Suzuki GT185M

29 Apr 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Suzuki GT185M
Suzuki GT 185

From the very beginning, when two-wheelers were created strictly for simple travel, they’ve proven to be, for the most part, inexpensive to buy and maintain, maneuverable, easy to park, simple to work on, and cheap to run… especially when compared to automobiles.

Almost immediately, though, people discovered that, above all, motorcycles were fun, and often that fact took precedence over other logical reasons for making a purchase. Because they were decidedly different from automobiles, and required certain skills for operation, the person owning a bike was usually looked upon as being a little odd. In reality, the inference was that the rider was both freak and daredevil, to be regarded with caution.

Never mind that he could perhaps not afford a car and didn’t like walking or pedaling.

So for years, motorcycle advertising reflected only the excitement side of riding, usually ignoring the practical side. Save Gas was not the advertising slogan that set new sales records. It was more like: That Surge of Power or Feel the Wind in Your Hair that had riders beating down their dealers’ doors. But oh how that situation has changed of late. Sure, the fun and excitement are still a big part of the sales too, but the catch phrase in the middle has something to do with economy.

Suddenly the freak of yesteryear is the practical, sensible commuter of today. Particularly if he happens to be riding transportation bike like the Suzuki GT185M. because this is a machine that fits right into the commuter-bike definition of the ’70s.

By today’s • standards, the GT185M is inexpensive ($925)—and priced- competitively for its class—making it a potential mount for the first-time buyer. Its diminutive size also opens the eyes of riders who are learning or are looking for a simple, short-trip, here-to-there lightweight.

Appearance-wise, the 185 should please the sensibilities of many. Overall finish and quality of plated and painted parts are good; and everything fits into place as designed. The only real criticism we have is that there is too much chrome up front; the headlight nacelle and bright parts near the instru­ments tend to glare back into the rider’s face on a sunny day.

This is Suzuki’s smallest pure-street motorcycle. With a couple years of production behind it, the company has had to make few changes from the original design, which is to say that it was pretty much on the mark to begin with. The twin-cylinder, two-stroke powerplant has a square bore and stroke of 49mmx49mm, for a total displacement of 184.8cc.

Its two major competitors, the Honda CB200 and Yamaha RD200, have slightly larger engines and are thus marginally quicker in both acceleration and top speed, with the four-stroke Honda getting the nod in fuel economy.

Our Suzuki never varied much from an all-around 45-mpg average, and, with the steel 2.6-gal. fuel tank, one can figure on traveling at least 100 miles before worrying about a pit stop. Dual 20mm Mikuni carburetors provide fuel for the piston-port engine. Efficient air filtration is through oiled foam elements located inside a plastic airbox chamber.

Suzuki’s CCI oil-injection pump meters out lubrication for the important engine internals; never did our test machine blow tell-tale two-stroke smoke out the twin chrome pipes. Plug-fouling was nonexistent, although we did replace plugs once at 1300 miles when a miss developed at high rpm. The new plugs cured the ills.

The pump is miserly; our test machine went close to 1000 miles before it would take a full quart of injection oil.

As with a few other models in Suzuki’s GT line of street bikes, the little 185 uses the patented Ram Air cooling system, which does what it’s supposed to. The 185 can be strung out for miles on end without heat buildup and the associated loss of performance. The Ram Air scoop on the 185 is cast into the cylinder head, unlike on the larger 380 and 550 GT models, which use a bolt. scoop.

From the standpoint of appearance, the 185 engine unit is a gem, and the Ram Air finning creates part of the style. Engine sidecovers and cases are polished to a satin finish. Really nice.

The crankshaft assembly is a hefty unit that rides in four main bearings. Flywheels are on the small side, which allows the engine to buzz quickly to redline, as well as to snap back to idle in rapid fashion when the throttle is winged at a standstill. Bolted onto the left end of the crank is a large armature for the starter motor and charging circuit.

Dual breaker points can be easily reached when servicing the battery/coil ignition system. High tension coils mount under the fuel tank.

Primary drive is via helical-cut gears that transmit power impulses from the crank to an ample Il-plate wet clutch assembly, and then on to the five-speed gearbox. Transmission ratios are perfectly spaced and mate well with the engine’s power characteristics. Shifting is smooth and precise, and neutral can be found easily, even when the engine is hot.

The gearshift lever accommodates many different sized feet, but looks crude and unfinished.

Frame design is patterned after that of the larger Suzuki GT models, and uses a solitary downtube with ample bracing and gusseting around areas of heavy stress. Welds are fair, about what you’d expect from automated welding equipment. Finish is traditional black.

Because the Suzuki Adventurer is compact in size, we expected it to be on the cramped side for our 6-ft. staffers. Not so. Though the machine certainly feels small and strange after climbing off a big 900, things fall into place quickly, and the GT185M becomes a surprisingly comfortable .piece of equipment.

Fairly light in weight (285 lb.), the bike can be hefted easily on and off its center and sidestands and wheeled around with little effort in the garage or parking space.

The seat works fine on shorter jaunts, but gets harder as the miles add up. More padding would help, along with the removal of the annoying passenger grab-strap that’s totally useless for hanging on. There’s enough length for two-up riding, as long as the riders aren’t behemoths on leave from the circus.

