1978 Suzuki GT 250 EN X7
Late October 2006, dark, pouring down with rain, on my way home from work feeling pretty crap, driving down a dark country lane when the hand painted on plywood sign jumps out at me… It Said “FOR SALE SUZUKI X7” and I didn't see the price, so I drove around again and passing slower this time I saw “ FOR SALE SUZUKI X7 £200 ” so I pulled over and knocked on the door of the bungalow, the chap came to the door, took me in the garage showed me the bike and the pile of spares and the deal was done !! That’s how I came to own BEEVIS….
Frame with yokes fitted
Hand painted blue with a badly covered guillari 2+4 seat, 6 months tax, Mot just expired, the Speedo showing 30K but it was running as sweet as…….. I decided that Beevis was going to be white because that’s the colour the guy said it was before he attacked it with the blue hammerite and I liked the white anyway to go with the red one I already have.
Beevis is a really early example, the X7 was launched in the UK in May 1978 and Beevis was registered in July. So I stripped the bike down to nothing, and the first job was to get the frame prepared for blasting and powder-coating, this done it was despatched to Domain who turned it round in about a week, also sent were all the small bits like the battery box, torque arm, Headlamp ears, etc.
I originally thought I would have polished ally top yokes on Beevis but as the build progressed they did look a bit wrong so I opted for the standard black. I also sourced an original seat for it at the Stafford show.
I bought the clocks at Uttoxeter for a tenner, they were in good condition so all I had to do was paint the bodies and assemble onto the mount with the binnacle.
The forks were next, taking them apart and finding the stantions were like bananas, Beevis had obviously done a wheelie or two in its 30 years, I took them to Dave, a friend of mine’s brother who duly straightened them out.
Polished Yoke Painted Clocks
The next thing to do was to get the engine on the bench, it had been running nicely although with the characteristic X7 top end rattle, so I decided that a re bore and new pistons were in order.
Forks In Engine Stripped
I decided not to do the crankshaft as it was running so well and it has proved to be the right decision so far. So we pretty much left the bottom end alone. We got the forks in to the yokes, I was still not decided about the polished yoke. We got the rear mudguard and tail light fitted next, all of a sudden it was becoming recognisable as an X7.
The wheels on the X7’s were painted either Black, Red or on some of the later models they even did them in gold. The very early models were not painted, just a plain ally finish which is what I have gone for with Beevis. As soon as the wheels were done I could get it rolling.
I bought a new set of shock absorbers, I have gone for 320 mm, the standards being 300mm, at 320mm it is easier to lift onto the centre stand as Beevis is lacking a side stand, I could not find a frame to donate the side stand lug so Beevis only has a centre stand. So with the wheels polished I first got Beevis Front End rolling. Next I put the swinging arm in put the new rear shocks on and got it up on two wheels. Renovating and fitting all the small parts as we go like the footrests, the rear brake drum hub has been polished as has the speedo drive and the rear sprocket carrier all the little things that take time.
Beevis was really taking shape by now, I had a nice genuine front mudguard for it £20 from a guy on the website. The next thing to give some attention to was the wiring and electrics, we fitted the loom into the frame and hooked up all the multi plugs and astonishingly everything worked, indicators, lights, horn, and the idiot lights too except the neutral light because we needed the engine in for that to work.
So with the Electricals working and the silencers bolted in situ Beevis is looking good, It has a spare tank with an original 70’s aftermarket tank cover on at this time just for show, because the paintwork is away at Pete the paint’s place in Hartlepool getting an excellent paint job. Next up was getting the engine into the frame.
So me n the Slickbloke started to put the engine back together, I polished the clutch and flywheel casings in keeping with my liking for all ally polished, I decided at this point to replace the top yoke with a black
Powder-coated one which I am now convinced looks better. I cleaned the crankcases thoroughly too. Beevis at some point has spat the drive chain as the engine number lug is missing from the crankcase as it breaks it when a chain snaps, quite a common occurrence on the X7. We put the new barrels and pistons onto the top end and the engine was ready to go into the frame.
Pistons and Barrels back on
Also at this point I reassembled the air filter and put it back into the frame and bolted the oil tank in ready to connect the oil pump, The Carburettors were next and they were in a bit of a mess cosmetically, I completely stripped them down, and cleaned them inside and out ready to put back on the bike.
The engine cases before polishing
Engine Bling !
So we still needed a few parts - new down pipes were the most pressing. One of the exhaust studs was missing from the barrels, I bought a GT380 stud and drilled and tapped a new thread into the barrel.
The engine now mounted in the frame I can fit the new engine bars that I stole from My mate Dave and i fitted the brand new down pipes, the clutch and Tacho cables were connected. Also fitted was the complete front brake assembly which I had painstakingly taken apart cleaned, painted and reassembled. I reused the braided hose that was already on and using a Gunsons easibleed kit I got the front brake working a treat.
So On with the carburettors….. WILL IT START!!
One Clean & One dirty Carb.
Brake Caliper And Hose
Below. Engine In, New Down pipes and Engine bars
Master Cylinder, Carbs get fitted
YES…. It started after 6 kicks I poured a drop of premix into the carbs from a washing up bottle, I also bled the oil pump up after putting some 2 stroke in the oil tank and it started, lots of smoke….. But it was running and I was able to take it on the maiden voyage up the road. So now we are just waiting on the paintwork to arrive back from Pete. The Number plate also arrived from tippers, and that kinda explains why the bike is called BEEVIS.........................
Hurrah. The paint had arrived and Pete has done his usual high standard job, I hurriedly fitted the side panels on new side panel rubbers, The seat trims to the underside of the seat, I put the air filter housing covers on too. Then I had to pop rivet the rear cowel to the bottom half already bolted on to the rear of the mudguard and finally the tank…….
And it looks Fantastique, I Put a litre of premix in the tank, started her up, jumped on and set off for the local garage to fill it up. I had just pulled out of my road and it started coughing, needs fuel I thought and got to just yards from the garage and it DIED….. I put a tenner in the tank and still it did not want to know, I pushed it home from the garage, pulled out a plug and checked……… NO SPARK
We started at the plugs, They were ok, We then checked the Coils….Again Ok, next was the CDI Unit, we are indebted to the Haynes manual for giving us the info on how to check if these parts are OK, the CDI was ok, so the next port of call is the stator plate, we had not touched it at all during the rebuild and the bike ran sweet before we stripped it down, surely that’s not the problem……..
I got Gary at work to knock me up a flywheel puller, we got the flywheel off so we could inspect the stator and sure enough a wire had come adrift from the exciter coil, again using the Haynes manual for guidance we were able to check and verify this was the problem. The spare stator I have also had a wire adrift, so both the stators were dispatched next door to Don the solder miester and he sorted the wires good and proper.
Everything was reassembled being careful to replace the stator in exactly the right position so as not to disturb the timing.
Beevis fired up first kick……….
I took it for MOT on the 9th October 2008 and it flew through. I put some tax on it the same day and proceeded to do 50 miles on it that day, doing my best to keep the revs to about 4000 tops.
Beevis makes it debut at the 2008 Stafford mechanics show on the X7 / GT Stand.
SO WHATS NEXT !!!!!
DDD - The next project................................