Andy Lewis, Alsager, Cheshire
“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.”