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!

What next?

With both my Honda CRF250 Rally and Kawasaki Versys 1000 GT now sold it’s time to seriously start looking at a new adventure bike for the trip and general riding here in the U.K.

Currently on the list are the following:

Yamaha Tenere 700 Rally
KTM 790 Adventure R
KTM 690 Enduro R
Husqvarna 701LR

I have to admit that I’m not a huge fan of KTM or Husqvarna but, they have to be in the running as they currently have some impressive machines in the adventure market.

The Husqvarna 701 range are actually KTM 690’s rebadged and the only real advantage of the 701LR is the long range fuel capability. Whether this is enough to swing my brand choice remains to be seen

The Yamaha Tenere 700 Rally is currently my favourite. Having owned and really enjoyed a Tenere 660 I know the Yamaha will be super reliable and well put together.

Price wise the KTM 690 Enduro R is probably the cheapest with the Husqvarna and Tenere 700 coming in a close second and the KTM 790 Adventure R being the most expensive.

So it’s now time to start researching, riding and seeing which I prefer!

More soon …

For Sale – 2016 Kawasaki Versys 1000 GT

Bike Now Sold.

I purchased the Kawasaki Versys 1000 GT new in June 2016 from Orwell Motorcycles in Ipswich who are my local Kawasaki dealer. It’s a great bike and I really love riding it but, it’s time to sell it and try something new!

Kawasaki Versys 1000 GT in green

I had the MRA tall screen, Oxford Heated grips and the SW Motech GPS/Phone mount plate fitted by the dealer at purchase time. These simple additions really improve the comfort with the screen throwing the wind up way over my head leaving me in a calm, buffet free bubble and the heated grips keeping my hands warm during those colder months we get here in the U.K.

Please note, the Garmin Zumo GPS mount is NOT included in the sale and will be removed prior to sale as I’ll be keeping the GPS unit for my next bike.

The MRA screen makes a huge difference to comfort especially at speed

The bike has done 11300 miles from new and has been serviced by Orwell Motorcycles with all stamps in the book and on the service key that is included in the sale. The bike is sold with all original paperwork and keys.

The bike comes complete with all the GT extras namely, matching top box and side panniers, spot lamps, gear indicator, 12v socket and fairing protection bobbins on each side as shown in the photos. 

Full service history and only 11300 miles from new

The bike has the Kawasaki KTRC traction control and ABS system with the ability to select power and traction control levels on the fly.

Included in the sale is the Tutoro automatic chain oiler and Optimate Battery charger both of which were fitted by me from new. With the Tutoro oiler fitted I’ve only had to adjust the chain twice over the 11300 miles, it really does make a difference.

New Continental Road Attack 3 tyres were fitted by Orwell Motorcycles just a few hundred miles ago.

There are two tiny marks on the green section of the left hand pannier where I dropped it whilst removing it from the bike, other than this there are no marks on the bike at all.

I’m a mature rider of 40 years and have fettled the bike much more than I have ridden it!
Having multiple bikes none of them have high mileage but all of them are serviced by the main dealer even if they haven’t reached the necessary mileage.

Service details are:

  • 01/06/16 PDI 
  • 22/06/16 1st service, 721 miles
  • 10/07/17 2nd service, 4181 miles
  • 01/09/18 3rd service, 7248 miles 
  • 19/12/19 4th service, 10593 miles

All done by Orwell Motorcycles, registered Kawasaki dealer, where bike was purchased from. In terms of what has been done at each service: 

  • New spark plugs at 7248 miles
  • Oil and filter change at each service
  • Brake fluid change at 7248
  • New tyres fitted few hundred miles ago.

Price £6499.00 OVNO

Payment of cleared funds only via bank transfer before collection please.

First to view will buy.

No Test Rides.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact me direct on 0752 6116110 or via email

Thanks for looking!

Getting back in the saddle post COVID19

Somewhere in the wilds of Suffolk

Now that the UK is starting to relax the COVID19 restrictions it’s been possible to get out on the bike more. Not being able to leave the country and head into Europe has meant that local rides are the only thing available at the moment, especially with Wales and Scotland keeping their lockdown in place and not allowing the English to visit.

The village of Walpole

I’ve been riding on my own on the little Honda CRF2510 Rally and really enjoying it. It’s the perfect bike for riding around the tiny B roads in Suffolk and Norfolk enjoying the countryside. Only problem has been not being able to get a drink very often as there is nowhere open for food or drink.

Not a soul for miles around

I’ve been using the Calimoto app to generate loop rides starting and ending at home. It really is superb for this and created some really interesting rides. The photo above is from an 80 mile loop ride automagically generated by Calimoto.

Being just just 15mins from the coast is handy to pickup the tiny coast roads and head north up through Suffolk and into Norfolk taking in Orford, Aldeburgh, Thorpeness and Sizewell to mention few eventually arriving at Walcott.

Phil and I on another of our coastal rides

I’ve also been stretching the legs of my Kawasaki Versys 1000 riding out with my good mate Phil who lives a couple of doors down from me. The weather has been superb and the riding has been great. The roads are getting a lot busier now which is a shame but to be expected. It’s been great to get out and about again for sure.

I’d really like to take the CRF250 Rally down to the Pyrenees this summer if at all possible and do the coast to coast route through the mountain trails. Whether this will be possible or not is still too hard to predict but we can but hope!

More soon …

COVID19 – U.K. Lock Down

We’re now two weeks into the COVID19 U.K. wide lockdown with no definite date for when the restrictions will be relaxed. The weather has changed and it’s been glorious, typical really, great weather but banned from riding!

My Kawasaki Versys 1000 has never been so shiny and the CRF250 Rally is raring to go on an adventure. The bikes have spent the last month in the workshop/garage and so I got them out over the last weekend to warm them up and let them breath.

Hopefully in a few weeks time I’ll be able to get them back out onto the road again and get a few miles in.

Since the trip to Mongolia and back looks like it’s not going to be possible this year I’ve been wondering if I could do some sort of mini adventure around the U.K. once the lockdown is over. I’ll keep mulling this idea over and see if it comes to anything.

A few of us in the HUBB Facebook group have been talking about meeting up for a weekend of camping and trail riding so that’s something to look forward to.

In the meantime, I’ll just carry on doing all the jobs I’ve been putting off for ages … almost at the end of the list!

Automatic Chain Oiler

I’ve decided to fit an automatic chain oiler on the Honda CRF250 Rally so that I don’t have to constantly worry about the chain being lubed. I’ve had one on my Kawasaki Versys 1000 from new and I have to admit it has been brilliant. The chain on the Versys 1000 has only had to be adjusted twice in over 11000 miles and this is largely due to the fact that it is always well lubricated.

Following my quest to buy British I’ve purchased the same Tutoro automatic chain oiler for the CRF that I have on the Versys. The great thing about the Tutoro oiler is that it doesn’t need to be hooked up to the vacuum side of the injector and neither does it need a power feed. This makes it very simple to maintain and also reduces the risk of problems with the engine should something like the vacuum pipe split and allow extra air into the injector mix.

Tutoro Chain Oiler

The Tutoro oiler switches on and off the feed of the oil simply by using the motion of the motorcycle moving. As the bike moves along a road of trail the movement up and down as it hits bumps etc cause the valve inside the oil chamber to open and allow a predetermined amount of oil to flow. This simple mechanical process needs no adjustment and is perfectly reliable. The flow rate of the oil onto the chain can be adjusted by simply opening or closing the little vale on the oil chamber.

Oil flow adjustment control on the bottom of the oil chamber

Once I’ve got it fitted to the bike I’ll add some more photos to this article.