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Suzuki History
The Colleda models 1954—1963


You couldn't find any Suzuki stickers or emblems on the motorcycles Suzuki built on the early models. No, the early models were given the name Colleda and the famous Suzuki ”S” appeared for the first time in 1959 and the Colleda brand name was replaced by Suzuki in the early 1960's, the T10 being the first non-Colleda. Here's some of the Suzuki's Colleda models from the fifties and early sixties. I will add more models here when I find suitable pictures and some facts.

Colleda 250 TT '56

1954

Apparently the word "Colleda" means something like "This is it!" or "This is the one!" in Japanese. The Japanese use that word when they find something special (the best) they have been looking for. (Thanks, Takeshi!)

Suzuki Loom Manufacturing Company (SJK) presented the side-valve powered Colleda CO in May 1954, the first real motorcycle from Suzuki. The single-cylinder 90cc four-stroke engine developed four horsepower and ran quite smoothly, thanks to its heavy fly wheel, attached to ignition magneto.

No driver's license was needed at the time for riding the Colleda CO. The Japanese government had recently decided that no driver's license were longer needed to ride a bike with an 4-stroke engine up to 90cc or a 2-stroke engine up to 60cc. That explains rather well Suzuki's choice of engines for its first models on the market in 1954 - the Diamond Free motorized motorcycle with 58cc 2-stroke engine with 2 hp and the 90cc four-stroke with 4 hp.

The Colleda CO had a steel frame, telescopic front fork, shock absorbers on the rear wheel and coil spring-suspensioned seat. It had no turning lights but it did have a headlight and a rear light. It was the first Japanese motorcycle provided with a speedometer, built in the headlight. The built-in gearbox had three speeds. One source claim that the model had hydraulic brakes but I haven't been able to confirm this.

The rigid frame and luggage carrier made the bike suitable for carrying of goods. They say that the 90cc Colleda sounded more than it actually performed, but the ”sound effects” and the rigid construction made the bike quite popular among Japanese customers.

Marketed from May 1954.
 

Colleda CO 1954
Engine type: 90 cc side-valve single cylinder four-stroke. 4 hp.
Three speeds, telescopic front forks and plunger rear suspension.


No larger picture available.

Colleda CO prototypes
I found this picture from Suzuki's domestic website. If I understood the text correctly, it shows four prototypes of the 1954 Colleda CO. The text says:

“Suzuki's first four-stroke motorcycle model (1954). The Colleda CO (90cc) bikes in front of the prototype factory. This year, the company name was changed to Suzuki Automobile Industry.”

Or something like that. The Altavista translation tool gives a bit funny results when translating from Japanese to English.


This one's also from Suzuki's domestic website. I believe it shows the Fuji mountain-climbing race winner of the 1954. I believe the text on the page something like this:

“The Fuji mountain-climbing race, two victorous years. Suzuki participated in the first Fuji mountain-climbing race with the Diamond Free and acchied a beautiful victory. The following year's victory was accomplished with the Suzuki's first motorcycle model.”

Colleda news '54
Another picture of the same happy Fuji mountain-climbing race winner and the Colleda CO (on the right). The Diamond Free on the left. The pages are scanned from a SJK Colleda information magazine, or something like that. The cover page (only a tiny scan) here on the left.


1955

It was not longer allowed to ride a 90cc four-stroke without a driver's license in 1955 and that naturally affected the sales figures in negative direction. The 90cc Colleda CO must be one of the absolute rarest motorcycles Suzuki ever built. The model was soon discontinued and replaced by the 125cc version. But the four-stroke machines at the time were not as reliable as the more simple two-stroke machines and soon Suzuki discontinued even the 125 model. All the forces were concentrated in developing two-stroke engines. It took actually over 20 years before Suzuki built four-strokes again, after an unsuccessful attempt of using Wankel rotary engines.

The four-stroke models got company by the 102cc Porter Free and 123cc ST during 1955. Both models were two-strokers with steel frame, telescopic front forks and plunger rear suspension, similar to their predecessors. All of the Colleda two-stroke engines used the conventional piston valve construction, the rotary (reed) valve engines came much later.

The ST was the most successful of the models. It was a simple and affordable small motorcycle that was in sales of the model exceeded 100,000 units during the six years it was manufactured.
 
Colleda COX
Colleda COX
Colleda COX '55, Japan
Colleda COX 1955
Dry Weight: Engine type: 123 cc side-valve single cylinder four-stroke.
Three speeds, telescopic front forks and plunger rear suspension.

