XT600 Tenere - The original overland adventure bike!!

Although there has been a long list of 'acceptable' overland adventure bikes over the years, and no bike is bad as such when on an adventure. There is however one bike that has stood the test of time, and for those that know, this bike will always be the all-time ORIGINAL overland adventure bike!!

I present to you, and salute, the Yamaha XT600 Tenere.

An air-cooled super single thumper with a 'massive' fuel tank as standard plus a broad and comfortable seat ready to carry you over the plains of Africa into the sunset!

And 20 years ago, back in 1998 when the earth was young and bare, that is exactly what the mighty 600 Tenere did for me.

442483

After welding up my own jerry can holders with bird poo. And making up a plumbers pipe with screw-on end caps to keep my maps dry (as per advice found in the greatest motorcycle adventure handbook of all time by Chris Scott). My journey started in London, UK then through France.

442897

I barely touched the tarmac through Andorra, with just an occassional wave at oblivious pedestrians, and then down to the southern tip of e'Spain for the ferry crossing to Morocco. Just a hero and his bike.

442484
442485442901

After struggling to understand gibberish in Morocco it was 'vamos' onto the beautiful desolated land of Mauritania and the usual twice weekly military escort accross the border through the landmine fields.

442486
442487
442493

Mauritania was followed by Mali; as it has been down there for quite a while. In Africa you have got to use what is available to you and a boulder next to a tree give a bit of protection for sleeping out rough:

443791

From Mali I crossed into Burkino Faso where I found elephants as that country is know for. I am afraid that from here on things got a bit loose and shady through Benin ending with some monkeys and malaria in Nigeria. And because cameras were not yet invented in 1998 I have no further evidence to show that those countries even exist.

But this is me below, two decades ago this year, and I did make it to the Cameroon Border where I was advised not to continue my journey because of the war in the Congo (which had started in Aug 1998 and turned into a 5 year long slaughter). It was no tea party down there they said.

442492

In loving memory of arguably the greatest adventure motorcycle ever build. I miss you buddy.

Thank you for reading. If you enjoyed this abreviated account please also see my European adventure: https://www.expeditionportal.com/forum/threads/that-crazy-ktm-that-changed-the-adventure-bike-game.192181/
 
Last edited:

Victorian

Approved Vendor : Total Composites
Nice! I owned two XT600K, one XT600Z Tenere, TT600R and several XTZ750 Super Tenere. Rode them all over Europe, North and West Africa. Loved, loved loved those engines and bikes. Nice story, thanks for sharing.
 
Wow Victorian what an honor it is to meet a Yammie XT connoisseur from accross the water! You will forever be my friend, nothing you say or do could hurt me :)

Below is a photo of me early 1990's. A friend and I travelled the east coast of South Africa, he on a Tenere and myself on a TT600R. You can see the old TT behind the XT. You needed big balls and a healthy spine to travel on a TT!

TT600R.jpg

And naturally I too owned the holy grail of Tenere upgrades, the XTZ750 Super Tenere, a wallowy beast of sorts. But once again I was the King of the World!

000001 resized.jpg

After this I must admit my choices in life took a dubious turn and I found myself with a pig from a different pen:

76830019.JPG
 
Last edited:

Recommended books for Overlanding

Victorian

Approved Vendor : Total Composites
Ha!
I think I liked the 750 best. A bit too heavy offroad but man could you rip km on this thing. I build my own 60L kevlar tank to cover 1200km in Africa.
IMG_1892.JPGIMG_1898.JPGIMG_1891.JPG
 

Victorian

Approved Vendor : Total Composites
Tunisia twice, Marocco twice and West coast Africa to Gambia. All between 93 and 97. Loved it.
Even got into the drivers camp at the Dakar Rally in Dakar in 96
IMG_1897.JPGIMG_1901.JPG
 
Pretty awesome man. Back when the Dakar was still the Paris to Dakar, the real deal! Not that the race is any less ardious these days.

Should have asked for a quick few tweaks to your Tenere, that Mobil 1 bike looks the kitty for those days for sure.

What gets you around these days 1200GS, 4x4, wheelchair (from riding around on a thumper in your earlier years)?
 
Last edited:
Top