Monday, January 30, 2012


Hi Clubby: I was hoping you could help me out with my tyre selection for the upcoming Tenere Tragics Mountain to Mountain Ride. I'm riding my 2010 Super Tenere and my friend is riding his 2010 XT660Z from Lake Macquarie, NSW, and we're looking for a tyre that will allow good highwway speed as well as being capable of perfoming well on the ride you have set out for us. Your help would be much appreciated
-- Mark, Tenere Tragic #45

Okay, Mark, my tip is to go with knobbies for the ride. Sure, you won't get the same mileage out of knobby tyres as you will with a more 50/50 oriented dual-purpose tyre, but as I have said many times, that's a trade-off you have to pay to have better traction and a more confidence-inspiring ride in the dirt and on the gravel.
For the 660, I have run Dunlop 606s, Pirelli MT21s and Kenda Trackmasters on our TRAIL ZONE XT660Z Tenere Project Bike and honestly, I have found them much of the muchness. It's your call on what you can get re price and availability. Any of these tyres, I never get more than 5,000km out of a rear on the 660. And just make sure you run heavy-duty tubes to reduce the chance of punctures.
For the 1200, I have been running Mitas E10s on our XT1200Z Supere Tenere Project Bike and get just over 4,000km out of a rear -- and that's being 'respectful' on the throttle. Woop it up and you can chew through the rear heaps quicker! Other options are Metzeler Karoos or Kenda Big Blocks. If you really want a rear that will give you more road mileage, then maybe look at running a knobby up front (for better steering and grip in the dirt and on the gravel) and a Heidenau on the rear.
When you're shopping for tyres, I have to give our Tenere Tragics ride sponsor Steve Smith from a plug, as he has heaps of experience with all these different tyres and can offer you heaps more feedback and help you make the choice. He is also offering FREE SHIPPING on any tyres purchased by Tenere Tragics, so give him a call on 1300 46 66 86 and tell him you are a Tenere Tragic and that I said for you to call.
After all that, be sure to carry a pump and don't be afraid to adjust your tyre pressures up and down on the ride: go higher on the tarmac (say 36 psi on the 1200) and go lower on the off-road sections (say 26psi on the 1200), especially if/when it gets wet! Tyre pressure can make a massive difference to your ride, especially in the fire-trail sections we will get on days 1, 2, 3 and 4 of the Tenere Tragics ride.
Hope that all helps -- yell out if you have any more questions.
-- Clubby, Tenere Tragic #1

Thursday, January 26, 2012


Hi Clubby & Tania: It's Australia Day and it's time to put the engine back in after the drama of dropping it on the floor! I'm a bit nervy about any more mishaps, as there is no time left for me to get more parts from Japan. Anyway, I am looking forward to another 15,000 kilometre ride on this old bike, because she is such pleasure to do big kay trips on!
Looking forward too seeing all the other Tragics again – and thanks to you guys for all your efforts in putting the while event together.
-- John, Ténéré Tragic #36

Oh, John, we just love that photo of your workshop and your chassis hanging off the stand on one side, the motor up on the bench on the other, and a whole stack of work to be done in between! Burn the midnight oil, son, and get that ol' banger firing on all cylinders and then get set for your long, long haul all the way from the Northern Territory - that's the Ténéré spirit. Will be great to see you again at Mount Panorama in a few weeks time!
-- Clubby, Ténéré Tragic #1

