She is Sofia,my dear Tenerè 660 MY2008. At the time of writing she just rode 130 thousand kilometers, celebrated after a three continents trip in one year, after 55 thousand kilmoters fully loaded, and with a passenger too. During three years i rode her through the deserts of Central Asia and the Caucasus mountains. I brought her through the Iranian sands and up to 4700 meter above sea level of Khunjerab Pass, the Border between Pakistan and Chine. And she never hesitated.
Let’s talk about technical stuffs
Sofia has not undergone substantial changes after she left the factory, except the Akrapovic dual exhaust made in titanium, much lighter and quicker in heat wasting. Instead of a standard cardboard filter I use a washable cotton made one by DNA.
The real weak point of this bike are suspensions, which problem I solved installing progressive springs by Hyperpro both front and rear. In the same time I lowered the height by 25 mm through longer mono levers and lowering fork by the right size. Here the problem is me, since I am a straw of 60 kg and I need a good support for my feet to lie on the ground. Finally I added Storm handguards, heated grips by Oxford and additional halogen spotlights by GIVI.
A few words about why I own this bike
MySofia not only carries the name of a motorcycle that made history, but she’s the natural evolution with some ideas from the outside. There is no innovation in the chassis and engine, a twenty-year old project enhanced by the electronic injection: a clean and simple engine, with low maximum power (45 hp more or less real) but so much torque.
After two decades, Yamaha finally restored the 23 Liters tank which guarantees, in optimal conditions, even more than 500 kms autonomy. And, despite the injection, she drinks everything without saying a word, even 80 octane petrol. As I wrote in the story, I suspect that if I put vodka and sausage in my tank, it should be the same for her. The 21″ front wheel and exasperated height (90cm to the saddle) let you go a bit everywhere.
Essentially a bike made to grind km on all terrain as on asphalt, which gives her best on the off-road tracks at 60/ 80 kmh road or on open road at no more than 110 kmh.Avoid, however, the highway: you may have suicidal tendencies for boredom.
Motorcycle Equipment for a world trip
I always preferred hard cases to soft panniers because more difficult to be opened by prowlers. Above all, the aluminum ones have the advantage of maintaining the same mechanical characteristics at different temperatures and, when deforming for falls, they’re serviceable with a hammer. We started our trip with a couple of 39 liters Heavy Duties, too small for two people and yet old at the time of our departure. We replaced them at mid-journey, in Bangkok, with a pair of 48 liters Givi Trekker Outback 48 liters.
These ones are the first aluminum set produced by the Italian brand and they’re sturdy and well made, with a robust quick hooking-release system as in the best Givi tradition.The opening system provides for both the fore and the complete removal of the lid, which is equipped with strong eyelets for the use of belts and spiders as well, not a small thing, handles for the transport.
The tankbag is a GIVI T483 (15 lt expandable to 23). It ‘a specific model for enduro motorcycles with plastic tank, with a very elegant base that attaches via straps. The bag itself is great with zip very large and very resistant to water, a comfortable shoulder strap and a transparent cover to use in case of a violent downpour.
Camping equipment, first aid kit and any other business are placed in dry bags DryPak produced by Kappa I have chosen for the strength of their material, which proved to be more than efficient in all weather conditions from desert to snow. We use two 30lt tied with straps on the side cases and one 40 lt containing pots and food supplies,attached to the carrier plate.
To balance the weight on the back I put on engine protection bars two Sidebag by Amphibious (5 lt each) in which tools and spare inner tubes take place. Their strap system allow a solid hook to bars and they’re really waterproof. But they have some problems for their too thick fabric: more than once I had to sew the straps while supporting the bags with extra elastic and one of the bags was torn after a fall on asphalt at low speed. Definitely a good product which can be improved. Above these I put two waterproof tubes bought in Kathmandu to store rain suits, flip-flops, stove and coffee pot.
The carrier plate is made of aluminum (5mm), handmade by Mattia Amich, a reader of this blog, mototraveller and mountaineer, which wanted to donate me his product before I leaved. He build it in two different sizes, I chose the larger on with many eyelets to hook spiders and straps. It proved to be an excellent product with the right size to hold everything without interfering with the passenger’s seat and with the bulk of the side cases.
