I have a bit of blog-burnout after the carb clean series, so if you’re looking for info and tips for the AG200 then you should move on to the next post! This one has little to do with Yamaha’s AG bike, it’s more about me and the answer to why? Why do I bother with the AG200?
A friend of mine (old time biker) told me once if you really love bikes you will love them all, and that if I really wanted to restore classics, then start with an AG bike because if you can get an old AG bike back on the road then you can get anything back on the road! He was right. I started working on AG bikes years ago and bringing them back from the brink always seems more fulfilling than other bikes.
The only way I can describe it is what I call mechanical sympathy or mechanical empathy if you like. It has effected me since childhood; I hate it when people abuse and neglect machinery. Silly huh? I understand that these things are just tools to get a job done but I have got to the point in my life where I stop trying to suppress things that people tell me are weird or stupid…when something is in your blood let it go!
I have empathy for living things too like most people, but unlike most people if I see a machine suffering it eats at my engineering soul! No one abuses machinery like farmers, and I pity any poor machine that falls into their hands! I get a pile of rubble off a farmer and re-task it to other areas, to other people who, even though they don’t treat them like I do, still give them a much easier time than their original owners.
Take the two AGs in my workshop at the moment…it’s like bringing back the dead! The later ’03 blue one on the right in particular is in diabolical condition to the point where I have put the engine aside for another day! I have another engine for it and I am slowly bringing it back to a point where I would be happy to ride it myself one day out into the bush.
I already have a friend interested in the machine and he takes notice of the project to the point where I hope he will take it on when I’m done. Life is slowly being injected into this bike part by part as I restore or replace them. It’s a cool experience that I find relaxing and fulfilling while not very profitable! But I don’t do it for profit, I do it for fun and strangely, I am slowly starting to build a small community of mates who sometimes enjoy the slow, two wheeled world out in the boonies.
I think a lot of us who are technically minded (three quarters of the world population can stop reading right here!) like to master something in their lifetime. I would like to master the AG200. I am a long way from it at the moment but it is something I enjoy working towards. Whether its the model history and the part changes between those models, the maintenance tips to prolong the service life, cheaper and/or stronger parts options than the Yamaha stuff or just the small mods to make it better at a particular task, I would like to be an AG200 Ninja!
Maybe I should of made this post before we started work on the AG200 carb. Or maybe it should of been added right at the start of this site – blog number 1! Why? Because I think it’s important, and yes you have seen pictures of me doing work in bare hands but trust me…I pay for it later on.
The founder of the Jesuits had a saying; “Give me the child for the first seven years, and I will give you the man.” There’s so many things I hate about this saying on so many levels! But the thing I can take from it without frothing at the mouth is that the things learned while you are young can become second nature and easy when you’re an adult.
Take workshop safety. Farms are renowned for not being safe places, and I grew up on one with little care for safety, in regards to long or short term health. When you don’t have a role model or someone to learn the basics from, you get into bad habits that could stay with you for the rest of your life, which may be a short one if you don’t quickly learn!
My professional career was a different story. From my mid teens to early twenties I was schooled in the field of electronics where a careless action could mean death, pain, or if you’re lucky, an extended period of time cleaning up and repairing what you fried! I learned from good teachers in a formal, structured environment where attention to detail was expected. This attitude extended out into the workforce where the engineering mentors I had were up with the latest trends not only in our field, but also in safety and the changing legislation that effected the workplace.
When you work in this environment for twenty years and then go back to doing some of the things you were doing when you were a kid, you realise how bad it was and some of the bullets you dodged! The dangers of raw fuel, solvents, old oils, coolants and other chemicals you were exposed to because no one told you otherwise. Not to mention the protective equipment that most take for granted like ear and eye protection.
Most people get ear and eye protection – its a no-brainer. A lot of people don’t get skin protection though. If you watch Youtube videos the Americans get it. Even the roughest mechanics over there wear rubber gloves when dealing with engines. We haven’t really caught on in Australia yet. But I am here to tell you that you should use them if you are working on engines. It is especially relevant when working on bikes that have been sitting around for a while because once you get old stale fuel on your skin, the smell with be with you for days. Not to mention the long term health effect of getting this stuff on the skin either.
