Category Archives: History

Owner/Operation manuals

I know, I know! These manuals can be downloaded from the Yamaha Australia site. It’s not the easiest thing to use though and is not the easiest thing to find either. So I thought what the hay, lets put them where all the other AG200 info is in the universe! Not only that, but it will be an interesting discussion on what was different in the manuals and therefore it may give you a hint on the changes Yamaha made to the bikes as well.

1983 AG200L – This is the bike that started it all folks. The first AG2001984_mc_ag200_m_mc2968 that came to Australia. There is some debate over the year of  ’83 or ’84 as the year of release. Yamaha used to introduce their new model range here a few months before Xmas. For example the “L” YZ motocross models were the ’84 year range but were actually released a month or two before the new year. My guess is the AG200 was the same, a few would of showed up here in late ’83 but most of them got off the boats in ’84. I haven’t seen a ’83 complied AG200 yet but I bet they are out there, or what’s left of them anyway!

1989 AG200W – So what happened between ’83 and ’89? Not much! Change 1989_mc_ag200_m_mc4131of colour was about it by the looks of it. This colour was probably the least liked of the AG200 range. The beige looked daggy real fast and made the seat look pink which was less than manly to the farmers involved at the time!

The manuals pretty much confirm the story as far as changes go. The ’89 manual is two pages longer than the older manual and there is a bit of info at the front making it quite clear that it is illegal to use the bike on public roads…say goodbye to the compliance plate of the old bike. In fact, on page 62 of the ’83 manual it states that the noise output is designed to meet ADR39 which is missing from the ’89 manual so Yamaha defiantly let ADR go on this model.

Starting to move into the nanny-state thinking here where there are more warnings about safety both for maintenance and riding. The fuel cock inspection and cleaning section is missing from the newer (p.33, ’83) bike manual which signifies Yamaha changing this part of the bike. The newer bike had no removable bowl under the fuel tap to catch rubbish.

I notice in the specifications section they take out the 30deg climbing ability in the new manual. Bit subjective was it Yamaha?! The engine is now a 3GX2 not a 3GX…wonder if anything was actually changed? The specifications format is changed around a bit but most of the info is still there and the newer manual has added a wiring diagram at the end. Nice touch.

1990 AG200A – The manual is an extra four pages long, 76 up from 72. Most of it is more brain-dead safety info in the first ten pages or so. Litigation must of been catching up with Yamaha! Not much else to report here except that the ’90 model is a better scan so download this one if your bike is around this era. Engine change in specs. to 3GX3.

1991 AG200B – First impressions are ‘meh’, same amount of pages, must be the same manual? Not so! All the safety rubbish is gone from the front. Cool…oh wait…its after the contents pages now! And they have added a ‘location of warning labels’ diagram…sigh!

This manual has the front fork oil change procedure removed from it so my guess is this is the year Yamaha removed the oil drain screw from the front forks. Strangely, the front headlight adjustment procedure has been removed as well. Engine specs. change again to 3GX4.

1992 AG200D – Same number of pages here again. Front cover is tarted up a bit. On page 41 (of the PDF doc) they have made a few additions to step 2c and 2g of the oil change procedure. Looks like the earlier manual forgot to tell people to put the filter back in! A few pages later they have actually added a tightening torque for the oil pressure check bolt –  7Nm which sounds a bit tight to me. I’d say they have added this because people are breaking them off.

On page 58 they are telling us to now lubricate brake lever pivot points with oil rather than grease. Why? I would always prefer grease than oil, particularly on an AG bike where oil will just get washed out after the first wet ride. The specs. section is all the same again except we have an upgrade to engine type 3GX5.

1993 AG200E – New manual is one page less. They have removed a page of safety label descriptions from the bike! Nothing else I can see except for the engine upgrade in the spec. section to a  3GX6.

1994 AG200F – Not much going on here. Page 46 gives us a change of info about the spark plug. They cut a heap of technical info out and add a little bit about how to install a spark plug with out a torque wrench. Nice work Yamaha. Once again we get an engine spec upgrade to 3GX7…keep rolling those big upgrades out guys!

