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Old 12-11-2012, 03:08 PM   #16
neanderthaler OP
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Old 12-12-2012, 10:27 AM   #17
2bold2getold
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I rode a "74 Sherpa T in the Texas State Trials Series in 1976. Loved that bike, although sometimes it would run backwards under the right conditions. I took it to CO one year, it made a pretty good trail bike too. I had a friend with a RL250. I remember having to weld a few spots on the frame, but nothing major. It did seem to have the forks raked out more than the other trials bikes ( so did the TLs), but you can fix that if you want to. It needed more flywheel weight, so I had a bronze weight cast a local foundry and turned it down on a lathe to fit the flywheel. Got no idea what it weighed, but it made a BIG difference in the way it performed. Really smoothed out the slow RPM hits, and quick throttle, and pulled better over slick stuff. As I remember, at least in our area, the Bultaco did the best, followed closely by Montessa and Yamaha. Although the best rider here used a Kawasaki, but he could have won on anything.
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Old 12-12-2012, 07:23 PM   #18
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Rl 250

I rode a new one in 75 and rescued one a few years ago, put new tires, chain and sprockets and rode it at a AHRMA event before selling it after the trials. It had a broken frame also. Adding weight to the flywheel was a big improvement. In my opinion if you are a novice rider you will probably not notice any huge difference between the RL and any other trials bike of that era. That being said if I had a Bultaco sitting in the garage I know which one I would be learning on . You might be able to repair the Suzuki tank with Caswell tank sealer if you don't want to weld it. Here in Texas we are fortunate to have a lot of Vintage riders so it is easy to go vintage. Modern or vintage just ride and you will have fun. Of course we all know that the vintage riders look cooler and are much better looking than those modern guys hfvtt.com
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Old 12-12-2012, 07:57 PM   #19
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Of course we all know that the vintage riders look cooler and are much better looking than those modern guys hfvtt.com
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Old 12-13-2012, 04:31 AM   #20
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here is my honest opinion after riding both bikes at the same spot (sherpa t and rl, extremely novice, small drainage ditch lined with trees). i like the Suzuki more. i don't want to. it looks so pedestrian compared to the mighty sherpa, i haven't read a single good review of the suzuki anywhere, every time i look at it - it needs something replaced, no "legends" in the sport had much to do with it (except you legendary ADV guys ), however, to me, once it is off the stand it feels 50% lighter, starts easier, controls are more "natural" in panic situations, hasn't run backwards like the bul has, and mostly, it is a breeze to work on compared to the bultaco. the sherpa isn't going anywhere (unless i get some good offers), but i am going to ride what i am most comfortable on - the exacta. opinions might change once i get some experience under my belt. i don't mind being the odd man on the odd bike. also, just ordered new shocks to replace the blown one i just found
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Old 12-13-2012, 07:54 AM   #21
Sting32
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Originally Posted by neanderthaler View Post
here is my honest opinion after riding both bikes at the same spot (sherpa t and rl, extremely novice, small drainage ditch lined with trees). i like the Suzuki more. i don't want to. it looks so pedestrian compared to the mighty sherpa, i haven't read a single good review of the suzuki anywhere, every time i look at it - it needs something replaced, no "legends" in the sport had much to do with it (except you legendary ADV guys ), however, to me, once it is off the stand it feels 50% lighter, starts easier, controls are more "natural" in panic situations, hasn't run backwards like the bul has, and mostly, it is a breeze to work on compared to the bultaco. the sherpa isn't going anywhere (unless i get some good offers), but i am going to ride what i am most comfortable on - the exacta. opinions might change once i get some experience under my belt. i don't mind being the odd man on the odd bike. also, just ordered new shocks to replace the blown one i just found
I kind of tried to touch on what you have found, when I did my quick info post. That the "general riding styles" per se of course, the Bultaco was the standard, if it were. the Suzuki, even without high rising bars, has the rider if not too simply put, his weight distributed slightly different.

Then there was the Beamish, that took possesion of all the leftover bikes, modified just about everything on the frame (especially geometry wise, and footpeg placement and stuff). and if I recall right, they even semi developed a 350 engine, that I cant recall from reading 2 years ago, that they might not have made it to production... All of that of course, before giving up on these bikes by what, um, early 80's because Yamah ruined everyone's mods by selling the 1st monoshock. But I digress. Seems Beamish (but I dont know) they were a big hit just not in USA, just because they werent shipped up here in any quantity.