You don’t have to wear them all the time like working on wheels or chassis stuff (mechanics gloves are better here) but if you are doing anything with fuel, coolant, carby/brake cleaner and oil, you really should keep this stuff off your skin. I know, my pictures on this site don’t exactly show me with them on all the time – I’m still working on not being a slacker and feel I am slowly winning the war on bad habits learned in my youth…it takes time.
Have a look on Ebay for nitrile gloves. You can get a box of 100 for less than $15 and they last for ages. There really is no excuse for using this safety item every time you hit the tools out in the shed. Skin does an amazing job of protecting us, show it some respect. Do it a favour and you won’t stink of stale fuel for a week after touching it. Something that partners and pets really appreciate I have found!
I’m 44 years old this year, you would reckon I’d learn. But as they say on all those dodgy Ebay listings; “My loss is your gain” – yeah right mate! Hopefully someone will get something from this though, as we get older we get complacent and we shouldn’t. Usually we don’t bend, bounce and stretch like we used to and when we do real damage, you don’t heal like you used to, and it seems like we are never the same years after recovery. We also have responsibilities like people who rely on us to be bread-winner and other social moulding! Anyway…on with the lesson…
It has been a while since I had been on an outing on the AG, I had a few new bits on my test mule and I was interested to get a ride in to see how it changed the bikes feel, if any. It has been a cold winter in country Victoria this year, some would say unseasonally cold but they would be young folk and those with short memories; these are the winters we used to have when I was growing up on the farm in the eighties. Puddle freezing winters! Fourteen years of warmer winters and low rainfall can make people forget, but I digress.
A bit of fine weather enticed me to load up my trusty Falcon ute and do a trip out to the family farm. There I unloaded and my brother and I decided to go for a bit of a squirt around the farm. Usually I use the farm as a base to unload and hit the back roads as the recreational registration allows me. So it was a bit of a warm-up around the farm before I hit the back roads to do some exploring and AG-testing. Didn’t get to that second bit though…
Problems can arise when the risk factor goes up. Of course I had a helmet, goggles, jacket and gloves on but didn’t bother with boots or any leg protection – I was just blasting around a paddock after all. I could argue that this thinking was sound until I decided to have a ride around some dam banks. This changes things completely. The risk goes up and the probability of things going pear shaped go up with it.
The banks were steep and covered with high weeds where in places you didn’t know what was under them and you couldn’t judge the terrain. But I went barrelling on in, confident I could handle a few mounds of dirt. I got to the top of a bank and the bottom of the AG hung up and I lost traction so I thought I would roll it back a bit so I could get a run up to get over the peak of the bank. Before I could even mutter the magic “F” word (Forheavensake!), I was watching myself in slow motion falling over and down the bank on my right side, with the AG following me down!
My right elbow hit first and there was an almighty snap. Ok…my first broken bone! Then the AG came down on top of me and my right foot told me in no-uncertain terms to get this 100+ kg blue, steel pig off it now. After all the sound and motion stopped, I decided to do an audit (as you do when your an engineer 🙂 ), I twisted the right forearm and awaited a new dimension in pain to come from at least one shattered bone. You could imagine my relief when no pain came but I noticed an old, dry branch smashed to bits under my arm! The snap didn’t belong to me!
I now turned my attention to my foot which was still stuck under the right side engine case. The bike was laying down on me past the horizontal and had me pined under it via the said foot. Help was needed to extract myself and this came in form of a brother (also AG200 mounted) who couldn’t stop laughing! We managed to free myself from the situation and it was great to see that I had broken the fall of the bike and it had escaped any damage whatsoever!
I have had some monumental get-offs in my riding career. Hitting trees, end of main straight high-sides, low sides, but I have never done myself much damage. A bit of bruising here and some leather burn there. I guess I have been lucky. Once again I escaped with a pretty ugly looking foot, bruised elbow and a trip to the chiropractor to give my neck a tweak, oh and those unmistakable facial expressions and body language that health professionals can display to make you feel like a moron without saying a word!
Getting older makes you wonder if it was luck. If I was lucky I wouldn’t of crashed! Sometimes you have to make your own luck, or at least give it a bit of a hand. I could of avoided the damage of this accident if I had followed one simple rule – avoid any technical obstacle with the gear I had on…not perfect but the chances of me having this accident would of reduced to nearly zero if I had stayed away from the dam banks.
