My first unusally long ride
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  1. #1
    Member praeses's Avatar
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    So I have been looking into TW200s for awhile, reading many of the posts over the last few years I have been a member, not really posting as I have never really owned one. The description given by many members seemed to be what I was looking for but its always been tricky to find one for a reasonable price in my area. I typically ride an older sport bike with virtually no off road experience in over a decade. It has been bugging me for awhile knowing that I live in an area surrounded by gravel roads with many sights to see. More importantly recently one of my riding buddies decided that he'ld ditch his sport bike in favour of a KLR650. Although the price for them used around here are about the same, the TW200 seemed to catch my eye.



    So after much discussion with different sellers, I finally found a bike for sale quite far away, over 1200kms to be exact. The agreed upon price was by far lower than any other sellers and being reasonably new ('08) with less than 5000kms, it seemed like a bargain, providing I can manage cheap travel. Although I loathe being in a vehicle I'm not driving (significantly so) I reluctantly bought a bus ticket. Considering I had to return to work after the weekend, it would just narrowly fit into my schedule. I carefully packed what I figured I would need after doing a few touring trips on my sport bike and decided to take a cheap hard case to bolt on to the mini rear rack. Although I was paranoid about losing any of my gear while traveling, I also brought (and wore some) of my leathers on the trip. I'm sure it looked odd when someone saw me boarding a bus with street gear, but I had safety and comfort on my mind for the return trip, and they wouldn't let me store the bulk elsewhere on the bus. A cute girl with a mild knowledge of bikes did spark a quick conversation but immediately went into "do not disturb mode" with the bag occupying the adjacent seat and hoodie pulled over her head. Oh well. After passing a couple dozen tiny towns I have never heard of, going further north than I ever felt compelled, and spending more than 24hrs traveling I finally arrived. The seller greeted me and drove me back to his home where I saw the bike for the first time. I gave it a quick look-over and everything seemed in order and we proceeded with the sale.



    With his help I strapped on a cheap hard case and strapped my extra luggage ontop. The bike suddenly looked smaller. Following that and being quite aware of both the elevation differences and tiny tank, I quickly rode to the closest store I could think of and picked up a 2gal gas can and strapped it at the back of the seat. Unfortunately it was square and took up much more of the seat than I had hoped, but at times it was a decent backrest. After some juggling back and fourth which took much longer than expected until it felt right, I also white electrical taped (white black-taped if you'ld prefer) an old visor to make a makeshift windscreen as I would be facing long cold highway weather.



    I began on my first stretch of 400kms towards warmer country, so I had hoped. In reality I didn't pay attention to the weather patterns and it went down to 6C while riding, which was rather cool at about 105-110km/hr, while considering I didn't take any heated gear and my leather jacket is perforated. The good news is, it appears the bike liked the cold weather and continued to purr with the throttle wide open about 90% of the time home. I was worried I'ld end up with some valve or bearing issues as it felt like I was demanding a lot for the bike. I did notice however that my fuel efficiency wasn't so great fighting all that wind as I was averaging only about 60mpg. I was expecting a little more but prepared for the worst with the added jerrycan. I made use of it once in the first stretch as the last town prior to my destination for the night apparently closes down after 9:PM. Shortly after I also found my brakes, as a huge moose jumped infront of me. At first I thought my mind was playing tricks as I just passed the moose crossing sign and the moose looked identical to the pose in the sign, facing the same way and all, but then I grabbed a few fingers full of the front brake and stomped on the rear (easing up a little as it started to chirp/hop) and I stopped just shy of the moose. When I looked up I finally realized how big they actually are in real life. It felt as if I could have ridden underneath it although I am doubtful my helmet and mirrors would have cleared. The moose then cleared the other half of the road in a single bound and I saw nothing more of it. Afterwards with the cooler temperatures cutting in and me hunched over as if I was pretending my new-to-me TW was entered in a Moto GP race, I started to fend off the uncontrollable shivers and I puttered to my destination and found a cheap motel. It was surprisingly clean, and the warmth much appreciated. Later on I putted over to a fast-chinese-food ate as much of the salty food as I could handle. I'm sure it tasted nothing like authentic chinese food but in a way this was gourmet to me. This was my first meal in a couple days as I don't bode well with eating and traveling.



    Following a warm shower and a few hours rest I quickly headed out on the bike to meet my schedule. This day I would have to cover over 800kms without time for rest. With many sights to see as I was travelling through alpine, desert, to ravines and rainforests, I regretted not stopping once to take any pictures of either the scenery as I am sure the TW was eager to pose in the foreground. The good news however is my planned route was more of a motorbike friendly route full of twisties that I have done before on my street bike and was eager to compare how this little bike would handle. The little TW held up to my expectations tearing through sharp corners at double to triple the posted recommended speeds and scraping the pegs (and apparently shifter, whoops, glad she didn't pop out of gear) a few times. I'm pretty sure I was pushing her far to hard but I felt the need to have fun with my new little bike. On this stretch of the journey I ran into a few friendly motorcyclists riding bikes from high end touring models to heavy 80's street bikes that were just trashing through gravel roads but having a blast of a time. They were all curious about the little TW200 as each time they either followed me in from the highway and were in disbelief as I told them it was a 200 with about 16hp. Many were quick to roll their bike alongside weighing in about three times as much and compare the size of the tires, often making the joke that the TWs front tire is bigger than their rear. as I finished this bout in about 10 hrs with only stopping for gas and my fearful checks to make sure I pocketed my wallet and cards, I finally met my intended destination for the day. There I met more friendly motorbike folk who had plenty of stories to tell but I was unable to keep up much for conversation as I was shagged from the previous few days of travelling. I took a quick nap on the ferry and decided I would ride my final stretch home where I putted into the driveway and shortly afterwards finally got a good night's rest.



