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Old 01-18-2013, 12:50 PM   #1
sjgv OP
Joined: Jan 2013
Oddometer: 5
1973 ts 185 Suzuki Clutch.

First of all I'd like to say hello and introduce myself. I have been reading this forum since before I got a motorcycle and I can say it weighed heavily into my decision. At 23 I'm really a first time rider (sure I took out my uncles 80 cc's and 125 cc's a couple of times when I was 9 but that doesn't count).
Now part of why I got a motorcycle is the DIY stuff, I like the philosophy and I that's why I got me an ol' thumper (Also because it looks badass and cost me a ridiculously cheap amount of money ). It is my understanding they take a lot of maintenance however it's not incredibly hard nor expensive to do. Well, now that I bought my 1973 ts185 Sierra I realized I know nothing about them and I'm a little lost at sea from lack of reference, so it's obvious I am uncertain in my decisions and have a lot of stupid questions. Even though I got a manual, I am referring to the should my engine sound, should the clutch feel that hard etc. etc.

So yesterday I replaced the broken (plastic) clutch lever however I couldn't quite find one specifically made for my bike so I got a motionpro lever (designed for gsxr).

That being said, I had to give the clutch cable a lot of slack in order to position it right. Now, I am working in 17 - 2 F weather so....not the best. What happened is that as I positioned the adjuster nut (right by the lock nut) it simply broke.

Now, I might have been to tired and cold last night but It felt like I couldn't quite get it into neutral to roll it nor 1st to make it stop. Without turning it on I tried to put it in neutral several times to roll it and it would feel hard (as if it was on first) finally i'd be able to roll it and I would try to put it in 1st to see the difference and there wouldn't be one (it would roll normally) It got to the point where I didn't know if i had done something horrible to my first gear. Now I thought I'd have to change the clutch cable for sure.

Thankfully, this morning I took the cover off and the clutch seems to be working fine. My question to you guys is, is it pulling the clutch enough? (here are some pics for reference):



To finalize, I put the cover back on and fired her up. As I did some laps pulling the clutch lever was sort of hard, harder than it was with the plastic lever (but that's cuz I have to give it less slack I'm thinking) but I could engage it in all gears and it didn't go anywhere when I revved it and engaged clutch so I'm ASSUMING It's working fine. What do you guys think!?

2) related question: I have a really hard time finding neutral. I thought 1st was down, the rest up and neutral (N) half click up from 1st. Instead I find when I'm riding I can even be in 2nd or 3rd and if I give it a slight tap down it'll go into Neutral (or what seems like neutral). I must point out again....THIS IS MY FIRST TIME RIDING A MOTORCYCLE IN YEEEEARS, so I could just be totally f*%&$ up. Any comments about this!? what's the right technique for finding neutral? (usually when not fired up I pull the clutch and kick it all the way down to first, so i know it's in first and then kind of kick it up a little and most of the time that'll allow it to roll but when fired up this is not the case)

THANK YOU FOR READING AND FOR INPUT. I also have another question about my carbs but I'll start another thread for that.
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Old 01-18-2013, 07:46 PM   #2
sjgv OP
Joined: Jan 2013
Oddometer: 5
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Old 01-18-2013, 08:02 PM   #3
Joined: Sep 2010
Location: Southern New Jersey
Oddometer: 6,845
Hard to say when you do not know what is normal or how things work, or are supposed to feel.
There should be some play in the lever.
The lever should move easy without the cable hooked up.
The cable needs to match the lever somewhat.

The clutch should not drag at all when the lever is pulled in.
If you do not shift all the way, you can end up between gears (that is not neutral).

Some older bikes were hard to get in neutral.
Oil gets thick in the cold and transmissions do not shift as well, clutches drag more.

I never had that bike, so I could not guess what feels normal, but if it works, you are good to go.

Cool bike!
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Old 01-18-2013, 09:12 PM   #4
Beastly Adventurer
Joined: Nov 2009
Location: North central CT
Oddometer: 2,522
+1 on the thick tranny oil. Make sure you have the right quantity, type and it's not 40 years old.

Is your shift lever tight? DON'T snap off the bolt but make sure it's tight and not sliding around on the shift shaft.

I suspect an Internet search may find a more appropriate clutch lever.

Can you get the bike inside overnight or someplace where it's 50*F or better? That might clear up the cold oil theory.

8gv screwed with this post 01-18-2013 at 09:30 PM
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Old 01-19-2013, 03:52 PM   #5
sjgv OP
Joined: Jan 2013
Oddometer: 5
Thanks for responding guys, I know these questions may seem bothersome and stupid but any input is appreciated.

The clutch should not drag at all when the lever is pulled in.
If you do not shift all the way, you can end up between gears (that is not neutral).
What do you mean by clutch drag? I thought it was when clutch was still somewhat engaged when lever is not pulled in (like in a car when you're not pressing the pedal but the clutch is still engaged)
If that is what you mean I am pretty sure it's not doing that. About neutral...I may be doing that....I found out that from frist I just have to do a very very slight nudge up, not even clicking and it'll idle. I can do it from second going down. Neutral is not suppose to click ?
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Old 01-19-2013, 10:16 PM   #6
Studly Adventurer
Joined: Jul 2011
Location: central coast of California
Oddometer: 553
check out the ts 185 forum over here:

They were much more popular in other parts of the world, and still are. The ts 185 is 125 with a bigger motor dropped in. sweet little bikes. I had a 71 but it was part of swp with a buddy, might end up with it agin some day.
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Old 01-20-2013, 02:16 AM   #7
sjgv OP
Joined: Jan 2013
Oddometer: 5
Thanks redprimo! that's what I had been searching for. It is an awesome bike, I like the look and feel of it so far. I'm a small guy so It's pretty good weight. Plus there is a guy that has ridden his from Minnesota to (i think he's in Argentina right now) so I am really happy to see they are that durable and just how far they can take you.
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Old 01-20-2013, 03:06 AM   #8
Beastly Adventurer
Joined: Nov 2005
Location: Gold Coast
Oddometer: 2,793
Well made but fairly crude. Really durable engine for a 2-stroke provided you didn't really thrash them. (I had one with over 60,000k's that still ran well).

I'd bet the cable has frayed near one or both ends and is binding in the sheathe.

Modern cables are a lot more durable, it was a pretty common failure, so common I always kept a spare brake and clutch cable on hand.

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