Restored Suzuki GT250

Suzuki GT250 Part 6 – The Home Straight

Suzuki GT250 rear wheelWell the back wheel arrived and I’m glad to say it was every bit as good as the front one so I am very happy with that. The bike is going together quite well although I still keep hitting the odd snag – nothing I can’t work around though. I have put the front end sort of together but some of the parts are less than ideal – if and when I get better parts I will change them – one such part are the chrome trim rings that hold the reflectors in place. Mine are really bad but I haven’t been able to find better ones at a price I can live with so mine will do until something better comes along. I am pretty pleased with the front except the fibreglass mud guard, which isn’t sitting right at the moment and is making everything look skwiffy. I need to have another look at that.

The clutch cable gave me some problems too – it was an aftermarket item that seemed like a bargain at just 8 quid but the outer was too long and there was not enough inner cable protruding. I cut 6 inches off the outer to make it 1080mm long and then cut the inner so a total of 100mm was showing – it seems about right now with both adjusters having plenty of adjustment left and the lever feeling about right. It was a lot of faffing about  but all’s well that ends well.

While all this is going on I am derusting the tank, which was pretty nasty inside and I know it had a couple of pin holes. I had filled them when I was working on taking all the dents out but I am going to line it anyway. Before you can line it it’s necessary to derust it – there are a number of methods available. The first and least effective is to bung a handful of nuts and bolts in there and shake it around until all the rust is knocked loose. It doesn’t do a perfect job, it takes ages and there is a very good chance you won’t get all the rust. The second option is electrolysis where you fill the tank with an electrolyte and pass a current through it. This works brilliantly but you have to make a bung to go in the tank to hold the anode – not a big deal but it’s still time and effort. The third option and the one I went for is phosphoric acid. This is the stuff that proprietary solutions like Jenolite use as the active ingredient. You can buy a gallon of it for about 20 quid, I had a gallon that had previously been used on another bike so I used that. I left it in there for about 48 hours and it seems like it has done a really good job. The plus side is that I can see my tank isn’t leaking anywhere.

When the acid has done it’s job (you can use citric aid as well, by the way, which is easier to buy) it needs draining and thoroughly drying before lining with one of the many modern tank liners available, make sure you get one that is ethanol proof or you will end up with a liner that doesn’t like modern fuels. The stuff is typically fibre glass resin based, it’s quite thick so you get a good coating but it is very important to follow the instructions. Make sure the inside of the tank is absolutely dry before you attempt lining – I can’t stress this too much.

I had a few days away from the GT as I had loads of other stuff to do but have now painted the tank and put the lining on it. I’m not overly delighted with the lining – I got them from an Ebay seller. They were nearly 40 quid with the postage and they don’t sit quite right. Any attempt to get them to look like the example on the front of my Haynes manual had them kinking so I had to install them as best as I could. They look ok but I would have preferred a more original look. I still need to get some better tank badges – they are ridiculously expensive. I might use the ones I have for now and wait for the auto jumbling to start back up – I hear the Stickney one is on at the end of this month (April 2021) and I can’t wait. It’s been well over a year since there were regular ones on.

The only largish expense left is a new chain. The sprockets look pretty much unused, it’s good practice to change the lot but as the sprockets are showing no signs of wear or distress I will use them and just get a new chain.

Although the bike won’t need an MoT I am doing it to MoT standards, I want to make damn sure it’s safe and fun to ride so everything is being done and tested, I may bung it through anyway or at least get my mate Julian the MoT man to check it over – it’s good to get a different pair of eyes glancing over it to make sure I haven’t missed anything.

I have had the engine running but not for long, I may need to revisit the carbs, something wasn’t quite right. They are a bitch to set up well as Suzuki didn’t provide an easy way of balancing them – there is no vacuum port to connect gauges to so it’s all a bit of guess work and fiddling. I’ll get there.

Restored GT250I’m going to call this one done for now, it’s been an enjoyable yet frustrating and very expensive project, next time I shall go back to my more usual fair of 1980’s and 90’s sports bikes. ZX6R anyone?

Just a few final words about costings for the project – they have been eye watering. Every single part for these bikes is now rare and the prices reflect that. Some people ask really daft figures, that’s not to say they get it. My wheels were a big expense – £400 went on rims, spokes and tyres, I did a bit of a deal with some extra bits I had, otherwise that would have been another 80 quid. The seat was well over 100 – I had seen some priced at twice that. A badge for the side panel was 25 quid, rear mudguard was 45 quid – remember it’s an Enfield one – a genuine NOS Suzuki one sold for over 300 quid! I would love a pair of expansion chambers for it but there don’t seem to be any used ones out there and new ones are well over 600 – sod that for a game of marbles! All in all I guess it’s cost me about £1500 plus a hell of a lot of man hours – more than I care to think about. These bikes in this sort of order are going for over 3 grand so as a commercial enterprise it was a complete waste of time 🙂 However, it’s not all about money, it’s another classic back on the road, according to DVLA there are only 57 1976 bikes registered for use on the road, soon to be 58. I may have to hold on to it for a year or two for it to make economic sense. I shall look at it frequently.

PS, I need to fit the seat properly, it’s only on loosely at the moment – I wouldn’t ride oit about like that 🙂

Article provided by David Powell of Boston Bike Bits.

Boston Bike Bits