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Old 03-26-2015, 08:34 PM   #1
supermotosean OP
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Talking A Suzuki history lesson...

Or, how to make sure you know what you're buying before you buy it!

A few of you may have caught me asking about my Cota 330 a while back. In finding out they are not exactly plentiful, I decided to get something a little more common. Luckily (I thought), I had just talked a friend of mine into picking up an old Suzuki RL250 pretty cheap & he was already talking about wanting something newer. I offer him what he paid for it and presto! My trials bike population is shifting into bunny mode.

She actually came to me in boxes, but this is how everything looked after fingering some bolts together:


My first thought was: Hmm, that exhaust doesn't look like the google images I keep looking at. A little parts searching brings up that this bike has an early 70's (I forget the exact year, I was starting to get depressed..) TS250 exhaust. "No biggie" I say, "I'll just get an RL exhaust off ebay & get the right stuff bolted on".

Then I looked more closely at the exhaust outlet on the cylinder:


Wait a minute, this exhaust exits in the left side of the downtube.. The original RL exhaust exits on the right side..A little more parts searching tells me not only do I have a TS250 exhaust, I have a TM250 cylinder

At this point all I can do is .. And I haven't even concerned myself with where the fuel tank came from yet

While I'm calming myself down about my RLTSTM250 purchase, I notice something odd about the swingarm pivot area:


Not only has the left subframe tube been repaired (I DID know about that issue initially), the swingarm location was not original. Whoever this previous industrious owner was, they had cut the lower half of the frame backbone out and welded in new plates and braces to move the swingarm forward. This was about the same time I realized the steering neck had been cut & welded to sharpen the steering a bit.... Except the neck was welded back on crooked ...

I believe this home engineer was trying to emulate the Beamish frame, as I understand it had sharper steering & the swingarm moved forward to help handling. An admirable goal, but the fact that most of it isn't straight anymore I think negates any benefit these mods would have had.

SO..... In conclusion, the TS/TM/RL series Suzukis have a LOT of interchangeable parts. Some swap out with no effect, some do not . As of right now, I'm gonna call this whole deal a learning experience and my own personal history lesson with Suzuki.

Anyone need a parts/project bike?!?
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Old 03-26-2015, 08:55 PM   #2
lineaway
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He must have been a roofer with that 2nd layer of front fender.
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Old 03-26-2015, 09:05 PM   #3
lamotovita
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"At this point all I can do is .. And I haven't even concerned myself with where the fuel tank came from yet"

Old Bultaco of some sort, maybe an early Pursang, the plastic cover is broken off the aluminum gas cap.
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lamotovita screwed with this post 03-26-2015 at 09:56 PM
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Old 03-27-2015, 07:32 AM   #4
Bronco638
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Might want to contact/PM this guy: LINK
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Old 03-27-2015, 07:44 AM   #5
motobene
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That is the shortest swing arm I've ever seen!
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Old 03-27-2015, 10:59 AM   #6
Brewtus
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Quote:
Originally Posted by supermotosean View Post
Anyone need a parts/project bike?!?
That thing is ugly enough to become part of the Brewtus Scuderia!

Central Florida though.....
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Old 03-27-2015, 11:36 AM   #7
supermotosean OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brewtus View Post
That thing is ugly enough to become part of the Brewtus Scuderia!

Central Florida though.....
Careful, this bike has me thinking of all the time I spent reading fun with OJ
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Old 03-27-2015, 11:44 AM   #8
Brewtus
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Originally Posted by supermotosean View Post
Careful, this bike has me thinking of all the time I spent reading fun with OJ

Yeah, that did run a bit long. It's time to do something with that wretch or find another project.

Your 'Zook is in better shape than what OJ started out with, though!
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Old 03-27-2015, 04:26 PM   #9
slicktop
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I don't know what to say. It looks cool, but heavy as hell.
I would think it to be a great woods bike and may do fine in vintage class.
The carb intake needs a lot of help.
I wouldn't be embarrassed to ride it.
It looks like a creative person could build an airbox stuffed in the frame. Some cardboard for the template and then lay up some glass.
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Old 03-27-2015, 04:34 PM   #10
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I don't know what to say. It looks cool, but heavy as hell.
I would think it to be a great woods bike and may do fine in vintage class.
The carb intake needs a lot of help.
I wouldn't be embarrassed to ride it.
It looks like a creative person could build an airbox stuffed in the frame. Some cardboard for the template and then lay up some glass.
Nevermind.
I see there is a single downtube behind the carb.
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Old 03-28-2015, 06:52 AM   #11
Gordo83
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Interesting peg location as well. Should put plenty of traction to the rear tire.
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Old 03-28-2015, 02:37 PM   #12
emti
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I think I would do some asking around to try to find out who did it. There may be a good story behind it. emti
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Old 03-29-2015, 05:17 PM   #13
SilkMoneyLove
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Was it set up to flat track? Might explain the short swingarm and crooked head.
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Old 03-29-2015, 08:01 PM   #14
supermotosean OP
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I don't *think* the swingarm is any shorter than stock, having the pivot moved forward and (I forgot to mention) the footpegs moved rearward makes it look waaay shorter than it really is. But I could be wrong?!?

In the original CL ad when my friend went to look at it, the PO said this bike had been built by someone who actually competed in trials and knew what they were doing. I am by no means an expert, but shortening the wheelbase, steering angle, and moving pegs back are all mods I have heard of doing to a vintage trials bike (by vintage I mean 70's-ish jap bikes).

I'm pretty sure this was built by someone with the ability to read up on the internet and get some good ideas (or had the experience from having done trials for some time). I also believe this person was not a perfectionist, but well armed with a welder and a "close enough" approach

However it came to be, I sure know a helluva lot more about vintage trials bikes (especially Suzukis) now than I did before. I'm still mostly enjoying this lesson, hopefully you guys are too
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Old 03-30-2015, 06:05 AM   #15
motobene
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Quote:
Originally Posted by supermotosean View Post
I don't *think* the swingarm is any shorter than stock, having the pivot moved forward and (I forgot to mention) the footpegs moved rearward makes it look waaay shorter than it really is. But I could be wrong?!?

In the original CL ad when my friend went to look at it, the PO said this bike had been built by someone who actually competed in trials and knew what they were doing. I am by no means an expert, but shortening the wheelbase, steering angle, and moving pegs back are all mods I have heard of doing to a vintage trials bike (by vintage I mean 70's-ish jap bikes).

I'm pretty sure this was built by someone with the ability to read up on the internet and get some good ideas (or had the experience from having done trials for some time). I also believe this person was not a perfectionist, but well armed with a welder and a "close enough" approach

However it came to be, I sure know a helluva lot more about vintage trials bikes (especially Suzukis) now than I did before. I'm still mostly enjoying this lesson, hopefully you guys are too
It was a comment from the engineer's perspective of designs evolving from the assumptions of the past toward more optimal. 'Vintage' pretty well equates to too-short swing arms, and this one just happens to look particularly short, likely due to all the gusseting plates surrounding the pivot, leaving what looks a bit more (or less) 'nubbin' projecting back.
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