Those of you that have been following my musings will know by now that my normal fair is 600-1000cc Jap 4 strokes at the lower end of the market. Where I live that’s what the market is for – if you try and do anything north of a grand it starts to get difficult. I am still trying to work out, therefore, why I have come home with a particularly sexy and rather valuable Suzuki RG250 Gamma Mark 1. The best excuse I can come up with is that I really like it. It’s reasonably low mileage, came with v5 and keys (sort of) and looked to have been really well looked after. The paintwork was pretty dodgy – the lacquer has reacted and crazed but it looks great from a distance and I think I can deal with it quite easily. I’m not in a hurry to sell it on so time is on my side.
As is normal for me I couldn’t wait to see what I had bought so started giving it an appraisal – yeah, I know I should have done that before I bought it but as I bought it off Scottie I knew he wouldn’t lie to me and he didn’t.
I knew the exhausts were non original but they are period DEP parts so that’s good, the airbox is also missing – it has been fitted with pods, I don’t know if it has been jetted accordingly, I shall have to look in to that. It’s not uncommon on these bikes as the air box is virtually impossible to remove and replace – an absolute pig of a job that always results in stress and blood loss.
First obstacle I hit is that none of the keys operate the fuel cap or seat lock. Fortunately the fuel cap was unlocked and the seat is easy to get around with the correct tool, I won’t go in to the process here and make life easy for any light fingered scum suckers that may have bad ideas and no morals.
The next problem I came up against is that the paint used on the engine is not petrol proof. I discovered this when a particularly flakey fuel line fell off and dumped the contents of the tank all over the engine and the back of the van. Yes. I was doing it in the van because it was raining and I have no spare workshop space right now. With the tank off I could at last see the choke lever that was hiding itself in a most unusual location on the left hand carb. This bike is like the RD LC’s in that the choke only operates on the left hand carb. The method obviously worked ok but I still find it strange. Anyway the bike had compression, oil and petrol so I checked to see if a spark was present – it was. A nice big fat healthy one at that. I tried kicking it over but there was no life, I didn’t really expect there to be in all honesty, I think it was laid up years ago with fuel in the carbs. Over time the volatile components evaporate and leave behind the oily gunge that sits in the bottom of the carbs. I squirted a small blast of easy start on to each cone filter, tried again and the engine burst in to life very briefly – terrific, that’s all I need to know for now.
There are quite a few new parts on it eg throttle cable, clutch cable etc and quite a few parts that still have breaker’s id marks on them, somebody obviously got this as a project but then laid it up for a good while. It has been off the road for so long that the DVLA MoT system insists it hasn’t yet had it’s first test! I intend to rectify that in the not too distant future.
Everything seems to work on it, the engine has excellent compression, it is essentially a really decent bike and a rare survivor. It’s well worth putting the effort in to and making it as good as I can without destroying any originality. I will endeavour to get a replacement air box although that may prove very tricky – I just like these things to be right. I might see how it performs on the pods first, don’t know I will decide later.
First is to get it running, then have a look at the paintwork. The colours are not original but are pretty close, it’s the crazing that needs sorting most though, I shall have to do some research before getting the 40 grit disc on the angle grinder. I also need to have a think about what I can do regarding the locks that I don’t have keys for. There is a really good locksmith nearby that can probably help, I am not overly worried about that at this stage.
Article provided by David Powell of Boston Bike Bits.