Click on the images for larger format.

The bike on the first picture has puzzled me for some time. Is the fuel tank original, did the bike have different tanks sometimes? Is it a prototype? I don't know that. It can be a replacement tank as well. The last of the COX pictures (unfortunately no larger image available) shows a beautifully restored '55 COX with what I concider as a standard fuel tank.

Colleda CO1 & CO2
A picture from Suzuki's domestic website. Here's two differentprototypes of the 1955 Colleda COX. The text says:

“Road testing of Colleda COX. The bike closest to camera has a pressed steel frame and the other one is a sport version with a tubural steel pipe frame.”

Or something like that. The Altavista translation tool gives a bit funny results when translating from Japanese to English.

The following pictures show the actual production model of the Colleda COX.

Colleda COX Colleda COX

Colleda 125STColleda ST 1955
Dry Weight: 95 kg (205 lbs)
Engine type: Air-cooled 123.18 cc single cylinder piston-valve 2-stroke. 5.5 hp.
Maximum Speed: 65 kph
Bore and stroke: 52.0 x 58.0 mm
Compression ratio: 9.5:1
Clutch: wet multiple plate
Gears: 4
Tyres: 2.50-19

SJK DH1 Porter Free
DH 1 Porter-Free '55

DH-1 Porter Free 1955
Overall Length: 2,000 mm (78.7 in)
Overall Width: 750 mm (29.5 in)
Overall Height: 960 mm (37.8 in)
Wheelbase: 1,240 mm (48.8 in)
Dry Weight: 85 kg (187 lbs)
Engine type: Air-cooled 102 cc single cylinder piston-valve 2-stroke. 4.2 hp/ 5,000 rpm.
Bore and stroke: 52.0 x 48.0 mm
Compression ratio: 7,0 :1
Maximum speed: 60 kph
2 speeds (12 :1, 18 :1)


Here's more Porter Free pictures.



1956


 
A 250cc twin, Colleda TT with an American style design was launched in 1956. The picture above shows the model shown at the '99 Tokyo Motor Show (the historical section).

The Colleda TT is the predecessor of all Suzuki 250cc 2-stroke twins, including the T20, T250 and GT250. The air-cooled engine had a square 54 x 54 mm bore and stroke, the same as all of the models just mentioned. It also had new ”modern” floating swing arm with shock absorbers at the rear but the leading front fork design makes one to think of the early BMWs.
The slightly modernized Colleda COX-II was presented. The only difference I can spot on the pictures, in lack of technical info, is that the canter stand seems to made out of thinner material and a mudflap was attached to the the front mudguard.

A new version of the Colleda ST was launched with a modernized engine, now delivering 7 hp. Even the 100cc Porter Free had a more powerful engine in 1956. The Colleda ST-II received a same sort of fuel tank than the COX, making to models look even more like each other.

Here's more Colleda 250 TT info.
 
'56 250TT TT250 TT 250
Colleda TT 1956
Overall Length: 1,975 mm (77.8 in)
Overall Width: 690 mm (27.2 in)
Overall Height: 1,000 mm (39.4 in)
Wheelbase: 1,280 mm (50.4 in)
Dry Weight: 158 kg (348 lbs)
Engine type: Air-cooled 247 cc parallel twin 2-stroke. 16 hp/ 6,000 rpm, 2.1 kg-m/ 4,000 rpm.
Bore and stroke: 54 x 54 mm
Compression ratio: 7 :1
Tyres: 3.25-16
Maximum speed: 130 kph

Here's
ever larger picture.
Here's more Colleda TT info.

Colleda COX II COX-II '56Colleda COX-II 1956
Engine type: 123 cc side-valve single cylinder four-stroke.
Three speeds, telescopic front forks and plunger rear suspension.

The kick starter was placed on the left side of the engine on the four-stroke CO and COX models. The exhaust pipe ending is also different, shaped like is fish tail. Also to engine design was quite different from the two-strokers.

Colleda ST-2 '56Colleda ST-II 1956
Engine type: Air-cooled 123.18 cc single cylinder piston-valve 2-stroke. 7 hp.
Bore and stroke: 52 x 58 mm
Compression ratio: 7 :1

Apart for the differences listed above, the Colleda COX-2 and Colleda ST-2 looked a lot like each other.


Here's more Colleda ST-II pictures.

Porter Free DH1 Suzuki SJKDH-2 Porter Free 1956
Overall Length: 2,000 mm (78.7 in)
Overall Width: 750 mm (29.5 in)
Overall Height: 960 mm (37.8 in)
Wheelbase: 1,240 mm (48.8 in)
Dry Weight: 85 kg (187 lbs)
Engine type: Air-cooled 102 cc single cylinder piston-valve 2-stroke. 4.5 hp/ 4,500 rpm.
Bore and stroke: 52.0 x 48.0 mm
Maximum speed: 60 kph


Here's even larger picture.


A very small scan of a a Japanese Colleda sales brochure from April 1956 I found on a Japanese website. According to the text on the page the brochure covers the following models: Mini Free, 150 ST, 125 ST, 125 COX and 250 TT. Please contact me if you have seen larger versions of this brochure anywhere or if you own the original brochure!


1957

Another 250 twin was added to the catalog in 1957. The 250 TP was a cheaper variant of the Colleda 250 TT, using similar but slightly more powerful engine but the TP had a whole diffrenet appearance. It was a cheaper version of the TT with a double cradle steel frame, painted fuel tank and it didn't have the TT's tail fin turn signals. Also the design of the fuel tank and the seat were different. 18 hp/ 6,000 rpm, 130 km/h. Recommended retail prise in 1967 for the 250 TP was ¥205,000 and ¥235000 for the highly popular TT. The 250 TP was available with a longer two-passenger seat or with a single seat and a luggage carrier above the rear fender.

The Colleda ST was modernized every year, 1957-year's ST-3 being the third model version of the popular bike, still using the hard plunger rear suspension. The headlight was redesigned, giving the bike a more sporty look. The engine had 52 x 58 mm bore and stroke.
 
Colleda ST-III 1957
Overall Length: 2,000 mm (78.7 in)
Overall Width: 730 mm (28.7 in)
Overall Height: 1,000 mm (39.4 in)
Wheelbase: 1,270 mm (50.0 in)
Dry Weight: 110 kg (242 lbs)
Engine type: Air-cooled 123 cc single cylinder 2-stroke. 7 hp/ 5,500 rpm.
3 speeds.
Bore and stroke: 52 x 58 mm
Compression ratio: 7 :1
Maximum speed: 85 kph



1958

Suzuki introduced an assembly line to its factory in Hamamatsu in 1958. Three models were manufactured that year: the SM-1 Suzukimoped, the 125cc Colleda ST with 8 bhp and the new 250cc with 18 bhp, all single cylinder two-strokes. The 250cc twin, made in smaller quantities, was no longer manufactured as the production of the motorcycles was rationalized.

The 1958-year's ST5 got a new frame and a modern-type rear suspension with a swinging arm and shock absorbers. The engine put out 7.5 PS @ 5,500rpm. The drive chain was fully covered. 3 speeds. As for wheel size front and back 24x2.75. The front brake drum got larger diameter and the suspension damping force is increased. Maximum speed: 85km/h.

The 250cc TM was the cheapest Colleda model available in 1958. It used the powerful parallel twin engine from the Colleda TP and was a practical bike to transport goods with.
 

Colleda TM 1958
Overall Length: 1,980 mm (78.0 in)
Overall Width: 730 mm (28.7 in)
Overall Height: 960 mm (37.8 in)
Wheelbase: 1,280 mm (50.4 in)
Dry Weight: 144 kg (317 lbs)
Engine type: Air-cooled 247 cc parallel twin 2-stroke. 18 hp/ 6,000 rpm.
Maximum speed: 130 kph
Bore and stroke: 54 x 54 mm
Compression ratio: 7.1 :1

Colleda ST-5 Colleda ST-5 1958

This was the first (and only) picture I found of the Colleda ST-5, tiny photos of an old Japanese sales brochure. The Colleda ST-5 must be one of the very last models still using the Colleda badge on the fuel tank instead of the new 'S' logo.

Sorry, no larger images available.

Colleda ST-5Tyre size front and rear: 24 X 2.75
Engine type: Air-cooled 123 cc single cylinder two-stroke. 7.5 hp / 5,500 rpm. Top speed 85 km/h. 3 speeds.

Colleda ST-5Colleda ST-5 1958

This lookes like the Colleda ST 5, without the fuel tank side covers visible on the brochure above. The picture was found on a Cycle World discussion forum. A guy who lives in Taiwan had acquired “an interesting little Japanese motorcycle” and knew nothing about the bike.

Here's even larger picture.


A very small scan of a a Japanese Colleda sales brochure from 1958 I found on a Japanese website. According to the text on the page the brochure is for a 1958 250cc Colleda. I reckon it must be the TM model? Please contact me if you have seen larger versions of this brochure anywhere or if you own the original brochure!

