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Discussion Starter #1
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I bought a KLR650 as my first bike, loaded it up, and moved down Baja and across mainland Mexico for six months. I am traveling indefinitely, ideally all the way to Argentina if the pandemic allows for it eventually, while working remotely from my laptop. The KLR was a great first bike to learn from and is totally capable of handling diverse terrains, including highways. But for my needs, the KLR is too fast, too heavy, and doesn’t support my prefered (very) slow travel style. I am willing to sacrifice the benefits that come with an Enduro — keeping up with highway speeds, better suspension, etc., for the benefits that come with a slower, lightweight motorcycle — slow travel on backroads and strolling through towns and forests in between major cities.

I would like to challenge myself with difficult terrains, not for the adrenaline rush but rather for the slow exploration of landscapes and its flora and fauna. In sum: I want less stimulation from a fast, heavy motorcycle and more focus on my surroundings. After a lot of comparative research across different light motorcycles, I keep returning to the TW200 as the ideal bike for my needs.

I am planning to live off the bike entirely (in minimal fashion) for the coming years — camping gear, water, work laptop, the works. My current setup was designed for the KLR along with two hard panniers, but with the two bikes’ equal 400 lbs capacity, I figure I can move to soft panniers while removing some excess items.

For anyone that has lugged around some weight on a TW200, is the playfulness gone?

Ideal riding style
- Lengthier days of 45-55mph peppered with stops to look at plants, maybe between 75-175 miles per day, but not for too many days in a row. Can it handle this style for ~20k miles over the course of let’s say in 1 year?

- Some days I’ll climb 6000’+ and then descend the same. Will a loaded bike have consequent power issues here with the high pressure variance? (What kind of jetting is recommended for touring in this manner?)

- Some windy days on vast flat planes, Mexico has many of these. How does the bike fair in high wind generally? I read here that there can be some pesky carb interference in high wind environments.

- Long off-road and off, off-road slow exploration, but not to test the bike’s limits or play around as much as simply to see interesting flora or find novel camp sites.

- Are there any specific manufacturing years to watch out for? (The 2008/2009 KLR, for example, is known to guzzle oil.)


Does this sound realistic, or do I need disillusioning? Would love to hear from people that have taken long trips on the mule.
 

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Well, from my time with a TW200, I can tell you the bike can get the shit kicked out of it and still get back up, it handles my weight and whatever I carry, with my gear I'm probably right around 380, so as long as you can get the right saddlebags (I might shy away from heavily loading any racks up since the punishment on those will be more directly structural), the bike should handle the weight.

Also, it comes down to money=comfort/upgrades, so depending on what you want to spend, your TW can be a torqued-out sea-couch, or an agile big wheel motorcycle.

I would recommend getting some kind of dial-a-jet, as elevation will impact your mixture. Riding at 3200+ and coming from sea level, I noticed a lot of missing during operation. My reluctance to install my dual-a-jet brought great disappointment yesterday.

I honestly think with regular maintenance and a few maintenance-oriented upgrades (o/x-ring chain), you'd be fine running that bike into the ground.
 

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Bienvenidos amigo.
The TW200 will crawl perfectly around peublos and ciudades, and through the selvas you're likely to encounter. That's the good part.
...Now, the potential bad part... I typically don't ride my TW's above 50 mph for extended periods. They pretty much top-out at around 55. This can be problematic when you're travelling long distances on highways or trying to make time between destinations. It can be frustrating when you're on a road were people are generally travelling faster than this.
This being said, it's Mexico, and people impeding traffic are commonplace, so you'd probably fit right in.

If you do this on a TW, you may want to consider buying a larger, aftermarket fuel tank. As you're aware from travelling Baja, it can be a long distance between fuel stops, and the TW200 stock fuel tank is relatively small.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Bienvenidos amigo.
The TW200 will crawl perfectly around peublos and ciudades, and through the selvas you're likely to encounter. That's the good part.
...Now, the potential bad part... I typically don't ride my TW's above 50 mph for extended periods. They pretty much top-out at around 55. This can be problematic when you're travelling long distances on highways or trying to make time between destinations. It can be frustrating when you're on a road were people are generally travelling faster than this.
This being said, it's Mexico, and people impeding traffic are commonplace, so you'd probably fit right in.

