Suzuki RM80X: Burning Premix!
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Suzuki RM80X: Burning Premix!

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By JeffWare - 08 June 2022

Words by Jeff Ware Photography by Heather Ware

Back in 1987 my RM80X got nicked and it broke my heart. With a single mum and no money, there was no hope of me getting another bike until I was older and working. I always wanted another RM80X, and now at age 46, I’ve finally got one! I fully restored this one from scratch and it took me about two years…

This is what I started with, it was a gift from Steve at Old Gold Motorcycles.

As you can see in the images, my yellow terror polished up very nicely indeed considering it was a complete wreck. Sure, it is no show winner, but it is just how I wanted it, right down to the crossbar pad and black handlebars. This resto was more about building what I had and want than what Suzuki put on showroom floors.

Just look at it. Every kid wanted an RM80X. They were the Tamiya Grasshopper of the minibike world! 

I did want some originality though and that was no easy task. The XT model came out with a range of graphics, depending on country, and here in Australia we had a few varieties thrown in.

The front wheel was wire wheeled, then I adjusted the spokes, stripped the hub paint and fitted new wheel bearings, tube and tyre. 
A brand new back tyre to rip up the trails and track! 

So, what people got didn’t necessarily reflect exactly what is in the era sales brochures, manuals or magazine ads. To solve it, I stuck to images of racers on the bikes in old Aussie magazines. I then got the decal sets made locally… Aside from the 80 on the sidecovers, a slightly lighter blue, from the USA.

I’m happy with the way the numberboard backgrounds came out.

I had to source a lot of parts for this bike – a head, barrel, conrod kit and mains, gears, selector shafts, clutch, full bearing and seal sets, and exhaust pipe and muffler, fuel tank, seat, plastics, wiring and cables and tyres and chain and sprockets…

The forks were re-chromed, this took three months and cost $450.
I rebuilt the shocks the best I could to keep it looking original.

I can’t remember it all but each part was hard to find. I ended up settling on a pod airfilter, and an aftermarket kickstarter, but I am on the lookout for an airbox and an original kickstarter.

The plastics and tank look fantastic. The tank was $600 painted and the plastics $500 both AUD, so by far the most expensive part of the resto. 

It was a fun job, I am super happy with the end result. So how did it feel to ride the bike? It was absolutely bloody awesome and gave me the exact feel and light-headed buzz I very, very clearly remember the first time I rode my RM80X way back when I was 11 or 12.

Twist and hang on to the little mud slinger! 

The way the power kicked in and then the sound as I chased gears. I’ve never forgotten that moment and it set me up for a lifetime of motorcycling.

The engine was completely stripped and rebuilt, everything is new, or as new.
The carburettor was completely rebuilt but I could not find an airbox so ran a pod filter.

The difference now was, well, of course the little ripper bogged down with my weight on it, but it still got on the pipe and I got it through the gearbox a few times before we quickly packed it up.

I decided not to run my race numbers from back in the day (#45) and have just put a white SUZUKI decal on the front for now. 
The seat was rebuilt and re-covered, the plastics are aftermarket from the USA. A mate painted the tank. 

We could not go to the track due to COVID-19 so we sneaked in into the local bush in our family transporter! I ripped up and down the trail you see in the shots, and no sooner had I put it away that a National Parks & Wildlife Ranger drove past! Phew! Just like the old days as a kid getting chased! YeeHaa I love it!

I love this angle, I reckon the little RM looks pretty tough!

The mighty trench diggin’ back flippin’ yellow devil goes on display now as a shelf queen for a while, but I will ride it again on our local minicross track once my son’s racing season kicks off again. It’s going to give the other parents a laugh when I show up to sweep ride for the junior riders on my RM80!

Proud as punch with my ring dingin’ wheel-standin’ trench diggin’ wild yellow terror! 

Protect your motorbike. Call Shannons Insurance on 13 46 46 to get a quote today.