This is the first post in our For Sale series about interesting, unique or weird bikes for sale online. Note: This is NOT an advertisement. ADVrider is NOT affiliated in any way with either the seller or marketplace. Do you know if any unique bikes for sale? Let us know by filling in this form.
Want a dual sport that sticks out from the normal array of placid Japanese bikes or high-strung Euro machines? How about this 1987 Yamaha DT200L, for sale in Moncton, New Brunswick, about two hours north of Maine with a price of $2000 CAD?
This machine is definitely an oddity. When you think of street-legal two-strokes in North America, the machines that usually come to mind are the classic Yamaha RD or RZ lines, or before that, the Suzuki GT750 and Kawasaki’s evil-handling triples from the ’70s. Then, some smart-alec will bring up the Kawasaki KE100, which was the last street-legal two-smoker the Big Four sold in the US or Canada, discontinued here in 2001.
But, there was another street-legal two-stroke enduro that had a run almost as long, at least in Canada—the Yamaha DT200 line. The fact that it was sold in Canuckistan, but never the US, might sound unusual, but that sort of thing happened from time to time. In the 1980s and 1990s, Yamaha would sometimes use Canada as a testing ground, to see if a machine was suitable for the US market, or so the gossip went,. It’s also possible Canada’s lax tailpipe emissions laws in that time period made it easier to sell two-strokes there.
Either way, Canada got the street-legal DT200L (pictured above), followed by the DT200R, and the US didn’t (except for some hardy individuals who braved the border guards to purchase the machines, then brought them south).
So what was the DT200 about? At its core, this is a very similar engine to what’s found in the WR200, and even the Yamaha Blaster ATV. It wasn’t a zippy screamer, as it wasn’t intended for MX usage. However, for trail usage, it was perfect—sorta like Kawasaki’s KDX220, which would have been its big competition in those years.
In fact, when viewed against the KDX’s success, Yamaha was probably disappointed the DT200 never became a bigger hit. The KDX was incredibly popular, and Yamaha no doubt figured a similar bike, with the addition of street-legal plates, would achieve its own success. The DT200R did indeed sell very well in many countries, but they’re super-rare in the US, due to lack of availability. Even in Canada, you don’t see many for sale.
Why? Probably because it was the right bike at the wrong time. Two-strokes were still fairly abundant in the off-road scene, without the novelty that such a machine would carry now. Nobody missed two-strokes, because there were plenty around, and riders weren’t excited about pre-mix or oil injection or power valves or anything like that.
Also, while the DT200R followed the pattern of a street-legal dual sport, it wasn’t as good in the dirt as other established performers (particularly the KDX) and other four-strokes were much better on the street. Remember, these were the days when the KLR650 rose to dominance in North America. The Big Four were still selling decent 350s as well, so a snappy two-stroke was a little less of a hot ticket.
However, those who owned them seemed to mostly like them, with reports of highway cruising being a bit buzzy, but totally doable (some optimistic websters claim a 100 mph top speed, although somewhere in the 90 mph range sounds more realistic).
This seller says he has all the street-legal bits (lights, mirrors, paperwork) required to keep this bike on the road, so you could theoretically fly to New Brunswick and ride it home, long as you could figure out the paperwork and insurance. Also, you’d probably have to be a masochist.
And, you’d have to have $2,000 CAD to spend on an old dirt bike, as the seller says he’s firm on that price. Is it steep? If the bike checks out in person and is in good shape, that’s probably a realistic figure.