Yam XT660Z Tenere 2008+
This bike has been with us since 2008 now. However, it doesn't seem to crop up very often on this forum; people seem to prefer the older XT600. What are peoples long term opinions on the new Tenere? What are its strong and weak points as a RTW tourer? What do you like / dislike about it? What have / would you change? How does it compare to similarly targeted bikes (KTM, BMW etc.?). How reliable is it? Also posted on XT660.com. Thanks.
My opinion is this......
it's just not quite good enough.
First off, people have done great things on these bikes, top to bottom of Africa, RTW, Europe, Morocco, all sorts of trips. So if you buy one you can obviously do great and exciting things on them
But these are the faults (in no particular order) as I found them on the blue 2009 model that I owned for 5 months
1 - Really low build quality, and I think that is the major issue really
2 - Everything is made out of cheese, as dictated by accountants rather than bikers
3 - Little adjustment on the low quality suspension
4 - Zero charisma
5 - Too heavy
6 - Too tall
7 - Unnecessary twin disk set up on the front unless you ride 2up
8 - Stupidly heavy wheels
9 - Electrical /loom issues with early bikes
10 - Cush drive issues with early bikes
11 - Wierd buffeting to offroad helmet with standard screen
12 - No centre stand or handguards as standard
13 - Exhaust system is daft, just a styling exercise
14 - Standard engine is dull dull dull. EU regs I guess
I sold mine, pocketed £2k and bought an absolutely mint 1983 XT600 34L instead
The only thing the 30 year younger bike does better is cruise nicely at 75mph whereas mine cruises at 65
And mine has charisma in bucketloads
I just think they have been built to a budget I suppose.
You could buy a used one for £3.8K spend £2k on it and you might have a decent bike then, but still with some flaws
How about you take some drugs and put a tuned XT660Z engine into a KTM 640 Adventure chassis. Then you'd be talking
After that it all went a bit wishy washy, they just used the name to sell what is just a normal modern bike, no soul, no character.
Same with BMW`s, the real beemers are the old airheads like the R80GS PD, they fetch more money than your modern day BMW`s simply because back then they were built to last & still run like new with 300K plus on them.
All these modern "plastic fantastic" bikes are just built for Gen X & Y, because they know no different, they think that`s how all bikes were built but us old farts with grey hair & saggy bellys remember the real deal.
Take a look at this guy who just before Christmas competed in the Rallye Himalaya with all the modern machinery there & came third on an old 34L Tenere.
Take at look at this old fart in Tasmania (my mate Dan LoL) what a machine he will have when its done, a totally rebuilt & restored 1983 34L that cost half the price of a new "Tenere" and it will go up in value not down, plus he has the bonus of where ever he goes people actually looking at his bike in admiration (priceless).
There`s a German fella who over the last few years has been collecting these classic Tenere`s, he has over 200 sitting in his barn now. :smartass:
i love my xt660z
Hi, i will take a wild guess that Dick didn't like his Tenere, well i love mine. i am now on my second xt660z and have covered 16K including about 2K off road in 23 different countries. i will try and give a honest assessment of the bike and reply to Dick's points.
In general the ones people seem to like are from a 'golden age of motoring'. I mean the era of Group-B rallying, the original Golf Gti and when the Paris-Dakar had huge twins getting big air and crashes to match.
Cars and bikes of this age had the same essential recipe - get a decent frame, fit as much power in it as you can and go go go! No trim, no excess, no safety features and no emmissions or sound regulation to speak of.
My favourite Elefant is the '85 650, there's nothing on that bike that doesn't improve handling or power. My 95 Elefant is a bit fat and Africa-twinny - it looks like Yams have gone the same way.
My dream garage has a Ford RS200, a suped up 85 fant and a proper BMW - the R80 GSPD. Like they say, 'they just don't make them like they used to'!!
I'm with Andy on this, had mine for coming up to two years and I wouldn't swap it for anything. I find it an all day comfy, very economical do anything bike.
The biggest issue with them is the height, so many people buy them and then struggle with the height, again though, like Andy says, lowering the suspension is an easy job.
Chris Scott of Adventure Motorcycling Handbook fame has a review of the bike on his website, XTZ660 Tenere review or if you want more specific information then . : XT660.com The #1 xt660 resource : . | The #1 xt660X, xt660R and xt660Z Tenere resource has just about everything you need to know about the bike, or indeed any xt for that matter.
Older bikes have a lot going for them, but to give Yamaha their due, if you are looking for a newish RTW steed, the XT660Z is the best I'm aware of 'out of the crate'. Which only goes to show that the competition is so poor in this sector.
I bought mine three months old for just £4000 as a 'Morocco bike'. It's stored at MotoAdvenTours in southern Spain so I can fly in and take off, and it now has 18000km on the clock, with an awful lot of piste work.
Exiting the 'Jaws of Jaffar'
The biggest drawback for me is that could do with a six-speed gearbox. Top gear is wonderfully high which is why motorway-speed cruising is so good, but the spread of gears means first gear is also way too high.
It could do with a better engine. It objects to pulling in higher gears below 3000 revs which is ridiculous, and that's with a stage 2 DNA air filter and fuel enricher fitted. It's not particularly economical compared to modern engine designs. In fact, combine the 800cc BMW F650GS twin engine and gearbox with the XT660Z cockpit and tank and you start to have a great setup.
