Thinking about a 70's 2 stroke triple

Discussion in '2 smokers' started by cmattina, Mar 27, 2020.

  1. cmattina

    cmattina Been here awhile

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    i'm looking for a round the town runner as well as something i might take on a weekend tour...

    I know 70's 4t would better for touring... but where the adventure in that... why not just buy a goldwing and some prune juice... joking, joking (but not really).

    Looking for some first hand advice. I want to buy a 70's air cooled triple (suzuki GT550 perhaps). If you were buying such a bike would you immediately put a top end in it before taking it for a weekend tour? Would you worry about the bottom end at all? This is all presuming it is a good runner with consistent compression - and not (obviously) abused by PO.
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  2. GlenGrab

    GlenGrab n00b

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    What you do is your choice (cause it's your $s and your butt), but I would thoroughly check out ANY used bike before taking it on a long ride. For a 50 something old bike, that goes triple! The Suzi 550 would be a good choice, IMHO. The Kawasaki 3's, even back in the day, tended to have been thrashed - I know, I had one that fortunately hadn't been abused, but almosts everybody else I met who had one, they had suffered too much "I can outrun EVERYBODY" riding.

    As far as what to check, I'd definitely 1 - take off the heads and see what the condition of the bores and pistons are, do top end work based on that 2 - start shopping for an electronic ignition right away, you'll want one! Getting fresh/better coils did a lot for my Yamaha 2-smokes 3 - If you're going to depend on the oil injection, check and adjust before you do any riding 4 - The bottom end - I haven't experienced it, but I have heard stories of blown/leaking crank seals causing problems - maybe somebody else in this forum can give more info on this

    And you didn't ask, but what I would do (which I did back in the 70's) is, get a Yamaha 350 for playing around on, in town and get a 4 stroke (I got an XS650, but there are lots of Honda 4s and twins, etc) for longer distances.

    Also, you probably want to upgrade the brakes as much as possible - modern brakes are MUCH more effective, and getting used to old/mediocre brakes is not something you want to do in traffic.
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  3. cmattina

    cmattina Been here awhile

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    Thanks, I appreciate your opinion/advice.

    Ironically, i used to have an XS650. Was my first bike... didn't realize it would be one of the most fun bikes i'd own

    As of now. I have my DR650 for long distance (cross country type stuff). But it is stuck in vegas for now. So, if i got this suzuki it would be mostly for around town, and perhaps a bit of touring this summer, but no cross country stuff.
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  4. GlenGrab

    GlenGrab n00b

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    Goodness gracious - I would guess it would be cold and or wet up in Ontario - don't forget that in Canada you could get/you could potentially find the holy grail of Yamaha 2-strokes, the water-cooled 350's and 500's, though I imagine the are quite rare and expensive.
    Because of the virus thing, all my long-distance rides are on hold (I was going to do Smoky Mountains and Montreal this spring). But I'm still getting to ride around town a little. Here's a Maryland picture - Spring may not have arrived in Ontario, but it's on its way! cherryblosssoms2020.jpg
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  5. MacNoob

    MacNoob piney fresh

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    Suzuki GT750 "water buffalo"
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  6. Foot dragger

    Foot dragger singletracker

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    For me touring is about riding,not waiting at roadside for a truck. Any 40 year old bike 2 stroke or not is going to need work,and more work.
    Kinda have to take it all apart and start over from the bottom up if you hope to make it reliable. There are people placing ads on CL looking for 2 stroke streetbikes all the time. Kinda tricky to find a clean one that isnt top dollar.

    46,500 miles on my DR650 and not a thing has broke,Alaska and back would be easy the way its set up now.
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  7. GlenGrab

    GlenGrab n00b

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    Superzuki 2_edited.jpg
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  8. ChopperCharles

    ChopperCharles Long timer

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    Suzuki triples all have robust crankshafts and the motors are very under-stressed. They're undersquare and produce a lot more torque than you'd expect from a two-stroke. Kawasaki triples on the other hand, are at the bleeding edge, with very peaky power. The Suzuki can be made to perform, but you'll have to spend some dough just to get it to kawasaki levels. It will be the more reliable machine, though, by far.

    For any two stroke, I'd be more concerned with 50-year-old crank seals than with the state of the top end. Top end is easy, if you hear piston slap, it's time for a rebuild. It can usually be done in the frame. Crank seals are a LOT more work and expense.

    The GT550 is nice because the ram air system keeps the center piston just as cool as the outer pistons, so you are FAR less likely to seize a piston. (The GT750 Waterbuffalo uses water cooling for the same reason). The GT550 is designed to run on regular grade fuel too.

    Charles.
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  9. PeterTrocewicz

    PeterTrocewicz Been here awhile

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    Kawi's 400S3 triple was a much nicer mellower all-rounder than the 500 or 750. But if you want bigger one the GT550 is the way to go. I would take either one in a heartbeat. As has been said, i'd be more worried about crank seals than anything else. I would certainly have a compression and a leakdown test on it, and the bearings checked. If all was OK I would not think twice about touring on it. A rebuild would give even more confidence.
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  10. aptbldr

    aptbldr easy rider

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    Seventies' Suzuki single & twin motors seem to be the same basic power plant; multiplied or divided.

