Friday, October 27, 2017

Yamaha Agro200

Tired of fettling an old Royal Enfield Bullet before and after every off-road excursion I parted with it and decided to go Japanese. This was going to be a bike to get on and use that required a minimum of maintenance. So, perhaps unwisely, I saw a 35 year old farm bike for sale and somehow thought that it would be a good option.

I put in an offer, it was accepted. The bike arrived, I liked it.

There was a small wiring job to do that I was warned about. Turned out it was small in scope but massive in consumption of workshop time. Then after getting an MOT on the machine I found that it would only run sweetly with the choke full on.

The Yamaha AG200 hasn't really got a good angle. The looks
are best described as functional. No chance of losing it either
with the colour scheme! The bike proved to be so much hassle
to get working right it got christened the 'Agro200'.

An initial examination showed a perished and cracked inlet rubber as the likely culprit. This was duly replaced (not expensive but it had to be sent over from China). Job not done. One problem was solved but it still ran like a pig. The beauty of a British bike is that they were designed with maintenance in mind, the manufacturers were wise to the fact that they were making machines that required regular fettling: that means that there is plenty of space and everything comes apart fairly easily. Not so on the AG200. The carb is an absolute pig to remove.

After twenty or so times removing the carb and replacing it you would think that I might have worked out an easy way to do it, not so. I believe an easy way does not exist. Each time it came off I made a small tweak to the settings, the first obvious problem was a missing pilot screw. It was a frustrating process and not helped much by the Yamaha workshop manual which really only tells you that the carb is a carefully set up precision instrument and there is no reason to mess with it. Too late, someone else already had.

AG200 spares are not so easy to find in the UK but I did some investigation and discovered that most mechanical parts are shared with the TW200 and BW200, both slightly more common over here.

With no guidance on settings in the workshop manual I turned to a TW200 forum and found out that a suitable main jet size is a 120. My bike was fitted with a 102.5. In the only stroke of luck in the whole project I happened to have a good stock of different sizes for the Mikarb - an Indian Mikuni copy that was used on 350 and 500 Bullets. I popped a 120 in and finally sweet running was the result.

A couple of days later I hit the local green lanes. The AG200 is an ideal mount for the job, nice and quiet, fairly gently in power and very comfortable. On the road it will hum along at 55mph or so. It should be ideal for my intended use for it - long distance trials. I had forgotten what a hoot green laning is, note to self to do it more often.

Conditions on the Dorset Ridgeway were damp and muddy.

One of the key markets for the AG200 was / is
African aid agencies. The Agro200 must have
felt at home on the Ridgeway as it reminded me
of riding in the jungles of the Congo.

Good to finally get some mud on the Yamaha.

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