Suzuki DR250 Cafe Racer? Scrambler? Just a fun city bike...


New Member
If you think about it, what even is a cafe racer? A fun, fast, light motorcycle for ripping around the city? Thats what this is going to be. Its gunna get lowered a little, but I wanted to start with a platform that would sit higher because I'm too tall for those little old japanese bikes...

Anyway, It’s a 1983. Its in better shape than the pictures suggest. Engine was clean and kicked 160 PSI. Started in one kick and some starting spray. The lady I got it from was too small to kick start it, which is why she wanted it gone. Lucky me!

My main goal with this bike was to have a lightweight, fun commuter that I can do a little bit of gravel/light trail riding. Long-term, my wife and I want to move into a sprinter van, and this could ride on the back of the sprinter van with us cuz its so light! I’ve always wanted a dirtbike of sorts because they usually have larger wheels and sit a little taller. I was nervous about getting it plated and registered for the street, since that’s going to be most of my usage. It turns out the Vin number wasn’t registered, so I was able to get it plated and registered for $78! Plus, insurance is only $9 a month

I’m hoping to spend some time and make this thing a super sweet around towner. Unfortunately it’s only a 250, so I don’t think it’s ever going to be my only motorcycle. But still! My goal is to have something that I’m super proud of and love to ride and look at, and be able to do lots of exploring on varied surfaces. Kinda dig the cafe with a bit of scrambler look so I'm shooting toward that. Street scrambler? Dirt Cafe? Current plan is to get a headlight, taillight, more street tires for it and ride the crap out of it this fall, to see what works well and what needs to be rebuilt. Then, over the winter I'll go through everything with a fine tooth comb. This thing is absolutely nothing special... but its fun to call it my own.

I like taking pictures of stuff, so I'm just planning on posting pictures and documenting my build status here, feel free to offer advice, suggestion, etc. This way I can keep track of my skills (or probably lack thereof;). But Im really excited to learn and try my hand at fabricating stuff!

Thanks for reading!

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Reminds me No, I'm sure of it. I hate him
Welcome man!
Those Dr's are great little bikes.
The suspension could use some updating but the motor is solid and they are a ton of fun.
I used one to dig a ditch for a power line one time:
OldPhones - 3287.jpg

OldPhones - 2599.jpg

I beat the living hell out of that bike and it never gave in.


New Member
Welcome man!
Those Dr's are great little bikes.
The suspension could use some updating but the motor is solid and they are a ton of fun.
I used one to dig a ditch for a power line one time:
I beat the living hell out of that bike and it never gave in.

Holy crap, thats awesome! Wow, I love that. Im dreaming of digging a ditch ;)

Thanks for the pics!


I used to have the same. The DR250/GN250 engine is also used in some Chinese quads etc. so parts are incredibly cheap (cylinder head with cams for around 100 USD) and they even come in faux Suzuki-boxes. ;) Also 300cc kits are available, which were good fun back then.


New Member
I'm def interested in a 300cc kit someday. Maybe this winter ;)

Over the weekend I got lots done! I found a service manual which I've mostly read through. Tested all ignition/electrical components–all are within spec. Carb cleaned. Still waiting on an air filter. Runs and idles decent, but seems to wobble/surge a little bit. Bogs when I crack the throttle from idle. I think an air filter/larger jets will help that. Cleaned up the petcock. Still a little hard to turn, but doesn't leak anymore so thats cool.

Got the wiring figured out! It wasn't that hard, being that there was a stock headlight, but I had to do some tracing of wires. And there was no 12v DC signal, this is a 6v system on here which sorta sucks. This photo is kinda messy but I just got a universal regulator/rectifier from Amazon and wired it in to the stock generator. It worked perfectly! I want really bright LED head/taillights. But this setup gives me a clean, consistent 12v with no battery! Im really excited about the simplicity/reliability of that.
LED headlight
Also, I got new grips (i LOVE Oury's... have them on all my motorcycles and bicycles) and levers. New levers so that i can have a switch for the brake lights. Was able to use the stock brake lever boot, so it still looks legit and protects the cable (somewhat) from rain/bugs/debris. You can really make an old moto feel new with some new grips :')
BTW, not in love with the stock front wheel size. Or tire for that matter. But on Facebook Marketplace, I found a guy selling some brand new, mounted Shinko 705's! Perfect for what I wanna do with this bike. One was mounted on a DT400 rear rim, front one was loose. Haven't mounted the front yet. Had to grind one bolt to make it work, but otherwise no major trouble.
Thanks to my boy Jon for almost sacrificing his fingers

New tire
Full pic! I'm liking where this is going


New Member
Finally got a good solid Uni air filter. My idling evened out and it has a little better throttle response so that’s good. Still bogging a little from idle when I crack the throttle wide open. Ordered some pilots to see if i can jet that out.

In addition to that, I put stickers over the gas tank. To some, it looks kinda wack. For the time being, I like it! The stock tank was poorly rattle can painted by someone else. Honestly I have been on the lookout for a new gas tank, so I might end up replacing it anyway. Might get one of those ebay "cafe style" tanks. Anyone have good experiences with those?
Tank w stickers:


There is an obligatory Gopro sticker on there.

front end is looking good! I repainted the front fender. That might get ditched eventually for something mounted closer to the wheel. I’m super stoked about the headlight. It’s really bright!


Next up for mechanical basics: Chain, sprockets, and clutch cable. Might try to get a little different ratio to squeeze a liiiiiittle more highway speed out of this little guy.

Then on to the fun stuff! (making it look good!)