With a flick of the ignition key, the seat-latch lock opens, along with the seat, revealing the battery and oil-tank filler opening. What’s missing and should be included is a small storage compartment for extra plugs and a document holder for registration papers and owner’s manual. It would also be nice if the seat latch could be left unlocked so the rider wouldn’t have to use the key every time the seat was raised.

Handlebars are narrow to conform with the rest of the motorcycle, a definite asset in traffic’s tight going. Footpegs though non-folding, fall into position where they belong, as do all the pertinent switches, controls and levers. The ignition key is double-sided and the switch is centrally located just under and between the instruments.

Both tach and speedo are easy to read at a glance, night or day, but non-glare glass would keep the reflections down a bit. Idiot lights include turn signals, neutral, high beam and battery charging indication. A tripmeter is standard fare, and is most definitely welcome.

Often this valuable feature is left off of lightweight street machinery.

One of our staffers rode the Suzook for a week before he realized that the bike had an electric starter. But, either way, by kicking or pushing the button, the 185 fires almost instantly every time, hot or cold, rain or shine. The flip-lever choke is only required for a minute or so when the engine is cold, and warmup happens quickly.

Hand grips are on the hard side, but are far better than the waffle-pattern type found on many Japanese motorcycles. In easy reach of the right thumb is an emergency on-off rocker switch and the electric starter button. The left hand can easily operate the on-off light switch, high and low beam, horn and turn signals.

Positioning of all switches is ideal; about the only thing we’d like to see is a stronger detent on the signal switch, and perhaps a lane-change feature such as the one found on several Honda models. Headlight illumination is ample for the machine’s speed potential; other lighting is also adequate, save for the rear turn indicators, which should have the more visible amber lenses rather than the red they come with. An owner could make the change easily by purchasing front lenses and installing them on the rear.

Suspension travel is limited both front and rear; and if there is one major shortcoming to the entire machine, this is it. It is obvious that someone at Suzuki saved a few dollars on rear shocks, because the ones fitted are about as bad as we’ve ever seen. They might have been cheap to buy, but they do nothing for the motorcycle. With a short wheelbase, 4 in. of trail and

27 degrees of steering-head angle, the little 185M does things quickly in the handling department. Fine if you ride normally and take things easy. But try to push the Suzuki around a bend quickly, using up lots of its ample ground clearance, and you could get into big trouble before you know it. The rear end pitches and wallows severely at the same time that the front suspension is pogoing.

With both ends working against each other as they do, really fast cornering has a tendency to put great big eyeball prints on the inside of riders’ faceshields. Take heed: stay prudent with this one. Under normal conditions the 185 is just fine.

Even in rain grooves it remains stable.

We rode our test machine more than 1 000 miles in commuter-type going and took several trips of the 250-mile variety. In town, the bike responds beautifully. There are no real flat spots in the powerband, and the engine surprised us with its pulling ability.

The rider doesn’t have to make a conscious effort to stay on the pipe as with some small-bore machinery. It runs around town happily, totally content in the realm for which it was designed.

And the biggest surprise hits the rider out on the open road. This is one of the few lightweights on which we’d even consider taking a long jaunt. It’ll run at a steady 65 all day, as long as there are no severe headwinds and a 20-percent grade.

While the engine does vibrate, it isn’t especially annoying, particularly if you’ve had a chance to sample the competition, as we have.

A bumpy road is something to be avoided, because the suspension just can’t handle it. Watch out for drainage dips and the like, and don’t play road racer. Also, certain irregularities on freeways or turnpikes can start the suspension wallowing where control gets sketchy.

Subtle corrections and a reduction in speed will have things back in hand once again.

Brakes are adequate, but a small tire contact patch on the pavement, plus poor suspension, won’t set stopping-distance records. The front disc unit is a nice feature, but the one on our test bike squealed annoyingly, an easily solved difficulty. Aside from it, the only other problem we had with the motorcycle concerned one of the exhaust pipes.

A baffle broke loose inside the pipe and started rattling, not too common a problem.

We wrung out our GT185M a lot harder than most owners would. And it held up like the Rock of Gibraltar. Aside from the suspension shortcomings, we think it’s the best lightweight going, and that’s saying plenty.

Granted, 45 mpg can be bettered by many larger motorcycles, but there are other money-saving traits to be considered with the purchase of a bike such as this.

The initial cost is far lower, chains and tires are cheaper and last longer, the bike can be self-maintained or serviced quite cheaply at a dealer, insurance is less costly, even license fees are in some states. There are plenty of things that make a lightweight a smarter proposition than a big-bore, and there’s no contest if you put it up against a second car.

No doubt about it, this Suzuki gets the job done and will deliver much more than many will ever want. Though we think of it as a commuter machine, an around-town hauler, it’ll hit the highway happily and keep the rider smiling. Kind of makes it a dual-purpose bike in its own sense.

Really, one can’t ask much more from a lightweight.

Interesting articles

Tagged as:

Other articles of the category "Suzuki":

Our partners
Follow us
Contact us
Our contacts

Born in the USSR


About this site

For all questions about advertising, please contact listed on the site.

Motorcycles catalog with specifications, pictures, ratings, reviews and discusssions about Motorcycles.