Which Motorcycles?

Updated: Jun 18, 2020

As you know we are going to Africa on motorcycles! But which bikes should we use?

This is something we have been thinking a lot about. Should we ride the bikes we already have or should we get new ones?

I am riding a BMW 310GS. It is a great bike, but riding for so long with such a small engine is tiring.

Kenneth rides a Yamaha XT660. Also a great bike. certainly capable of going on long trips. But it is not very comfortable on long distances.

We talked to a few people and got some advice. Riding the same bikes would be good. We could save weight on tools and spare parts. And for our level of experience, getting a new bike that is built for this kind of adventure would be a good idea.

The decision of which bikes to ride wasn´t a straightforward one. In Kenneth´s dream, he was riding a BMW 1200GS and I´d be riding a 750GS. Heavily influenced by Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman's rides from London to New York and from John o´Groats to Cape Town. Ultimately, we decided these bikes were a bit on the heavy side. The 1200GS weighs 259 kgs fuelled, which is a challenge to raise after a tip.

When Kenneth had his bike serviced he talked to one of the guys about our plans and asked if they wanted to support us in any way. He liked what we were doing and wanted to give us some free lessons in mechanics.


After watching a lot of reviews about bikes on YouTube we learned about the new Yamaha Tenere 700.

Kenneth has used the Yamaha store in Trondheim for 15 years, ever since he got his first scooter at 16 and has a very good relationship with them. We asked Torgeir, the head of sales how much they would cost. And because he liked our plans we got a super discount.

We decided to ride on two Yamaha Tenere 700s.

The 2020 model has some great reviews out already, and we can´t wait to get our hands on these ourselves. We both wanted the blue one - so I guess we´re one of those couples with matching motorcycles now! The Tenere is said to be an easy-to-ride, easy-to-fix motorcycle without a lot of electronic features - which is perfect for us since we´re such inexperienced fixers. As far as we´re concerned, the less that can go wrong, the better. Let´s try to avoid any unnecessary trouble! It weighs 204 kgs fuelled, 55 kgs lighter than the 1200GS. Those 55 kgs matter! We figure that will outweigh the lower horsepower - what do you say?

Kenneth is a good head taller than me, so I´m getting the lower seat version. My first bike, the BMW 310GS, was chosen in part because of its low seat height. A lot of new riders feel much safer when both their feet can hit the ground. I am no different. Riding a taller bike is an advantage off road and something I´ll have to get used to. Good news though: while riding Kenneth´s XT 660 in the snow this winter the seat height wasn´t an issue. And that is 15mms taller than the Tenere 700. (More on that soon!) As for weight, it comes in at roughly 55 kgs heavier than the 310. I´ll have to up my gym hours!

Hopefully we'll have the bikes in May 2020. So stay tuned for updates!