Sometimes it's the small things that count .......
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Thread: Sometimes it's the small things that count .......

  1. #1
    Super Moderator Purple's Avatar
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    Sometimes it's the small things that count .......

    Figured I’d post this up as a combination of a “ride report” and a “comparison test” – it seems to fit both bills. As some of you will already know, I have a TW200 and a TW225 here, but this is the first time I’ve had a chance to take them both out together, and to put both bikes through their paces over the same ground.

    To start with, you need to know the age and condition of both bikes. The TW225 is a 2007 with just under 7000 miles on the clock, bog standard, excellent overall mechanical condition, recently serviced, TW203 and TW204 front and rear. The TW200 is a 1998, same mileage, same mechanical condition, but with a TW34 on the back, and a Heidenau K60 on the front – so other than the year and tires, two factory standard bikes that are well looked after. (The TW225 referred to above is not a bored out modified machine, it is a standard Yamaha production line model).

    I had someone over last week who is used to a Serrow, and who can break something just by proximity – a couple of months ago he reversed his car into his Ducati 851 Spada - so this became more than just a road test, this one would involve “durability”. Over the next three days, we put both bikes through their paces, holding nothing back …..


    35.png - frogs.jpg

    Only on Anglesey can you find these signs one after the other ……


    We started off fairly gently, with me on the 225 simply because it’s a “special edition”, and had a new front tire that needed scrubbing in – I figured that if anyone was going to drop it, then it ought to be me, knowing full well that he’d be that saddle before the week was over. The first signs of paranoia set in as a noticed that the oil level window on the 200 was showing “more than full” with the bike on the side stand when we made our first stop. This turned out to be a false alarm, as I soon discovered that by parking the bike with the front wheel lower than the rear (on the slightest of inclines) can cause this, but I found myself tapping on the side of the float bowl with a Zippo (just in case).


    dulas 1.jpg


    We had a nice easy ride on the first day, as both riders got to know their respective bikes. Besides, as you can see from the front tire on the TW225, it needed some work on it.


    start point.jpg


    The “rather competent” front disc didn’t help either, which was far better than the drum on the TW200 which I’m used to. How the disc brake compares to a more modern TW200 I have no idea, but on gravel sand rocks and grass, (we went through the lot) - I could lock the front wheel up (just for fun). Curiously, both the slightly larger rear drum on the 225 and the standard drum on the 200 were pronounced “weak” by both riders, and needed a fair bit of wellie to get a lock on, which we were both doing frequently as the roads and tracks got rougher. When you’re heading down a 35% grade hill cover in fine grit and grass, on a bike that’s worth over 5000 dollars, with a brand new front tire, which happens to be a TW203 - (with a chance of frogs) – well, you get the idea.


    middle pic.jpg


    We did actually consider crossing the bay pictured above, it’s only a quarter mile, but if you run into trouble out there, you only have half an hour until the tide comes in, and we didn’t have any rope – perhaps another day ……..
    AGman, dogonit, Hidebound and 11 others like this.
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    Super Moderator Purple's Avatar
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    But – on with the details …….

    The first thing I noticed about the TW225 were the dimensions – it feels just like the 200, rides just like the 200, but there the similarities end. It’s mostly to do with the lump as you’d expect, which is a lot more than simply 25 extra cc’s. Cosmetically it’s nearly identical, but the closer you look, the more you start to appreciate the finishing touches. No more JIS screws, this thing uses proper bolts to hold the casings together – and then there’s the rather cumbersome de-compression lever, designed to be automatically activated just by the kick starter. Again, like the bolts above, you can debate the usefulness, but it looks far more like a “finished” product than the TW engine.


    0353-11.jpg . 0353-10.jpg


    It’s a bit smoother and quieter too, both on tick over and on “full chat”. With the 200, the revs are only limited by how much noise your ears can take, and how much faith you have in the resulting vibrations not tearing the bike apart from under you. On the 225, you can actually hear the detonations getting louder as you open the throttle as a distinct and quite separate noise. This means that you can “read” the engine revs through your ears, rather than frantically stabbing the gear lever into the “phantom 6th” in desperation at the overall noise.

    The power band (yes, we are still taking about TW’s) seems to come in bit lower, perhaps around five and a half instead of six, and is still noticeable, but this time as more of a “surge”. This is perhaps more detectable simply because you’re no longer pushing the engine so hard, relying on the torque for the most part until the revs find their “happy point”, and you find yourself winding the throttle back down in response. It’s not until you get it up to 50 or 60mph that you really need it, at which stage you’ll find yourself propelled uphill at 65mph with ease (certainly compared to the 200). As previously mentioned, there are less futile searches for that elusive 6th gear, as the corresponding lack of noise keeps you in tune with the combustion side of the engine, so there’s less temptation to search for 6th to stop the engine from blowing up – I think I looked for 6th twice in three days, whereas on the 200 it would be more like twice a day.

