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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I'm a relative novice with motorcycles (about 30,000 miles so far) and I find forums very helpful for learning things from other people's knowledge base/ long years of experience. However, this morning while listening to the archives of the podcast "Adventure Rider Radio" the guest on the show, Warren Milner, a retired engineer with Honda motorcycles, makes some very good points about putting too much credence into things people post in forums (in this case, related to modifying our motorcycles). I guess that should go without saying and just be common sense but sometimes we can accept things as "fact" because the person posting seems like a very smart guy (or gal) and spends a lot of time posting things online. I found the episode interesting and I think you will too. Below is a link:


https://adventureriderradio.com/adventure-rider-radio-episodes/2017/7/20/has-the-internet-made-you-cluelessly-modify-your-motorcycle-for-the-worst-rider-skills-with-bret-tkacs
 

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I don't open anything on the internet so I didn't listen to the podcast if that is what it was.....but my background is in Engineering and I have never modified any vehicle I have bought...car....bike....boat....whatever.... and I only use the parts and lubricants and fuels specified in the owners manual under the assumption that the Engineers that designed the vehicle have the knowledge, skill and motivation to build a durable and dependable product....

Yes, I understand that they have cost constraints but....I trust them and it has worked out fine ...
 

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No! It's just way too much fun to try to change things into something you think is better. Right or wrong it's just too boring to keep things and to use them exactly as they were designed. I think a lot of people get as much enjoyment from working on and trying to improve their motorcycle as they do from riding it.
 

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I understand the engineering point of view but poor quality parts or poor engineering happens and I have been victim of it but not on my motorcycles. Perfect example were the shocks on my astro van. The GM shocks failed at 6 months and I was told by the dealer they were not covered under warranty. I bought $40.00 cheap auto zone shocks for all 4 that lasted over 10 years. Keep GM all GM, nope buy better parts elsewhere. I had an older car with points, the stock points were twice the price and would never last past 10,000 miles. The cheap Borg Warners lasted much longer. Another Chevy issue was an alternator or power steering pump bracket which was cast aluminum and cracked in half. It was a known issue but not dealer backed. I do think that some motorcycles are engineered fully at least the engines. I have read many times where exhaust flow and intakes, carbs etc. were all tinkered with and performance never met stock performance again. I think Japanese bikes in particular seem to need suspension upgrades for the USA.
 

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I've known several people that were convinced they knew more than the factory engineer's. They would talk and talk about the stupid mistakes and their " Cure " for them. Funny thing was they would all ways shut up when I asked the question. If your so much smarter than the engineers that designed this bike then why are you not working for them?
 

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Our TWs are probably one of the easiest and most "Modified" bikes on the planet. It all depends on what each owner considers a "Modification". I know myself and I don't have any machine that I have not modified but the mods I do are usually simple add ons that replace stock items I felt needed to be better.
On my TWs I always add a cycle rack, wide foot pegs, Pro Taper bars and brush guards. A better seat is nice and grips with some cushioning also work for me and I always go with a better front tire. I do not mess with a working carb by changing jets or shimming needles or swap exhaust system. Fine with those who do those technical mods but IMO they just make more problems for very little benefit. Making sprocket changes is another common mod and these do have some benefits for particular riding conditions however any gains you realize also come with a degree of disadvantage on the other end. I absolutely advise any new TW buyer to scrap the junk OEM roller chain and go for a high quality O or X ring chain from day one. I also always when ever possible use non E fuel in all of my small engines but this is a personal option where a lot of my machines don't get run regularly and could sit idle for months on end.
I think the thought of wringing every last bit of power out of the tiny TW engine is an effort in futility and you can spend a lot to get a tiny little more. Some mods do work great on a regional basis such as carb jetting for high altitude and oil coolers for extreme heat in desert areas. The good part of any and all of these modifications we love to do is they are all yours when done and as long as they make you happy then all is good. Changing sprockets and adjusting and lubing the chain is a PITA in my opinion so getting a good ringed chain right in the beginning is money well spent and probably gives you 10,000 + miles of relatively trouble free riding. The front "Death Wing" tire is fine on pavement but woefully inadequate off road yet some guys like it just fine. I don't normally attempt to fix something that is not already broken but some of us here just love wrenching on our stuff but don't believe all that you hear because I believe the Yamaha design engineers did get most of the TW right from the start. Only minor cost saving things require immediate address and of course the adjustment of the pilot screw because the bike runs lean from the get go just so it can pass emissions regulations in some states. 30 plus years with basically the same bike ought to tell us all something.

