Herr Funk’s Yamaha TW125

Some motorcycles just scream fun. Before the Honda Grom there was the Yamaha TW125: A low-riding dual-sport bike that can’t decide if it belongs on the beach or the farm. With low gearing and big tires, it’s also at home on potholed city streets—as Maximilian Funk has found.

The TW has been around since the mid 80s, and in 1987 a TW200 became the first motorcycle to reach the North Pole. Nothing much has changed since, but Yamaha grudgingly upgraded it with disc brakes, an electric start and a better carb just after the turn of the century.

Berlin-based Herr Funk (yes, that’s his real name) built this Yamaha on a budget: the bike owes him less than 2,000 euros. It’s a 1999 model, but it’s got the later front disc brake. Plus an XS400 tank in original colors, which matches the stubby frame just perfectly.

Other mods include new lights, and a 220 kph analog speedo that’s compact and optimistic in equal measure. (Top speed would be just over 60 mph on the Autobahn.) The chunky seat is a custom-made item, and conceals a skateboard acting as a fender underneath. Mechanically, the TW125 is stock apart from a stubby Supertrapp race muffler.

If there was ever proof that small capacity bikes can be fun, this is it.

Images by Arthur Paul Heisler. The TW200 is still sold in some countries, including the USA.