The Yamaha Tenere 700 is a wonderful bike for a plethora of reasons but it’s not without its faults. The stock seat is rock hard, the suspension needs work and the rear brake is in need of help, to mention but a few. In this review we’re looking to address the latter mentioned fault, so what exactly is wrong with the rear brake? Well, it’s soft (many describe it as “mushy”) and unresponsive. Why? To engage the brake you need to press down a considerable distance before anything really happens and when you do it still doesn’t bite in the way you’d expect. Keep in mind this not a small bike, nor a particularly light one (450lbs/205kg from stock) and that might account for some of it but with regards to rear braking, Yamaha really should have better addressed the problem. Unfortunately, they didn’t and such was the outcry on the various forums and social media outlets, one company took it upon themselves to deal with the problem: that company being: Camel ADV.
Camel ADV are a company that I’ve watched from afar for some time. I’ve read rave reviews about their products but until now I’ve not really needed any of their apparently superb products but when “The Fix” was announced I contacted Cory and he graciously agreed to ship me a review sample free of charge on the understanding that it would be a “factory second”, so may not be cosmetically perfect. He shipped from the first batch and it arrived from Canada to the Isle of Wight (UK) in under a week. When it arrived I was surprised as to me it’s very near perfect cosmetically, so it’s a real credit to the company that they are so selective and pedantic about the products they send out. So far so good.
What I’ve always liked about Camel ADV is they go the extra mile with great explanations/product descriptions, a solid forum presence and detailed install videos. Here is Cory’s installation video for “The Fix”.
The video is concise, to the point and well detailed. Follow it and you can’t go wrong but be sure to watch every minute as it’s easy to miss something. As long as you have basic tools (spanners, wrench, pliers, Loctite etc..) you’ll manage this install without a problem. In waiting for the pedal to arrive I prepped the bike according to that video and posted this on tenere700.net:
“It’s peeing down with rain on the Isle of Wight so I stupidly thought I’d spend some time removing the OEM pedal and preparing the bike for the new Camel pedal which should deliver Monday. My workshop is built along the old path which runs down the side of my old Victorian house. It’s 1.5m wide so with the bike in there I have 50cms of space to the left of the bike in which to work. The first thing you need to do is remove “that cotter pin”.. Lying on the floor on my back, my face is 6 inches from the ruddy thing and I have about 1-2 inches arm movement space. I need reading glasses to even see it, a torch in my mouth, pliers in the left hand trying to pull down on the mushy brake with the other. I’m going to say that the torch saved my butt on this one; not because it helped me see but because I try my best not to curse and without that torch there would have been some serious profanity going on in my workshop!! It’s now sorted, I’m slightly sore and my pride is dented but no-one witnessed it, thank goodness.”
Yup. That little cotter pin needs a slap but it didn’t defeat me and it won’t defeat you, either. Patience and grace are of the essence, however!
OK, let’s take a quick look at the lever itself:
This is how mine arrived, already greased and ready to fit. CAVD had done a tremendous job of cleaning any grease off the lever and it arrived looking spot on.
The quality of the individual parts that make up this piece is obvious the moment you pick it up. The powder coating is very well applied and every part is beautifully manufactured with great attention to detail. I love the red, metal company nameplate that’s applied. It’s a great touch and one that shows the company cares about their products and are proud to put their name to them. I’m sure eventually a company in China will grab one of these and produce a knock-off version and when it does it will be of poor quality and nothing like the original. Stick to the originals. We need companies like CAVD but unless we support them by putting our money where are mouths are then they will eventually cease to exist and don’t expect the Chinese companies to suddenly start doing their own product development.. that’s just not how they work, so products like this will also cease to exist. Right, off the soap box and back to the review..
One thing you will notice in the image above is the small footprint of the foot pedal itself. It’s a fair bit smaller than the stock footprint and when I mentioned that on the forum Cory PM’d me with this response:
“The tip is the same size as a pile of other ADV bikes. Because it doesn’t pivot, we didn’t want to go longer as the likelihood of it being bent increases exponentially as it gets extended. The folding version will be a bit longer.”
That’s fair enough and makes sense but personally, having ridden with the AltRider pedal extension on my stock break lever for nearly a year, I knew I’d want to use that again on this one and I was concerned as to whether I could attach it to the CAVD lever. I needn’t have worried because after a little fettling I came up with this solution:
I used one small bolt down through each corner (the image below shows only one) using the existing holes in the plate and using the central bolt that AltRider supplied I simply used two washers as a bracket. Three nylon locking nuts secured the bolts and its now rock solid and perfectly aligned, the corner bolts seemingly preventing it from swivelling at all. Seems to work and I’ll update the review if I notice anything negative but I don’t envisage any problems.
Following Cory’s video, the installation to the bike took around 20 mins, much of that time spent swearing at the cotter pin again, but thanks to CAVD’s pedantic attention to all parameters, the pedal lines up with everything perfectly and really couldn’t be any easier to install. I did have to spend some time carefully adjusting the pedal height and the brake light actuator sensitivity but neither were too problematic.