Stock form AKA as sold by suzuki?

Well, the first thing is the correcting of the steering rake, we took out 3 degrees in ours, which is a slightly beamish replica done OJ (of ADV/Trials fame I mean) style. shave some flywheel weight off, extend the clutch fulcrum lever at the transmission for easier clutch, adjust springs on clutch to be lighter yet still hold. other mods are adaptable that people are doing on many 2 shocks... seems yamaha 2shock riders, have done and tried a boat load of mods, ranging from ossa swingarm back in the day, to lengthing rear swingarms (after the bottom shock mount) by couple inches. Hell, there are shocks that you can buy starting at something like 399, and up. it is a virtual money/time pit, screwing with these things that hasn't hit modern clubs per se, I have one, several guys in my club have vintage bikes we "could" ride, but ride modern. it is catch 22. spend 7 grand on a new bike, or dump (could easily cost that much if you had to have someone do all that work and pay them, to make one helluva 2 shock bike. that nobody in great numbers are willing to toss up that hill you almost cant make? like we do modern bikes. that is the RUB in my humble opinion, spend thousand hours tinkering, make nice, then afraid to even back it out of the garage. But spend and toss that new raga around like there is more where they came from... if you know what I mean...

*Amended post* The mods are kind of "for those" that ride modern I guess, or ride enough and good enough to benifit from the mods. A beginner? well no mod is truely necessary, since 99.6% of trials riding is "ability" or skills developed. but a poorly working bike design, can hold even world's best riders back a little, you know, but some can be even then overcome with skills or learning how to cope with what a bike doesn't do as well. and getting used to that. you know just picking a different attack path and things, for us mere mortals change more than being able to blame a bike's shortcommings.

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Old 12-13-2012, 08:30 AM   #22
2bold2getold
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Originally Posted by neanderthaler View Post
here is my honest opinion after riding both bikes at the same spot (sherpa t and rl, extremely novice, small drainage ditch lined with trees). i like the Suzuki more. i don't want to. it looks so pedestrian compared to the mighty sherpa, i haven't read a single good review of the suzuki anywhere, every time i look at it - it needs something replaced, no "legends" in the sport had much to do with it (except you legendary ADV guys ), however, to me, once it is off the stand it feels 50% lighter, starts easier, controls are more "natural" in panic situations, hasn't run backwards like the bul has, and mostly, it is a breeze to work on compared to the bultaco. the sherpa isn't going anywhere (unless i get some good offers), but i am going to ride what i am most comfortable on - the exacta. opinions might change once i get some experience under my belt. i don't mind being the odd man on the odd bike. also, just ordered new shocks to replace the blown one i just found
Assuming both bikes are still performing at a level close to what they used to, It does not suprise me you like the RL better. It's closer to the bikes you're used to riding. If you stick with it and get a chance to ride with a local trials group ( the best fun ever btw), you might change your mind. The RL is no match for the Sherpa T in a Trials setting. Check the points and timing on the Bultaco. The timing is so close to TDC when the points are off just a little the backwards running problem is worse. Might be wrong about that. Memory is not as good as it used to be. Too many bikes come and gone. If you really get serious with the RL, consider the flywheel weight for sure. And if you like to experiment , pull the forks back a little. I did it with my first real trials bike, a TL125. When I got it on a sloped side hill the bars would tend to turn up or down hill, hard. I improved it by turning it upside down on the bars( like we used to do our bicycles ) and using a hacksaw cut out a small wedged shape piece out of the frame( just aft of the stem ) almost all the way through. Then pulled it back and welded it all back together. Back then I didn't know there was anything I wasn't supposed to be able to do. It was probably just dumb luck. Anyway it worked great . That year our club hosted a National Trails and one of the factory engineer/machanics for Marlin Wayley, ( BTW he won ) on his super trick TL250, picked up on the mod and rode it around for a good 30 min. Didn't think he was gonna give it back.
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Old 12-19-2012, 04:33 PM   #23
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just put new dunlop tires and new shocks on the suzook. i'll take it out tommorrow and see how much more i like it. what do you all think about raising the forks in the tripleclamps (making the fork tubes stick out above the top triple)? seems this will help the handling/turning issue that comes up regarding the rl. also, just to clarify - i didn't buy this bike as an entry level bike to get into modern trials, i bought this (and the bultaco) to get into vintage trials. i have nothing but respect for modern trials skill, and love the high tech bikes, i'm just really drawn to the style from the past.
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Old 12-19-2012, 04:34 PM   #24
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Old 12-20-2012, 06:51 AM   #25
Sting32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neanderthaler View Post
just put new dunlop tires and new shocks on the suzook. i'll take it out tommorrow and see how much more i like it. what do you all think about raising the forks in the tripleclamps (making the fork tubes stick out above the top triple)? seems this will help the handling/turning issue that comes up regarding the rl. also, just to clarify - i didn't buy this bike as an entry level bike to get into modern trials, i bought this (and the bultaco) to get into vintage trials. i have nothing but respect for modern trials skill, and love the high tech bikes, i'm just really drawn to the style from the past.
The suggestion of moving the forks up in the tripple clamps, I think was mentioned after he mentioned he'd change the front rake by unknown degrees, we took 3 degrees out the same method he taked about. makes the steering more like our modern bikes. Lowering the forks, can help steepen the steering rake. Taking the rake to be steeper, you know or should consider, can help make turns quicker, BUT less stable at speeds above 20mph (slightly IMHO) but you compare any speed racing machine, the forks are not as steep (as close to perpendicular to the ground, as trials machines, that is for speeding down trails). lowring the forks on stock frame, will slightly make it have a steeper rake, make that Suzuki more trials worthy in some (like me) opinion. But you lose ground clearance that way. so it is a compromise, with any compromise you decide which you "rather" gain compared to lose.

