Have a look at the Tw wiki site
The bikes seem to come running lean from the factory. Here's a fine carb mod thread located at the backup tw forum (sometimes this site is down and we head here carry on as usual until things go back to normal)
If you have a question. Do a quick search to see if it's been asked. Don't hesitate to bring back an old thread
This article made me decide to buy a TW
Mind you it is an old article so look out when he mentions about it having a kickstart, no aftermarket exhaust is available, brakes and some other odds and ends that have changed over the years.
From the no longer in service page http://www.thumperpa...cles/tw200.html
By: Flyin' Al Gidden
"What the hell is that?"
Rarely a day goes by that I do not get this comment from someone.
Referred to as the "Yamaha dirtbike on steriods", the TW200 is one odd little beastie.
Now, before you decide that this diminutive motorbike is just another kiddie toy, it may interest you to know that this is my 14th motorcycle. I have done everything from motorcross to road racing to weekend jaunts with the wife behind me. Yet, the TW is the bike with the absolute highest 'fun-factor' that I have ever owned or ridden.
If you have ridden any of the big guns, you know what it is like to roll the throttle and feel that punch in your ass as the clamor of the engine gets louder with the increase in velocity. I have had a number of types of bikes in the past, but the big 4-cylinder sleds were always my favorite.
In 1994 we moved from California to Texas. It was not long before I learned that a 4-cylinder in the Lone Star State may not be the best choice when you spend 5-6 days a week on the bike. You see, it rains like hell here. And, as if the torrential downpours were not enough, many of the urban rodaways are covered with gravel, or not covered at all. I was only in Texas 6 months and I started to have problems keeping the tires of my big beast on the road.
In the U.S., you generally cannot test-ride a motorcycle until you have bought it. So, I had many reservations about going down to the local motorcycle shop to buy a new bike. I did my homework, and decided that a big 600cc dual-purpose bike would probably do the trick. I went to the 'All Japanese-brands' motorcycle shop in the center of town with my checkbook in hand.
I arrived at the motorcycle-mecca and noticed there were a lot less DP bikes than I remember. There were a lot of models, but you take out the models with three different motor sizes and you are left with paltry few choices.
Then I sat on some of those pigs.
And pigs they were. While I liked the solid feel of the big DP bikes, they were EXTREMELY heavy and had more suspension than anyone would use in the city or on fire roads. And, when I say *heavy* I don't just mean heavy, I mean top-heavy. It felt like you could only heave these pigs over to a certain point before they would just flop to the pavement.
I looked at every YamaHondaKawaSuki they had - not impressive at all. The options were few, and they all tipped the scales at about the same weight as a 750CC sport bike. If you need to buy a pig, it seemed better to get the real-fast pig than just any pig at all.
And, the most insulting thing about the whole experience was that NONE OF THE BIKES HAD A KICK STARTER!!! Hello? Doesn't anyone make an off-road bike (which has turn-signals) that can be tipped over anymore? What is this about? It's appalling! The entire shopping experience was going sour by the minute.
"What's that?". I noticed the little blue scooter over in the 'dirtbike' section.
"Oh, you don't want that. Its for beginners.". The salesperson was showing an inept ability to screw up a nearly 'certain' sale.
Ignoring the ignoramus, I went over for a closer look.
The funny-looking little thing had a regular suspension (under 12 inches!), great ground clearance, and my spindly 155lb frame could pick the front tire off the ground by the handlebars. And speaking of tires, the thing had the most odd assembly of tires and rims ever seen on a two-wheeled vehicle. The front tire was 130/80-18! I've had sportbikes with this as a REAR tire which could happily exceed 90MPH! (although sans the knobbies!). The rear tire was a whopping 180/80-14! That's enough volume to store a few extra litres of fuel, but I suppose that would adversely effect the tire balance. Oh well, at least it had a kick-starter.
The bike was 100% opposite of every bike I ever owned or rode, but for some reason it seemed to be exacly what I wanted.
"What size is it?" Oddly, the bike gives no hint of its microscopic motor.
"200cc, 4-stroke." My heart fell into my socks. 200cc?? I pictured those days when I drove my VW Beetle with the leaky sparkplug hole. It only really ran on three cylinders. I had visual images of the old rusty bug blowing by me like a Porche on an autobahn.
"200cc? That's not much. I need a bike that can go on the freeway for short trips.". Whatever he said next was going to make or break this sale.
"It can go on the freeway, no problem.". I felt excrement surrounding my ankles, and I didn't even have my waders with me.
"How can that be? If I can't ride the thing, you can't expect me to just buy this thing on your word.". It didn't look like it could go over 40, much less 60.
I managed to make a deal with the schmuck. They call Yamaha, with me present, from the Service department. Yamaha will confirm the vehicles' top speed, and that the warranty will not be void by using the bike on the freeway. Also, once I pay for the bike I can ride it and bring it back within the first ten miles. This was not thrilling, but good enough for me.