GaryL
 

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There isn't a motorcycle mechanic I'd let near any motorcycle of mine, based on personal past experience and that of just about anybody I've ever talked to who took their bike in for repairs. There isn't an engineer that I'd trust for the same reasons. Not to say good stuff isn't built, it's just not built by engineers. It's rare to find one that has ever turned a wrench or fired up a welder. Book smart degree isn't worth the paper it's printed on compared to real world experience.
Production motorcycles of the TW200 nature are compromises. Mostly with quality vs cost. Cheap materials are used, sacrificing quality over profit. Foot pegs alone should tell anyone that, and if that doesn't convince you, then the chain should. And if you are still not convinced, then the front tire. Still not convinced, then what about the kick starter. Did I mention the skid plate? I could go on and on. Like I said, engineers; you can keep 'em.
What the TW200 is, is it's a great little platform to build a decent street legal trail bike from. In it's stock form, it's a great teaching motorcycle or camp motorcycle. But to leave it unmodified and use it as it is promoted to be used on the back country trails is pushing it past it's capabilities.
 

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I don't open anything on the internet so I didn't listen to the podcast if that is what it was.....but my background is in Engineering and I have never modified any vehicle I have bought...car....bike....boat....whatever.... and I only use the parts and lubricants and fuels specified in the owners manual under the assumption that the Engineers that designed the vehicle have the knowledge, skill and motivation to build a durable and dependable product....

Yes, I understand that they have cost constraints but....I trust them and it has worked out fine ...
To each his own, but this goes against the very fiber of my being. I need to push more and see what can be done. Don't hate me, I was born that way ;)

Cheers!
 

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There isn't a motorcycle mechanic I'd let near any motorcycle of mine, based on personal past experience and that of just about anybody I've ever talked to who took their bike in for repairs. There isn't an engineer that I'd trust for the same reasons. Not to say good stuff isn't built, it's just not built by engineers. It's rare to find one that has ever turned a wrench or fired up a welder. Book smart degree isn't worth the paper it's printed on compared to real world experience.
Production motorcycles of the TW200 nature are compromises. Mostly with quality vs cost. Cheap materials are used, sacrificing quality over profit. Foot pegs alone should tell anyone that, and if that doesn't convince you, then the chain should. And if you are still not convinced, then the front tire. Still not convinced, then what about the kick starter. Did I mention the skid plate? I could go on and on. Like I said, engineers; you can keep 'em.
What the TW200 is, is it's a great little platform to build a decent street legal trail bike from. In it's stock form, it's a great teaching motorcycle or camp motorcycle. But to leave it unmodified and use it as it is promoted to be used on the back country trails is pushing it past it's capabilities.
I have to disagree a little here Skipro. The term "Dual Sport" to me means it is about 50% OK for roads and 50% OK for trails and this means it is lacking 50% on either turf. With a few add on upgrades you can increase the usefulness in either condition but what you really can't do is make the TW a great trail or road bike. I do believe most guys 60 and older and most gals are pretty happy with the TW as it is but most younger and more aggressive riders would do better with a more powerful steed. A few minor changes do make a lot of difference but mostly for trail riding. On the pavement around town and on secondary roads where 50 MPH is good enough the TW is fine. I don't like it at 65 MPH on a freeway and not much can change that but on the trails and just poking along once you get a good front tire it is a decent mule. How often have we wished for a TW 350 with 6 speeds and fuel injection? Nice thoughts but then I am pretty sure the TW would certainly need a complete frame up redesign. As Popeye the sailor always said, "I am who I am and that's all that I am".

GaryL
 

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The term 'trail bike' is pretty broad. Everything from modified moto-x bikes to Honda CT-90's fall into the category. The TW200 is at the 'burro' end of the spectrum. I have the moto-x end as well, a KX250 that I race enduros. I have had several CT-90's I've restored, but I find them lacking for the type riding I wish to do. I love riding both, but the burro is good for sight seeing, not racing and the KX is good for high speed, not touring. A rider can not expect the best of all things with only one motorcycle. Buying the TW200 for anything other than your little burro when off road is just not gonna happen no matter how many mods you stick on it. The mild steel frame and it's porky weight are going to cause failure if ridden to extremes.
 

