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Discussion Starter #1
TW200 Forum Folk--

I have a 2006 TW200 with about 4500 miles on it that I got six years back from a buddy, he got it from the original owner his dad. Apparently his dad accidentally dropped it off the bed of his truck and it creased the gas tank and tweaked the rear-fender section of the frame rendering it worthless. To them, not to me. :) I have already straightened out the frame, easy peasy, and I don't care a bit about the crease in the tank, didn't even break the paint. I live in the Pike National Forest in Colorado and have been using it as a get-around ranch/farm type bike on our property, which sits in a valley and has some very steep hills and terrain, and also for scooting around on forest roads, checking on my neighbor's cabins for them, etc, but almost no pavement. I've had a lot of bikes over the years and to me this thing is the perfect platform for this application, but it leaves a few things to be desired, mostly the suspension and the gearing. Looking through the forums I see lots of discussions on how to convert the TW200 to a more highway-friendly bike, but not nearly as much discussion on going the other direction and making the TW200 an almost exclusively off-road bike. So, starting this thread with a brief account of what I'm planning, and hoping others might chime in on what they've done or would suggest doing to this end.

Suspension: I have followed TWBigBlake's lead and bought a custom rear shock from MS Shocks, also ordered the Procycles 'Fork Solution Kit' with cartridge emulators and stiffer springs, I am guessing that this will solve the first problem or at least get me in the ballpark of a solution for that.

Gearing: although the 1st gear is sufficiently low for nearly everything i want to climb, it's not quite low enough, so I am planning on dropping the gear ratio slightly, not quite sure just yet if I want to just bump to a 55t in the rear or combine that with a drop in the front to 12t or 13t up front. What I'd really like would be to change the gearbox to span a narrower range of gears so that I'd have more usable trail gears and just lose the highway-friendly gearing completely, but I realize that's a next-level modification I probably don't want to get involved in. Barring that, any suggestions on an optimal front/rear sprocket combo specifically intended for a bike spending all of its time off-road?

Other things I'd be curious about...

Handlebars: lots of discussion on here about getting more comfortable handlebars for highway cruising, but what about for trail only use? As a mountain biker I am inclined towards less rearward sweep than I find on a lot of motorcycle bars, so have been looking at bars like the Protaper SE with the Windham/RM Mid bend, also thinking keep it a little narrower for treebashing, plus people here seem to get the wider Protaper SE ATV bend bars and then cut them down anyway so they can stick w/ stock cabling, but I'd love to hear what others think on the subject.

Other: Any other things you have done or would do to a TW200 that is going to live exclusively off-road?

Thanks in advance for any input you can share, this forum has been an amazing source of information and problem solving for me these past six years, really looking forward to seeing what you guys come up with on this subject!

Thanks!

--Josh (forum user 'ConZFC')
 

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I ride mostly dirt and use the 13/55 gearing, now I am no longer stuck in 1st or 2nd gear and the tranny feels more tight ratio. The top speed is low and anything above 50mph just sounds abusive.

Currently using the gold valves and springs, liked the emulators but may go back down on the spring rate. The front tends to push and deflect on trail trash and loose rocks with the stiff springs. The Stock springs sucked it up but bottomed horribly entering a wash or any kind of air.
I use the flat Windham bar on my bike and the ATV bar on the wife’ bike, you do notice the difference sitting still but lose that once you start riding. I shortened my bars a little but ran outta real estate with those bulky electrical switches . My next bars will be flat AND real narrow across the clamps with quick tight bends to allow a more narrow bar.

The one thing this Bike really really needs is a diet. Ive researched all the old posts where members have weighed each component and I don’t see any easy weight loss surgery.
 

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Welcome aboard, brother! FYI you can run the Pro Taper ATV High bars at full length with factory cables - at least on '87... Handlebar risers might also help obtain a comfortable posture while standing. Also, if your tire is the stock TW31 Trailwing you should strongly consider the Shinko 241 tire. Maybe even an ATV tire on the rear if your willing to go down that road?
 

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TWs can be modified to be better off-road and Josh is well on his way in those improvements..
I have 2 TWs somewhat modified for serious off-roading the inter-mountain west.

Best easy improvement I found was 13 x 55 sprockets.
Best not-so-easy improvement was ATV tires. What an impressive difference!
Best improvement not easy on the pocket book was a TTR233cc 6-speed engine transplant ( lower 1st gear and taller 6th gear coupled with more torque and power).

