With a quirky nature and recognizable wheel size, the TW200 will put a smile on any rider’s face. It’s far from being the fastest or strongest bike on the market, but its personality earned it cult status and a dedicated following.

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With great usability and plenty of TWs on the road, we decided to build our TW200 into the ideal runabout, trail, and farm bike. Watch our video to see the finished product in action, and keep reading to get details on every change we made.

Background

Still being produced in 2018 and virtually unchanged since its introduction in 1987, the TW is known for its plush ride, stall-proof first gear, and time-tested reliability. With about six inches of suspension travel in the front and back, the TW’s soft ride mainly comes from the high-sidewall tires that soak up rugged terrain. Combine the suspension and tires, and the TW rides surprisingly well when used for anything from city commuting to slow-speed trail riding.

yamaha tw200 bike build front

The TW won’t break any speed records, but the power it does have matches the bike’s intended purpose perfectly. First gear is well known for being incredibly low – really only used to get the bike rolling – but this granny gear makes the bike an unstoppable goat on steep climbs and messy terrain. Pair that with the super-wide tires, and the TW isn’t easy to stop.

And just how wide are the TW’s tires? For comparison, the average dual sport uses a rear tire 120 to 130 millimeters wide. The TW comes stock with a 180mm wide rear tire, a full 40%—50% wider than most other dual sports. That size of tire makes for a massive contact patch on the ground. Even the engine seems to just keep going thanks to a 196cc, two-valve, air-cooled, four-stroke configuration that’s exceptionally hard to kill.

yamaha tw200 bike build foot controls

Altogether, the TW200 is popular amongst young riders still learning, old riders looking for a relaxed ride, shorter riders who want an approachable seat height, and city-bound commuters that prize economy and simplicity. The TW is even especially popular among hunters, ranchers, and farmers thanks to its legendary durability. It’s hard to find a rider that wouldn’t think of the TW200 as useful.

Performance

Before we started bolting on accessories, we wanted to sort out the TW’s performance. The bike wasn’t jetted well for our riding area, so we went down a couple jet sizes to compensate for the altitude and elevation changes we typically encounter. With fueling sorted, we focused on new tires.

yamaha tw200 bike build profile

They’re always important for motorcycles, but since they’re such a large part of the TW’s overall design, we viewed them as critical. We put Bridgestone’s TW34 on the rear and TW31 out front. Both are made specifically for the TW and feature blocky tread that self-cleans and performs admirably on pavement.

yamaha tw200 bike build mirrors

Durability

We already said the TW is durable, but a few things can be improved. The steel, crossbar handlebars that come as stock are functional, but they’re easy to bend. We put Tusk’s Universal Big Bar Clamp Kit on and mounted some 1 1/8” Tusk Chub Bars. The bar’s oversized design opens up cockpit space thanks to the lack of crossbar, and their aluminum construction is more rigid and less prone to bending.

yamaha tw200 bike build luggage rack

We also threw on a set of full wraparound handguards, because there’s no real reason not to have the extra protection. The brake and clutch levers were already broken when we got the TW, so once we bolted up new levers from Tusk, we installed the D-Flex Pro Handguards. They go on easily, and the aluminum support bar offers more than enough protection, even if you catch a tree trunk. Lastly, Polisport’s fork boots got tossed on to help keep the seals and fork tubes in shape. They’re also a cheap way to clean up the looks of an older bike.

yamaha tw200 bike build led headlight conversion

Street Legality

Much of the TW200’s versatility comes from the bike being street legal from the factory. We wanted to keep it that way while making some improvements. The Double Take Adventure Mirrors made the largest difference. They’re quality mirrors that are easy to use, but they can also be folded down once you hit the trail so they don’t get ripped off by a low-hanging branch. The TW also got a set of Mini-Stalk LED Turn Signals for a similar reason, namely they’re low profile for trail riding and still meet street-legal requirements.

yamaha tw200 bike build handlebars cockpit

The TW’s stock headlight works, but not very well. It also eats up a surprising amount of the bike’s electrical output. The JNS Engineering LED Headlight Kit is a solid alternative that uses much less power. Once we had it mounted, light output was brighter and made dusk/night riding safer.

Comfort and Convenience

As with any bike, accessories that promote comfort are always welcome. Firstly, we ditched the stock pegs in favor of the IMS SuperStock Foot Pegs. The originals were laughably small, and the IMS pegs are far superior in terms of foot space, durability, and traction.

yamaha tw200 bike build controls bar pad

Yamaha’s Rear Luggage Rack was another part that added more practicality to an already utilitarian bike. Whether you take your TW on the trail, to school, or on a grocery run, this steel rack will carry whatever you need. The Tusk grip and seat heater kits were two more add-ons that proved particularly useful since riders frequently use the TW for hunting and getting around their property during colder months. Wrapping everything up, we slipped a set of Tusk Dual-Compound MX Grips on to make sure our hands stay firmly planted on the controls.

Comment

Tell Us What You Think

How did we do? We think our TW200 is better than ever with these new upgrades, but did we miss something you think is critical? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

Parts Available at Rocky Mountain ATV/MC

Yamaha Rear Luggage Rack Polisport Fork Boots Bridgestone TW31 Front Motorcycle Tire
tw200 rear luggage rack yamaha polisport fork covers bridgestone tw31 front tire motorcycle
Bridgestone TW34 Rear Motorcycle Tire Tusk Dual Compound MX Grips IMS SuperStock Foot Pegs
bridgestone tw34 rear motorcycle tire tusk mx dual compound motorcycle grips ims supersport foot pegs
Tusk Big Bar Clamp Kit Tusk Chub 1 1/8″ Big Bar Double Take ADV Mirrors
tusk universal motorcycle handlebar oversized clamp kit tusk chub motorcycle fat oversize handlebar double take adventure mirrors kit
Tusk D-Flex Pro Handguards Tusk Brake Lever Tusk Clutch Lever
tusk dflex pro motorcycle handguards tusk motorcycle brake lever tusk motorcycle clutch lever
Tusk Mini Stalk LED Signals JNS Eng. LED Headlight Kit Tusk Grip Heater Kit
tusk mini stalk led turn signals motorcycle jns engineering led headlight kit tusk motorcycle grip heater kit
Tusk Motorcycle Seat Heater Primary Drive 428 Pro Chain
tusk motorcycle seat heater primary drive 428 professional chain