And it then makes me wonder about the AG200. If I was on my TTR250, I probably would not of had this accident and even if I did I probably would of had on my full suit of riding gear. I guess it comes back to staying within the AGs capability parameters. I shouldn’t of been on that bike in that location. I ride the AG to get me to places out of the way, economically, quietly and reliably. Doing this stuff on the AG is not dangerous, but it can increase the odds of something going wrong.
So to end the sermon, ride within you and your bikes means. Wear your riding gear. Most importantly in my opinion, use your brain. If you’re by yourself and/or a long way from home, think about your surroundings; do you need to go this fast? Do you need to be on this wet road? Do need to pull this mono? Do you need to do this power slide? Pick your time and place to have fun, and when it comes to the AG, ask yourself if you need any fun! Or is the destination the goal?
I refuse to use the H word in this post! I know, I’m acting like a school kid when the new 80cc motocross bikes were released every year! Everyone has their brand loyalty and preferences. Like it or not though, competing models effect each other and improve the breed, therefore competition is good. It also makes me fear for the AG200 now there is competition in the class from every manufacturer, and all of them crush the Yamaha on specs. Will Yamaha respond and make their competitor better, or get sucked in and destroy pretty much exactly what the farmer wants? Time will tell.
So anyway, here is the mighty H…Hon…CT200! I am not up with the specifics of the model years like when it first came out or the updates over the years. I do know it was there for most of the 80s and 90s and kept the Yamaha honest. It’s biggest innovation over the AG200 was the auto clutch but even though the sales guys would of pushed the feature, I’m not sure how many farmers were really swayed. If it was such a winner then they wouldn’t of replaced it with the fully manual CTX200 at around the turn of the century huh? They also had electric start a long time before it was available on the Yamaha.
The real cracker from Hon…Hond…was the CT125. Why? From my research it was released around 1975~76, years before the AG200. Why is this significant? I reckon that the CT125 was the AG bike that made Yamaha pivot from two strokes and focus on a four stroke ag bike. As discussed in my “Origins” post, I think that emission concerns from the US helped in the creation of the AG200, but I reckon the little CT125 might of had them concerned as well.
Check it out here (brochure below), it’s a pretty basic thing really but when you think about what it replaced on the farm at the time, it was a big step. The CT90 and 110 were the main-stay in two wheeled AG bikes before the onslaught of the ATV from all the manufacturers. Have a good look at an Australia Post “Postie bike” and imagine riding that thing on a farm that was either wet and muddy or hard baked and rough as guts!
Yes the AG100/175 was around, and the KV100/175 from Kawasaki and the TF series from Suzuki but when I was growing up, most farmers were on red posties! They traditionally leaned towards four strokes and the big “H” sold zillions of the things and were gladly destroying farmer’s spinal health all around the country!
So I think that the the CT125, although primitive and gutless, may of marked the beginning of agricultural enlightenment of two wheeled AG bikes. Emerging from the dark ages perhaps? We weren’t quite there yet but the AG200 and CT200 a few years later probably marked the point where the Japanese manufacturers got serious about what farmers rode on the farm.
Then ATVs came along and nothing much has happened in the thirty years since! Will there be a Medici moment for two wheeled agricultural motorcycles? Some would say that we have one at the moment with a choice from all 4 manufacturers. But a peek in the doors of motorcycle service departments around the country will quickly show that slapping a few racks and wide stand feet on a trail bike is not really the answer.
But that’s a topic for another discussion; the future (if there is one) of this style of motorcycle. For now, enjoy the sales brochure of the CT200. Update! Here’s a a few CT125 brochure pages to chuck in as well…
How on earth did the word “brochure” get into the English language? Go and do a search for the definition. French origins of course, itself derived from Latin “…to stitch together” Language really baffles me sometimes. Isn’t there a word we could of thought of for “Sales Literature?”, especially with the talent that got sucked into marketing in the early twentieth century and the American (most of that marketing stuff came from the ‘States) penchant for making their own editions to the English language!
