What's more important though is that Yamaha not only took part in the competition, but also managed to get its name written in Dakar's history books. Of course, the company and its machines wouldn't have been able to do that without help from talented riders like Jean-Claude Olivier and Stephane Peterhansel.
Olivier has been for a long time Yamaha France's CEO, but he liked to race as well, and was part of no less than nine Dakar rallies. Peterhansel, on the other hand, is perhaps the most important name in Dakar history, holding the title for most wins in the competition, 14.
It's these two men and their exploits on the backs of Japanese-made motorcycles Yamaha decided to celebrate this year with a special version of the Tenere 700 World Rally, "the ultimate version of Yamaha's long-distance adventure bike."
And that's obvious right from the get-go. The bike wears colors meant to be reminiscent of Peterhansel's 1993 Dakar two-wheeler. That translates into blue and silver, mostly, but there are also touches of pink in there to make sure the connection to the past is as solid as possible. Called Trophy Blue, the color scheme is highlighted by black forks, a black seat, and black wheels.
But a color scheme would not have come even close to being a proper tribute to the company's Dakar exploits, so a number of other changes had to be made, and some exclusive features had to be included.
The list starts with the pieces of hardware that help the Tenere 700 World Rally go over rough terrain with ease. We're talking about a complex system that includes at the front 43 mm, fully-adjustable KYB forks with 230 mm of travel. At the rear, the adjustable system comprises a piggyback rear shock with 220 mm of travel. To help with unwanted oscilations when riding at high speeds, the bike uses an Ohlins adjustable damper with no less than 18 settings.
Yamaha makes no mention of major changes in the engine department, so we're dealing with the same 689cc liquid-cooled in-line 2-cylinder powerplant we also get since last year on the Tenere 700 World Raid. It does come with a few enhancements though, including as an exclusive Akrapovic titanium muffler slapped over the exhaust system.
The engine draws its fuel from a rather massive fuel tank. Given how the Tenere is meant for long adventure rides in remote areas, being able to carry enough fuel to reach the destination is even more important. Just like with the Raid variant, the Rally packs 23-liter (6-gallon) dual side-mounted tanks that can help spin the wheels for as much as 500 km (311 miles).
Unlike the bikes raced decades ago in Dakar, the Tenere in this guise is as modern as it gets. It packs a three-mode switchable ABS for safety (with a setting for use on both wheels, one for the front wheel only, and off), a 5-inch, smartphone-capable, color TFT screen, and the bike maker's MyRide app.
This tool is the one devised by Yamaha to facilitate connectivity between the two-wheeler and the bike's screen, enabling the displaying of text and call notifications. Most importantly, though, it helps provide the rider with statistics such as distance covered, elevation, speed, acceleration, and even lean angle. Should some mechanical issue arise, the system can also alert the rider about that.
Yamaha does not say when the Tenere 700 World Rally will become available for riders, and asks potential customers in Europe to have a chat with their local dealers to learn more on that. These guys are also the ones who will shed some light on the pricing of this machine.
For those wishing to know how such a bike could look like in their own personal interpretation, Yamaha has a sort of configurator app they can use. The virtual build can also be accompanied by matching Yamaha accessories.