Exploring the Unknown

Exploring the Unknown

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Project A-Team - Stage 2: "Quit Your Jibba Jabba!"

Photo © Vinmag.com
Where to begin? Since stage one was completed back in October 2013 the best laid plans have been laid to waste as I have found myself unable to work as much on my TW200 as I would have liked. In fact, it would be fair to say that I was physically unable to do so for several months in lieu of a back injury. I know, I know... quit my "jibba jabba" and get on with it. So let's look over what has been done to my bike since then. Suffice it to say the bike has gone through a bit of an identity crisis. I originally started off with the idea of turning the bike into a brat style street bike not unlike what the TW Bastards do so well but obviously without the same skills or attention to details that they have become renowned for. (I know my limitations) There are also ton's of great ideas via the TW200Forum that explores making these bikes into mini adventure tourers. An after thought that came to mind when I decided that I wanted to in fact undertake some road trips. However, though I cannot speak for other TW200's I am sorry to say my little purchase would likely need a complete mechanical overhaul before that could ever happen as it has yet to reach 60 miles per hour (100kph)! Presently, I am at the point where I decided to make a hybrid of sorts due to some extenuating circumstances...

Photo © CanadaMotoGuide.com
Evidently the bike isn't street legal, at least not without a mechanical inspection at one of the CAA Quebec outlets here in Sherbrooke, Quebec. I went to register the motorcycle at my local SAAQ (DMV) outlet and was told that bike had not been registered in several years for road use and hence would require the aforementioned inspection. Adding insult to injury, the teller argued that the bike could only qualify for off road use. I protested, naturally, but still found myself leaving the outlet with plates for off-road use for the reasonable sum of $67.00 Cdn. Later that day she called me back to apologize as she was in fact wrong and stated that I could put the bike on the road after the inspection for the princely sum of $367.00 Cdn. Yes, you read that correctly. This is considered a "bargain" because the bike is less than 400cc. Anything above would cost $567.00 Cdn per year. A super sport literally costs $1, 200.00 a year! Obviously this doesn't include insurance, gas, food, clothing, shelter... etc... Oh, did I mention that the inspection costs $97.00 Cdn on top of this?! Torn between the idea of a creating a daily Brat Style commute or a mini adventure tourer I decided to opt out of the extortionate SAAQ prices and keep the bike for off road use only. As for the place that sold me the bike knowing it was not registered for road use, Motos Illimitees, I kindly fuck you very much.

Stage 2 Complete
I digress. Since Stage 1 I have removed the rear fender bracket (only to replace it later on), a fender eliminator kit originally designed for a Yamaha FZ 09 (MT 09) and a new LED Motorcycle Rear Tail Light and a fairly good condition Yamaha XT350 gas tank to replace the original Turquoise Gas Tank that was on the bike. (Which I sold) Before I continue credit is due to the kind folks once again at the TW200 Forum. They have several threads on How to Install an XT350 Gas Tank on a TW200 including any tips and tools required to fabricate the necessary bits and bobs for both the original metal XT350 version that you see pictured left and the Clarke XT350 version. Thus, instead of reinventing the wheel I would rather encourage you to wander over to their Forum. They really are a great bunch of folks who have been nothing but helpful and make owning this bike all the more fun.

Rear Taillight and Fender Eliminator Kit
Blacked Out Rims and Engine
I Don't Need No Stinking Fenders!
Photo © Examiner.com
The larger XT350 tank removes its otherwise anemic stance. It also gives the bike more of a sense of being in it as opposed to being on top of it. I also attacked the bike with matte black paint. After all, matte black is to bikers what pink is to Paris Hilton and this does the job just right. Nothing fancy either, just good ol'spray paint and an afternoon getting high on its fumes. As reviewed in Ode to MR. T, many of the other parts are new on the bike bar for the chain and sprockets that will have to do for the time being. The battery also needs to be changed later this summer, if not next season. As mentioned above, I returned the rear fender bracket in lieu of deciding to keep the bike for off road use and attached the rear fender eliminator kit along with new tail light. In true A-Team fashion some fiddling in the way of cannibalizing the rear fender license plate bracket from the original rear fender along with the use of a hammer, amongst many of my neanderthal like tools, allowed me to fit everything onto the bike perfectly. The two magnum 45 shells you see strutting from behind the bike keeping the license plate in check were originally purchased via fleaBay and were once adorned on the rear end of my Serenity. Waste not, want not!

Mr. Speedo

With the new tank fitted but yet to be painted I couldn't help myself and illegally rode the bike on the roads of the Eastern Townships to my friend's house, Andrew (aka Mr. Speedo). Once warmed up on the bike we decided to take it out into the woods for some off road fun. I borrowed Mr. Speedo's four wheeler as he rode furiously behind me on Mr. T doing an admirable job in keeping the bike upright in some of the muddiest and deepest paths. More to come soon as I'd like to film it properly for posterity's sake, speedo not included. Nevertheless. the aftermath was a very muddy TW200.

Like a Hog In Mud - Happy!
Gotta Love Those Fat Wheels!
Stock Turn Signals Fit My Budget Build
Stage 3 Includes a Good Bath and Some New Side Panels.
Exfoliating Vinyl
There is still so much more to do and so little time. But, in lieu of the aforementioned issues I have taken a different approach to my project. I still plan on finishing off the bike properly, that is, fitting a new side panel or windshield bag to cover the electrics on the right side of the bike; a luggage rack for the back of the bike for those foreseeable camping trips with the kids; and of course other little touches such as paint for the tank. I also have another idea or two that will bring the whole A-Team approach into clarity that will be introduced in the third and final stage. It's actually a fabulous little bike when applied to its intended purpose and a part of me cannot deny that I wish Yamaha would throw in a bit more power into it's little motor or even introduce a 650cc sport tourer with the same aesthetics. (i.e. Tires) Nonetheless, as is the bike has tons of personality and has already proven its worthiness of its name. It handles well both on and off road and I can completely understand why some motorcycle schools actually use them to teach noobs. Heck, don't be surprised if you should one day see two of these in my garage! 


  1. Glad you were able to continue the project! To bad about the cost of brining the TW back to street status. Maybe one day eh! Ride on!


    1. Maybe, though given the condition of the bike overall I just might opt for a newer version down the line. It's been a real treat to own thus far.

  2. Hi Mario... great article!


  3. Ah man, it sucks that it's so pricey, but she's looking good, especially in the mud!


    1. Yeah, mud really suit these bikes. Might try to find a similar paint colour... lol

  4. hi! what seat do you have on that bike? looks great!

    1. Hi,

      Thanks! Though I bought the seat off of a member from the TW200 forum, the seat originally comes from Japan's webike:


      Copy and paste the link to be directed to the site and its seats section. Don't hesitate to ask if you any other questions.

      Ride Safe.

  5. Hey, Just to let everyone now, I SOLD my TW200 recently! It was an offer I couldn't refuse! On to the next project! :-)