Now there’s an interesting start to a blog post on an AG bike! I thought I’d spice it up a bit because there isn’t really much to say here. If you’re a specs weenie and like memorabilia then here’s a bit of stuff related to the AG200. It’s actually the whole Yamaha, two wheel AG bike range for 2002. What a hoot! Bet it will be worth heaps in years to come! 🙂
Note the AG200E and AG200EA options. My previous posts mentioned the complied version of the AG200 and this documentations confirms that Yamaha called it the AG200EA (A for ADR?). Notice the different headlight? The old AG100 gets a mention too. Another thing of interest; I’m looking real hard at the guy riding the bike on the last page and I reckon it’s Steven Gall. Remember him? Australian Motocross legend? He was heavily involved with Yamaha promotion at the time and I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s him.
And for the truly committed, here is the full resolution download in PDF format but beware, it’s just over 40Mb in size.
Here in Australia we have a few options to legally ride our AG200 off private property. If you get caught riding an unregistered AG (or any bike) on public roads, state forest or any other place not deemed private property, the fines are steep. No registration means no insurance and in an increasingly litigious country, no rego is becoming frowned upon and people are getting stomped on hard when caught. Here is how you stay within the law on an AG200 in Victoria, Australia. I’m guessing there is not much difference in other states.
Full road registration: Ever wondered why the Honda postie is so popular here in OZ? Why do silly, grown men and their mates go away on silly, boozy trips and travel huge distances? I can give two reasons. One is shown here. As of the date of this post, the rego for an AG200 is $463.40 and that is just for renewal, add quite a bit more to rego one from scratch. The postie is around $100 cheaper to get on the road than the AG200 while the second of the reasons I alluded to above is compliance.
There are issues with most AG200s in Australia. To get full registration to legally ride anywhere in the country, the bike needs to have what we call compliance. Before the manufacturers are allowed to sell a vehicle for use on our roads, it has to go through a comprehensive test so that it complies with our rules.
Early iterations of the AG200 all had this “compliance plate” riveted to the head stem but as time went on and registration options (see below) became available, Yamaha imported a version that didn’t have compliance to ride on Australian roads. As farmers were the largest buyer and they rarely left the boundary of their property and when they did they had this new (cheaper) option of Farm reg., then they started to move away from the dearer complied version.
So yes, that means that Yamaha sold two versions of the AG200 for quite a while. A complied one and a non-complied one. Not many bought the complied one because they were dearer by a few hundred dollars and that’s why a fully complied, late model AG200 is quite rare.
Farm Registration: Is probably not much use to most readers. You have to be a primary producer, no built up areas and venture no more than 25kms from your farm. Pretty limited really, but if you are a cocky and don’t stray too far from home then this would be a viable option. A lot cheaper than full rego too but I didn’t quiz Vicroads on the exact rates.
Club Registration: This is another option which is barely worth mentioning but here we are. If you can prove you are a member of a relevant club(!) and your vehicle is 25 years old from the time you apply for the permit then you have transport! Well, not really. There are restrictions on this option that may make it unviable for your use.
Recreational Registration: This is the option that I use to date. You can only use the motorcycle away from built up areas and on secondary roads. No load carrying which is a bit of a bummer though. With the carrying capacity of the AG it seems a shame not to be able to use it and go away for multi-day rides but unfortunately it’s a no no under this rego option. The main advantage (other than cost) of this is that your bike does not have to be fully complied for road use in Australia. So even though you are limited to what you can do in comparison to full registration, you can get out there and do most things.
So in general, to get around all the rego restrictions you will have to drop the coin for the full rego assuming you can find a fully complied AG200. I might have an alternative to this complied bike issue though, so watch out for an up-coming post on how to get an AG200 fully complied on the cheap.
It won’t change the fact that you will still have to drop a significant amount of money on the yearly registration fee that may be more than the bike is worth! How much do you value your AG adventures? I’m trying to get my head around this one as we speak so we will have to work this out together. *group hug*
Of course, if you don’t live in Victoria your laws will be different but not by much I would imagine. Anyway, go and check out the relevant agencies in your state for more info.
When I was growing up as a bike mad kid, the closest to a person I would call a hero was the late Geoff Eldridge. Geoff was the editor of Australian Dirt Bike Magazine and I hung off every word he wrote when I was an impressionable adolescent. I used to read some other road bike focused mags as well and the editorials just seemed to be old guys whining about the good old days. John Rooth, Jeff Seddon and who ever was writing for REVS in the day just banged on about government legislation effecting bikers but they never influenced anything outside of their respective mags. GE seemed to be everywhere when it came to the dirt bike industry in Australia and was at the big events riding in them or writing about them.
