KTM 790 R/S vs Yamaha Tenere 700


Comparison between KTM 790 R/S and Yamaha Tenere 700.

DISCLAIMER! Long post for those who bother to read. I am not payed by either Yamaha or KTM, and I have bought and own both the bikes. ๐Ÿ™‚

Here comes a comparison based on my experiences and preferences, so don't shoot me if you don't agree.

I have approx. 14,000km on 790 R / S and 12,000km on MT07 / Tenere700 as a basis for what I write.


KTM’s 790 is extremely easy to drive. Because of it’s low tank and center of gravity, it is perceived as very easy to drive and well balanced. This bike is maneuvered nicely at all kinds of speeds and it is very versatile.

The T7 gave me a surprise. At low speed, this is the most easy bike I've ridden, both on asphalt and gravel. It is extremely light in the front and can be wheelied without further effort.

Overall, I think the KTM is nicer to run. The T7 gets a little too light in the front when driving at higher speeds. I feel that I have much better contact with the front of the 790 versus the T7, both on asphalt and gravel.


I love both engines in different ways. Yamaha’s CP2 is silky soft, undramatic and extremely forgiving. You can pull it up from 1500rpm without any problem and it is very versatile. In addition, it produces very little vibration and sound.

KTM's LC8 is on the other side of the scale. It asks to be whipped, is a mechanical orchestra when it comes to sound, and requires more speed. I experience this as virtually "useless" under 3000 rpm. On the other hand, the power is out of another world, and is a lot "faster" than the Yamaha CP2 engine. KTM has shorter movement on the throttle, you have to twist “longer” on the T7. Parts from R6 can be used to shorten the twist. T7 has a nicer sound with original exhaust.

Gearbox / clutch:

The gearbox on the KTM is like a knife in hot butter, especially with Quick Shift +. It is so smooth up and down, regardless of engine speed, and is even softer than BMW's QS boxes. The clutch feels a bit heavy with active use, and I experience fatigue in my left arm.

Yamaha's gearbox also works very well. It delivers fine, never any uncertainty, and it is extremely well adapted to the engine and application of the T7. You can generally use 3rd gear from 30-80km/h on dirt roads without any problem. Also on the T7 I think the clutch is heavy to use, like the 790.

It is worth noting that the gear ratio on the T7 is a bit shorter than on the 790. This also makes the T7 feel quite fast.


Both bikes have very good suspension. The 790R has a fantastic suspension compared to the 790S and T7, but the suspension on the latter two is more than good enough. I think it is better to compare the 790S with the T7, as these are more similar. The suspension on the T7 begins softly but is stiffer through the compression. Because of this, it is extremely easy to drive. The 790S is also quite soft in suspension, but feels a bit "stiffer" from the start. All three bikes tackle roots, rocks, holes, dumps and all other terrain like a breeze, but the 790R is superior to swallowing continuous obstacles without "bouncing" off. The Yamaha "dives" less than both KTMs at low speed braking, making the bike easier to maneuver.


The brakes are very good on both bikes. I experience no difference in the brakes, except for the rear brake which I think has a slightly better "feeling" on the 790. Both bikes have a kind of "delay" on the front brake. You push the lever in, and it happens very little before it suddenly happens a lot.

Assistance systems:

Yamaha has made a bike that almost needs to be cranked up. Kidding, but it has practically nothing. You have a primitive ABS system that is similar to my old F650GS from the early 2000s. The system is a bit slow and you only have the option for on or off. I miss the opportunity to turn off only the rear.

KTM is in the top tier with Ducati and BMW when it comes to tech. Lightning fast lean sensitive ABS and traction control, several driving modes, Rally Mode on R (option on S), and this I myself have been extremely fond of. I drive in all kind of weather and conditions, and traction control is important for me. This system works really efficiently, and I promise you that I would have gone on my arse more than once without this, when driving in wet conditions with oil and diesel spills in the twisties.


KTM comes with LED in all lights from the factory. Yamaha has LED front / rear, and turn signal / sign light of old type. Both bikes have very good light. Low beam is better on Yamaha than KTM, and vice versa on high beam. The high beam on the KTM sheds and spreads the light better.


