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Suzuki Bikes I Have Owned (4)...

Suzuki GT250

This was my second bike - and my first accident (and - touch wood - my only accident in 40 years riding...)

It was a nice sedately tuned 2-stroke 250cc bike. I rode this to work for some time.

One day I was riding home from work and was approaching an intersection with stop signs on each side. After checking to my left I could see a VW coming up the hill slowing down for the stop sign. I then looked right to see the traffic had stopped there. I accelerated into the intersection. To my horror I saw the VW had not actually stopped, but had continued into the intersection. I threw the bike down and slid along the ground into the running-board of the VW. Witnesses later swore I rolled up the side of the VW to roof height before falling to the ground.

Long story short - I survived with a massive leg bruise (hip to ankle) and back problems for 30 years.

The most memorable part was the look on the policeman's face when the driver (lady) explained how she had difficulty with hillstarts and so thought she would risk driving straight through. Almost matched by the look of disbelief on his face as she pointed out the history of the numerous bumps on her car... "No officer, this gentleman didn't cause that dent - I did that in the carpark last week..." and so on...

Fortunately for her I was just glad to be in one piece and all I wanted was for my bike to be fixed.

Suzuki GT550 Triple

Bought this not long after the accident on the GT250.

I rebuilt the GT250 myself and rode it for a while (as soon as I had fixed it and was able to ride it - I got back on 'the horse that threw me' - so to speak..), but thought I should treat myself to a bigger bike.

This was also a 2-stroke of 547cc capacity with three cylinders.

It was the first bike I had owned where I couldn't touch the ground with both feet at the same time. I learnt a lot about balance on a motorbike with this machine...

I taught myself about 2-stroke tuning and hankered to try my skills on this bike. I dismantled the cyclinders and shaved the exhaust and inlet ports according to the formulaes I had learnt to use.

Surprisingly the engine worked beautifully after this modification with a peaky (but street rideable) powerband.

Of course the next thing was to go racing, so I joined a Club. After passing my CAMS racing licence (#776) I went racing.

I learnt a lot about riding on this bike. Cornering, braking, lines, etc, were all learnt on the racetrack.

I was never a good rider on the race track compared to other riders, but I improved against myself each race.

And I had a supposedly slow 2-stroke triple that could drag-off a 900cc Kawasaki of the day along the straights...

I fell off only once while racing (never fell off on the road - only knocked off..), but that was not on this bike.

The bike I came off, on the Oran Park track at about 90mph (145kph), was the Yamaha RD350.

But that was after being in hospital the week before being treated for snake-bite. So I reckon that doesn't count...

Suzuki RM125M (or how to turn a motocross bike into a road racer)

The RM125M was a single-cylinder motorcross bike.

I converted it to a single-cylinder road racer - I have been told that this was the first single-cylinder road racer in Australia - but I don't think so personally.

I did all the reconfiguring of the chassis (no cutting and welding), lowering the front and rear suspension and putting road-racing tyres on. Clip-ons were added and a racing seat and windshield was adapted and added. Sprockets were changed to gear up from the motorcross ratios. Fortunately, the motorcross ratios for the gearbox were acceptable for road-racing.

The two parts I didn't do myself were the engine (as the RM was already in a high state of tune I felt this was best left to the experts) and the pipe (also best left to the experts).

I added the water-cooled head to make it easier to run in a high state of tune without seizing.

The engine was tuned to run on pure methanol and would empty nearly a tank a race. I had to drill out the internal diameter of the fuel tap as it was restricting the flow of fuel at full throttle !!!

On the dyno it recorded just over 40BHP at the rear wheel.

Starting a race was a lot of fun. It could drag off anything in its class. Unfortunately, although I would lead into the first corner from any row on the grid, half the field would pass me by the exit of the corner. Because of the long wheelbase it just wouldn't go around corners fast.

It was fun to drag off road bikes 2 or 3 times the capacity down the straights.

Once on a testing day I came round into the straight at Oran Park behind a 1000cc Kawasaki. I managed to pass about half-way along the straight and only backed-off into the corner (as I knew I would be passed anyway). Later, the rider of the 1000cc bike came up and asked what size the engine was. When I told him 125cc, he swore and walked off...

Had a lot of fun on this bike... ;-)

Suzuki Across 250

The Suzuki Across was a 4-cylinder 16-valve 250cc water-cooled screamer.

From memory it had a redline of about 16,000 RPM !!!

It was the second best handling bike (after the Ducati) and was surprisingly quick for such a small engine.