Burrito Dork
6/16/17 12:46 p.m.

Just picked this old girl up off Portland CL earlier this week. I have been looking for a mid-70s Enduro bike worth buying for a while now, and this one ticked all the boxes. I looked at a couple of Yamaha DTs a month or two ago, but they were both giant turds for what I viewed as top dollar. I have always loved the Elsinore line, but the CRs are well out of my price range now. The MT is kind of a detuned brother of those bikes; nice wide and mellow powerband, oil injection, steel wheels, and mild steel frame, so a race bike this ain't.

I am assuming this bike spent a fair portion of it's life in the back of somebodies barn, garage, or garden shed.

She's averaged 118 miles a year since 1974, 40 of which are mine.

The bike received some recent love from the guy I bought it from. Fresh Kenda tires, ignition parts, seat cover, grips, etc. I feel like I did well at $1100. Title, tax, and tags bring it up to $1250.

I'll keep this updated as I work through the bikes few issues. I'm trying hard to not turn this into a project, but I am going to get all the low hanging power fruit off the 2 stroke tree before it goes to seed.

stuart in mn
stuart in mn UltimaDork
6/16/17 1:12 p.m.

I always liked those bikes, they're pretty. Being the street version it has a steel gas tank, correct?

Ovid_and_Flem HalfDork
6/16/17 1:16 p.m.

Well bought...hard to believe it's 43 years old. If it's original paint and decals don't dare repaint...worth far more as an original survivor. Very collectible.

Burrito Dork
6/16/17 2:46 p.m.

In reply to stuart in mn:

Yep, this is a steel tank bike. It's in OK shape. A couple good dents on the top of the tank and some surface rust inside. The tank has Evaporust sitting in it right now.

In reply to Ovid_and_Flem:

Original paint on the tank. I think everything else has seen the business end of a rattle can. I know for certain that the fenders and engine have been painted, I assume the frame was done at the same time.

Mezzanine Dork
6/16/17 2:53 p.m.


[opens new Craigslist tab]

Well bought!

Burrito Dork
6/16/17 3:16 p.m.

So, first order of business is to address the typical starting issues associated with a bike of this vintage. The bike runs really well at idle and part throttle, but falls on it's face when wide open and never really feels like it gets on the pipe. I'm assuming the main jet is plugged, but first the stop of every fuel problem is ignition.

Verified ignition timing as per the service manual on the Elsinore site. Timing was very close, just a little retarded of what the manual calls for. Set that to factory specs. Spark plug was pretty much hand tight, crush washer not even close to doing it's job. Plug looks pretty fresh, though! Points look new.

Bike started second kick after futzing about with the ignition components, rather than the 4 or 5 it took the previous evening. Could be I made it better, or I might just be getting better at starting it.

I honestly didn't expect this thing to have Magnesium cases!

Next order of business was gas tank rust and petcock issues. Petcock worked fine in "ON" but nothing came out of it on "Reserve". A few minutes with a long narrow pick, some brakleen, and some compressed air and the petcock is happy as can be.

Inside the tank isn't terrible, but since it's already off I'll clean what I can out of it.

This afternoon I'll rinse the tank out, reinstall everything, dump some fresh premium in it and go for a ride around the hood. I don't expect much improvement, but I'm curious if the small timing bump changed anything.

Carb kit should be here today or tomorrow. Biding my time until that arrives so I can still putt around the neighborhood and make everyone jealous.

stuart in mn
stuart in mn UltimaDork
6/16/17 5:28 p.m.
Burrito wrote: In reply to stuart in mn: Yep, this is a steel tank bike. It's in OK shape. A couple good dents on the top of the tank and some surface rust inside. The tank has Evaporust sitting in it right now.

I checked once with a paintless dent repair guy to see if he could remove dents from a motorcycle gas tank and he said no. I guess the combination of limited access through the filler hole plus the thickness of the steel makes it difficult or impossible. Too bad, I figured that would be a great way to fix a tank without having to repaint it.

coexist New Reader
6/16/17 5:46 p.m.

Nice buy, nothing but fun to be had there. My first motorcycle was a similar age Yamaha 125. Rode to high school, it was all good except for the older kid who stole parts off it for his similar model, since the motorcycle parking was in back by the autoshop. Like so:

Burrito Dork
6/16/17 6:05 p.m.

Got the tank all rinsed out. The Evaporust did a decent job of removing the rust. It's better, so I'm not complaining. If it proves to be an issue I will revisit it.

Loaded the cleaned petcock up with a fresh viton o-ring and slammed it back into the tank.

Petcock appears to be leak free. I've got a half gallon or so of fuel sitting in the tank while I put my feet up, relax, and post this.

Bike started first kick after I realized the berkeleying killswitch was engaged...

wheelsmithy Dork
6/16/17 6:59 p.m.


Burrito Dork
6/16/17 8:13 p.m.

Whatever I did fixed it. I'm not sure if it was the timing, the restricted petcock, the fresh fuel, or some combination therein, but it's like a different bike.

I rolled another 15 miles on it just now and I am over the moon. Power delivery is much more what I was expecting now and it will lift the front wheel if you slip the clutch and give it a good yank in second.

Unfortunately, the shift shafts seal has gone from weeping to puking, but at least the chain is well oiled now . I ordered a new seal yesterday, but I'm starting to wonder if the PO put synthetic oil in the trans. I will research what transmission oil these want and debate on changing it when the seal comes in.

wlkelley3 UltraDork
6/16/17 9:58 p.m.

I had one of these as a teenager. Pulled from the web and it's a 1973 Suzuki TS185. One year only straight rear fender. Was only a year old when we bought it off an Air Force guy being transferred. This bike went through me and my 2 younger sisters. Did a sprocket change and it would pull the front wheel off in 3 gears but top speed was just a bit over 60mph. Drooled over the Elsinore's back when they were new but couldn't afford one. Good buy.
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Cooter HalfDork
6/17/17 11:37 a.m.