For me at 1.75m, wind protection is almost impossible, as I always get turbulence in my helmet. On the 790 I experience a lot of turbulence on both the S and R with the windshield in both positions. On the T7 I also get turbulence, but considerably less than on the 790. Big plus here! The 790 has better protection against the weather and wind of legs, because you sit "behind" the tank. The seat on both 790’s is more comfortable than the T7. Handguards are larger on 790. Can't say anything about the robustness of the T7 handguards, but at 790 they can withstand a lot.

Instrument / interface:

Instruments on both bikes are easy to read and clear. A bit difficult to read rpm on the T7, but in return it is easier to read in the sunshine. You can scroll through the menu with the joystick on the right side, but you have to scroll around the entire menu as you can just scroll left.

The 790 has navigation, phone and music capabilities in the instrument, which is controlled by a left-hand button panel. Good buttons and many features. For some, it might be a little too many. Both bikes come with standard 12V outlets. Tank gauge of 790 counts from half tank, but is quite accurate. Tank gauge at T7 lives it’s own life, so did my MT07. The 790 has four optional accessory wires ready, two on ignition and two on constant current under the seat and in the headlight. The T7 has two accessory wires under the tank, and one on the opposite side of the 12V outlet.

Build Quality:

The 790 is very well built with a really good finish. Everything is tight and nice, no slack anywhere and generally well built.

The T7 is also very well built, but as on the MT07, there are small things that pull the impression down a bit. T7 has a lousy patent on the tank cap. Proper Christmas party design. The mirrors on the T7 are small and unclear. Here, I would recommend Double Take Mirrors right away.

Tires / wheels:

Both bikes have wire spoke rims.

The 790 has tubeless tires, which I think is great when puncturing. Then the puncture can be fixed in less than 5 minutes. The T7 has hoses, which involves a bit more work when puncturing.


Both bikes have the same consumption. About. 4L/100km for mixed driving and 5.5L/100km when ripping the road.


In terms of price, the service cost will be approximately equal, since KTM has longer intervals. Of course, this is based on following the service program of the respective brands.

Of course one can take into consideration what it will cost to "build" a T7 equal to a 790 in terms of equipment. Where the 790 uses the tank as a "crash bar", has original rear luggage rack, short license plate holder and LED flashlights you have to buy crash bars on the T7, turn indicators in LED, short plate holder, luggage rack and possibly navigation for "connectivity". Then you still do not have the assistant systems that KTM has, if this is something you feel you may need.

Then some thoughts in the end:

If you seriously consider between these bikes, then I can reveal that they are difficult to compare. If you have less money to spend, buy the T7. If you feel that you do not need assistant systems and driving modes, buy the T7. If you want the most easy-riding bike for all kinds of use, buy the T7. If you want a bike with lots of punch, buy the 790. Do you like assistant systems that you can trust, buy the 790. Both bikes are just as fun in many ways, equally good in many ways, and good at different things. Want the adventure bike with the most "bad-ass" suspension and Rally Mode available today, buy the 790R.

If the T7 came with traction control similar to the Tracer 900 and the ability to turn the ABS off in the rear at the current price, it would have been a great bike for my needs.

It is also worth mentioning that the 790R and T7 currently have a waiting list for February 2020, while the 790S can be delivered immediately. (In Norway.)

KTM 790 R/S vs Yamaha Tenere 700

KTM 790 R/S vs Yamaha Tenere 700

KTM 790 R/S vs Yamaha Tenere 700

3 years 32 Answers 2205 views 0

Answers ( 32 )

  1. Nicely done. For me atleast, these bikes are just not at the exact same kategory. Just because the price difference is pretty big.

  2. Paul van Reen

  3. Niranjan: Well, my T7 came with the "CHECK ENGINE LIGHT" on from the dealer, and they couldn’t fix it. New ECU is ordered from Yammie. So should we call the T7 "Yamahashite", then? Getting tired of you fuc…. fan boys. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Thanks alot for this nice comparison

  5. Great and honest comparison, well done! (Yes, I’m jealous too, I’m not owning KTM or T7 either)

  6. Nice review Fabian Rosenberg!

  7. Excelente.

  8. Great comparison. I rented a 790/R for a day and rode mostly dual track, but some rocky sections in the Utah Mtns. Your impressions of the 790 were similar to mine. 1. Only in Rally mode did it seem to have the ‘quickness’ at lower RPM. I wonder if the Coober ECU will change this? I’ve read that Rottweiler Performance is working on some maps. 2. I definitely would have busted my arse more than once without the electronics on the 790. To me they are the reason that a lower skilled rider can ride this bike in more difficult terrain. The 790/R allowed me to ride beyond my ability.