1996 AG200FH – You get the feeling something is going to happen now! 1996_mc_ag200_m_mc5750-1They skipped a year and the manual has grown to 83 pages. Time for a colour update too, check it out! This is my preferred scheme of all the AG200s and the picture doesn’t do it justice.  Back to the manual…they dropped the imperial measurements from all the specifications throughout, which was a move forward. The description at the front of the manual has been simplified from 22 items to 15. I guess most people don’t need to know where the front fender, the tail-light and fuel tank is!

Interesting on p. 18 of the new manual that they drop the section telling you where the engine number is and tell you about the model label up on the head stem. On the previous page they want you to record the key ID, the VIN and the number on this model label rather than the engine number.

There are quite a few additions to the Periodic Maintenance section. A bit of butt covering at the start (in upper case I might add) with an addition about how maintenance can change depending on individual conditions etc. There is two additions to check in the Periodic Maintenance section; the kick stand and battery.

Here I was eagerly anticipating the introduction of the 3GX8 engine and they dumped it from the engine specs.! They dropped the minimum turning radius too. And the last big addition to report is the conversion table added to the last page.

There was a lot of little changes to this manual but most were irrelevant like extra cautions and stuff like that – lawyer changes!

1998 AG200FK – So this is the big one. Electric start! The manual is pretty 1997_mc_ag200f_m_mc6052much brand new so I wont go into the changes page by page. Its still a crappy old scan though! I will just look at the interesting specs. and other things. Now you might think that the picture at left is the same bike as in the last description but if you have a close look you will see the starter motor at the front of the engine and the larger front wheel and brake drum.

1999_mc_ag200_m_mc6619I do know that ’98 was not the first electric start bike though. I do think it was the first of the blue AG200s but the grey, electric start AG200 came along in ’86 – ’87. I had one so I know they came earlier than the blue bikes.

So what was new? The choke moved from the lower clutch side bar to up next to the ignition key. They still show the old choke in the manual under Controls/Instruments description. The switchgear is all new (they stuffed up the diagram), Electric start (no starter motor in the right or left view under description), 12V electrics with auxiliary plug up on the bars near the choke. Larger headlight, 21″ front wheel and larger front brake.

Because of all the changes there were a lot of new numbers in the specification section at the rear of the manual. Length was up to 2160mm from 2135mm, height was 1155mm, up from 1110mm. Seat height is up 10mm to 830mm, ground clearance up 10mm to 255mm, and weight up to 127kg from 121kg. Other changes occurred to caster angle and trail, obviously a 21″ front rim and an updated 12v electrical system capable of delivering reasonable current for a bike that may have accessories.

A few service things were new too. For the first time Yamaha recommended a 20w50 oil if you had temperatures to suit. I also noted that in the maintenance schedule that washing the oil filter was not even mentioned, you’re expected to replace it. And for the first time that I can remember, they tell us it’s OK to use the grease nipples on the swing-arm pivot!

2002 AG200FR – Here’s one for out Latin America friends! This manual is a biggie, 184 pages. Why so big? because there are two manuals, the first is English the second is Spanish. The English version has all the pictorial bugs mentioned in the ’89 manual fixed and it all seems good.

There is an added page for battery maintenance, the AG200 never had the best charging system and Yamaha are covering themselves again. There are two or three new pages going into more depth on changing globes, both headlight, tail-light and indicator. I find it funny that we are supposed to go back to grease for the stand pivots again! Finally there is an added piece in the specifications section warning against using car engine oils in the AG200’s wet clutch system.

2008 AG200FX(6v & 12V) – The AG200 was introduced around the same time as the first Apple Macintosh computer. So 24 years after the release of the system that revolutionised the the field of desktop publishing, Yamaha (or was it Yamaha Australia?) manages to get an AG200 manual out that is in a native digital format and not some dodgy scan! Way to go Yamaha!

We are back to 90 pages and it is soooo much better than this 1999_mc_ag200_m_mc6759other stuff that Yamaha Australia posts up for us to download. I couldn’t believe it when I saw all the imperial measurements. Yep they’re back! Its interesting because this manual also covers the 6v, non electric start model as well as the 12v version. They revived the old bike right down to the crusty old choke lever under the clutch side controls!