I had a '74 MT125 as my first bike. Great little bikes; basically a detuned CR. I have been looking on and off for a 250 for the last 10 years or so, but I keep finding others I must have.

Ransom PowerDork
6/17/17 11:44 a.m.

So cool... I need more parking/storage.

Furious_E Dork
6/17/17 3:05 p.m.

Sweet bike! I had an MT125 that I pieced together out of about 2.5 basket cases as a project while I was in college that ran for about 30s once, then never again . Think its still sitting in a shed at my dads. They're gorgeous bikes, one of my all time favorite tank shapes.

What's the plan for adding power? I think a CR jug is a bolt in with much better porting to work with, but they're quite pricey as I recall and yield a power band unsuited to the gearing.

EvanR SuperDork
6/17/17 11:54 p.m.

I've found that Honda singles are very sensitive to valve adjustments. A lot of poor running that feels like carb or ignition issues can be resolved by a careful valve adjustment.

wheelsmithy Dork
6/17/17 11:58 p.m.

In reply to EvanR:

2 stroke

Cooter HalfDork
6/18/17 7:14 a.m.

In reply to wheelsmithy:

Well, yeah. But those "adjustments" are especially sensitive.

EvanR SuperDork
6/18/17 2:22 p.m.
wheelsmithy wrote: In reply to EvanR: 2 stroke

Oh. Nevermind :)

Burrito Dork
6/19/17 8:48 p.m.

I grabbed some 6v bulbs and spent Saturday afternoon troubleshooting the lighting circuits.

Taillight / brake light was easy enough to figure out. Original bulb had a bad filament, and some dummy had adjusted the rear brake switch so the light was always on. A fresh bulb and a quick adjustment and we're in business. Easy peasy.

Turn signals proved to be slightly more difficult. Right front bulb holder had sheared it's rivet and ejected the spring and phenolic washer. Luckily all the parts stayed in the housing.

A new pop rivet, a ring terminal of appropriate size, and some tape and she is good enough.

Now all the lights were working, but no flashy flashy. Maybe the thermal flasher relay full of rust has something to do with that?

A new 6v flasher relay will be here Thursday or Friday this week. And another one will arrive at the end of July, because I didn't realize that it was coming from Hong Kong. Oh well, $13 mistake, but I have another 6v bike in pieces in the basement.

The old shift shaft seal was absolutely falling apart. I think 43 years of oil proved to be too much for 1970s rubber technology. The seal was also completely full of shmoo; it seems all of the nasties in the oil settled to the lowest point when the bike sat (likely for a decade or three) and ruined what was left of the seal.

New seal went in without issue after cleaning all the funk out of the hole.

It appears to be leak free at this point. I think I will roll a few more miles on it before changing the oil out. The shmoo that was in that seal gives me the heebie jeebies.

On an extremely positive note the bike started first kick for real this afternoon and immediately settled down to a nice idle without any outside influence. No choke, just gas on, killswitch on run, and a solid boot and she was smoking out the neighborhood. It continues to run better the more I ride it, but it is definitely cold blooded; it is an absolute dog until you get some heat in her.

Burrito Dork
6/28/17 7:16 p.m.

New flasher relay came in late last week and got tossed on.

Turn signals work a treat now, but I've somehow lost the headlight. I have no intention of riding anywhere at night with a 6v headlight, but I'll look into it soon if only to avoid a fix-it ticket.

I forked out $12 for a CR250M headgasket of similar vintage.

It's about a third of the thickness of the stock gasket and bumps the compression ratio from 7:1 to around 7.6-7.7:1, which is about perfect.

Head, bore, and piston all look great after a little cleaning.

I also took the time to properly adjust the oil pump to the factory specs and go through the (already very clean) carburetor.

The bike is running really, really well now. It was definitely a little rich before, but the HG swap leaned it out a bit. I am still futzing with the tuning (and probably will be until my father comes to visit).

Oh, I did order up a 14t countershaft sprocket (stock is 15) as I am taking a 4 day weekend in August to go play with other vintage 2 smoke dual sport enthusiasts, and as it is the bike is kinda geared for the moon. Full tuck, 5th gear, wide berkeleying open on flat ground she'll do an indicated 75mph (after like 2 minutes...), which is an exciting way to shake yourself to E36 M3.

I also dug this plate frame out of the basement.

Valerian's was owned by my Uncle RS's father back in the 60s/70s. I think that makes him my step grandfather in law? So, almost no relation, but we accept it as family history.

At any rate it's berkeleying cool as E36 M3 and it's going on the bike.

ssswitch Dork
6/29/17 11:18 p.m.

Pictures have stopped working because Photobucket are jerks, but this sure sounds like an excellent ride. Wicked price for this, too.

Burrito Dork
7/5/17 7:15 p.m.

Tossed the 14 tooth front sprocket on and boy what a difference! I'm pretty sure I made it faster by making it slower.

I have a hard time differentiating detonation from the the typical 2 stroke noise, but it seems like it might be knocking a bit under certain circumstances. It's 90°F here today and I was leaning on it pretty hard for a while, though. I am going to bump the timing back just a hair and see if it goes away.

Nothing much to report other than that. Engine found another place to leak oil and the right fork seal shat itself. Front end is mucho boingy now. Bike is consistently starting on the 3rd or 4th kick after sitting for a few days; good enough for me.

No photos because photobucket can eat a big ol' bag of dicks.

einy HalfDork
7/5/17 7:36 p.m.

This photobucket thing is fargin' up every forum I like

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