Keep er' Between the Ditches
Love it man. I am a fan of DR's and moreso sticker bomb tanks.....



My DR250 did about 125-130kph (sitting upright) and didn't run into redline in 5th, so I doubt a longer than stock gearing will really help you with going faster. (Or mine was just a slug, which I somewhat doubt...)


New Member
Nice! Im maxing around 65, and im 6"3, 210lbs with gear. So 65mph/110kph-ish seems about right? The main thing I'm trying to solve for is getting a 1st gear that is a little more usable. Right now It only takes me to about 12mph/19kph, which is not that useful for city driving. I wanna keep it somewhat low so i can still ride gravel roads/doubletrack comfortably, but if I'm 100% honest this will mostly be a city bike.

Hurco550–FREAKING love that little bomber of a bike! Looks like near unlimited fun :)


Over 1,000 Posts
Just a thought. Slide carbs don't ever respond well to the throttle being whacked open. Air velocity drops and that means the carb can't pick up fuel, so it doesn't get up and go. If you need instant response better think about fuel injection.

Slide carbs work best when rolled open at the same rate that the revs pickup.


New Member
Out with the old, in with the new! Clutch cable, that is.

Old one: (yuck!)

New one


Doesn't look thatttttt different but man a new clutch cable sure revives an old bike. Feels so good!


New Member
Crazy how 6 months can fly by. My wife and I have been working on a T1N Sprinter van conversion and its been going well, but taking up a lot of time. Plus, I have another motorcycle to ride so no real rush with this thing. Been working on a fork conversion for most of the winter/spring, and finally carved out some more time to work on it, and man do I miss it. Is it "worth it" to do a fork conversion on this old of a bike? Probably not... and that's why I'm doing it.

Wow, so freaking much work to do a the conversion tho. Probably more than I thought. There has been an unlimited amount of research, measuring, testing, trying, prototyping, mistakes, and everything in between. But hey, this is a fun little project bike, so I might as well make it awesome. I think the result will be worth it! I have a friend who is a mfg engineer, and he has done a ton of work on the triples themselves, which has been super helpful. He owns a diy build Bridgeport CNC conversion, what luck! Definitely could not have done it without him. @Hackettindustries on IG if you want to see the cool stuff he makes.

Stoked on how its looking so far! Here is the final design:

In progress:

"Chips... Chips everywhere!!!!" -us, while machining an absouelty phat block of aluminum


But hey, they look dope and I ain't mad:

Checking fitment; seems legit! (note the orange BFH in the background)

Notice the forks seem way too long. It's not quite pushed up thru to the upper triple. Plus, I'll eventually be lowering them (someone talk me out of just cutting the springs, please!) That combined with a smaller front wheel, by my sidewalk chalk calculations I should be about 1 inch lower than stock. Seems good to me.

I ended up with a 19" Harley front rim. 3/4" axle, (19mm) which is reasonably close to the 20.5mm axle on the KX250 forks I have for the conversion. Will obviously need a custom axle, but that shouldnt be too hard to turn on a lathe. Since the forks are from a junkyard, it's unclear if the brake caliper works, and I'm sure the forks need to be rebuilt. And lowered. See? Fork conversions have near unlimited work, my goodness!

Just ordered a new front tire for said Harley wheel, a Shinko 705 in 110/80x19. Seems to be a crowd favorite and I have one on the rear. Been a minute since any of my motorcycles have had matching front and rear tires...

List to get this thing parking lot testable:
– get the axle situation figured out
– front brakes
– mount front tire when it arrives
– mount handlebars and route cables

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Over 1,000 Posts
Have you entered your dimensions into a rake/trail calculator? With the leading axle you should do that.


New Member
Yep, good call. Stock trail is around 6 inches, with new forks, wheel, tire, and lowering, the future trail should be about 7 inches. I felt like it was fine, because it's a more offroad oriented bike anyway. But I can also alter that a bit with how much I lower it too.


Over 1,000 Posts
Looking good mate. Really nice work on those triples and bonus points for the BFH being orange


New Member
My pal machined up the axle. He did such a great job! Definitely could not have done this conversion without him.

Pretty tight fit. Needed a bit of convincing with a rubber mallet. Pretty much slid right in though!

You can see the stepped axle, the fork clamps are a bit larger than the axle of the wheel. About a 2mm difference, so almost negligable, but still relevant. I made a little curved spacer to make up the difference. Also got some new stainless steel fork clamp nuts :)

Will obviously need to cut some of the axle off, I asked for it to be a bit longer than I knew was needed. Solid 303 Stainless stock, won't rust and super strong!

First time this thing has seen the light of day since November! Obviously not rideable yet, but wowowwwww I'm stoked about how it's coming together. General lines look good, I think lowering the fork a few inches will help a ton. Looks a little super moto-y, and I like it. I'm realizing I'll prob need a different seat, yowza that thing is ugly...


New Member
Been busy, sometimes with this, sometimes w our T1N Sprinter. In any case, I finally got a new front tire (Shinko 705) and got it mounted. Every time I get new moto tires, I swear I'm going to just bring them in and get it over with. And then I see the tire and my tire levers and inevitably think, "Man. Just one more time. It's all I need to get riding..." and then I do it. Ugh.

It's like hazing, but for motorcycle maintenance. Maybe I'm just bad at it.




I also got the front brake mount almost done, and am SO CLOSE to taking it for a test ride. And for the keen eyed observer, yes that is a new front wheel. The other one I bought was crazy out of true. Frig you, ebay seller. :(

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