When I enquired about the price, I was shocked. They wanted about $2500 for it. It had 30 miles on the clock.
"What's wrong with it?" I asked. The price was too sweet.
The guy left me momentarialy and returned with an invoice. Apparently the bike had fallen over and damaged a side-view mirror and dented the pipe. They had replaced the parts but could no longer sell the thing as new. It had the full warranty, and they offered to extend it for three more years at half the regular cost. It was also last year's model, although they have not changed at all in years.
"What's wrong with it?". I asked again. This was all too odd. I was about to use my down-payment to pay for a whole bike - the situation was just too tempting. There must be something wrong. Monkey-boy said nothing and lit the little beastie up with the electric start. Now, let me tell you i've never had a thumper. My motorcross bike had a 2-stroke single, but this was not the same at all. The sound was new to me. It was more like a succession of muffled pops than the 'hum' of a motor. But, even ice-cold, you could wrap the throttle slightly and she would run up as fast as any other bike. Impressive. I hopped on and immediately felt the thing which draws 10-year-old girls to the fiberglass pony in the front of grocery stores - it...it was...moving! No, not humming, but more like it was busy 'moving-about' underneath you. It still didn't seem like it could go anywhere near 60 though.
I hit the kill switch. I wanted to start it with the kick-starter. I gave the kick-starter a mild press. There was a plethora of compression fighting my efforts to push on the little thing. On the other hand, the bike felt like it would bend it if you stomped on it too hard.
Just so you know, I used to have a 1979 KZ1000 that I started with the kick-starter. You see, I race mountain bicycles now. My legs were up to the task of kicking the big-ass Kaw to life - the TW should have been a no-brainer. But, the more I kicked the little beastie, the more I appreciated the concept of 'compression release' on singles.
Oh. I forgot to turn the kill switch back off. One-kick later and the bike came to.
During my little tantrum, the sales vulture was watching me with an increasingly moist brow. Since I love to push it, I pulled in the cable-clutch and kicked the TW into gear.
"We'd really rather not have you do that sir", stated the sales guy.
I chuckled and put the bike back into neutral.
"I assume this is a 6-speed?" Almost a moot question. He said it would go 60. It was a thumper. What the hell else...
"Its a 5-speed.". I could feel lunch coming back to haunt me.
I shut off the little yogurt-maker and started to dismount.
"So what do you think?". At least the guy was starting to get into the spirit of 'selling'.
"Well, I don't know. I like everything about it except the motor. If It just had a 6-speed 500cc tube, i'd buy it right now."
For the first time in my life I was in a motorcycle shop with the cash and credit to get any bike I wanted, and yet I was agonizing over this little bike like it was my first GSX-R. While the cyclo-salesman ranted on with his pitch, I mulled the whole thing over in my mind. I had come here to get something a bit better for the area I was living in - both on and off the road. It had the most outrageous tires, and I knew no one around would have another one. I decided to take the chance, and I gave the goober the money for the bike.
The second he gave me the receipt, I donned my helmet and went for a ride. Remember, I had up to 10 miles to change my mind.
I never went back.
Pre-Ride Periphery:I'm 6-foot, 2-inches and weigh 155 lbs.
While i'm tall enough to ride any motorcycle, the little TW200 still manages to fit me quite well. The seating position is comfortable, and the seat only takes a few rides to get used to. Generally you do not have a long, banana-seat on your city-cycle but in this case its actually useful if you happen to accidentally street-surf.
Now, this is not to be confused with the seat being 'comfortable'. While the seat works ok, if you are used to a real bike seat, you will find the TW a bit odd. At first, like in the first few days, you may even notice a bit of soreness in your seat. If you had to ride a 250CC motorcross bike for more than a few minutes, you would get the same soreness. After a while you get used to it, but don't expect the comfort of a Gold Wing with the TW.
The bike is minimally laid out. There are essentially thee indicator lights; one signal, one neutral, and one for the high-beam. Yes, there is no oil light. If you know anything about Yamaha singles (TW and XT), they have not had oil lights for some time. I do not know why. You must have real big balls to leave the oil light off an air-cooled dual-purpose bike. Sure hope those little Yamaha-ians know what they were doing! Goodness knows the relative testicle size of an American is probably larger than many of the Japanese, yet they left off the light nonetheless.
The bike has both electric start and kick start. The battery is rather small, so excessive cranking is not recommended. The bike takes much more kick to start than you think it would. Generally I find that the bike is easy to start, but it is also easier than most new bikes to flood out. Fortunately, the little beastie has only one cylinder, so when it does flood, you can smell it and turn off the choke without much worry. If you flood the pig with the choke off, something is probably wrong. Either way, just open the throttle about 2-thirds and then crank it to alleviate the flooding.
The engine has a carb which is laid out more like a sport-bike Mikuni than a TK or top-pull carb. One would first think that the little beastie couldn't generate enough vaccuum to get any gas when its cold, but the thing runs real good. The choke is just a small pull on the side of the carb. Its well designed and cannot get hammered in a crash. I bet there are a ton of microscopic jets in that little carb. Oh well, that's what the warranty is for (grin).
