Fitting the Tutoro Automatic Chain Oiler

I’ve used Tutoro chain oilers for a number of years now. The great thing about them is the simplicity. They have no requirement for 12v power or vacuum from the inlet manifold like many other oilers do, they just use the natural up and down motion of the bike to control the oil flow.

The Tutoro oilers come with most of the fittings that you’d normally require however, none of them really worked on the Tenere 700 and it was soon obvious that I was going to have to make a mounting bracket for it.

The basic Tutoro Oiler kit as supplied

Heading off to the workshop with nothing but a rough idea of what I needed, I grabbed some sheet metal and started making the mounting bracket. I used a piece of 4mm sheet metal as I wanted it to be a really solid mount so that it could handle the rigours of trail riding.

Intial rough cut of the bracket

The best place to mount the oil reservoir was on the rear of the Outback Motortek pannier rack. At the point where the rear support crossbar is bolted to the left side tube there are two convenient long bolts that lend themselves perfectly to being used to mount the bracket. Spacing is tight but, with a little tinkering it fits perfectly. I had to make a couple of plastic spacers to get the position of the reservoir correct such that the flow adjuster knob didn’t stick out to far to ensure clearance when the pannier is fitted. I made the spacers from a piece of plastic rod I had on the shelf in the workshop, cut to size and then drilled the centres out so that the bolts could slide through them.

Once the final shape was reached, I cleaned the bracket up and gave it a quick spray with some black plasticoat paint to protect it from rust and then hung it on the washing line in the sun to dry.

Whilst the bracket was drying I started running the oil feed hose around the frame. I’d already worked out the route and decided that the Acerbis chain guide provided the perfect mount point for the oil delivery nozzle.

Oil delivery nozzle perfectly positioned on the rear sprocket

Running the oil delivery tube around the frame and swing arm was an easy task using a mix of cable ties and heavy duty stick on clips. I’ve fitted the tube on my other bikes using the same technique and have never had any issues even when riding off-road.

Having the Acerbis chain guide fitted was a real bonus as it provides the perfect secure route right up to the rear sprocket. Needing just two small cable ties the tube was fed through the upper part of the chain guide and then down by the side of the sprocket. This not only provides a secure fixing but, also protects the feed nozzle from flying debris.

Routing the oil delivery tube through the Acerbis chain guide

Once the tube was in place and the new bracket was dry I got it all mounted and bled the oil through the tube to the delivery nozzle.

The Tutoro supplied brackets usually mount to just a single point on the reservoir but, since there are two mount holes on the base of the unit I decided to use both to get a much more solid fixing. Knowing what the trails are going to be like in Mongolia and Siberia I wanted to ensure the fixing was as solid as possible.

With another fun little project complete I’ll be moving onto the next one very soon.

Stay tuned!

Tall seats and short legs!

One of the issues I’ve had with the Tenere 700 Rally Edition is the height of the seat. Being somewhat under-tall and constantly reminded of it by the guys I ride with, it’s really affected my ability to handle the bike confidently when foot down, especially on anything other than smooth tarmac.

The standard Tenere 700 Rally Edition seat

The standard Rally Edition seat looks great and allows the rider to move pretty much right up to the tank for off-road riding however, it raises the seat height considerably compared to the OEM standard two part seat and the optional low seat. Along with being high it’s also incredibly uncomfortable. From the bottom of the seat to the top, the seat gradually gets narrower meaning that the bit you actually get to sit on is far too narrow for anything more than a 30min jaunt. Any more than 30mins and it starts to hurt, after an hour you just have to get off.

I don’t know what it is with motorcycle manufacturers today, seats are made purely for looks and not comfort. Years ago back when I was young and foolish motorcycle seats were comfortable, you could ride all day without any issue at all. The last bike I had with a great seat was my lovely Suzuki GSX1400, what a great seat that was! I could ride that bike all day without an issue, no bum ache whatsoever, a joy to sit on. Since then pretty much all my bikes have had horrendously uncomfortable seats.

