Yamaha TW200 in need of upgrades for its’ new 6’2” 222ib. rider
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Thread: Yamaha TW200 in need of upgrades for its’ new 6’2” 222ib. rider

  1. #1
    Senior Member Little Brute's Avatar
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    Yamaha TW200 in need of upgrades for its’ new 6’2” 222ib. rider

    Hello all! That's me on my first bike in the avitar. My uncle made it while in the Air Force. Has airplane tires and the frame was galvanized plumbing pipe, complete with threaded angle joints for the bends. The entire neighbor had a blast on that thing!

    Picked up a 2003 Yamaha TW200 with less than 500 miles on it recently. I haven’t ridden in over 30 years (I’m 55). Raced TT, Scrambles and Motocross in the 1970’s as a pre-teen and teenager, then got out of the sport when you had to buy a new bike each year to keep up with the rapidly changing technology just to be competitive; mostly suspension related at that time. As you can see by the title of this thread I can certainly fit onto a larger bike, but this little “Trail Way” runner is what I was looking for to compliment my 4X4 Adventure Rig. Hoping to use it for getting back in places the mighty 4X4 can’t go, like that secluded trout lake with only a narrow trail or hopping from spot to spot around a base camp. The license plate is a great plus too. That will get me onto both paved and dirt roads that any unplated dirt bike just can’t go legally.

    This 2003 TW200 has white body work, dark gray metallic frame, silver gas tank and black/sliver seat with YAMAHA plastered on each side, plus graphics here and there. It still has all the safety stickers too. The carburetor float bowl overflow leaks if you don’t remember to turn the petcock off and the chain is jerky when getting on and off the throttle. The battery is new, but it’s a cheap $25 special with battery tender wire attached. From what I can tell, it is 100% stock and probably never touched other than a few oil changes based on time, not mileage. The air cleaner was clean and oiled. Motor oil is the right color and correct level. As with any used bike purchase it is best to do a full maintenance if there is no documentation proving when it was done last, so up on the rear axle stand it went and the wrenches started turning.

    First purchases were: 3 quarts of oil (1 for the oil change and 2 to have on hand), K&N high-flow oil filter, K&N air cleaner (just because I have always had great experiences with them in the past) and a can of chain lube. The oil change was a no brainer. There was a little bit of metal shavings on the OEM oil filter, which I cleaned and saved (it is reusable). The K&N oil filter had all four holes in the correct place and one quart filled it perfectly to the right level in the inspection window. The chain was simple to adjust as well. Just one indent tighter on the cog adjustment washer did the trick, putting the tension at the tight end of the variance stated in the manual. A good lubing finished off the preparation for its' first outing to Hungry Valley, CA. I didn’t address the carburetor overflow leak, as it is only an issue if you park it and forget to turn off the petcock, but it will get addressed eventually.

    The aesthetics of the bike aren’t bad, but after spending some time looking at the it from different angles and making mental changes to this and that; I quickly removed all the graphics and safety stickers (after reading them of course). I reapplied the tire inflation sticker to the backside of the headlight faring, but found those tire pressures are way too much for dirt riding (probably designed for the pavement?). An all white bike with all black seat seems a much better look that will show off the bikes natural lines better. Personally, I think Yamaha did a good job on the bikes natural lines and bodywork. It’s debatable if the graphics add to that or take away from it. I like the all white look that resulted, but the silver tank will have to go at some point. It needs to be white as well.

    Here she is stripped of her OEM graphics:
    Last edited by Little Brute; 05-27-2015 at 08:16 PM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Little Brute's Avatar
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    My first test run outing was to Hungry Valley in Gorman, CA with a group of friends that all have 250cc-450cc dirt bikes that are almost race worthy. Needless to say the little TW200 couldn’t keep up when the pace increased, but it always got me there in the end. I quickly discovered the stock setup doesn’t seem to be designed for someone of my size and weight. No lifting the front end over the whoops and powering through; up and down I had to go in true pogo-stick fashion. No power braking; or the front suspension dive might send me over the bars, wash out the front end or both. No using the throttle to correct a drift to the outside of a turn; only slowing in hopes that I can decrease my speed to the point the front wheel will guide me out of the turn safely – throttle response just wasn’t there (It’s funny how more power is more safety, to a point anyway). No long rides; or the low crouched position on that semi-padded somewhat narrow seat might bruise my bum. No lengthy trials riding in a standing position either; or my back might never straighten up again.

    You might think this initial test ride would prompt me to give up on the Trail Way and get something larger, but that isn’t what I wanted when I bought it; nor is it what I need for what my intended uses are. Thus, I have arrived here to prep my new adventure toy for this 6’2” 222lb. body in hopes you all can help me and this post will assist others in a similar situation. The following will document my personalization of this “T-Dub” (as I see you all call them) into something that fits me better, supports my weight better, handles much better and has clean good looking lines worthy of a much pricier adventure toy. So off I go on another adventure.

    I survived that Hungry Valley pogo-sticking experience on a low hard narrow seat with too low handlebars and crouched sitting position with a smile on my face. Heck, it was my first time on a motorcycle in about 30 years! What’s not fun about that, no matter what the ergonomics turned out to be for my large frame on this little bike? I hope you will join me in my quest for improvements.

    Added back my first sticker which seemed fitting for this small, slow moving and “Little Brute”:
    Last edited by Little Brute; 05-22-2015 at 04:51 PM.
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    Senior Member TW-Brian's Avatar
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    Welcome to the forum, and congratulations on scoring a nice looking, low mileage TW!
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  5. #4
    Senior Member Little Brute's Avatar
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    Thanks for the welcome TW-Brian! It's hard to believe a bike can be 12 years old and ridden less than 500 miles. PO said it set at their Palm Springs home most of the time.

