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Which Bike? Comments and Questions on what is the best bike for YOU, for YOUR trip. Note that we believe that ANY bike will do, so please remember that it's all down to PERSONAL OPINION. Technical Questions for all brands go in their own forum.
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Old 28 Aug 2009
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XT600Z Tenere - different models

I've always fancied one of these.

There's quite a few 1VJ models about. I've heard talk they're not that reliable... is that true or internet rumour?

People say the 3AJ model is best but they seem very rare.
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Old 8 Oct 2009
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I know it's not a helpful post but it's something I'm curious about too.
It's a bike I've looked at and liked for a while now and wonder if there's any years to maybe try and avoid for any particular reasons or if any problems can be resolved with parts from different model years.
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Old 8 Oct 2009
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I have a 91 XTZ660 model which I have owned since February and I have covered several thousand miles on it including up to Scotland and back fully loaded up. If you don`t want to use motorways they are superbly comfortable and have great handling. They will tonk along at 80 if necessary but feel more comfortable at 65 to 70mph.
The weaknesses are the rectifier (mine has been changed whilst in my ownership) and the general susceptability to corrosion, although probably no worse than its contemporaries. The motor is a peach. Very smooth indeed. Some rate it as the smoothest single ever. It has a good range. I have managed 230 from a tank.
I paid £1000 for mine with about 30K on it. It is in pretty good nick as they go. In my eyes these earlier ones are better looking than the later twin headlight models, but at the end of the day condition is everything I guess. I would recommend paying £1000 to £1500 for a good one rather than get a ratty one for £600 which could end up as a money pit.
If I don`t need to get anywhere fast or use motorways I would take my XTZ over my BMW GS any day.
By the way, this model is the XTZ660. It is the latest (current) model which is designated XT660Z.
This old world keeps spinning round, it`s a wonder tall trees ain`t laying down.
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Old 9 Oct 2009
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3AJ have two mods. The latest one 3AJ MK2 is the best of them. larger cooler + stronger clutch + little mod in carburator.MK2 was in 1991 for sure, not before.
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Old 13 Oct 2009
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Hi most people are probably not answering this because its been done to death...
But as I am passionate about the 1VJ, I will give you some infor from the perspective of the 1VJ compared to the rest.

The 1VJ was the second design change of the 600cc air cooled model. It has a 23l tank, the previous model had a 29l tank.
Apparently having the airbox underneath the tank was a good use of the space in this "Upgrade"
The 1VJ was the first (and only) model to include kick and electric start. On current models the electrics should be dodgy, being 20+ years old and frequently they need to be kick started, not electric started...
The 1VJ was the last model to feature the annodised high quality Gold rims as standard (I think).
Models up to the 1VJ have an automatic decompression clutch that is activated as you kick start the bike. This is a great and easy to use feature.
The Tenere's after 1VJ are distinguishable by their fairing rather than a headlight cowl, and is mounted on the tank. This is the 3AJ range.
Unfortunately the 3AJ model sacrificed tank volume a liter or two again and packed on a few pounds.
Additionally the 3AJ model moved the oil tank into the frame, the 1VJ is that last model to have the oil in a separate tank.

The 1VJ has a "weaker" 5th gear. Not to say this is a reliability issue, but its a 20 year old bike, and the 3AJ got a stronger 5th gear.
Basically the rule of thump here is that you want to buy a bike whose owner has changed down from 5th to 4th when the revs drop below 3000rpm.
ie you have to keep the revs above 3000 rpm a single cylinder and lots of torque thing.

Then the Tenere was dropped until the introduction of the watercooled 660 engine.
Yamaha made a tenere version but it had lost a bunch of its character named the XTZ660 Tenere I am completely bias as I broke one of these trying to get to a desert. A stone (must have) bounced up, ricocheted off the frame and ruptured the rear of the water tank. Still pissed off about that.

Its a tough call but Air cooled bikes have negative points but there is less to go wrong. Thats a great thing.
The 600cc air cooled engine lives on on the TT600R a current yamaha stock model. It is possible to buy this bike and put it into a previous model tenere, and frequently you will find this kind of bodge job has been done to older bikes as they are so compatible.

Look out for serial numbers on the engine / chassis. the "34K" is frequently found on 1VJ engines, as the cylinder head is identical.

The 1VJ is not in any way an unreliable bike it is quite the opposite.
Its just that it has been very very well used, and generally equally well abused 20 year old bike.
Its an absolute work horse.
Its a fantastic all round bike, but it will be old. It will however take you wherever you want to go and I had no hesitation pushing my off road envelope well beyond my abilities with mine, and truth be told I should have been on a 250cc bike.
Large 600cc bikes with dual purpose tyres handle like drunk pigs in muddy conditions - say no more, but it transpires they are equally inappropriate on frozen iced over potato fields

My advice is to you is to replace the Rectifier, regulator and wiring loom (as well as all bearings) whilst that sounds bad it isnt, it will make the bike absolutely reliable again. You can make your own wireing loom easily.

Mine was stolen... probably going to get the newer XT660Z (2008 onwards)

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Old 14 Oct 2009
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Nice reply, thanks for the informative reply.
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Old 19 Oct 2009
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Great info, many thanks.
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Old 19 Oct 2009
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My '89 XT600Z Tenere has a seperate oil tank, eg not in the frame. Great bike just a ltttle slow when 2 up + luggage. Never broke down ...

Plenty of information here and on the internet ...

Good luck
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