OEM two part low seat

After much measuring and calculating I decided to replace the Rally Edition seat with the Yamaha OEM optional low seat. This reduces the seat height by 4cm which, when you’ve only got a 73cm inside leg like me, makes a fair difference. Of course, there’s two parts to this story, the first is the price and the second is that it comes in two parts.

Manufacturers today milk you for every penny they can get, so why make the low seat a one piece unit like the original when you can split it in two and charge double the price!

The low seat option (which is just the front 3/4 of the whole seat) has an RRP of £160.00 + shipping. You then need to get the rear 1/4 of the seat which for some reason has an RRP of £179.00, yes the smallest bit costs more than the biggest bit.

The only good thing about this arrangement is that you can choose between a passenger seat for the rear or the optional luggage rack.

Since my wife no longer rides and definitely won’t want to sit on the tiny uncomfortable passenger seat for more than 5 seconds I opted for the luggage rack.

OEM optional low seat and luggage rack

The one big advantage of the luggage rack is that it mounts where the passenger would normally sit. This brings the weight directly over the rear wheel, probably the best place it could be. If you look at most aftermarket luggage racks they normally stick out the back of the bike which means once loaded, the leverage of the weight behind the rear wheel tends to lift the front wheel making the steering vague at best and terrifying at worst.

Prodding the low seat it felt hard to say the least and had me worried at first but, after a 4 hour ride I found it to be very comfortable. It’s also worth noting that it is some 4cm wider at the top than the original Rally Seat, this small difference actually makes a big difference as it gives much more support to the hips, so no more aching hips after long rides.

Tenere 700 OEM optional low seat and luggage rack with Outback Motortek pannier frame

One disadvantage of the low seat is that you cannot move forward as far as you can on the Rally Edition seat due to it’s deeper curve at the front, a small trade off for being more comfortable and able to reach the ground better.

With the original seat I could just get one foot down on tiptoes, no chance of getting the other foot anywhere near the ground but, now with the low seat I can get one foot planted flat on the ground and two feet down tiptoe if the need arises, a big improvement for me.

Total cost?
Well after having a hunt around I found that getting the parts from Yamaha dealers on Ebay was actually the cheapest route (They would only do full RRP on the phone!), so I ended up getting the front section for £141.95 including postage and the rear rack for £149.99 including postage, total cost £291.94. A saving of £47.06 over RRP.

I’m now almost £300.00 lighter but, can confidently reach the ground making the bike much more enjoyable to ride. There’s nothing worse then having to make sure you stop somewhere where you can always get a foot down, especially when on the trails. At least now I can just stop without having to worry whether I’ll be able to reach the ground or not.

More soon …

Ride outs, new parts and an Armchair Festival

Since the easing of the COVID19 lockdown here in the U.K. I’ve been making the most of the freedom and putting a few miles on the bike.

End of the road, Orford Suffolk

Since my last blog article I’ve put almost 1000 miles on the Tenere 700. It’s been great to get back on the bike after 4 months of lockdowns and to finally start to get to grips with it. There’s still a few things I’m not happy with but, over the next few weeks/months I’m hoping to get things sorted.

Logging in Rendlesham Forest

The biggest problem I have with the T7 is the seat height, it’s just too tall for my little legs! Having just a 29in inside leg the Rally Edition seat stretches me to the absolute limit. Only being able to get one foot down on tiptoes really isn’t good for trail riding especially if there are river crossings involved where ideally I’d like to get both feet firmly planted.

I’ve been looking into getting the seat re-profiled and made lower but, the cost of doing this is almost as much as buying an OEM low seat and rear rack unit instead of the passenger seat. So after much deliberation I’ve ordered and OEM low seat and the rack to fit in place of the passenger seat. This will hopefully lower me enough so that I have more chance of making contact with terra-firma. This will enable me to keep the original Rally Edition seat so that if I ever decide sell the bike I can put it back to original configuration. The new seat parts should arrive in the next week or so, I’ll let you know how it goes.

