Thursday, September 21, 2017

T7 or not T7?

This past summer I hoped to tackle the first half of the Trans-American Trail, and even had a month vacation lined up, but unfortunately it didn't work out this time and I ended up doing a solo 6-day adventure ride north as a consolation prize.

Next summer offers a real possibility of ripping the whole TAT from east to west, but I'm debating heading straight for Colorado and riding the second half only, if time is tight. (And looking for a riding partner, hint-hint.)

The real question is should I do it on my WRR? Yes, others have ridden this bike the length of the trail, and mine is nicely modified for exactly this purpose. However, after this summer's riding on some long, lonely pavement (a likely scenario on my TAT route), for the first time I began wondering if maybe it's time to consider a bigger bike. Shortly after I returned, I got the chance to ride my dad's 1200GS. Holy crap, that thing's got power! Surprisingly nimble too--much easier to turn than my WRR, in fact. Although way too big for my needs, it planted the seed deeper.

Then along comes rumors of the new Yamaha T7, nearing production-ready form and more practical than the concept bike shown below. The engine has proven to be excellent, the chassis and suspension have been designed to be state-of-the-art for dual sport, and the size, weight, and power are a decent bump up from the WRR without being overwhelming. It could be a good 75-100 lbs lighter than the Africa Twin, also a solid option but too heavy for my needs and out of my price range.

Looking forward to seeing what's announced at EICMA in November!


  1. I had a wrr modified like yours but sold it last year. i kind of miss it but it was just not good on the highway. I bought a used africa twin DCT from a guy that did the TAT with it. I've enjoyed it all summer but feel its too big. I ride alone a lot and I have been in a few spots where I lost confidence because i didn't want to have to pick the thing up. I'm now thinking lightweight again. the beta 500 rr-s or ktm 500 exc or even dr650se are intriguing. The dr650 is cheap and simple and not too heavy (360lb). the beta is like 250lb and 500cc - i'd likely need to modify it just like the wrr (tank, seat, fairing) but then I'd have something with power on the highway but i'd get blown around like shit. there's no perfect bike, the AT is great for 90% of what I do but I feel sometimes having a bike that can handle 100% is better despite being not great at 90% if that makes any sense. I think the T7 will be pretty heavy likely like a f800gs.

    1. I hear you! Fortunately there seems to be a resurgence of middle-weight and smaller bikes with off-road capability. If the T7 can come in around 400lbs with a low centre of gravity, it should make for a decent upgrade from the WRR while retaining some ability to be picked up. As much as I enjoyed my KLR, I don't miss how top-heavy it was. And the power was too low to justify the overall weight. Other than having to tap-dance my WRR gears constantly, I don't feel like I gave up any significant rideability versus the KLR, and I can pick it up! The rumored F800GS will make for an interesting alternative but I just can't afford the BMW surcharge to repair something that is likely to get dropped and broken from time to time. Too bad Honda doesn't have a 450-size CRF Rally, because that would be a really nice compromise. Congrats on your AT--it is certainly a nice bike.