The Ultimate Motorcycling Yamaha Ténéré 700 Project Bike
is a fun motorcycle to ride and accessorize. I have added accessories and changed out parts to make it more suitable for my riding style. The rear shock was one major component I didn’t have on my radar when I started this project, and certainly not a premium unit such as the bespoke Touratech
The consensus is that the standard Yamaha Ténéré 700 shock is sprung for a 160-pound rider. I weighed that in high school, but not anymore. I am 60 pounds heavier than the designed rider weight when I am in my riding gear, and that’s before a generous roadside diner meal. Add 50 pounds of loaded panniers, plus the 10-pound centerstand that I love, and the Yamaha is carrying over 280 pounds. The rear shock has bottomed out several times on not-that-technical trails and poorly maintained roads. Uphill washboards slow me dramatically.
There are the riders who wring every ounce of performance from their bikes. I was probably an 85 percent “wringer” in my younger days. I am older and slower but still want optimal handling, even if I am not riding like I stole it.Although I couldn’t differentiate my compression dampening from my squat, I know when the bike feels right as I am riding aggressively in tight twisties or fast over broken terrain. I have enough hours in the saddle with the stock shock on the Yamaha Ténéré 700 to feel the difference the Touratech Extreme shock made.If you want to upgrade your Ténéré 700 shock, or most any other ADV motorcycle’s stock shock, Touratech will custom assemble an Extreme shock according to how you answer its nine questions about weight and use.
The Touratech Extreme is a purpose-built ADV shock made to your specifications—a custom rear shock ready to install and ride. At $1995, it is my most expensive upgrade to the bike, and it is the one that has made the most significant difference in rideability.Depending on your riding style, you may not have to touch any of the three damping adjustments—low-speed compression, high-speed compression, and rebound—or alter the spring preload setting. If you are not a suspension guru, you will probably benefit even more from the Touratech Extreme shock factory setup—just install and ride. The owner’s manual has a list of what-ifs to think about when riding over varied terrain, giving you specific instructions on fine-tuning the shock.Many technical design features of the Touratech Extreme Shock will benefit riders of all abilities. The standouts are bottoming control, and adjustments to damping and spring preload. Whether it be the whoop-de-doos of the Mojave Desert or a street pothole, bottoming out the shock has sent me to the ground. The Extreme shock has a secondary compression damping circuit that prevents bottoming out. Touratech calls it a “ hydraulic pillow at the end of the stroke.”As far as I know, nothing tests compression and rebound damping like an uphill washboard. With the stock shock, uphill washboards slow the Ténéré 700 down, even when adding throttle. That’s because I was losing contact with the ground more than I was touching it.
With the Touratech Extreme shock installed, I can accelerate purposefully on uphill washboards. Although I didn’t mount a high-speed camera to see what was going on, it wasn’t necessary to know the Extreme shock kept my rear tire more in contact with the ground—I could feel it. Running at high speed over rocky terrain, the back end isn’t bouncing around, making it much easier to maintain my intended line.The shock comes preset for my weight and the luggage I usually carry. If I am going to ride with a passenger or add two weeks of camping gear, I can just reach in and add spring preload with the turn of the adjuster knob. Adding preload gives me the same great suspension action and ride feel, while compensating the ride height for the extra weight.The installation was straightforward on the Ultimate Motorcycling
Yamaha Ténéré 700 Project Bike—two bolts to remove the mud flap, three bolts for each side panel, and then straight access to the upper and lower mounting bolts. The OEM shock comes out over the top of the rear tire. I took a few moments to grease the now-accessible roller bearings and installed the new shock.With the bike on the centerstand, I used my breaker bar to lever the rear tire up a bit to help the lower bolt slide into its mount. Torque the bolts and wipe off the excess grease. My one-person suspension upgrade was complete.The shock upgrade was noticeable from the moment I took the bike off the centerstand. There was no bounciness going from vertical to sidestand. I always jump the curb leaving my driveway, and the Ténéré didn’t make its usual pronounced clank as I landed on the street.On acceleration, the T700 didn’t squat as much as it does with the stock shock. Hitting every pothole on the way to the freeway, the obstacles felt much less pronounced.At high speeds, the Ténéré 700 feels more grounded. When transitioning from left to right in the twisties, the Yamaha is more stable and the transitions smoother. Off-road, I immediately had more control in bumpy terrain, making for a more enjoyable ride.Although I did this very beneficial upgrade toward the end of the project, I now know it should have been at the top of the list. Touratech goes to great lengths to assure you receive just the right custom shock for your height, weight, bike accessories, and riding style. In addition, it happens to be very easy to install on a Ténéré 700. The Touratech Extreme shock adds to the control and rideability of the Yamaha Ténéré 700 that needs to be experienced to be appreciated. If you are a hard-charger or a weekend adventure rider, this shock upgrade will make an obvious difference in your enjoyment of the motorcycle.