Horsey Wind Pump, Norfolk

I’ve also purchased a pair of Oxford Hot Hands over grip electric warmers for the bike. Having had grip warmers on many of my previous bikes I’ve realised that I really don’t like having cold hands!

I decided to go with the over grip warmers as they make the hand grips slightly bigger in diameter. This makes quite a difference on long trips especially for arthritis sufferers like me. Increasing the diameter of the grips makes it a lot easier to keep the throttle open on long trips and helps reduce hand fatigue, the warmth also helps with the pain when it gets cold.

Amazon have them at a bargain price at the moment, I got them for £38.37 reduced from £69.99, bargain!

I’ll need to get the appropriate connector to attach the hand warmers to the wiring harness, but these are easily available from Eastern Beaver.

I also need to install the second 12v socket to the bike and wire it into the 10A feed that is available from the wiring harness. The OEM fitted 12v socket is fused at 2A and won’t drive much more than my iPhone. I may even rewire it to the 2nd 10A feed on the bike so that I have two 12v sockets capable of charging many devices at the same time. I’ll put together a separate article on this when I get to it.

Sean, Ben and I have all booked places for the Armchair Festival down in Cornwall in September. This is a new adventure festival and it’ll be interesting to see how it turns out. If you’re also coming to the event be sure to give us a shout as we’ll be camping for the weekend.

Well that’s it for the moment, more soon!

Walcott Beach, Norfolk

End of lockdown ride out

The end of the 4 month COVID19 lockdown has finally arrived with 29th March 2021 being the first official day that we can get out on the bikes legally!

Needless to say I took advantage of this and got out on my new Yamaha Tenere 700 that’s spent most of it’s first 6 months of life in the garage.

Obligatory selfie – Ben Jackson sporting his lockdown hair and me with hardly any hair as always!

I arranged to meet up with Ben Jackson who I met back in 2018 at the HUBB event over in a very wet and soggy Wales. This was only the second time we’d met although we’ve been chatting on Signal for some time now.

The ride down to Danbury in Essex was without event although I did note that the A12 is still one of the worst roads in Britain!

Ben with his new Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sport

Ben had got his new Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sport the day before and was dying to stretch its legs so, the timing was perfect. After a brew and a chat at the “Tea on the Green” tea rooms we got mounted up and headed out.

We rode around Danbury and Maldon for a while but, there wasn’t much to see and so headed up towards Clacton and the coast.

After a quick blast up the A12 and then cross country we finally arrived in Clacton around lunch time.

Parked up at Clacton Pier for a brew and some rather nice chips!

Clacton was heaving, hardly surprising since it’s a Bank Holiday weekend in the U.K. We snuck the bikes into a cool little spot right on the pier and grabbed some lovely chips and a brew. The two bikes got a fair amount of attention from passers by including a couple of bikers who stopped for ice cream!

On leaving Clacton we found a neat little nature reserve that was in an old quarry in Fingringhoe and spent a little time taking photos and playing with slo-mo video on our phones. It didn’t take long to realise neither of us were particularly good with video and would need some practice before we did any trips!

Mike checking the lean angle in Fingringhoe, Essex.
My attempt to capture Ben in action in slow motion …
Baby Blue Eyes and Momma Africa parked up at the Nature Reserve Gate.

Sadly Ben’s attempt to take a slo-mo video of me came out as a bunch of photos with just a part of me in the frame as I went by, so I won’t embarrass him and post them here 🥴

It wasn’t long and it was time for us both to head off home, Ben back to Kent and me back to Suffolk. Getting home I found I’d done 193 miles over the day, not bad for a first rideout. Ben had hit the magic 200 miles!

Hopefully we’ll get more rides together planned and maybe even some weekends away camping.

More soon …

Time flies whilst the world stands still

It’s been quite a few months since my last blog entry as I’ve had nothing to write about. Having been in COVID lockdowns of various varieties since November 2020, we’re now half way through March 2021 and still in lockdown, unable to leave our homes yet alone travel.

