Since last we spoke about the 1984 Suzuki RM250, I was lamenting all the reasons not to go and ride the old beast. Since then a lot of time has passed by and a lot of things have happened. I went to B.C. and rode dirt-bikes with family and friends. I started a new job at place I used to work at 28 years ago. I wrote an epic tale of family and of pain and much more.
After getting the bike running and taking it for the innagural test ride, I suspected it was going to need some jetting changes and after returning from B.C., I was able to finally get out for a good spin to see how it actually did run. I took it to the Davies' farm just down the road. There are some nice riding trails, perfect for a test. After unloading it from the trailer and warming it up, I got on the gas and was met with a very nice hard hit of acceleration that pulled the front wheel way in the air in fourth gear. That put a huge smile on my face. It is amazing how much power these old bikes have and this one is as stock as they come.
I took the carburetor apart, checked it over and lowered the needle. It was just a wee bit better but still not at all rideable. I decided to tackle the forks next. I asked in the Vintage Suzuki RMs Facebook group what I should use for fork oil and the common consensus was to use 20-weight. What we put in the forks when assembling the them was 5-weight. I should have asked first or at the very least read the manual.
After the changing the fork oil I took it for a ride and indeed, it did work much better. The rear end was very soft too. I am going to need to adjust the spring-rate front and rear eventually but at this point I needed to focus on getting the engine to run because I couldn't even wheelie over a log on the trail. It ran perfect at top speed but as soon as I let off the throttle even a little, it would die. I could probably have done a few laps on a MX track by keeping it on the pin, but it wouldn't have been worth it.
I went back to Facebook and consensus there was that I needed a new needle jet. I was planning to swap the pilot jet and I am happy I asked first. The needle jet that was in it was stock, it was an R-1. The manual shows a more lean Q-8 as optional and the experienced guys on Facebook said to get the Q-6. Their advice on the fork oil was spot-on so I listened and got the Q-6. The engine runs really nice now. Good crisp power everywhere.
The new Q-6 Needle Jet was the magic sauce.
Now the bike is ready to ride and I am looking for a place to ride it. I saw a couple guys in Moto riding jerseys at Tim Hortons so I asked them if they knew of some trails. "Remove the engine and there are lots of trials." Mountain bikers! Don't they have their own stores to shop in? I think my only option at this point is Sand-Del-Lee but it is too far and too expensive for an evening ride which is all I have time for.
Shopping for the jets was a bit of a pain and I dragged my feet wasting more time. I took the carburetor apart several times hoping I could find something causing the problem. I was sure that the carb was un-touched from original and it did not make sense that it could run that bad in stock trim. Maybe it was the modern unleaded fuel we now use making it run so rich.
Once I finally figured out what parts to order, I went shopping online. There are a lot of places that have the jets but the American stores wanted $25US for shipping and Canadian stores were not much better. These parts will fit in the smallest envelope- you could lick a couple stamps. More time passed, more days and still I dragged my feet- too cheap to pay shipping. I finally decided to call on Gear Head Ottawa. It is a small bike shop in Bells Corners, I drive by all the time. They were able to get the parts and even drop them off in my mailbox. As it turns out, the owner just lives a few doors down.