One really long term review, one short term, and a bunch of ramblings

Right,

I haven’t put anything on errrmmmm…paper lately.  I’ve been busy riding my dirt bike.  Moar on that later.

As the title points out, below is my long term review (75 000 KM) of my 2012 Yamaha Super Tenere, followed by my short term review of my 2015 FJ09 (Fudge9).

2012 Super Tenere Long term review.  I’ve written many many times on the subject of my ST.  It’s been a fantastic bike.  I’ve beaten it now for 75k with very little problems.  Outside of the shaft seals going (missing swing arm plug was the culprit) the bike has never let me down.

Above: Mount Robson, majestic as ever.  Below:  Crap footwear, and a pig

So we’re fast approaching five year, 75K, I figured a dodgy write up was in order.  I have used the bike for roughly 60/40% Road/gravel use.  It has not disappointed.  Yes, she’s a heavy old girl, but if you know what you’re doing, and you know your limitations the bike will get you through most things.  On a recent trip through interior BC, up to Jasper, and back down the forestry trunk road I thought about the times where the ST presented issues to do with weight.  Honestly, I got myself into trouble with the bike all of five times.  Most of them could have been avoided if I simply thought about the situation, or actually knew my own lack of skill.

Below are the ever necessary pluses and minuses of the ST.  Do remember, the below are my opinions and experiences.  Yours will vary widely

Pluses:

  • Motor (luggable down to 12km/h in 1st, yet can pull easily on the hwy all the way to 160km/h and stay there for days)
  • Ergos.  This thing is spacious.  If you don’t believe me, climb on a stock Vstrom 1000 or 650 and see how much room you have
  • Maintenance intervals.  Ginormous!  42k for valves, yes please.  Even though they are an absolute pig to do!  Check out my various post on that
  • Very capable off road (Read: fire roads and such.  No self respecting idiot would attempt single track on a 580 lb bike with Mitas
  • Reliable as the day is long.  The bike has not given me any concerns in 75k.  Has never stranded me.  For a trip, I check the oil, tires, load it up and go.
  • Shaft drive.  Yes it adds weight, but my god is it awesome.  No maintenance on trips.  Change the oil when you damn well please.  Best part?  Make fun of your buddies when they are lubing their chains daily, and adjusting every few days, all while you drink the beer

Minuses:

  • Weight.  Even though it carries it low, when things go wrong, you cannot somehow miss it.  Again, asses the situation, question your skills, and go from there
  • Valves.  Satan himself designed this procedure.  I’ve done mine once, and done a few others on friends bikes.  It does get easier after the first one, but man…is it a pain
  • Reliability.  I broke my bike in per motoman’s method.  But as of late the bike has been using roughly 500ml for every 2500-3000km.  I’ve been told that after a wheelie (read: ping the bike off the rev limiter in 1st gear-and don’t judge! Wheelies are fun, and quite frankly necessary in my book) she puffs a bit of blue.  Valve seals perhaps?  I’ll keep an eye on it.  Maybe the top end needs a freshening up.  The first gens were rumored to have dodgy rings (I read it on the net!).  I may just buy a 2014 and up new head, pistons, rings, valves, seals, and gaskets, and have an excuse for another crappy blog post.
  • Errrmmm…that’s the negatives

To sum up.  I’ll be keeping the ST for the foreseeable future.  Current offering don’t have me rushing to the dealers.  Yes the new AT looks tasty, but I never liked tubes.  Plus the slow trickle of bikes has not allowed a test ride.  I did ride a KTM 1190, and a 1190R.  Really liked the R.  I think it would be a good fit for me, but lack of funds, imminent layoff, a costly premium gas/premix for the off road 300, a want of a trials bike, and a perfectly functioning dual purpose will keep me out of the dealers for a while.  Maybe the new baby Tenere will convince me to spend some money.

2015 FJ09 Short term review.  I purchased the Fudge9 last August.  Walked into the Yammie dealer to buy an off road helmet, walked out with a new bike.  Job done.  I had a 2015 FZ07 that I was enjoying, but not really loving.  So that went on sale, and sold quickly, and the Fudge9 entered my commuter life.  In the short Canadian season, I ride my bikes to work daily.  Last year, between all the road bikes, I ran up roughly 26K.  They do get used.  The main objectives of the Fudge9 are: to serve commuter duties (excellent), fun bike (excellent), light sport tourer (see latest rubbish post).  So far the bike is getting better and better with time and mileage.   It has power everywhere.  It’s punchy down low, and revs for ever.  Motor sounds good too with the modded stock muffler.  Wheelies? Yes it does those just dandy. The comfort is excellent, especially after I turfed the stock seat in favor of a Seat concepts set.  Bars are very comfy, and the seat to peg is very good (not as roomy as the ST).  The bike is very light to move around (approx.  440 LB wet).  Decent on fuel, 5.4L/100km (43 MPG-USA, 52 MPG-UK).  I managed 300km in town, with 2L remaining in the tank.

