View Full Version : Starting a 82’ ATC 200

The Llöyd
02-19-2023, 05:13 PM
I just joined and have a ton of questions, going to use the search function as much as possible as not to spam the board with trivial questions, but I have 1 to start off with.

I have a 82’ ATC200. It has a decompression lever on the right top of the head, but no cable or any visible route for a cable, also the owners manual that came with it does not mention a decompression lever, so I’m assuming the head or jug is from a different year trike.

I have had old Hondas before and other old bikes but never one with a decompression lever, so I have no idea how it works or how I should be using it, I know it should make the pull start easier to use but that’s as much as I know.

Any insight on how to use this to make starting easier and not break the starter rope. And how the cable should be routed?

Thanks in advance Llöyd

02-19-2023, 09:45 PM
The head may be from another engine, but it may be stock too. The cable works off of the pull starter and all of the pieces may not be there. It could be why the cable isn't there. You shouldn't have any trouble with the rope breaking with stock compression. It was pretty low at around 7.8:1 if I remember right.

Homeless Dave
02-23-2023, 03:24 PM
The 1982 I believe should have a manual decomp lever. Engine might have been swapped or just the head. It’s hard to tell, these machines are 40 years old. The 200 doesn’t need a decomp unless you get into high compression pistons.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

02-23-2023, 08:16 PM
You can decode the engine serial number to find out what trike an engine started life in. Below is a link to the site that I use. I would not worry about the decompression on this motor like everyone has said before its really not needed. Parts are also kind of high for them the biggest pain is the decompression parts in the pull start. It's a simple design and easy to get working in my experience most trike are just missing them.


Edit: The engine serial number is located on the lower part of the motor next to where the shift shaft exits the motor. It will be a alpha numeric serial on a flat pad. It should look something like TB05E-21xxxxx.

The Llöyd
02-24-2023, 01:18 AM
Thanks for the info, my motor checks out as a 1982 using the decoder. Not sure how the motor to frame numbers work for the trikes work but on my other old Honda bikes the motor vin was usually close, within a few hundred, to the frame vin to be considered matching, not the case here they motor is numbered 10,000+ higher than the frame, so it could be a late 82’ while the frame is an early 82’.

The trike is pretty much complete, needs a new seat but from what I’ve seen most do, a first for me is it has the original tool kit and roll and the original bill of sale from April 1982, this thing was $1850 CDN new.

Next week I am picking up a 1982 200e, it comes with 2 motors, and is not in great shape but mechanically everything is there, but it does need new fenders.

I’m thinking of a motor swap, a 200e motor in the 200? Looks fairly simple but may need to notch the frame to clear the starter

I’ll get some pictures up when I have it home.

ATC King
02-24-2023, 09:22 AM
You'll probably have an issue with the 200E sub transmission fitting that swap. I don't recall, but it seem like there's been a 200E engine swapped into a different trike and the details were posted. I know someone put a 200E engine into a 200X frame, but I don't remember those details, although I seen it in person.

Really, it's not worthwhile unless you really need the high/low range for a special project. Replacing the countershaft sprocket on any of the sub transmission equipped ATCs is a PITA anyway for one that's actually rode enough to need them regularly replaced. The electric start is nice but not really needed on a stock 185/200 engine and adding that to a trike the previously wasn't means adding the extra electrical doodads and a battery.

It's better to repair, maintain, ride what you have than to open a can of worms with no fish around.

I'd prefer the 200E over the 200 though. Simply because the 200E shares more with the later models than the 200.

The 200 is a bit of an odd duck with less parts availability.

The Llöyd
02-24-2023, 09:13 PM
I wanted the 200e motor for the electric start but so far the pull start works good, I had the sub transmission on my old CT90 and it is great for off-roading.

I am finding the 200 to be lacking parts support vs the 200e and later, but since it is mostly complete I will just not have to break anything, lol! The 200 will be a mild refresh while the 200e will be a complete rebuild.

Getting back to the decompression cable/lever, the trike is easy to start first pull if I lift the lever up and it kicks down once I pull the starter cord, I’m assuming the cable just automatically rises the level as you pull the cord.

The lever does snap down on to the upper fin, I was wondering if I could switch the cable lever out for the hand lever and remove the snapping back on the fin. Don’t want to break a fin now.

ATC King
02-25-2023, 10:39 PM
Yes, the cable on the recoil is just for an automatic type of decomp system. Same concept as the kickstart ATCs that have thge cable running from the kickstart mech to the decomp lever on the head.

Really, I don't like the auto decomp stuff. If I had a trike that was like new and a collector piece, all the auto-decomp components would remain and be in proper adjustment. Besides that situation, I either remove the parts for the auto or miss adjust it so it doesn't engage.

With the auto decomp there's no feel for TDC and if the engine is fuel flooded it really needs a manual decomp to properly clear it. Such as the case after a crash or simple roll-over.

If you're worried about it tapping on the fins you can zip-tie a piece of rubber onto it as long as it's not thick enough to cause it to engage.

All it does is hold the exhaust valve open by using a half circle, D shape, on the end of the shaft that touches the exhaust valve rocker arm when the decomp shaft is rotated. All that's happening when you rotate the engine to TDC while holding the decomp lever is it's held with pressure from the valve spring in position until you try to start it and after the exhaust valve opens a bit farther the external spring on the decomp lever moves the lever back to the original position.

It's super simple. The stuff going on with the kickstart trikes has more bits and Honda had a complex system on their dirt bikes in the 80's that used an extra valve (five valves in total) in the head that opened a decompression chamber that was cast into the head. Be glad the trikes didn't get that goofy system. I've have a bike with that and I disabled it because there's also has a manual decomp hooked to a lever on the handlebar, yes, it has two totally separate decomp systems; super goofy.

I've been meaning to get the parts for a handlebar lever actuated manual decomp on the ATC, like Honda did with their dirt bikes. If I get around to it in the next month I'll create a thread about it. Keep an eye out for that as it may be something you'd consider.