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When I floated around the idea of buying a TW200 as my first motorcycle to a few of my friends, all of them said the same thing:



"Dude, just go ahead and buy a bigger bike. You're gonna outgrow that little 200 so fast it's not even worth buying."



Let me tell you, those first couple of days of riding I was very glad that I didn't listen to them! The power and weight of the TW200 were intimidating enough, I can't imagine how I would have felt on something bigger, faster, or taller. It didn't take long to grow comfortable on the bike though, and after 3 days of tooling around the neighborhood getting a feel for the clutch and the brakes I started using the bike as my primary commuter vehicle.



That was about 2 months ago now, and about a week ago I was heading home along the main drag here in town and I topped out the throttle a little sooner than I was expecting. The gut-check was immediate. Were the critics right? Did I just waste a lot of money on a small displacement bike? Have I outgrown my TW200?



It was then that I realized I was lucky to have not been passing a speed camera. I didn't need more throttle, I needed less. I realized that a 200cc motorcycle might be just the thing to keep an overconfident greenhorn from becoming one of those greasy spots you so often see alongside mangled CBRs still sporting temporary plates.



The next day I went out and did about 40 miles of the incredibly twisty 2-lane roads that run through Saguaro National Park West. The posted speed limit is 35, and many of the turns are marked at only 15 or 20mph. It was good practice, and it made me realize that while a little more oomph might be nice on the straightaways, I still have a lot of riding to do before I can boast anything close to mastery of this bike.



I just thought I'd share my thoughts on this, in case anybody out there was on the fence about the TW200 because they're scared of "outgrowing" it quickly.



I think the TW is a fantastic bike to master the basics with, and isn't it a good idea to really master the basics before you saddle up a big bike that might get you into trouble faster than you know how to handle it?



Beyond that, my experiences off-pavement with the TW have proven to me that even once I actually AM ready for some more displacement on-road, there will always be a spot in my garage for the fat-bottomed little trail bike that could!
 

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Hey, good thinking. Unless you pay to much or sell to quickly the bike is a good investment (financially and from a startup/training/experience point of view. If you keep your aspirations modest, you might consider just adding another bike rather than replacing this one. I could afford 3 Japanese bikes for what one used Harley would cost me and thats not even considering BMWs or fancy Italian rides. Work up the ladder as you feel the need, but just remember because they will run xxxmph, you don't have to ride them that fast. Tom
 

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Nice to read this. The TW is the first bike I've ridden on the road in more years than I want to admit. More recently I've done some dirt riding on borrowed bikes. This week I've taken a couple of 20-30 miles rides in the mountains around here to get some practice. The TW is perfect for my skill level (lack of I should say!) in these conditions.



One time today I thought I needed more power going up a hill. I downshifted and all was well. I didn't need more speed!
 

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Good Morning,



Good thoughts in all of the posts. I say, when bored, just find a tougher trail and you will again greatly appreciate the TW200 especially since the heavier faster dual purpose bikes won't be able to follow. Now, my XR650L dual purpose bike was much more trail than road and had seemingly unlimited power, was a pleasure to ride, was much more of an off road bike than a KLR, but the high side fear factor just did not make riding it any fun on some of the trails that are quite comfortable on the TW. It was a great ride to work but it's weight and height were a negative factor in the rough. All in all it was a pretty amazing bike but I'm still very happy with the switch to the TW. My wife is really happy as she enjoys riding on the back of the TW whereas she was terrified on the 650. However, if I had the money I certainly would have kept the 650 as a second bike as it was truly unique and the better you could ride the more it could do - if stuck in mud though, not sure you could ever drag it out by yourself. I could barely lift it out of a snowdrift when the back wheel would sink in. With all of the deer on the highway around here I'm better off without it and that urge to accelerate fast that comes with lots of power.



When looking back at past bikes one has owned there will be a couple you very much regretted getting rid of. In my case, one was of the first generation of trials bike that Honda came out with - a TL250 4-valve, 4-stroke. It weighed 220 lbs (fat for a trials bike), had a wide ratio gear box, and back then I could make it minimally street legal easily. There is nothing you could buy now at a reasonable price (like that one was) that could hold a candle to it off the road in the really slow going tough stuff. It was simple and bullet proof. So, why oh why did I sell it (guess I really wanted that 270lb XR500) - anyway something to think about - sometimes trading up is trading down.



Dan
 

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I purchased a 2012 back in April with 2 main objectives. #1 being able to get back out there on two wheels and #2 it being my primary transportation to go back and forth to work. (16 mi. roundtrip) Purchasing the TW avoided me having to get into an expensive 'new' car payment and enabled me to put my vehicle with 145,000 miles in the driveway for a 'rainy day' (pun intended)



I have put 2,200 miles on the new TW in just over two months. The power is more than ample for the posted speed limits where I live. The gas mileage savings is awesome! Sure I could buy a bigger bike that goes faster and eats more gas, but WHY?



How fast do we actually need to go? Is going faster any safer or even legal for that matter? Sure if I had the money I would have a garage or two full of expensive fast toys... reality is I don't. I am appreciative and thankful for what I have though and yes I love my TW!!!
 

