The Tall Ten came into my life early March 2009. The new model was designed and built by Yamaha Italy for the Euoropean market and went into production in 2008.
I searched the UK Yamaha Dealers in 2008 for one – to no avail. ‘Oh – they are all being sold in Europe Sir’ – load of nonsense – I had been all over Europe that year and never got a sniff of the new Tenere till December when one turned up at my hotel in Cyprus. It had cost the happy owner over 9000 euros to bring it in from the Italian factory as a Direct Import.
When they did arrive in the UK in numbers early in 2009 I was first in the queue with my pile of readies – less than £6000 for the bare bike plus a set of panniers and a few bits and bobs like engine protection bars and an essential centre-stand. Longer dogbones to lower the bike came later but were whipped off again after a fraught visit to a fussy MOT station one year.
I took possession and had intended heading for Europe – down through Germany with the Balkans my target. Unfortunately the keys had snapped in the stiff locks of the panniers first time of trying and neither I nor the dealer could get Mr Yamaha to cough up a new set in time for my departure.
As you can imagine Givit was real upset by this time. His humour improved when his local Timpson KeyCutter produced a fresh set of keys which did the job so well that he got on his way south and never fitted the spare lock barrels and keyset that had eventually arrived from Mr Yamaha by the time he returned to the UK.
Yes she has had a taste of ‘weather’ but through both good and bad she has never missed a beat.
We covered about 20000 miles those first three years – over to Eastern Europe – down round the Balkans – all over the UK too including a snow-bound Braemar – wind swept Tiree – beautiful Barra —
and the rest of the Outer Hebrides where it rained virtually non-stop for two weeks solid. It will certainly make me think twice about going back there although islands don’t come lovelier than Berneray when the sun shines.
The 60 odd mpg from her single cylinder motor is a blessing with the Ten – unlike the big four cylinder bikes I had become accustomed to.
I carried out some minor mods along the way – some worked – I pulled off the autobahn one day after hours of hammering her flat out at 108 mph. I took out my Swiss Army knife – lifted the seat and cut the right-angled snorkel clean off the air cleaner inlet.
A ‘result’ – after brimming the big tank with fuel my next couple of hundred miles were covered at 113 mph!
Then there was the neat ‘chin’ deflector I made and fitted in an attempt to stop the 100 mph wind coming up through the fork leg aperture in front of the fuel tank. It worked well – until one very windy day scudding down the M74 – an extra strong gust in our faces almost lifted the bike and I over the banking into a roadside field. The neat ‘chin’ deflector soon joined the scrap pile of ‘bad ideas’ after that!
All-in-all she has been a good buy. The tall after-market electric blue screen was a pleasure to sit behind although it did cut about 8 mph off her top speed. Shame I managed to break it in a clumsy attempt to modify it – something else for the scrap pile in the corner.
I still have the Tall Ten although she has yet to join me on the Isle of Luing – but —
after going through all my old pics of her for this post I have the urge to ride again and don’t be surprised if she arrives up here sometime soon.