Photo ou archives : F-M. Dumas
TS 185 - 1974
The golden mean
Yamaha started the fashion for trail bikes in Europe with its AT1 in 1969. The remaining members of the Japanese "Big four" quickly hopped on the bandwagon, which for many years were the bulk of their sales.
Suzuki's first truly competitive lightweight trail bike, the TS 125, was launched in 1971. It followed the hybrid TC 120 with its dualratio final drive: 3-speed (later 4) x 2. This time, Suzuki made no mistake and followed the example of its TS 250, which was copied from its famous motocross models. That same year, the TS 125 was joined by a 185cc derivative designed especially for the US, where it became a best-seller.
In fact, this unusual capacity proved to be a remarkable compromise between the 125 and the 250. The TS 185 was virtually as powerful as the 250 (17.5 hp against 22 - the 125 developed 13 hp), had excellent torque (13.7 lb-ft at 6500 rpm against 18lb-ft at 9400 rpm) and benefitted from lightness and manageability. Moreover, the TS 185 shared the same electronic ignition as the 250 and the 125 did not. The TS 185 originally had a 19 inch front wheel. At the end of 1974, it adopted a 21 inch front wheel like the 125 and 250. Showtime 1975 saw the introduction of an electric starter - the TS 185 was one of the few lightweight trail bikes so equipped - and the model remained in the catalogues until 1977.
Engine: 183cc (64x57mm) air-cooled singlecylinder
Power Rating: 175 hp @ 7000 rpm
Valves: two-stroke, ports controlled by piston skin
Fuel System: 24mm carburetor
Transmission: 5-speed, chain final drive
Suspension: telescopic forks (from); swing arm (rear); displacement 3.9/3.0 inches
Brakes: drum (front & rear)
Wheels: 3.00x19 inch (front): 3.50x18 inch Â• (rear)
Weight: 218 lb
Maximum Speed: 80 mph
Flexible and easily bandied, the TS185 was one of the best hghtweigbt trail bikes of its day.