Yamaha T7 Tenere 700 (XTZ690) Forks
The T7 gets a KYB 43mm USD fork, very similar in construction to the XTZ1200, but with more travel, 210mm. Stock springs were 0.57kg/mm in the first bikes we tested, subsequent forks have increased to 0.60kg/mm. We have springs in 0.60 and 0.65kg/mm.
What's wrong with the stock fork? For those of you who love it stock, nothing. However, some riders feel the fork is a little harsh on small bumps yet bottoms too easily, and these are the areas we have been working on. We always intended to make our own piston kits for this fork but Covid-19 and a total business premises overhaul saw us short on time, so we went another way that’s been very educational. We quickly became aware there were many people wanting to know how the aftermarket cartridges performed in the T7. We did what no-one else did, we bought them all, ran them on the shock dyno then handed them over to the RideAdv wrecking crew to try and destroy. We will also add we are not sharing dyno graphs as we have done in the past, the R&D work we do is ours and while we like to publish it we have become aware it's helped a few competitors and suspension manufacturers in ways we didn't envisage.
Initially, there was only one cartridge offering from Andreani, the 105Y39E. We didn't know it when we bought 5 sets but they were designed for the European roads. 180mm travel, firm springs and road type damping. We quickly discovered it was very simple to change the internal spacers of these units and get up to 240mm travel! Mid 2020 on they released the 105Y39H Rally with 240mm travel. We built an original set up for Greg with 210mm travel and he got busy riding. He found the fork dived more than stock but that was the only negative, it handled rocks and roots extremely well and was an all over standout. After a few thousand KM the fork performance fell off and we got the forks back. There had been some shim failures and we needed Andreani to change some designs for us. They have been great to deal with and made the changes we asked for, changing the production sets to the more durable design (available February 2021). The RideAdv crew have been very happy with the Andreani product with a revised setting from us, we made some changes to improve the durability and make the fork slightly firmer, we have not seen this revised setting fail but we believe it will fail in time. As of early February 2021 we have not seen the new design and have not tested it for durability, we will update this page when we have some Km on the new designs.
We were lucky enough to get a set of FKA114’s. Why do I say lucky when we had to buy them? Ohlins is not the company it was, supply is short since Ohlins was bought out by the US giant Tenneco. We wanted to test everything we could get our hands on, even if we struggle to offer it for sale. We ran 6.5N springs and sent Ride Adv’s “Crash” the Ohlins. His first impression was the fork was stiff on low speed movements and more setup for the road. After a few thousand KM he’s grown to like them and only has positive comments. Bottoming resistance is good. Anyone who tries the forks notices the firm initial feel, quite different to the Andreani. We know the Ohlins product well as we were an Official Ohlins Centre until we terminated our contract, largely from supply issues.
Tractive have been manufacturing cartridges for Touratech since the beginning of the collaboration in 2013, and if you buy Touratech you are buying Tractive. I should also state we are the Tractive importer for Australia and NZ. Greg has been running the pressurised X-Treme cartridges for some months with 6.8N springs. Greg has not fallen in love with the cartridges and we have to revisit the setup (February 2021) Rod Faggotter has been running the Rally Raid version and described them as a “game changer” although not suitable for laid back adventure riding, they required commitment to perform and Rod was impressed at the transformation of the bike when pushed. He also noted the longer version of the suspension offered by Rally Raid/Tractive and Touratech was, in his opinion, not a forward step with the centre of gravity being too tall, it upset the feel of the sweet handling T7.
This is not a cartridge conversion but a set of pistons to replace all existing pistons in the front fork. Its not exactly a DIY job to fit (but simpler than the Andreani kit where you must remove axle feet.) The kit works quite well, improved small bump compliance, improved bottoming resistance, very easy to live with and readily available. It’s not exactly cheap though, near the same price as the Andreani cartridge kit.
There is an open cartridge version of the Tractive 35mm piston cartrige that's a Rally Raid exclusive, the RRP616. We bought a set but have not fitted them into the testing schedule yet (Feb 2021) we have heard that they are similar feel to the other European cartriges in that the initial movement is firm. We know a set has been sent back to the UK to be modified for Australian conditions. Ours are the original spec so we are looking forward to getting some hours on them. We can order these cartriges from Rally Raid for customers as there is no official Rally Raid distributor in Australia.
We also have a DIY fork kit in the works, we have had some other business imperatives in 2020 that have slowed the development, it's not that we are not interested, there are only so many hours in a day. We will list it on this page when it's complete or you can send us an enquiry now and we will let you know as soon as they're available.
We are offering a Kashima coating on the upper fork tubes for low friction. Once we have a few sets of tubes in an exchange rotation there will be no waiting.