Thursday, October 3, 2013

Project A-Team - Stage 1

A Biker is Born?
I am not going to lie to you. The days leading up to collecting the little Yamaha TW200 were fraught with self-doubt and uncertainty. I found myself contemplating cancelling the deal altogether at one point. The matter wasn't helped by the less than stellar service from Motos Illimitées. If it wasn't for the sales guy whom I purchased the bike from, Danny, I might have just been tempted to do just that. In the end, however, I found myself getting ready the other morning with tribulations and uncertainty over the purchase. A special thanks needs to go out to my friend and colleague, Veeresh, who kept his word and collected me to drive me the two hours to Montreal to collect the bike. He seemed incredulous at my uncertainty when we set off but I was never great at lying, so why bother trying. Instead, I found myself trying to remember all of the positive things I had read about the little bike via Adventure Rider and the TW200 forum. My 'mid-bike crisis' was either going to be a home run or a downright fail. My consolation being that at least I didn't spend that much on the bike and inevitably, I could probably just as easily resell it in the Eastern Townships where dual sport motorcycles are highly sought after.

Unchanged Since 1987...
Seeing the bike in person for the first time the word that came to mind was 'clean'. The second word that came to mind was 'small'. Having been serviced and with new tires, brakes and a fresh oil change the original owner of the bike and resident mechanic at Motos Illimitées assured me that all was indeed mechanically well with the bike. Excitement crept in as I mounted the bike for the first time and felt the little 200cc engine come to life. As much work as the bike has had, though, it clearly still needs some TLC. As I pulled next to Veeresh, we took a moment to look at the bike, I could see he was confused over my decision from having gone from my Serenity, a Suzuki Intruder 1400 to a Yamaha TW200. Frankly, I am slightly confused as well. Unfortunately, it isn't set up at present for highway use. The sprocket on it is better suited for off road travelling than it is for highway use and I only ever managed to make it to 85 kilometers (52 mph) an hour even when going downhill. Headwinds didn't help matters either. Nevertheless, I persevered and by the time I made it back home I found myself understanding why Danny, the sales guy, seemed surprised that I hadn't come to collect the bike by trailer. The front brake hadn't been adjusted properly so inevitably, I had NO front brake. Later, the petcock/fuel hose developed a small but noticeable leak. Things did not bode well for Mr. T and I.

New Cover,,,Interesting.... :-s
In my anticipation of Project A-Team, I had purchased a custom seat for the TW200 from a fellow TW200 Forum member. The seat was purchased by him from Webikes in Japan. The stock seat on the TW200 did nothing less than violate me in ways I just cannot bare to share with you here. Suffice it to say that by the time I made it back home my ass was hurting in parts that I didn't even know I had. Can someone from any motorcycle company be kind of enough to share with us all why they can't build a proper OEM seat? I digress. Inevitably, I started using the bike in and around town and commuted to work several times now on it. I have also taken my oldest son out with me on the bike including to and from school and it has been a great way to introduce my seven year old to the world of motorcycles without scaring him away from it. Since his coming of age just a short while ago, the TW200 has been a source of admiration and excitement for my kids and I.

That'll do Pig...That'll do.
Yes, despite the aforementioned issues I cannot deny that the TW200's charm has won me over to some degree. Once I figured out how to ride it for what it is instead of trying to reinterpret it as a cruiser I can say that in all honesty its actually an exceptionally made little bike. Whereas my former Royal Enfield felt like a mountain bike, at least in its handling, the TW200 reminds me of the BMX bicycle that I had when I was a kid. It begs to be thrown into corners and tackles obstacles with the tenacity of a bull dog. I even managed to get it off road, so to speak, and found myself going places where no cruiser could or ever would go before. The tires are in themselves a set of shock absorbers as suddenly Quebec potholes seem like nothing more than minor speed bumps to be laughed at as I whiz by maniacally on my evil little bike. I can't help but view the TW200 as a scooter on steroids.