Here’s a pic showing all three bolts now clamping the AltRider extension pedal:
One thing to note (and something Cory does mention at the end of his installation video) is if you’ve lowered your footpegs this might not work for you as if you lower “The Fix” too much during adjustment it will bottom out on the casing when deployed. I have the Bosley Rally pegs, lowered 20mm from the stock position. Whilst adjusting, I became a tad concerned that the pedal would be two high with this combo. I can say that I “just” managed to get it where I need it but another 5mm lower pegs and there’s no way I could have made it work. So, from my experience, 20mm lowered pegs – you’ll just make it. Anything more and you might have to pass on this one unless you like your brake pedal positioned well above the foot peg.
The Isle of Wight has been battered by storms for the last three weeks and I’ve been battered by the diary of a new job for a mental health charity but finally both cleared slightly and I was able to throw a leg over the T700 and put it (and the new brake pedal) through its paces, albeit all on-road.
So how did it perform?
One word: flawlessly! “The Fix” seems to place the foot pedal slightly further to the right than the stock pedal and I really liked that. Even with the AltRider pedal extender in place, the stock pedal still sometimes had my foot searching for the pedal and that would often cost me a split second. “The Fix” puts the pedal exactly where my foot wants it to be and it’s a real pleasure to use. I can’t comment on how that would work without the extender in place but if you’re used to riding with the stock pedal without an extender then I would say you’ll be fine with this as the overall foot placement is, IMHO, much better. But also note I’m using the Bosley Rally pegs that are twice the length of the stock pegs. Those, by definition, mean my foot is placed further to the right than with the stock pegs, so your mileage may vary, depending on what pegs you’re using.
When braking with this lever it does exactly what it’s supposed to do. It reduces the amount of travel of the lever before the pads are engaged. That was the remit when designing this lever and that’s exactly what it does. The foot position is perfect for my set-up and when I deploy the brake it bites immediately, rather than after a couple of inches of travel with the stock lever.
Conclusion – does this solve the T700 “mushy brake syndrome”?
Yes and no. “The Fix” does it’s job perfectly and does exactly what it’s advertised to do and with great aplomb. However, I think this maybe a two part fix for me. Whilst the brake now bites almost immediately, it still doesn’t slow the bike adequately at high speeds, or at least not as I would like it to. That, however, is not a brake lever design problem, per se. Once you’ve installed “The Fix” the lever shape problem is taken care of nicely! It’s my belief that the stock brake pads are not the best and need replacing with better ones. I will do that and report back but my feeling is that “The Fix” (along with better biting brake pads) will give me (personally) exactly what I was looking for.
In the meantime, “The Fix” is most certainly a significant upgrade on the stock lever and whilst many will find it spot on, even with the stock pads, I will go a step further with my set-up and change the pads. That, however, does not in any way detract from this beautifully made, well designed, Camel ADV product that I’m grateful to own and proud to have installed on my beloved Yamaha Tenere 700. It has improved the bike tremendously and I couldn’t be happier with either the product or the service that I received from Cory and Camel ADV as a company.
You bet ya!! Dust off your wallet, clear out the moths and order it! The first batch sold out instantly and the second batch will ship during the third week of November (2022). That tells you a lot of what you need to know already and every report I have seen, from buyers all over the world, has been very positive.
Update 1 (13/11/2022)
I’ve been out testing this pedal again today and noticed it IS bottoming out on the main bracket in the position I have it. I’m going to adjust the pedal upwards and see how we go but my thinking is that the 20mm lowered Bosley pegs are causing the problem. I will ride again with the new adjustment and see if it’s usable but I think it might be necessary to change out the Bosley pegs for a set that is standard height in order to get the best out of “The Fix”.
Update 2 (18/11/2022)
Gilfer brake pads have now replaced the stock pads front and rear. However, the main problem I see is the pedal bottoming out on the main bracket due to the Bosley pegs being 20mm lower. I have new AltRider pegs arriving Tuesday and once installed, I believe this setup should resolve all issues. Update 3 will come next week.
Update 3 (18/11/2022)
I’ve just done an extensive ride to test the Galfer pads and I can say the transformation is quite something. The brakes, front and rear, are now very good, even with the pedal in a lowered position due to the Bosley pegs. I raised the pedal slightly and it’s now not bottoming out unless I really stamp on it. I could definitely live with this set-up and be quite happy but I think the AltRider foot pegs at the stock height will round things off to deliver the rear braking experience I would expect from a bike of this size and weight.
Update 4 (19/11/2022)
Corey has noted the amount of riders with lowered pegs and as a result of this review has stated that Camel ADV is working on a lowered pedal tip to fix the problem.
Update 5 (25/11/2022
Today I tested the pedal again, this time with the AltRider Adventure II stock height pegs installed. Everything now works as it should. The rear brake is now very responsive and requires minimal depression before it bites and slows the bike. My recommendation is to also swap out the stock pads for the Galfers if you want a total solution but “The Fix” by itself will already provide a great upgrade over the stock pedal.
Update 6 (08/12/2022
Corey has just posted a new short video addressing the following issues:
1. Spring or bushing causing “binding” on a few samples.
2. New larger pedal tip.
3. New lower pedal tip.
4. New folding pedal tip.
Please take a few minutes to watch it: