have put some Suzuki TM 400 brochures and facts on this page.
I would be grateful of any contributions sales brochures, magazine ads,
magazine articles, pictures, specs, facts, corrections etc. Please scan the material
in JPEG format (large enough that all the details are visible) and send
them to me. Please tell me the source and the publication date if possible.
If you send me pictures of your own bike, please follow these
|A detail from a 1972 TM-250 J &
TM-400 J brochure. The guys at the
picture are American motorcross champion John De Soto (right) and his brother Ron. Click for
SUZUKI TM MOTOCROSS MODELS INTRODUCTION
Joel Robert was Suzukis first Motocross World Champion in
1970 winning the 250cc class and after this success Suzuki introduced
a production motocrosser. The Suzuki TM400R was manufactured for
the 1971 season and coincided with the signing of Roger DeCoster
in October 1970.
The following information traces the history of the Suzuki TM
range and were possible have included original Suzuki brochures
to help people identify and restore TMs. These early Suzuki
motocrossers are now a collectable machine as well as a reliable
and competitive bike in the Pre-74 Classic Scramble events.
1971 Suzuki year code: R
the CYCLONE the TM400R was the first Japanese production
motocrosser to be mass-produced. The huge 82.5mm bore piston turned
out 40 bhp at 6,500 rpm and along with the fan-finned cylinder
head it had a compression ratio of 7.3 : 1. The crankshaft halves
were not full circle type as fitted to most two-stroke engines
and made the engine rev more; one answer was to fit aftermarket
flywheel weights made by Competition Dynamics in the USA. The
clutch was based on the T500 road bike with seven fibre drive
plates and seven metal driven plates it was operated by a rack
and pinion type mechanism. A five-speed gearbox provided transmission.
Carburation was provided by a Mikuni 34mm carburettor featuring
a fuel trap around the main jet, developed to keep the float level
more constant by keeping the fuel in the trap area. Air filtration
was by a large capacity, dry paper element housed in an airbox
under the seat.
It had Suzukis Posi-Force oil injection rather than the
usual pre-mix used on most competition bikes of the time, the
two stroke oil tank was situated behind the right hand number
plate. Kokusan Denki provided the sparks with their new pointless
electronic ignition (PEI) that had an automatic spark advance
curve from eight degrees at 2000 rpm to 28 degrees at 5000 rpm.
The front forks had seven inches of travel but this wasnt
all used because the standard springs were to heavy. Rear suspension
also was very stiff and only provided four inches of travel.
It was very powerfull and unlike the Works bikes of
DeCosters it didnt handle, infact it was totally different
to the factory racers and more suited to the open type racing
or desert races in the USA. For the more serious competitor specialist
frame manufacturers produced frames to help the handling problems,
Eric Cheney in the UK and Red Line Engineering in the USA were
two such companies. Folding footrests were made from fabricated
steel. The fuel tank had a steel twist type cap with air breather
and badges that screwed on, the colour was Chrome Orange (Suzuki
colour code 184) with a black stripe running under the badge horizontally.
out the competetion test (against Maico K400) in Cycle Magazine
|1971 TM-400 Cyclone magazine ad from USA (detail). Click for full image. The rider getting a trophy from a girl in a bikini, is Jim Odom. He was a dirttrack racer in southern California in the 60's and 70's. (Thanks for the research, Scott Andersen!
TM400R sales brochure (two pages). Click to enlarge. These
scans was sent to me by Markku Nissilä from Finland.
|1971 TS250R and TM400R magazine ad from Sweden (MC-Nytt 8/1971).
Click to enlarge. There was an interesting article in the
same magazine of the Suzuki history (1909-1971), from the '71
point of view. Naturally the magazine author couldn't predict
the introduction of Suzuki's four-stroke macines a few years later,
and he couldn't think it was possible for Suzuki to keep up expanding
and making better and better motorcycles in the same furious rate
that it had been doing for the past 20 years. He also predicted
that Suzuki and Kawasaki could join their forces, he wasn't sure
if there were market enough for four big Japanese motorcycle manufacturerors
in the future. Today, over 30 years later, we know that Suzuki,
as well as Kawasaki, Yamaha and Honda has survived and kept on
making better motorcycles and kept on growing.
1972 Suzuki year code: J
identical to the 1971 model apart from the colour which was now
Philolina Yellow (Suzuki colour code 163) so it was more in keeping
with the works bikes.
|1972 TM-250 and TM-400 brochure page and a 1972 TM-400 magazine ad. Click to enlarge. The ad on the left: American motorcross champion John De Soto (right) and his brother
|Don Ron.* The ad on the right shows a group of five riders, all on different bikes. The Suzuki rider is John DeSoto, the Flyin Hawaiian. Check ot the pineapples in the stripe on his leathers. The Maico rider is Jim Hart and The CZ rider is Jim Connley.
(Thanks for the research, Scott Andersen!)
*) Correction: Dan Murphy spotted the typo: “I came to it to look at the old TM 400 Cyclone brochure. The picture shows a 250 & 400 with John De Soto and his brother Ron (you show it as Don). The De Sotos were friends of mine during that period. John and Ron now both live back on Hawaii. I just spoke to Ron a month ago. Hope this helps.” Thanks, Dan!
|1972 Suzuki TM400J Cyclone sales brochure. Click to enlarge. The scan was sent to me by Gary Pedersen.
1973 Suzuki year code: K
|The '73 TM400K was very much the same as the '71 and '72 models
with some minor updates. The air filter was now a more
washable foam element. Footrests were now cast steel folding type.
A different frame, forks, suspension units and swinging arm were
all fitted in an aim to help the handling. The fuel tank had Suzuki
stickers instead of badges and a blue/white stripe went round
the back of the tank where the letters TM appeared.
1973 TM-400K sales brochure.
Click to enlarge.
|Another sales brochure from the same year.
|1973 magazine ad: TM-125, TM-250,
TM-400 (two pages). Click to enlarge.
The rider on the left in the
right side ad page is Suzuki factory rider Richard Thorwaldson.
Thanks to Scott Andersen, Texas.
scan from the 1973 TM400 parts manual. It may not be the best photo of the model, but interesting, with three different model years on the same page. It really shows how different the 73' model is from the two earlier years. Thanks again, Scott Andersen!
USA full line catalog pages: TM-125, TM-250, TM-400 (three pages).
Click to enlarge. This scan was sent to me by Gilles Nault,
more scans from the same catalog.
Suzuki year code: L
|The '74 TM400L was much the same as the '73 model, the L had
straight type finning on the cylinder head and internally had
been altered to reduce the compression ratio to a more useful
6.8:1. The front sprocket cover was now fitted with three holes
for mud to escape from rather than the earlier type that had two
diagonal slits. The exhaust system now had a rear silencer fitted
to help muffle the noise. Suspension units were a newer type.
The fuel tank now had dark green/white stipes that did a U round
the rear of the tank
1974 TM-400L sales brochure. Click to enlarge.
1974 magazine ad: TM motocross lineup, two pages. Click to enlarge.
1975 Suzuki year code: M
Concider yourself lucky if you find a 1975 TM400 - they are
very rare. Not many bikes were made because the RM's were already
coming down the assembly line, and Suzuki knew the TM's wouldn't
sell with the new bikes available.
The 75' bikes are actually very different from the 74's, although
it doesn't appear to be so at first glance. Look at how much
farther forward the rear shocks are mounted on the frame and
swing arm. They handle better than the earlier bikes.
1975 magazine ad: TM-100,
TM-125, TM-250, TM-400. Two pages. Click to enlarge.
TM400 Cycle Magazine test
Suzuki, Markku Nissilä etc.
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