With th ebikearrivedIwondered whaton earthI
hadlet myselfinf or.The engine wasn’t seized,but it
hadn’ trun since1985. Ijoinedthe RE5owners club
andthat’ swhenIstarted to worry. Appa rentlythe
‘apex seals’could beaproblem. The rotormight turn,
butift he sealswere stuck there’dbenocompression
andthe central partthat houses theactual rotor
wouldhave to be split andrebuilt.Ididn’tlikethe
soundoft hatata ll so Idecided it wouldall be ok.
Pulling the Suzuki apart,Ithink Irealised why it
was laid up several decades ago: theelectrical
connector that joins the wires coming from the
generatorto the rectifier had melted, whichwould
be enough to bring thebike toagrinding halt.
Apparently,this isacommon issue.Anew connector
was sourced and wiring re-spliced.
The frontTokico brakes were gummed up and the
bolts were rusty,the maste rcylinder/brake lever was
corroded and dry inside, but fortunately the alloy
cylinder wasn’t pitted. All the piston rubbers and seals
were in good nick and the brake pipes still had their
little rubber date rings on them (1974!) The rear brake
shoes had oxidised so badly they literally fell out of the
drum whenIpulle dthe wheel apart. The wheels,
bearings and spindles were fine and the swingarm
spindle was ok. The petrol tank was rusty so needed
sorting.Iblasted the innards, filled it with hot water/
Sodium Carbonate, made upacathode out ofaplastic
bottle top and an old allen key,thenhooked it up to an
old 5v phone charger and left it cooking for three days.
After another pressure wash it came out clean as. The
thermistor,which is part of the low fuel sender unit
fitted to the underside of the fuel tank, didn’t work so I
boughtareplacement off eBay for £20, which I
soldered in. The area where the wires poked through
the body were sealed with JBWeld.
All th echrome bitswere mildly rusty,and the
wheelrimswere badly oxidised andpitted in places,
as werethe outerengine cases. Thefork stanchions,
wheelhubs andpretty much everything else madeof
aluminium was in the same state.Some of thesteel
spokes were alsopretty rusty insome sections. The
casings of the engine were in surprisingly good
condition. Thespark plug,carburettorand ai rfilter
were allinp lace, which bodedwell for the inner
workings. Neverth eless,Isprayedalmostawhole
aerosol can of Plus Gas into the plug hole overa
three-dayperiodwhils tslowly turningthe engine by
hand; if those apex seals were actually seized or
stiff, Plus Gas would eventually loosenthemup.
Igot to work on the wheels andIspent alot of
timesimply wire brushing off the crud and
oxidisation,sanding and then polishing them. It
didn’t costmeanything, justalot of work.Ialso
restored the spokesinasimilarway. The frame was
in fairly good condition,andthe rear shocks were
bothinworkingorder. Theyall polished up well. I
decided that the original 45-year-old classic metallic
bluepaint was staying.It was blemish-freeapart
from onetiny rust bubble on the tank.
The radiatorneededagood flushing and it didn’t
appeartohave anyleaks inthecore. Aftera
thoroughclean-upof the exterior, neateningupsome
squashed finsandvery lightwire brushing,Ithen
spray painted itwith satin blackVHT paint. Thefinal
drive was in good shape. Thesprockets andchain
were dirty ,but cleanedupwell, an dtherewas no
discernible wearonthe teeth. The chain was a
sealed O-ring unit andthough it looked quiterustyit
oiled up finewithnokinks. The forks were good,
minor blemishes weresorted andIgot some old
4 5 6 7 8 9
- Engine cases
weren't too bad.
stopped the bike
- Front-end post
- Tank had one
blemish and needed a
clean-up: was rusty
- Forks apart.
- Lots to the RE5!
- Rare instrument