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Interceptor 650

The Suzuki GT500

The ongoing story of the mighty two stroke

In December 2017 the idea that I would like another two stroke resurfaced. I considered a Yamaha 350 YPVS but I suspected that the chances of finding a good one for anything like reasonable money were slim. Having had a GT500 (sold in 1988 to buy a Honda CB450 K0) I thought I might look for another. The classifieds showed a few though they were all really quite expensive so I thought I’d go down the buy one and sort it out route. Ebay revealed one fairly locally in an auction for about £700.00 with a day or so to run so I placed a bid. Having won it for rather more than £700.00 I hired a trailer and drove to Devon to pick it up. The owner had several bikes and was having to relinquish his container so the GT was one of the disposals. It had been bought for his father about 30 years ago and ended up with the owner, reasonably well sorted out and used for about 13 years before being stored away so it had not been used for 17 years. This length of time in a steel container does none of the brightwork any favours because of the condensation so it was in a fairly sorry state. The tank had also been full for all that time so it and the fuel tap (fortunately not the carbs) were sorely challenged.

Part two

Before it had been laid up it had been treated to a new seat, wheel rims, and tyres (these now regrettably unusable). The seat was still good and the wheel rims not bad. Stainless steel spokes as well. Come early 2018 work started. I thought I’d get the rolling chassis sorted initially. A long list of required items included rear shocks (New Hagons), fork stanchions (replated beautifully as always by AM Philpot Ltd), fork seal,  (obtainable from Suzuki still) Brake hoses, caliper and master cylinder rebuild kits (after a lot of penetrating oil and peruasion they came apart), loads of carb and fuel tap bits, battery, ignition key (number on the lock thankfully), plugs, headlamp (LED from t’internet as the old one was rusty and anyway they were hopeless when they were new), indicators, brake shoes, clutch, brake and throttle cables, emery paper, paint and enthusiasm. A spare tank had been supplied with the bike as well as a set of oversize pistons, oil lines and several other odds. Missing were the oil pump cover and rear brake cable adjuster.

The carbs were stripped and cleaned, not bad especially once the various passages had been cleared out. Bits of another were bought from ebay to replace the float bowl I broke with a very gentle tap whilst removing it. Back onto new inlet stubs (the originals were very sad). The fuel tap had suffered from the old petrol going bad in it and took a lot of patience and a repair kit. Unfortunately the vacuum diaphragm is not available separately so the old one had to be very carefully removed to clear out the vile gunge. Eventually all reassembled with new filters and gaskets. Cables - easy! Except that the brake cable I’d got certainly wasn’t for this model so I had to reuse the old one with the adjuster off the new one. Shocks, brake shoes, cleanup, chain clean and lube (chain and sprockets were past their first flush of youth but I thought I wasn’t going to do many miles so let them go) a new rear tyre and I could turn it round. The exhausts were first off - pipes very rusty but so were the ones on the old GT I had after only 4 years (I bought it in 1981) and the silencers were tatty and very dull after their damp 17 years. Front dismantled, fork tubes off to Philpot’s, brake caliper and master cylinder stripped and rebuilt (sounds easy…), new head bearings, forks back together, new tyre, new braided hose, all back together so the rolling chassis would at least roll. The mudguards were pretty tatty so were toshed up with some isopon and black gloss paint. The LED headlamp was fitted into the old rim (for those of you unfamiliar with these the OE headlamp has a sort of sub shell which bolts onto two flanges in the main shell leaving a small annular gap for water and flies to get in) after the the flanges were cut off with a dremel using W clips. The (much inferior to the rusty OE items) new indicators were fitted. The speedo and tacho were fine, one advantage to light free storage was that the dial lenses were not crazed or discoloured) and the old tacho cable was retained. An oil pump cover was fitted and oil bled through using the kickstart (the oilpump saga was only just beginning). The last owner had religiously kicked it over every few weeks to keep oil circulating around the bearings and crank seals so the compression felt OK when I kicked it over. Now for the tank. The one it came with was not useable - a ghastly lesson in remembering to drain petrpl out before leaving it. The spare was in pretty good shape apart from the colour so I embarked on its restoration