Category Archives: yamaha tenere 660z

Good Bye Old Friend – Tenere Bites the Dust

I didn’t think this day would come – but – through gritted teeth –

I’ve sold the Tall Tenere —

She is still the same bike she always was – tough – dependable – would fight her way through the Frankfurt 80-100mph ‘rush hour’ with the bit between her teeth in torrential rain at the end of a 100mph/400 mile day and gallop solo or bimble two up through the endless forest roads of Dumfries & Galloway without missing a beat —

She is probably the most photographed bike I’ve ever had but no one in their right mind could declare that she doesn’t deserve to be —

Long days across Europe stretching down into the Balkans in her unforgiving saddle have caused me more pain and cost the NHS more money than I ever thought possible —

Five operations on my nether regions didn’t come cheap —

and probably account for my membership of the Ministry of Funny Walks —

Riding the bitch isn’t the problem —

but getting on —

and off —

her tall saddle —

is proving to be —

too much for my geriatric pins —

making climbing into —

and out of her tall perch —

a bit of an —

inelegant lottery —

Since buying her new in Feb 2009 —

I have had so many fun days aboard her —

and judging by the pics in my gallery —

many sunny days too —

I hope her next owner —

treats her with the same care and respect —

she has had from yours truly —

and reaps similar rewards in spades from this great bike 🙂


Leave a comment

Posted by on September 24, 2017 in Isle of Luing, Motorcycling, yamaha tenere 660z


Yamaha Tenere XT660Z

My Tall Ten has seen a fair bit of competition for her place in the stable come and go since I bought her new in Feb ’09 and up until now she has remained my ‘go to’ bike when a choice had to be made  —

No doubt her nose has been put out of joint with the arrival of the ‘bright young thing’ in the shape of the Honda CRF 250RAL – after all the Tall Ten has shared many an Adventure with me – some good – some bad.

Late winter snow on the ride home from Braemar —

It wasn’t too bad although the road over the Lecht was blocked and Landrovers were the favourite form of transport —

Cruising on the German autobahns on my way to the Balkans was restricted to 108mph til I pulled into a service station and got busy with my Swiss Army knife.

A spot of ‘fine tuning’ saw me cut through the 90 degree bend on the airbox intake allowing me to do the following couple of hundred miles at 113mph. Seemed important at the time – makes me shake my head now 🙂

Long 4-500 mile days across Europe in the unforgiving saddle eventually put me in hospital — enduring 14 days torrential rain on an autumn tour of the Outer Hebrides was the last straw and the subsequent botched operation on my ass put an end to my long-distance motorcycle touring.

Daytrips became the norm with lots of time for posing —

Although somewhere along the line the Ten and I did visit the Isle of Tiree and played on the white sands —

It was the greatest feeling on earth to be setting out for an early ferry with the panniers full and very little set agenda – it appealed to the gypsy in me —

I’m supposed to be selling that big blue bike to make room for the CRF but somehow I can’t see it happening —

Horses for courses —

It will take at least two bikes to replace the Tall Tenere 🙂


Tenere at South Cuan

Took a break from planting tatties this evening –  lifted the cover off the Tenere and  trundled up to South Cuan with coffees in the flask and and a sandwich or two in the tailpack. It was lovely up there and for once the lobster boats on the Sound were heading home at pace on the flooding tide instead of using an excess of fuel while battling valiantly against it – timing is everything —

While the lobster boat in the distance is heading round to Balvicar on Seil Island with the days’ catch – our local vehicle ferry – the Belnahua makes her last crossing of the weekend to Luing —

There she goes on the return leg. It only takes five minutes to cross Cuan Sound but with no Sunday Vehicle Ferry service – we are marooned here on Luing till Monday.

Luckily – it’s no hardship 🙂


Life on Luing

Life on Luing ain’t that bad – even on a Sunday when there is no vehicle ferry to get off the island there is always something to do. This morning Helen and I trekked over to Leccamore Fort on a hilltop on the eastern ridges. It was Helen’s first time there and she loved it despite the rain and soggy conditions underfoot —

There’s still a bit of stonework around the place making our morning walk well worth the effort involved —

We saw a few deer on the ridges – or – perhaps it was the same one popping up in various places.

That was the morning taken care of and once we were back in the land of the living an email arrived requesting H’s attendance to make up numbers on a training run in the skiff. Not sure what difference her meagre eight stones was going to make on an oar on this occasion and we weren’t going to find out either as she had to give it a miss due to other commitments and a busy week ahead.

Subsequent pics made her very envious as the team pulled strongly around Fladda Lighthouse – I bet she makes up their numbers soon —

Maybe I should have taken an oar but I had other ideas on this sunny afternoon and they didn’t involve getting as wet as I had been on my morning trek to Leccamore through the ‘Scotch Mist’.

