Thursday, September 7, 2017

Yamaha's Announcement

As everyone that follows my blog knows, I'm a big fan of Yamaha motorcycles.  I started my riding life with a Yamaha XT250 in the early 80's and since then Yamaha has been in my heart.  My second choice would be Suzuki and then Kawasaki.  I have never been a fan of any other motorcycles.  Yes, there are lots of motorcycles out there that are beautiful and powerful that I wouldn't mind having but I tend to gravitate to equivalent Japanese motorcycles.  Before I bought the Yamaha Super Tenere, my motorcycle of choice to ride to Alaska was the 650cc Suzuki V-Strom which would have been ideal for my size.  Yamaha had made the Super Tenere available in other countries almost a year before they announced it for the USA and I had been reading about it.   The Tenere looked really good and had a great sounding unique 270° crank 1200cc engine but I also knew it was going to be a big motorcycle at 575lbs.  Yamaha was following the success of the BMW GS with the big engine and the Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman adventure series success.  Had Yamaha brought the smaller 660cc Tenere to the USA I would have bought it instead.

When they announced the Super Tenere for the USA I ran to the dealer and put a deposit down.  I'm extremely happy with my Super Tenere but I like to adventure off-road and a lighter version of the Tenere would have been better for me.

Last year at the EICMA show Yamaha previewed the Yamaha T7 Tenere Concept and the media went crazy.  It looked like Yamaha had finally woken up to the smaller and lighter middleweight adventure concept and was getting ready to announce a smaller Tenere to replace the very old and outdated 660 but now with a slightly bigger parallel-twin engine most likely taken from the very popular FZ-07.  The concept was developed in conjunction with its official rayy team in France and European headquarters and featured an 18-inch rear and 21-inch front tire.  The T7 concept is a beauty.

Like most people, I have been hoping for a 660 Tenere replacement for some time so you can imagine my excitement when a few weeks ago Yamaha alerted us to expect a big announcement on September 6th.  There had been talk in the media about the announcement being about the smaller Tenere and the excitement had been growing among fans.  The 6th came and I was ready, refreshed the webpage at exactly 10.30am EDT and to my surprise the announcement was for the new "Star Eluder".  What does it even mean?
"Eludes" evade or escape from (a danger, enemy, or pursuer), typically in a skillful or cunning way

To say I was disappointed is an understatement.  The new "Eluder" is a bagger to complement the previously announced "Star Venture".  I guess Yamaha needed a motorcycle to compete with the Harley-Davidson Street Glide, Indian Chieftain, BMW K 1600 B and the Honda F6B Goldwing.

The "Star Eluder" is a beautiful bagger and has a modern air-cooled 113 cubic inch (1854cc) V-twin fuel-injected engine.  The Venture and the Eluder are mechanically identical and feature “Drive Mode” settings that adjust throttle response, traction control, a heated seat for the rider and passenger and a fully-featured infotainment system.  They are belt-driven touring bikes but unlike the much lighter T7, the Venture weighs 957lbs and the Eluder 875lbs.  To keep up with the 7-inch infotainment system with Bluetooth and all the other electronic gizmos like navigation, SiriusXM, CB radio, security alarm, heated seats as well as all the lighting, they have paired alternators mounted low and forward in the engine cases providing a total of 750 watts, enough for the bike and rider's accessories like heated apparel.
The Venture is shown below.

Now I await the next announcement which I hope will be for the smaller Tenere.  The talk is that the new bike won't release before late next year in any case, which will be too late even if I wanted to entertain thoughts of buying one for my next trip.  Maybe one day when I'm done adventuring off-road and decide to cruise down the highways and paved twisties I will consider a motorcycle like the Eluder, specially if I can convince my wife to ride pillion, but for now my beloved Super Tenere will continue to ride on for the foreseeable future.

Below is the video announcing the Star Eluder for your enjoyment.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

New Website "Where's George"

As Labor day is fast approaching and the end of another summer is upon us, it's finally time for me to announce my new website and new plans.  I have been dreaming of a new adventure for a very long time, actually since I returned from Alaska my mind has not been the same, constantly trying to figure out how I could do a much longer trip and still maintain the family happy.  It hasn't been easy but I'm finally approaching the end of this long road.

I started thinking about designing a new website because of the limitations of blogger and also because of the name I am using for my current blog.  I already mentioned in a previous post that "Riding The USA" implies riding inside the US but this new trip was going to be over many countries.  First I started researching names and testing to see if the domain was available and of course checking Facebook and Instagram for similar names. After I had a name picked I registered the domain, the Facebook page and the Instagram name.  Soon after I registered another domain and ended up with two domains registered with their respective Facebook and Instagram pages.  I started getting followers on both pages on Facebook even though I hadn't announced either page.  I then had a dilemma, I liked both names and setup both sites identically including making the same posts on both with the same dates. After enlisting my family and a few close friends for their opinion, almost unanimously the first name I had picked was the one people liked the most.  With the name settled it is now time to announce it.

The first new website was setup over two years ago and the first post to test the design was done on May 14th, 2015.  The second post was done on September 28th of the same year.  Since then I have been tweaking the design, adding a few galleries to test plugins, added links to social media pages and most importantly adding a count down timer to keep me sane.  The day I added the timer and put in a preliminary departure date, the number that first appeared was slightly over 700 days.  Since then I have watched it slowly tick down the seconds, minutes and hours until it dropped below 700, then 600, 500, 400 and finally 300 days.   The counter stands as of today at 273 days to go.  Watching the counter is worse than watching grass grow as the saying goes but even worse is looking at the travel fund and not seeing it grow as much as I was expecting.

I still have a lot to do and plan before I leave but barring a major catastrophe or health issue the departure date will be sometime in June 2018.   For an idea of what my plan is, click on the "About" page and at the bottom you will see the "Dream".  Follow up post on this site and on the new website will describe my plan in more detail.  I will make posts about everything as the date approaches, from bike preparation, equipment I will use and route planning.
I chose this template for the website because I want the last five post's "featured" photo to scroll in slideshow fashion at the top.  Currently only two are sliding because there's only two posts on the site.
Please feel free to comment on anything you see wrong or you think I should address.   Your opinion is very much appreciated.  Now, without further ado:


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