Test Ride: Yamaha’s TW200 Dual Sport

Yamaha’s TW200 Dual Sport

Have you ever thought how awesome it would be if you could jump on your dirt bike and ride it out of the garage out on to the public roads? Well there are plenty of people spending time and money to convert their dirt bikes into dual sport type bikes so they can travel in between trail systems, everyday transportation, or just to maximize the enjoyment of owning their dirt bike. But there are no guarantees that you can even get a tag for your bike once you have converted it to meet DOT regulations. Without any further delays let me introduce you to the dual sport market and my new found excitement.

Exploring back roads and finding unique places is what dual sporting is all about.

The dual sport market has a lot of options for buyers, whether you are looking for a full on adventure style bike or something that resembles your dirt bike. Budget is also a concern because you can spend anywhere around $4,500 to $20,000 plus on a new bike. So know your budget and determine your needs before going shopping for a new dual sport bike and don’t forget about the used dual sport bike market as there are plenty of used bikes out there in the $2000-$3500 range.

Life behind bars on a gravel road out in the country.

Recently I have been enjoying the opportunity to test ride some of Yamaha’s dual sport offerings and one of them is the TW200. You could not ask for a more simple to own and operate dual sport bike such as the Yamaha TW200 and myself being 6ft plus and weighing 250lbs this bike is still fun to ride and offers plenty of power (in terms of 200cc power) and comfort. One way to describe the TW200 is that it’s basic and simple period. Coming in at $4,590 with 78 MPG makes the TW200 a really awesome bike and a great way for someone to get into the dual sport market on a small budget. This machine offers the freedom to drive it right out of the garage and out on the road whether you are headed to work or to the nearest mountain dirt road. The Yamaha has found itself to be a favorite among the camping lifestyle owners and adds a little more excitement to your camping trip. Imagine being able to hop on the TW200 heading out from the camp site to run out to the store or take a sightseeing tour around your remote camping location. Sounds fun right?

Low cost of operation is a key feature built into the TW200. Topping off the 1.8 gallon fuel tank.

I’ll be the first to tell you that at my size and weight I probably was taxing the suspension pretty well but the TW200 still offered a pretty good ride out on the road when dealing with the common public road bumps. One area where I thought my weight was pushing the 6inches of suspension travel was while navigating washed out ruts and large pot holes found in many of our North Georgia dirt roads. As I rack up miles I find the TW200 best suited for gravel and dirt roads to light trail work and is a blast to drive on the winding country roads. Yamaha did a pretty good job at finding the right gear ratio as the TW200 performs pretty decent on steep uphill mountain roads. Remember it’s a 200cc bike so it’s not going to be a power house up these mountain road hills. The suspension is basic in function and that’s how I approached the road or trail I wanted to travel down. This bike is fun and a joy to ride but I would look for more suspension travel in another model bike if more serious trail use is desired.

“The Yamaha TW200 offers excitement to every rider who mounts up on its low seat height, and reminds us all that motorcycling especially dual sport riding is really about the basic pleasure of riding anywhere we want to go”

Adventure Awaits.

The rider’s cockpit is very inviting and starts off with a very comfortable low seat height that will instill confidence in entry level riders and is very usable for experienced riders. I am 6ft tall and have no complaints about the low seat height. I even noticed how accommodating the seat height is when stopping at traffic lights or stop signs and you are able to place both feet flat on the ground. Makes for a great confidence builder among riders. You will find the rider’s seat to be plenty wide enough, firm, and comfortable. Firm meaning the seat foam supports the rider so you are not feeling the seat pan in your backside on long rides. Other noticeable cockpit features are the speedo with resettable trip odometer, keyswitch (with lockable steering head) high/low beam and blinker indicators, and a neutral light to indicate when the bikes is in neutral of course. Out on the handlebars you will find the start/stop switch, horn, headlight with blinker switches, and two adjustable mirrors.

Some may laugh at the fat looking ATV tires found on the TW200 but one ride and you will be surprised on how well they handle and how quite they are. Believe it or not but this little bike has plenty of fun factor when leaning it over in the turns. Yamaha choose these tires for a unique look with added great performance on a wide range of surface conditions. While out on the road the Yamaha will run out to 60 MPH but I would not feel comfortable running the bike at this speed for sustain periods of time. In other words stay off the highways. What I did notice is the bike is right at home with a cruising speed of 45 MPH. Again I’m 250lbs so a lighter rider could see a higher cruising speed with less stress on the machine. I was pleased with the fact the TW200 did not do anything wrong while out on the public roads. It handles great, wheels are balanced nicely, and no wondering or vibration in the handlebars. Braking worked pretty good with the front disc brake and rear drum, remember the bike is pretty light at 278lbs and your speeds are reasonably low so the rear drum works fine with the use of the front disc brake for quick stops.

Dead end road equals GoPro selfie time.

Overall this is a great machine that offers huge returns in the fun category. Easy on your wallet for maintenance and cost of operation. Bullet proof design and simple operation make it a pleasure to own.  Remember we ride motorcycles for the pure enjoyment it brings to our souls. I have never found anything else that clears the mind like riding motorcycles or dirt bikes.

Top Features

-Those big fat tires deliver great traction and rider comfort over a wide range of terrain, and they make the TW200 the most distinctive-looking, dual-purpose machine around.

-A low seat and compact chassis help inspire confidence in anybody who rides the TW200, making it one of the most user friendly on/off-road bikes on the market.

-Electric start and full street equipment mean it’s super convenient to ride the TW200 just about wherever you need to go.

Engine

-Strong-pulling 196cc air-cooled, four-stroke single delivers torquey low-and mid-range power perfectly suited to off-road exploring.

-Smooth-shifting five-speed transmission with manual clutch puts potent powerband to the ground for maximum on- and off-road performance.

-Internal engine counterbalancer keeps vibrations down for greater all-day comfort.

-Maintenance-free CDI ignition system ensures precise, reliable spark for peak engine performance at all rpm.

-Easy, reliable push button electric starting.

-Automatic cam chain tensioner means minimal maintenance and longer engine life.

Chassis/Suspension

-33mm telescopic front fork with 6.3 inches of travel soaks up the bumps for a plush ride (more suited for on road)

-Lightweight box section swingarm and single rear shock with 5.9 inches of travel help enhance handling and overall comfort both on- and off-road.

-Hydraulic front disc brake ensures greater stopping power with less effort.

Additional Features

-Long, two-tone, motocross-style seat creates a balanced riding position for optimal rider movement and comfort.

-Durable and wide front fender is designed to keep mud and dirt off the rider off-road.

-Frame-mounted passenger foot pegs provide two-up riding capability.

-Enduro-style, 60/55-watt halogen headlight features high/low beams.

-Flex-mounted turn indicators offer greater durability against breakage.

-Durable fork shrouds help prevent rocks and debris from damaging fork sliders.

-Standard instrumentation includes a speedometer with odometer and resettable tripmeter as well as indicator lights for neutral, high beam and turn signals.

-Standard dual rearview mirrors.

-Dependable, low-maintenance battery.