Tag Archives: Tenere Tracks

Living with a Yamaha XT660Z Tenere

FJ1100 Luing Scrambler

FJ1100 Luing Scrambler? That’s the plan anyway. If Ducati – Triumph plus Uncle Tom Coblers and all can build a scrambler out of what is basically a road bike then surely I can build one too —


My MSX 125 runabout keeking through the curtains looks unimpressed – or does she? I reckon the little sweetie looks pretty scared as well she might once that 4cyl 1100cc beast comes back to life! Even the Tall Tenere who seldom backs off from a photo-shoot has taken to the shadows on this occasion —


No worries – not a lot more can be done to the FJ till H brings our new shed home —


My fault it’s running late really for I’ve prevaricated over the rebuild for almost a year since I got to the stage where I would have had to cover up all that lovely metal with her original plastics and couldn’t bring myself to do it.

Now here she is anxious to be completed and out there – but – unfortunately two hundred miles from our new home —


Who is the Daddy 🙂



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Posted by on October 3, 2016 in Yamaha FJ1100


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Tenere Does It

It was that sort of day – brilliant sunshine from start to finish but still a nip in the air leading me to overdress as usual.

I set out on the Ten around noon with thoughts of heading by Sam-y-ling Tibetan Monastry to St Mary’s Loch but the thought of spending a few miles on busy trunk routes over to Lockerbie before things would get interesting didn’t appeal.

A circuit in Dumfries & Galloway got the nod and my first stop was by the church in St John’s Town of Dalry —


A park bench in the sun down the tree lined approach lane was no hardship and I soon removed the winter lining from my jacket —


as I took in the view across the valley where the flood banks were being rebuilt after serious flooding earlier this year—


A fine run over the hills on the Ayr road took me to Dalmellington where I hung a left onto the hill road to the picturesque little village of Straiton to find the fiesty local population are still fighting a tough battle against the ‘powers that be’ and the current penchant for Wind Farms on every bit of surrounding hillside that will catch a breeze.

No worries – the Buck cafe is still holding out and I was more than ready for tea and a scone at the pavement table in the sun when I reached there —


Suitably primed I caught the thirty mile hill road down to GlenTrool —


where I picked up the main Girvan road to Newton Stewart for a splash of gas —


A lovely way to spend a few hours on a special spring afternoon 🙂





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Posted by on April 20, 2016 in Uncategorized


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Michelin Anakee 3’s

Michelin tyres have usually been my first choice no matter which bike I have been riding and their Anakee 3 hoops are currently fitted to my ’09 660 Tenere —

Tyred 1

I have tried other makes and been impressed with the Metzler Tourance but the wear pattern on the Metzler doesn’t rock my boat so last time round I fitted Anakee’s front and rear —

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My friends at Oponeo offered me a choice of ‘soft’ or ‘hard’. Being a tightwad I decided to sacrifice some grip in favour of better wear. That front has had a bit of hammer on our grippy sou-west roads over the past two years and – unlike some – it is still wearing evenly.

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It’s fairly easy to get out to the tyre walls front and rear and both have been known to let go at times when on her side.

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Just little buttock clinchers so far – nothing too dramatic – unless we get on to the slimy stuff like we did today where the cleats fill up with mud and things can get a bit ‘iffy’ —

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She stayed sticky side down on wet/dry and gravel washed roads as we ran up by Loch Ken and over to Clatteringshaws —

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with occasional blinks of blue skies and sunshine helping to lift the mood —

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but there was the occasional grey cloud threatening —

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Thankfully the rain stayed away and some rock strewn forest roads took the Ten and I over to the picnic spot I was hoping to check out on the lochside in brilliant sunshine —

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Don’t be fooled by the grass underfoot.for she was very greasy on top of the ground as we slid in there and mild enough to bud the catkins on the willows by the lochside —

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All too soon a glimpse of darker skies to the north —

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was enough to see this lightweight saddle up once more and haul ass out of there 🙂


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Posted by on April 5, 2016 in Uncategorized


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Tenere to the Rhinns

Brilliant weather. I fancy a ride over to the Rhinns of Galloway and lunch at the Mull itself. They do a mean macaroni and chips at the cafe down there – when it’s open. Turns out that this year they will have an extra long xmas break and hibernate till April – so I went hungry but I’m ahead of mesel.

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First photo op was at Sandend looking onto Luce Bay — but I can’t find my pics from there so we will have to settle for these of the Ten playing hide and seek in the pampas grass at Drumore —

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Those first two pics were both taken looking back into Luce Bay so you get my drift so-to-speak.

And there’s a lighthouse in this next one. I must be at the Mull of Galloway itself —

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and I’ve never seen the Isle of Man appear so close —

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Despite the maelstorm of turning tides off the point below – all was quiet up top and I could park the Ten on the helipad without fear of disturbance —

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and point the camera all around – magic —

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But I’m hungry — nothing else for it but to head for the nearest pie shop. That would be up at Stranraer —

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Now Stranraer isn’t famous for it’s haute cuisine – just good honest tucker at a town centre pavement table in the sun with a view of an ancient castle across a paved street.

