Just got back from a 57 day, 21254 km (13210 mile) trip around Australia on motorcycles with my father and son. I rode a XT1200Z Super Tenere, my father a Kawasaki Vulcan 900 cruiser and my son a Suzuki GSX650FU LAMS sports tourer. Due to the types of bikes my father and son were riding, the trip was done predominantly on sealed roads. We camped for about half of the trip when in warmer climates and stayed in motels or with family/friends along the way for the rest of it.
We started out from Canberra, crossed to Batemans Bay then went clockwise around Australia until we ended up back at Batemans Bay and then Canberra. We also made a bit of a detour from Tennant Creek down to Ayers Rock. Highlights of the route from a riding perspective were the fang on the Great Ocean Road with great weather and virtually no traffic, the fantastic scenery of the Kimberley and a perfect run up the Oxley Highway toward Walcha.
My Super Tenere turned out to be a great bike to take on such a journey. It was very comfortable to ride, with the adjustable windshield bracket allowing smooth airflow, Rostra electronic cruise control taking care of long constant-speed cruises, grip puppies to minimise vibrations, heated grips for those cold mornings and an Airhawk seat cushion to eliminate monkey butt.
The gear I carried made the bike quite bulky, but once going it had minimal impact on handling and performance, even in the twisties. The Yamaha luggage system worked out very well, being reasonably spacious, weather proof and easy to put on and off the bike. I accidentally toppled the bike to the right side one time while getting on the bike and the Yamaha crash bars did a great job of minimising damage to just a few small scuffs on the handgrip covers, the right side case base and a dent in my pride.
As my son is on his provisional licence, we kept at the speed limit in each state, which was generally 100 kph on the east coast, 110 kph in the west and 130 kph (81 mph) in the Northern Territory. We travelled in a clockwise direction to optimise temperature and rain probability but this meant we encountered headwinds about 95% of the time. Nonetheless, the Super Tenere did pretty well on fuel, averaging 5.4 l/100 kms (43.5 US MPG, 52.3 Imperial MPG) overall for the trip. On two occasions I had to refuel with standard unleaded as premium unleaded was not available and that didn’t cause any problems at all with the bike.
Maintenance-wise, the Super Tenere was pretty low effort for the trip. As I had changed the spark plugs and final drive oil just before heading off, maintenance for the trip just came down to oil/oil filter and tyre changes, the former that I did myself. The higher speeds and straight roads of the north of Australia took their toll on my rear tyre (Metzeler Tourance Exp) with me only getting10 000 kms out of the tyre I changed in Perth. The front tyre lasted the entire trip and now has 28 000 kms on it, but I will change it soon as it started getting out of shape about 3000 kms ago.
Reliability-wise I only had two issues. The first was the failure of my Oxford heated grip controller about a third of the way into the trip after a brief but solid downpour. Not a showstopper at all for this trip but something I need to get fixed before I start riding again to work on cold Canberra winter mornings. The other was the rear suspension adjustor knob rounding off about two thirds of the way through the trip, again not a big deal. Otherwise, the bike ran and performed like a champion for the entire trip.
Anyway, the trip was a fantastic experience, especially being able to share it amongst three generations of my family. Here are a few pictures from the trip: