As a Teenager back in 1979 the bike to be seen on was the Suzuki GT250 X7. The red ones were the fastest, the blue ones were blue and nobody wanted a white one. Barry Sheene was our idol and he was the face advertising the X7. This was the first 100MPH production 250, the bike that managed to change motorcycling law here in the U.K.
Right from day one I was going to do something different with this bike having already built two standard machines - one red and one white. I knew it was going to be blue and I had by now also nicknamed it “3D” self explainable by looking at the rear number plate.
The bike stood in the
garage for 6 months
untouched although I had
started to accumulate a
few nice spares to go on it.
In June 2008 I started by completely stripping everything from the frame, the bottom of which and the swinging arm were in a really bad state of corrosion and quickly despatched the frame and all the black bolt on parts to Domain powder coaters for blasting and coating.
Back in 1979 the bikes we had as teenagers saw us wishing we could afford on a 17 year olds meagre wages the aftermarket stuff available such as a nice set of spannies to wring another horse power or two from the engine, rear sets, ace bars and a Giuliari or 2+4 racing seat, almost harking back to the days of the Triumph or Norton cafe racers of the 50’s and 60’s, which has inspired me to label this bike as the“1979 Special”
When the frame and bits arrived back in just about a week, I got on with the task of cleaning and re tapping all the threads on the frame and at this point I fitted most of the various rubber mounts and grommets back into place. I then concentrated on re fitting both the newly coated side and centre stands and corresponding springs back into position and then getting the new swinging arm bearings fitted in so as to get the swinging arm back into the frame, and putting on the first bit of new “Bling” a new set of shiny rear shock absorbers.
The newly coated top yoke and painted bottom yoke were next to go back into the frame, I opted for reassembling with original type ball bearings and head races rather than go for new roller bearings and cups. The unmolested rear mudguard assembly was next to be slotted & bolted back into place after a thorough cleaning including being subjected to the power washer to remove all the ground in dirt and oil accumulated over the last 30 odd years. I then fitted the small rubber mud stopper located at the bottom of the inner mudguard before finally polishing the old plastic back to a nice shine,
The forks were in reasonable condition having been protected by a pair of rubber gaiters. We completely stripped the forks for refurbishment, first stripping them of the black hammerite paint someone had applied to them
and then polishing the aluminium to give a nice shine. A new pair of fork seals and 150cc of new fork oil and they were ready to be fitted back into the yokes.
I had decided that a set of ace bars would not be right at this point so opted for a new set of straight bars instead. I also polished the handlebar clamps back to aluminium.
The original clocks and ignition light cluster were reassembled after undergoing repainting and the clock rims and chrome cups polished. The light indicator markings had faded to nothing and courtesy of Gary
Haythorn who very kindly donated a set of his binnacle stickers now look the part.
I painted the backing plate black and reassembled the rear light and fitted it into place on the rear mudguard, the newly coated number plate holder and light fixing brackets making it look good as new, the rear indicator fixing brackets also being fitted at this time too. Now that the frame was basically together it was time to think about getting the chassis rolling.
I was inspired by another X7 owners machine featured on the websites owners gallery and as the wheels were in such a state having been hand painted yellow so I decided that I would get them powder coated white just like 'Smudgers'
With the wheels now white I set about polishing the speedo drive, the rear brake hub, the sprocket carrier and the various spacers and spindles and getting the cush drive rubbers and the wheel bearings back in. Also fitted to the front wheel is a brand new brake disc
Universal Tyres in Tilbury put the tyres back on to the rims and so the wheels were ready to go back into the frame…..We were at last…..rolling
With the chassis rolling I could now turn my attention to the engine. It was in a complete state of disassembly when I got it but the barrels had already had a new re bore out to 0.5. The first thing to do was to recondition the crankshaft with new seals, bearings, conrods, big and small ends and crank pins. The owners website offers this service and the crank is now in as new condition. If you are rebuilding any two stroke it can be false economy not to refurbish the crank as the seals are so prone to failure when worn.
I enlisted the help once again of my pal Rick to help with the assembly of the engine. I first cleaned and polished the crank cases, I have to admit that we did not attempt to remove the gearbox at all. Getting the crank located into the bottom half of the engine is easy as long as you locate the locking pins correctly. Fitting the top half of the crank casing was next and torqueing it down. Rick did the clutch assembly and the oil pump and tacho drives whilst I concentrated on connecting the pistons correctly to the conrods. This done it was now time to slide the barrels over the pistons ensuring that the rings locate properly.
The clutch and generator covers were always going to be polished, the original grey finish is not easy to
replicate and I personally prefer the aluminium to shine.
The Cylinder head was vapour blasted at Total Traction, Colchester before fitting.
The wiring loom and electrics are surprisingly easy to put back together on an X7, all the multi plugs are colour coded Connectors ensure that mistakes can easily be avoided and soon with a new battery connected all the lights and electrics were working a treat. The neutral light wouldn’t come on at first so I replaced the switch with another I had. Fitting the generator coils were next, I had them re soldered and checked at the same time that the white bikes were done by my neighbour Don who is a bit good with a soldering iron. The only bit of loom that I have had to give attention to is the neutral light wiring from the generator to the switch
Just to make a change I wasn’t waiting for the paintwork to come back from Pete Scott as I had sent them up to him soon after I got the bike and as you can see it is to his usual high standard, so the rear tail piece and tank and side panels are already in place on the bike. It came with the unusual plastic racing mudguard reminiscent of the FLF Body Kits that were available in 1979 and I have opted to keep it having had it painted to match the rest of the bodywork and it looks excellent. I also managed to get hold of an as new giuliari aftermarket racing seat from Tony Wall.
The big thing that I required was a nice set of expansion chambers, I had bought an old set of microns that were tatty but useable, then one day on the website a guy in Brentwood advertised a 1982 bike for sale with lots of spares, namely a brand new pair of Gibson Allspeeds, and a good pair of Wassell engine protectors amongst a load of other stuff.
The deal was sealed and I bought the bike, taxed and Mot’d it was quite tidy and ran as sweet as. The idea was to sell the bike on and keep the spares which is what I did, that’s how I aquired the gleaming exhausts. I needed some chroming doing, some of the stuff I had done locally was not to a great standard and not cheap either.
Tony Wall helped me immensely by getting my old down pipes and exhaust collars chromed along with the rear torque arm to a stunning standard and he also supplied the RG kick start, an absolute must if you don't want to damage your exhaust system.
1982 bike came with loads of spares, Chrome, Bars and Gibson Pipes
The only clue I have to the history of the bike is the 2 tax discs that were on it when I got it and the V5 telling me it has had 14 previous owners. It has obviously spent most of its life in and around the East Midlands.
It made its debut at the 2010 VJMC show at Utoxetter in July as work in progress and was warmly received, it's now complete and running beautifully and passed its first MOT on 2nd October 2010.
A big thanks to all who helped in some way to achieve this restoration:
My Wife Anne
The X Shop at WWW.suzuki-gt.co.uk
Slickbloke, Dave Browning,
Gary Haythorn, Tony Wall,
Pete Scott, Don Elvin,
and the bloke who flogged me the 82 Blue Bike!
Copdock Show Oct 2010
VJMC Utoxetter Jul 2010
Castle Point Museum Open Day Oct 2010
VJMC Uttoxeter Jul 20
Mallory Park Festival of a 1000 Bikes July 2011
Restorations Front Page