Since the bike shares street time, the tank has to be metal, and the other 'cosmetic' parts are ABS plastic. The tank holds 1.8 gallons, and goes on reserve at 1.3 gallons. It also gets about 85 miles per gallon - I AM NOT JOKING. I can go 100 miles from fill-up to just before reserve. This is not exceptional, but its enough for the things I will use it for. Need to go further than 100 miles? Bring 3 dollars with you and you can go 300 miles!
While the tires look rediculous, they work and grip well. I got 10000 miles out of the front tire - and it was overfilled by 5lbs for about 6 months. The rear tire looks about 1/2 cm. worn - amazing! By the way, you cannot get any tires for the bike other than those by BridgeStone or Chien Shin. Forget smooth tires or street tires. You buy a TW, you will run knobbies forever. The tires are about $90 each (US) aftermarket. Currently, I am at about 14,000 miles and have replaced the front tire once, and the tires look close to new.
While we are on the subject of tires, there are some things to tell you about the tire pressure you will not find in the loosers-guide. Check out more information here.
Another important point of the tires is the rim that Yamaha chose. Take a look at those rims and you will think that an tractor-trailer can drive over them without damage. This may be the case. The rims are large and very heavy, but there is a reason for this - they are quite stiff for their size. If you have driven a motorcross bike you know that stock rims are a bit flexy, and cause the steering to be sloppier than it could be. With the TW you have the opposite problem - the rims are quite solid. As a result it seems that more heat can get into the front tire. In fact, the main reason the tires wear faster when you over/under inflate them is that they generate more heat. This is compounded by the fact that the tire DOES have an inner tube. And, when you have an inner tube on a bike, things are different than when you have radial tires without inner tubes. You need to know that getting a puncture in a tire with an innertube can be 'catastrophic'. That is, the tire will go flat in seconds, and not in minutes like a radial will.
The point here is to watch the tire pressure more than you usually would. I check mine at least once a week and I find it needs air about once every other week. Also, if you get a flat you must stop immediately. Do not use liquid tire inflators, and do not try to change the innertube yourself or apply a patch.
The horn and headlight are normal for Japanese bikes nowadays - substandard for serious use, but enough to get you by. Like another person in the Thumpers club, I recommend a higher wattage bulb and a dual-horn setup when s permit.
The brakes are cable brakes. Now, before you heave, let me tell you that I am a hard stopper. I generally can perform a stoppie on all my bikes - except the 1979 KZ1000 - no one can do that! While the little beastie has only drum brakes, you can perform a stoppie without any trouble. What I really like is that the brakes do not seem to fade, even when you are off-road on long decents. If you take the stock cable and adjust it to be really stiff, the bike will brake well all the time. I even had the bike on pavement, yanking and banking with other riders - the brakes were consistent from cold to baked. Yamaha states that the stock brakes are better than the aftermarket brakes. This may be true. The shoes have 12000 miles on them, and the fronts will last only another 500 miles or so. The rear brakes can probably last another 3000 miles. Either way, they cost about $15 (US) per wheel to replace, and you can do the work with three tools on about 15 minutes a wheel with a good bike stand. When I think about the money I spent on brakes on my other bikes...
If you ever rode a sportbike you may immediately notice the front brakes on the TW. While they stop ok, you might think that they have too much play in them. Well, at 11,500 miles I changed my front brake cable to see what would happen. It helped, but with a new cable and brakes the front brake lever will still go halfway to the hand grip. It turns out I discovered a serious
safety problem with the brakes on the TW's. There is more information here.
I keep bugging the Yamaha dealer about the safety issue, but they insist that all the 90's TW's have the same setup. After a while you will get used to the loose brakes, but you should not get complacent; the brakes will not be loose if they are properly adjusted and setup.
If you want that sportbike 'half-inch of play' you are used to, plan on getting a new cable, brake shoes, and checking for the safety issue.
The TW only has a speedometer. The user's guide claims that a rev-limiter will kick-on before you hurt the bike. Let's just say that I am not soft on the bike and have never hit the rev-limiter or the throttle-stop. Once you know all the things this little bike can do, its probably better if you do not know how hard its working by having a tach anyhow. FYI, getting a tachometer for a single is not easy to do. There are a ton available, but no one will hesitate to tell you that it is hard to get the thing properly calibrated. I declined to get one, less is more.
The bike comes with a standard Yamaha tool kit - it works well for most things you can 'do yourself'.
It takes only about 1.3 quarts of oil. After about 5000 miles I switched to AMS synthetic oil. Since then, the valves have been checked and not needed any further adjustment in over 4000 miles. Also, the clutch was uneffected by the change to synth-oil. The way I beat on that little bike, I figured the synth oil can only help. Yamaha warranties are uneffected by the use of synthetic oil once you have passed the break-in period by some amount. See your dealer for details.
