I just finished my MSF safety training and haven't been on a bike in 20 years. My plans were to buy a Suzuki S40 or maybe a VStar 650 Custom, but after taking my training on a 2011 TW200, I'm starting to change my mind. I'm not planning on any long cross-country trips and 95% of my riding will be city commute of 40-50 miles/day. I really like dual sport versatility of the TW, and I'm not really convinced that I need a 650 when most of my riding will be 40 or 50mph - There is a 3 mile stretch of highway where the speed limit is 60, but I doubt that would be a real problem. Some of my concerns are if it would make a good choice for 200+ miles/week of commuting. How many miles can I expect out of the engine with proper maintenance? Are there any known problems with the TW200 that I should be concerned about? I read where the Suzuki S40 has minor noise/rattle problems, lean mixture backfiring and also cam chain wear issues, but most "problems" have easy fixes so that's not really too much of a concern - Just curious if there were any problems that are considered normal for the TW, or did Yamaha do a better job (than Suzuki) at fixing things on a model that has been around since the 80's? Any advice you can give me that would help make my decision easier would be appreciated. Should also mention that I'm 5'6" and 140lbs. And even after taking MSF training, I still wouldn't want to spend very much time in rush hour traffic in a city with 500,000 people...no matter what size bike I buy, so I'm not sure the "you'll outgrow it" option will really apply to me. Thanks.
2011 TW200 Hidden Content
I guess my question (and if you mentioned it, I passed it over perhaps?), is do you plan on only using the bike for on-road commuting or do you also plan to take it off-road? As much as I love my TW, were all my riding on-road I don't think it's the bike I'd pick. A daily 40-50 mile commute at the speeds you mention is also a bit much for the TW. The bike will do it and you'd not break anything, but I think you'd be more comfortable for street riding with something else.
Now... if you -do- plan of taking the bike off the pavement, that's a whole 'nother story. The TW -is- a true dual-sport, happy both on and off road which is something a street bike will not be and of course a pure "dirt bike" isn't what you'd want for on road use. If versatility is what you want, the TW is a great fit. If all your riding will be on the pavement, I'd think about something else.
You have me a bit worried about the daily commute now - As for going offroad, it would be a weekend thing. I didn't plan going offroad when I decided to get back into riding, but that was mainly because of bike choices. I never hauled much of anything, until I bought a truck a few years ago - figure what you ride/drive can tend to change your normal habits due to their possibilities, or limitations. But I do live in a rural area where finding a trail would not be a problem. When I rode bikes 20 years ago, I had my share of 400-650cc street bikes and it seems like I spent more time polishing the chrome then I did actually riding. My first bike, and favorite, was a 1974 Red/White Yamaha DT125 dual purpose and didn't worry about getting it dirty, like I did with later bikes. Probably had more seat time on that bike than I did on my 5 street bikes combined. Could be why I stopped riding bikes 20 years ago - just stopped being fun.
Bikes like many things are tools and as such have sizes and shapes for specific duties.
If I was to have 2 wheels for commuting my best bike for that was a Burgman 650 scooter
and in your case a Burgman 400. Safer, storage for special clothing. (surprise rain) helmets and purchases.
TW is fun and of course I have one but think of it as an explorer bike. I am not such a fan as to recommend it for all situations.
A more do it all I had was a DRZ 400 50 mpg and full speed capable.
I have a TW and a Honda Rebel 250, the TW is much better on gravel roads and has a top speed of 68 mph and cruses nicly at speeds up to 55 mph. The rebel is a much better hiway bike. It tops out at 78 mph and will cruse good at 70 mph and handles better under windy conditions. both bikes are effected by headwinds due to their small engines.I also have a Honda silverwing 600 scooter which has 60,000 miles and is my best hiway bike to date, but stay away from gravel roads.
40-50 miles/day...so you ride 20-25 city miles to work with traffic lights/stop signs and speed limits from 40-50 with a 3 mile stretch of 60?...doesn't sound too bad of a commute for a TW...but depending where you live and how people drive where you are, you may want a little more "get out of trouble power" especially if you're going to be riding 100% road...but if you just want the option of being able to go off-road then just go buy one
imo as far as issues they seem to be pretty bulletproof as well as being easy to work on
Look at the Suzuki GZ250 - good for commuting and much more comfortable on the road, 60-65+mph, 60-65+mpg. simple, easy to work on, very reliable, (I used to own one 'till I moved up to a bigger bike), great website (like this). You have to decide what you want the bike for, not any one will fulfill all your needs. The TW is a great bike for it's intended use, not so great for daily commuting unless you change to more street friendly tires, and even then it's a compromise.
Highway travel is just an option - I never have to see the highway at all, if I don't want to. I guess if the TW was a 350 instead of a 200 I wouldn't even have posted this topic. The TW200 just appeals to me because it's not limited to paved roads, even if my offroad riding only accounts for 5% of my riding. And because I'm afraid I'll resort back to my never-ending chrome polisher habits if I pick the Suzuki S40.