Yamaha XT660Z Tenere (2008 - ) Buying Guide

Author: Phil West Posted: 04 Nov 2015

The lightweight Yamaha is pretty much in a class of its own

Yamaha XT660Z Tenere (2008- )

Why you want it:

As it’s derived from a middleweight, single-cylinder trail bike, the 660 Tenere is that rare breed in being a true, off-road capable adventure bike.

With the popularity of enormous, 1000cc+ multi-cylinder adventure bikes such as the BMW R1200GS and KTM 1290 Super Adventure, Yamaha’s middleweight, single-cylinder XT660Z Tenere is largely over-looked. And that’s a shame, because if you really want a globe-trotting machine that’s genuinely capable of traversing the harshest terrain, the relatively lightweight Yamaha is pretty much in a class of its own.

Based on the existing XT660 trail machine, the Tenere was launched in 2008 and was define d by its bigger, 23-litre fuel tank, rally-raid-style nose cowling plus high screen, crash bars and more. While at under £7000 new, at least compared to its 1000cc+ rivals, it also offered incredible value.

As an off-roader it has genuine ability thanks to its relatively light weight and, despite a tall seat, reasonable manageability. As a long-haul roadster, however, despite that big tank and fairing, the XT has its limitations mostly due to the single-cylinder engine. Although fine on short hops, around town or off-road, with just 45bhp available it’s left wanting at sustained high speed cruising (you can forget anything above 75mph), labours with the addition of a pillion and the vibes become intrusive above 5000rpm.

That said, if the XT’s unique blend of off-road and road ability appeals, it’s easy to ride, stylish, effective, has some neat design touches and is rugged and excellent value for money.

Just 45bhp means don't think about any speed above 75mph

What to look for:

The Yamaha motor is proven, long established and has also been used in a variety of machines (not just Yamaha’s other XTs but also the MT-03, Aprilia’s Pegaso and even Derbi’s short-lived Mulhacen) so is well known and proven to be durable. With early machines there were some issues with jerky power delivery, stalling and hunting mid revs but this has now been fixed. Otherwise prospective buyers should have a good look for all the potential faults and damage likely from a bike used off-road such as cosmetic and crash damage (for example bodywork scuffs and dings, bent hand and foot controls and so on), poor maintenance (sticky suspension, dry, poorly adjusted chain etc) and excessive wear of consumables such as, again, the chain, tyres, brake pads and so on.

It’s also worth bearing in my that many Teneres will have been fitted with adventure-style accessories such as hard luggage, extra crash protection and so forth. It’s up to you to judge their worth, but if the originals are still available they can be a bonus.

Any updates?

Apart from occasional colour changes and the aforementioned fuelling fix – none.

What to pay:

The Tenere has now been available for almost a decade so there are plenty of used examples to choose from with prices for well-used examples starting as low as £3500. That said, a low mileages, recent example fitted with some decent accessories such as aluminum side cases can easily be found for under £5K.

Well-used examples start as low as £3500

Who to ask:

  • XT660.com: decent, US-based owners forum for all variants of XT660.
  • Tenere.co.uk: UK based owners forum for all types of Yamaha Tenere.



660cc, single, 4v, SOHC




46bhp @ 6000rpm



43ftlb @ 52500rpm





Owned a 660 Tenere? Tell us what you think?  or !