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


Hi Clubby & Tania: The title above says it all: I went down and out, as in unconscious for two days, following an accident on the Tenere on a trip to Camerons Corner and back from the Sunny Coast in Qld last September. The dirt road past Goodooga NSW had big patches of bull dust to contend with and I should have taken more care but the Tenere had new suspension, I was running a steering damper and it was not what I considered a bad dirt road. I cannot remember the crash (nor do I wish to) and have only my riding partner, Michael on a DRZ 400, and the Police Report, to fill in the gaps. What appears to have happened was the front wheel was lost in a bull dust hole followed by a highside, face plant and unconscious state. Damage to my helmet indicated a heavy impact and this did not do my head and neck much good. I was jokingly told later that I would have to get a new licence as I was now 10mm shorter. So it was an ambulance ride to Lightning Ridge ($1,600) and then because of my unconscious condition, the Royal Flying Doctors (RFDS) flew me to Dubbo to be reassessed with the intention of flying me to Sydney if needed. Luckily the trip to Sydney was not required, as after further assessment my brain was located, although my wife still thinks it's missing.
Things the crash highlighted:
1). Do not travel alone in isolated areas. The dingoes would have had me before I became conscious again two days later.
2). Carry a first-aid kit and most importantly an understanding of how to use it.
3). Particular attention to the question of the removal of a helmet would be handy. (Refer to TRAIL ZONE issue #38 and the article entitled 'The Accidental Truth'.)
4). Have good communications with you. I am now looking to purchase my own satellite phone.
5). If the sh*t really hits the fan there is a willing bunch of people to come to your rescue if needed. They include the Ambulance, RFDS and fellow riders (thanks Michael).
6). All my riding gear was cut off me, so give some thought to insurance cover for this gear.
7). Wear good safety gear. My Leatt neck brace got a special mention, as it was seen as a potential lifesaver.
I now tend to drool for no particular reason. But an unexpected result has been the impact on my golf handicap. I am a hacker with a handicap of 26, but it has now been reduced to 22 in the last four weeks as I no longer slice the ball, the most common hacker trait. Overall an excellent result but I would not recommend this golf improvement technique to anyone else.
The end result has been 10 weeks off bikes, but some of that was because the Ten was also in hospital.
I will be back for the March 2012 Tragics ride though. See you and my fellow Tragics there!!!
-- Mike, 85% Tenere Tragic #19
PS: The picture attached is my last memory from the ill-fated trip.

Wow, Mike, that's a sobering reminder that along with all the good times we enjoy on our bikes, hard times can be laying in wait around the next corner or over the next crest or in the next patch of bull dust. We're real glad to know you came through okay and are rapt we'll be catching up again in March ... but just try not to dribble in anyone's meal at the Welcome dinner, okay?! Now get back on the fairways and knock another couple of points off that handicap.
-- Clubby, Tenere Tragic #1

Friday, January 13, 2012


A TRAIL ZONE reader has just emailed us with details of a 1983 Yamaha XT600ZL Ténéré that he has for-sale. Looks like the mighty beast needs a bit of work, and she’s a long, long way away from most of us, but if you’re on the look-out for a ZL, here's your chance, so check out the details below.
-- Clubby, Ténéré Tragic #1

For-Sale: Yamaha Ténéré: It’s a 1983 model. The engine as you see it is not the original, but I do have another engine in parts that could be the original. Current engine works however it has a crack in the left crank housing which leaks oil. Have a spare housing. Comes with a box of bits and pieces including an original seat rack. Bike is unregistered. Have just run out of time and room to proceed with this project. Hope someone else can take it on. Have a spare rusted dented tank, manifold and mono shock and spring as well. I’m in Broome, WA, so freight could be an issue, however, I got it up from Melbourne about three years ago. Could tell you what’s wrong with it but its easier to say: 1983 Tenere with the 30 year anniversary coming up! For further details, please contact CRAIG SPICER on mobile (0421) 111 565 or email

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


So there I was, supremely confident that my cherished XT1200Z Super Ténéré TRAIL ZONE Project Bike really stood out from the crowd of Ténéré Tragics with its one-of-a-kind Euro-spec white bodywork and spiffy red graphics ... when this photo rolled into the Ténéré Tragics Inbox.
What the?!
It's a spy pic from outside the paint booth at the workshop of proud Ténéré Tragics ride sponsor and by the looks of it, the Wolfman's team has been going hard at it on his 1200, painting it Kenny Roberts yellow and decorating it with a black graphics kit.
Lookin' good, Wolfy! Can't wait to see it in the flesh at Mount Panorama for the start of the Tragics Run.
Now, how many more of you Tragics have got something special planned for the ride? Send your photos to and we'll bang 'em up for all to see!
-- Clubby, Ténéré Tragic #1

