Real Classic



Your article on the vintage Kawasaki 250 in RC206 brought back many memories. I owned for some time a 1966 250cc Suzuki X6 Hustler, a quite similar bike. It would wheelie without much effort in first and second gears (it had six), and loved to rev.

Styling cues were similar to the Kawasaki: tacho and speedo in a shared binnacle on the headlight nacelle; tall, rounded tank with rubber knee pads; side tank for oil injection with sight glass, 2Is front brake. The rear shocks, front fender, seat, and downpipes on your feature bike could have been transplant­ed from my Suzuki, although my fender was painted grey enamel. The Suzuki was piston ported with twin carbs in the traditiona­l location.

I purchased mine in the early 1970s, sight unseen for $20 from a university classmate; the ignition system had ceased to function and he couldn't figure out how to fix it. (Location of sale: a tavern.) The bike had an early (weak) version of coil ignition and tended to foul plugs readily, especially in traffic. To this day I goose the throttle on my manual transmissi­on diesel Jetta before taking off from a stoplight, a leftover from my Suzuki riding days.

I used to ride the Hustler regularly some 40 miles on an expressway leading into Montreal. The routine speed was 70 80mph and I never had any trouble keeping up with traffic. The bike was severely under tyred from the factory: they were narrow and hard, making for an exciting ride if curves were involved.

My Suzuki did not have turn signals, they were not required in Canada in 1966. I owned a 305 Honda Dream of the same vintage which did have turn signals (and an electric start!), but it was definitely an anomaly. Daylight headlight on laws for motorcycle­s came into force in Quebec in the 1970s, and although my bike was exempt due to age I was stopped several times and had to explain to police why my headlight was not on the charging system was not sufficient for this use. I eventually sold the Hustler to be used for vintage racing, they were much in demand for that purpose.

Timothy Jones

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