Another brochure of the 1958 250 TM? Please contact me if you have seen larger versions of this brochure anywhere or if you own the original brochure!





1959 Colleda Seltwin. Courtesy of Hokkaido Meeting.


1959

In 1959, the 6th modernized version of the 125cc ST had telescopic front fork and floating swing arm with shock absorbers, making riding more comfortable. The new-designed engine delivered now 8 hp. Popular among the youth.

A new 125cc twin was launched, the Colleda SB Seltwin. It had a quite sporty design and it was good for 110 kph. Seltwin was the first Japanese motorcycle model with an electric starter. A twin-engined 125cc motorcycle was an unusual concept in the fifties and still unusual in the seventies.
 
Colleda Selltwin Colleda ST-6A 1959
Overall Length: 2,000 mm (78.7 in)
Overall Width: 740 mm (29.1 in)
Overall Height: 1,000 mm (39.4 in)
Wheelbase: 1,280 mm (50.4 in)
Dry Weight: 110 kg (242 lbs)
Engine type: Air-cooled 123 cc 2-stroke. 8 hp/ 4,000 rpm, 1.07 kg-m/ 4,000 rpm.
Bore and stroke: 52 x 58 mm
Compression ratio: 7 :1

Colleda Seltwin Colleda Seltwin SB 1959
Wheelbase: 1,295 mm (51.0 in)
Dry Weight: 118 kg (260 lbs)
Engine type: Air-cooled 123 cc parallel twin 2-stroke. 10 hp/ 8,000 rpm.
Bore and stroke: 42.0 x 45.0 mm
Compression ratio: 7,0 :1
Maximum speed: 110 kph (68 mph)
Tyre size: 2.75-17


1959 Suzuki Colleda TM
.
Colleda TM, found on a Japanese '59 motorcycle catalog. Click for larger view.
I found this scan on some Japanese webpage. Color pictures, or even real photographies in printed catalogs, were luxury in the those days.

A very small scan of a a Japanese Colleda sales brochure from 1959 I found on a Japanese website. According to the text on the page the brochure is for a 1959 Seltwin 125 SB (here with a scooter style lower fairing). Please contact me if you have seen larger versions of this brochure anywhere or if you own the original brochure!

A very small scan of a a Japanese Colleda sales brochure from January 1959 I found on a Japanese website. According to the text on the page the brochure is for a 1959 125 ST-6. Please contact me if you have seen larger versions of this brochure anywhere or if you own the original brochure!


1960

The 1960-year's Colleda 250TA was the first motorcycle ever to use combination brakes, even now standard in only few motorcycle models, the Honda GoldWing being one of them. The TB used a hydraulic rear break and a link was attached to the brake pedal, making both the front and the rear brake to activate when pushing the pedal. The engine (actually not a square 54 x 54 mm bore and stroke) engine delivered 20 hp, giving the bike a 140 kph top speed. A scooter styled lower fairing was attached to the bike to protect the rider from moist and wind and the model had a dual seat, making it somewhat of a touring bike.

A 150cc sports version of the Seltwin was launched in 1960 with a dual seat and high-drawn exhaust pipe. The 125cc version of the model got an lower fairing, in style with the 250 TA.
Colleda 250TB '60
Colleda 250 TA 1960
Overall Length: 2,050 mm (80.7 in)
Overall Width: 640 mm (25.2 in)
Overall Height: 960 mm (37.8 in)
Wheelbase: 1,350 mm (53.1 in)
Engine type: Air-cooled 246 cc parallel twin, 2-stroke. 20 hp/ 6,000 rpm, 1.9 kg-m/ 6,000 rpm.
Bore and stroke: 52 x 58 mm
Compression ratio: 6.3 :1
Tyres: 3.00-17
Maximum speed: 140 km/h

Colleda Seltwin 150SB-S Colleda Seltwin Sports SB-S 1960
Wheelbase: 1,295 mm (51.0 in)
Dry Weight: 118 kg (260 lbs)
Engine type: Air-cooled 123 cc parallel twin 2-stroke. 10 hp/ 8,000 rpm.
Bore and stroke: 42.0 x 45.0 mm
Compression ratio: 7.0 :1

Colleda Seltwin 125SB-2 Colleda Seltwin 125 SB-2 1960
Wheelbase: 1,295 mm (51.0 in)
Dry Weight: 118 kg (260 lbs)
Engine type: Air-cooled 123 cc parallel twin 2-stroke. 10 hp/ 8,000 rpm.
Bore and stroke: 42.0 x 45.0 mm
Compression ratio: 7.0 :1








'62 250TA TA250 TA-250'62 250TA TA250 TA-250

The bike in the pictures above is a 1959 or 1960 Seltwin, spotted on a bike show in UK. Although the bike has for us familiar Suzuki “S” badges attached on the tank and the engine, the side cover says clearly “Colleda” (enlargened in the second picture).

