Long story long-- do I want a tw200 or a dr200?
(Sorry, it's a long winded tale but scan ahead, I really do get around to asking for help!)
It all started when the BF's (boyfriend, known in these parts as "Hesaid") workplace built a fancy new building and relocated directly nextdoor to our local Suzuki/Honda dealership.. and within site of the Yamaha dealership.
Every spring, he would come down with "motorcycle fever." --And who can blame him?
Then, toward the end of last summer, it got the best of him. By September 2012 he had his heart set on a dual sport. He was eyeing that DR400 a little more lustfully than a girl likes to see her guy look at anything other than her, y'know?
Then we had a few heated "conversations" regarding the subject: For starters-- I had long since outgrown my lust for a vehicle that has only 2 wheels, no heat/ac, and no cupholders. I love a road trip, but I have come to love doing them in vehicles I can nap in, that keep the rain/snow on the outside if I choose to keep slogging through it.
Also, I like cruisers. Low, slow, throaty, sexy beasts-- did I mention "low?" I'm 5'5" with a 31" inseam. And although I do love me some off road in 4 wheel drive-- tackling that type of terrain while trying to balance as well has never particularly appealed to me.
But Hesaid was adamant about dual sports. He insisted that he knew himself well enough to know that he would never be satifsfied with not being able to check out what's down that road, and that he would certainly destroy an ill-capable bike if he settled for one; and, I admit, there was no way I could argue with that kind of logic. I don't want to have to bypass an opportunity to explore either.
So, once I stopped thinking of dual sports as dirt bikes that I could ride on the road, and started thinking of them as adventure/touring creatures that I could put paniers on and pack with all my backpacking gear and set off to see the world on-- I caved.
THEN we went through several "conversations" about how much on road vs off road each of us envisioned for our futures. (I still think he misrepresented his intentions in order to get me to agree.)
THEN I explained to him in no uncertain terms that I was NOT in a current financial place to go out buying a motorcycle! So if he wanted "US" to have motorcycles, HE was going to have to pony up for them!
Then he dragged me to every bike dealership in town to sit on motocycles.
Then it became it became apparent that he was actually going to buy us both motorcycles! Oh crap.
And that's about where we started having serious conversations about whether we should listen to what everyone says and start with small bikes, or buy with an eye toward the long term.
Now, I already warned you in the title that this would be a long story long-- but I won't go off on a tangent and include the whole thought process that led us to become the owners of 2 2012 Suzuki DR650s. Suffice it to say that the BF is a frugal man, and the idea of spending $8-10K for two 200-250cc "starter" bikes that wouldn't give us sufficient power to ride at California freeway speeds safely (central CA where the limit is 70 and you're a traffic hazard if you're going less than 80, no lie) so that we could turn around in a year or two and spend another $12-15K on bikes that gave us more oomph did not seem like a sound notion to him. And since these would be his first bikes, he was not keen on the idea of picking up anything used.
So we got DR650's last October. October 26, in fact. I know because I shattered my wrist on October 27th (Reminds me, I should go post in the "heavy metal" thead.)
Despite our ultimate decision to completely ignore the sage advice of those who said we should start on smaller bikes-- we are not impulsive, still-think-we're-immortal, kids who thought we would get bikes on Friday and take them on a 300 mile round trip adventure on Saturday. We had a very mature, and completely boring, grown-up plan: Hesaid brought the bikes from the dealership to his work place on Friday afternoon. On Saturday, we went to his workplace, closed on Saturday on the industrial side of town where everything is closed on Saturdays, and spent an hour or two just riding around the lot where he works (auto sales and repair biz-- big lot) until we (I, mostly) felt comfortable enough with the bike to get out on the deserted side street which would give me enough to room to work through gears. After much time doing this, the plan was to wind our way slowly through back roads to the BF's parents' house where we would be able to stash bikes in the barn and practice riding on the private road until we'd had plenty of practice and a chance to take the safety course and finally venture forth onto the rural roads outside of town-- literally days worth of simple, low-challenge, riding practice before we started thinking we were adventure riders.
Instead, what happened was, we started off on the side street with me in the lead. Halfway across the road I realized I was not going to make the turn from the driveway onto the road. I decided to just stop and start over. I pulled in the clutch but my foot didn't find the rear brake, my glove slipped on the front brake, I coasted to the other side of the street, hit the curb going all of 3 miles an hour, came to an abrupt stop, stalled the bike and lost my balance. Jumped clear of the bike as it went over-- took two steps back, tripped, fell, landed on my arm and broke 3 bones.
And I thought I wasn't in a good financial place to buy a bike before!! SHIT! by the time I met my health insurance deductible I could have just gone ahead and bought one of the two bikes I'm (no seriously, I really am getting there) asking about!
So, I got to have a fancy ORIF surgery on my wrist and spent 2 months not riding my new bike, not working, and building a healthy terror of getting back on the bike.
I have been back on the bike. It has been lowered and I'm much more comfortable on it physically. But suddenly aware of just how big and heavy it is.
