Tragic Life of a Ténéré Tragic

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Back in January 2013 I had to admit I’ve have a problem. Sure it started with just one eBay purchase but I know now things have gotten out of hand.

It suddenly hit home when I was walking down a dark alley searching for hard to get contraband when I was approached by a shadowy figure. As a faint street light shone across his profile I could just make out the features of a Yamaha enduro jacket and old Sidi motocross boots.

When you have an addiction and you know the fix you’re looking for, you attracted the wrong type and it’s those people that will prey on you and will always find you. This mysterious individual approached till he was right in my face. ‘Wanna buy some Ténéré parts?’. The stench of jelly snakes, the adventure bike preferred trail snack,  was heavy on his breath. As intimidating as it was I knew he was the real deal. Whadya got?’ I quickly returned with confidence that hid the fact I was soiling my pants.

‘I’ve got a silver NOS clutch lever for an ’88 Tenere’. ‘But they only come in black’. I replied suspiciously. ‘Correct, I just wanted to check you’re the real deal.’ He explained to me later that he’d been mugged by rouge Honda XRV750 Africa Twin owners who are jealous that Yamaha XT parts are so readily available on the street. In the dead of night I snuck back to the ORE Garage with my clutch lever nicely wrapped in plastic and a genuine Yamaha parts sticker. I knew I could double my money on eBay.

At that moment the harsh reality hit me and I ran to the back door and projectile vomited into the dog dish. I suddenly found myself in a dark space in my existence and the dog wasn’t impressed either.

Suddenly the cold hard reality hit me. An ’83 34L basket case still not touched, two ’88 3AJ frames one painted the other undercoated. My pride and joy, my 1989 Super Tenere which had been reduced to just a frame and engine with parts shewn across the floor like there had been a drunken orgy of bike breakdown. Not to mention the pallet load of parts old and new that I had collected over the last couple of years. Four Ténérés and without a running project bike in the fleet I had nothing to ride.  At that moment the harsh reality hit me and I ran to the back door and projectile vomited into the dog dish. I suddenly found myself in a dark space in my existence and the dog wasn’t impressed either. How had my life come to this?

I lay awake that night staring at the ceiling. Do I get help? Do I sell everything and buy an enduro bike therefore redeeming myself with fellow TZ writer Popgun. No, that hardly seemed worth it. Perhaps I should actually get my finger out and finish one of my bikes? At the time that would certainly stem the flow of daily taunt texts I get from Clubby on a regular basis. Not to mention the only question I get from TZ Associate Publisher and office SHMBO Tania which is, ‘Where’s your copy and have you finished one of those bloody Ténérés?...' (My silence always confirmed her suspicions.) 'I thought not!’ Hard but fair.

I paced the room for hours struggling with the idea of letting go of everything I’d ever wished for. Will I be able to find a worthy home for my baby’s? Sure there are a lot of Tragics out there that would appreciate my cache of parts but will I actually get a return for my investment. Tragics are well-tuned hagglers.

Suddenly it dawned on me. I just had to buy another Ténéré that actually runs and is roadworthy. For a brief second I was captured by the moment of my brilliant idea when I was suddenly was mentally elevated to a new level of inspiration. Why buy one when I could buy two?

Get inspired and the universe will provide. I now own another XTZ750 Super Ténéré and a 1996 XTZ660 Ténéré. The XTZ660 makes a great daily rider and the Super Ténéré will help me work out how to put my other XTZ back together. I was in heaven.

Since then, despite regular therapy that would have been better spent on Ténéré parts, I purchased a running and partially restored '83 Ténéré. Some new plastics, new decals and some replated nuts and bolts and it was the fix I needed. A rear rack and tool box is all I need to get my hands on to return it to it's former glory.

Each step of each restoration has been documented so I'll be sharing those details in the months to come. Well, my therapist seems to think it's a good idea.


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