I know he was an owner/editor of his mag but I bet if he was still alive today he would still be riding and writing about dirt bikes. There would be no articles about caravans, 4WDs or modified street cars to be seen! I also know that if there was this thing called heaven and he was looking down right now, he would be calling me a raging moron for wasting my time doing a blog on the AG200…bite me Geoff!
I always regret not introducing myself to him when I had the chance during the 1992 ISDE held at Cessnock, NSW (Part1, Part2 here). I was a mechanic/gopher for the South African team (a young Alfie Cox was their gun enduro rider at the time) and Geoff used to walk up and down the Parc Ferme (he rode in the event) to check out what the other teams were doing and many times I had the opportunity to say hi but I wimped out. My social skills have marginally improved since then!
ADB used to delve deep into the technical function of the dirt bikes they tested and had a very narrow view on excellence and how a bike should perform i.e. racing conditions! They despised the 4 strokes and trail bikes of the time but you always knew what the yard stick was in regards to the best bike for the intended purpose, they pulled no punches and didn’t favour manufacturers. His magazine taught me a lot, even if sometimes it was in hindsight.
So what’s all this got to do with the AG200 then? My first real dirt bike was a YZ125H. I thought it was the ducks guts back then and I would hear no bad words about the bike. The truth of the matter was that it was a pig! The engine was of good design and had plenty of power for the time but the handling was poor, real poor. The suspension was OK but there was something with the handling that was NQR.
I thought that not being able to pick an accurate line was normal on a bike, as was the whole front end “tucking under” in slow, tight corners. Cornering always seemed to be a lottery with this bike. The only thing it seemed to do well were well defined ruts and you had to attack them with lots of confidence and aggression to get them right. Berms, flat and off camber corners were just unpredictable for me at speed, and because I spent a lot of my time trail riding this YZ, most of the corners were of the ones that it seemed to be unpredictable on.
The ADB tests told me this in the shootouts with the RM125 of the same year but I was deaf to it at that time. Suspect handling was this bike’s Achilles heel and I constantly seemed to be picking myself up from crashes after losing the front end of this bike. I experimented with tires and pressures, suspension settings, riding style and all sorts of things but just couldn’t make it any better. My brother at the time owned a IT250H and it seemed to display similar traits to my bike so I gave up and just rode the thing assuming it was just dirt bike riding in general.
Then I sold the YZ and got an IT200…everything changed! The IT was not the gold standard for dirt bike handling at the time by any means, but it was light years ahead of the YZ! I could finally blast around everywhere and have total confidence in the front end and in fact I never lost the front on any of my dirt bikes since. It showed me how bad that frame geometry and rear suspension system that Yamaha was using at the time was. It also told me that I should of listened to the testers of ADB at the time (Geoff or Murray Watt?), and realised that it wasn’t how bikes should be. We can do better than this.
And you are still wondering what the hell all this has this has to do with the AG200 right? A lot actually, imagine my surprise when I first rode an AG200 and all these issues came rolling back into my world twenty years later! The AG has the same rear suspension system that those early 80s era YZs and ITs that I used to kick around on in my teens…and guess what? It has the same problems as them!
If you ever intend to push the AG past it’s intended role as an agricultural bike then make sure you have good protective riding gear because the front end is as vague as you could get on any motorcycle I’d say! There is no feel for what it’s doing no matter how good a front tire you have on it. Any sort of excessive speed (60 to 70kmh +) over rough ground is just terrifying sometimes!
“So what, it’s only an AG bike” I hear you say…have you ridden a CTX200, 250 Stockman or a Trojan? While still being…well…agricultural, they don’t scare you like the AG200 can. In fact, I’d go as far to say that if you are just starting out riding and are looking for something to learn how to ride on, I would give the AG a wide berth because it may actually discourage you from bikes in general. Yes it’s OK for just fafing around the place learning how to change gears and all that but it won’t be long ’til you learn that speed = fun. And speed on the AG200 (in a relative sense of the word 🙂 ) has to be treated with respect.
