some tenere travel experience
We just completed the trip from Amsterdam to Cape Town, 30.000 kms on two teneres, a 55W and a 3DS. We travelled from Tunisia via Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia to the South. Not implying that now we know it all, find below our experiences with these bikes:
No problems at all. Both were extensively overhauled before starting out, ie. rebores, new bearings where necessary, carefully run-in. Changed the oil about every 8000 kms and adjusted the valves.
On the 3DS no problems at all. On the 55W I have a feeling that the system is not strong enough to produce sparks with extremely rich mixtures.
We did carry a CDI unit for the 3DS that can also be made to work on the 55W.
After about 20000 kms of shaking and battering over corrugationsthe float needle on the 55W started leaking, and the float level had increased. Makes for higher consumption and bad warm starting. The increase in float level also happened on the 3Ds and was solved by taking the carb out and readjustment.
We did carry some octane booster but never had to use it. Consumption hovered around 1 liter to 20 kms. In sand you need (a lot) more. 2000 meters or more above sealevel the consumption of the 55W increases and that of the 3DS decreases because of the air valve.
Note that our speeds on tarmac roads did not exceed 95 km/hr.
On the 55W the intake is above the rear wheel so it sucks in about the most dusty air you can find around a bike. To be cleaned in dusty conditions every day. Cleaned the filter on the 3DS every two days in dusty conditions.
Although we did carry a lot of load (a shameful 50 kgs per bike) no problems at all.
We put in heavy duty spokes. No problems at all with front wheels. The 55W had a Tagasako rim that was alright till it found the one pothole between Lusaka and Livingstone at 90/hr. The resulting dent we 'corrected' with a big hammer. After the correction the rim had some cracks. The standard rim on the 3DS has a lot of cracks, probably because of overtight spokes.
On both bikes rear wheel bearings, normally pressed into the hub, came falling out of the hubs when patching tyres fi. We glued them back with liquid metal. In Cape Town we met someone who had the same problem and corrected by putting in a steel ring around the bearing, so machining the hub to accomodate the ring.
When falling in deep sand sand comes into the handlebar switches and causes all kinds of strange things happening. Cleaning out the switches solves the problem. Do not use petrol as a solvent here as the internals of the switches dissolve in that!
On the 55W the regulator broke. Then the ignition of the Tenere is very good: no battery power required to run the engine. Still think carrying a spare regulator is worthwhile.
We started out with overhauled standard units. The one on the 3DS broke (oil disappeared, no damping) and was replaced with a Technoflex unit that really improved handling over the standard shock.
The original shock on the 55W did make cap Town, but now shows signs of leakage. My general advice would be to replace the rear shocks with better aftermarket items. I had to do the trip to believe the advice...
3DS: standard, no problem
55W: far too soft for any off roading; beefed it up with spacers. Will put in better springs.
The front brake pads on the 55W were basically worn out after 15000 km. We put in new ones before leaving. For this distance you will have to have spare ones apparently.
The brake pads, front and rear, on the 3DS need replacement after 30000 kms.
We used dirt-biased road tyres for tarmac roads and pirelli's MT21 for dirt. Changing the tyres on the two bikes took us, in the end, 3 hours. Still, you end up using your nobblies on tarmac where especially the rear tyres wear very fast with all the load on the bike. On 50%dirt-50%tarmac we ate up the rear pirelli's in 7000 kms.
Not having any off-road experience before we are pretty happy with the pirelli's performance in both san and mud.
We used heavy duty tubes, this resulted in 6 punctures for the two bikes together, so only one puncture per 10000 km. All punctures were caused by nails or thorns.
By the way, we also had lots of fun. The bikes of course are shipped back to Europe for the next trip ..