So all those spec. differences mentioned for the ’98 model  are all in this one! All in an easy to read, neat format. Nice.

2010 AG200FZ – Lucky last! This manual was a lot bigger than previous downloads and it shows. The quality is excellent.

First time for a very long time that Yamaha changed the introduction. Check out page 25, it the first time I’ve seen Yamaha mention the dual stands! Spark plug torque has gone up 1/2 a Nm to 18! Also a first…a decent index. Yamaha went out with a bang!

That’s it folks, that’s all Yamaha Australia have supplied anyway. I know there was an slightly updated model released in 2014, but Yamaha Australia haven’t posted up the user manual for that yet. When/if they do, I’ll post it up. If anyone out there can help me out with a link then I will get it up on here ASAP.

Cheers

AGman

AG200 Japanese site.

The Japanese made the AG200 so you would expect them to have a little bit of a fan base right? Well they do. Go and check it out here. You will have to use Google translate to glean anything from the writing, but if you persist you will find a few nuggets, like the 6 speed gearbox on the early Japanese version, and the brochure is cool, wonder if they did an English version…

Cheers

AGman

The competition…

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.

CT200 page1So 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.

CT200 page2The 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.

CT200 page3Check 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!

CT200 page4So 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.

PDF of brochure

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…

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Cheers

AGman

2002 Yamaha AG range brochure

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.

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And for the truly committed, here is the full resolution download in PDF format but beware, it’s just over 40Mb in size.

Cheers

AGman

Fork servicing, part 1.5 – a discussion…

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.

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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?

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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!

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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.

This ends part 1.5

Cheers

AGman

Origins

Before I start here, I just thought I should let you know that the info here is strictly my opinion and based on my own research. In other words it’s flawed! For a start its based on what we had imported into Australia so it could easily be a distorted view of how things really are. If anyone sees glaring holes in my theories then please, flame me! I am happy to take on more info on this motorcycle, its engine and its derivatives. So having said all this, lets jump in.

Yamaha XT200 82

In Australia, the first motorcycle to see the engine that was to migrate to the AG200 was the SR185 road bike in 1982, while the XT125/200 trail bikes made an appearance in the next model year. A bit of hunting around on the ‘net suggests that the SR125 may of made an appearance a year earlier in other markets but we got our first taste in ’82/’83. Inspection of the XT series will show a lot familiarity with the AG200. Not much modification was needed to turn the XT into an AG. In fact, if I was pushed to say what was the father of the AG200, I’d say it was the XT200.

Yamaha XT125 82  2

And here is one of my first speculations; the XT may of been the daddy of the AG200, but the bike responsible for it was the AG100/175. Why? Because of the 2 stroke emission issues. I think the Japanese could feel the pressure building on emission legislation in the early 80s in their biggest market the USA. Even though they didn’t export the AG200 to the US and probably never even considered it, I think that they felt there needed to be an alternative agricultural bike than the old smokers. And by the way, if you think the AG200 has had a good run then consider the AG100 was first released in 1973 and can still be bought brand new today!

So was the XT the start of the “commodity bike” for Yamaha? The cheap, bread and butter engine for use in multiple models for multiple countries? The models it was used in included the SR, XT, AG, TW, TTR, and the top end was used in numerous ATV variants as well. I dont know who the engineer was from Yamaha (I am looking for the answer), but I reckon they did a top job and they sure made some coin for that company!

Model – XT200K (15Y)

Year – 1983

Engine – Air cooled, 4 stroke, Single cylinder, DOHC

Capacity – 196cc

Bore/stroke – 67 x 55.7mm

Compression ratio – 9.5:1

Carburettor – Teikei Y24P

Max power – 18hp @ 8500rpm

Max torque – 1.6kg-m @ 8000rpm

Front brake – Drum

Rear Brake – Drum

Front tire – 2.75-21

Rear tire – 4.10-18

Fuel tank capacity – 7.3 Litre

Dry weight – 98kg

Cheers

AGman