What happened to the "Big Wheels"?

I just picked up a 1986 Yamaha BW 200. Why did they stop making these neat little bikes? I think the manufactures- (Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki, etc.)

are missing out not remanufacturing these "big wheel" bikes.

They were initially intended for SAND playing with the large ATV style tires. The 350 is a little nicer for the power increase. I looked closely at a 88 Yamaha 350 Bigwheel. It appeared that the BW is a slightly altered version of my XT350. I don't know about the others besides Honda, but they offered a 200cc Fat Cat and maybe even an 80cc version.

They went to the same place the three wheelers did!

ANy 1 selling 1?

The Big Wheels from Yamaha started with the 1985 BW-200N, back in the day when 3-wheeled ATVs were all the rage.

A couple of years later, after the USCPSC ATV Consent Decree (where there were a lot of ambulance-chaser lawsuits being flung around and ATV dealers had to post 10 foot tall posters listing how many ways you could get killed by buying and riding an ATV), 3-wheeled ATVs went bye-bye because the manufacturers basically said, "F that shit".

The BWs went with them.

Now, it's just 4-wheeled ATVs with an acre of warning labels riveted to the fenders. :)

Honda only made a 200 called a TR-200 Fat Cat.

It had an automatic clutch with an engine from the 1986 TRX-200SX ATV.

It was here for 1986 and 1987.

It must have been a catchy name because even some guys with a Yamaha BW would call their machines a Fat Cat, which is kinda' like calling your Yamaha Tri-Moto an ATC. :lol:

Yamaha made BWs in 80, 200, and 350cc models, and I owned one of each size at one time or another.

The 1986 BW-80S was fun in the back yard or anywhere else you didn't need warp speed.

Very torquey engine based on the PW-80, which itself got it's engine from some ancient 2-stroke design in Yamaha's past.

3-speed transmission with automatic clutch.

Solid design.

It was here for 1986, 1987, 1988, and 1990.

The BW-200 was the first BW and came with kickstart-only and electric-and-kickstart models.

The engine design came from the 1981 SR-185H Exciter street bike, has been used in a whole lot of Yamaha off-road, dual-purpose, and ATV models since, and can still be seen in today's TT-R230.


These were made for 1985, 1986, 1987, and 1988.

The BW-200s seemed popular enough in all of the ATV magazines (which are basically 100-page advertisements, anyway), but I though the bike was simply too heavy for the power output: Pretty weak when you twist the throttle.

Maybe with it hopped-up it would have felt good, but I kept mine stock (except for Works Performance shocks - yes, twin shocks) and sold it after not too many rides.

Like the BW-80, I really liked the 1987 BW-350T (and it was also around in 1988 as the BW-350U).

The engine in this one was not from the XT-350, but actually had a single cam, 2-valve top end based on the 1987 Warrior 350 ATV (which lives on today with the Raptor 350 ATV) with a bottom end made from 1980 XT-250, SR-250, and made-just-for-the-BW-350 parts.

The basic engine architecture can be seen in the 1976 TT-500C and XT-500C.

Sure, it was heavier than the BW-200, but it had something that felt like power and torque when you twisted the throttle.

I thought the BW and PW were the exact same engines except the output shaft was longer on the BW? Is it really torquey?

RebelYell, I don't know how far you want to go. I know someone selling a BW80 for $600. I asked him if he would sell me just the engine and he said no.

Here's a list of all the ones I know listed and then some:


YZ you da man! You really know your stuff about bikes.Years ago smacaroni maybe 4-5 years ago to be exact some 1 I kinda knew had 1 sitting on the corner for like 750-900 bucks.It was a BW 350 before I could get to it,got tied up w life.It was gone in like a week and I was ummm kicking myself in the ass.Not 2 long after I saw some 1 had the bike from east brunswick nj. in dirtwheels picture section.The editors told the kid to keep hold of it,it was a rare bike and someday it will be worth Money.Boy am I still livid about that 1 getting thru my hands. Its nice to know we got alot of yahoos on these things,dirtbikes quads atc killing themselves an want to sue everybody.What ever happend to personal responsibility and not riding like a whackadoo and pissing every 1 off not to mention killing yourself.Getting offf the subject I remember moving here where I still currently live and it seemed every other kid had a bike,trike etc.I can still vividly remmeber the kids screaming there 80s from 1 end of the street to the other.THis is the behavior that gets us banned an just plain pissses offf neighbors an people that ride an dont ride. Its just a shame because of a few bad apples that cant ride because there circus clowns we all have to suffer. Id go maybe 200-300 miles round trip Smacaroni for the 200 or 350 as long as the bike wasnt a roacher.