If you do this on a TW, you may want to consider buying a larger, aftermarket fuel tank. As you're aware from travelling Baja, it can be a long distance between fuel stops, and the TW200 stock fuel tank is relatively small.
Thanks! Yeah, those desert rides were wild long. I did one night out in Cataviña with the nearest pemex stations being out of order — even my 6.1 gallon needed some help from a 2.5L Coke bottle of fuel. So beautiful.

Are there any consequences of sticking at 55mph for an extended period of time other than vehicles flying by? On the engine?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Well, from my time with a TW200, I can tell you the bike can get the shit kicked out of it and still get back up, it handles my weight and whatever I carry, with my gear I'm probably right around 380, so as long as you can get the right saddlebags (I might shy away from heavily loading any racks up since the punishment on those will be more directly structural), the bike should handle the weight.

Also, it comes down to money=comfort/upgrades, so depending on what you want to spend, your TW can be a torqued-out sea-couch, or an agile big wheel motorcycle.

I would recommend getting some kind of dial-a-jet, as elevation will impact your mixture. Riding at 3200+ and coming from sea level, I noticed a lot of missing during operation. My reluctance to install my dual-a-jet brought great disappointment yesterday.

I honestly think with regular maintenance and a few maintenance-oriented upgrades (o/x-ring chain), you'd be fine running that bike into the ground.
That jet system is a wonderful recommendation!
 

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Thanks! Yeah, those desert rides were wild long. I did one night out in Cataviña with the nearest pemex stations being out of order — even my 6.1 gallon needed some help from a 2.5L Coke bottle of fuel. So beautiful.

Are there any consequences of sticking at 55mph for an extended period of time other than vehicles flying by? On the engine?
Isn't Catavina beautiful?! It's one of my favorite places.

55mph is sustainable - It's just the top end.

One other thing I'll mention - the TW200 saddle is not the most comfortable for long rides. I can handle a couple hours and then I have to stop. If you're planning on long days of riding, consider your butt. There's a reason the larger x-country bikes are so comfortable. You don't want to be miserable. I've heard there are a couple options for upgrading the TW200 saddle, but I've not experienced these.
 

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Yea, I have to agree with everyone who mentioned it, unless you are prepared to destroy all nerve endings in your butt, a seat concepts seat kit, or custom seat, anything that has more foam volume and density is a must.

Your hindparts will thank you.
 

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I think you should consider a Suzuki VanVan for only two reasons.

1... It has a comfortable upholstered seat instead of the TW 2x4 up the crack.

2... Fuel injected. It knows the difference between sea level and 9,000 feet.

I own both the TW200 and the VanVan. Nearly identical bikes. Both trying to do the same thing. Both very forgiveable at low speeds. Both love going 35mph or 55mph.

The VanVan comes geared much higher than the TW200. I have mine geared about 1 front sprocket tooth higher than the TW now and like it. Does 55-60 for hours with no complaints and carries a good load. I plan an Alaskan trip eventually.

Both bikes need a larger fuel tank. I am getting by with Roto Pax.



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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks for all the wonderful input.

I looked into both the VanVan and the XT225/250 and what has me coming back to the TW is its lower speed and off roading performance. These past six months in Mexico have been really informative — I want something that keeps me moving much slower and actively encourages off road exploration. The 225/250 is great, but it looks to me sort of like a bigger enduro, at least in the photos I’ve seen. I’d like to avoid that look as I’ve found that cars are far more forgiving towards small motos that move slowly than towards larger ones moving slowly. The VanVan also looks wonderful, but the lower suspension and less off road proclivity has me hesitating. Looks like the dial-a-jet could help offset its fuel injection benefit. And I’m definitely getting a new seat!

Thanks for sharing those photos, [mention]Loghousenut [/mention] — super helpful and encouraging to see them loaded up!

And [mention]imlost [/mention], it is absurd how beautiful and otherworldly.

