MXworksbike.com_Suzuki History 1

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Suzuki AN 250 S

Suzuki Motocross History

On a to Japan, Olle swaps his for a works 50cc road

Suzuki Motocross History 1

Kasuo Kubo on the RH65.

J ust the start of the 1970 Grand-Prix for the world motocross championship, team manager Ishikawa was if the 250cc Suzuki RH70 take the title. “Without he answered.

It was a bold prediction but confidence was not misplaced. Very few have so completely dominated a season like the RH70 did in By the end of June that year, taking 7 of the first eight Suzuki had the Maker’s Cup clinched-this 4 more Grand-Prix’s to go through on the brutal European circuit.

by season’s end, Joel and Sylvain Geboers, two of the three-man motocross team, had locked up the and second positions in individual Olle Pettersson added place to cap an outstanding year.

stories are always impressive, but usually involve many steps before the realization of a To really understand what into winning and more why Suzuki fielded the effort, we look back to 1965 and ’66 the firm made the first steps into motocross and development of the RH series motorcycle. credit must go to the man who was really the of motocross at Suzuki, Mr.

Okano, manager of research and development; and the racing department headed by Mr.

Motocross was a significant departure for at that time. In the 1950’s and all the Suzuki competition effort had concentrated on road racing, has vastly different machine from motocross. Initial to go motocross racing came Japanese enthusiasts, who were Suzuki’s in motocross, running bikes with homemade until the competition arrived specially designed machines.

At the urging of some influential Suzuki began development of a purpose machine in 1965. The effort was a complete failure. In the first bike was as far off as the RH70 of was right on.

The RH66 and RH67 of years were primarily bikes. When Suzuki to investigate the European motocross in 1967, they sent top rider, Kasuo Kubo, won the inaugural All Japan Motocross) a of RH67 bikes, and team Ishikawa off to the races. Ishikawa, it be noted, was no novice to racing; he had a European road race

And he had an excellent technical background a Masters degree in mechanical from Michigan State.

knew that they need a top rider that was and always finished at or near the top 4 or 5 He also understood that the had to be very analytical, with the to ride fast enough to the motorcycles short comings, and the knowledge to pinpoint necessary After attempts to sign Hallman had failed due to prior obligations, Suzuki signed Olle Pettersson, and he was to become a link in the RH development chain.

In 1967, Pettersson was 30 years considered past his prime by but well respected and he understood machinery better than That winter Pettersson was to the Suzuki factory at Hamamatsu to try the As he tells it, he went purely on there was no contract for the coming

A possible deal to ride for the depended on whether he liked the He took 10 long days and and tested the machine from angle-then he gave his report. His suggestion: “Redesign it.” The model had to be changed, he said.

It was a short bike bike the Japanese riders tend to be than the Europeans; and a short bike is was more suited to the Japanese course at the time, than the European GP tracks Olle was used to.

Pettersson had recommendations for changes; he’d that the engine was too far forward for weight distribution; he wanted the pegs moved further a slightly longer swing a new steering head angle, and a frame configuration. All were that would take to accomplish.

He returned home a new contract and to prepare for the GP season, the new bike but fully expecting it would be impossible for all his requested to be made in the time remaining the start of the series. “In less a month,” he said, “I had the new RH68, and I was because they had done stretched the frame, changed the to the length I wanted, moved the back, altered the steering changed the fork damping other minor alterations. “We ready to go racing.”

According to Pettersson, the only problem they found the season began was the air cleaner. The air box housed the filter was in a position mud thrown from the chain plug the filter. “We’d out in a muddy race, running and the engine would starve,” he “It was easy to modify, the important I think, is that the chassis was correct.”

Pettersson rode the half of 1968 with unusual success (beginning a win in the first heat he entered) he appeared destined to finish the first three in world He was doing better than had hoped on a development bike. back at the factory, things humming.

Suzuki’s racing was already preparing for the next They already had an advanced of the RH68, the RH69, and Pettersson was to it in Poland in mid-July.

Then struck. On July 7 th. riding in a National event, Pettersson his thigh. “It was an unfortunate time to get he said. “I was in the hospital two weeks, in three months, and then I had to a skin graft. I was out of racing for months.”

To Suzuki’s credit kept faith in Pettersson. was, after all, at stake, and Pettersson knew about the competition potential of the RH anyone else. In March, he some small races in

He was back in business and so was the RH69, a behind schedule but racing.

The new was good. Most of the changes by the Suzuki engineers had to do with the following a trend suggested Pettersson’s initial testing in At that time he noted the rated 30 hp at 6500 rpm was more than the bike really

Furthermore it was too peaky, and much was wasted in useless wheel

The RH69 was rated at 30 hp at 7000, not different on paper than but the effective difference was felt on the The engineers had changed the cylinder and exhaust pipe shape and the result was that they the peak power but they a much wider power than the 1968 model. time and effort was made in the compression ratio, ignition carburetion, port timing and dimensions to achieve this.

Suzuki AN 250 S

One learned and applied was a change in and … between the RH67 and 68 from 66 x 73mm to 70 x 64mm. The of going to a shorter … was to a higher rpm peak power and formed a better base to a wider power band.

the way and to Suzuki’s credit, they on reducing the weight of the bike. was a priority and the RH69 was now down to an 187 lbs, by far the lightest machine on the GP Some 24 pounds had been of the RH68, while the RH67 at 235 had been by comparison a real

Pettersson knew that in the he had his dream machine. In spite of a tender leg, he finished place in the 1969 World standings. The development time was and it was now time for Suzuki to mount all-out effort.

In January they invited Joel and Sylvain Geboers to Japan to try out the new RH70. The two GP stars had nothing but for the light weight, precise good power band and peak power of the bike. liked the way the engine ran vibration right up to the 7000 rpm maximum. The throttle response, without power bursts in the rev band, the bike tractable.

One of the first Joel commented on was how the light of the bike reduced rider and how easy it was to control. Both and Sylvain believed that the was so much better than else they had ridden, they would easily win the Championship.

Technically, the RH70 was to the RH69 in that the frames weighed about 16 lbs. arms were constructed aluminum. The front forks similar to Ceriani’s and had 6.5 inches of The rear shocks were light and had superior damping but had to be changed often. Both used full width using single leading shoes.

The RH70 used up poly propylene fenders as the RH69 used aluminum. The made considerable use of sand because of it’s limited for the factory race team Much weight was saved in the through the use of magnesium components.

The transmission was a five speed and the was a wet six plate design.

The RH70 was the of constant small changes added up to a beautifully integrated unit. In 1969, Pettersson got a example of the magnitude of the changes he rode the original bike him by Suzuki. He said he could believe the difference that a few had brought.

Even he had not realized the difference that had taken between the preliminary and final until he rode the early and compared it to the RH70.

The RH68 in the Swedish snow.

With in the tires, Olle tests the in the Winter.

Somewhere in Europe. had a lot of faith in Olle’s ability to their motocross bike.

on the RH69 in Sweden.

Check out the on Olle’s RH69.

Suzuki AN 250 S
Suzuki AN 250 S
Suzuki AN 250 S
Suzuki AN 250 S
Suzuki AN 250 S
Suzuki AN 250 S


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