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TOPIC: Ascot Red 1972 TS185

Ascot Red 1972 TS185 27 Nov 2018 15:55 #1

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Short story, it was the first real motorcycle I rode. Longer version below if you like rambling.



When I was 9-10 I had no interest in motorcycles, but apparently my older brother did as we both received used Honda CT90s for Christmas. I was probably 100lbs and certainly under 5' at the time, and don't have particularly fond memories of the bike. It was heavy enough to be hard to pick up, completely gutless and prone to breaking down. Starting it was a massive undertaking, Often I'd try for 30 minutes then go off to do something else. Retrospectively it probably had low compression. To this day I don't understand why you'd give a 9 year an at least 13 year old motorcycle yet offer no mechanical help. I guess that's why it took another almost twenty years to get interested in motorcycles, and to this day I've shied away from Honda products from subconscious fear. On the other hand I did learn to love exploring on the bike, going as far as possible on old logging roads, being sure to always go uphill so I could coast home when it stopped running.

My 15th summer around the globe I landed a job moving water lines on a farm. A farm four miles from our house. A friend was kind enough to loan me a '72 TS185 in Ascot Red. It didn't run, and they said the throttle cable was prone to sticking. There was no key, so you had to turn it off by grounding the wire or dropping the clutch. Now that thing was fun to ride. We put a little gas in, she fired up and it ran all summer long with no problems except it was horrifically loud when the silencer fell off and was lost.. Amazing it didn't kill me when the throttle stuck a few times. Getting shocked turning it off was a quick wake up in the morning.

I've looked for one on and off over the years, but they tend to be pretty rare on the west coast and beat up. About a month ago this one showed up in Bakersfield, CA. After a lot of pondering, losing our house in the Camp Fire seemed like a good excuse to indulge in a whim and I convinced myself that Bakersfield wasn't too far from Chico and made a long day of it (about 12hr round trip).

The previous owner pulled a lot off to give it a cafe racer look, but kept all the parts so it's actually very complete. Paint isn't as good as I hoped, one side of the tank is very faded. I think it was stored outside a considerable amount of time, but in a dry environment. 1,300 miles on the odometer, yet the frame and engine numbers do not match. Wiring isn't perfect, and it runs ok to about half throttle then is terrible. No surprise as it's probably stock jetting with, what I am sure all the Enduro fans love to hate, the ubiquitous cheap cone filter that's guaranteed to make a mess of jetting. The stock air box and filter will go back on. I'm currently re-installing all the trim parts, ordered an oil reservoir (fingers crossed the pump still works).

As it had been about twenty two years since I was on one, it was interesting to sit on after one year of owning a Yamaha of the same vintage. The Suzuki sure makes the Yamaha look and feel...refined? Fit and finish on the Yamaha is far superior, yet I'm excited to bring this one back to life, the transmission sure is smooth on it!

The first of many questions as I begin the quest of bumbling through making this road worthy, does anyone know a close rattle can match to Suzuki's "Ascot Red"? It's a very orange red on this bike and in my memory, but that's what I've seen it listed as.
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Ascot Red 1972 TS185 28 Nov 2018 17:40 #2

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Yesterday the fenders got put back on, as well as the gauge cluster. Pulled the carb off, specs I read online said that like the '72 CT2 175 it's supposed to be a Mikuni VM24SH, I thought it would be identical but it's not, different choke lever and free floating floats.





I figured it's all the same in theory so cleaned it and replaced the infamous o-ring. Lubricated and installed the speedometer and tachometer cables, then threw the carb back on. Have to admit the Suzuki nuts on studs attachment choice makes taking the carb on and off easier than the Yamaha with it's hex bolts (I assume that's stock?)

Last, reinstalled the air cleaner box. Those old rubber boots are just as fun to attach regardless of brand...

Nowhere to ride as we're staying at a friends house in town, but took it up and down the block real quick. Mid and upper throttle problem solved, kind of stumbles a little bit low down but that might just be the nature of the non-reed engine, my memory is pretty hazy on that but it's not as smooth as the CT2. Good news is the tachometer is working, and in theory the oil pump should be too. The one thing missing from the bike was the oil reservoir so one of those in the mail today.

Now as for the lights, nothing at all. Drove around town a bit to find a new battery, 6v taillight and new fuel line. Man that taillight assembly is huge! The tail light is working and the foot brake light, but not the hand brake light. Headlight is getting power but needs a new bulb, so now off to search for something that will work on this bike.
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Ascot Red 1972 TS185 28 Nov 2018 19:25 #3

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Love it! Congratulations and looking forward to following your progress!
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1963 YG1-T, 1965 MG1-T, Allstate 250, 1970 CT1b, 1971 R5, 1973 AT3MX, 1974 TS400L, 1975 RD350, 1976 DT175C, 1976 Husqvarna 250CR, 1981 DT175G, 1988 DT50, 1990 "Super" DT50, 1991 RT180, 2017 XT250

Ascot Red 1972 TS185 28 Nov 2018 20:55 #4

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I think your purchase is a good move. I bought a 92 Subaru Loyale wagon the day my wife was diagnosed with breast cancer, June of 2005. Had 103,000 on it. She laughed at me. At least she laughed, I thought. It became my older son's car, and just last summer, it came home when he bought his own, having driven the Loyale through high school and college. It turned over 270,000 coming in the driveway today. Hope your "Suzie" runs as long.
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Ascot Red 1972 TS185 29 Nov 2018 05:16 #5

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darinm wrote: Short story, it was the first real motorcycle I rode. Longer version below if you like rambling.



