Riding a Yamaha TW200
All photos by Viktor Radics.
I've always liked the looks of the Yamaha TW200's big wheels and no frills demeanour. The TW was introduced in 1987 and hasn't really changed that much since. Still carbed, still has a rear drum brake, still 196cc, still has the big ass rear tire.
When I realized I didn't really have anything overly suitable to ride for Lawrence Hacking's Overland Adventure Rally a couple of weekends ago I asked Matt from Yamaha Motors Canada if they had anything I could ride at the rally when they were picking up their 'Lightning Bolt' that we had in our window in June. I was happy to hear they had a new TW200 I could take out.
I got the bike during the week and it sat in the back of the shop for a couple of days before the weekend and the consensus of anyone who saw it was 'that looks like fun!' It's light, peppy and while geared a little short for city riding, is great when you're doing a bit of paved / off road riding.
It cruises comfortably at 90kph and can be pushed to around 100. You can get a more top-end speed by changing up your sprockets, but it all really depends on what you want to do with it. For the paved/offroad portion of the Rally it was pretty ideal. Cruising at 90km on gravel roads was comfortable. Climbing up sandy hills in first or second was a breeze and the 280lb wet weight and low seat height made it super easy to control and would be a great bike for someone who is looking to dip their toes in the offroad world.
My whole weekend of riding was just under 400km. 60km or so out to Campbellville and then just over 300km on the Rally on the Saturday. I started with an almost empty tank and only spent $11 on gas which is pretty friggen good.
All I had a great time riding the TW200. It felt great on all the terrain OAR had to offer which ranged from pavement to gravel roads, steep sandy hills to single track?trails. My only real complaint about it was on pavement you're going through those gears very quickly but it did really well overall and definitely made me sad to see it go back to my generous friends at Yamaha. If you ever have a chance to take a TW200 out for a boot make sure you do! Two big thumbs up from me.