Monday, 3 June 2013


The Yamaha Ténéré – just perfect for riding around the world!

A few years ago I was fortunate enough to have a sabbatical approved at work, and decided that I would ride around the world: yep; just like that!

My relationship with the Yamaha Ténéré began in 2008 when we met in a Yamaha showroom in Sheffield. My existing bike – an almost-new Yamaha Fazer – waited nervously in the carpark as I went inside. If I was really going to head off around the world I needed more of a utility vehicle. Transportation sorted, I left Preston, Lancashire and headed for the EuroTunnel.

The two bikes are completely different to ride, as those who ride will know, but a pleasant surprise was the Ténéré’s height. Fully loaded, a little altitude is lost (couple of centimetres, maybe) but when riding in Indonesian cities, for example, I found that the bike’s height gave essential additional visibility, enabling me to see above and beyond the heavy traffic and dense packs of scooter riders which clogged the roads.

And there’s one in every city: a Yamaha dealer, that is. Okay, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but when I did experience any issues with the bike, or needed scheduled maintenance, it’s fair to say that a Yamaha dealer was never far away. I left the UK with a parts list detailing order codes, and was pretty confident that I could get what I needed along the way. I visited official Yamaha dealers in Italy, Russia, Australia, Argentina, Mexico and the USA: some for a standard service; others for general wear and tear as a result of the journey. This may give the impression that I had problems with the bike, but the truth is that the Ténéré made the world ride seem easy, and more often than not out-performed its rider, getting me out of trouble on more than one occasion.

Our round-the-world adventure lasted for a year, and we covered 42,000 miles; crossed 6 continents; visited 35 countries; did 9 oil changes and got through 3 sets of tyres (one set of tyres got us from the UK to Darwin, Australia!). The bike was ridden daily and seemed to improve as it ate up the miles: this is some machine, I can tell you, which really will get you anywhere you want.

Precisely fifty-two weeks after we started out in August 2009, I was bumbling back up the M1 after completing a 42,000-mile lap of the globe. Over a few cups of tea with friends, we flicked through the photos, notes and videos, and the content of a book came together.

The Real Way Round is my personal pictorial diary of a once-in-a-lifetime motorcycle trip across 35 countries on a Yamaha Ténéré XT660, and a practical guide to motorcycling round the world: what to do first. what to plan for, and how to cope with the unexpected. It also includes details of bike modifications, route maps, points of interest, and practical guidance on freighting your bike. The scenery and experiences along the way ranged from fantastic to frightening, and I wouldn’t have missed a moment of any of it. Nearly 700 stunning, inspirational photos of the places, people and events of our wonderful world will make you want to get out there and experience them for yourself.

My best tip for a trip like this? Get off the bike and meet the locals; this is the true secret to making a journey like this a success. Solo riders (and even couples) are generally warmly welcomed: enjoy the ride, the people and the places of the world. So, what are you waiting for ...?
Jonathan Yates

PS A true Trojan, the Ténéré is still going strong after clocking up 56,000 miles. In April 2013 I did a tour to Morocco, three years after returning from the global trip, and the bike was still as punchy as ever. What a star!

Coming soon from Veloce!
The Real Way Round - 1 year, 1 motorcycle, 1 man, 6 continents, 35 countries, 42,000 miles, 9 oil changes, 3 sets of tyres, and loads more ... by Jonathan Yates.

This book captures one man’s real experience motorcycling around the globe – no back up teams, no spare bikes, no film crews. 42,000 miles through 35 countries, seeing amazing things, meeting fascinating people, experiencing different cultures and coping with extremely challenging conditions.
This book is not only proof anyone can do it, but also a guide as to how to do it. It is not a technical guide, but rather a broad-brush approach covering some of the key tasks needed to plan and complete a similar trip yourself. With dozens of inspirational photos of stunning scenery and intense experiences, plus an informal, straightforward commentary, this is an eye-opening and practical account of biking around the world. More info.