I never take it over 60mph. First of all, there is no reason. Second of all, it works so hard I do not want to break it. I have never gone to 65 mph, but been real close. It is just under 1/2 throttle at 60MPH, so I bet the bike can do 65MPH easy. Some of you readers have indicated that you had late 90's model TW's up to 70. And, just the other day I got behind one on the freeway which was going 65 solid.
Now, this needs some qualification before proceeding. About 50MPH you are hitting the point where your velocity and your ability to brake are equal. Anything over 50MPH and you are moving faster than you have brakes to stop you. You can stop, but the distance to stop at 50 and the distance to stop at 60 are out of whack.
On the other hand, my TW gets driven on the freeway about 4 days a week to work. Its a 16-mile drive. Sometimes there is traffic, other times there is not. Either way, the bike is fine at high speeds. I have had the opportunity to take the bike out on windy roads with other motorcyclists. As long as we do not exceed 60MPH it can hang with just about anyone. I just do not want to know what happens when you lean it wayyyyy over when exceeding 60MPH. I've never done it. It feels fine, but I don't want to know anyhow. Remember that curiousity killed the cat. I'm a real big puss to be that curious.
This is the ultimate 'flick-mobile'. Not since the RD350 have a ridden a more flickable bike. You can just lean until you think you will hit ground, and the little bike will just hammer on. Heck, if you really want to get a knee out through that turn, go ahead, she loves it.
One great side effect of the suspension is that you can take real big hits when leaned over and the bike will just soak them up without all the head-shake you get on most DP bikes.
The bike can accellerate adequately in top gear from 40MPH on up. If you shift into 5th at 40MPH, this works out real good. If you want to hang a turn at a speed up to 45, you may need to get to the top of 4th gear and keep the screws to it to have good power on the exit or in a slide. You have to constantly remember that this is a thumper. More revs do not mean more power. You have to keep it in the 'zone'.
Here is some recommended shift points to keep you in the 'zone':
- 0 - 10MPH: 1st gear
- 10-20MPH: 2nd gear
- 20-30MPH: 3rd gear
- 30-40MPH: 4th gear
- over 37MPH: 5th gear
If you read the users guide it will tell you something else. If you do what the users guide says you will ruin the transmission in about a year and probably have other problems with the motor. The recommended shift points are not really usable, and even the dealer will tell you that with the TW you 'want to be nice to it, but not too nice'
The thing I like best about this bike is that the controls are light and small. You do not do much to shift, for instance. This means you can ride the bike in city traffic without getting fatigued. You can shift this thing for hours without getting sore hands. Even the throttle is light. This is the best city-bike I have ever owned. It never tires me out, and it makes traffic a delight when compared with my truck. The other neat thing is that you can stand the bike at a complete stop for about 2 seconds. I suspect this is related to the balance and weight of the bike. This means you can stay in stop-and-go traffic without ever putting your feet down. It also adds to the fun when you have 'something to do' in traffic.
When the days get hot, the bike does not have enough of a motor to bake any part of your body. This is also a boon in traffic as my other bikes were better at generating heat than anything else!
Lastly, this bike has removed my sense of fear related to traction. I do not go ripping around town, but when a tire does slide a bit, the slide is slow, predictable, and usually only lasts a second. This is great when you make for a turn or a stop with some sort of material over the road. No more white knuckles about sliding into cars - now you just handle it and all will be well.
And, speaking of slides, this bike stays hooked up when your brain is telling you that it should not. Don't ask me how I know this.
When the light turns green the bike can easily hang with the cars. This bike is not a sport-bike, but if you 'keep it on the pipe', you can actually beat most cars from 0 to 45. After 45, the bike does fine, but you do not get that kick in the pants which a bigger bike would have. Its over 45 where the bike motor shows its size. It can handle hills, at 60mph with a good headwind. But, drop the speed below 50mph in the same conditions and the bike can only hold its speed at best. This never poses a problem for me, but someone in the 200LB weight zone may see this as a slight drawback to the little motor. Check out this link for some recommended shift points.
While on the subject of city driving, you need to know about the fuel for the TW. The users guide tells you that you should never use anything higher than 89 octane. There is a reason for this, and you should follow these guidelines to the letter.
If you think about a 1-cylinder bike with the sparkplug and 'head' at the top you can imagine that the TOP of the cylinder will heat up faster than the cylinders. And, if you consider that the heads will get hotter when the bike is waiting at a light, you can imagine that the cylinder head temperature of the TW engine varies greatly from one minute to the next. Well, when you have a large differential between the cylinder head temp and the cylinder temp you start to get 'combustion' side effects. The first of these effects is that the mixed fuel in the carb can preignite when the heads are much hotter than the cylinders (which the carb is mounted to, if you remember). And, when this happens, the fuel may ignite as it is sent into the cylinder intake port. You notice this when you are at a light and you knock the throttle to get the bike moving. You hear a pop and the bike either slightly hesitates or the motor dies. In my case, this happens if I use 89 octane fuel when it is 95 degrees out (or more). While it is rare, it will happen about once per ride when the conditions are right. If I fill up with the 87 octane, this problem also never arises. It is most noticable when the engine is only been running a few minutes ( and the cylinder is much cooler than the head at this point...)
