single front rotor.
Racing brake pads are used, presumably using a compound that’s more aggressive for better bite. A new brake master cylinder is used and pushing it is a new front brake lever.
In the rear, a bigger, 267mm disc takes residency, which requires the need for a new caliper mounting bracket as well. Steel braided brake lines at both ends are a must and complete the braking upgrades.
Yamaha Raid Styling
You can clearly tell the Raid was something bigger than the standard Ténéré 700 just from its appearances alone.
The distinctive GYTR graphics kit is a clear sign, but the aggressive knobs, functional navigation equipment, and most obviously the beak, are other details pointing to its Rally roots.
Then you’ve got the aggressive hand guards and split fuel tanks, and you know this thing is meant for business.
We have no idea if Yamaha intends to make a production version of the Ténéré 700 Raid Prototype (or some version of it), but needless to say, we’re excited about it over here, as are many others. This is the machine that could take on the likes of KTM’s 890 Adventure, and Yamaha could probably sell it at a very competitive price point, too.
For now, however, we’re just looking at a prototype, but since Yamaha have employed some of the most distinguished rally riders in the world to ride this prototype, there’s reason to believe their feedback has been used to ensure this thing could handle whatever desert challenge is thrown at it.