Can’t ask for much more than that a three o’clock in the afternoon of a small country town in the Scottish boondocks —

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and I’ve no doubt there’s been a seagull playing King of the Castle up there for nigh on six hundred years —

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Well that’s what it said on the plaque on the wall down below where I had tethered my trusty steed —

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See —

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A lovely ride – and back in time to catch the sun go down over Kirkcudbright Harnour —

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Well – almost – I missed it by about five minutes 🙂

A quick Edit – just for Rod who jogged my memory with his comment.

I found my Sandgreen pic after all —

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Bet your caravan isn’t too far from this spot Rod – with the snow capped Galloway hills just visible in the distance. Get yourself down there this weekend mate – it’s too good to miss 🙂




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Posted by on March 10, 2016 in Uncategorized


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Snow Over the Devil’s Beeftub

Brilliant morning sunshine fooled me into thinking it might be a good day to be out on the bike. When the bike in question is the Tenere there isn’t much protection from the elements – especially when I don’t have the heated grips connected —

Beefy 9

Was mobile by midday and pointed her in the general direction of Moffat for coffee by the Rumblin Tum before taking a ride up to the Devil’s Beeftub.

Beautiful – well worth the ride —

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Snow glistening on the tops above the Beeftub and more serious snow capped mountains hiding in the clouds over the Lake District far to the south —

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Must have spent too long over coffee and admiring the views for it was bl””dy freezing as I made my way home the long way round – over the still icy roads by Leadhills and Wanlockhead where our very own ‘Gold Rush’ took place many years ago.

One of those fine days I’m going to pack my ‘hot wok’ and go pan for gold up there. I havn’t been watching all those ‘Alaska Gold’ programmes on Discovery Channel for nuthin you know.

But not today – it was even too cold to stop for photos. I had my hands full dodging the icy patches on the road and still hadn’t learned anything by the time I reached Thornhill where instead of taking the quick way home by Dumfries and Castle Douglas I turned by Moniave and Dalry.

Thankfully I found a patch of sunshine in Wigwam Country and was only too pleased to stop and chat to a bunch of horses gathered by the roadside —

Beefy 3

This fine fella came complete with dreadlocks —

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While his bossy mate didn’t take long to shoo him away — and pose for pics herself —

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If I had forgotten just how cold it can be on a bike at this time of year —

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I got a rude awakening this afternoon and was pleased to see my local Galloway Hills silhouetted in the distance as the sun went down in the west 🙂

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Posted by on March 6, 2016 in Uncategorized


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Tenere trounces V-Strom

20160227_105742_resizedIn my previous post ‘ chasin the booty’ I had been looking at the latest Triumph Bonneville Speed Twin in the hope that I could find one motorcycle that would take the place of the mixture of bikes that I have in the shed at the moment.

Not that I’m particularly bothered about having more than one bike – if I had taken notice everytime the un-anointed said to me over the years – ‘ you can only ride one bike at a time’ – I might have retired rich if unfulfilled.

MCN testers like the new 900cc Bonneville but it doesn’t cut the mustard with me. The hard seat for the rider is a non-starter with my poor posterior and the pillion perch must be a joke. No doubt there is a proper seat somewhere in the long list of extras. Minimalistic fittings on bikes are ok in some areas but not where my ‘contact patch’ is concerned.

Suzuki V-Strom 650XT

Suzuki V-Strom 650XT

I did like the look of the XT version of the new 650 Suzuki V-Strom at the other end of the showroom and thought the broad but firm dual seat with decent provision for a pillion might be an improvement over the Speed Twin where comfort is concerned.

The central flanged – spoked DID rims allowing fitment of tubeless tyres was another step in the right direction in my book .

I already like that sweet 650 v-twin motor so it’s a no-brainer – clear everything out and go for the all-singing – all-dancing baby Strom — until I read the reviews on those lil suckers.

The seat may look the biz on the new V-Strom but the tester slates it for giving him a numb bum after a hundred miles. What chance have I got if these hard-assed Test Riders can’t even hack it?

No worries – bought new in 2009 the 660 Tenere XTZ is still in my stable. She spent a few years with me being hammered round Europe and looked just as good on the white sands of Tiree four years back as the V-Stroms did on a Lanzarote volcanic mud patch at the Press launch recently —

Tiree 174

and – after the best part of a twelve month rest in the shed and a little fettling she performed better than her rider on today’s gallop – bringing him home safe – if not sound.

She will do —


I guess the throbbing single in the Tall Ten will be with me for a while yet. She does most things well enough – doesn’t owe me anything after six years in my tender care – and –

Ten 2

it’s a poor workman wot blames his tools for his own shortcomings 🙂


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Posted by on March 3, 2016 in Uncategorized


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2016 Starts Here with the 660 Tenere

We have waited a long time for the sun to shine —  far too long — but shine it did today and Portpatrick beckoned —


With temperatures just above freezing it was time for the first ride of the season – out came the Tenere and we took off for the coast —


Car parks by the harbour were full – of motor cars – the Tall Ten was the only bike out there.

