Straight out of the 80’s the Suzuki TS250X is a bright, light, competent enduro that is as ready to hit the dirt now as it was upon its release.
Suzuki TS 250X History
Suzuki had been producing the TS series since 1969 and they were the first trail bikes that Suzuki had produced for the mass market.
Largely they were air-cooled single cylinders and were introduced to the public alongside TM, TC, TF and DS models which represented Motocross, Trail, Farm and Dirt Sport segments respectively.
Suzuki always had a strong tradition of producing ground breaking two stroke 250’s. Motorcycles such as the T250 Hustler in 1969, the GT250 X7 in 78 and the RGV250 race replica in the late 80’s were all hugely successful machines.
No wonder then that they moved into the quarter liter off road market.
The first 250cc capacity TS model was the TS250 Savage. It was introduced in 1969 and remained in production until 1981.
It would be four years before Suzuki would bring the TS250X to the market filling that two-stroke 250cc gap in the line-up.
The TS250X immediately stood out from the TS range as it was one of the very few to be water-cooled.
In some markets the bike is known as the RH250X.
To advance the model beyond what had come before, the bike came with a box-section swing arm fitted with a monoshock as opposed to twin shocks.
The body work was also very different, with plastic panels covering up a lot of the internals and added a layer of protection. Styling was taken from the GP champion racers and the two stroke motor tuned to give race-like performance.
Other notable changes included square clocks instead of round ones and an enduro style casing around the headlight.
It is easy to see the thought that went into the bike’s design to make it practical for long distance off-road riding. For example the exhaust balloons out of the side of the bike and then tucks back in under the seat, accommodating loads of ground clearance.
The fuel tank is kept narrow and tucks down to below the seat, giving more of a vertical stature, this increases the bikes central balance and a lower center of gravity for better control.
Suzuki TS 250X Performance
Suzuki weren’t going to release the new model with half-hearted marketing either. In one of their brochures they wrote “Liquid-cooled, 2-stroke single cylinder engine, Automatic Exhaust Control Flat-Slide Carburetor, CMC Full Floater Suspension. These and other advanced mechanical features give the TS250X blistering acceleration and outstanding performance.”
Of course we can’t just take what the manufacturers say about their bike to be absolute truth.
Having read through and watched many reviews of the TS250X from riders who had one at the time and have one now, there are a few things to point out.
- The suspension was a little undersprung and if you were heavier set this could be problematic.
- Engine appeared to be bulletproof with enough power to keep you happy.
- It was robust to withstand whatever off-road riding could throw at it, it would get back up and keep going with very few issues.
- The power valves should be checked if buying one now to make sure they are in working order.
The TS250X is one of the last two-strokes of days gone by; at the time there were four-stroke 250’s that were hitting the enduro market, but nothing quite compares to a two-stroke dirt monkey and the bikes sold well before being phased out.
Engine and Transmission
- Engine – Two-stroke, single-cylinder, reed valve displacement
- Capacity – 246cc
- Bore x Stroke – 70 x 64.8 mm
- Compression Ratio – 6.5:1
- Cooling System – Liquid-Cooled
- Starting – Kickstart
- Induction – Mikuni VM34SS carburetor
- Transmission – 5 Speed
- Final Drive – Chain
- Maximum peak output power – 31 horsepower at 7,500rpm
- Maximum Torque – 31.2 Nm at 6,500rpm
Chassis and Dimensions
- Frame – Double-cradle, tubular steel
- Front Suspension – Telescopic fork, leading axle oil damped
- Rear Suspension – Swingarm with monoshock
- Front Brakes – Single disc
- Rear Brakes – Drum
- Dry Weight – 111kg
- Wheelbase – 1430mm
- Fuel Capacity – 12L
- Seat Height – 850mm
- Ground Clearance – 254mm
- Width – 865mm
- Length – 2185mm
- Height – 1230mm
Suzuki TS250X Buyers Guide
There are not that many original models for sale. The problem with enduro bikes is that they have a hard life so when you are looking for a bike that existed in the 80’s today to be in great condition it isn’t an easy task.
When people buy a Harley or a Triumph they know that it retains its value to a point and treat it as such. When you buy a dirt bike, the plan is to ride it hard and you know it is likely to be dropped and beat up over time, trying to keep it immaculate is a waste of time.
However, that is not to say it is impossible to find an original, just don’t expect it to be pristine.
For example there was this one advertised for £1,000 in London that was in full working condition but just required some TLC.
It is safe to say they are extremely rare bikes and they don’t come up often so if you have your heart set on one, be prepared to exercise patience.
While you’re waiting for one to come on the market you might want to check out these alternative 9 cheap scramblers.
Suzuki TS 250X Restoring tips
Picking up a TS250X that needs some work is easier than finding an original in mint condition.
The TS250X has a large following and as a result there are several places you can turn to as sources for parts if you are looking to restore a model.
CMSNL is always a good start point as they deliver all over the world and have diagrams to help you identify exactly what you need.
In the UK Robinsons Foundry are pretty good at advice for specific parts and locating what you need.
Further to this there are dedicated Facebook groups for the TS250X that are a good resource for asking questions and swapping parts, also eBay is always a good start point.
Is the Suzuki TS 250X a good investment?
The TS series as a whole has a very positive following and an audience who is happy to invest in the bikes to keep them alive.
However, that doesn’t mean they are worth much or are rising in value.
The fact is the TS250X like others in the range make for great Enduro/Dual Sport options that are perfectly usable today as an alternative to buying a brand new motorcycle for the same purpose.
A lot of owners will have several bikes with the TS being their toy as opposed to their favorite ride.
There are better, more reliable financial investments to make in the motorcycle world than investing in a TS250X, but they do make for a super fun ride, so in terms of a lifestyle investment, go for it!
The rarer something is the more I want one, I am a broken woman.
I think in the case of the TS250X I would enjoy the thrill of the chase to hunt one down, fix it up and give it a blast out on some trails.
That bright yellow, blue graphics and blue seat is iconic, let alone the sweeping bulbous exhaust system, it reminds me of something a comic book hero would ride around on. Not only is it cool, it is a very competent dirt warrior.