—————

It is tempting to want to farkalize the bike to no-end. But I really only want the necessaries for my aforementioned riding style. Based on those, what you think I don’t need on this list, or what am I really missing:

  • Bar risers pivotable
  • Seat concepts tall for the knee bend and buttocks.
  • ATV high handlebars. I’m 6’ tall with a 30’ inseam. Maybe this isn’t necessary.
  • XT225 4.1 gal. tank. I don’t like the enduro look it gives but I see no alternatives for the range. Bummer that only 3.5 gal is accessible.
  • What front tire would be recommended for touring?
  • Skid plate
  • Kickstarter mod
  • soft luggage
  • Brighter lights
  • Foot peg upgrade
  • Front and back rack
  • X-ring chain
  • dial-a-jet
Are upgraded forks really necessary? Will I be unable to explore off road fully-loaded without them?

—————

I’m trying to find a TW200 I can see in person before buying one — I’ll be in South Texas in a few more days of riding. If anybody knows someone down there, all I want to do is hop on and see how it feels.
 

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Thanks for all the wonderful input.

I looked into both the VanVan and the XT225/250 and what has me coming back to the TW is its lower speed and off roading performance. These past six months in Mexico have been really informative — I want something that keeps me moving much slower and actively encourages off road exploration. The 225/250 is great, but it looks to me sort of like a bigger enduro, at least in the photos I’ve seen. I’d like to avoid that look as I’ve found that cars are far more forgiving towards small motos that move slowly than towards larger ones moving slowly. The VanVan also looks wonderful, but the lower suspension and less off road proclivity has me hesitating. Looks like the dial-a-jet could help offset its fuel injection benefit. And I’m definitely getting a new seat!

Thanks for sharing those photos, [mention]Loghousenut [/mention] — super helpful and encouraging to see them loaded up!

And [mention]imlost [/mention], it is absurd how beautiful and otherworldly.

—————

It is tempting to want to farkalize the bike to no-end. But I really only want the necessaries for my aforementioned riding style. Based on those, what you think I don’t need on this list, or what am I really missing:

  • Bar risers pivotable
  • Seat concepts tall for the knee bend and buttocks.
  • ATV high handlebars. I’m 6’ tall with a 30’ inseam. Maybe this isn’t necessary.
  • XT225 4.1 gal. tank. I don’t like the enduro look it gives but I see no alternatives for the range. Bummer that only 3.5 gal is accessible.
  • What front tire would be recommended for touring?
  • Skid plate
  • Kickstarter mod
  • soft luggage
  • Brighter lights
  • Foot peg upgrade
  • Front and back rack
  • X-ring chain
  • dial-a-jet
Are upgraded forks really necessary? Will I be unable to explore off road fully-loaded without them?

—————

I’m trying to find a TW200 I can see in person before buying one — I’ll be in South Texas in a few more days of riding. If anybody knows someone down there, all I want to do is hop on and see how it feels.
If this bike is going to be glued to your cheeks for any serious period of time, unless you like the feeling of slamming into something solid on a regular basis (regarding off road exploration, this excludes things like groomed gravel roads and improved roads). 6" of travel isn't much, and loaded with gear, stock suspension is gonna feel it. Just from a functionality perspective, fork springs and upgraded shock spring for any long duration/heavy duty off road riding is a must. It ain't gonna turn it into graham jarvis' husqavarna, but you'll probably not bottom out as much if at all.

Based on what you want to do with the bike, I would humbly suggest the upgrades in order of priority:

function and protection
x/o-ring chain
fork springs and rear shock spring
Handlebars/Bark busters
Footpegs
Racks
Dial-a-jet

comfort and enjoyment upgrades
Seat concepts
Skid plate
Upgrade lights (if you do night riding)
Luggage
Kickstarter
New fuel tank

The order of this list is just based on your comments, others will have other opinions about what's important, I just broke it down from a cost vs function perspective, so take it with a grain of salt.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
@TWBigBlake, this is very thoughtful and informative I had the upgraded forks on my radar, but as a down-the-road-thing. Shock spring wasn't even on the radar. Let me throw out some rough figures on what I think I'll be carrying, if you don't mind indulging me —

