1978 DT175MX

Andy Lewis, Al­sager, Cheshire

Practical Sportsbikes (UK) - - Restoration Revealed -

“I bought mine as a com­plete bike with noth­ing miss­ing – cru­cial when restor­ing a DT”

“BACK IN the day most peo­ple tended to grad­u­ate from a Fizzy to some­thing like an RD250, but for me it was the DT175MX. I al­ways liked the muddy stuff and I raced a DT in en­duro for a few years in the ’80s – it never let me down.

“I’m an air­craft en­gi­neer so I’ve al­ways got to have projects on the go, and the DT175MX makes a great resto – I’ve got four of them. They’re still fairly cheap to buy and a lot of the parts are freely avail­able. I got this one a cou­ple of years ago – it was £800 but it was a com­plete, very early 1978 bike with noth­ing miss­ing, which is cru­cial when restor­ing a DT.

“The rea­son for this is that in the ’80s, ev­ery­one took the mud­guards, clocks and rear light assem­bly off, chucked them away and re­placed them with af­ter­mar­ket parts to save weight. As a re­sult, find­ing these parts is hard. If you see a DT for sale and the frame’s rusty, don’t worry about it; if it’s miss­ing the clocks or mud­guard think twice be­cause they are ex­pen­sive. Other than that, Fowlers in Bris­tol and French ebay a great source for parts. One thing to watch out for is that the later Amer­i­can DT had dif­fer­ent forks and side pan­els, so be care­ful that what you buy will def­i­nitely fit your model.

“I know these bikes in­side out and they’re easy to work on. Just be care­ful with the main bear­ings and crank­case halves, be­cause get­ting ev­ery­thing in and aligned cor­rectly is key.

“Most stuff comes apart eas­ily but there are a cou­ple of things to look out for. Where the monoshock comes out of the frame and joins the swingarm, there’s a pin with a cou­ple of cir­clips in ei­ther end – they can be seized, mean­ing you have to saw the monoshock out of the swingarm. Also, get­ting the main pivot bolt out of the swingarm can be a pain, be­cause it can be cor­roded in and us­ing too much force with a ham­mer can bend the frame.

“The fact that DTS still work bril­liantly is tes­ta­ment to the spec – parts like the elec­tri­cal equip­ment and har­nesses are re­ally well made. They’re great bikes to ride and re­store.”

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