Since Josh has already dropped coin on custom TW suspension parts he won't need to take another approach which is simply swapping affordable parts from the Yamaha parts bin. One of mine has 10" travel Tri-Z 34mm forks and a Raptor shock for ~1.5 inches of additional ground clearance coupled with a big increase in suspension travel, plushness and safety at speed over broken ground.

Off-road ergonomics? Seat Concepts foam is a nice treat for the fanny. Rox rotating risers can open up the handlebar to body geometry. Aftermarket footpegs add a sense of sure footedness. Hand guards protect levers and perches in those inevitable tip-overs.

Pork control? These things can get heavy in a hurry with accumulated goodies. On eve of a 100 mile solo trip loaded down with rack, tools, food, beverages, 2.3 gal of gas, rescue, comm & photo gear one of my TWs tipped scales at over 330lbs. I have lightened things up slightly since for everyday tides...fewer tools and a 6 lb lighter LiPo4 battery.
However one can go lean and mean with some sacrifices. Forum member IBXR (?) showed off his stripped TW in Moab once. Sans most of the electricals, kick start only and pared to the basics I think it was about 245 lbs. Other than having to add a kick-starter taking parts off to lighten up a 2006 is pretty affordable.
 

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...Off-road ergonomics? Seat Concepts foam is a nice treat for the fanny. Rox rotating risers can open up the handlebar to body geometry. Aftermarket footpegs add a sense of sure footedness. Hand guards protect levers and perches in those inevitable tip-overs.

Pork control? These things can get heavy in a hurry with accumulated goodies. On eve of a 100 mile solo trip loaded down with rack, tools, food, beverages, 2.3 gal of gas, rescue, comm & photo gear one of my TWs tipped scales at over 330lbs. I have lightened things up slightly since for everyday tides...fewer tools and a 6 lb lighter LiPo4 battery...
Considering how much money you want to spend, +1 to Fred for the seat concepts plug, even before I finished installing the custom front and rear suspension parts, (If you want to do any long hauling or just spend a day or two of our riding around the woods) that seat makes the bike so much more enjoyable to ride, especially to those of us bigger gents that weren't provided with any additional padding for our duffs.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
tw200forum folk--

ah, see, this is awesome, exactly the kind of high-quality responses i was hoping for!

willys714, you mentioned that with the 13/55 gearing the gearbox itself feels tighter ratio, that's interesting - and a little counterintuitive, to me at least - but that's exactly what i'd like to accomplish with a gearing swap. i'm also interested in the spring rate issue you raised, it does seem like a concern that too stiff a spring rate will make the bike 'push' (i like that terminology) more than comply, but i also understand that going too soft on the spring rate might take the bike out of the proper sag range. i wrote to procycle in may of this year on this subject, here's what they wrote back: '...since you are riding mostly off-road I would recommend the .70 fork springs. If you were sticking to smooth paved roads all the time you could go lighter on the springs.' also a little counterintuitive to me, but if there's one thing i've learned to trust, it's my intuition that my intuition isn't very trustworthy. any other thoughts on stiff spring rates for off-road use?

reddave, good point, i should have mentioned that i did put new tires on the tw200 when i got it six years back, stuck w/ the stock rear tw34 in the usual size and put a shinko 244 'golden boy' in 5.10-18 up front, at the time that seemed to be the ticket for off-road use, looking now it seems like there are a lot more options along these lines.

fred, i hadn't run across the tri-z fork option but now i've read a few articles on the forum about it, that's an interesting lead. i believe that the rear shock ms shocks sent me will raise travel maybe 1-1.5" in the rear and it will be interesting to see if that change plays nicely with the procycle fork solution kit which leaves front travel the same, if not then the next step is going to be a fork swap to something more specific-built for off-road application. i do have a vertical knee mill so if any fabrication to this end is required i suspect it can be done w/out too much swearing. ah yeah, footpegs, i did switch those over also, i put on some of the dmo specialties pegs, trivial installation and a world of difference. i also put on a longer shift lever, the ims 313114, which has been working well. and seat, well, this is a little embarassing, but i really like the rat-rod/less-plastics look of some of the tw200 builds out there, so i ordered a heaven's flat-type tuck/roll seat from web!ke japan, seemed like it might be a little wider than stock, i'll certainly follow up on whether it's any good if/when it ever arrives. and for sure handguards will follow, figure i'll do those once i lock in on a handlebar setup i really like and confirm there's space to do so.

twbigblake, looking also at those flexx bars you'd recommended via email, i really like the profile of them, like halfway between a bmx bar and a mountain bike bar, super cool and the suspension feature sure couldn't hurt for washboards and the like.

this is great food for thought, if you guys have more ideas keep 'em coming!

thanks!!

