1983 RM250 RACE RESTORATION PROJECT
1983 RM "OLD ROACH" 250
Hi all, Bill Rohde here. During this project I am going to keep everyone up-to-date with our progress. We are going to show what it actually takes from purchasing the bike, restoring it, testing it, and finally racing it. I'll be performing as much of the work as possible myself. For the stuff I can't do, I'll get help, for example replacing the crank bearing. (Oh yea baby it needs a new bottom end job! I think it might be because the bike looks like it was ridden for years without the air filters. Hmmmmmm.......)
If there are any RM specialists out there, drop me a line on any trick things that you've done, I'd love to use them and pass along the info.
There will be a complete list of parts replaced, the reason why, the manufacturers, suppliers, and, of course, the cost .
February 5th, The Maiden Voyage
Finally got to ride the "Old Roach", man was it a blast. The Might RM worked awesome. The first thing I noticed was the motor, it ripped. It made great power across the power band especially in the mid and top end. This thing rev 'ed to the moon. A super fast 250, it will hold its own against any 250cc 2 stroke. The power was very linear and just keep pulling. George at Moto Perfect Racing knows how to build an awesome motor, hats off to George, here is his contact info. Phone 909-899-1897 ask for George, E-Mail firstname.lastname@example.org. He does all Vintage era stuff along with newer bikes, so give him a call if you want your bike to rip.
Now on to the suspension, they don't call it the Full Floater for nothing. The Gold Valve Conversion using the new G3-LD piston worked better then most anything I've ever ridden. The rear shock worked great on everything. Sucked up all the small chop, in and out of corners and would not even think about bottoming on the big jumps. I over jumped a table top and it just soaked it up like nothing. I felt nothing bad coming from the shock at all. It was perfect and flawless, amazing is how I'd sum the shock up. The Gold Valve Conversion using the new G3-LD piston is a must.
The forks worked really good. They had the Emulator and heavier rate fork springs. That set up along with the Gold Valve Conversion Kit in the shock balance the bike perectly. The forks soaked up the chop and held their own on the big hits. You could charge into anything with confidence, even when I came off a jump in a not so perfect angle the bike would right it self upon land and track straight. I'd like to get a hair plusher feel in the forks, but its better then most of the bikes I'd ever ridden. I am amazed at how good this bike felt on the first shake down ride. After a few tweaks this bike will be hard beat. I don't think you'd be able to find a bike with bigger fun factor to ride. I'll be racing it next week in the Fire and Police GP at Glen Helen. I'll fill you in on how that goes.
We decided to go with the Gold Valve Conversion using the new G3-LD piston for the first shock test. We figured this would be the most cost effective first step, but don't worry we will be building a G3-S for the "Old Roach". Hopefully after the rain this week we'll be able to get out this weekend for the first break in ride. Stay tuned.
Well the "Old Roach" is starting to shape up into a really nice bike, finally. I thought this day never come, but she is almost done. The shock guys are going to build me a G3-S Custom Series Shock since the stock shock is shot. All that is left to do is build a new G3-S shock, do a shake down ride and test the suspension a few times. After that the "Old Roach" should be race ready. The CALVMX season starts in two weeks so I'll need to get moving. I'm getting the graphics from Tony, at Vintage Suzuki. If you need any Suzuki stuff he's the guy. RM, TM and TS he will get you squared away. Well, as soon as the shock work starts I'll get some pics and post them so you can see how the process works. Don't worry it won't be 2 months from now either! I least I hope not.
Finally have the bike in reassembly phase. Got the motor in, forks on and starting to get all of the little odds and ends put on. It does seem like this is the hardest part of the whole restore. Check out the pics!!
We have been in a holding pattern for a long time, just waiting for a few more thing before we can get the project back together. I should have everything back late next week. Once we get going the G3-S will be built for it. I'm going to have a bunch more picks to post up early next week so stay tuned.
Oh by the way, got the frame back from the powder coater and it looks awesome, Steele at Endless Powder Coating did a great job. If you need any powder coat work done Steele is the man. Here's his contact info: Endless Powder Coating 1693 Commerce St Corona CA 92880 951-520-9992. Frame Bead blasting and Powder Coating start at $200.00
These pic are when we installed the new bearings.
Well it has been a while, we have been busy here at Race Tech. Lots of R&D stuff going on and track events. The Event for CALVMX went great, lots of interest in the new G3-S PiggyBack Vintage Shock and Fork Emulators along with spring kits. Had a ton of fun out at the event, got to race and didn't fall down, so I'm feeling pretty good about it.
I had Navy Reserve Duty for the next CALVMX weekend, so Dom Brock went to the event. He had a great time on his 1974 CR250. I gotta get my ride going soon.
Received some parts in for the RM. Tony at Vintage Suzuki hooked it up with an awesome seat cover and foam. I opted for the safety foam seat cover combo, since I'll be racing this sled soon. Check out his web site, he has a lot great stuff for Suzuki's and more at www.Vintage-Suzuki.com.
Don from DC Plastics supplied all of the plastics, what a great guy. If you need plastics, give Don a call. If he does not have it, he can make it. The stuff he gave me looks great.
Its been going a little slower then I expected but progress in being made. We split the cases and the internals look awesome. The only problem was a broken clutch plate; that is what caused the grove in the inside area of the clutch cover. The tranny looked brand new, shift forks are straight, no major issues.
I need to order a few more bearings a the shift shaft seal, I missed a few parts the on the first order. Sure there will be some more
Everything here came apart very easily just like everything else. The crank looked to be in good condition. Most of the bearings are in great shape, but I'm replacing them all, especially the crank bearings. I'm going to be riding this bike for a very long time and want it to be in the best condition possible.
