The middleweight adventure bike segment is bustling with choices from nearly all manufacturers. From the Japanese big four to the heavy-hitters of Europe, it’s clear that ADV bikes with compact engines – usually from 700cc to 900cc – are the sweet spot when it comes to adventure riding.

With that being said, there are two models that occupy pretty much the same space when it comes to pricing, performance, and intended use, and they both come from two of the most respected Japanese manufacturers. Of course, I’m talking about none other than the Yamaha Ténéré 700 and the Honda XL750 Transalp. Having ridden both these bikes on numerous occasions, I can attest that picking one over the other is extremely difficult. That said, having ridden them is one thing but actually owning both bikes is a completely different story.

2024 Honda XL750 Transalp - Riding 7
2024 Yamaha Tenere 700 - Riding 12

Luckily, Ben Sell, also known as Dork In The Road on YouTube does, and he recently gave a detailed account on the pros and cons of each bike. Known as everyone’s “Internet riding buddy,” Dork In The Road’s videos are easy to watch, lighthearted, and very informative. His comparo of the two middleweight ADV bikes is no exception, and he makes some incredibly strong points for both bikes.

He first highlights what both bikes do incredibly well. Of course, being Japanese bikes, they’re super reliable, although not as technologically advanced as their European counterparts. On top of that, they’re both priced within the same ballpark, with the Ténéré 700 retailing for $10,799 USD and the Transalp carrying a lower MSRP of $9,999 USD. When it comes to specs and features, they’re also similar with the T7 and Transalp both rolling on a 21-inch front wheel and weighing in approximately 450 pounds.

2024 Honda XL750 Transalp - Riding 2

Now, with all the similarities these two bikes share, there are a few seemingly minute differences that could be game changers for die-hard adventurers. Ben mentions ground clearance, which is a very important element of off-road riding, with the Ténéré 700 having the upper hand with 9.3 inches of ground clearance versus the Honda’s 8.3 inches. As a result, the T7 also has a taller seat height than the Transalp – something to consider if either you’re a beginner rider or you’re on the shorter side of the spectrum, as I am.

Up next, Ben talks about what each bike is good at. Starting off with the Transalp, Ben explains how Honda envisioned its newest ADV bike in the real world: a capable machine for both on and off-road use with a focus on comfort. Indeed, having ridden the Transalp before, I agree that it’s way more comfortable than the T7. I mean, all it takes is one look and you can see that its cushier saddle is surely better equipped for longer rides.

2024 Yamaha Ténéré 700 Explore - Riding 9

Ben also says that the Transalp is a much better street bike, and that boils down largely to its electronics package. With a total of five riding modes – three of which designed for road use – it’s clear that Honda designed the Transalp as a road bike first before being a gnarly adventurer. That means that the Transalp is a better long-distance tourer, just as Honda designed it to be. Nevertheless, Ben also says that the Transalp is an excellent performer off-road, going as far as saying that the bike will do 90 percent of what the Ténéré can do.

Now, moving on to the Yamaha Ténéré 700, despite using one of the most popular motors in the world of motorcycling, the CP2, it’s by far a more purpose-driven machine than the XL750 Transalp. It’s an overall simpler machine, doing away with sophisticated electronics and rider aids, instead opting for a rudimentary cable-actuated throttle, with nothing more than switchable ABS to show for in terms of tech. Ben also explains that the Ténéré 700 has better suspension in that it has more adjustability and slightly more travel. Overall, Ben explains that the T7 was designed with function in mind, with that key function being excellent off-road performance.

2024 Yamaha Ténéré 700 Explore - Studio - Front Left Angle View
2023 Honda XL750 Transalp - Studio - Right Side

When it comes to deciding which bike is actually better. Well, just like most things in life, Dork In The Road ascertains that at the end of the day, the choice is yours, and it depends on your individual needs and preferences when it comes to riding. As for Ben’s choice, well, he states at the end of the video that the Transalp offers just a little bit more than the Ténéré as an overall package. Both bikes straddle the line between on and off-road capability, with the T7 leaning more towards the off-road spectrum, and the Transalp leaning more towards the on-road side, so it’s probably a good idea to keep that in mind when cross-shopping these two bikes.

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