A Fortunate Series of Events
There are two defining moments that occurred in the months leading up to October 2018 when I purchased my 1989 Yamaha XT600Z Tenere, the 3AJ varient. Around August time I was searching online for larger adventure / dual sport bikes than the XT226 Serow that I already owned. I was aware of the XT600 range but a picture caught my eye. Ingo Locherts Chesterfield rally replica 3AJ. His white 600z was covered in sponsor stickers and period insignia for the rally bikes at the time of the 3AJ. The high mudguard, lamp protector grill and the unique sticker design captured my attention. I liked this bike. That was the first defining moment. The start of the journey.
The Second Defining Moment
A little over two months went by taking us into October. Work sent me with the sales manager to one of our clients, for a discussion about an upcoming software implementation. Meeting customers was not something I had experienced a great deal but our sales guy must have known that the clients were into their motorbikes as he introduced us to each other as bikers. This set the ball rolling for the meeting and a conversation about bikes and riding followed. At some point in the meeting I was asked about my dream bike, answered by “an XT600Z 3AJ, the one with the twin headlights and fairing.”.
After a successful meeting and long drive home I found myself on eBay. It just so happened that listed that very same day was .. an XT600z Yamaha 3AJ in the white colour scheme. Perhaps it was fate. Anyway, it was time to get down to business. I must have been feeling pretty good from the days success as I was quickly writing out a message to the seller. He had listed the bike at £1200, it had been listed for just a couple of hours but already had attracted 37 watchers. Was I going to wait and enter a bidding war? No. I needed this now. When it comes to negotiation on eBay, I am a fan of just asking the seller if they have a ‘buy it now’ figure in mind. The seller responded promptly. £1750. I had said to me Dad, on the opposite sofa, that I would bite his arm off for £1500 but would have to think about anything further. A few seconds later.. I’ll offer £1650. Before I knew it, the deposit was made and a pickup date set. Continue reading below.
There was one small obstacle to overcome. The bike was 5 hours away In Somerset.. and I had no way of transporting it myself. In the words of my Dad, “That’s what vans are for.” which was fortunate for me. A date was set for the next weekend and at 6am we set off south. The ride down to cider country was pretty decent, not much traffic, scenic views and a passing glimpse of Stonehenge which was a bonus as I had not seen it before. We arrived in this small, picturesque village filled with tightly packed cottages, thatched roofs were common here. I walked up the driveway. There it was, standing tall, slightly above me as I was downhill, it looked awesome. The couple who owned the cottage were great. A cup of coffee, a tour of the bike and then around a few classic cars and then we exchanging the goods. Unfortunately for him, the bike had to go, it was funding some new garage doors. I wonder if he ever regrets it.
Finding Your Own Tenere
In the months that followed my own purchase, I kept and eye out on various sites, Facebook, Ebay, Gumtree etc for XT600’s in case any more came up that would be suitable for parts, or cheap enough to be irresistible. I’ve learned that some parts do come up for sale. Tank’s are quite common. There’s a few fairings about, headlight units and brackets are for sale regularly. There’s a number of earlier non teneres for sale frequently.
In regards to actually purchasing a complete 3AJ. I’ve seen 3 for sale on eBay (including mine) in the last 6 months and 1 for sale on Facebook Marketplace.. although in rough shape (£500), it was sold in less than a day. A person who rides the same trails that I do, who I met on Instagram, also purchased a blue 3AJ in the months before my purchase, although I am unsure where he found that.
Some of you may know that these bikes were much more popular in France and Italy. It may be worth buying one to import as there is usually some for sale at good prices if you can find a foreign website and navigate it.
You can read more about my Yamaha XT600z here.