So, do not use anything over 89 octane if it is hot out. The same is true when it is real cold out - you want to use the lower octane fuel, even though it smacks of all that you know about fuel.
Now, on the other hand you *will* notice the 89 fuel when you have it. As long as it is not hot, I like the 89 fuel for off-road rides. It makes the bike punch you in the butt when you hit the throttle. Its noticably more 'responsive' with the 89 fuel than with the 87 or 86 octane fuel.
Looking at the thing, you might think this is what the bike does best. Well, it loves to be off road if you know how to drive it. When I drove my motorcross bike, I would 'keep the bike on a line' to get past obstacles. With the TW, you really just bomb the bike over what you want to drive on. Forget getting a smooth line. Spend all that enery steering around small obstacles and you will get tired and nowhere. Aim the bike where you want to 'be', nail the throttle, and you are there. No beauty to it. The bike likes sheer carnage. Keep it moving, be relaxed, and it will go just about anywhere. And I mean anywhere. The bike is real light, and this adds to the fun factor. Your arms do not wear out, and the bike is easier to 'manipulate' when you can hammer the front-end in the direction you want to go.
Headshake does happen on the TW, but it is not the same as a regular dirt-bike. On all my dirt bikes, you would get to some speed (usually over 40MPH) and the head shake would ensue with full force. On the TW the speed does not make the head shake, but hitting a bump when you are leaned over will cause the shake. Its not bad, but you can avoid the shake by not holding on to the bars so tightly and placing all your weight on the inside-most footpeg. In my case, I heave the bike over in a turn and begin to release my grip as much as possible. If you do this right the bike will never head-shake on you when dirt riding.
I have taken the TW off of 3-foot jumps, and it flys fine. With the miniscule forks and limited travel, you can assume that jumps may hasten the demise of your forks and fork seals. A 125 dirtbike does jump easier than the little TW even though they are about the same weight.
I was concerned that the bike would be useless on hills, but with a first-gear you can 'walk' next to and a top speed of over 60mph, the bike has plenty of power to spin the rear, climb hills, or bomb down a trail W.F.O.
I usually take the bike out on weekends for 'bombing' runs on the trails where its allowed. The bike has never overheated, stalled out, or misbehaved in any way. You do have to get used to having a tire as wide as a truck wheel though. While you can ride a berm on this bike, how often do you see nicely banked, 6-inch berms? When you come to a fast turn, you have to take a street-bike approach to it. Just hang the little bike into the turn like you were on pavement. If you ask too much, the rear-end will try to come around on you. But, the come-around is so slow and predictable that you can just sort of coast through the turn. The bike has not thrown me, or high-sided, even on rock.
One thing you cannot do is drive this like your 125 moto. The usual school of 'apex-turn and nail throttle' does not work as well as it does on a regular dirt bike. Keep in mind that with a moto bike you are using the lack of traction to help you change directions rapidly. Well, with the TW you have so much traction that this does not work like a moto. The first time I did the 'apex and nail' trick I went into a tree. The bike will rarely slide, so you must practice bombing a path through a turn. At first this is hard, and you want to put your leg out to help, but once you get used to it, you can take a line through a turn that does not really exist. Its cool once you get the hang of it.
- The stock chain and sprockets are crap. They are such crap that you will be lucky to get 3000 miles out of them. I would immediately chuck them out and spend the $90 to get new sprockets and an o-ring chain. The heavier chain did not seem to effect the power output of the bike at all.
- The loosers-guide tells you to clean the oil filter when you change the oil. Even at the Yamaha dealer, the o-ring and fliter come to a whopping $20 (US). Buy the o-ring and filter when you can. The o-ring can lightly sweat oil when the conditions get extremely hot if you do not replace it.
- You can get a small luggage rack from the dealer for $69 (US). It covers the back of the bike, but it connects to the frame. Without the rack, you can only put about 7lbs. on the back of the bike (by the rear fender). With the rack you can put about 30lbs. on the rack before you start to notice the weight. It is not recommended to have things strapped to the rear of the bike when you go off-road. Do not ask me how I know this. I believe the rack will hold a total of 70lbs according to the directions. Check out www.buymotorcycleparts.com if you want to order the rack. They can get a rack for almost all 90's model TW's.
The racks are not available for all TW models before 1990. My 96 model definitely has a rack which you can get from Yamaha. I have heard that older models, while essentially the same, do not have the rack option.
- The bike does not have a fuel filter. Like the absent oil-light, this smacks of huge-balls on the part of the designer.
I got a fuel filter.
I can see in the fuel filter.
It is not clean.
GET A FUEL FILTER!
If you plan to work on the bike, or don't want the bike to kill you:
Below is a list of stuff which may save you time, trouble, or pain when working on the bike. If you have something which is not on this list, let me know about it so we can share with everyone.
