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Bike of the Month
August 2023
1981 Suzuki TS 185
By Rick James

Approximately 5 years ago there was a sale at a house off of Pyramid Highway where there were dozens of bikes all piled up on top of each other in the dirt. The condition of most of them would be described as terrible at best. This bike caught my eye. I grabbed it and paid Jerry Meadows $20 for it, as he was in charge of the sale. I had never heard of or seen this model, but I've always liked the factory "enduros",  so I brought it home and added it to my collection. I learned that there aren't many of these around and some parts were discontinued, not available. After a little searching around I came across an online dealer who would order parts for you from the factory and ship it to you. Apparently, this bike was chosen for the home market and Suzuki was still producing parts for it, 42 years later! For example, I was able to purchase a new carburetor directly from the factory! I went through my usual restoration process of sandblasting the frame and painting it in PPG gloss black acrylic enamel, then the body parts were painted PPG base coat clear coat light blue. All of the hardware was bead blasted and zinc plated, new cables and levers, tires, chroming, etc. The stripes are not what the USA bikes came with, these are for European models. I liked them better, and they would still be correct for this model, so I used them instead of what came on the bike originally. The bike had a broken piston so I rebuilt the engine and transmission. It came standard with oil injection, so I made sure it was working correctly, no premix! Finally, the day came to start it up and ride it! It ran great and there were only minor adjustments needed. It runs better than I anticipated! It's fairly quiet with the stock exhaust and I was surprised at the power! I was told that because this is a "reed valve" model, it runs more like a 250. I've ridden it for 35 miles now, breaking it in slowly. Lots of fun!

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