One Possible Direction We May Take!?
Strangely, I also seem to be getting more attention on the TW200 than I ever did on Serenity. In fact, an employee at the local BMW Motorcycle Dealership even tried buying the bike from me yesterday whilst I was window shopping. (My mid-bike crisis knows no bounds!) The bike seems to evoke fond memories of days long since past for those who manage to speak to me before I zoom off again. It's unassuming personality and overall appearance seems to be confusing to most, not least of all because the turquoise tank makes it look like something the Care Bears would have ridden. So without further ado my oldest son and I began taking the bike apart tonight. Conflicted still as to what direction to take with the bike we decided to remove the basics including the plastics and hand guards.

Say Good Bye to the Violating Seat and Fugly Grey Plastics.
The Stock Seat is held down by two bolts.
Worse for Wear!
Not Salvageable.
Despite its Violating qualities, the seat is in excellent condition.
No rips or tears - at least not on the seat...your ass is not guaranteed after use.
Rubber Grommets Not Included.
Rear Fender
Additional holes support the black fender bag that once adorned it.
Under View of Rear Fender
It's seen better days but alas, still very usable if your interested.
Left Side Cover
Rear Side
Right Side Panel
CAUTION... What you see is what you get!
Right Hand Guard
Back View
Left Handguard
Rear View
Bits and Bobs Included
My Son Removing the Reflectors from the forks.
Newish front fender.
The extra holes are from where it was mounted under the headlight.
Might hold onto this.
Nothing a bit of Windex Won't Cure... ;-)
Beneath the seat lies the battery, CDI unit and Mono Shock.
A Future Wrencher in the Making!
The Air Box Filter Sponge is Utterly Destroyed! 
The Perfect Excuse for a New Muffler and Header Pipe!
It didn't take long to take everything off and prep the bike for Stage 2. Despite some of the basic issues that needs to be addressed on the bike (see above) there was some hidden treasure to be found. Apparently, despite being told that the bike's tool kit was lost eons ago I came upon it tucked away neatly in its place behind the right side panel. You gotta wonder how good the previous owner was at being a mechanic if he missed something as simple as that. Admittedly, it looked like a roll of wires wrapped in black tape but upon further inspection it was like finding a time capsule! This endeared the TW to me all the more.

The Original Tool Kit...24 years old and by the looks of it, never used!
All in a Day's Work!
The next few months will see the installation of a new round headlight; new gas tank, new rear and front fenders, new battery, new petcock and fuel hose, and the list goes on and on and on. The goodies on Procycle's website alone is giving my wife pause at my wanderlust. Suffice it to say my son and I have our work cut out for us. Though, he doesn't seem to mind. If anything, I can't think of a better way to spend time with my little biker. Mr. T approves and already seems to be looking better for it. Nevertheless, I won't deny that the task at hand seems daunting at times. Thus, if you have any suggestions or ideas at how to make this bike worthy of Mr. T's name, simply share your thoughts with us here. After all, we love it when a plan comes together.... ok, shameful, but you knew it was coming!


  1. Love your cute project for you boys.

  2. Nice write up! The Tdub used to get me a lot of looks and queries when I rode mine. It wasn't unusual for someone to ask me about the bike at gas stations etc when I was standing still.

    1. Cheers! Yeah, I have been rather taken aback by the amount of interest in it... I certainly never expected it despite having read on the TW200 forum how popular these bikes are! Haven't started Stage 2 yet but looking to do so before Christmas.

  3. Mr. Bug, you make me smile every time :)

  4. Nice blog! Check out our yamaha tw facebookpage:


  5. Very nice bike! Love the Turquoise Gas tank and Seat. How much for those old leftovers?

    1. Hi,

      Thanks! Everything shown above is sold as is the Turquoise Tank! I still have the front fender and fender bracket. Everything else is still attached to the bike. Let me know if there is anything you need, I am looking to sell a few more bits and bobs. Ride Safe!