1974 Suzuki TS125
Little two-strokes - those were the days!
Nothing at all in the riding season I owned it.
The Suzuki TS125 was a two-stroke dual-purpose on/off road motorcycle.
It featured oil injection so you just had to keep the oil tank full.
An interesting feature was that it was set-up to run without the battery, although the battery was needed to power the headlight, tail light & directionals.
Although only a 125cc motorcycle, my bike came equipped with passenger foot pegs. This little bike came fully equipped. A tachometer and center-stand was standard equipment.
It was a fine bike to learn to ride on, and it was great fun on the trails as well. Perhaps the most fun I had on a motorcycle was the summer I rode my TS125 practically everywhere.
I was a great little bike to run about town on, and fortunately there were a lot of trails nearby.
I bought the bike new in 1975 for $700. It was a new 1974 left-over.
I actually drove my little Suzuki on the highway a few times, but having such a small displacement, it topped out at 70 mph on level ground and worked hard to maintain about 65mph on grades.
This was my first "real motorcycle", having had a mini-bike before. During the entire time I owned it, I was driving on my motorcycle learners permit.
Once I felt really comfortable riding on the street, I sold my little TS 125 and bought a new Yamaha RD 350 street bike.
I really liked the Yamaha, but it was fun having a little runabout that you could take off road.
These little two-stroke dual purpose bike were very very inexpensive to buy, extremely cheap to run and maintain, and also got unbelievable gas mileage.
It was also extremely reliable, all it asked is that you kept it full of gas and oil and it never let me down. Back in the '70's there were so many good choices available in small displacement two stroke dual purpose bikes, and also small street bikes.
I miss these little two-strokes. I have fond memories of my little TS125, as well as memories of all the great little two-strokes available at that time.
Besides the dual purpose two-stroke singles Suzuki offered some great little two-stroke twin street bikes such as the GT185 and GT250, as well as the the GT380 triple.
Yamaha had an entire line of little RDs, the RD250 & RD350's probably being the most well-known. (Yamaha even made a 200cc twin the RD200.)
Kawasaki was famous for it's two-stroke triples. The KH400 was a nice little street bike.
Wouldn't it be nice to be able to buy a nice little dual-purpose bike that you could actually commute to work on, (getting over 60 mpg in the process) for under $1000? Yes, those were the days.
I would love to hear from other riders out there who have fond memories of these little two-strokes that could be seen at every high school & college campus (not to mention shopping malls) back in the '70's.
If you have a story to tell, leave a comment or better still, write a review!
Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 18th August, 2005
Ah those old 2 stroke bikes of the 70s.
Kawasaki actually had a whole line of 2 stroke triples, including the KH 250, 400, 500, and 750.
The 500 & 750 were scary beasts, known for blinding acceleration and rather dismal handling. They were all great looking motorcycles though.
I'm not sure about the 250, but I've heard that the 400 was a pretty decent handling bike. Sprung a bit too stiff for long distance commuting, but great for scooting about the curvy back roads. I imagine the 250 was a decent handling bike as well.
A friend of mine had a 750, another friend owned a 500.
I remember the owner of the 750 being stopped by the local police, because he refused to keep the front wheel in contact with the pavement.
I always liked the little 2 stroke Suzuki's. The tiny GT185 was a charming little runabout, as was the GT250. Either of these bike were actually capable of highway riding too. The little 185 could reach speeds of 75mph or so, the 250 could reach speeds slightly higher. (Remember those little 2 stroke engines were actually quite powerful for their size).
Suzuki's 750 triple was one of the first bikes I remember being water cooled. During that period, Suzuki actually came out with a rather unusual looking rotary engined motorcycle as well.
Yamaha actually built 2 stroke street bikes as small as 100cc's., and the RD series went from the tiny RD125 to the RD350 (later replaced by the RD400). The RD350 was actually a very quick motorcycle, running the 1/4 mile in the 14 second range.
Honda of course was devoted to 4 stroke engines, but also built some tiny motorcycles for street use. There was a time when you could buy their CB125cc street bike for $433. New!
Currently there just a few small bike to choose from, and even the little Honda Rebel 250 costs over $3000., the Yamaha 250 Virago even more.
Because of emisions regulations and technology, I suppose those 2 stroke engines are gone for good, But you still see one occasionally on the road, and they do bring back wonderful memories of an easier and less complex time, don't they?