--josh
 

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Be aware that the raised rear due to the MS shock will tighten up the rake unless the forks can also be extended. Steeper steering angle will make bike a little more squirrely at speed but give also quicker steering response at trail speed. I just like how the 10" travel of TriZ forks can level things out or go up or down for cruising or carving. While 6 inches is nice most guys would agree you can do more with 10 inches.:cool:

That increased travel and plushness were appreciated last night at speed over broken ground soaking up hits that would have bottomed out stock 6 inch travel. I don't care how elaborate a valving one may have, 6 inches is still just 6 inches and a lot has to happen in that short distance to effectively dampen things. 6 Inches in the rear was justified in 1987 by the balloon tire but where's the balloon tire up front?
Even rolled a bunch downhill with engine & lights off navigating by starlight and feel alone ( no comet light, it was below horizon by then).

Tighter gear spacing like that afforded by 13 x 55 sprockets as well as stiffer spring rates front and rear are proven off-road improvements to deal with turbulent terrain either at slower speeds or without bottoming out at speed.

Let us know how you like the bobber-style seat as they have always looked a little thin on the padding to me. I had assumed they were more for good looks while urban cruising rather than long term comfort in the saddle either on, or off-road. Most off-road bikes feature fairly narrow seats to facilitate transitioning from seated to standing positions w/o minimal thigh chaffing.
 
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Some of last night's fun with those Tri-Z forks.


Those by no means are the best option out there, just one the former owner built a decade or more ago that works well.
After seeing someone else's TTR fork equipped TW for sale I prepped a Raptor rear spring on Banshee shock plus re-built 34mm TTR forks to give Betty Boop those Betty Grable legs.
betty grable.jpeg


Just need to stop riding Betty Boop and start wreching to get those 32mm TW triple clamps out and bored to 34mm.
 
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14/55 is good for an off road biased TW that you don't want to be completely unstreetable (which it is at any lower than that, IMO). That said, if you'll truly only use it off road, and never on the highway, I would honestly just go as low as possible on the gearing; that will make it really versatile (being able to do hill climbs in at least three different gears, on such a small-motor bike) and also just plain stupid fun. 13/70 my friend! The only consideration there is that you'll be limited to around 40 to 45 mph -- tops!

A reduction in the possible top speed is the only downside other than total lack of street capability. If that's a concern to you, then just gear it as low as possible without dipping below whatever top speed you want it to be capable of (top speed will be at about 9,000 RPM). I would recommend no more than 7,000 RPM for a reasonable cruising-speed RPM.

www.gearingcommander.com
 

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"Low gearing" is a relative term...relative to just how steep or technical one's riding terrain is. 14x50 might be plenty low for many of us.
However I ride13x55 on the highway @ up to 55mph over 8,000 ft plus mountain passes without concern on my way to technical terrain where I want a very low first gear to safely arrive at my destinations.
My attitude is I would rather take a little extra time to arrive at the destination rather than get close quickly but be unable to reach the goal without abusing the clutch. Low gearing imparts confidence and reduces the need to turn around while abandoning one's goal.
I have ridden others' 70 tooth equipped TWs over nasty stuff for their owners, and those bikes felt very reassuring after hopping off my 55 toother...I had lots of time to be proactive rather than reactive to serious terrain turbulence.
 

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I like reading Fred’s posts as he is speaking from both experimenting and experience, no better way to solve a problem. He accurately points out that the TW suspension is old tech. and kinda short.
The gold valves are a huge improvement for the stock forks. You can goof around with the valves, oil and springs and it can be really plush but you still have short forks.
Swapping forks would instantly upgrade the suspension but effects geometry and seat height and isn’t DIY (for most). Yamaha could provide some real nice Ohlins but It would double the MSRP.