The Tenere came down out of it’s perch in the horse box in our back yard and we were offski – first port of call was to South Cuan where the opposing tides were doing battle in the narrows —

From there it was an easy trundle down the centre of the island to Kilchattan Church ruins where a ninety right took the Ten and I over by Ardlarach Farm —

to Blackmill Bay with views to the Passage of the Grey Dogs – a rough stretch of water between the Isles of Scarba and Lunga —

Retracing our tracks to Kilchattan Church and a ninety right over the cattle grid had us on the pier at Toberonochy in time to see Ben take his yacht out for a birrll. The old salt had his sails full and was heading smoothly towards Ardinamir in the blink of an eye. Another inch to the right and his topmast would be in line with the hilltop fort of Leccamore where Helen and I had trekked to cross-country earlier in the day —

This rusty discarded winch on the quay brings back memories. In my late teens I worked in a steel fabrication shop and part of the job involved erecting the steelwork we had pre-fabricated. Back then it wasn’t so easy to whistle up a mobile crane and much of the work was done by guile and sheer strength. A steel or wooden pole with a chain block hung from the top and four guy ropes attached was used for the heavy work – purlins and suchlike were hauled up on handlines. Yep – we grew muscles on muscles back in the day —.

The winch – well we had an old long-nosed Commer articulated truck for delivering the steel to site – not unlike this fella in the next photo. Health and Safety was in it’s infancy back then so there was nothing to stop us fabricating and fitting a lattice jib to the chassis at the back of the cab and with a similar hand operated winch to that in the previous pic mounted behind it we were in business with our own jib crane —

While on the subject of metal fabricating – what about the shiny alloy plate on the back of my Ten?

It’s to carry the Givi Tailpack I’ve recently bought for my tool roll – binoculars – occasional flask of tea and anything else that will fit in a 15-20 litre sack. The interesting thing is that I had it cut here on the island.

All I had to do was make a cardboard template of what I wanted then my new mate Dave copied it to his laptop – programmed it to his machine out in the workshop and out popped my new tailpack mounting plate – just like magic!

It’s fifty five years or more since we fitted the jib crane on the old Commer so I suppose a computer driven plasma cutter isn’t at the forefront of today’s technology. What is interesting is that with a similar programme – fracking for the oil industry anywhere in the UK can be controlled from that self-same laptop.

The Isle of Luing was meant for more sedentary pursuits than motorcyling and it only takes the Ten and I but a few minutes to gobble up the ten miles or so of tarred road on the island. There is word of the vehicle ferry to the mainland being re-instated on Sundays by the end of March but I won’t hold my breath.

In the meantime I will work with what I’ve got – which means the sheltered moorings at Ardinamir with views over to the Island of Torsa is my next port of call —

Timing was spot on and I arrived home to the Bardrishaig daffodils as the first few raindrops fell —

There are many more daffodils out the front – but that’s not all!

Seamus is letting the side down —

It’s his job to keep the deer out of the garden —

and this lil bugger has just stripped the leaves off my favourite holly tree in my absence 🙂



The Toberonochy Two-step

One of those days to wrap up warm and get out while the sun is shining —


There’s always a steady dribble of traffic from the Cuan Ferry no matter what day of the week – and –

with the Tall Ten at the gallop it was off down the island to Toberonochy where we parked on the empty quayside —


What’s he fiddling with?


Oh yes – it’s the newly fitted Givi Tailpack that came in the morning post —


Just the thing for binoculars – spare gloves and an apple or two — but it’s too cold to hang about. Looks like ‘porky boy’ has had too many pies anyway – time for action.


Past the big tree – worth a mention as there aren’t too many ‘big trees’ on the island —


and down by the last house in the village to the open fields running down to the shore where our man limbers up for the Toberonochy Two-step with a twist of the hips —


while his partner answers with the tiniest of bum flicks as she points with the – left foot?


She blames the restrictive protective padding in her bike suit for the lack of movement but I reckon she was more interested in eating her apple.

Now she’s getting her shadow in the pic but I will try to ignore the salute – she is too polite to use two fingers anyway —


It was so much easier putting a blog together when I had endless open roads to ride —


Could be worse – the main aim is to show the Isle of Luing as we had it on a beautiful – early February day ___


We made the most of it and were home in time to wash the mud and cowshit off the bike and enjoy this setting sun 🙂



Tenere in Toberonochy

Toberonochy – an exotic sounding name for a wee village on the former slate isle of Luing but with the sun shining and no vehicle ferry running cos it’s Sunday – Toberonochy at three to four miles distant was the furthest point I could aim for.


I even stretched it out by running north to South Cuan ferry terminal and west to Blackmill Bay and still only managed to eke out about ten or twelve miles all told.


With my normal daily ride being in the region of 150 miles I would need to do about fifteen laps of the island to hit that number.


No worries – the Atlantic Centre was open over in Cullipool for coffee and after picking ‘H’ up from home we headed over that way.


The Slate Feature has been completed to remind us of our heritage as a major slate producer – having roofed the houses of London – Bristol and Dublin to name but a few major cities. Coffee to go was the order for today and where better to take it than over on the shore by the slate-stone throne and a bonnie English rose posing by the Scottish Saltire.