Yes, it's top heavy, which means handling offroad is sharp which I've grown to love—easy to weight the pegs—but it means it's difficult to pick up unless you have pannier rails fitted as there's nowhere to lift from (er... not that I drop it a lot!)
Yes, it's tall. Don't understand why all bikes in this sector are designed for 6-foot tall people. But that's only a problem when you stop. ;)
Yes, centre stand and handguards aren't standard, neither are wide footpegs, big-foot side stand and many other things that could be simply fixed. Yes, the exhaust is a stying exercise. And why can't bikes have more on-bike secure storage such as a tool tube where one of the faux exhaust pipes sits?
But if anyone has any suggestions on a better 'out of the crate' offroad tourer, please let me know.
It always makes me smile to see people put real passion into why these bikes are crap........
and yet, we seen JMo take hers to Dakar, Stoic took his to Dakar and the one thing that set both bikes aside from the BWM/KTM entries is that the Tenere rode every single mile from home to Dakar!
I've taken my bike on loads of trips, and it's had a very hard life, but it still scrubs up like new every time.
They are not a great road racer, neither are they a great enduro bike, they are not a great mile muncher, or a great desert raider - but they can do all of those things reasonably well. The bike will take you from home to work and then to Cape Town if you wish. If it breaks then it's simple enough (within reason) to fix it, and you don't need to visit a dealer to have it 'tweaked' when it's serviced, you don't need a PC to change the oil or trace a fault, and they are as reliable as you can get these days. Serviceing is a dodle, and even if you take it to a main dealer you'll still pay half as much as you would with a BMUU or a Triumph.
Dicks post, I can think of a possitive response to every one of his negative ones. But I'm not going to, it's his opinion and it is the polar opposite of mine (WRT the updated Tenere).
Time for some more pictures I think;
Here's Stoics bike on last years Heros Legend
Me, somewhere in Northern Greece
That's me again, in Portugal
A real 'Go Anywhere' bike
Ever saw so many Tenere's together ?
I didn't put any passion into shouting out that the bike was crap
It was a pithy post, that took 2 minutes to post, I explicitly said it was a bike that had been used to do great things in all sorts of environments all around the world but it falls short in quite a few areas, and you have absolutely agreed with me on both counts
My beef is this really. Few of us work, or want to work in an industry where "barely good enough" is sufficient. I wouldn't want to be the project manager on the new Tenere. New Yamaha R1 yes, there's little compromise there and it's a huge selling, awesome machine. New Tenere, you can't move for compromises. And to be honest, it isn't a cheap machine, especially as it uses a rehashed old 660 engine, plus there is more R&D in a new spoon than there is a new Tenere - it is merely a styling/marketing development over the old XT660X/R
I know people can change everything on the bike and make it better and loads of people do that, are good at it, and of course, enjoy it
What I have never inderstood, is why bike manufactures don't do different variants of the same machine, as car manufacturers do.
I know, I know , it's a question of scale.
But Yamaha can get hold of USD Ohlins forks/shoxks and fit them to 1000 machines cheaper than you or I. They can combine it with an assembly line run with Excel rims, surely.
I guess a production engineer and marketing man can shoot me down pretty easily but I would be less critical of Yamaha if they offered a great bike for £8k and the cooking version for £6k. After all, the vast majority of bikes are bought by middle aged guys as toys now, and the old days of folks using motorbikes as cheap ride-to-work transport are long gone. Why not offer a great toy to those who are cash rich/time poor and the cooking version to those who don't want/need it ?
But anyway, it's all bollix 'cause state of mind is all that matters for adventurous travel and any bike will do, bier,
Nope, changed my mind, too defensive, I'll stick to my guns doh
Yamaha should have built a great bike with the same build quality and chassis components of a KTM640 Adventure but with a reliable 660 Yam engine and a single exhaust.
If worried about build quality, think how we feel on Italian bikes ! ;-)
Get the listed faults of others, get the XT and tweak.
No bike is perfect, but I think Yam make good motors, everything else is fixable on the road.
Find myself agreeing with both Gasup and Dick. :scooter:
Still waiting for any suggestions on a better 'out of the crate' offroad tourer.
And can you define reliable please ? I own 2 yams (XJR1300 & XJ900), bth high mileage (77k and 100k), plus the two Aprilias with the 660 motor (both over 30k). All working like a charm.
Sorry mate, perhaps I explained myself badly.
My point was the KTM 640 Adventure has fantastic chassis components, but not quite the reliability of a standard Japanese bike
I reckon if you put a Yamaha 660 engine (which is by and large reliable) into a KTM 640 Adventure, you would have the worlds greatest living motorcycle, with the exception of my 28 year old 34L XT600 of course :mchappy:
Which is the basis of my criticism I think. If smallish company KTM can build a 640 Adventure, why can't biggish company Yamaha build a 660 Tenere to the same standard. A Tenere really is bloody miles off a KTM, it really is, it is light years away, to mix my metaphors.
I rode a Yamaha down to Cape Town over the course of a year and about 14k miles, and literally didn't do a damn thing to the bike except mend punctures most days.
I'm not much of a brand person but I love Yamahas and wish the Tenere was built like a 640 Adventure, that's all
Myself, having been tramatized at one point by a single cylinder KLR that vibrated my fillings loose in Russia/Mongolia due to a loose engine mount, am now forced to self medicate with ale to gather the courage to face the vibrational effect of big singles for long days in the saddle. Twelve beers or promises that the vibration is almost non existent would go a long way in enticing me to try this bike:)
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