- Get the shop manual: Forget Haynes, Chilton, or any of the other ones. In the US if you want a manual, pay the $60 (US) to get the Yamaha Shop Manual. Its part useful and part useless.
The manual is useless in that it will mention Yamaha lubes and chemicals that you do not have, and will not know the equivalent chemical for. It also mentions one or two small tools you will not have, but can obviously jury-rig.
The manual is useful as it tells you how to test problems, and gives capacities and bolt tourque specs. The torque specs will save you a the cost of the manual as you will not over-tighten a bolt and have to pay to get it fixed. (trust me on that!)
- Another exhaust system? It seems that in the US you have no choices for exhaust system. You have to get the Yahama exhaust. In Japan you actually have a number of after-market options, but most I have communicated with could not get the parts outside of Japan.
- Exhaust system work: There are two critical places that can leak when you put on the exhaust system. The first of them is where the exhaust pipe meets the cylinder head. If you have to remove the pipe, get two NEW exhaust gaskets (little copper-looking rings). When you tighten the pipe to the head you will effectively crush the copper ring a bit. If you have a problem anywhere else on the pipe, you will have to take it back off. If you take off the pipe and reuse an exhaust gasket, it will likely leak. Every time you take off the pipe, replace the exhaust gasket. Also, it is VERY important that you DO NOT over-tourque the exhaust bolts. They can stretch or break easily. If the exhaust system will not stop leaking, there is something still wrong.
The next place the system can leak is where the pipe connects in the middle. Its on the side, kind of near where the battery is.
Like the exhaust gasket, replace the gasket here if you service the exhaust. Note that this gasket is not copper and can be reused some of the time with success.
- Spark Plug: Stick to the stock plug heat range no matter what.
The number on the plug can be used to find the heat range. Remember that the bike has one, air-cooled cylinder. If you get a hotter or cooler plug, you will create problems for yourself.
For the best performance, replace the plug every 5000 miles no matter what.
- Brakes: I recommend the stock Yamaha brakes. They are the same cost as aftermarket brake shoes, and in my opinion, they last about 5 times longer. My first pair of brakes went to 12,000 miles. I switched to EBC and they did not work as well when cold or wet as the Yamahas. In 1000 miles they were 25% gone already. I went back to a new set of Yamaha shoes and all is well again.
- Brake pull lever: WARNING!. On some of the TW-200's you want to check the front and rear brake at the wheel. If you look you will see that the brake cable (front or rear) connects to this lever. The cable pulls the lever on the wheel hub, and this pushes the brake shoes open to stop the bike.
Take a REAL good look at that lever on each of your wheels. It would appear that the lever is 'pressed' on to the pin which goes into the wheel hub. Well, it is pressed-on and it should not be. If you look at the 1999 TW (at least the ones I saw in Texas) you will see that they have added a bolt to the back of that lever. The bolt now holds the lever onto the pin.
If you have a TW without bolts in the lever on your wheel hub, GET SOME BOLTS AS SOON AS YOU CAN!.
In my case, the pressed-on lever started to get loose and I did not know it. One day I am coming to a stop and the brake pulled all the way to the hand grip. That pressed-on lever was half-way off the little pin. Another good pull and it would have come completely off.
Note that even the 80's TW have this lever without a bolt. Since all the levers have holes for a bolt, and since Yamaha has a bolt which exactly fits the levers, just get a bolt and put it on ASAP!
- What you need to know about your tires and tire pressure
If you look at the obscene TW tires you will see that they can be inflated to 32 or 35 lbs. But, you do not want to do this under any circumstances. What I have learned is that the recommended tire pressures which are in the guide and labeled on the bike are correct. In fact, they are dead-on. If you go 5 PSI or more over the recommended tire pressure you can be assured that your tires will wear faster, the steering will get 'twitchy', and you will have little to no traction on wet pavement when you hit the brakes. The other reason I mention this is that the dealers are also unaware of how important the tire pressure is. Once I took in the bike for a repair and once for a new front tire. In both cases the goobers inflated the front tire to 30 PSI. It was immediately apparent that the bike was not handling the same. I lowered the pressure and all was well.
For anyone 200lb. or less, the recommended setup is 18PSI front and 20PSI rear.
For off-road riding, the recommended setup is 15PSI front and 15PSI rear. If you find the front tire slides a lot in the dirt, you can go as low as 13PSI on the front tire. But, take caution to NEVER go below 13 on the front or 15 on the rear in ANY circumstances.
- Instrument lights: Its simple. They burn out fast. It does not matter where you buy them from. If you get 3 months out of your first replacement set it is a miracle. Once they start burning out, get a small pen-light with one of those flexible necks. Wedge it above the instruments and point it at the speedometer. There, you just saved $9.00 every 3 months.
- Want smooth shifting? Keep your chain adjusted. Note that the proper adjustment is much tighter than you think it is. The book tells you to have no more than 1/2" to 3/4" deflection on the BOTTOM of the chain. They mean it.