It pisses me off that the SNP have claimed the Saltire as their own when in actual fact it is the National flag of all Scots but I won’t lose any sleep over it. Political points of view – unlike our everyday view across Fladda Lighthouse can be such a transient thing.


Coffee over and done with – it was up the dirt road and home to Bardrishaig – where – just as I crested the rise I saw the tail-end of a skein of wild geese looking as if they were following their leaders into a grassy stretch between the ridges at the back of the old steading.


Helen was first off the mark and shot round the steading in an anti-clockwise direction with her camera in ready mode. The cunning old fox had different ideas and took the shorter clockwise approach – but – the nervous sheep gave him away —


and the geese were on their toes —


and ready for affski —


by the time he got there.


But –


what a wonderful sight they made with Fladda Lightouse and the Garvellocks beyond.


A cup of tea later we were enjoying just one of the many bunches of snowdrops in our garden —


and the glow on the front of the house could mean only one thing —


No point sending for the fire brigade —


all the water in the world wouldn’t dim the fire of our setting sun tonight 🙂




Tenere to Taynuilt

Almost a month since I was on my blog – must admit to feeling detuned when our deer disappeared with suspected lead poisoning just before Christmas. Couldn’t help but feel that by posting pictures of them around the house and garden I had hastened their end – a shame really because they were so tame and trusting. Hansel and Gretel may have gone but I notice our new hedge plants are getting shorter by the day so we have still got some nocturnal visitors with a taste for holly and associated greenery..

No worries – just got to accept it’s the way things are and get on with it – let’s hope cats aren’t considered ‘fair game’ by the shooters for that’s the latest addition to our family at Bardrishaig.

Seamus our ginger tabby kitten at play on his scratching post —


and letting us enjoy a quiet spell — which doesn’t happen very often when he is around —


Coming up for twelve weeks old now – he is certainly growing and his favourite perch is on my keyboard which brings an added dimension to blogging. At this moment he is laying upside down with his head on my keys – purring like a good ‘un.

But I’ve still found the time and energy since Christmas to get out there and climb the odd wee hill —


and last week I did the four hundred mile round trip to haul the Honda Pan European and Yamaha Tenere north to the Isle of Luing.

I even managed a few hours off the island on the Ten today with a trip into Oban where I ordered a replacement rear Anakee 3 and watched two otters in the bay not fifty metres from the main bus station and shopping street. After watching the wildlife at play and visiting the nearby Costa for the requisite dose of caffeine the Ten and I trundled down the main road in the direction of the Green Welly as far as the hamlet of Taynuilt. There we took a ninety right by the pub and followed a muddy – winding – undulating single track through the hills to emerge on the main Oban – Lochgilphead road at Kilmore.

Back on duty – the Ten in customary pose a few miles up the road —


and another shot before I lose the fight with Seamus for the keyboard altogether —


It felt real good to be back in the saddle –


The first of many rides from our new home – Seamus permitting – to the hills and islands in this lovely part of the world 🙂


Leave a comment

Posted by on January 24, 2017 in Isle of Luing, Motorcycling, yamaha tenere 660z


More of the Tenere XT660Z

The Tall Ten is always my ‘go to’ bike despite the fact I have become disenchanted with her a few times during the six and a half years I have owned her. the-urr-018She will do a a modicum of off-road and is brilliant on stony tracks for instance – she will tour till the cows come home and hold her own in main road traffic. In addition – 150 – 200 mile day trips are meat and drink to her – especially with a variety of going so where does the ‘disenchantment’ set in.

Probably at her worst when conditions are gusty – passing trucks can be a lottery as sudden cross-winds make the Tall Ten dance across the road if you are not prepared.

Being a big single she will always vibrate – but not to excess. The most annoying thing is the ever-present rattle from the screen area which I have tried so hard to cure – even resorting to removing the bloody thing altogether and strapping it on the back at times.

Did I say ‘most annoying thing was the screen’? What about the seat? ‘Torture chamber’ on long hot days is too nice a description of it.

Doesn’t sound like much but it takes little or nothing to disturb a rider’s equilibrium on some long hauls. On one return leg from Croatia on my XJR1300 for instance I decided that the bend and height of my aftermarket alloy Renthal bars wasn’t suiting and I wasted hours checking out the few bike shops in Switzerland in my hunt for a more suitable set. Numpty that I am!


But – after all that moaning she is still here —


and I can’t wait to throw a leg over her.


Living on the Isle of Luing will mean a full sea-change to my riding habits.


No Sunday vehicle ferry for most of the year means I won’t be able to nip down to Lochearhead for a natter with my old mates by the fire on a Sunday fer instance.


But – we will just have to adapt —


where there’s a will —


there’s a way 🙂


cheers – Don


Tenere on Tour

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.


Don 🙂



Tags: , , , , , , ,