BMW Motorrad Spezial

Yamaha XT600Z Ténéré

Yamaha XT600Z Ténéré
In the late 70s, ‘dual sport’ or ‘enduro’ style bikes with long-range fuel tanks were starting to attract attention in Europe. In Japan, Yamaha took notice. In 1981, they started work on a production version of the motorcycles racing in events such as the Paris Dakar.

The first Yamaha Ténéré appeared for the 1983 model year, and was promoted as a new kind of all-round touring motorcycle—a machine that was able to tackle any terrain, was simple to maintain, and was sold at an affordable price. Within ten years, 61,000 Ténérés had been sold in Europe, including over 20,000 in France.
Yamaha XT600Z Ténéré
Yamaha’s excellent Design Café website has the full history of this iconic machine, along with some terrific period photography. The Ténéré shown above is the first model, which retains a certain gawky charm even today, a quarter of a century later. The front disc brake was an innovation for time, along with the long-travel rear swingarm, and the top speed was 160 kph—not bad for a 595 cc bike with only 43 bhp and 30 liters of fuel to lug around.

Those yellow fork gaiters still look funky, don’t you think?

  • That blue & yellow color scheme is very 80’s and very cool.

  • PB

    the picture is stretched isn´it? shame, it makes it look goofy.
    love the teneré though.

  • Turgut

    PB is right, tenere never had an elliptical wheel option.
    Editor, please, could you reload the picture?

    Thanks for bringing in enduros, though.

    Djebel, anyone?


  • The image is taken from Yamaha’s own site … after a quick check in Photoshop, I think the elliptical effect might be an illusion.

  • Nice comment on this real nice classic enduro … please have also a look at, a spanish bike community!

  • PB

    well l just checked myself.
    it IS an illusion! the wheels are in fact perfect circles.
    sorry, l really was sure the bike was too “high”! the effect of the eighties style…

  • Turgut

    Apologies from the editor for the big words, i’m a victim of illusions as well.

    Speaking of enduros, does anybody else thinks that 1997 LC4 620 Adventure with twin low pipes could one day become a classic?

  • Jason

    I owned this bike two years ago where I currently reside in the land of the Dakar. Took it out to the desert and it was a beast. Bullet proof motor. Just don’t tip it over unless you’ve got some friends around to help you out!