WHY RACE PREP? I’m Not Racing…
What we will cover in this post: Race Prep Technique and your Factory Yamaha TW200 Operator Manual.
“Why Not?” should be the real question! If’s it’s good enough for racers, then it’s extra-good for our TW200’s! Right? At the end of the day, all we are talking about is paying close attention to the needs of your motorcycle with particular interest in maintenance service.
I have the honor, pleasure, and liberty of working at Gustin Motorsports over the past year and I have learned a few things that can apply to us TDUBBERZ! We service quite a few MX motorcycles for both track and desert use. We offer a “Race Prep Service” to our clients of which we perform on various bikes on a regular basis. Here is what the list includes:
Gustin Motorsports Race Prep Items include:
– Oil Change / Filter Change
– Rad fluid Check
– Engine Mounts Check
– Shifter Bolt Check
– Kick Bolt Check
– F-Brake Fluid Check Level
– R-Brake Fluid Check Level
– Front Brake Caliper Bolts Check
– Brake pads Check
– Spokes Inspected & Torqued
– Tires set to 15 psi
– All Fasteners Check
Obvious there are a few items on the list that simply do not apply to the TW200, but there are a couple worth noting such as “Shifter Bolt Check” and “Spoke Inspection & Torqued.” Riding offroad on these mini dual sport bikes has it’s advantages and disadvantages to the larger brethren, but all bikes being ridden in the dirt / offroad need a little extra service care! What absorbs the impact of all this abuse aside from the shift/brake pedals?
Suspension and the WHEELS!
Wheels take on a lot of stress! Yes, they have big rubber “spongy” tires on the outside and suspension to ride on, but both have their limits. When those limits run out, the wheels take the full absorbtion of the impact. But even when not taking on big hits, they are under a lot of dynamic stress with every ride! Wheels need service love too!
At the shop, we have the Fasstway Spoke Torque Wrench that we use almost daily! We have two of them in fact as Graham, owner of the shop, builds quite a lot of wheels! Lacing wheels is one thing, but “truing” the wheel is an art form as you have 36-spokes all pulling in different directions and you are trying to get them to work in concert to make a round-straight wheel!
I started with the front wheel and it called for the 6mm interchangeable head. The Fasstway Spoke Torque Wrench set comes with twelve interchangeable heads to chose from (4.0mm, 5.0mm, 5.6mm, 6.0mm, 6.2mm, 6.3mm, 6.4mm, 6.5mm, 6.7mm, 6.8mm, 7.1mm, 7.4mm and Spline Drive).
To my surprise, the rear wheel called for the 5.6mm head! As you can see from the front wheel, the rear spokes are smaller in diameter.
Checking the gear shifter bolt is a good idea, but it seems that the aluminum shifters come loose more than the steel shifters. Although, I do see older bikes with the steel shifters loose, so it’s just a good practice to check it! And yes, I am still running the stock shifter. I have found that the stock steel is more malleable than aluminum, on more than one occasion!
While the Gustin Motorsports Race Prep List is very general, our factory Yamaha TW200 service manuals show us exactly what to do and over the life of the motorcycle! THIS IS YOUR TDUB BIBLE – READ IT!
In the factory TW200 service manual, it has two sections that apply to this post; “Pre-Ops Checks” and “Periodic Maintenance and Adjustment.” These are the pages you need to print into extra-large posters and hang in your garage, bathroom, bedroom anywhere and everywhere so that they ‘haunt you!” That is if you actually like your bike! Want to hate your bike, then simply ignore this valuable information!
TW200 Pre-Operation Checks
Fuel – that’s a given! No gas – no go! But, a little tip is to use your trip-meter to gauge your distance per tank. But know that the distance you get commuting to work with fully inflated tires on tarmac will be better than riding in the mountains on dirt roads with lower tire pressure.
Engine Oil – it’s the life of the bike! On the PM 7-7 page below, you will see that Yamaha reccomends changing the oil every 3000-miles. But I have found that the small engine works hard and breaks oil down quickly. I’ve noticed the bike shifts so much smoother with fresh oil! You do not have to have expensive oil, just use the recommended weight and change it as often as you wish within the recommended mileage. Please read your service manual! Don’t have one? Scroll to the bottom of this page!
Wheels and Tires: While this sounds more pointed towards the tires, this is where the Gustin Motorsports Race Prep List comes in with the spoke torque inspection. This matters most if you are riding in rougher conditions, but is simply a “good practice.” Yamaha also recommends checking the “shift pedal.” They do make mention of the sidestand switch and on my KTM 950ADV, I bypassed the switch as it was a known item to get clipped by a rock and enable the moto inoperable at the most unfortunate of times… way out in the middle of nowhere! I’ve been thinking about this more as the TW200 is so low to the ground.
Periodic Table of Maintenance & Adjustments for your TW200
Valve Clearance is dictated by how well you service your air filter! Plain and simple, buy two UNI Filters and rotate them out. Going on a two-day ride, swap the filter each night. For roughly $20 per filter, swapping a few filters is way cheaper and easier than adjusting valves! And your TDUB will love you for it! Check out our buddy TDUBSKID’s video on how to service your air filter: https://youtu.be/J4T-3ABzq-w
There it is! Wheels – check spoke tightness! Tires, it’s all about the terrain in which you are riding. On the street, I do tend to follow the factory recommendations and the info-sticker is located on the back of your front fender.
GREASE THAT SWINGARM PIVOT!!! The Yamaha TW200’s rear swingarm is under a lot of load and stress so be nice to your bike and grease that swingarm pivot! Drive Chain… keep it clean, keep it lubed. Ride in the dirt? Clean it and lube it. It’s a constant battle of the dualsport – dirt bike life! But, if you get in the habit of doing it, it will reward you triple-fold once you invest in a good chain after your stock one is toast. The stock chain lasted 4,999-miles on my TW200. From there it was a gear change and new chain! You can see all that here: https://www.tw200forum.com/forum/trails-off-road-adventure-riding/46265-escapades-gcrad1-yamaha-tw200-23.html
Engine Oil: Does your clutch lever feel like its lifting 1,000-lbs? For your older TDUBS (pre-2001) does it feel like you have to use a winch to pull the cable? Lube those cables! Here is the stuff mentioned in the manual “Yamaha Cable Lube” https://shopyamaha.com/product/details/silicone-spray-protectant-lubricant
How to lube your cables? Check out this article: https://www.motorcyclistonline.com/how-to-lube-your-motorcycle-cables-motorcyclist-magazine-tech-tips-mc-garage/
Do You Have Your Factory Manual?
The Yamaha Owner’s Manual was created to help guide you through the service life of your motorcycle. The TW200 manual will give you an understanding of the operation, inspection, and basic maintenance of your motorcycle. To maintain your Yamaha TW200, it is important that you and your Yamaha dealer pay close attention to the recommended maintenance schedules and operating instructions contained within the manual.
Need a factory TW200 manual?
You can get a .pdf version of the manual directly from Yamaha!