- Watch the fronk fork seals. Under those nice plastic fork covers are a set of fork seals. They keep the fluid in the fork from squirting out every time you press down on the suspension.
The problem is that since the forks are covered, you cannot see if the seals are leaking. If they leak, have someone else replace them. You need a tool to get the old seals out without damaging the fork tubes.
Once the seals leak, the fluid can get into your brakes and ruin your chances to stop. Also it will make the bike handle poorly (and I mean POORLY!) when you are really working the front fork.
- If you need a new clutch, you need to get ALL the parts. If you do not replace all the parts the new clutch will not work right, and you can damage the clutch basket. You need to replace the clutch plates, the friction plates, and the springs. Also, soak the new clutch plates in motor oil (which you use on the bike) for at least a day before you put on the new clutch.
Use lock-tite on the clutch spring bolts and do not over-tighten. Get a new clutch cover gasket, do not reuse the old one. Lastly, change your oil when you get a new clutch. My clutch was about 80% gone at 13500 miles.
- Get a fuel filter as soon as possible. The bike (up to 1999) does not have one on it.
Make sure the filter is not located too close to the engine (heat) or at the top of a loop of fuel line.
- Adjust your valves every 3000 miles. Its easy to do, but I recommend having a shop do the work.
Note that the valves are the first thing to go on a TW if it is not meticulously cared for.
- Neoprene gaskets. Bless those little Yamaha-ians. They went to neoprene gaskets and seals. If you have seen a pre-1985 Yamaha single, I assure you it is leaking. The new bikes do not leak like the old ones did, but they can still leak. The beauty is that its easy to find the leak. The bad part is that the gasket may cost you a fortune once you decide it needs replacing.
IMPORTANT: Always use Yamaha gaskets, and always put them on dry. Do not use gasket goo or oil additive to handle leaks. It will not work, and will make things worse.
- What to do when the f-ing thing will not start!
I regularly get email like this:
I have an 89, stored in the basement this winter, she does not want to start, ck'd spark and seems a little weak-- white,instead of blue.. got it to pop a few times .. run a few seconds // tried spraying gas into the air box and no such luck,, ran great when i put it away. will try a new plug otherwise got any suggestions?
Here is what you can do:
1. Carbs: Open the drain at the bottom of the float bowl. There is a little screw on the side of the bowl that will let the fuel drip out when you open it. Make sure you have the fuel select OFF when you do this. Once ALL the fuel is out, you will want to spray carb cleaner into the carb. (Not wd-40, but REAL carb cleaner) You can spray into the airbox if you have one of those red straws on the carb cleaner. If you have to, take the airbox off to get the best shot.
2. Plug: Use the carb cleaner to clean the plug. Check the gap while you have it out.
3. Cylinder: Hit the inside of the cylinder (while you have the plug out) with the carb cleaner. Let the cylinder sit for about 30 minutes after you douse it with the plug out.
4. Fuel: Replace all with 86-89 octane. Or, use Stabil-Fuel in your old gas.
5. Clean/Replace the air filter if it is more then 10000 miles old.
Once you do all of the above, you are ready to start the pig.
A. Make sure the battery is charged.
B. Place the bike kickstand on some wood to get the bike more level.
C. Open the fuel select to ON (pointing down on my bike)
D. Make sure the engine kill switch is in the right position.
E. DO NOT OPEN THE CHOKE YET
F. With the ignition on, kick-start the bike about 5 or 6 times. Do not turn the accellerator.
G. Turn off the ignition.
H. Now lean the bike waaaaayyyyyy over to the left (if you were sitting on it). When you lean it over far enough, some gas will come out of the tube connecting to the carb. Once you see the gas, set the bike upright quickly. You do not want to drain the liquid out of the battery. If you have a UK model, the battery drain is on the left side so lean the bike to the right (lean the bike to the side which does NOT have the battery tube)
I. Turn on the ignition
J. Put the choke on at 50% - probably a bit less than you usually would.
K. Kick-start the pig until you hear it fire. DO NOT use the accellerator.
L. If the kicking does not work, turn off the choke and continue. Refrain from using the accellerator - it will flood the motor.
This is what works for me. If I store my bike for more than 2 weeks I do this. Its not fun, but it always works for me. Normally you get fuel tarnish in the carb. Note that there are a ton of small jets which require good vaccuum to supply fuel. When the carb is dirty you do not get the right vaccuum. The result is that the fuel drips into the cylinder and wets the plug. The carb cleaner removes the glaze and the rest of the procedure makes sure it does not flood out again.
<a name="annoying">Annoying crap:
- The chain is insultingly cheap.
- When the tires are both new, the bike makes quite a din at 50 or above. You can dround out the sound of many 18-wheelers. It makes them laugh too! Its not a problem, but odd for a motorcycle.