I try to make the most with what I have. For years we ran around with 6 inches of really poor suspension and terrible handling, no brakes and it was FUN.
206848
 

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Discussion Starter #12
tw200forum folk--

thanks again for the continued input here, so great! wanted to drop an update on some details of the upcoming build-up as well as a few things i left out of my earlier posts. i am fetching the tw from up mountain this weekend and bringing it down city to my workshop so i can spread out and have access to my tools and my mill for the fork compression hole drill out. plan is to do a clutch repack, swap gearing, and change out the suspension on this go-around, and in that order for ease of troubleshooting. my guess is that tuning the suspension is the only part of this that might require any subtlety, so i want to save that for last once i know the other stuff has been correctly addressed.

clutch: i just ordered the EBC clutch kit and gasket from procycle.us, last year i was able to improve the clutch performance somewhat by switching to the rotella diesel oil, that made it less inclined to stall out going into gear at idle when cold and made neutral a little easier to find, but i still haven't been happy with the feel, especially for off-trail forest bashing where there's so much shifting going on, figure this is the obvious solution or at least the right starting point.

gearing: also based on the comments here i ordered a 13t front sprocket (w/ gasket and oil seal) and a 55t rear sprocket (with bolt kit) as well as the EK428 SRO6 drive (o-ring) chain from procycle.us, seemed like the 13/55t combination will help lower the gearing to trail appropriate ratios, maybe give the gearbox a tighter overall feel, and still let me boogie down to the local burger joint at medium speeds on the rare occasion i want to take the bike out of the forest. worth asking... i couldn't find much about the SRO6 chain online, seems like there's lots of discussion of an SROZ chain, anyone know the difference?

suspension: should have mentioned, i had settled on the .60 kg/mm springs for the fork upgrade, i was a little worried about going too stiff for fear of what willys714 called the "push" effect, especially since i'm running the tw at slower/ranch speeds most of the time, so i figure the midstiff spring rate gives me some room to fiddle with a preload spacer or two to try to get the sag to where i want it, and if i'm wrong oh well, then i'll buy the .70 kg/mm springs separately. it will be interesting to see how the decreased fork rake from the rear shock height increase that fred mentioned affects handling, especially since my mountain bike riding style these days is predicated on the slacker rake of modern bike geometries. i suspect it will still be okay, as the tw200 feels sort of wallow-y to me in its stock configuration at slower speeds, but i should know a lot more about this in the next week or so.

and not part of this go-around, but:

seat: after i ordered that heavens flat-type seat TW-BK-C from japan.webike.net and several weeks went by in which i hadn't heard from them i reached out, they replied saying that they'd already contacted me about the seat (they hadn't) and that the seat, which was listed at the site as in stock, was not in stock and would not be manufactured or shipped for 'some time' and that they had placed my order on hold until they heard back from me. haven't decided for sure but i'll probably still go through with the order, just to see if i can make the tw200 look a little more rat-rod-ish, but it doesn't look like that'll be happening any time soon. no big deal, there's plenty to do with this machine before i worry about cosmetics.

--josh
 

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You'll love the change in gearing. Just wait til that first ride with the new setup haha!

I'm not sure off the top of my head what's the difference in those chains, but I had an excellent experience with the EK520SRO5 chain (the predecessor to the SRO6); you'll definitely be solid for quite a while running that SRO6.
 

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If you're interested, I'd trade you my NitroHeads Ultra Flat, Tuck and Roll seat from Web!ke Japan for your stock seat.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
If you're interested, I'd trade you my NitroHeads Ultra Flat, Tuck and Roll seat from Web!ke Japan for your stock seat.
Interesting offer ThumperATX, thanks, PM-ing you to discuss...
 

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Very interested in those medium fork springs, under my conditions I really feel oversprung with the HD’s.
Sounds like your squared away on the mods. but have you checked your steering stops?
They are not adjustable but you can grind the frame tab back to make the bike turn tighter.
Mine were very conservative and I stopped grinding when the fork nearly touched the tank, so it made a HUGE difference for FREE.
its one mod I use all the time
207022
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Very interested in those medium fork springs, under my conditions I really feel oversprung with the HD’s.
Sounds like your squared away on the mods. but have you checked your steering stops?
They are not adjustable but you can grind the frame tab back to make the bike turn tighter.
Mine were very conservative and I stopped grinding when the fork nearly touched the tank, so it made a HUGE difference for FREE.
its one mod I use all the time
View attachment 207022
Oooh, that's an excellent idea, there are definitely times when I'd like to be able to turn a bit more at slow speeds, plus the price is excellent! I'll definitely be doing that as part of this round of upgrades!
 
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