Tuesday, June 18, 2024 | TSTM

Story of my 1974 Suzuki TS250

The 1974 Suzuki TS 250 was the second real dirt bike I got to own and ride. This is excluding go-carts and three wheelers as this was the second true dirt bike. The first dirt bike was a 1971 Kawasaki 100, which was either a KE 100 or the predecessor to the KE. The 1974 TS 250 was one that my dad had bought new back in 1974. He sold it to a friend but they weren't riding it so it just sat in the garage. The thing was all metal, including the tank and by today's standards of course quite heavy for an off-road bike.

The question was if the bike was too big for me at the time after all not only was it a 250 but a very heavy tank. I came up with the idea that well the main thing was if I fell I'd need to be able to pick the bike back up by myself. So that became the test. We laid the bike down and I had to pick it back up, which I did with little effort and so we got the bike back.

Various toys in the garage

The one thing about the bike was the gearing. You could never redline that bike in 5th gear. You would top out around 80 MPH on it and it would slowly gradually either climb a little from there or basically reach a point where it flattens out. In those days, 2 stroke race bikes were all the rage. Everyone always asked, does it have power band? And of course, the thought back then was that only 2 stroke racing bikes did which of course is not true. None the less as good as that bike was, as solid as it was and as good a trail bike as it was, it was not a CR250 or other 2 stroke racing bike.

TM100 Frame with CR250 front end but no motor.

I did eventually get a 1979 Honda CR125 and during this time we had an idea. We could turn the TS250 into a more modern bike thats lighter and has the powerband of a race bike. My dad was a welder so he was able to create engine mounting brackets to put the engine on a TM100 frame. The engine barely fit onto this frame. We then also got an expansion chamber from a TM125 and he welded the TS250 exhaust neck onto it such that we'd then have an expansion chamber. Finally to change the response of the bike we put a 65 tooth rear sprocket.

TM100 Frame with CR250 front end and TS250 motor.

How did it go? Well the bike had major ground clearance but you could shift through the gears very quickly and not be going so fast. The expansion chamber made the bike sound better however it wasn't great for the engine itself. It is one of the reasons I believe the top end needed replaced so fast, I think it made the engine run more like the exhaust was clogged given the short stinger off of the pipe.

Eventually I gave the bike to my friend back in 1999 and he reverted it back to all original. He actually had a spare TS250 engine as he had bought what I believe was an older YZ250 but it had a TS engine in a YZ 250 frame. He placed the cylinder from that bike onto this engine as a quick way to refresh the top end. He eventually sold the bike to one other person and this is where the story takes a strange twist.

The guy he sold it to was riding it at night by the river. He stopped to check how much gas was left but all he had was a lighter. So he used the lighter to look into the gas tank and it caught on fire! Not knowing what to do he grabbed the tank off of the bike and held it over his head to throw it into the river. This of course caused the gas to spill over him and catch him on fire. Well, he did end up in the hospital with burns and when asked why he just didn't kick the bike over and let it burn he said that it's a good bike and he didn't want to ruin it.

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