    Once home I started my improvement wish list. First the suspension in the front forks has to be stiffened up. Not sure if the rear shock needs it too, but that can be addressed after the forks. The handlebars need to be higher and maybe even further forward or foot pegs back a little (?). And finally the seat needs to be higher and wider or at least higher and more comfortable (why not make it all black at the same time and get rid of the labeling and silver). I can’t really judge the bike until the suspension is corrected and the standing position improved, so the first thing I ordered was the simple Tusk 30mm handlebar risers to see if that will do the trick on the cheap, without having to change out cables. I found the expensive 3” High PowerMadd 7/8” Diameter Adjustable Risers that allow movement up and forward only after I had ordered the simple 30mm risers or I may have gone straight to those if I know the cables will stretch that far (would love to know if they will?). The ProTaper SE High ATV handlebars appear to be another option others are installing. Who knows, I may need the ProTaper SE High ATV bars and PowerMadd 3” Adjustable Riser to get me where I need to be in the end (would also love to know if this even higher arrangement requires new cables?)

    Haven’t done any time on the T-Dub with the 30mm risers yet or the new sticker (Ha, ha, ha… ) to evaluate the improvement. I want to check the fork oil level to see if improvements can be had without the expense of a pair of ProCycle 40% stiffer front fork springs. I’m probably just dream-hoping it will…

    What do you experienced T-Dub’ers think is the best first step towards proper heavy-weight handling?

    I’m going to go check out Motorcycle Ergonomics now, that a member here mentioned in their thread for a starting point. Seems like a proper place to start and get some base readings.
    Last edited by Little Brute; 05-22-2015 at 05:19 PM.
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  6. #5
    rbm
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    Hello and welcome! Check out the ProCycle springs for the front end, they make a world of difference. Two inches seems to be the n=max for raising the bars before you need to address the clutch and throttle cables.
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    Senior Member TW-Brian's Avatar
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    I cut a couple of 3/4" long spacers out of some PVC conduit that I had laying around and popped them into the top of the fork legs. This stiffened them up and reduced the bottoming out for me. It is a quick and easy thing to try and see if it helps things for you.

    100_5087.JPG
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    Senior Member RockyTFS's Avatar
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    Also, check the fork oil level with the springs and spacers out...it is often too low. At your weight, you might try 125mm, most of us use 130 from the top. Mine from the factory were over 140mm! No wonder they bottomed out!
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    Rocky
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  9. #8
    Senior Member Little Brute's Avatar
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    After spending some time on the ergonomics site comparing the TW200 to other bikes I've sat on and ridden that are comfortable for my hieght and inseam, it looks like I'm going to need a 2.5"-3" increase in the seat height. That should get me close to a proper/comfortable position when sitting. Most riding on this bike will be in the sitting postion, so this is high priority for me.

    Quote Originally Posted by rbm View Post
    Hello and welcome! Check out the ProCycle springs for the front end, they make a world of difference. Two inches seems to be the n=max for raising the bars before you need to address the clutch and throttle cables.
    Hi rbm! I was hoping 3" on the bars was doable, but may not need it. Has anyone tried angling the PowerMadd 3" riser forward with stock cables? I'd have to get out a calculator to see what degree forward will result in 2" hieght (just thinking out loud). I did find THIS SITE that outlines this TW200 owners installation of ProTaper SE ATV High bars. There is a nice picture there that I couldn't copy of that bar compared to the stock one. All angles other than height sure look close.

    Quote Originally Posted by TW-Brian View Post
    I cut a couple of 3/4" long spacers out of some PVC conduit that I had laying around and popped them into the top of the fork legs. This stiffened them up and reduced the bottoming out for me. It is a quick and easy thing to try and see if it helps things for you.
    Certainly worth a try as I work through this TW-Brian. I never bottom out on my initial test ride, but didn't really push the bike hard. Being way to soft and springy appeared to be the biggest issue.

    Quote Originally Posted by RockyTFS View Post
    Also, check the fork oil level with the springs and spacers out...it is often too low. At your weight, you might try 125mm, most of us use 130 from the top. Mine from the factory were over 140mm! No wonder they bottomed out!
    Hi RockyTFS! Thanks for the heads up on the levels. A fork oil check is certainly first on the list.
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    TW200 "Little Brute" is gone - Waiting to see what 2016 brings (WR250R/CRF250 RALLY/KTM390/Africa Twin or E-bicycle?)

  10. #9
    Senior Member Little Brute's Avatar
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    Upgrade list:
    (THIS WILL BE A COMPREHENSIVE LIST OF UPGRADES MADE OVER TIME)


    1) Tusk 30mm handlebar risers (5/2015)
    2) DMO Specialties ZERO Offset Wide Foot Pegs (6/2015)
    3) CyleRacks Rear Rack (6/2015)
    4) ProTaper Pillow Top Grips (6/2015)
    5) SpeedMetal XL Gel Seat Pad (6/2015)
    6) Added 3/4" Spacers and set fork oil level at 130mm (It was at 150mm from the factory)



    NOTE: WATCH OUT FOR CHINESE KNOCK-OFFS THAT ARE NOT MANUFACTURED CORRECTLY, DON'T FIT OR ARE NOT THE SAME QUALITY!
    Last edited by Little Brute; 06-06-2015 at 06:03 PM.
    TW200 "Little Brute" is gone - Waiting to see what 2016 brings (WR250R/CRF250 RALLY/KTM390/Africa Twin or E-bicycle?)

  11. #10
    Senior Member Little Brute's Avatar
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    Are Seat Concepts and Fisher the only known options for the seat other than a custom upholstery shop?
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    TW200 "Little Brute" is gone - Waiting to see what 2016 brings (WR250R/CRF250 RALLY/KTM390/Africa Twin or E-bicycle?)

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