Yamaha is introducing the XT660Z Tenere in Europe, an all purpose commuter, touring, adventure bike and it has a lot of potential. Will Yamaha bring the bike to the U.S.? There’s no indication so far and I have to wonder if the U.S. market would support it. Judging from the comments on our post on the Kawasaki Versys, though, I’d say they should seriously consider it.
Bikes like these are extremely capable, versatile and fun but they don’t fit into the big cruiser, touring or racer replica format that seems to be where all of the emphasis is over here. Touring here means Gold Wings and people commute on their GSX-Rs. Why bother?
The Tenere is powered by a fuel injected 660cc 4 valve single with 5 speeds and a 5.8 gallon fuel tank. That engine could go a long way on 5 gallons, enough for some interesting back road adventures.
If one of the manufacturers would make it a point to push a model like this, getting people to try a demo ride before deciding on which model they really wanted, you might change a few minds. No one watching a chopper show or Superbikes on TV will see this sort of motorcycle or go looking for one but the Long Way Round series had quite a lot of viewers so there’s hope.
Bikes like these tend to focus more on function than style, even though the Paris Dakar style is pretty cool, but if all of your friends ride the latest sport bike, you’ll feel out of place, even though you’ll be more comfortable and probably just as fast or faster riding around the actual roads found most everywhere and you’ll have options those other guys don’t. When you’re touring on that big Wing or blasting around on your Gixxer, what happens when you see that inviting gravel road? You ride right by because your bike doesn’t go there but on this type of motorcycle, if you have the time, you can take that turn and explore. Does anyone else find that appealing? It sounds good to me. If you don’t see the point, watch Long Way Round again.
Thanks for the tip, Richard!
Link: Yamaha Europe
Related: Kawasaki Versys