For months now I’ve been watching other peoples travels on YouTube, Netflix and Amazon Prime to help keep my sanity. I think I have now watched just about every travel video there is to see.

Today I came across a video on Youtube that peaked my interest, not the normal kind of thing that attracts my attention as it doesn’t involve motorcycles, but very interesting none the less.

This video was all about a couple of chaps who dared to travel across the Sahara Desert on an Iron Ore train. Not the most comfortable method of transport as it involves sitting in an open ballast wagon for 20 hours or more whilst the train trundles across the desert.

Now I’m not a train spotter or have any interest in trains however, this trip really interests me and I’m now looking into how feasible it would be to try the same trip once we’re allowed out again.

Take look at the video and see if it appeals to you!

History of the Ténéré

I thought I’d post this video from Urge to Ride here as it’s the most informative Ténéré video I’ve seen to date!

The video goes through pretty much most of the history of the Ténéré from the very beginning to current day, well worth a watch!

COVID19, war, political unrest and bubonic plague!

With winter now approaching in the U.K. and the COVID19 figures starting to climb dramatically once more, local lockdowns are becoming the norm with large parts of the country becoming no go zones on a daily basis. The laws dictating what we can and can’t do appear to change on a daily basis and I’m convinced no one really knows what we can or can’t do anymore. I certainly can’t keep up with the daily threats of fines from the government if we dare to go out and get things wrong. With different parts of the U.K. coming up with their own versions of each law it’s pretty much incomprehensible as to what we can or can’t do!

Freedom is certainly a thing of the past, but it’s for our safety … apparently.

To add to this, Azerbaijan and Armenia seem to be at war with each other and protests against the government in Kyrgyzstan seem to be flaring up on a regular basis. Mongolia has an emerging bubonic plague problem that is also making an appearance in Siberia. Can it get any worse?

With all that is going on I’m pretty certain that traveling through Central Asia in 2021 isn’t going to be possible, hopefully this will all improve and make travel possible in 2022. We can but hope!

Meanwhile, since purchasing my new Yamaha Tenere 700 Rally Edition I’ve not really ridden it that much and also not done a lot to it either. I seem to have lost my enthusiasm for it all at the moment.

I’ve got the centre stand fitted to the bike which makes chain adjustment and lubrication much easier. I’ve ordered the crash bars and am waiting for them to arrive and have pretty much decided on which pannier rack I’m going to purchase.

The Outback MotorTek 2.0 pannier rack looks like it will be ideal for mounting the Givi GRT709 soft panniers that I have, unfortunately the rack isn’t available in the U.K. yet and so I have to wait for it to become a stock item. The great thing about it is that it’s fairly light and very easy to fit/remove as can be seen in the video below.

There are some great after market parts now available for the Tenere 700 including some really nice looking decal kits.

Example decal sets from MPG Moto Graphics

There are some heavy duty skid plates now being produced for the Tenere 700, this one from GP Mucci in Italy looks like it would make the bike very adventure proof albeit a bit on the ugly side.

So that’s where I am at the moment, not a lot going on whilst we sit out the zombie apocalypse that seems to be gripping the world at present.

More soon …

Tenere 700, Simplicity at its best!

One of the great things about the little Honda CRF250 Rally that I initially purchased for the trip to Mongolia was its simplicity. No fancy electronics, cable controls and a long service interval, just what you need for an overland adventure where there won’t be any dealer support. For me, the most frustrating thing about the Rally was the lack of power.

Having had a long motorcycle career I’ve owned a lot of large CC bikes and have got used to the endless amounts of torque and power that are easily available at the twist of the throttle these days. Having the Rally and a 1000cc Kawasaki Versys at the same time highlighted this over and over again.

My trip to the Pyrenees earlier this year proved that the Rally is a great little trail bike and was a lot of fun on the mountain tracks but, at times the weight over powered the little 250cc engine to the point where it became very frustrating. Covering large distances quickly was pretty much impossible as the slightest head wind would knock 10MPH off the 60MPH cruise speed, making it even more frustrating. I soon came to the conclusion that this wasn’t the bike that I wanted to take on a 25000 mile journey as it would spoil the trip for me and I wasn’t going to let that happen at any cost.

