5 April 2011 – Yamaha TW200 and The (New and Improved!) Plan
Well, it’s been a bit over a week, but I have an excuse – I worked the entire weekend Yes, that’s another sixteen hours of overtime and I’m feelin’ it a bit today. We won’t get into work today as it truly was not a good one.
Enough about all that – I’ve got news! I still really love the BMW F650GS and I would probably after much internal debate go for the twin if I were getting one of those, but plans have changed. I actually sat back, took stock of the whole situation, and came to the conclusion that the plan was just too big. The bike was too expensive, the whole thing would take way too long, and I really should start small and affordable. No, the plan wasn’t completely tossed out the window – it was just amended for the sake of reality
The current version of The Plan is to use some of that overtime money and another $300 I managed to win at work (long story but they like me!) to get a helmet, gloves, and some time on an actual motorcycle along with my motorcycle endorsement for my driver’s license. The bike will come along in a few months if all goes to plan
So just what sort of bike am I looking at? Is it a technological marvel with heated grips, a heated seat, extraterrestrial means of fuel injection, and a turbo? Will it have more horsepower than a locomotive and the speed of a Formula One race car? Is it (to paraphrase something I found on a forum site) made of titanium blessed by the pope, weighing less than a fart, and costing more than a divorce?
Read on to find out
The answer to all of the above is a resounding “HELL NO!!!” that can be heard all the way to Japan The bike I’m looking at has all of around thirteen screaming horsepower coming from a 200cc, SOHC, single cylinder engine that’s fitted with a no kidding carburetor It has a chain drive, a five speed transmission, an analog (and mechanical) speedometer and odometer. Those are real spoked wheels and the tires have real inner tubes in them. The front brake may be a 200mm disc, but it has a drum brake in the rear like my HHR. Not much has changed on this bike since it was introduced to the U.S. market a bit over 20 years ago.
This is the Yamaha TW200
The TW200 won’t carry a full load of panniers and gear like I’d been planning, but its listed weight capacity is 392 pounds which is still quite a bit more than I weigh According to Motorcycle Consumer News it goes from zero to sixty in 14.75 seconds, runs the quarter mile in 18.61 seconds at 65.62 MPH, and with stock gearing will go a mind-blowing 70+ MPH! The point is that it’s great for trails, fine for city and old highway use, and can do a stretch on the freeway if needed. Of course, all those numbers are with the stock gearing – a 14 tooth sprocket up front and a 50 tooth in the back. Switching to a 15 tooth front or 47 tooth rear sprocket will net you about a 7% loss in torque (not too big a deal) and a 7% lower RPM across the gears meaning 65 MPH is no real problem
OK, so it’s not a continent crossing machine with a German pedigree. I realized that what I really needed was something light, easy to rid, and good to LEARN ON. This bike is street legal, will go just about anywhere off road (as long as you don’t need to get there in a real hurry), and extremely simple. It’s light (282 pounds ready to go with gas), has those awesome looking big knobby tires, and it’s low enough for me to put my feet down flat on the ground. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) uses these bikes in training brand new riders so it’s got a lot going for it there
One other thing that’s awesome about the TW200 is its price. A brand new 2011 model carries an MSRP of $4,350 Remember – the BMW G650GS is about $8,500. The TW200 is also very easy on the gas with Yamaha stating an estimated 78 MPG and a few users’ posts in forums quoting anywhere between 70 and 100 MPG On longer trips this will come in handy as the stock gas tank holds a colossal 1.8 gallons of fuel with .8 gallons being the reserve. Yes, I’m already researching ways to expand this or carry extra gas elsewhere.
I’ve also looked into the costs of insuring a few motorcycles and this is one of the lowest – about an average of $100 less per moth to insure than an F650GS!
Folks, this may look like a kid’s toy in some ways, but don’t let that fool you A couple of guys at the Adventure Rider forum (advrider.com) have really put this machine through its paces and come away smiling One guy posted a very good review of his experiences while another member posted his ride report from riding a TW200 from St. George, UT to Skagway, AK and back There’s even an 80 page thread with almost 1,200 posts just about this bike!
It’s getting late again, so I’m going to cut this short for now. Basically, I can get a brand new bike that should be just about perfect to learn and go interesting places on for less than I was planning on saving up as a down payment for the BMW. It gets great mileage and holds its value pretty well, too. The vast majority of reviews say it’s great and it looks like just the ticket for me. That’s my thinking on The Plan for now – what do you think? Am I on the right track now?
One last thing before I go – I have to say another huge THANK YOU!!! to RideNow Powersports on Ranch Drive here in Las Vegas, NV for their wonderful hospitality today I showed up unannounced and they were more than helpful The bike in the pictures above was already spoken for and had been brought up from another one of their dealerships, but they let me get good pictures and sit on it to get a good feel. The salesman and parts guys were both named Mike and went out of their way to answer any questions and help me out. Thanks to both of them I’m feeling better about my choice of motorcycle and my upcoming selection of helmets and other gear
Have a great day, everyone
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