Friday, August 14, 2009



When the message flashed up from the eBay auction, 'Congratulations, you are the winning bidder', I knew my world of dirt bike riding was all about to change.

Call me crazy, call me a fool, call me mad, call me what you will, but my dirt bike riding was about to leap into a time capsule, only this one was travelling backward, not forward, a whopping 26 years to a world of drum brakes, short suspension travel, air-cooled engines and no electric-start.

My new pride and joy was an original 1983 Yamaha XT600ZL Tenere - and truth be told I'd never, ever been so proud of a 'new' bike. 

The Tenere is the original Japanese fat-tanked adventure bike, and having grown tired of the long wait for the new Tenere to arrive in Australia, I thought, 'bugger it, I'll get an old Tenere to tide me over!'

So I did. 

That was a couple of months ago and now the ol' girl has been through it's first big adventure with me in the saddle. We've just returned from an outback lap of NSW and South Australia from Broken Hill across to the Flinders Ranges and back again.

And you know what? The mighty red and white adventure machine never skipped a beat. Woo hoo!

The ol' air-hammer proved to be a diesel locomotive: just twist on 2,900 revs, snick 'er into top gear and she would purr away all day. Arkaroola? I'll be there!

I was stoked with how she handled it all, because buying a 26-year-old bike off eBay is a real case of playing Lotto: there's no guarantee your numbers will come up.

But this ol' banger did just fine and right now she's sitting downstairs in the workshop, covered in a light sprinkling of outback bulldust and looking longingly at me waiting for her next expedition.

Don't worry, babe, won't be long now!

This classic beauty is just too fine a machine to leave sitting idle for too long ... which is why I just have to share the full story with the world and christen her a TRAIL ZONE Project Bike. 

The first editorial on the '83 Tenere is in the latest issue of TRAIL ZONE (#25) that has just gone on-sale, while the full story on the ride is coming up in issue #26, which is about eight weeks away from now.

If you count yourself as a reject from the early '80s adventure bike days (just like me), then don't miss these mags ... and then I'll see you at the meetings ... "Hi there, my name is Clubby, and I'm a Tenere Tragic."

-- Clubby,

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