When I was 9-10 I had no interest in motorcycles, but apparently my older brother did as we both received used Honda CT90s for Christmas. I was probably 100lbs and certainly under 5' at the time, and don't have particularly fond memories of the bike. It was heavy enough to be hard to pick up, completely gutless and prone to breaking down. Starting it was a massive undertaking, Often I'd try for 30 minutes then go off to do something else. Retrospectively it probably had low compression. To this day I don't understand why you'd give a 9 year an at least 13 year old motorcycle yet offer no mechanical help. I guess that's why it took another almost twenty years to get interested in motorcycles, and to this day I've shied away from Honda products from subconscious fear. On the other hand I did learn to love exploring on the bike, going as far as possible on old logging roads, being sure to always go uphill so I could coast home when it stopped running.

My 15th summer around the globe I landed a job moving water lines on a farm. A farm four miles from our house. A friend was kind enough to loan me a '72 TS185 in Ascot Red. It didn't run, and they said the throttle cable was prone to sticking. There was no key, so you had to turn it off by grounding the wire or dropping the clutch. Now that thing was fun to ride. We put a little gas in, she fired up and it ran all summer long with no problems except it was horrifically loud when the silencer fell off and was lost.. Amazing it didn't kill me when the throttle stuck a few times. Getting shocked turning it off was a quick wake up in the morning.

I've looked for one on and off over the years, but they tend to be pretty rare on the west coast and beat up. About a month ago this one showed up in Bakersfield, CA. After a lot of pondering, losing our house in the Camp Fire seemed like a good excuse to indulge in a whim and I convinced myself that Bakersfield wasn't too far from Chico and made a long day of it (about 12hr round trip).

The previous owner pulled a lot off to give it a cafe racer look, but kept all the parts so it's actually very complete. Paint isn't as good as I hoped, one side of the tank is very faded. I think it was stored outside a considerable amount of time, but in a dry environment. 1,300 miles on the odometer, yet the frame and engine numbers do not match. Wiring isn't perfect, and it runs ok to about half throttle then is terrible. No surprise as it's probably stock jetting with, what I am sure all the Enduro fans love to hate, the ubiquitous cheap cone filter that's guaranteed to make a mess of jetting. The stock air box and filter will go back on. I'm currently re-installing all the trim parts, ordered an oil reservoir (fingers crossed the pump still works).

As it had been about twenty two years since I was on one, it was interesting to sit on after one year of owning a Yamaha of the same vintage. The Suzuki sure makes the Yamaha look and feel...refined? Fit and finish on the Yamaha is far superior, yet I'm excited to bring this one back to life, the transmission sure is smooth on it!

The first of many questions as I begin the quest of bumbling through making this road worthy, does anyone know a close rattle can match to Suzuki's "Ascot Red"? It's a very orange red on this bike and in my memory, but that's what I've seen it listed as.


Great project darinm.

I'll stick my ha'pworth in on a couple of points:-

1) I'm not sure that Suzukis of that era had matching frame and engine numbers, so they could all be original.
2) Is it expensive in your neck of the woods to get a paint shop to colour patch the 'good' paint that is left on the bike? It's amazing what they can do these days and I may go down this route myself if I decide to re-spray the petrol tank on my Aztec Gold 1972 Suzuki GT550J.

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Ascot Red 1972 TS185 29 Nov 2018 07:44 #6

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Good points Gr8uncleal, I hadn't even thought of that on the frame and engine. Things sure do look original on the bike, and it starts like it has 1,300 miles on it (second kick when cold).

I'll have to ask at a paint shop, currently it's an $800 bike so not looking to spend too much on it as of yet! May just go down the keep the patina and 2k clear the tank for now.

Currently on the hunt for the headlight, damn "D" shaped sealed beam is very specific compared to the round Yamaha lights. Looks like I'll be cutting the bulb out and replacing it with a new 6v halogen bulb for now, if I don't make a mess of it in the process.

Mothersbaugh, thanks it was kind of a "life has to move on" choice on my end. Speaking of Subarus, we had a 1997 "Impreza Outback Sport Wagon" just shy of 230,000 miles. Longest car model name in history? We've had it almost ten years, got it around 100k and had to leave it during the evacuation. Crazy thing is it's still parked in front of what was the house and a friend doing rescue work checked on it; it started right up. One taillight is melted a bit but that's all the visual damage. Hopefully we can pick it up next week. In a way those cars are the most similar to a motorcycle to work on, just nuts and bolts with little specialty tools needed, I did a transmission swap in our driveway last year.

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Ascot Red 1972 TS185 29 Nov 2018 09:46 #7

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Good story! I'd leave the melted tail light as is! Would new tires be a good idea? Wondering if the heat might have damaged them, maybe even just the inner bondings of rubber and belts...

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Ascot Red 1972 TS185 29 Nov 2018 10:02 #8

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I think it probably will need new tires, at least that rear one, but I hate to admit it as they are just a couple months old.

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Ascot Red 1972 TS185 29 Nov 2018 11:46 #9

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Better safe than sorry. Like brake shoes on the old bikes. You do not want to be heading down the highway and find out they are compromised!!
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Ascot Red 1972 TS185 29 Nov 2018 12:13 #10

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Mothersbaugh wrote: Better safe than sorry. Like brake shoes on the old bikes. You do not want to be heading down the highway and find out they are compromised!!


That would be sadly ironic - survive the fire but then get taken out by a compromised tyre (sorry, tire!!)............................
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