Sunday, December 19, 2010



G’Day Clubby: Even though I am really a SR/XT/TT500 nut (pictures of one of my XT500s that I have ridden in the past three SA reliability trial series’, including the 24 Hour, have appeared in issues 19 and 22 of TRAIL ZONE), I have always had a soft spot for the early Yamaha Ténérés.

By coincidence the same day that I bought issue 32 of TRAIL ZONE (in which the Ténéré Tragics ride was announced), I arrived home from work to find my brother’s ute parked in the driveway with his 1983 Ténéré in the back. We had spoken on the phone a few weeks earlier and he mentioned that he was considering selling it, as he hardly ever rode it, and it had an intermittent electrical/ignition problem and I said I was interested. So he brought the bike down from Broken Hill and I became the proud owner of a fairly original, but slightly rough Ténéré (top photo). It was therefore only natural that I send in an entry for the inaugural Ténéré Tragics Run to the Rocks.

A few days after the brother dropped off the Ténéré, I had a chance to take it for a quick ride around the paddock, which revealed a loud and nasty cam chain rattle. So out came the engine to have a look. The cam chain had long passed its use-by date, and the real horror was also revealed: evidence of a previous piston seizure in the final oversize bore (a legacy from the owner prior to my brother). So a major top-end rebuild is now underway.

I also checked the rear suspension linkages, and it was as bad as you would expect of a 27-year-old bike that has spent its life in the bush. A couple of hours with a hacksaw and drill had all the seized pins and bushes out. So for the past few weeks my “new” Ténéré has been spread all over my workbenches (lower photo), while I waited for a whole lot of parts to arrive. Maybe I will be able to convince the wife that all the parts were supplied F-O-C by a benevolent motorcycle magazine who wanted to do an article on the rebuild of an old warhorse ... but quite probably not.

Anyway, I hopefully will get most of it back together this weekend. I will then be able to take it out for a ride and start trying to sort the electrical/ignition problem and get some miles on it to run in the new piston and bore prior to the Tragics ride. If it all turns out okay, I will probably ride up to Broken Hill and join the Getting There ride. It has been a good ten years since I was last in the Tibooburra/Cameron Corner area and will be great to go back there again.
-- Colin, Ténéré Tragic #6

That's the spirit, Colin: endless hours in the workshop bringing an ol' banger back to its former glory ... in fact, that's the true Ténéré spirit! Look forward to catching up with you and that classic '83 Teenéré on the Getting There ride.
-- Clubby, Ténéré Tragic #1

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