I don't know the condition of it, I just know he has it. My guess is it's fair, but not spectacular. You're probably better off looking through the link I sent you, there's ones closer to Jersey than I am (central PA).

Next time I see him, I'll ask him to send me photos and I'll pass them on to you.

I don't want to start a new thread, but I have a quick question.

I don't know if you read my "Aw Fudge" thread in the Peewee section.

Quick recap, got a PW80 cheap. Got a motor from Florida that was "complete" and "running", not so cheap. Those words are in quotes because it is neither. Has crank bearing problems.

So I call up the guy who I bought it from because it's neither "complete" nor "running", tell him motor is crap. He says "I can't warranty 15 year old parts". (side) Fine, but can you warranty "complete" and "running"?

He says if he gets another in, he'll see what he can do to help me out.

Well, today he calls, says he got a BW80. To my knowledge, these are the same bike, except the BW has a longer output shaft.

Is this correct? Can I tell him, ship me this BW motor and take a gamble he'll burn me again? Should I tell him "crank's shot, send me crank, crank bearings" and buy new seals?

Or should I tell him "thank you, you've been far too helpful already, I can't accept any more help" and buy a new crank and seals?

No matter what, it looks like I'm going to have to split the cases w/o sending the motor to a machine shop. (machine the output shaft to the correct length while still in the cases).

If they're different, is there any advantage to the BW80 over the PW80?

Myself, I'd not bother with the guy anymore, disassemble the engine you got, and make repairs yourself.

I wouldn't use a BW-80 engine and nor try to shorten the output shaft.

I just picked up a 1986 Yamaha BW 200. Why did they stop making these neat little bikes? I think the manufactures- (Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki, etc.)

are missing out not remanufacturing these "big wheel" bikes.

Search for FatCat 450R on here or on google to find a modern Big Wheel :busted:

Here's a link as well: http://www.bikes4cargo.com/UltimateDuneBike.html

Happy Riding :thumbsup:

I've picked up a BW80 with a rotten bottom end. Anyone know if the PW80 motors are a compatible drop in?

I think there is one for sale in Mesa, AZ if anyone is interested.

The BW and PW motor are very similar, however, the BW's output shaft (1RY-17421-00-00) is different than the PW's. You'd need to split the cases to make the swap.

Looking for some info on a 1988 BW 350 - have a nice bike but it won't run properly - it pops and farts - back fires like crazy. Does anyone know if this is a bad CDI unit? Is there a way to test my CDI unit?

I made a Yamaha 450cc Big Wheel. Its actually just a bolt on kit that takes about 30 mins to go back and forth from factory to big wheel mod. any questions usmcjordan@yahoo.com


The Honda TR-200 FatCat was my first "real" bike! There is one on E-bay for $1800 (my dad paid about $1200 brand new in 1988 for a 1987 model). Strange how you remember some things in life, like the battery part number was a Yuasa YTH912B. I have no idea why I remember that... Anyway, I rode the hell out of that bike for many years... I think I might have even changed the oil in it a couple times. Many great memories and wish I still had it...

I made a Yamaha 450cc Big Wheel. Its actually just a bolt on kit that takes about 30 mins to go back and forth from factory to big wheel mod. any questions usmcjordan@yahoo.com


Ok, I want one! Anything or information you can provide is greatly appreciated!

Well basically I made a custom swing arm, hud, and clamps. The parts use factory brakes and sprockets, so this is a bolt on kit that you can go from factory to big wheel mod is about 45 mins. The integrity of the bike itself stays the same. If you want more details just email me usmcjordan@yahoo.com


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