Pluses:

  • Motor.  A triple, with great fueling (huge improvement over the donor FZ09 motor and ECU.  No remapping needed).  I leave it in STD mode, turn off TC, and save on front tire wear.  Need more snap, stick it in A mode.  Tired on a long and greasy day? Stick it in B mode, leave TC on, and you’re good to go.  Brakes are radial no name jobbies.  They work very well.
  • Fuel economy is very decent indeed.  Riding it as I ride all my bikes, I get 300km to a tank in the city.  More is possible with a lighter wrist.  Hwy may see the tank stretching to 350km or a bit more depending on user and use
  • Ergos and weight  Very decent bike to wheel around.  Next to the tenere, it’s very very light.  Easy handling (read more below).  Ergonomics are spot on for me (5’9″) The stock seat was ok.  Still trying to sort out the windshield buffeting though…
  • This is a fun and usable bike.  I’ve stuck GIVI racks on it, and it’s ready to tour
  • Electronic gizmolics.  ABS is a bonus.  TC is basic (on/off), and stays off most of the time (yes you have to prod at it every time.  I’m used to it by now).  Dash is simple to use, with more setting that I know what to do with.  All accessible from the handlebar
  • A center stand is a beautiful thing.  Who wouldn’t put a center stand on sport touring bike or an ADV bike with a chain..oh right, Honda and Kawasaki
  • Price.  $11 grand CDN out the door? That’s a good deal

Minuses:

  • For $11 grand you will need to cut a corner or ten.  First to suffer the blow…suspension.  It’s much much better than the FZ09.  But still far away from where I wanted it.  I ended up spending some dough on the rear shock, a Yacugar something or other, fully adjustable, with hydraulic preload (must have).  I also splurged on traxxion dynamics front end cartridges (pretty sure I blogged about that).  The bike as it sits is amazing with the suspension changes.
  • The fit and finish of the plastics could be better.  A few of them look a bit rushed, and slapped together.  Overall though, I like the look of the bike in matte gray, and the paint has held up well in the year of ownership.
  • Hand guards.  They are pointless.  Not only do they not offer any wind protection.  But they also manage to make the handlebars buzzier.  Off they went.  I’ll replace them with some actual aluminum hand guards c/w plastic hand shrouds (Edit! job done, with Enduro Engineering aluminum guards and spoilers)
  • Access to the fuses could be better.  I blew the 2A lighter adaptor and will need to dis assemble the entire bike (edit! The right hand side panel comes off with three quarter turn type screws.  Easy peasy, lemon squeeezy!!)
  • Maintenance.  Valves are every 42k, so that’s good.  Yamaha calls for a tb sync at first service…what the hell?  It’s not the easiest bike to get at (Edit! Sync’d the TB’s recently.  Bit of a faff, but doeable.  They were indeed out)
  • Windshield buffeting.  I’ve tried all the settings on the adjustable screen.  Installed spacers on the oem potato chip with little results.  I even have a large ermax screen, but the thing vibrates on the edges, and probably causes more turbulence.  The search for perfection continues (Edit! I’ve cut the OEM screen down by a few inches.  Seems to help, but it’s far from perfect)

To sum up.  The Fudge9 is doing a great job of it’s intended purpose.  Coming up is a short road trip into BC (see dodgy blog post), and possibly a long trip all the way to LA and back (pending time, funds, willingness, and life generally getting in the way)

And last but not least, a bunch of ramblings.

Not much to ramble about.  I’ve been busy crashing into trees, attempting to ride over slick logs, and generally having an absolute blast off road.  My buddy and I were daft enough to enter the local Red Bull Logs and Rocks.  After walking the water logged track, carefully reviewing our 16 month trail riding experience, we decided to sit out the 2016 edition.  We will be back, on trials bikes, and more experience.

With time and experience, I’m feeling better on the smoker, and quite frankly having a blast.  I cannot believe I didn’t pick up off road riding sooner.  No matter.  I’m knee deep in it, and sinking even faster.

I’m trying out some Flexx bars, so far so good.  Also giving the Kenda trail tires a go…so far so very good.  http://powersports.kendatire.com/en-us/find-a-tire/motorcyclescooter/mxoff-road/equilibrium/

Well.. that’s all for now

 

 

 

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4 thoughts on “One really long term review, one short term, and a bunch of ramblings

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