Navigating mountain ranges, crossing rivers, navigating through forests - just some of the adventuring 40 motorcycle riders will tackle when the Yamaha Ténéré Tour kicks off in Taupo, 8-11 October.
The tour will be lead by former MX2 World Champion, Ben Townley and will be open to Yamaha customers who have recently purchased the new Yamaha Ténéré 700 adventure bike.
With overseas travel virtually impossible in the short term, growing numbers of Kiwi motorcycle riders are heading off the beaten track to explore the New Zealand countryside with events like the Ténéré Tour designed to cater for the growing adventure motorcycle segment.
Yamaha Motor New Zealand has seen a sales surge in its adventure bike segment, most notably the widely anticipated Ténéré 700 model which was released here earlier this year.
The Ténéré is the latest in a series of dual-sport Yamaha motorcycles named after the Ténéré desert stage of the Dakar Rally in the Sahara, the new model being the successor to Yamaha's hugely successful XT660Z Ténéré model.
When the new Ténéré 700 model was announced, Yamaha quickly took pre orders for 50 units from awaiting customers, with confirmed sales now totalling 115 units as of the end of June.
“The Ténéré 700 is the single most successfully launched model in Yamaha’s history, and was the top selling bike in Australia earlier this year,” says Yamaha New Zealand National Motorcycle Manager, Victor Gardiner.
“The Ténéré 700 hits a sweet spot in terms of power to weight ratio, geometry, and “rally” capabilities for a stock standard motorcycle – and it’s leading the charge in the adventure bike segment.”
Ténéré 700 is powered by Yamaha’s highly respected 689cc parallel-twin engine. The key characteristic of this compact CP2 engine is its strong and linear torque output that gives instant throttle response together with outstanding acceleration - attributes that make it a capable and versatile performer on and off the road.
The 2020 Tour is going to take place in the Central Plateau region and will give riders an experience to remember. The tour will take riders from the Great Lake, Taupo out to the golden sand of the East Coast, before navigating across the bottom of the Central Plateau mountains to reach the rugged untouched black sands of the West Coast. Riders will then traverse their way back through native bush and farmland - experiencing some of the most breath-taking views of pristine lakes that the Central Plateau has to offer - an amazing 1000km round trip!
Tour leader Townley says the tour is designed to suit a wide range of rider abilities, from beginners to more experienced adventure riders.
“It’s going to be a great trip, and we can’t wait to get into it. It’s going to suit the more experienced riders as well as the more novice rider who can go at their own pace and be able to get some tuition from myself and some of the other staff to help get the most from their experience,” says Townley.
“The Tour is all about adventure and we are so excited to explore this beautiful part of New Zealand with these Ténéré 700 customers.
“I really love the bike, it’s really easy to get on and ride and is almost simplistic.
It’s an all-rounder, race ready, adventure ready machine.
“The engine is really friendly to the rider, it delivers excellent power and overall is very comfortable to ride on both the road and on gravel.”
Townley will be joined on the Ténéré Tour by fellow Yamaha ambassador, Josh Coppins who is no stranger to the world of professional motocross riding.
During his seventeen years professional racing, Coppins had thirteen world championship race wins, twice runner-up world champion, two British championships, one Belgium championship, one Italian championship and two Australian championships & 21 New Zealand championships.
Like Townley, Coppins is equally impressed with the Ténéré 700 and says that the style of motorcycling the Ténéré can deliver appeals to not only him, but will find favour with a wide variety of riders.
“I think for me, I’ve never actually done a lot of road riding, but this style of bike gives you the best of both worlds,” says Coppins.
“It’s the kind of bike that you can take on a ride, and when you get to the end of the road you can choose to go left or right and keep exploring.”
“I’m relatively new to off-road adventure riding, and the stage of my career I’m in at the moment it’s perfect for me.
“Obviously in the motocross sport it’s quite selfish and individual and incredibly competitive. I want to do something that is more social and to have a different level of enjoyment.
“I’m getting older, I’m 43 now, and motocross is hard on the body for sure. This style of riding will still allow you to push the limits of the bike and yourself when off-road.”
Producing maximum torque at 6500rpm, this engine offers the ideal balance of performance and controllability - and with its excellent fuel economy, it contributes towards the Ténéré 700's ability to cover long distances between fuel stops.
“The thing that I noticed about the bike was the torque of the engine. It’s very smooth, but powerful which makes the bike exciting and something that is usually hard to get on a motorcycle.”
“It’s not a big bike, traditionally the off-road adventure style bikes are big, but the Ténéré 700 isn’t. I’m not that tall, but with all of the adjustments you can make to the bike as far as seat height, handle bar position, it’s very adaptable. And even with good ground clearance I didn’t find it difficult to ride and hope on and off.”
“I can’t wait for the tour to kick off and explore some of our amazing country.”
The 2020 Ténéré 700 Tour runs from October 8-10.
Ténéré 700 key technical features
• High-torque 689cc 4-stroke CP2 parallel-twin engine
• New lightweight double cradle tubular steel frame
• Slim, compact and ergonomic body and seat
• Aggressive rally-bred face with four LED headlights and two LED position lights
• Adjustable long-travel 43mm upside down forks with 210mm travel
• Remotely adjustable link-type rear suspension with 200mm travel
• Compact rally style cockpit with tapered handlebars
• 21-inch/18-inch lightweight spoked wheels with adventure tyres
• Slim long-range fuel tank with 16-litre capacity for 350km+ range
• Compact rally-style multi-function instruments
• Switchable ABS for on the fly adjustment
• Screen and handguards give good rider protection