The picture was sent to me by Rod Ker, UK. I believe he took the picture himself. Rod has just finished writing a book about the history of Japanese motorcycle manufacturers, among them Suzuki. He told me (in June 2006) that it takes several months before the book will go to print.


1961


'61 TB-250 -61 Colleda SuzukiColleda 250 TB 1961
Overall Length: 2,050 mm (80.7 in)
Overall Width: 640 mm (25.2 in)
Overall Height: 960 mm (37.8 in)
Wheelbase: 1,350 mm (53.1 in)
Engine type: Air-cooled 246 cc parallel twin, 2-stroke. 20 hp/ 6,000 rpm, 1.9 kg-m/ 6,000 rpm.


Here's even larger picture.



1962


 
When the Cycle World magazine presented the Colleda 250TB in the USA in March 1962 (see above, click to enlarge), the bike was called the Suzuki TB but you could clearly see the Colleda emblem attached to the side panel, althought there's a Suzuki "S" logo on the tank and the engine. The 250TB was replaced in 1963 by the 250TC.

In Japan, two 125cc models with similar design but different engines were offered in 1962. The 125 SK had a twin engine with 11,5 hp and the 125 SL a single engine with 8 hp.
 

Colleda 250TB '62Colleda 250 TB 1962
Overall Length: 2,050 mm (80.7 in)
Overall Width: 640 mm (25.2 in)
Overall Height: 960 mm (37.8 in)
Engine type: Air-cooled 246 cc parallel twin, 2-stroke. 20 hp/ 6,000 rpm.
”Features electric starter, hydraulic rear brake, 12 volt electrical system, turn signals, baggage rack, gear-driven primary, tank fuel gauge, balanced engine.”

Colleda 250 TB '62Colleda 250 TB 1962

Sorry, no larger picture available.

Colleda 125SK '62Colleda 125 SK 1962

Engine type: Air-cooled 125 cc parallel twin, 2-stroke. 11.5 PS.

Colleda 125SL '62Colleda 125 SL 1962

Dry Weight: 112 kg (246 lbs)
Engine type: Air-cooled 125 cc single cylinder 2-stroke. 8,0 hp/ 6,000 rpm.
Maximum speed: 56 mph, 4 speeds.



1963

The Colleda 250TC was called 250TC El Camino in the USA. The Cycle World magazine published a four-page road test of the machine in October 1962 telling that the Suzuki was a lot of fun to ride with excellent handling, little vibrations and had a respectable top speed of 83 mph. It should be mentioned that the Colleda emblem on the side panel had been replaced with Suzuki emblem in America. The S (sports) version of the 250TC had a single passenger seat and weighed a few pounds less.

The 250TC was replaced with the Suzuki T10 in 1964 and a year later with the T20 that was a bike ahead of its time with 30 hp, automatic oiling, six speed gearbox, rev counter and a twin leading shoe brake at the front. Later the T20 was replaced with (technically almost unchanged) T250 and the GT250 with a single disc brake at the front.
 

Colleda Twin S TC250Colleda Twin S 250 TC 1963
Overall length: 2,030 mm (78.0 in)
Overall width: 730 mm (28.7 in)
Overall height: 972 mm (38.3 in)
Saddle height: 716 mm (28.2 in)
Wheelbase: 1,318 (51.9 in)
Ground clearance: 135 mm (5.3 in)
Dry weight: 140 kg (308 lbs)
Engine type: Air-cooled 248 cc parallel twin, 2-stroke. 20 hp/ 8,000 rpm, 1.9 kg-m/ 6,000 rpm




This page is still under construction. I have changed some facts many times and I'm still not sure if everything I've written on this page is correct. There's much incorrect Colleda info and facts to be found on the Internet and on magazine articles, even books. Unfortunately the language barrier makes it difficult to get information from Japan but every now and then I find something, partly thanks to you guys, who are feeding me with information! Please keep on sending me mail, I still need more info and pictures of many models.

Updated: April 17, 2008


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