    Also, I own a FZ07. It really doesn’t fit my desired riding (more off-road exploring). But, every time I ride it, that engine brings a big smile to my face! Given a similar weight profile, I bet the T7 will be a lot of fun to ride.

  9. Well written always nice to read some real reviews from the owners perspective.

  10. Nice review! But let me add…the KTM is ugly as fuc.k

  11. Thanks for the comparison.

  12. Thanks for you review

  13. As already mentioned, very nice comparison, sir.

  14. No Brasil elas ainda nu00e3o chegaram. Qual o preu00e7o delas au00ed no seu pau00eds?

  15. Thank you very much nice and interesting review

  16. Thanks for the awesome review. Im on a 790R and still have another year for the T7.

  17. Very nicely written review Fabian.
    And your issue with the check engine light is the only issue found on the internet for the T7. You should raise it on the ADV Rider website because they have nothing else to talk about.

  18. Nice reading, thanks for that. But how did you get THAT mileage on both bikes this quickly? I am going to come close to 20.000km on my 790 by the end of the season, and thought that was a lot!

  19. Thanks for a very interesting review. Can you please compare for us, how both bikes perform on slow technical trails – climbs, hairpin turns and similar. Is there a need to abuse clutch? Which bike performs better in such challenges.

  20. I didn’t get to ride the 790R that much, but i found front end planted pretty much similar if not better on yamaha. Maybe you need to add a bit of preload to the rear and some other suspension adjustments, to allow the T7 to feel good up front, and of course the tire plays importance too. Yamaha falls somewhere in between the S and the R. Not power wise but general purpose wise.

  21. Great write up thanks for sharing. I own a T7

  22. All that and you could have been out riding

  23. A cross between the 2 bikes sounds ideal, Yamaha looks and reliability, KTM suspension and power.
    What were KTM designers thinking of with that gawky headlight and bulky low tank design, it completely puts me off this bike and I’m a KTM fan.

  24. I am not keen to comment but as I have both of them, I can concisely say that those two bikes KTM 790 R and Yamaha T700 cannot be compared, two different concept for two different budgets.
    My KTM prepared for a serious outlander trip (14000 Km throughout Russia) costed 17000u20ac whereby my T700 as well prepared for my undergoing trip to Dakar costed 13000u20ac.
    Subject to got the appropriate financial means, I believe that the emotional part should prevail to make the choice … if you really want one, otherwise purchase both and be happy

  25. I’ve bought the T7 although I’m a big fan of KTM and my family comes from Austria. But for me all in all the T7 has the better package and the better design. But that is a very individuel feeling… so everyone is welcone on two wheels….

  26. Thank you for the time you took to write this post and comparison, I think we are all grateful for that. Now the serious question, if you had to keep one and just one, which one would it be? (I know it’s hard, I’ve tried them both and I also have an answer, but I’d like to hear yours first, lol)

  27. Thanks for this fair comparison. Personally, I have a T7 since a bit more than one month and… this is my best buy ever! A lot of fun for less than 10Ku20ac. This is a key point from a financial perspective. Frankly, Yamaha did a great job in designing such a great bike for that street price… ๐Ÿ™‚

  28. Thanks for the comparison! Well written.

  29. Good review thanks

  30. so you like traction control, huh? Yamaha riders do not need traction control, under no circumstances whatsoever. Yamaha riders ride in wet conditions with oil and diesel spills without hesitation. The Yamaha rider’s skills and superfast reflexes make it unnecessary to have riding aids – and certainly offroad ABS. (-;

  31. S and R are not comparable, 3 different bikes now that I tried all.

  32. Fabian Rosenberg Any more information on the check engine light? Did the dealer fix it or was there something wrong with the dealer diagnostic software?

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