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Good points all round!

As the years of riding the increase so to does the common sense.

200 ccs putting out about 14 hp in truth is a lot of ummph. Add that to a nifty handling nimble bike and you have just explained why we love TW's.
 

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Perhaps like some of you I dream of taking a long trip someday. When I do I think I need a more powerful bike. Something with a huge increase in power over the TW like a WR250 or the upcoming CRF250L from Honda.



But then I think about what I will really do, low speed back roads, and recognize that I don't need the complexity of a newer design. The TW works.



But the dream remains. My wildest dream is of course Alaska. I spent a month up there last summer working for a fishing outfitter. I could have used a vehicle like a TW to get around so I didn't have to walk everywhere to fish or take a shower or do laundry. My dream would be to ride up through Idaho, then Canada and through. Then on the way back take the Ferry through the inside passage (from Haines) and then ride down the coast.



But the examples of ronniedog and lizrdbrth here who road their TW's 1000 miles in less than 24 hours at "high speed" demonstrate that you don't need more than a TW to do some long miles. You just need an iron butt!



So really, what more do I need? I don't want to go faster than 55 on a motorcycle!
 

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Here's my 2cents. I've been riding over 40+ years.. 200,000+ miles.. 7 bikes.. When I bought our t-Dubs 6 years ago the sales guy told me that I would be bored in a week........... "NOT" true.. I have a very cool triumph america that I can hop on and get the trill... But I just love the dubs, we just got back from a 25 mile ride on back roads that I would never take my trump. If you can see yourself some day with two bikes then keep learning on the dub while saving for bigger iron. OMM.
 

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The TW is a fun little bike. What I have learned is there is no perfect motorcycle, bigger ones are faster and lots of fun, but there is something about riding a small displacement bike that just puts a smile on your face, I don't see too many Harley riders just smiling and having fun. The TW200 definitely lacks that throttle adrenaline rush but when you get somewhere spectacular that the big bikes can't get too its a real life moment.
 

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I've had my TW for only a few days now and am still breaking it in. Yesterday, I went out to where I had my tall KLR crash on me on Mother's Day -- creating a massive blue and purple patch on my butt and hip and twisting a few nerves to boot! -- and thus I rode the TW up along that very same path and it not only went without incident, but I didn't have that sick feeling in my gut the way I did when I was on my high and heavy Kaw. There are plenty of young dudes and older ones too, I'm sure, that could easily blow past said incline on a KLR650 without stalling the way I did ... but for this old boy I'm better off on a little Mountain Goat where slow and steady is what having a good time is all about.:)
 

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Perhaps like some of you I dream of taking a long trip someday. When I do I think I need a more powerful bike. Something with a huge increase in power over the TW like a WR250 or the upcoming CRF250L from Honda.



But then I think about what I will really do, low speed back roads, and recognize that I don't need the complexity of a newer design. The TW works.



But the dream remains. My wildest dream is of course Alaska. I spent a month up there last summer working for a fishing outfitter. I could have used a vehicle like a TW to get around so I didn't have to walk everywhere to fish or take a shower or do laundry. My dream would be to ride up through Idaho, then Canada and through. Then on the way back take the Ferry through the inside passage (from Haines) and then ride down the coast.



But the examples of ronniedog and lizrdbrth here who road their TW's 1000 miles in less than 24 hours at "high speed" demonstrate that you don't need more than a TW to do some long miles. You just need an iron butt!



So really, what more do I need? I don't want to go faster than 55 on a motorcycle!


Hi,



You make some good points. However, I've ridden a WR250 before and although they have great horsepower and wonderful suspension, you might be surprised about how gutless they are on the low end. If I had one for sure I would seriously gear it considerably lower for anything rough. I don't know about the Honda, but a lot of the new bikes have the powerband of a motocrosser. A stock TW with its gearing has much more low end power than the stock WR250 that I rode with its gear ratio. And when it stalled (often and unexpected) it would almost throw you over. The guy I was with on the other WR250 rolled backward down the little hill where we were trying to get around a log and it fell on him when it stalled. That little obstacle would have been easy on the TW or my Reflex but was a challenge on the WR with it's stock gearing. I will say that the ride on the WR with all the suspension travel was great. I think each bike has it's pluses and minuses.



Dan
 

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Now, my XR650L dual purpose bike was much more trail than road and had seemingly unlimited power..............................................

Dan


I directed a friend that is a BIG XR650L fan to your post and this is what he said:



Poster #5 forgot the basic useage of the XR650L. It is not and never has been a trail or tight woods bike. It is a desert bike pure and simple. It was made for the Baha 1000 not single track riding. It was designed to win the Baha races and excels in open desert riding where if a rider has enough Guts and expertise he can cover desert conditions at over 60+ MPH. It is tall to have maximum suspension when hitting burms and such at speed.



Any comments?
 

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I directed a friend that is a BIG XR650L fan to your post and this is what he said:



Poster #5 forgot the basic useage of the XR650L. It is not and never has been a trail or tight woods bike. It is a desert bike pure and simple. It was made for the Baha 1000 not single track riding. It was designed to win the Baha races and excels in open desert riding where if a rider has enough Guts and expertise he can cover desert conditions at over 60+ MPH. It is tall to have maximum suspension when hitting burms and such at speed.