    Cranks seals don't do well left setting idle; in my experience.
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  11. ChopperCharles

    ChopperCharles Long timer

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    FWIW, I absolutely loved riding my dad’s Suzuki Titan T500. If It was mine, it would have seen some chambers and a dual disc front end. Wonderful power band and exhaust note.

    Charles.
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  12. 06motorradman

    06motorradman Been here awhile

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    I had a GT550 as my first bike and as a commuter to high school and then college. The rigid mounted foot pegs get interesting when you run out of lean angle. My electric starter never worked, but it kicked over fine and was very reliable. Mine was the two-tone green. I sold it to my older brother, when I moved up to a GS1100. He promptly put an ugly rattle-can red paint job on it and commuted to college for about a year until he had someone turn in front of him and the bike was totaled. He was fine, but gave up riding after that. I never regretted the 550, but I never toured on it either. I had a car but going to college on a bike meant you had great parking on campus, often in front of the building your next class.
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  13. aptbldr

    aptbldr easy rider

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    My Titan was a reliable vibrator with period correct paint flourishes.
    Girlfriend-now-wife learned to ride & crash on it.
    Cost two-hundred bucks around Y2K ago.
    It did sound nice.
    [​IMG]
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  14. Chappy58

    Chappy58 Been here awhile

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    Here's a pic of my 550 I owned for about 4 years. I rode it quite a bit. I did put a new top end on, not sure it needed it, but it gave me confidence that I knew what was inside. Did a few long day trips with it, 200 miles or so. Listening to 3 2-stroke cylinders at idle was a beautiful sound.


    phone pics 1314.jpg
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  15. TNWillie

    TNWillie Long timer

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    If its not too painful or trouble, I'd like to know the circumstances behind you getting rid of it. That, Chap, is one fine looking 550!
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  16. Chappy58

    Chappy58 Been here awhile

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    Yep, she was a real beauty. I balked at buying it, at the time I thought the $2700 price tag was a bit steep. I ended up paying it. I think it had around 12,000 miles, and was all original. There was a few very minor scratches, and a little wear, but for a bike that old it was a pretty fine example. I did do a top end and replaced some wear items, points and a few other things. I worked on it for the winter and rode it for a few summers. It was unique and really turned heads. The exhaust note was just cool. A couple years after that I bought a Vstrom 650. At that point it became pretty clear that the 550 was an antique. I haven't owned a lot of street bikes, and the modern Vstrom was a real step up in a lot of ways. It would never be as unique as the 550, but I felt a lot safer on the Vstrom. The 550 was a much smaller bike, and much more cramped for me. Brakes marginal as well. After a few years I wasn't riding it much, and decided to sell it. Do I wish I still had it? Sometimes, but I feel that way about all the bikes I've owned through the years.. I've got 5 in the basement now, a 1983 Yamaha YZ490, a 1993 Honda XR250R, both of which have been gone through from the crank up. A 2017 Yamaha YZ250FX, and a couple of projects, a 1972 Honda SL175, and a 1965 Puch 250 Twingle.

    When I went to sell it I put it on Ebay. Somehow a bidder found my phone number and told me he was buying it for the $3500 I was asking. He asked me to take some more pictures that night of specific areas. While doing that I took it down the street for a ride. I sent the pictures and then we spoke on the phone. He started nit picking some little stuff and wanted to give me less for it. I told him "you know what? I'm just gonna keep it". He changed his tune real quick and he paid the $3500.

    P1010280.JPG
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  17. TNWillie

    TNWillie Long timer

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    GREAT story! Thanks for indulging me. :)
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  18. brg

    brg 1977 XT500, 2000 ST1100, 1995 r100r Mystic

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    I had two water buffalo's and a gt550. All good bikes, the 750's aren't the best in handling, but are well suited to eat up lot of miles. I did a Los Angeles to San Francisco trip on a gt750 one time, and it was quite a nice ride. The hard part is to find one now, and if you do, will it be affordable? They used to be easy to find and very affordable, not so much anymore.
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  19. busa1300

    busa1300 Been here awhile

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    Not air cooled...but
    GT750 all the way....it was designed to be a road/tour bike....so incredibly smooth, great sound, enough power to enjoy the ride.
    I miss my 72....It was a realization for me, that going slower on the backroads could be just as much fun....

    IMG_9181 (2).JPG
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  20. sjc56

    sjc56 Long timer

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    suzuki031.jpg I had a 75 GT380 as my first bike in 76. I remember it being very smooth, and you ran out of ground clearance pretty fast, the gas millage was around 35 mpg. I put 9K on it in a year then sold it and bought a XS650 and learned about vibration! I would love to ride one again just to see if it would take me back to 1977.
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