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I have been thinking about this every since I have owned this bike. Why did Yamaha build the TW200? The easy answer is that it's a trail bike, but every other manufacturer builds dual purpose, enduro, trail riding bikes, but none of the others have the big tires like the TW. Was there some kind of specific purpose that Yamaha had in mind when building the TW? Agriculture? Hunting?



I realize the bike has a cult like following, and I love mine already, but we all have to admit it is a bike that is a little bit different. There must have been an original reason for it.
 

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I have been thinking about this every since I have owned this bike. Why did Yamaha build the TW200? The easy answer is that it's a trail bike, but every other manufacturer builds dual purpose, enduro, trail riding bikes, but none of the others have the big tires like the TW. Was there some kind of specific purpose that Yamaha had in mind when building the TW? Agriculture? Hunting?



I realize the bike has a cult like following, and I love mine already, but we all have to admit it is a bike that is a little bit different. There must have been an original reason for it.
While certainly not a definitive or authoritative review, Motorcycle Specifications did a fairly nice job of describing the T-Dub and giving a bit of history at http://www.motorcyclespecs.co.za/model/yamaha/yamaha_tw200 89.htm - here's what they say:



Introduction



Being referred to as “Yamaha dirtbike on steroids”, this odd beastie is a versatile machine usable on any kinds of terrains but most of all, ridden by any kind of rider. The term “workhorse” might not be the best way of introducing a motorcycle, but it does sum up the TW200 perfectly. Officially labeled as an “agricultural machine” it is also the preferred choice for weekend trips with many finding the TWs unthreatening package the perfect family companion.



1991 Yamaha TW200



This is a great little bike with a rich historic heritage.



The TW200 Adventure Trailway appeared in North America in the early Eighties and was launched on the Japanese market in 1987 when Shinji Kazama reached the North Pole on it. It was equipped with a 196cc 4-stroke single cylinder engine that already could be found on Yamaha XT and SR series (125 to 650cc), known more for its simplicity and extreme reliability than for its performance in terms of speed and acceleration.



Known as a “beach bike”, like its other ancestor Yamaha Big Wheel, the TW200 suffered big changes along the way but they were made in a single year: 2001. A disk replaced the drum brake in front and they also went to a CV carb, higher alternator output with a 55 watt headlight instead of 40 watt, and a no maintenance cam chain tensioner together with an electric starter. These features can also be found on the 2008 model which means that the bike didn’t suffer any other changes since its rebirth in 2001.



1994 Yamaha TW200



2008 Yamaha TW200



I’ve always wondered if the beach buggy has a 2-wheeler equivalent and now I am convinced it does. Like the beach buggy, Yamaha TW200 has big, wide tires which are meant to gently guide the bike through various kinds of terrains but that isn’t all, is it? Of course it isn’t! The idea of this vehicle is a job well done, fun included, and this reflects on the design: everything is positioned exactly were you would expect to find it. Yamaha TW200 has always been characterized by its aggressive, “I can do anything” look although the engine doesn’t deliver a great amount of power. I wonder what it reminds me of.



Another thing that catches my eye is the square shape that ended up characterizing this little beast. I’ve noticed that apart from mirrors and wheels, everything on this beauty has edges which give the bike its unique design: aggressive and wide front fender, headlight cover, headlight itself, rear fender and let’s not forget the cube-shaped torque engine that is ready to take you anywhere.



2003 Yamaha TW200



I first tested the TW in-town and I have to tell you that it is an admirable motorcycles. The thing I like best about this bike is that the controls are light and small. Shifting doesn’t involve any effort and this means you can ride the bike in city traffic without getting fatigued. After clunking into first, I was off to face the first part of my journey to the dirt. The first gear is extremely short and is testament to the TW off-road intentions with a real surge of power kicking in after engaging second. The tall riding position places you way above the rest of the traffic, offering you a panoramic view of the road ahead. However, despite the TWs high center of gravity and perched seating position, it is suspiciously accurate in lane-changing shenanigans. It might not have the commuting credentials of a scooter, but the TW was comfortably diving into small gaps. This makes the TW a perfect alternative commuting machine, while still being able to tackle the rough stuff along with the open road, to a certai

n extent. I believe that you’ve already drawn your own conclusion about the bike not being a supermoto.



