Is this the cheapest real ADV bike for ordinary Pinoys?
Date posted on May 4, 2020
The old and tested Yamaha TW200 might actually be all you need to go exploring off-road or even overlanding.
This past decade, the growth and popularity of adventure motorcycles or ADVs has been astonishing both here at home and abroad.
Both the premium and mainstream brands have introduced many models ranging from middleweights to open class bikes.
Heavy marketing focused on the more expensive, complicated, bigger and heavier models that enamored mature riders with cash to live out their adventure dreams, even if most of the rides are only going to their favorite restaurants or coffee shops.
The ADVs to the industry now are what the sportbikes were in the 1980’s. They make riders hop on a brand new bike which promises sporty and adventurous image, and hopefully actual experience. That is why all manufacturers now have multiple ADV-inspired models from big displacement models down to middleweights and, more recently, lightweights.
However, in the late 1980’s, just as BMW was defining the ADV bike with their victories in the Dakar using their big GS boxer twins, Yamaha launched a small dual-sport motorcycle powered by a simple and reliable air-cooled 196cc single SOHC 4-stroke engine, relatively low seat height and fat tires called the TW200.
Launched in 1987, it weighed only 127 kgs, and its weird fat tires measuring 130/80-18 at the front and 180/80-14 at the rear gave not only a distinct look (to our knowledge, even fat bikes was never invented yet!), but also made the TW200 able to go through almost any terrain!
For those who understand, the fat tires give so much grip, stability and riding comfort and gave the TW200 one of the most confidence-inspiring handling which is ideal for beginner dual-sport riders.
The reliable four-stroke counter balanced engine delivers low end torque and mid range power ideal for off-road riding. It matched to a smooth shifting 5-speed manual transmission.
It also helped that the TW200 was at least less than 40% the price of bigger dual-sport or ADV bikes in the market.
After more than 3 decades, the TW200 remains in Yamaha USA’s lineup and received minor updates like eletric start, front disc brake and CDI ignition. It is so popular in the USA that it has develop a cult following a whole aftermarket accessory for the TW200. You can visit the Facebook page of TW200 World to see what the owners have done to their bikes.
We believe it is the right size adventure bike for Pinoys considering our average built and spending capability. Aside from a cruise to a weekend lunch or breakfast meet, the TW200 will feel just right at home in the mountains and river crossings!
The problem is availability. The TW200 is not officially sold in the Philippines. Even if it were to be imported here from the US, the cost, shipping and taxes will drive up the price which will make it less attractive.
Fortunately, Yamaha sells the Serow and the XTZ that are priced well and capable enough (though without the fat tires). Another 155cc model would have been released by now if not for the pandemic.
The CRF150/250 and KLX110/230 are also excellent dual-sports that are available locally.
Moreover, don’t forget the XRM and the new Raider J Crossover which are, with the right tires, the cheapest way to go off-roading. Their simplicity and price are closer to the spirit of the TW200.
What do you think? Should the TW200 be brought here?
Photos from: yamahamotorsports.com and TW200 World Facebook Page