Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been having a complete rethink with regards to travel and adventures.
I’m bored of riding around Suffolk and Norfolk, been doing it for years and I’ve reached the point where I have no enthusiasm for riding around East Anglia anymore.
I’ve toured round the U.K. and Europe many times, by motorcycle, motorhome and caravan & pickup-truck combination and so I’m not looking to do that anymore either.
I only rode my Tenere 700 Rally Edition once over winter, which is so unlike me, I normally ride regularly all year round. The thing is I haven’t missed it, not one bit and so this tells me that there’s no point in me owning a bike anymore as the enthusiasm just isn’t there.
Once I came to this conclusion everything fell into place. I washed and polished the bike (not that it really needed it!) and put it up for sale. 24hrs later it was gone for the full asking price. I could had sold it 5 times over with ease, everyone wants the blue Rally Edition!
So what now?
I will still be riding bikes and hopefully travelling but, I’ll be doing it in a different way from now on. The plan now is to do fly-ride trips. India is high on the list of places I would love to travel and there are a multitude of places there where I can rent a bike fairly cheaply and travel the country for a few months before flying back home.
Australia is another place I’ve always wanted to adventure through. They have some of the most accessible off-road trails and it’s very easy to either rent or purchase a cheap bike and travel for a number of months at a time.
With the pandemic and now the war in Ukraine our Central Asia adventure isn’t going to be possible for a number of years if at all and so, it maybe the case that I do a fly-ride in Mongolia instead.
It’s sad to sell the Tenere but, it actually opens more doors than is closes and so, in the long term I’m sure it’s the right thing to do.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.