The Suzuki TS185 Street Tracker project started a long time ago. I was approached by a film maker who wanted to build a bike. unfortunately his skill with the hands-on aspects of modifying a motorcycle weren’t as good as his skills with a camera. So we came to a deal of Harry and I trading work to get his TS185 on the road. This is the deal that started my YouTube channel, without him I’m not sure it would exist! So love my YouTube or hate it (more likely) you have Harry to blame.
This Suzuki TS185 had been attempted once before very poorly, with the jobs list growing and growing as I continued to work on the bike. Missing parts in the clutch, unfinished subframe, loose spokes, poorly mounted seat, I could go on…. I quickly came to the realisation that if I was going to put my name to this bike, it would have to be completely torn down and started again, with the exception of the motor, which had already been rebuilt.
As I never intended to go that deep on this vintage 2 stroke, there was no definitive build direction. Saying that it’s hard to throw a label on what it actually is! With dropped suspension, a huge 21” front wheel and the short seat with built in tail light, it’s a mish mash of ideas. I think if you squint really hard, with the sun in the right spot and stand on 1 leg, it kind of almost but not really looks like a street tracker… so that’s what I’m running with. The Suzuki TS185 Street Tracker took shape completely organically 1 step at a time.
We started with the seat, I had an idea for the frame which I fabricated up, mounting the licence plate off the swing arm. The tail was finished short with a spade like point. Shaping the seat I wanted to include the tail light within the small hump on the rear. I worked out a way to do it, and Jamason from Timeless Auto trim took care of a simple red/brown leather cover. We used some Gauze mesh to work the integrated brake light into the custom seat. The idea worked well but on projects since, we’ve refined the method a little more.
The 21” front/ 18” rear was to stay, for some reason I just liked the way it looked on this tiny frame with street tyres, so we worked the suspension around that. Lowering the front drastically and the rear slightly to remove all signs that this was once a farm bike. With the new lowered street stance, the TS had a little tougher outlook.
To add a little bite to its bark, a custom under slung expansion chamber was sorted out, and I went shopping for an FMF silencer to suit. I ended up with a KTM 200EXC FMF powercore Shorty Silencer that was chopped + welded to suit the TS185. When fitting the silencer on the TS street tracker I decided to give it an obnoxious kick up, I felt it helped the bike say “fuck you” a little better.
TS185’s are like that shitty bicycle that every family home had. The one that gets lent out to your cousin when he’s there, or jumped into a lake or sent ghost riding down a hill for a laugh. They’re everywhere, and unless you’re a real enthusiast no one really wants/likes em. This particular example had been hacked at by someone with very heavy hands. Threaded bolts a plenty and the top triple tree had been snapped clean off from over tightening!
Once I sourced a replacement and assembled the front end, this thing was still so loose up front it felt like steering with an overcooked spaghetti noodle. To remove any movement, I fabricated a sturdy fork brace up. Plate steel and 12mm round bar, a bit of time on the oxy and zapped it up. No more movement in the steering, I win.
The front end received a set of Renthal bars, finished with Purpose Built Moto 2 button switches, run through our Black box module with Silver Bee hive LED blinkers. Rounding out the front end is the 4.5” LED headlight that was prototyped on this bike, now available from the PBM online store.
With all the new lighting something had to be done with the charging system. From factory the Suzuki TS185 ran on 6V so I worked out a 12V conversion to charge a small battery and run the LED lighting system. A bit of electrikery and a new Half wave 12v Reg/Reg and the thing was humming.
The final piece of the build was to fabricate a new oil tank, with the sides of the bike hollowed out the standard plastic monstrosity just wouldn’t do! I found a stainless steel gate topper, an O2 sensor plug and thread, and had some stainless tubing sitting around. So I got chopping, welding, and swearing at the paper thin gate topper I had chosen to use as a detail piece on the tank. Such a task to weld up, but we got there in the end. The new 2 stroke oil tank sits brush finished and welds left raw on the side of the bike. Holding enough oil for a couple tanks.
The first start up had the super fresh motor howling out the custom exhaust, but only for about 5 minutes…. Something dropped out and all spark was lost! The ignition coil on the stator was on its last legs and had given up! The stator was sent for repair, and taken for a tune with Pro Power now the TS Street Tracker is back and ready to piss off anyones neighbors!!
have a huge soft spot for old 2 strokes, and being able to get a little creative on this low budget TS185 Street Tracker project has done nothing but fuel that smokey fire in my heart. 2 Strokes forever!!!
Photographed by: Electric Bubble