For a few years I used an Outback jacket and trousers Sand 2, both by Rev’it!, which produces clothing for all price ranges. Both follow the logic of multi-layer: external one is abrasion resistant, relatively light with openings for ventilation, than a removable windproof and waterproof membrane, finally the internal thermal layer, also removable. Peppina, my lady, is playing with Sand 2 pants and a jacket by an indefinite brand she used only in the mountains of Pakistan as it is absolutely non- breathable and very uncomfortable. In Bangkok, after seven months travelling, it changes: I started to use a complete Defender Pro GTX, always by Rev’it! with Gore-Tex layer and large openings for ventilation, while my lady added the jacket Sand 2 Ladies to the same brand trousers. This will be the clothing with which we cencluded our tour, in South America.
Both we use rigid plates back protector Tryonic Feel 3.7. They are fully adjustable and perfectly follow the curve of the back.Only problem, common to all the others, is that the armor prevents perspiration.
The helmet I use at this time is a modular Nolan N104 Weight is not a joke but is very well balanced and silent. The visor is very wide and the chin’s opening mechanism is precise and functional. The interior is completely removable and the shell is designed for inserting earphones. This helmet was given to me along with that of my lady, anLS2 also modular opening. The latter is much lighter than the first but the opening mechanisms are not accurate and the internal padding collapsed too quickly.
It is not easy to choose what to take for a ride covering all climates on three continents. The dilemma is especially on sleeping bags: lighter and less bulky means colder, heavier means unusable in tropical countries. We settled things once and for all buying two combo Sleepin’Bed (self-inflating mattress 25mm + sleeping bag) with comfort level at 10 ° and 5 ° limit of Quechua.And the choice proved to be right.>We also used the bags in hotels of India and in all those situations where cleanliness was not really the ball handlers.And the mattress allowed us to rest even when we were under sharp stone. We also used the sleeping bags in hotels of India and in all those situations where handlers were not hooked on cleanliness. And the mattress allowed us to rest even above sharp stones.
The tent is a two seats Quechua Quickhiker, maybe small for two people by motorbike,but the two and a half kilos are enough to get rid of any doubt. It’s made with good materials and has the advantage of being able to be mounted with the external layer directly on, ensuring a dryinterior even in case of rain.The bags are placed in the space between the two layers but you have to be very tidy. The equipment is completed by a set of pots / cover with stacked plates and clasp knives.
As good southern people addicted to caffeine, coffee comes first. At the suggestion of a friend we decided to leave home the mocha and bring a Neapolitan coffee pot, the upside down kind, because it’s more versatile for different types of coffee that we found on the road and because you can make even tea.
The stove is a Coleman Feather 442 unleaded petrol operated. We preferred it due to its compact form (under the tank, above the burner) respect to various Primus and MSR with separate tank. After seven months of travel in which we used at least three times a day we would like to say that it was not a good choice: too delicate generator in which the gas passes, too difficult to clean, too poor a few details like the rubber piston for putting gas under pressure, that we had to replace with a leather one after two days of searching in Lahore, Pakistan. We were ready to replace the stove in Bangkok, but we found a spare piston. When it will definitely die, we ‘ll pass to a separate tank stove.
GPS and navigation.
You could travel the world only by paper maps, no doubt. But there are such system, why don’t use them? Before leaving I gave up on Android systems (which still hold as reserve) and I took a Garmin Oregon 600. It ‘a product for generic Outdoor and therefore has a level of protection IP 6x from weather elements.It has proved very good for its hardware strenght, but the software is a bit unstable: it often crashes and requires a forced reboot through putting out the rechargeable batteries.Since the original maps cost very much, I prefer to use the OpenStreetMaps, updated by users and downloadable for free.At the end of trip the connctor stopped working: no data nor recharge.
Photos and videos
Travelling by motorbike the main problem concerning photo equipment is dimensions.I prefer using ProCompact cameras, rather than reflex ones for this reason, to not attract attention and to not look like a tourist to be robbed. Since two years I’m an almost happy owner of a Fuji X20 , which I love for its fast lens, the 12 MP sensor producing nice RAW files,the manual zoom, menus, ergonomy and design, his focusing speed. The only cons are battery consumption and no dust sealing. His hybrid focus system is very quick when shooting pictures, but very bad when recording a video in low light. Anyway it’s an excellent camera which reminds the old rangefinder cameras of the 50’s. Most important thing is that it doesn’t scare nobody when you shot a picture.For shots and video in hard environment conditions we have a Lumix FT-5 ,Used by Peppina. It’s a rough camera,waterproof and shock resistant, shooting good pictures in JPG. Light and compact, it’s the one we use on the selfie pole. This camera too make his own dirty job.