Any comments?


That is correct although in more recent years people would be racing the liquid cooled XR650R that is lighter. However, the XR650L has awesome torque on the low end and when geared down it is surprising what it can do if the rider's skills are in tune. The XR650L is air cooled. Mine, even with one tooth down on the countershaft would accelerate to 85 very quickly but I never tried any faster. With only one tooth down it had much more torque than the stock WR250 that I rode and was hard to kill the motor even with the tall gear ratio. At 330 lbs it is a lot of bike but not sure how it could be made much lighter. It is a big and smooth thumper. Most reviews that I have read would pick the XR650L over the KLR off of the road and the KLR for on the road.



And yes, it was very fast in the open or jeep trail type conditions - you just had to be up on the pegs. I did not like the front end when you hit something soft, but solved that by putting the biggest tires I could find on it (darn - made it taller yet). The old XR500 that I owned at 270 lbs was a much better all around bike. However, a very good rider, especially one about 6 foot 4 with some muscle could potentially stomp the TW under certain tough trail conditions riding the XR650L if the bike was geared down - at least 2 teeth down on the front sprocket. Maybe when I was younger I would have had the guts to open it up on a hill climb but much more conservative now. It had tons of clearance and you did not have to worry much about touching bottom. I did have the CDI go bad and that was tough to diagnose - a process of elimination. Also, the spark plug is a bear to change. Other than that pretty straight forward like the TW. It did not have a kick start. Ha, sometimes I had to limber up to kick my leg over it. I have to admit that it was a fun and responsive ride - just a bit afraid of it given I'm now 64.



But, you are right - not the ideal tight woods bike but a very special bike indeed. It only pulled about 45-50 mpg on the highway.



Dan
 

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Hi,



You make some good points. However, I've ridden a WR250 before and although they have great horsepower and wonderful suspension, you might be surprised about how gutless they are on the low end. If I had one for sure I would seriously gear it considerably lower for anything rough. I don't know about the Honda, but a lot of the new bikes have the powerband of a motocrosser. A stock TW with its gearing has much more low end power than the stock WR250 that I rode with its gear ratio. And when it stalled (often and unexpected) it would almost throw you over. The guy I was with on the other WR250 rolled backward down the little hill where we were trying to get around a log and it fell on him when it stalled. That little obstacle would have been easy on the TW or my Reflex but was a challenge on the WR with it's stock gearing. I will say that the ride on the WR with all the suspension travel was great. I think each bike has it's pluses and minuses.



Dan




Thanks for the review and information on the WR250. I'm sticking with my TW!
 

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But, you are right - not the ideal tight woods bike but a very special bike indeed. It only pulled about 45-50 mpg on the highway.

Dan


My friend wrote:



"So someone actually agreed with me. I knew it wasn't going to be you to agree.



If I had known I was going to be quoted I would have made a better writeup."






 

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Thanks for the review and information on the WR250. I'm sticking with my TW!


Ha, well, that was just a first impression. I would have to have owned the bike to give a valid review. First impressions can be wrong. I've owned the TW for awhile and I'm just now getting completely comfortable with what it can really do. However, you should keep your TW.



Dan
 

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The comment of "you can buy several japanese bikes for the price of a used harley" fits my situation exactly. Different kinds of bikes empower different types of riding. Alaska is blessed with low mileage, well cared for bikes on craigslist for mostly reasonablle prices.



I bought my first TW in south africa, and rode it across the namib desert and down to the richtersvelt on a trip with Afrikaan diamond miner friends. My current '94 TW I ride mostly after the roads turn icy and slick. It works great for to and from work in the winter. If nothing else, several bikes gives you something to ride when your fave is in the shop. rw
 

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...I realized that a 200cc motorcycle might be just the thing to keep an overconfident greenhorn from becoming one of those greasy spots you so often see alongside mangled CBRs still sporting temporary plates. ...
Perfectly stated and too true.



Wise man once say more fun to ride slow motorcycle fast than ride fast motorcycle slow.



I too have had my share of 1000cc+ plus cruisers and 600cc+ sport bikes. I've enjoyed each one for what it is. Like the others, the TW is a lot of fun and it is remarkably stable and confidence inspiring on the trail. I feel the need for a comfortable highway bike though. Don't know why, I'd rarely get to use it.



Also, to the OP, if you have twisties near you, you may want to look at a book: Total Control: High Performance Street Riding Techniques by Lee Parks. The TW doesn't quite qualify as "high performance" but the book is full of good riding techniques for that kind of riding.



Good thread.
 

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A TW on 203/204 or clones can hold its chin up against just about anything short of a RR on tight pavement, at least until the brakes go away from heat.



You won't "outgrow" your TW. You'll develop interests in additional aspects of motorcycling. No motorcycle can be everything to everyone. You are at severe risk of contracting Multiple Bike Syndrome (MBS). MBS isn't really so bad. I'm used to it.
 
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