Perhaps the electronic signs by the roadside giving dire warnings of ‘Snow on the Way’ have been taken seriously by t’other bikers but a coffee while I warmed by the fire in the busy pub on the corner was all I needed to get back on the road home with a song in my heart.

I have a thing for rivers and bridges and when I spotted a couple of fine arches off to my left it was time to find a way over there and pull out the camera —


Grazing sheep were making the most of the early grass on the sunny side of the old Shennanton Bridge over the River Bladnoch —

sheep 2

with an ancient arch to nowhere on the other —


while a picturesque white cottage in it’s lovely gardens reaps the benefit of the missing arch to the east —


The Ten and I had great day out – hopefully the first of many in 2016 🙂



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Posted by on February 13, 2016 in Uncategorized


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Christmas comes Early

Salt all goneChristmas can come early when you have a Tenere in the shed.

She has been on Sorn since August while I tried to love my Pan Euro ST1100.

I failed muchly in that respect.

The proof is in the pudding .. and what a pudding!

Even manouevering the bikes in the workshop the Tall Tenere feels like a lightweight compared with the solid Pan Euro …Honda ST 1100


Built in 1994 at a time when Mr Honda had transformed the 1000cc sportsbike world with a pocket-sized  lightweight ‘Blade – their Pan Euro was still an overweight behemoth.

I was riding the first incarnation of the BMW1100GS back then – good bike though she was – an indicated 100mph aboard her on a dried up river bed in southern Spain will remain one of the biking ‘highs’ in my life – she was still a heavy ‘ol mutha when the wheels stopped turning … Four Seasons

I should have stuck to ‘dried up’ riverbeds for a few days later — high in the nountains — I realised just how heavy that big BM was when I went backwards off a high riverbank landing flat on my back in the rushing waters with the hot Beemer still throbbing away on my lap!

To quote Billy Connelly during his brief foray into wrestling when his Turkish opponent had poor Billy tied in a reef knot and all he could see were a big pair of nuts dangling in front of his nose —

‘It’s amazing how much power a man can find when he bites his own pretzels!’ shock

Something similar must have happened to me on that river bed!

Without a soul in sight for miles I somehow wrestled mesel and that big GS onto what passed as terra firma and back to civilisation.

A few years later BMW realised the error of their ways and transformed the overweight 1100GS into what is now the much lighter – state of the art – top selling 1200GS.

Honda are made of more stubborn stuff and present day Pan Europeans aren’t any lighter than my ol’ 1994 version .. which is why she will remain under wraps till Spring has sprung and I will celebrate an early Christmas present to mesel …

Tiree 168

Yup!  I have just put Road Tax on my Tenere from 1st Dec for her 7th year out there in my hands 🙂


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Posted by on November 30, 2015 in Uncategorized


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Tenere to the Fore

With the Pan awaiting a replacement rear shock the frugal Tenere is once again in pole position when the sun shines as it did this morning.


If the big single has a fault it’s vibration at low revs which brings a good ol’ rattle from the headlight area.


I’ve suspected for some time that the irritating noise has been coming from the screen mounts although the retaining screws thread into rubber inserts.

otter pool 014

A good thing about having more space to work in over in the chicken shed is that I have found some extremely useful tools that first graced my toolkit about fifty years ago.


Finding my set of hole punches and piece of soft foam rubber material – both on the same day – let me knock out some soft inserts which I fitted onto the fixing bolts between the screen and headlamp cowl.

otter pool 009

The proof was in the pudding. Or should I say – in today’s ride which took me and the Ten quietly through the hills and forests with just a muffled thump from the motor —


and no more annoying rattles from the plastics to disturb the beautiful countryside as it begins to come to life after what feels like a long winter.


A result 🙂

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Posted by on April 30, 2015 in Uncategorized



Meanwhile – Back on the Tenere

Pouring rain this morning with some sleet at sea level and snow on high ground.

dark and white

Not a day I expected to be out on a bike but things did improve and I found time to admire the new growth by the burn —

more froth

and talk to the trees. Probably telling that Scot’s pine to stay safe behind the fence.

tall pine

The day improves —

snow on the mount

just get’s better and better.

thumb in print

Was enjoying the Ten —

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as I took to the hills —

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or admired the duckpond where new growth had caught my eye.

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The whitewash of the cottages looked good too —

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while the snow on top of Cairnsmuir blended with the cloud cover.

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Then the Black Knight got in on the act by demanding a selfie.

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It’s his camera so we humoured the brute —

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and we soon get back —

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to biznez as usual.

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Just hour or so in and out of the saddle —

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but a good one —

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was all that was needed to forget the rain 🙂

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Posted by on April 12, 2015 in Uncategorized