185me, geared up
44personal luggage on the tail
10water
10camping/cooking gear
13repair tools, patch equipment, spares, moto miscelania. All of it on the bike.
5pannier luggage
14wet 4.1 XT225 gas can upgrade differential.
3.5top rack
3.5pannier rack
3.5front rack
4.2skid plate
15new seat (presumably heavier) + kickstarter + lights + dial-a-jet + barkbusers + mics. miscelania.
5food
315.7total lbs

Assuming that I'm likely only off by +/-40lbs, I'm probably drawing close to that limit of 400 lbs. So, I see what you mean — the shock spring and upgraded fork will likely help. Which one of those two would you say is priority?
 

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Heavier springs front and rear make it feel like real motorcycle. I felt like I was on a kids rocking horse before I did mine. Well worth it.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Heavier springs front and rear make it feel like real motorcycle. I felt like I was on a kids rocking horse before I did mine. Well worth it.
I’m not trying to be facetious, but what do you mean by that comparison?

My bike experience is as follows and this is all I know:

I rented a 150cc bike, and drove it 2-up with 75lbs of luggage through northern Vietnam for a month. The bike was barely moving on those mountains at times. Then I bought a KLR650, thinking more power was better and drove it around Mexico for 6 months feeling like I was constantly going too fast, carrying too much weight, and feeling hesitant about adventuring because of the bike’s weight.

I’m looking for something fun to ride and live off, that’s what attracts me to the TW200, will those upgrades downgrade that fun factor?


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I'm a gentleman on the larger side and weigh about as much as your loaded bike will be. Before I did the springs front and rear it was terrible. So soft it felt like a kids rocking horse. Sit on it and almost bottom out, hit the front brakes and it would dive several inches. Might as well have been a stretched out "Slinky" spring. It felt like a real motorcycle after changing them. Handling was much much better. I think it even went faster... ;) You don't want to be bottoming out on everything and they make a world of difference.

*** true fact: The Yamaha engineers designed the bike for a 135 lb japanese rider. (I'm not one of those guys)

You might be able to get away with adding a few cc's of oil on the front to make it slower to compress and rebound (or at least try it first before buying) the front springs but considering your plans for riding and the weight involved, I'd just go ahead and get them.

Procycle springs

The bike will be better and the fun factor should go up,
A proper rear spring will give a smoother more controlled ride. No more bottoming and better traction and confidence off-road.

If you (with all your gear on!) weigh up to 220 lbs, you want the 15 kg/mm spring. 225 lbs and up will want the 19 kg/mm spring for the rear. The fancy kits with the emulators and such for the Front would be the bee's knees if you can afford them. I just went with the .70 kg/mm rear spring and was very very pleased with it.
Keep us posted please.
 
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I see posts recommending all kinds of mods and add-ons. Imho the TW is pretty capable right out of the box. Buy one and put a couple of thousand miles on it before your big trip, then decide what you need to change.
 

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I’m not trying to be facetious, but what do you mean by that comparison?
Littletommy is very right, one of the things that the fork spring upgrade fixes is the front end diving during braking. The rear shock spring upgrade will help with traction and handling over rough terrain and actually allow some cushioning with your bike loaded down.

I would say you kind of need to do both if you decide to do one... but if you had to prioritize, I'd do forks first, so you don't make braking harder and the front end won't act a little squirrelly when you stiffen up the rear of the bike with a stiffer spring.
 

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I see posts recommending all kinds of mods and add-ons. Imho the TW is pretty capable right out of the box. Buy one and put a couple of thousand miles on it before your big trip, then decide what you need to change.
Im pretty sure he's planning on living on the bike for a hot minute... and these are just recommendations, no one is saying he has to do these.

Also... asking someone to put a couple thousand miles on their TW, with a stock TW seat... is just not being a good moto bro, lol.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Thanks [mention]littletommy [/mention] and [mention]TWBigBlake [/mention], sounds like good advice for my weight class. Have any of you tested out those emulators? I’ll likely start with just the two springs given what I’ve read here.


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