What we’re seeing here is a middleweight Ténéré based on the FZ-07 parallel-Twin engine. The obvious giveaway being the sexy little S-bend of the header pipes betraying its family origins, here shielded by an aluminum bash plate. Launching a mid-size ADV bike fills a hole in Yamaha’s current model lineup and should offer stout competition for the likes of Suzuki’s V-Strom 650XT, Triumph’s Tiger 800s and BMW’s F800GS.

From the spy shots, the smaller Ténéré appears to roll on 21-inch front, 18-inch rear wheels, while the existing Super Ténéré runs a 19-inch front/18-inch rear combo. These wheel sizes convey Yamaha’s intention to make the mini Ténéré a more off-road-worthy model, and one that will replace the XT660Z Ténéré currently still available in some markets but not in the USA.

Yamaha Tenere Spy-

The 21-inch front and 18-inch rear wheels point to true off-road intent.

The bike seen in these spy photos looks to be very early in its development phase. Notice the radiator reservoir zipped-tied to the frame downtube, while the rear of the bike seems better equipped for carrying data acquisition devices rather than passengers or luggage. We don’t expect many changes to the FZ-07’s 689cc engine, since its 270-degree crankshaft and current tuning will translate well to off-road situations while complying with Euro 4 regulations.

Yamaha Tenere Spy-

There’s a fairing under that rubber matt, and the windshield appears to be non-adjustable. Behind the fairing is a gauge cluster that looks like the FZ-07’s.

The bodywork ahead of the rider includes a fairing with what looks like a non-adjustable windscreen, at least in this early iteration. A tall fuel tank indicates a much larger capacity than the 3.7-gallon unit on the FZ-07. Rubber inserts in the serrated-steel footpegs damp vibration and will be removable for optimum grip in muddy environments.

Suspension duties are handled by an inverted long-travel fork up front and a single shock acting on a linkage and what appears to be a steel swingarm. By the appearance of the wire wheels, we’ll assume the tires will require tubes. We expect the muffler seen here to be binned in favor of a more stylish exhaust on the production version.

Yamaha Tenere Spy-

We expect the FZ-07’s 689cc engine to remain basically unchanged in its transition to Ténéré duty.

Since the FZ-07 scales in fully fueled at just 403 pounds, we could imagine the Ténéré-07 weighing less than 435 pounds, even with the added bodywork and heavier wire-spoke wheels. This would make it attractive to a lot of ADV enthusiasts who’ve been clamoring for a lightweight, mid-displacement adventure bike.

Yamaha Tenere Spy

A pair of Brembo single-action, two-piston calipers provide the stopping power. Oddly, no signs of wheel-speed sensors for ABS at this point in the bike’s development.

Two surprises in the brakes: First, they look to be Brembo two-piston calipers, which the FZ-07 doesn’t have. The FZ-07 uses four-piston calipers of the Yamaha variety. Secondly, there seems to be no wheel-speed sensors, indicating a lack of anti-lock brakes even though all 2017 bikes sold in Europe – a primary market for this bike – will require ABS. This is another indication the test mule is a long way from being finalized, so a production version is unlikely to debut until 2017.

As for a price, it will surely come at a considerable premium over the inexpensive ($6,990) FZ-07, which lacks a fairing, ABS and other ADV accoutrements. Yamaha’s FJ-09 has a $2,300 premium over the FZ-09 platform-mate, so it’s possible the Ténéré version of the FZ-07 might carry an MSRP around $8,700, depending on the amount of extras Yamaha adds to it.