For the motor work I was referred to gentleman that's been grinding on cylinders for well over 30yrs. I needed someone who knows 2 strokes motors and George Marston, owner of Moto Perfect Racing knows how to make, as he says "useable arm ripping horsepower". So I dropped off both my cylinders and crank. After he checked out both, he showed me that one had already had the ports matched. It took him only a few minutes to determine how much to bore the cylinder and size of piston to use. He pulled out an old note book with porting specs in it, that made me feel good, nothing like an old school note book with secret info in it. Beside doing 2 stroke engine work he does 4 stroke engine rebuilds and mods for Moto, Road Race, Super Moto, ATV and Watercraft.. All motor work comes with complete jetting specs and engine mod information. George is a rare find these days. He's a guy that really cares about giving his customers what they want and at a fair price. If you need any engine work I would highly recommend Moto Perfect Racing. George's contact info is: Phone 909-899-1897, E-Mail email@example.com. I told George I did not need parts back until late next week, his response was "no problem" you gotta love it. Well I gotta get going. I'm going to CALVMX this saturday to race and support their event. Broc Glover is hosting this round, it should be fun. I'll be riding an 1981 YZ 465 with Race Tech Suspension and RT Brake Arching, its going to be cool, can't wait.
The bike, for the most part, is stripped down; Still need to remove the triple clamps but that shouldn't’t be a problem. I think I’ll clear anodize the triple clamps the same colors as the lower fork tubes, give it the Works look. Everything seems to be going smoothly, but now it’s time to take the motor down and I wonder what surprises lurk.
The engine was a little tougher than the rest of the bike to D/A, some of the wonderful Phillips head screws stripped out, they will be replaced with Allen head bolts on reassembly. I used an impact driver to get the stubborn bolts out. It made quick work of the nasty stripped-out ones. The impeller and water pump are in perfect condition, no corrosion at all. The clutch basket is a little notched but nothing major. Everything else looks great. The only problem I see is trying to remove the broken bolt from the kick starter shaft. I’m going to pull the cases apart in the next few days. The whole motor is going to be rebuilt; I’m not taking any chances on this thing seizing up going off a jump.
Check out the pics of the head, you can see the difference in thickness and in the domes. The black head is off a 1983 RM250 the other one is off a 1982 RM250.
I had to give you a pic of the front rim. I can't believe how straight it is, both rims are perfect. Not one ding in either. This bike is truly a diamond in the rough, with a little love it's going to be a great bike, I can't wait.
I'm going to strip the the yellow paint off the forks and hard anodize them clear. It will give them a works look, you'll see later. This bike is in great shape, the frame has a little damage, nothing a little welding won't fix. I should get the engine parts early next week. My plan was to start with the motor, while doing that I'm going to strip the paint, make any repairs, and reinforce the frame.
The bike is finally stripped down and I was really surprised, there was no need for the torch and giant hammer to get the swingarm, suspension and motor mount bolts out. As a matter of fact a few came out just by pulling on them. I lucked out big time on this bike. I can only think it was kept somewhere very dry for quite some time and just recently taken out and ridden around the farm. As I was doing some research I found a web site, www.fullfloater.com, which is a great source of information. It's a dedicated site for Full Floaters only. It has all sorts of cool stuff on it, from restoring plastic, to hard to get parts and old magazine articles. Check it out.
I ordered all the engine parts from Cycle West in Petaluma, CA www.cyclewest.net. They were able to still get most of the parts for the old Roach. They are very helpful and knowledgeable, give them a call (707) 769-5240. I have some more pics to post. I'll have them up in a few days.
Today I finally got a chance to get the bike cleaned up. I used 3 cans of degreaser and a ton of Simple Green. It took about 2 hours with a bucket, brush and pressure washer to remove 26 years of dirt. It could have been much worse. I was surprised that parts of the bike were in really good shape despite looking so horrible at first. The basic frame, swingarm, rims, radiator, forks and linkage parts looked better than most bikes that have been ridden for only a few weeks. The rims had no dings at all, frame was straight and swingarm looked practically new. The bike was not ridden hard at all, just not taken care of very well.
Now it's time to get my parts list together. Like I said before we are going to frame this baby and build it from the ground up. I should be able to get it stripped down before Friday, we'll see if that happens. I was talking to Todd Davis, our service manager and Master Shock Builder, he said we are going to make a fully adjustable brand new G3-S Custom Series Shock for it. It will fit more than just this year RM, but more on that later. We are making some progress. If anyone has any advise or suggestions feel free to e-mail me at, firstname.lastname@example.org
I was looking for a restoration project bike for the shop and stumbled on to a few on "craigslist". First I have to explain why we went with the 83 RM250. When I was a kid this was the very first real MX bike I had ever ridden, so I decided this was the bike. I wanted to recapture a little bit of the past.
I was amazed at how fast Post Vintage bikes sell. If I didn't call within a few hours of the ad posting the bike was gone.
If you want an older bike you better move fast, especially if they priced below $500. After making some more calls I found an RM250 that seemed to fit in the plan. They were asking $500, this was in the price range and after getting directions, away I went. When I arrived my first thought was "what a roach" it was quite the sight. I could not believe that the bike actually ran.
The owner started the bike then rode it around to show me that all the gears in the tranny worked. He asked me if I wanted to ride it but I declined. The front brake lever was gone, shock was blown and had the reservoir removed, it was the ultimate pogo stick. I knew that my initial test ride would have to wait. Now it was down the negotiation. I offered $250, he was not very happy with such a low offer, so I bumped it up to $300, he still was not thrilled but agreed after letting me know how great of a deal I was getting. After the cash exchange, signing over the title, we loaded up my new sled and brought it to the shop.