Tanshanomi's Snap Judgments

Honda TLR200 Reflex

Mon, April 5th, 2010

Click image for larger view.
Image from ThumperTalk.com. Check them out!

1986-87 Honda TLR200 Reflex
The Reflex shares its motor with the XL200. To call it mild mannered would be an understatement, but at least it is predictable and has an idiot-proof powerband. You can't pick a wrong gear or throttle setting.
I've gleefully blasted around the parking lots of suburban shopping malls and fast food restaurants on a Reflex, and the sensation is uniquely fun. The weak brakes combine with with the sluggish engine to make acceleration and deceleration unhurried affairs. In stark contrast, the ultra-narrow, low, lightweight observed-trials-derived chassis can change direction as quickly as an angry cat's tail. 'Reflex' is the perfect name for it.
It may not be pretty in the classical sense, but looking at a Reflex makes me think, 'I wanna ride!'
The engine is under-stressed, the chassis parts are durable and nicely tucked in, and the whole thing is simple as a stone ax. The only things that can kill a Reflex are (of course): time, abuse, and neglect.
The pokey engine and marginal ergonomics mean that the TLR is only good for short hops, but its miniskirt-sized bodywork means that it is not very utilitarian: everything you carry must go in a backpack. And the design compromises that allow it to work as well as it does on the street mean its not actually very good for observed trials competition, either.
It gets points for being delightfully funky, not for being useful.
Wait...a street-legal trials bike in the U.S.? C'mon, get happy!