|Yamaha AG 200.|
I first got to know these Yamaga AG bikes when riding around Africa on my '55 Bullet 10 years back. I remember seeing them in showrooms and out and about. They were cheap to buy and look like they are made to take a beating. In Africa they are popularly used by charities as ways of getting out in to remote areas. They are even used with sidecars as ambulances in some countries. Over in Australia and New Zealand they are widely used on farms and sheep stations.
The AG stands for Agricultural and they first appeared in 1982 and are still made today in pretty much the same spec. They are rare bikes in the UK and this one came up for sale just as I had some money in my pocket from selling another bike and was looking for something to use to compete in long distance trials. I was riding an Enfield Bullet in trials, I had developed it to a point where it was fairly competitive and a good ride. Of course I then sold it. My new brief was for something light, cheap, reliable and low maintenance. In buying a 30 odd year old farm bike I pretty much failed failed on all these counts. I didn't pay a lot of money for it but probably plenty for a slightly knackered small Yamaha. It is fairly light but not compared to other small trail bikes and as for reliability, well it hasn't gone wrong much but then again I haven't attempted many miles on it as it is still running rather badly....
On the plus side the bike is beautifully balanced and should, when sorted, be a really excellent bike for long distance trials. Plus it has a bit more character than just another Serrow.
|At home in the African bush, Australian|
Outback or Dorset green lanes?
The AG 200 is based squarely on the XT200, the smaller brother of the cult XT500 off-roader. The engine is a sweet little 200cc ohc unit that is used in a number of other Yamahas notably the BW200 and TW200 and is very similar to the 225 Serrow. The rear wheel is 18 inch and the front 19. Essentially the bike is XT200 with added weight: it has a cute front rack above the headlight, a huge rear rack that could carry a sheep, enormous engine protection bars, a fully enclosed chain case and as catalogue spec it came with a large tubular handlebar 'fender'
|Big engine bars.|
This particular bike came to me with an electrical problem - a new indicator cluster had been fitted but the owner hadn't been able to wire it in. After working at it with a meter for a few hours he had my every sympathy. There are a lot of wires inside that headlight, perhaps they've been muddled up a bit over the years but they don't all work together as they should.... Took a while but sorted in the end. A test ride exposed some carburation glitches. First look showed a knackered rubber intake manifold. This replaced it was slightly better but not great. The carb is a Mikuni diaphragm type, spares are not easy to come by and a new diaphragm to replace the old and tired one is a bit pricey. In the end I've bought a regular traditional Mikuni VM slide type carb (though a generic Chinese one) that is for a BW200. The carb only cost twenty quid and to be honest it looks pretty good, how do they make and sell them for that price?
|There's no hiding with a bike this yellow.|
The carb swap is still pending but in the meantime the bike runs fine with just a touch of choke. It's had a brief green lane run at which it acquitted itself excellently and has low enough first two gears that it can virtually climb a cliff. The little AG 200 is indeed so far shaping up to be an excellent long distance trials contender. It doesn't have a great deal of oomph on the highway but it will cruise along 55mph-ish. The bike was perhaps imported from Japan as it has a very irritating red light that appears on the speedo as soon as you top 50. That had me fooled for a while, I thought it was an oil light and the thing was getting starvation when revved hard.... had to look it up on t' web when I got home from the test run!
There we go. Should be sorted soon and hopefully that'll be the last of the maintenance on it for a while. I'm not going to give it anything like the punishment that would be meted out to it on an outback sheep station. It's different, some might say ugly but I would say it has a certian rugged charm.
|Neat front rack and very feeble 6v electrics.|
|Fully enclosed chain with its own guard.|
|Big tank for a frugal 200.|
|Transcends notions of beauty!|
|hmmm... must paint that horn black!|