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1989 TW200
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15 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all,
First, thanks for all of the great information contained on the site. I am wearing out the search function!

My name is Derek. I'm residing in SW Ontario, Canada. My forum name was chosen because my wife and I do medical missions at a 50-bed hospital and compound just outside the small village of Tsiko in Togo, West Africa. "Yovo" is the local tribal language (Ewe' - pronounced e-vay) word for ****** or foreigner. So I'm a yovo, living off and on in Togo. Togo is an incredibly poor country, squished between two African giants, Ghana right next door to the west, and Nigeria a couple of countries over to the east. My wife is the medical professional in the family (anesthesia and respiratory) , I'm a maintenance and construction guy. I get to do everything from electrical, plumbing, water treatment, biomedical equipment repairs, oxygen concentrator, sewage, road maintenance, building houses and building for hospital needs, generators for backup power, vehicle maintenance and repairs, and so on. No real training in particular (industrial construction background, and growing up on a farm) but they'll take whoever they can get, I guess! We spend about a year there at a time.

In Togo, it seems more and more people are able to afford to buy and ride motos - and moto taxis are everywhere! On recent trips to W. Africa we first bought cheap Chinese-made 150cc Apsonic motos and most recently 200cc 'dirt bike styled' motos. They aren't particularly inspiring rides due to low engine power, poor suspension, awful electrics, but parts are available everywhere and it's easy to find guy with a few tools and a bit of shade that can fix them. Nobody except foreigners rides big bikes, met a guy with a new Tenere 700 (and I coveted it!), another with an older Africa Twin, and someone with a Suzuki DR/DRZ 650 (?). Our 200's were the largest engine you could get in country. After seeing how they load them down their motos with multiple passengers, crops, animals, lumber and whatever, I'm surprised they run!

The rules of the road over there are, well... there aren't many! Vehicle maintenance and safety, not really a concern. There were however, some absolutely fabulous roads / trails / goat paths to ride on! There isn't much tourism there, but frankly there isn't much to see and do in a majority of the country. If I figure out how to post photos I'll try to add some.

I just recently acquired an '89 TW200. It has some signs of its age but I'm beginning to work out some of those issues. I've introduced my Visa card to ProCycle, Rocky Mountain and, since I'm Canadian, FortNine too. Some of you I'm suree can relate.

I thought I might get this TW in good shape and ship it over to Togo to use there. It would be such a great tool to use in the jungle and out in the savanna regions! I think the TW200 must have been designed with Africa in mind. However, if I make it too nice we just might have to get a second (and third?) one to crate up and ship, keeping this one here for when we return. Or maybe ship both over...


So, that's me. I'm willing to answer questions - because I know I'll have many of my own!


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A view of the hospital compound (and new house under construction in the centre of the shot).

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A photo of the Apsonic 200 dirt bikes we had. My oldest son and I stopped for a shot in front of Mount Agou.

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Registered
1989 TW200
Joined
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15 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the welcome, everyone.

There's nothing special about us, other than being willing to go somewhere far away. Many of you have skills that far surpass mine. I'm jealous of some of the work I've seen on display here, that's for sure! On the job training happens regularly. Life is a cruel teacher sometimes, giving the test before teaching the lesson.

@El Chivo, our motos pictured above cost approximately $1400 USD, brand new. Not bad, considering they will run on the most questionable of gasoline available and have adequate performance. On the other hand, the Land Cruiser we had use of was expensive but would go just about anywhere!

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Traffic on 'the highway', one of two major routes north through the country. This happens regularly as herdsmen migrate their animals around to find grazing.

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A moto taxi with a passenger, hiding somewhere inside all of the conduit. This was taken just outside one of the closest thing to a Home Depot in the capital city of Lome. So many scenes like this that it just becomes commonplace, and I just shake my head and chuckle. Crazy...

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Registered
1989 TW200
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15 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Here's a view from one of the rides my son and his buddy.

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Motos are basically considered pickup trucks in Togo (in a country where you can get the venerable HiLux, even). They'll load them with anything they can get on them!

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