MEANWHILE-- Hesaid ended up buying a Fatcat from an acquaintance and the Fatcat now lives in the barn where we had planned to stash the DRs. And it turns out that riding the Fatcat is an entirely different experience for me from our DRs.
What I love about the Fatcat: It has this electric, centrifugal clutch. I like not clutching before shifting-- but I realize I'm not going to get that from another bike. I can clutch and shift, not a major challenge. But once you shift the fatcat into 1st gear, it just idles there, it does not take off. It just idles nice and patiently and waits for you to twist the throttle and you can decide how fast you are willing to go.
The DR650, you shift to 1st, you let off the clutch even a smidge and you're traveling fast enough that you'd better get your feet up...seriously, I don't see myself ever being comfortable enough with the 650 to get offroad. Even at the lower height, I just don't feel I have the leverage in my legs to balance the taller, heavier bike on iffy terrain if I need to do anything with my feet off the pegs.
With the Fatcat (which is still about 300 lbs) it's low, slow, and I am unspeakably confident with it.
So I got to thinking that maybe I need to take a step backward. Put the DR650 on hold and find a smaller, lighter, slower bike to start with. Learn to love riding, then move back up.
(:clapHERE! I get to the point HERE!)
And so I'm torn between the DR200 and the TW200.
Ultimately, my research brings me to the thought that the DR200 will essentially be much like the baby bear version of the 650: lighter, smaller, slower, but essentially the same bike. Everyone seems to love them and the price (yeah, I caved-- I'll spend the money) is good new.
BUT the TW200 seems like it will offer a different riding experience. It will be a different type of bike, not just a baby version of the one I already have. And EVERYONE says they are HELLA FUN. I read through threads about the TW and it tickles! If the Yamaha dealer was open on Sundays, I'd have gone out and got one today!
But before I go do such a thing, I thought I'd explain my longass story about how I got here, so you know what frame of mind I'm coming from.
I'd like to get an idea for how slow I can go. Everyone talks about top speeds on bikes, but what's the slowest I can realistically go on each of these bikes? It turns out, I would like to do some off road stuff, and that means being able to put my foot down for balance over obstacles and rough terrain without worrying about the bike being too heavy or going too fast.
I also want to be able to ride on the street. Both of these bikes will do that-- but I'll stay off the freeways and enjoy the challenge of backroad adventures.
Also-- we have neices and nephews. The 15 year olds love that Fatcat more than I do. And now that I'm struggling with becoming a rider in my 40's I have in my mind that the kids should learn how to ride long before they get to this age! So we would both like to buy our next bike with the kids in mind too-- what will be good for them start off on, what would be good for them to ride on forest roads and trail in Sequoia/Sierra Nat'l forest and on desert trails in Mojave?
Get the DR 200.It's more nimble and versatile than the Tdubb.
Get the Tdubb if your riding strictly offroad and not going far (under 50 miles)
I've had both, the TW is fun, but it can't go fast enough to stay alive on a California freeway, the DR is a motorcycle and will do what you want.
With your financial situation this option may not be possible but if I were you, I'd go buy an XR 100 or similar. Ride the crap out of that on your BF's parents property for a month or 2 then go back to looking at bikes. If I'm understanding correctly you just need to learn how to ride from the very beginning. Shifting, turning etc. Do that on something that doesn't weigh twice what you do but will still teach you the basics. From there I'd step to a KLX 250 (lower it) or similar. I had a buddy that bought a TW bacause he's inseam challenged. 55mph maybe 60 and that was pushing it and the DR 200 ain't much better. He ended up putting only 600 miles on it in a year and half. But maybe, just maybe when you get all the basics down, the DR 650 won't feel to crazy because after all the basics, shifting, turning, etc are down pat the weight of the DR 650 will fade. When you finish with the XR 100 you can sell it for what you paid for it so no money lost to learn or pass it down to the kids.
I'm not to proud to say, back 6 years ago when I started riding, I signed on the dotted line on a brand new 07 ZX6R. Brought it home rode it up the dead end road at my house and pulling back into the driveway at about 3mph proceeded to completely drop it because I didn't have a clue what I was doing. Talk about a moment, 10 grand that was new half an hour ago was laying on it's side in my driveway. Hopped back on and in the next year upped my skill level pretty good but we all start out at the moment where you are. Especially if we start doing this later in life. Just don't loose your nerves.
The other way you could go is a Zuma 125 scooter. It's a light, twist and go option. tops out at about 60ish but will do 55 mph all day long. Yes they will offroad.
If you are considering a TW look at the XT250 Extra gear a little taller will hit 60 no problem
My wife has a TW daughter has the XT I have KLR650
The wife is vertically challenged and just didn't feel comfortable on the XT hence the TW
As for the riding I made all of them ride the forestry roads before the got in to traffic hence dual sports.
Both bikes are no good over about 60 mph for any length of time and are not going to like high speed roads.
The TW200 is different from a normal motorcycle and is very easy to ride in the dirt, the only bike I ever rode in the dirt I did not fall on, and it would go through stuff I would not go through on other bikes, and it made it easy.