    But first gear on a “racing start” will have you leaning forwards to keep the front tire on the deck as it starts skipping, and it feels as though deliberately pulling a wheelie would be fairly easy. Partly to do with the “launch torque”, and partly to do with the power band kicking in – combine the two and it goes off like a sparrow with a rocket up its arse. On the 200 with its shorter first gear, this would result in frantically trying to engage second, but not so on the 225.

    Although you are still on what is unmistakably a “TW”, you find yourself adjusting to the differences of the engine, and changing your riding style and techniques accordingly. We spent three days last week taking these two TW’s down just about every kind of road imaginable, gravel tracks, pebble beaches, mud, grass, the lot. At one point, a woman looked on in disbelief as we continued on past her house, down a lane that a horse would have struggled to negotiate. Through the “rough stuff”, there was little to distinguish between the two bikes, both of them will still shake your teeth loose, and on the 225 I was too busy trying to keep it upright to even notice the difference in gearing. It was only on the open roads (where at least some tarmac remained visible) that you could appreciate the subtleties of “torque” and start to explore the bike rather than the terrain.

    They handle the same, brake the same, both equally capable of covering the same ground – both even give you that familiar “arse ache” after a few hours in the stock saddle. It’s only out on the open road that the difference seems to matter, and even then only at speeds of 30mph and above.
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  3. #3
    Super Moderator Purple's Avatar
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    We continued to take advantage of the good weather, covering 60 to 80 miles a day as we explored some of the Islands remotest roads and beaches.


    pic12.jpg . pic 10.jpg


    One thing that is worth a mention, is that the air valve on the rear tire of the 225 is an absolute pig to get to, it’s so tight in there (bigger rear hub) that we gave up on petrol station forecourts, and had to resort to sorting the pressure out before leaving. The TW203 / 204 combination remained problematic, as the slightest rut in the road (and oh boy, we had some ruts) would result in the bike “wandering”, and it was doing the “Ali shuffle” for most of it. Not a big problem for either of us, but compared to the TW34 (which would simply ride in a straight line through and over anything) performance was “disappointing”. Having tried both, I now have the 203 / 204 tagged as “road tires”, and “good roads” at that — anything else and they start to “float”.


    pic57.jpg . pic 7.jpg


    Overall — we had a blast — no mishaps — no break downs — just two guys having fun without the “need for speed” — which is exactly what the TW’s are all about.

    In summary — if I was trying to follow Fred down the trail, the 200 would be my first choice. It will do most things, and still puts a grin on my face. If I was “cruising in the sunshine” it would probably be the 225, simply because it’s a more relaxed ride at anything over 30mph. It’s still a “mountain goat”, but perhaps a bit more refined than the 200, but the basic “honesty” of the 200 still has its place.

    Would I buy a TW225 again ? — perhaps

    Would I buy a TW200 again ? — hell yes


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  5. #4
    Senior Member Color Of The Day's Avatar
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    Where did the 225 come from?
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  6. #5
    Super Moderator Purple's Avatar
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    I had it brought over directly from Japan


    0353-13.jpg
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  7. #6
    Senior Member elime's Avatar
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    Excellent report. Thanks.

    I found when I changed the rear brake lever to a longer one the rear wheel skidded much easier.

    The rear brake was also squealing and I sanded the drum and shoes so that may have also played a part in better working brakes.

    P4280054.JPG
    Long live the internal combustion engine!

  8. #7
    Senior Member Smitty Blackstone's Avatar
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    What is this "wheelie" thing you mentioned?

    Excellent comparison, and excellent writing from someone who lives way far away....


    Thank you.

  9. #8
    Senior Member Fred's Avatar
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    Leave it to an englishman to have fun locking up the front brake! On 35% grades with a chance of frogs too. No wonder we enjoy purple's prose so much.
    2003 TW200 "Betty Boop"
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  10. #9
    Senior Member lbxr's Avatar
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    I would love to see a pic of the rear hub on the 225. Is it all aluminum? The tw200 rear hub is VERY heavy!
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  11. #10
    Senior Member Fred's Avatar
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    IBXR, you trying to lighten your TW up even more via a hub swap?
    I saw his bike in Moab and he has shaved more than a few pounds off his bike reducing it to it's primal TW essence while also adding displacement and a sixth gear. Impressive power and lightness ...probably has helium in the tires and forks to boot.
    littletommy, lbxr and Miaugi like this.
    2003 TW200 "Betty Boop"
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