The AG has a wheelbase of 1345mm and is surprisingly light at 112kg with fuel. Both front and rear suspenders could be best described as wooden and the frame is by no means a monster in strength either so a bit of speed can quickly overwhelm the whole show. I have seen farmers have monumental get-offs on these bikes and they all put it down to bad luck but I know better…a little bit of rain to make the ground a bit slippery and it lowers the threshold of the abilities of these bikes. Throw in a bloke who probably can’t ride to save himself and some tires that are a bit down and we have an on-farm OH&S disaster!
So why the effort with this blog then? Why all this info if the thing is such a dog? Well, not everyone will want to push it past it’s limits. The best thing about the AG is that if you stay within it’s limits and maintain it with respect, it will repay you with fantastic efficiency and reliability. The drum brakes are saying; “don’t push me past my limits” as is the suspension and the handling. If there is one thing it does well, if you’re taking notice, is it will tell you its limits quickly. If the front end is not feeling right then you are going too fast. Back off a bit and enjoy the scenery!
Yep, if GE was still alive he would say the AG200 was an utter piece of shite! But that would be from his perspective and from a purist dirt bike riders perspective I would agree. But what if you’re into photography and you want to get into a remote area to photograph a rare bird nesting? Ever tried that on your power bomb fitted WR450! You will scare away most of the wildlife in a 10km radius! What if you’re into gold fossicking and you have found a great little patch and want to keep it to yourself? Quiet and under the radar is the order of the day here. How about you just want to go to your little private piece of bush heaven that seems to be the only thing that relaxes you and prevents you going insane in our crazy modern world? The last thing you want to do is get there fast and wondering if your fuel capacity will make it or if the rangers/cops will ping you for excessive noise!
Of course there are plenty of other bikes out there (like the other models listed above) that will get you to your destination quietly, comfortably and with a bit of carrying capacity. But have they been made for over quarter of a century? Are there literary thousands of them laying around the country waiting for a bit of love to bring them back? Do they have sister models with interchangeable parts to swap into them? Can they be had for a few hundred bucks? Do they have a nut job with a dedicated blog telling you how to fix them? Nooooooo they don’t… 🙂
Before I go on with part two of my fork servicing article , I’d just like to talk about a few things here first. It dragged out the second post and I felt it distracted the reader from the job at hand of servicing the forks, but it’s info I feel the owner needs to know so here we go…
About eight years after the release of the AG200, Yamaha removed the drain screws on the fork legs. In the 1991 AG200B owners manual, they deleted the fork oil change description so I’m guessing that this was the first year they removed the drain screw. In fact, there was three iterations on the AG200 fork leg; The first seven to eight years had drain screws, then the forks had the casting on it for the screws but they decided not to machine a hole, tap a thread and insert a screw. And finally they changed the casting and removed the facility to drain the oil altogether.
It seemed to be a manufacturing policy at Yamaha that effected a few of the lower-end models with conventional forks like the TW200 and DT175. If you check out forums on these bikes you will read up on people moaning about Yamaha being cheap and conspiracies flying around that it was a deliberate ploy to reduce the life of components on the motorcycle. The theory was if people can’t easily service the bike they won’t.
I’m not sure if I buy into these arguments – here is my take (in relation to the AG200) on the issue; I thought it was a good idea to remove the drain screw. Why? I think simply dropping the oil in this design of fork is a waste of time. After servicing suspension components for a while, you soon learn that if the oil comes out dark something is wrong. In the case of conventional forks, it usually means you have worn through the low friction coating on the bushes in the inner or outer fork leg. When this coating is worn your chewing into the bush material or the aluminium of the fork leg (or both) hence the dark colour of the oil.
With the AG200 forks there is NO bush on the inner fork leg which means you are always chewing into the aluminium of the outer fork leg! The oil is going to get darker a lot quicker and will need more servicing to prevent premature wear of the forks. In the case of the AG200, why bother making something easy to service when it wont get done anyway?
To me there are only two types of people who own motorcycles (or any other machine for that matter) those that don’t care about maintenance and those that do. I’d say that it is around a 95% to 5% split respectively! Those that do can be broken down again to those that do care, but want someone else to do the spanner work for them, and whose expectations are usually let down by their selected service department, Yamaha or otherwise.
