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Old 01-18-2015, 12:48 PM   #1
Kiba OP
Dances With Huskies
 
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Joined: Nov 2013
Location: Houston, Motorcycle Purgatory
Oddometer: 216
A Suzuki TS185 Rides Again

Hi, my screen name is Kiba and I'm an addict.... a two-stroke addict, that is.

Both of my RD projects a year or two ago never got off the ground due to lack of funds and went to a buddy who has way more experience messing with old bikes. But I never lost the memory of riding my first-ever motorcycle, a 1973 Kawi G5/KE100, or of just how awesome a two-stroke is even when it's a cheap, 40-year old small-bore enduro.

Back in December I had just come into a little extra money, found an opportunity for a relapse, and had to take it. I borrowed a truck, drove up to Conroe as darkness fell and found this:



(well, technically that's the next day after I got a temp tag, added a mirror, and rode to work)
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1986 Yamaha XT600 (daily driver) - 2004 Kawi EX500 (on loan) - 1971 Suzuki TS185 - 1996 Suzuki DR350 (project) - 1982 Honda CM450 (loaner/beater)

Wolves do it in the snow.
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Old 01-18-2015, 01:04 PM   #2
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It was a 1971 Suzuki TS185, and was remarkably original.

The original seat, gauges and headlight were in near-perfect shape, the gaskets on the motor and carb had been recently done (and done correctly, as I would find out later), it didn't have a single aftermarket part that I could see, and the bike came with a huge amount of original paperwork, including the original dealer literature, manual, plate from 1971, and even the 1970 title since it only had one owner.

The original tool kit was complete, and unlike modern tool kits, is actually useful. I usually carry a small tool bag with all the basics on my bikes, and I don't need to on this one.





The attention to detail that leads to engraving a little logo on all the visible bolts is just plain cool to me. For some of you that grew up with these bikes it must seem like nothing, but for those of us in the plasticine era, details like this are part of what's nice about owning a vintage vehicle.

Just like many of the bolts, the tools are all branded with the old Suzuki logo.

It was missing a spare plug (which I added) and it would probably be pretty difficult to pull off a tire or take out the engine with these tools. Besides that you could easily do most anything on the bike, from removing wheels to adjusting brakes to a roadside carb teardown or top end.

Thankfully it also runs great and didn't even come close to fouling a plug in the cold/wet weather we had here in Houston in December.
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Wherever you go, there you are.
1986 Yamaha XT600 (daily driver) - 2004 Kawi EX500 (on loan) - 1971 Suzuki TS185 - 1996 Suzuki DR350 (project) - 1982 Honda CM450 (loaner/beater)

Wolves do it in the snow.

Kiba screwed with this post 01-18-2015 at 05:52 PM
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Old 01-18-2015, 01:10 PM   #3
Kiba OP
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I took it to work a couple of times and all was well after I fixed the taillight, added a mirror and a horn. But it was extremely slow. After looking at it a little I realized it had been geared down to a trials level with a massive rear sprocket (two grannies, first, second and third).

So it was off to ebay to get a new set of chain/sprockets and a few other maintenance items.

Still had fun in the dirt on dreary days without crowds on the roads though.



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Wherever you go, there you are.
1986 Yamaha XT600 (daily driver) - 2004 Kawi EX500 (on loan) - 1971 Suzuki TS185 - 1996 Suzuki DR350 (project) - 1982 Honda CM450 (loaner/beater)

Wolves do it in the snow.
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Old 01-18-2015, 01:13 PM   #4
Kiba OP
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Texas DMV gave me a bunch of crap about the title (long story) but in the end I caved and just went through Vermont instead. That way the next time I argue with them at the DMV I'll be 100% sure that I'm in the right.



More to come later....
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1986 Yamaha XT600 (daily driver) - 2004 Kawi EX500 (on loan) - 1971 Suzuki TS185 - 1996 Suzuki DR350 (project) - 1982 Honda CM450 (loaner/beater)

Wolves do it in the snow.
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Old 01-18-2015, 05:57 PM   #5
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It was project day today.



All the new parts had been accumulating for a week.



First off was the gearing change.







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Wherever you go, there you are.
1986 Yamaha XT600 (daily driver) - 2004 Kawi EX500 (on loan) - 1971 Suzuki TS185 - 1996 Suzuki DR350 (project) - 1982 Honda CM450 (loaner/beater)

Wolves do it in the snow.
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Old 01-18-2015, 06:03 PM   #6
Kiba OP
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The chain shipped with the sprockets was the wrong length, so I had to grind off a rivet and generally waste time.

Next the battery,



the taillight bulb and gasket,



and the oil cap





plus a tune up (plug, carb), fuel line and filter, air filter, fresh oil and gas, and general adjustment on the brakes, clutch and chain slack.

I love how easy it is to tune up and adjust this thing. I've worked on lawn equipment that was far harder to access and less intuitive.
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Wherever you go, there you are.
1986 Yamaha XT600 (daily driver) - 2004 Kawi EX500 (on loan) - 1971 Suzuki TS185 - 1996 Suzuki DR350 (project) - 1982 Honda CM450 (loaner/beater)

Wolves do it in the snow.
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Old 01-18-2015, 06:13 PM   #7
Kiba OP
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Then, of course, the test ride.



