This is the first ADV-style motorcycle to successfully break the GS mold, striking out with design and mechanical configuration all its own. One part Lego and one part Tonka truck, Yamaha describes the Ryoku as “a reliable tool for people who love the outdoors.” And they do mean tool. The engine guard detaches to form a handy shovel.
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Words like “toughness” and “heavy-duty utility” are used to describe the 250cc Ryoku. That capacity may not strike a chord with American riders, but the concept is intended to explore interest in Asian markets where that engine size will make it accessible and affordable for a wide group of potential riders.
The yellow engine guard forms the blade of a shovel; you can see the handle protruding to the rear. It detaches with DZUS fasteners. If you're going to carry a heavy shovel on a motorcycle, this is pretty much an ideal location, it's as low as possible.
In addition to that shovel, other surprisingly practical touches abound. The rear luggage rack detaches to make room for a pillion seat. There’s side stands on both sides, allowing you to choose which side is best when stopping in rough terrain. The windscreen folds forwards, like on on old Jeep. The headlights are detachable in their heavy-duty tubular aluminum mounts, freeing up that space for hauling tools or other luggage. Two 100V plugs are standard.
It’s not just the styling or the features that dares to break the GS mold either. The Ryoku is given a fat rear tire and a very low center of gravity. Think rugged simplicity instead of high-tech priceyness. Where the GS and its ilk are challenging and intimidating to ride off-road, the Ryoku should act like a friendly puppy, it’s fat rear tire helping it cruise through mud and other soft terrain without spitting you off. Combine that with the ability to easily attach pretty much any type of luggage to the exposed racks and what you have here is an extraordinarily capable tool. One that probably makes more sense for more riders more of the time than bikes like the Super Tenere.