So, once back from the trip I decided to sell the Rally and have a rethink. At the same time I also had a rethink about the Versys. Having put hardly any miles on it over the last year, it was spending most of its life covered up in the garage. With the ever rising costs of insurance and servicing I decided it was time to let it go too. As much as I loved riding the Versys with it’s silky smooth, torquey 4 cylinder engine it was soul destroying to see it just sitting begging to be used.

I put both bikes up for sale within days of each other and could had sold both of them multiple times over, the used bike market really is buoyant at the moment.

So in no time at all both bikes were sold and the garage was empty.

The relatively new Yamaha Tenere 700 is a bike I’ve had my eye on for some time. I took one for a short test ride when they first came out and really liked it and it’s been niggling at the back of my mind ever since.

Having the opportunity to ride one again it soon brought back memories of my old Tenere XT660z. No fancy electronics, simple controls and a bike that you have to actually ride as nothing is going to help you if you over cook things.

The new Tenere 700 is head and shoulders better than the old 660. The suspension is firm, no more diving under braking, handling is superb and the bike is so planted on the road that blasting down the twisties makes you whoop with excitement.

The Cross Plane 2 (CP2) 689cc engine has oodles of torque from the off, pulls like a train in all gears but, at the same time is silky smooth. If it didn’t have 700 on the side you could be excused for thinking it was more like a 900cc engine.

With the peak torque delivery being at 6500RPM it’s eager to accelerate no matter what gear you are in, it really is a very enthusiastic little engine. With the KYB suspension that comes as standard the bike handles extremely well on the road, much better than I imagined it would. Of course, I’m yet to ride it off-road as the dealer made it quite clear that they didn’t allow off-road test rides!

Unlike many bikes today (including my Versys 1000) the Tenere 700 doesn’t have a slipper clutch, for me this isn’t a problem as my 660 Tenere didn’t have one either and I have many fond memories of dropping a couple of gears coming up to roundabouts in the rain and the rear end getting a little lively. Personally I prefer traditional clutches, with the CP2 engine having bags of engine braking when rolling off the throttle it’s great to make use of this feature just like we did in the old days of the big single cylinder dirt bikes. The simplicity of this bike is its biggest plus by far. Those of you reading this that weren’t riding back in the 70’s and early 80’s won’t understand this!

Currently there are 3 different colour Tenere 700s available, black, dark blue and white with the latter being the better looking in my opinion.

In the last couple of months Yamaha have released a limited run of Tenere 700 Rally Edition bikes. Painted in their heritage rally colours and with an even higher standard specification they’ve been selling like hot cakes here in the U.K.

With each dealer only getting 3 Rally Edition bikes it’s now almost impossible to get one as most were sold before they even arrived in the U.K. I’ve also been reliably informed by a number of Yamaha dealers that there are no more, once they’re gone they’re gone. This will almost certainly help residuals in the future on the limited production run of the Rally Edition bikes.

If you are lucky, willing to phone around and travel a few miles you may find one still for sale, but be quick as there are many searching for this elusive beast.

So is it the bike for me? Well it’s certainly ticked all the boxes except one, weight. It’s heavier than I was hoping for but, all the other pluses of this bike outweigh this one thing and so it’s the compromise I have to accept. Looks like I’ll be heading to the gym once they open fully!

After much phoning around I found a Tenere 700 Rally Edition that hadn’t arrived in the U.K. yet and hadn’t been sold, needless to say I immediately put a deposit on it and a few days later I took the train down to Woodford Motorcycles in London and collected it.

The Akrapovich pipe sounds wonderful on the Yamaha Tenere 700 Rally Edition

With some crash bars, a pannier frame for my Givi GRT709 soft panniers and a centre stand this bike will be pretty much ready for the trip to Mongolia. Just need to get some miles on her now and get the first service done so that I can open her up a bit and enjoy that exhaust!