Sunday, 10 November 2013

Bikes: How the Super Tenere got to be called Fat Max!

Well it is no secret that I love my motorbikes. Not cruisers, not sports bikes, but adventure bikes. Basically an adventure bike is an overgrown trail bike. You see I like to explore the road less travelled, whether that road be a minor bitumen or dirt road. It makes for magic riding and lovely views! Now in the old days, we used to ride 250cc trail bikes.. magic things in the bush, but if your destination was some way away, we would trailer them behind the car to our destination. (They didn't make good high speed highway cruisers)

With an adventure bike, it is big enough to "cut the mustard" on the highway. Usually starting from around 600 cc and upwards, they are a magic way to explore Australia. My last bike "Grande Rouge" was a red (what else?) Kawasaki KLR650. And apart from many other journeys, I rode out to Birdsville and back on that bike. Pure Magic!

Grande Rouge and me at the Birdsville Pub. (2011)

But on the longer bitumen sections I wished for a more relaxed and comfortable ride! Enter the Yamaha Super Tenere XT1200Z. When Yamaha announced that bike, I read about it in the media. Never thought I would actually own one in the near future!

Fat Max on the Mann River NNSW

So in the fullness of time.. the new Yamaha came to grace our driveway. But why Fat Max?

For the answer to this, one needs to travel back in time to 1970. I am a first year auto electrical apprentice (technically I am an electrical fitter, automotive) and I meet up with a fellow called Peter Orth on my first day of tech college. We become good mates and still are to this day. At the time Uniroyal used to make car tyres here in Australia in South Australia. They have a "chunky" radial model called… Fat Max. Peter is tickled by that name. As I work for Max's Speedo Electrical Service, he christened me.. Maximus Obesus.

By 1979 Max's Speedo Electrical Service has changed to MAX Instruments and all of our company cars have MAX-## number plates. My first plate is MAX-11. I remained with and a partner in the business until 1995 when I left to run the studio full time. (Well it saved taking days off to do commercial shoots all over South East Queensland)

And it came to pass that two of the former company number plates came into my possession when Max sold the business sometime later. MAX-11 and MAX-20. (My second MAX-## number plate) So why not put MAX--11 on the new bike for a bit of nostalgia? And.. the Yamaha is a fat sucker; over 260 kg when fueled up.

So.. ladies and gentlemen.. I give you Fat Max, the Yamaha Super Tenere XT1200Z!