A small adventure on the Super Tenere

Today I had organised to go with a ride with a mate of mine, Daryl, who has kindly provided me with some off-road riding instruction in the past.  Daryl is a mad KTM Enduro/Off Road enthusiast on the weekend and is also very handy on a Honda CT 110. 

Today was to be something a little different for him, I was lending him my trusty KLR-650 and we were going for a ride on the road.  Nothing too taxing but his requirement was that it had to be scenic.  I sort of get that, but for me pretty much the only thing I want to see when I’m riding down a road is more road to ride on.

Anyhow I planned a round trip that would see us mostly on back roads with a chunk of freeway at the end. Daryl wasn’t too keen on the freeway, he’s got a tinbox phobia he’ll need to be cured of.  Anyhow, we left Newcastle about 9am and headed straight past Mt Sugarloaf and wound our way through rural roads to Mulbring.  It’s nice out there, I’ve been watching the progress of a mansion being built for some time on that part of the route, every time I think it’s finished they add another wing.

From Mulbring we took the road through Quorrobolong, Emmaville, Millfield and then west to the foot of the mountains and the Wollombi Hotel where we stopped for a stretch.  A group of sports bike riders rode up from the south and stopped at the pub and I was surprised by the amount of attention the KLR attracted from some of those riders who have KLR’s back in the shed.  I almost felt annoyed that no-one took any notice of the Super Tenere!  It must be the horrid Yamaha blue!

We left the Wollombi Hotel and headed south through some nice sweeping bends and tight uphill curves.  I’m still finding my way around the Tenere, not yet as comfortable as I’d like to be in the real twisties.  I’ve worked out that it’s about gearing. The Super Tenere has twice the rev range per gear than my Harley and I find that I’m changing gear too often rather than using it.  Also the power on the Tenere is also much more reponsive, the throttle more sensitive, simple power to weight maths.  There’s nothing bad in any of that, it’s just something I need to get used to and I’m sure I will.

Our next stop for coffee and pecan pie was Kulnurra, a favourite haunt for motorcycle riders.  We spent some time there watching bikes come and go and wondering how long the two marked and one unmarked highway patrol cars were going to stay there.  Oh well, better their being stopped doing nothing than out generating revenue for the state’s dwindling coffers.

I offered the Super Tenere to Daryl for the next part of the ride out to the freeway and he jumped at the chance.  I really enjoy riding my KLR, it’s an effortless thing to ride and pretty much doesn’t care what you do to it.  I pulled over near the entrance to the freeway to swap bikes and walked back to Daryl who was beaming.  He clearly had enjoyed the ride on the Super Tenere and confirmed that verbally.

The ride home was simply a transport leg, I don’t mind the freeway, I find dodging cars and expecting them to do stupid things strangely relaxing. The round trip was about 240kms and I’m sure that Daryl is keen to do it again, perhaps on his own KLR if he can swing it past his missus.