CLASSIC MOTOCROSS IRON: 1968 SUZUKI TM250







By Tom White

Suzuki’s first venture into motocross started in 1964 with an experimental twin-cylinder, road-race-inspired works machine that made an appearance at several 250 GPs. Suzuki had dominated 50cc and 125cc road racing in 1963 and felt they were ready to test the waters in motocross. Suzuki sent one of their road racers and two engineers to race the equipment at select 250cc GPs. The final results were disastrous, but Suzuki came back in 1965 with a single-cylinder model to test alongside an improved twin-cylinder model. By 1966, the twin was dropped and the factory focused on the single-cylinder model dubbed the RH66/67. The RH66 was heavily affected by the 1964 CZ twin tube that had carried Joel Robert to the 1964 250cc World Championship.

The RH66/67 appeared businesslike, but missed the tag by a wide margin. The power was peaky, handling sub-par and the Suzuki was heavy compared to machines from Husqvarna and CZ. Despite this, within 1968 the factory decided to develop 100 production bikes based on the RH67. The machine was called the TM250. Less than 50 were shipped to America, and the machines came with a complete components kit that included pistons, rings, replacement clutch parts, gearing and carburetor jetting.


The 1968 TM250 was raced in America by Preston Small, Walt Axthelm and Gary Conrad. During that same season, Suzuki employed GP veteran Olle Pettersson to build up the machine. Literally overnight, Pettersson got significant changes made to the machine. The bore and stroke were transformed for better low-end power. The engine was moved forward along with a single low pipe replaced the twin high pipes. Pettersson furthermore recommended hiring Joel Robert—and the others is history!


1968 SUZUKI TM250 FACTS


WHAT THEY COST



The $975 store price in 1968 made the TM the most expensive 250 sold. These days, the TM250 is the most desirable collector bike around—if a collector can be lucky enough (or rich enough) to find one in concourse condition. Prices starts at $25, 000.

MODELS


The TM250 was the only motocross bike Suzuki produced in 1968. If you find a 1969 TM250 (RH68), call the Early Years of Motocross Museum and expect a check regarding $30, 000.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR



The must-have items for an RH66/67 are twin high pipes (with the factory heat shields), an extremely unique 38mm Mikuni carburetor, an engine with the clutch on the crankshaft, the ignition coil mounted beneath the left side of the fuel tank, a beautifully sculptured metal tank, flat seat and fiber glass rear fender with number dishes built in.

COMPONENTS SUPPLY



Less than 10 1968 TM250s exist today. Brad Lackey is seeking parts to finish his, and Roger DeCoster is looking for a complete machine. They are looking for years!

For more info on vintage motocross bikes visit www.earlyyearsofmx.com




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