- Do not use the rear brake when leaned wayyyy over. The front brake works fine and helps your traction. But if you feather the rear brake, you feek ok until you get to a point below 30mph and then the rear tire starts to get a bit squirrely.
- Sometimes, if you try to shift from 2nd to first while slowing below 20mph, the bike goes into neutral and will not go into first until you stop the bike all the way. Its not a real problem unless you are trying the 'bar-in-the-ribcage-panic-turn-in-the-dirt-to-avoid-something-and holy-crap-i-need-power-now' manuver.
I figured after a while that this would stop, but it has not. And, I have heard from other TW owners that they had similar problems. What seems to happen is that something in the tranny gets stuck. To alleviate the problem you will have to stop before the bike will go back in gear. If you think about it, you do want it to be hard to get into gear from neutral, but I think Yamaha went overboard. And, this is not a chronic problem, but when you are hammering in the dirt and go for that first gear you will sometimes get neutral instead.
- The battery could be a bit bigger.
- You must warm it up. The loosers-guide states that its better not to drive it with the choke on. This is an understatement. Warm up the bike until it will run without the choke. This can take 3 to 5 minutes when its cold. It also makes the engine last a lot longer. A LOT longer.
- Seat can hurt your bum on the first few rides. The key is to sit back farther than you think you need to. There is this little slice of padded heaven in one part of the seat. You will find it.
- The front springs are designed to soak up bumps. And they do it VERY well. But, when you are moving over small irregularities in the road you may notice that the steering head seems to shake just a little bit if you let go of the bars at 40-50MPH (don't do this often, by the way). This is for a number of reasons, but do not let it worry you. When you have a wide handlebar like the TW, or a moto bike, you are using your arms to help 'dampen' the steering a bit. Its normal, and do not let the slight wobble worry you. You will see that the bike tracks straight and steers solid.
- The bike can carry a passenger. My mom can lift half of a queen-sized bed also. But, in either case you will find that this makes the bike harder to ride. Generally, ride alone when you want to have fun. If you go off road or freeway speeds with a passenger, remember that your brakes are diminished and your turning traction is also diminished when you have a passenger. Its not a problem, but you notice a passenger on the TW more than a GoldWing, for example.
- The first time you heave the TW into the turn you will swear it is going to tip over. Yep. It feels that way. And, you may even 'oversteer' a few times before you get used to it. On the other hand, when you get used to the bike, you can carve the turns like no other bike you have been on.
- Don't pull wheelies. They are really hard on the bike and you gain nothing from it. This is a good way to mess up your front forks. Notice how narrow they are?
- The wiring is all in the front of the bike, behind the headlight. Most people I have heard from have had one electrical problem or another, and it was in this area that it occured. Most have ignition problems. Note that there is a place behind the headlight where a ton of wires come together. This can get dirty, wet, or just plain worn and cause wires to fray. I am out a high-beam until I find the wire which is failing. Many other have had intermittant ignition problems which were dirty connectors or a bad/dirty kill switch. If you have a 1990 or later bike and have intermittant ignition problems its likely the wiring behind the headlight or the actual kill switch is the source of the problem. And, if you ride in extreme moisture you my be running along when the little scooter dies on you. This has happend to me two times. In both cases there was a puddle of water in and on the kill switch. After a few furious mashings of the kill switch the bike started up and worked fine. Note that there was so much water on the bike that this was obvious. Lastly, the feakin' lights in the speedometer keep burning out after a month. Many have this problem and I still have not figured out why.
- If you replace the stock battery with a new one, get the EXACT same battery or the breather tube will not line up with the hole in the frame and you will get battery acid all over your swingarm and part of your exhaust. The dealer told me this and I did not listen. He was right and I was wrong.
- You must keep the tire pressure at the proper setting. Since you have to use the stock tires, you can get the exact pressures from the loosers-guide. Overfill and you will lose miles from your tires. Underfill and the tires start to perform odd when you push on them too much. For instance, you get a wallow in hard cornering from the rear if it gets more than about 3PSI low.
- You have to use stock tires. They work well but can be noisy. Watch the tire pressure. Keep it to the factory settings. Really. No joke.
- Yamaha dealers and Yamaha are very poor at customer service. Most people I talk to have one experience where Yamaha or the dealer makes a stupid error of some kind.
Things like title errors, misplaced warranties, and other horrors seem to haunt a good percentage of Yamaha owners.
And, forget about calling Yamaha USA. They are unable to help you with any problem, will not help you order a bike that the dealer does not have, and will not help you arbitrate with a bad dealer. They also don't act as if they give a crap about the customers.
While I love my TW, this was my only Yamaha and I will never buy another one.
Perhaps someday Yamaha will start to listen to the customers and this will change.
If you do not like your Yamaha dealer, and only have one to choose from, do not buy a Yamaha. Once there is a problem you are alone AND screwed!
When I owned Hondas or Suzukis I found that the companies helped when the dealers did stupid things. Kawasaki has been somewhere in the middle; not as bad as Yamaha, but not as smooth as Suzuki or Honda.