Upshift Project Tenere Phase 2

TÉNÉRÉ 700 Phase Two Project Bike


Words by Adam Booth, Photos by Simon Cudby


In the quest for greatness, the Upshift Online Ténéré 700 has received a slew of new modifications. Our T7 upgrades started off small and simple and have blossomed into this incredible-looking bike. For the most part, the first round of modifications were kept, but a bunch of new cool stuff was added.


The goodies that stayed the same on the Upshift T7 are the Dunlop tires. The Dunlop D606 front and D908RR rear tires are great all-around adventure bike tires for riders who want some decent traction off-road. The Outback Motortek crash bars and skid plate remain, well, because how can you ride a bike off-road without excellent protection? Again, Upshift can’t get enough of the Doubletake Mirrors. They are simply amazing. They find a way on all of the Upshift rides.



For this stage of the build, Upshift went with a complete Yoshimura exhaust system. An entire stock T7 exhaust weighs 18 pounds, 6 ounces. The Yoshimura full system weighs 12 pounds, 3 ounces, saving just over 6 pounds. Upshift ran the slip-on RS-12 muffler with the stock header, which knocks of some weight, frees up a little power, and of course, sounds amazing. The CP2 engine powering the T7 has been around a long time, so an ECU setting for an open exhaust and open airbag wasn’t hard to find. Keep in mind, the complete Yosh system is a closed-course system for those who live and ride in areas where those sorts of things matter.


To boost braking power and feel, Galfer stepped in and provided Wave rotors front and back, Sintered metal brake pads, and braided stainless brake lines. The T7 already has a seat height usable by a wide variety of heights. Still, for the not-so-tall riders, Seat Concepts makes a comfort low seat that is made for long days in the saddle. Made in the USA is an added bonus. 


As with any motorcycle, the suspension is a major piece of the handling puzzle. Race-Tech set out to improve the overall handling and bottoming resistance of the T7. To do that, they went from a .60kg fork spring to a stiffer .70kg spring and installed Gold Valves. The rear shock spring went from 7.28kg to 8.5kg, and the internals received a Gold Valve as well. 

Lead-acid batteries are becoming dinosaur era technology. The stock battery was ditched in favor of a five-pound lighter lithium-ion polymer Firepower Featherweight battery. The Firepower battery also delivers more cold cranking amps at 240 vs. 190 for stock. 


The T7 received the Garmin Zumo XT. The screen size is excellent. It has advantages over more offroad-oriented GPS for the street, like turn by turn capability. It has a tracker and is easy to share routes between different devices. 


On the first round of modifications, the T7 had Fasst Flexx bars. To change things up a bit, a set of Pro Taper bars with a Windham bend was used. To gain back a fraction of the cushion we lost by removing the Flexx bars, we used Pro Taper clamp-on Pillow Top grips. To offer protection from the elements and provide protection to the controls in a crash or drop, Acerbis X factory full wrap handguards were used. They come in a ton of color options and were pretty easy to install. With the Acerbis handguards, a shorter set of levers was used. We found a generic set of levers designed for the Yamaha MT-07 street bike. They looked cool, but the feel and the pull wasn’t great. Those will be replaced soon. 


Upshift designs all of their graphics kits in-house, and because the fit is important, they spend a lot of time on designing them. This kit is inspired by the Rally bikes Yamaha fielded in the 80’s. Upshift graphics are printed in the USA on USA sourced materials. 

Tenere wheelie
Tenere 700 roost



Good looks only take you so far, then it is time to put out. Well this T7 puts out improved power, offers up great grip and the saddle treats your backside nicely. The exhaust note from the Yoshimura system puts goose bumps on your goose bumps. It doesn’t matter if you are hero, the sound of the T7 will have you thinking you are smashing through the dunes of Dakar. 


This was Race-Tech’s first go at improving the T7 suspension. Without a baseline to work from, they did a decent job. For the sandy conditions the front end was too soft and the back end was too stiff. We increased compression on the forks and played with settings on the shock, but ultimately, an aftermarket shock with adjustable preload via spring tension might be the answer to better balance set up and fine tuning sag. There is a dial on the stock shock that affects rear end height of the bike, but it isn’t through typical spring preload. Since any change you make to the front suspension affects the rear suspension and vice versa, being able to properly adjust both is very important. We will be working with Race-Tech, trying different spring rates and valving to find a balance of plushness with increased bottoming resistance. The T7 is affordable for a few reasons and one of those is simple suspension. The forks are only 43mm and the internals are fairly basic. The shock is super basic when compared to what is available on other high-end adventure bikes. For most, the stock suspension will border on acceptable with spring rate changes and valving. For most hardcore riders, upgraded suspension components will be a must in order to achieve perfect balance and ultimate bottoming resistance. 

I unfortunately dropped the T7 a few times. Nothing fast, all slow speed tip overs, but I was glad the crash bars and full wrap hand guards were installed. The only damage was superficial scrapes and a readjustment of the hand guard. 


The T7 is much more like a big dirt bike than an adventure bike when compared to big displacement adventure machines. You give a little on the highway for that dirt worthiness, but boy is it worth it if you like to have fun in the dirt. 


The additions to this T7 make it one hell of a good time, and we will continue to update you as we fine tune the suspension and get the stock components to perform as best as possible. The goal is to squeeze out the best performance without spending gobs of cash. Oh, and the other goal is to make the T7 look wicked fast, even when it is sitting still. 


For all Tenere 700 parts and accessories in the Upshift Store: CLICK HERE


ForPhase 3 of our Tenere 700 Project Bike:CLICK HERE

Upshift Project Tenere Phase 2



Mirrors: Doubletake Adventure Mirrors


Protection: Outback Motortek crash bars and Skid Plate


Tires: Dunlop D606 Front and D908RR Rear


Exhaust: RS-12 Stainless Full Exhaust System


Suspension: Race Tech Suspension



  • Race Tech Gold Valve

  • Stiffer spring at 70kg

  • 5wt RT fork oil.

Rear Shock:

  • Race Tech Gold Valve

  • Stiffer Spring 8.5kg


  • 28wt RT shock oil

Brakes: Galfer Brakes

  • Wave rotors front and rear

  • Sintered metal brake pads front and rear

  • Braided stainless brake lines and fittings front and rear 

Seat: Seat Concepts Comfort Low Seat


Battery: Firepower Featherweight Battery


Navigation: Garmin ZUMO XT


Handguards: Acerbis X-Factory Handguards


Footpegs: Faast Company Impact Moto Footpegs 


Oil Filter: Maxima 10/40 Oil ProPlus/ProFilter Oil Filter


Bars: ProTaper Contour Bars/Windham Bend


Grips: ProTaper Clamp On Pillow Top Grips