One tooth up on the front sprocket and it can run at 50 mph, and hit 70, but it runs hot and does not hold a lot of oil, plus the gas tank is small, so it makes a poor adventure bike.
Its great for local work, going through swamps, up hills, and thick sand.
Also look at a honda crf230l, and maybe the old xt225, also smaller lighter dual sports.
Pick up any of the bikes used and you can resell them for no loss if you want to move up or do not like the bike.
Buy new and loose $1500.00 or more when it rolls off the lot.
Exploring is a lot of fun on a dual sport.
TW or DR?
I agree on getting the DR 200, overall a bit more capable of overall DS riding. The TW is a great little "engine that could" bike, but those big donut tires have limits.
If you can find one of these, its a fantastic bike: great chassis, DR200 motor, and some style! But, few were imported so could be hard to locate one: Beta ALP 200
Double check but I believe the Yamaha XT225 is lighter than the DR200. I'm also thinking the XT will be more plentiful new and used. There's a world of support at xt225.com.
XT225...better bike, more aftermarket. Keep the DR650 for the future. You'll grow into it at some point. Maybe not for trails but dirt roads. Sorry to hear about the wrist. Did the injury impare your ability to give the ADV salute? :lol3
Why not a used 250?
I myself have a DR200 and it is SLOW.
Even around town it feels slow, people doing 50MPH+ in the right lane, while I'm hitting 45mph in top gear.
If the DR200 had a sixth gear, it would probably be ok.
I wouldn't even want to try it on the freeway.
Maybe an XT225 would fare better, with slightly more CC's?
If I could do it over again, I'd get the WR250r.
Yeah, it costs some money.
But it's fuel injected, can cruise in the 70's no sweat, large after market, etc.
It's a bit tall but can be lowered with a Yama-link as far as I know.
Take a BRC before you hurt yourself again, and before you pick up bad habits. Consider a beginner dirtbike course too.
A used CRF230L is the bike I'd recommend. It has a wide-ratio 6spd, disc brakes, a bit better power than the 200s you ask about, and a low seat. It's also much lighter than a DR650SE, or even the new CRF250L.
well I like your options, and think you are not short. You may be only 5'5" but with a 31" inseam, I am 5'8" with a 30' (sometimes) inseam and I do ride a KLR 650 with a 35 seat in seat height, it is all about confidence.
I miss the part where you mention you want to go 70 +mph since everybody is telling you these are slow bikes, I did read you want to stay off the hwys and enjoy the slower side of things.
Both bikes are in my list of "only if they sell them here" and maybe the TW is more for me, since I would use it to go to work (13 miles round trip) and for the dirt road that are abundant here in BAJA. Somebody mention they have a small tank, that is correct, still they give you great mpg (over 70 close to 80) so you will go about the same as with a cruiser that has 3-4 gallons. IF that is not enough you can buy a +1 gallon tank they make now.
Go and sit on both, and if you like something then ask for a test drive. I would not look away from the XT225-250 (I think the 225 is shorter)
Good luck and yes keep the 650 since you will grow into it! I learn on a 125 cc dp honda and love it until I was rear ended, and for 1 year it was my only bike, then only then I had the confidence to go up to a taller faster and way more heavy, and I have drop it a couple of times, but I am confident and take it places where I want to go!
I think the crf230l is lighter then the TW200!
The 6 speed and real suspension would be much nicer then what is on the TW200, but the TW excel's in tough off road situations like miles of thick sand.
If learning motorcycle, you do not want tall top heavy bikes.
You can have a lot more fun on an easy to ride bike.
why not get an enduro sidecar, so you can go along for the ride and not have to be the one worrying about shifting and all that other junk......
ive had a tw200, and a friend had a dr200, both are fun bikes, but are hellishly scary on the highway. though ive done multiple 300+ mile backroad days on the little tw.
i agree with the guy who said get an xr100. great learner, and super fun too. light, and nimble and for about 6-900 bucks, its something that you can buy, use, and sell and not lose any money.
Another option is the harder to find KLR250 Super Sherpa.
6 speeds, stainless exhaust, electric start and a decent size gas tank. These are rare to find. When one comes up for sale it usually sells right away.
I've got a TW200. It will run 60 all day. It will 70 all day on flat ground with no wind, but it will be wound out all the way.
If you're going to stay on back roads and other sub 55mph places, the DR200 and TW200 will both work well. I prefer the fat tires on the TW200 myself. Fatter tires slow down steering response and on such short bikes as the DR200 and TW200 that's a good thing in my opinion. And then there is the fun factor..... I've got an R1200GS ADV and an R80 g/s. They are both great bikes and are terrific to ride, but the TW is just plane more fun to ride. I'm a little over 6 feet and 225 pounds and I still giggle like a school girl when I rode the T-Dub.
A couple of the guys on the TW forum did a Saddle Sore 1000 Iron Butt on them. 1,000 miles in 24 hours or less.
We're having a TW200 Rally in Townsend, TN the May 31st weekend. TurtlePalooza 2013! Come on by!
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