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Unmodified machines never win races. Big budgets that don't throttle engineering development win races, advance technology and raise the bar for what we expect and are also willing to pay.

One can't stand outside the field of experience and toss rocks either at the idea that un-modified is best, or that our bikes have deficiencies blamable on the engineers. Engineering cost-benefit analysis always operates under the limitations of available budgets, target demographics and marketing/ style demands. Enough advanced TW concepts & test mules have been done to demonstrate that Yamaha engineers know how to make a better product, but then it would no longer be a $5K machine but more like a $10K KTM.

Ecconomics determines what comes on our purchases and the recommended oils and parts that service them. Ever notice that corporations have Chief Financial Officers but no Chief Engineering Officers calling the shots? Let us engineers run the business and we are fully capable of running the businesses into the ground with superior made but unprofitable products.
 

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One of the best things about this forum is that people with different opinions can disagree without being disagreeable …...probably because we are older and have come to realize that we don't know as much as we did when we were younger and knew everything.... by god for sure….

If you want to modify your bike by all means do it...it is your bike...your dime....your choice.....go for it....

And on the other hand, I am happy with my bike the way it was off the showroom floor....it serves my purposes....there is no way that I could possibly approach the potential performance of it...….it is no big deal...
 

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One of the best things about this forum is that people with different opinions can disagree without being disagreeable …...probably because we are older and have come to realize that we don't know as much as we did when we were younger and knew everything.... by god for sure….

If you want to modify your bike by all means do it...it is your bike...your dime....your choice.....go for it....

And on the other hand, I am happy with my bike the way it was off the showroom floor....it serves my purposes....there is no way that I could possibly approach the potential performance of it...….it is no big deal...
There is another part to this agree/disagree thing! Who here agrees with everyone all of the time. Opinions are like a particular body part we all have. We are all welcome to our opinions and just as you pointed out, "It's your bike so do to it as you please". Some here think the Hollow Mods are cool while others think the bike was ruined, Oh Well. I can't be bothered throwing money at chasing a couple more miles per hour except if I have an actual purpose for the bike such as strictly off road or strictly on road, each can benefit from a simple rear sprocket change. I know Elime and a few others have done some serious internal engine mods to maybe add a 6th gear or add another 25+ CCs and crank up the compression. Seems to me these individuals enjoy going deep and love playing to see what results they can achieve and I say go for it and let us know what you did and how it worked out. China carbs to save money and bigger pumper carbs for more power are all good if that's what you want to do. None of this will ever please a TW purist but so what. When ever we see a discussion from a new member titled "Best Mods" the number of suggestions that member gets are all from those with their own personal opinions and the OP gets to decide who's opinions he wants to trust and follow through on. Some of us here, if we see some bad advice, might post our disagreement and the argument is on. That's where the Moderators have to step in and it is no big deal. I have a few members completely blocked so I can't see any of their jiberish and they can't PM me because I don't care to read anything they have to say and it would suit me fine if they blocked me. Fighting with an invisible individual you don't personally know from behind this keyboard is in itself an effort in futility. The other part is it is very hard to read and express emotions such as just poking some fun at a faceless someone from these keyboards. We bust the Admirals chops all the time about his favorite "Fix All" tool and God knows he has a different size hammer for just about any repair these TWs will ever need. :p

GaryL
 

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I freely admit for every dollar I've spent modifying my TWs I've likely reduced the resale value by fifty cents. Trail bikes for me have always been depreciating assets typically ridden into the ground without concern for maximizing their salvage value. For example my first bike I couldn't readily fix nor sell, so after heartfelt deliberations I took it to the dump. I felt less guilty when pushing it out of truck it landed on another thrown away dirt bike.
 

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You said it all Fred. So you add a $200 rack, another hundred in a good chain and new sprockets and a better front tire for $75 and if you try to sell the bike immediately you will have a hard time getting a hundred bucks more for it than in original Unmolested stock form. All farkles are for your own pleasure.

GaryL
 

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I don't know. I've got lots of useful information from internet sources. I've seen some that made me scratch my head as well. But if you start with a basic knowledge of how things work, and research to confirm what you are seeing, you can learn a lot from internet groups. And as for leaving everything stock, well that is up to you. But the engineers who designed it made compromises. What is the average rider going to weigh, where do they ride, elevation, climate, surface conditions, etc. There is nothing wrong with making adjustments for the real world you deal with. Just take it slow and make one change at a time.
 
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