Since there’s much talk about a possible new bike from Yamaha, I figured, being bored and all I would start the conversation here.
To start off, I in no way represent Yamaha, receive money or gifts from them. I simply spend my hard-earned money on their bikes (2011 Super Tenere, and a recently acquired 2014 FZ09).
Now I hope many people read this. Yes I am biased. I’m biased towards good motorcycles. Bikes that put a smile on my face, first and foremost. Bikes that work. Bikes that are able to take me to some amazing places without having to worry about a breakdown. In the past, I have owned Japanese bikes, and nothing else. Simply because the money was not there, and I needed something trustworthy. I’m not here to cut anyone down. To tell them that this brand is better than that one.
If you’re riding, you’re enjoying yourself. That is what really matters. Having fun.
As of late (mid 2013) there has been much talk and much action from Yamaha. The recently introduced MT-09/FZ09, the variant of the MT09, Street rally, and the recently introduced MT-07/FZ07. As well as a decent rework on the FJR line up (base model and Electronic Suspension model)
Let’s not forget the recently refreshed XT1200Z Super Tenere with available Electronic suspension and base model rework.
There’s much rumblings, theories, pictures, and hopes on a replacement tenere for the xt660 sold everywhere but North America.
I’m not in marketing, and I’m not pretending to know everything, in fact I know little.
Great motor, lighter than the current tenere, probably a bit cheaper. Come on build it.
Being an owner of the triple I noticed a few things that could or couldn’t work on a tenere platform, using the triple motor
-Conventional sump has the motor hanging low.
-Exhaust would need to clear the motor, and the said sump at the same height, to maximize ground clearance. This would in turn make the bike higher
-Is the triple motor too wide for a real dual purpose bike? Once I get off my ass, I will go to the garage and measure the width of both bikes (results to follow)
-Would it be too close to price/capability of the 1200?
Adventure bikes are big sellers now. Yamaha has capitalized on this (albeit in a small way, compared to the competition-BMW, KTM, Triumph). Why not build a second tenere to compliment the big brother? The single is too small of a motor for North America, and from a financial stand point not a good bet (having to go up against the KLR, DR650 which are basically 15 year old platforms, that can be bought cheap-and have been paid for an eternity) but the new MT-07/FZ07 would work a treat.
Why not build a simpler and smaller bike? Look at BMW and the amount of DP bikes they have on sale. Triumph followed suit with their own 800 and are doing well with it. I think this would be a good move.
Here’s some thoughts from one of your customers, and belive me when I say this, I’m not the only one:
-Keep it simple
-A decent quarter fairing with a small windscreen
-21/18 inch wheels, or if all else fails go with a 19/17 inch spoked combo. Do the same as you did on the 1200, tubeless tires please
-ABS as an option, or the ability to turn it off
-No need for TC. Since the FZ07 motor is a conventional throttle, there’s no need to complicate things
-Steal the 660 frame, and running gear, and stuff the FZ07 motor in. Job done
Make it happen. The market is there, but seldom does anyone actally ask the current owners what they would want, or could see as an improvement to a current model. You have listened with the 1200. But some of us want more of a dirt friendly bike, a lighter bike. And some only really ride one up and don’t need the extra heft of the 1200.
The Yamaha dual purpose line up (In North America) is small. Yes we have the XT, and the WR250R, but that’s it. No the big wheeled thingie does not count, nor does the little XT250. Bring the ST07, bring a plated WR450. You will have buyers.
Looking at the entire world market, a smaller adventure bike would do well. Look at the past greats that have had a loyal following: TDM’s, Tenere 750, the Tenere 660. Truth be told we don’t need a cbr900rr with 21/18 inch wheels (yes KTM, i’m talking to you). Yes the racer boys, and braggers will say otherwise, after all, who wouldn’t want 150/100 hp on gravel…give your head a shake guys. It’s about who’s got the most horses. Odly enough, the movie Shrek comes to mind:
What we could use is an affordable, fun, reliable mid size bike. Two cylinders will beat the rider up less on longer drives. It will give the capability to put on luggage, and go two up without worries.
There’s a trend to come back to naked bikes, and sport tourers. Nothing wrong with either. Look at the market and notice how well the big dp bikes are selling. Add to that the fact that honda has dropped the little transalp, Suzuki is doing a brisk trade on their vstrom 650, and the new 1000 should do well too. Kawasaki have notihing to offer. I think they missed the boat on the 650 and 1000 versys. 17 inch wheels, under side exhaust which prevents you from even fitting a centerstand, way off the mark guys.
So with some decent suspension, wheels and brakes (again ABS not a must, but would be good) some plastic…could it be done for a good price? I think it could.
So how about it? Does it make sense? How many people do you need to hear from to make this a reality? Would I buy one? Yes I would. And I think many would as well.
One last thought… Yamaha, if you read this, and you are on the fence..here’s a thought. Bring it as a special order/pre delivery program. You’ve done it before (FJR, Tenere-bought my XT on the special order).Both bikes have succeeded in NA. I have no doubts the XT7 and a WR450 dual sport would do well.
Pass it on.