But really, for a beginner, are kind of like trying to worry about a Formula One brake modification, for your grocery-getter. Ride it, enjoy it, learn.

If I was going to do ANy mods, it would be the easy ones, that are universal in all bikes. Modify the pegs, so that they are like almost 2 inches wide like newer bikes, maybe see if you can move them down and back easily on the frame. use shorter rise bars, like modern bikes use (you know comparatively speaking, generality).

Tires themselves made one helluva difference in those days... LOL. I recall all my competition, would kick ass for a while when they got a new bike (I rode my 79 Bultaco for 6 years). WHen the tires wore down, they'd kind of fall back into the normal "place" on the results grid. not all you know, sometimes a bike would spark their desire to get better, and practice too.

We were kind of cheap back then, we'd buy new tires when they were a problem with holding air, not usually because of knob sharpness/softness. Tires get hard over time. I did shave knobs a couple times, that was a bitch of a job with a pair of vice grips and a razor blade... But I digress.

Ride meet buddies, get some training, enjoy the bike... Then start searching the net for all the mods, and then decide how far you want to go.

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Old 12-20-2012, 07:23 AM   #26
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Having only skimmed this thread, my point has probably already been brought up, but...

The aluminum tanked 1974 model, would commonly develop a crack at the frame junction of the front downtube and the steering neck, it was addressed by a small oem gusset plate added at this point, on the steel tanked 1975 model.

Enjoyed my 74 RL250 back in the day...

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Old 12-21-2012, 07:13 AM   #27
Twin-shocker
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The RL250 Suzuki is never going to set the world alight in terms of being competitive, but does have the great advantage of being very reliable. With a few alterations an Exacta can be improved a great deal, and I would say a modified bike is going to be better than any stock Spanish bike from the same period.
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Old 12-21-2012, 09:39 AM   #28
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The RL250 Suzuki is never going to set the world alight in terms of being competitive, but does have the great advantage of being very reliable. With a few alterations an Exacta can be improved a great deal, and I would say a modified bike is going to be better than any stock Spanish bike from the same period.
From my experience. Well, maybe. But you gonna have to do a lot of "ALTERATIONS" to that RL to get it close to a same year Sherpa T. They weren't even close stock, in competion trials, at least in my area. I never saw a RL being used in competion above the novice class.
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Old 12-21-2012, 10:02 AM   #29
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I've ridden a couple and liked them well enough. As noted here, nice motor and very reliable.
They can get critized by some for feeling a bit long and heavy...but as always, the competitve difference between it and comparable bikes are minor compared to who is riding the thing!

If you are really serious you can look for a Beamish frame from the UK!

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Old 12-21-2012, 03:57 PM   #30
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The Beamish chassis is certainly better than the OE Suzuki, but still suffers from 1960s steering geometry and footrest positioning, and I get the feeling wouldnt be as good as a nicely modified Suzuki frame?

In common with all 70s trials bike the exhaust and intake system on the RL is pretty poor, and improving these areas, along with changes to the frame would mean a reasonably effective bike, with bulletproof reliability...........
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