Tanshanomi's Snap Judgments

Suzuki GT185

Wed, June 23rd, 2010

Click image for larger view.

Featuring a different Suzuki street bike each day.

1973–77 Suzuki GT185 Adventurer
The smallest Suzuki GT had about the same power as today's Honda Nighthawk 250, but felt spunkier off the line. It was not as fast as other, peakier two-strokes, but was delightfully easy to ride due to the same wide powerband that Suzuki GTs were known for. Pre-emissions carb settings were thankfully free of newer carbureted bikes' low-end leanness.
Suzuki's two-strokes were never exemplary handlers. Despite admirably light weight, the GT185 is no exception. It feels flexy and the suspension is underdamped and oversprung. The disc brake fitted to '74-on models is not bad for the time, but its effectiveness is limited by the skinny front tire.
The rest of the bike is ordinary, but the engine has a remarkably sculptural and pleasing shape.
The GT185 motor is basically unbreakable, and it doesn't wear out. The big problem will be bad seals and rubber parts in the motor and brittle plastic chassis parts.
From a purely practical standpoint, the GT185 has nothing to recommend it over the aforementioned 250 Nighthawk.
The GT185 is buckets more cool than modern 4-stroke commuter bikes.
The GT185 is a charming little engine trapped in a chassis that was exceedingly ordinary, even back in the mid '70s.