The TW won’t help you win the traffic light battle as it has low-down pull but it won’t embarrass you either. The power is enough to make the TW an exciting prospect although it is clear that it lacks top-end punch. The needle jumps up with ease as you race through the gears at low revs but as soon as the speed begins the climb significantly, the TW hits the doldrums and the needle slows considerably until it hits the 60mph roof. The unrestricted space provided by the low, narrow tank and wide seat instills rider-confidence that should make the TW a hit with novice and experts alike. The pace of the TW might not be fast and frenetic, but its smooth delivery is only offset by the very mechanical five-speed transmission which in my opinion is very adequate for this bike although some people need a six-speed transmission but maybe they also need another bike.



TW200’s low, thick seat, sport/plush suspension and those distinctive fat tires all work together to serve up a smooth ride over all sorts of surfaces. You only need to gas up and go.
 

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The big fat tire is so every guy that sees it will say.....wow that is a really cool bike. Are those tires stock? Is that a brand new bike? I always say.....no its been around since the 80's.
 

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Since I first saw the TW200, I wondered the same thing, but additionally, I have wondering why they kept it only a 200cc bike. Why not make a TW350? Is there some reason why more juice would be a bad idea for this bike? I know in Japan they have the TW225, but I cannot imagine the extra 25ccs make that big of difference.



Bart
 

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The big fat tire is so every guy that sees it will say.....wow that is a really cool bike. Are those tires stock? Is that a brand new bike? I always say.....no its been around since the 80's.


See how different the reactions can be; my T-Dub always gets looks in the parking lots, always, and lots of people pause and give it a walk-around, but I've had three people be surprised to learn that it's a 2012. Go figure.
 

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Honda had a great trail product line for years, that they dumped. I believe they rightly chased the dollar by concentrating on 4-wheel utility farm & ranch vehicles, and jazzing up their small kids bikes for the american market to look more like a motocross theme. I believe they still offer the trail type bikes in other parts of the world. It's about demand for a product.



Yamaha has found a niche product in the tw line, and for some reason has decided to keep their hats on straight with it. That seems a good decision, as it probably is a good seller around the world, without having to do any major redesign or re-tooling, and allowing for a simple inexpensive parts supply chain for both building, & maintaining the bike. It also has a good service life, and is replaced often enough by consumers to help maintain sales.



If another major cycle producer were to try & introduce a competing product for the tw market, it would either fail, or cause sales of both to drop, and cause yamaha to pull the tw line.



I'm curious about which country buys the most tw's?
 

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There is an Suzuki equivelant around to the TW200 - I've seen them in Singapore. You can mistake them for each other. I'm not sure of the model no.
 

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I could only take a guess that it was something Yamaha built, and somehow it filled a niche and so they stuck with it. And for the most part, other bike manufacturers have put out nothing to compete with them (although that Van Van certainly says otherwise). I saw LOADS of TWs in Japan. As many of you know, they have a weird cult following over there. And if you have ever been to Japan, then you are familiar with their tight streets, alleyways and "side walks" where you can ride. Having a small bike like the TW200/225 is probably perfect for this kind of riding, not to mention that the average Japanese is probably 30% smaller than the average American. The big cities over there are crazy. You aren't going to find vast expanses of open road, so speed probably takes a back seat to maneuverability for certain riders. Again, this is all just my personal speculation.



Bart
 

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^ Funny.



A typical conversation with a Harley salesman:



Customer: "Why would I buy a Harley over any other bike?"

Salesman: "Because it's a Harley."

"Why would I buy this Harley over a Goldwing?"

"Because it's a Harley."

"How about a Victory? Why would I buy a Harley over a Victory?"

"Because it's a Harley."

"What about the Concourse? Why would I buy a Harley over a Concourse?"

"Because it's a Harley."

"Well I've read that Victory is almost 100% American made and Harley is about 67% depending on the bike, so why would I buy a Harley?"

"Because it's a Harley."

"I've seen the surveys that say Victory has way better customer satisfaction after the sale than does Harley, so why would I by this Harley?"

"Because it's a Harley."

"OK, I've looked at several of the Japanese cruisers and they all offer better MPG and reliability at a significantly lower price so why would I want to consider the Harley over any of those bikes?"

"Because it's a Harley!"



If I hadn't been in the showroom waiting to get my bike serviced and overheard that particular conversation, I wouldn't have believed it. Actually it went on a bit longer than that as the poor customer had more questions than I remember. Poor guy left quite frustrated and I'm guessing he didn't come back.
 

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I did not buy my Harley " Because it's a Harley" I bought it " Because it's a F**king Harley" Truth be told I like the fact that I'm never too far from a dealer. Something that can't be said of other brands. Also the C-50 is for sale but not the Dub.
 
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