Only five miles, but it's doing much better with the stock gearing instead of the super low off road setup.

I'll be riding to work on this little TS as much as possible now. The smile per mile ratio is very high on this thing.

I still need tires, a speedometer cable, a brake light lens (that blue dot is questionably legal), and a front brake lever for cosmetic purposes.

In case there are any TS owners on here:

From what I've read these are very durable little bikes, so much so that production of the "TS185ER" with the same engine continued outside the US until 2006. That sounds great to me, but what are some things I could do to improve my TS185's longevity? It's so easy and cheap to do things like replacing spark plugs, keeping air filters clean, brakes, etc that it seems like I must be missing something.

How long in your experience did your TS last before anything bothersome happened? Ie, beyond a top end job; things like a seizure, crank seals leaking, etc. I don't ride it hard or redline it at all, but you do need to keep the revs up a bit to get anywhere on a smoker.
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Wherever you go, there you are.
1986 Yamaha XT600 (daily driver) - 2004 Kawi EX500 (on loan) - 1971 Suzuki TS185 - 1996 Suzuki DR350 (project) - 1982 Honda CM450 (loaner/beater)

Wolves do it in the snow.
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Old 01-19-2015, 08:52 AM   #8
lkr57
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Great bikes! I had one that I bought new in 1973. It was my first street legal bike and I rode the hell out of it, street and dirt. I never had any problems at all with it. I even ran it out of oil once and seized it. We let it cool down, refilled the oil tank, bled the pump, and it was good to go. Never did have the engine apart.
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Old 01-19-2015, 09:23 AM   #9
Bananapete
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Nice bike, looks like a lot of fun

That oilpump cover looks exactly the same as the cover on my '81 RV125
In general, that engine looks like an upscaled version of the RV engine
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kiba View Post
[..]

[..]
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Old 01-19-2015, 05:49 PM   #10
spo123
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Cool2 Very Cool!

That bike is a RARE FIRST YEAR model!
The HEADLIGHT is virtually UNOBTANIUM!
IF you ride it often, consider SWAPPING the entire headlight assembly with a newer unit......SAVE THE ORIGINAL!
The piston port engine, as yours is, was made until 1976. The newer models, while still TS 185 designation, were a different breed.
I still have mine......a little modified and last legally registered, in Ct.....1982.
SOON, I will ride it again, more than just a few laps around the storage unit property, every year.
Very NICE example.
Thanks for posting.
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Old 01-26-2015, 11:27 AM   #11
Dansrc51
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The oil injectors are super reliable and necessary, you can't run them without.

the hoses dry rot, especially the air box plenum seal

Carbs are super easy to work on

parts are pretty accessible compared to other vintage bikes.

Nice bike. I love my TC!
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Old 02-11-2015, 04:41 PM   #12
Kiba OP
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Back again. Spo123, any advice on a good light to swap it out with? If I'm spending money I'd like better lighting too, this one is like a candle. I know it's a 6v, but I've heard of halogen 6v bulbs on old bikes when you switch the sealed beam unit with a normal one. I would ideally use the later TS185 bucket and ring.

Any tires you can recommend for street use? I only putter around off-road on it so it doesn't need knobs but I could use the extra grip on the street.
__________________
Wherever you go, there you are.
1986 Yamaha XT600 (daily driver) - 2004 Kawi EX500 (on loan) - 1971 Suzuki TS185 - 1996 Suzuki DR350 (project) - 1982 Honda CM450 (loaner/beater)

Wolves do it in the snow.
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Old 02-12-2015, 04:30 PM   #13
Kiba OP
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Location: Houston, Motorcycle Purgatory
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Bad day for the TS.

Wanted to go for a fun ride this afternoon, so I started it up and let it idle while I locked the house up. When I got on the bike I thought it was leaning a little bit too far to the left on the stand- so I think "Okay, maybe it's because I just got off my much taller XT".

Nope. The kickstand mount weld is broken and nearly sheared off from the frame.

Then of course the goddamn thing wouldn't start again either. I probably flooded it and carboned up the plug letting it idle while I picked away at the kickstand mount.

Ugh. I'm sure this is a fairly simple thing to weld, but it seems kind of important and I don't know any welders. I don't want to do a cheapy repair on it so it can fall over in the garage one day and dent up the gas tank or something.
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Wherever you go, there you are.
1986 Yamaha XT600 (daily driver) - 2004 Kawi EX500 (on loan) - 1971 Suzuki TS185 - 1996 Suzuki DR350 (project) - 1982 Honda CM450 (loaner/beater)

Wolves do it in the snow.
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Old 02-13-2015, 11:17 AM   #14
Hellracer.nl
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I'll gladly weld it for you, but you'll have to drive quit a while to get to my garage..
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Old 02-17-2015, 07:52 AM   #15
Dansrc51
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I have 2 TC 185's. The kick stands have broken off both of them and was a common issue from what I understand. I had a local welder repair one, and I'm missing the stand for the other. Still looking for a spring for both.....


For tires, I've purchased and been mostly satisfied with Shinko Golden boys (244's). they are pretty simple, cheap and handle everything well except mud.
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