Friday, January 6, 2012


Dear Clubby: Thank you for sending the latest 2012 Ténéré Tragics bulletin. My bike is dubbed the Drednought - it got its name from a friend who commented that,"It's as big as a bloody battleship!" So after that I named it The Drednought. Unfortunatly, latley it has been acting like it was at the battle of Juteland with the ship's telegraph stuck firmly on "make smoke". I pulled the head off to investigate and it turned out to be the valve stem seals on the zorst valves. So the head was sent away for a head job. The barrel still had the hone marks visible and still well within the limits, so that got a quick hone and new rings. The rest of it was just me looking and saying to myself, "Well ... while I've got this off ..." I have now locked myself out of the garage and will only go back in when all the parts etc get here (by the end of next week hopefully!). So I have a bit of work in front of me but plenty of time to do it.. I'm looking forward to the ride and the people. Are there any other REAL Super Teneres coming on the run? Anyhow see you at the gig.
-- Charlie Brown, Ténéré Tragic

Now that's what we like, Charlie, the sound of a confident Ténéré owner who has no worries about getting his mighty beast back together and making the start of the next Ténéré Tragics run! But judging by the photo, heck, you've got some work ahead of you, son. Now, XT750 Super Ténérés are surprisingly thin on the ground on the Tragics run, so you can expect to be in a rather exclusive clique when we all arrive at Mount Panorama in two months time. In the meantime, get back on the T-bars and get that bike together!
-- Clubby, Ténéré Tragic #1

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


Hello Clubby & fellow Tragics: Looking forward to catching up with you all in March and it certainly looks like it will be a fun week.
I was out for a ride this week and thought I had better take Clubby’s recent advice and stop near a house of worship and thank the gods of moto ... not so much to pray for not shredding tyres, but rather in my case to keep them inflated!
Now with regards to the tank search for the 600s, I think I have located one on the way back from a trip around the Victorian high country last year (okay, it is a bit secondhand, see photo). It was located at the Seldom Seen road house on the Barry Way (was that Simon and Garfunkle on the iPod)).
Anyway, all the best for the new year and see you soon at The Mountain.
-- Peter, Ténéré Tragic #51

Well spotted, Pete, for sure, as that tank and frame is coated in a fair old layer of rust, so you've done well to even recognise the ruins of what was obviously once a very fine adventure riding weapon! You know what else you've done? All our first-model XT600ZL riding Tragics will be racing one another to Seldom Seen to start a bidding war on the wreck! Okay, I gotta keep going. See you at Mount Panorama.
-- Clubby, Ténéré Tragic #1

Hello Captain: Seasons greetings to all at TZ and hope you’ve found lots of quality touring accessories under the Christmas tree! I must have been really good this year because under my Christmas tree was a new gearbox cluster. The old one is pictured. Is this just what every ZL owner needs -- or what?! Some racing against the clock will be needed to get it sorted for Ténéré Tragics 2012 (although this seems to be a common thread amongst all us ZL guys!).
Now, Clubby, you’ve gone and got us all excited with the latest Tragics bulletin and those fantastic recce shots. Looks like a fabulous ride and I can’t wait, although I expect there could be a few gnarly bits along the way you may have omitted from your latest round of notes ... come on, ’fess up Clubby!
The route-sheet theory is a great idea, especially in flat tank-bag form, as you know there’s not much room on the flight deck of an early Tenny, so this will be appreciated by the pre ’88 riders I’m sure. Once again it seems your planning of the TT ride will be outstanding and no easy feat I’m sure, so a big thanks in advance to yourself and Tania.
Here’s hoping everyone has a very safe and fun 2012 Tragics ride.
-- Dave B, Ténéré Tragic #8

Thanks for your great note, Dave, and yes, every other ’83 XT600ZL Ténéré owner is going to be mighty jealous of your shiny new gearbox cluster. Get her fitted and get her put to good use, mate! Now, as I said in the most recent official pre-ride Bulletin sent to our Tragics registered for the 2012 ride, the course is shaping up to be pretty good. It’s all just real sweet Ténéré riding country ... all 1,750km of it! Honestly, I can’t wait, just like the rest of you. The route-sheets are a lot of work right now, but they will work just fine -- the important thing, though, is everyone has to be sure to follow them precisely! I've learnt many a lesson from all these self-navigation events I've ridden in the USA and NZ over the years and the critical thing is to navigate yourself, understand the route-sheet instructions and don’t just follow the bike in front of you -- if he's lost, you will soon be, too! Now, as for ‘gnarly’, mate, I need to be careful what I say ... last year I said the rocky bit out the back of Arkaroola went for just three kilometres -- and we all know how far off the mark I was with that one ... oops! Look forward to catching you in Bathurst in a few weeks time!
-- Clubby, Ténéré Tragic #1