So if you look at it from Yamaha’s perspective; why make the thing easy to service? 95% of owners aren’t even going to get them looked at until they spew oil out everywhere and even then they usually just let it fill with water! The other 5% should know better and do the job properly by removing the forks from the bike, disassembling them and cleaning them up properly.
One other thing to keep in mind with the AG200 is that when the fork seals fail, farmers just leave it. Even when it starts topping out and banging away metal to metal down there they still leave it. I suspect that the plastic material they use for the fork boots don’t like oil because they seem to split and fail fairly quickly as well, mainly in the lower sections which is what makes me suspect it’s the oil that hastens this process.
Now that the forks are empty or low on oil, the failed fork boots allow water and dirt to accumulate in them and under some weird act of physics actually suck water into the fork! So don’t be surprised if you drain more water out of the forks than oil, I have seen it plenty of times before. It is also another reason to totally disassemble the fork – you may need to remove old oil, dirt, metal deposits, water and corrosion on steel components!
People have asked me; can I drain the oil out of the forks without removing them? Yes, technically you can but I have never done it and never will. If you follow my part 2 article closely you will see how it can be done, but I wouldn’t. You will never get all the old oil out and with this design you really need to. Even if you decided to flush them on the bike the fork cap directly under the handlebars makes this a pain. I just prefer to remove and disassemble them, clean them up and put them all back together with fresh oil. That’s just me.
If the fork boots are good and there is no accumulation of rubbish on the dust seal, then you can probably disassemble the fork without replacing the seals. I have done it plenty of times before. You just need to be gentle on the seals and make sure it all goes back together clean with nice fresh oil. If there is any rubbish around the dust seal and the oil looks dark and old, replace everything – oil and dust seals. Then you wont have issues any time soon and have to tear it all down again.
Check out some AG200 action. Good to see them doing something different rather than banging around a farm!
You can find Yamaha’s listing for their GO and NGO bikes here. They really need to update their page due to a really old version (no electric start) shown, while the “Technical Info” link gives a 404 error and the “Features” link shows AG100 features!
Come on Yamaha, give your best product some respect!
I was thinking of adding a “Mods” section to my blog but I think the AG200 is a bike where if you really want more from your motorcycling then you should buy a different bike…yes I’m in THAT camp of thinking! Having said this, I think there are some small and cost effective things you can do to make the AG experience a little better so I thought I would cover one this time around.
If anyone has done some extended seat time on the AG200, one of the first things that irritate is the narrow foot pegs. Too much weight is spread over a small surface area and you get sore feet. Proper dirt bike boots delay the irritation but only for an hour or two. It will also tear up your nice expensive boots so the reviewed pegs will pay for themselves pretty quick in this respect.
I had been keeping an eye out for a better set of pegs for a long time but the after-market for the AG is like…zero…farmers are not real big on mods and upgrades! The only hope for better bits is to find stuff from other bikes and in the case of the foot pegs, the TW200 came to the rescue.
While lurking on the XT225/250 forums I noticed an ad for foot peg sets for the cousin bikes of the AG in the USA. I contacted Bill via his site and he had never got a request for an AG200 before…nothing new there! So after a bit of research we thought the TW pegs were the best bet so I took the plunge and ordered a pair of TW200 units for my AG.
After a bit over a week a pair of nice new pegs arrived from the USA. So did they fit? Perfectly! The quality of construction is top notch, using the latest CNC and laser cutting technology, nice welds and all finished off with a nice powder coat finish. Made in the USA too, pretty good for the price I reckon. The Yamaha pins and springs fit straight in and only take a few minutes to fit. Totally stress free upgrade.
I wouldn’t say I have done super extended testing yet but I have put quite a few kilometres on the pegs so far and it certainly has completely changed the extended ride experience for my feet. In fact, it has eliminated the problem completely. They have created another one though…the distance between the pegs and the gear lever looks a bit short which isn’t the fault of the pegs. It isn’t a problem with normal boots but proper dirt bike boots can make gear changing a challenge. The standard gear lever is too short anyway and has no folding tip so time to start searching for a nice extended, folding tip gear lever…watch this space!
So to sum up; If you want to improve the extended ride experience of your AG200, or any of the other bikes listed on the linked website, get in touch with the guys and get a set of their pegs sent out. They are worth every cent and improve the quality of your ride considerably. Great upgrade, great product.