Ride On: 2018 Yamaha Ténéré 655

IT’S got a real retro look and feel, but in reality is a brand new, modern bike that’s a little adventure, a little sports heritage. Based on the XRS 700, the 2018 Yamaha Ténéré 655 is in fact learner approved, and offers bucket loads of fun.

Our test bike though is a little more than that, a little special if you will, with a host of modifications including a special paint and graphics colour scheme courtesy of Brazac and Excite Graphics, Pivot Pegz, and a clutch lever and perch of the WR450F.

Yamaha Motor Australia has also added a flat seat, Akro high mount system, Scott grips, vintage MX bars from Thommo’s Garage, and Conti TKC80 tyres from the Tyre People. The clock has also been relocated to accommodate the new bars.

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All those mods have created an awesome bike, for just a couple of grand in extra spend. It’s powered by a 655cc motor and it’s a pretty sweet power plant, with lots of get up and go, and a great sound.

This motor was specifically engineered for the AUS/NZ market to meet LAMS requirements too, making it perfect for learners and experienced riders alike. It also makes a great exhaust popping sound when decelerating as well as gearing up.

It’s so good we reckon you’ll do it just to hear the pop. The 655cc is a liquid cooled 4-stroke coupled with a constant mesh 6-speed gearbox that is smooth and eager. The throttle is responsive and the clutch lever is light and forgiving.

The engine, for those who like the details, is an inline twin cylinder that offers 74 BHP. The bike weighs just 189kg, so power to weight ratio is pretty good, and the whole riding experience is excellent with a comfortable seat and riding position.

It is a pleasure to ride and brings back the joy of riding a simple, back to basics bike. It is brilliant in its simplicity. Handling is excellent, much better than expected in fact. Twisting winding roads are easy and fun on this great bike.

Being LAMS approved, a learner rider’s confidence will increase on this bike. The result will likely be that you will be in no hurry to upgrade once you’ve managed to get your full licence. This bike will satisfy for many years.

It’s a logical step up from a 250cc, providing all the power and enjoyment you could possibly want or need. Traffic is easy on this bike as well, thanks to that light clutch we mentioned earlier, and it’s not too sharp either.

That translates into smooth take offs and minimal stalls; always good for the self-esteem. The only thing new riders will need to remember is that it needs to be in neutral to start the bike.

Our test bike came with knobbly tyres, which added to the retro look, and were surprisingly quiet on the road. There was no vibration from them at speed either, although some exists at low speeds, but it’s neither an issue or a distraction.

Whether you ride for transport, commuting to work or just for fun on the weekend, the 2018 Yamaha Ténéré 655 will not dissapoint. It’s on the road for $10,990 (plus on-roads) in standard form, but with our mods; $14,845 plus on-roads.

Our test bike was provided by Yamaha Australia. To find out more about the 2018 Yamaha Ténéré 655, contact your local Yamaha dealer.


Riding experience
Styling and comfort
Bike performance
Technology and connectivity


Pros - retro look; tyres; riding position; presence.
Cons - speedo position with retro handlebar.
Tony Cavanagh
Tony Cavanagh
Tony Cavanagh has always had a thing about cars. He usually owns two at a time (there may also be a motorbike in the garage as well). Excessive maybe, but a car guy is a car guy. He's driven everything from Minis (the original ones) to V8 Commodores and 4WDs, as well as little go fast Japanese buzz boxes and hot hatches. He loves everything automotive, and doesn't have a clear favourite – yet.


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<strong>Pros -</strong> retro look; tyres; riding position; presence.<br> <strong>Cons -</strong> speedo position with retro handlebar.Ride On: 2018 Yamaha Ténéré 655