    She made it home in one piece without any complaint and I with a smile on my face.
    2008 TW200 Yamaha luggage rack w/small el-cheapo JC Whitney trunk and large tool tube, Jimbo Shield, re-wired headlight, Blaster Shock waiting to be installed.

    1989 TW200 Work in Progress

    1994 ZX6E (rebuilt transmission, then rebuilt replacement motor, then rebuilt transmission in replacement motor, fun fun) large JC Whitney trunk fixed to the back of a computer chair re-welded to make a nifty luggage rack

  2. #2
    Member praeses's Avatar
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    I do have one picture I'll try to dig up later of her sitting next to some adventure bikes on the ferry, I'll try to post that tomorrow when the time is able.



    Since then, I have taken her for a second ride with the above mentioned friend with the KL650. This ride was quite different than the first, it began and ended with about 30kms of pavement, but in the middle was about 110kms of gravel. This was my first real ride on gravel with anything other than a 100cc bike over a decade ago so I was curious to see how this bike would handle with a novice at the helm. Considering it ranged from higher speed packed gravel, to loose rolling pebbles in reverse banked corners, treacherous washboard, and dust it seemed to do fairly well. A couple things I feel need for improvement, as expected fuel range (as my jerrycan kept on trying to go for a ride) and acceleration a bit of a hindrance. I did however run into some noticeable issues when it came to flying over roads deactivated with big trenches. I did bottom out the front end a couple times and unfortunately found it tricky or near impossible to jump them especially on the uphill without much in the way of acceleration. I did find out how quickly I can stretch the chain while bouncing around potholes as it did fall off mid corner which resulted in me driving much more carefully on the ride home.



    I did order a blaster shock for cheap and will have to see how that goes. I intend to hunt around for a stiffer spring for it and I'm pondering the progressive springs mentioned in a few posts here on the forum. I am hoping to keep reading through the posts regarding front forks until I find something that will require little to nothing in machining and give me more height and travel, but that'll be for another night.



    The bike is now covered in dust and the chain tightened and looks like she has a story to tell.
    2008 TW200 Yamaha luggage rack w/small el-cheapo JC Whitney trunk and large tool tube, Jimbo Shield, re-wired headlight, Blaster Shock waiting to be installed.

    1989 TW200 Work in Progress

    1994 ZX6E (rebuilt transmission, then rebuilt replacement motor, then rebuilt transmission in replacement motor, fun fun) large JC Whitney trunk fixed to the back of a computer chair re-welded to make a nifty luggage rack

  3. #3
    Senior Member admiral's Avatar
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    Well, you certainly went out of your way to get a TW. Good for you! And what an adventure it was, buses, ferry's, long lonely roads. Guess you're getting to know the TW in quick order. Hope you enjoy it. Thanks for sharing your "purchase ride".
    Hidden Content A ride in the woods helps me relax and release tension. The fact I'm dragging a body should be entirely irrelevant?

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  5. #4
    Banned qwerty's Avatar
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    Yup, TWs are a blast on twisty roads. I think a TW spec roadracing class on the 203/204 tires would be a lot of fun.



    TWs are not motocross bikes. If you persist in riding like it is, it will eventually eject you unto the nearest big rock. Better to ride a TW like it's an offroad cruiser.



    If you were running more than 12psi air pressure that will cause all kinds of skittishness on gravel. Many tires available that outperform the stock TW32 on the front both on and off road.




  6. #5
    Member praeses's Avatar
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    Here's roughly most of the trek I took on my first day and picture next to two the rides of two of the touring folk ahead of me.









    Too bad I didn't stop to take a few more pictures along the way.
    2008 TW200 Yamaha luggage rack w/small el-cheapo JC Whitney trunk and large tool tube, Jimbo Shield, re-wired headlight, Blaster Shock waiting to be installed.

    1989 TW200 Work in Progress

    1994 ZX6E (rebuilt transmission, then rebuilt replacement motor, then rebuilt transmission in replacement motor, fun fun) large JC Whitney trunk fixed to the back of a computer chair re-welded to make a nifty luggage rack

  7. #6
    Senior Member lizrdbrth's Avatar
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    I don't think many can claim a 750 mile first ride on their TW.



    I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you.

    Powdercoated '87 frame, extended swingarm, YZ fork legs, ATV tire, 14/55, XT350 tank, spliced quick-release seat, disc brake conversion, beeg headlight, beeger rack, Lizrdcooler, Lizrdventz and bunch of other stuff all covered in invisible ink.

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  8. #7
    Senior Member Polarpilot's Avatar
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    800 kms in a day is very good long riding - well done!

  9. #8
    Member RodneyBR's Avatar
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    Wow... your hands and wrists must have been numb after that.

  10. #9
    Senior Member City Man's Avatar
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    Cool

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