Of diminutive stature, and fighting well above its weight, a Suzuki two-stroke twin, the Stinger, gives Steve Cooper a real buzz.
Fifty years ago, one of Japan’s most unusual motorcycles rolled off a production line at Hamamatsu. Despite only sporting 125 cubic centimetres of engine capacity and weighing little more than a moped, the new arrival made a disproportionate impact.
Nothing before or since has ever looked like a Suzuki Stinger. The bike was Suzuki’s own take on a peculiarly American concept known as the canyon racer. In essence, any bike thus titled was stripped back to its bare bones, denuded of unnecessary fripperies, i.e. minimalist.
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In semi-official Suzuki-speak, their all new Stinger was a ‘creek machine’ and, although not exactly powerful, it certainly turned heads and continues to do so to this very day.
The bike might look singularly unique but dig a little deeper and you’ll find that a lot of the running gear is actually shared with a wide range of the peer group.
Wheels, brakes, controls, suspension and front guards were all used on the firm’s various small capacity machines.
And even if Suzuki made much about the so-called ‘GP derived’ frame, the fact is it was shared with the TC120 trail bike. Where the Stinger does differ from everything else that Suzuki made was the engine, which remains genuinely exclusive.
The most obvious feature of the power unit is its strange, almost horizontal, orientation and even if it looks similar to machines made in Italy by Moto Rumi, there’s no component swap-over.
Read more and view more images in the April 2019 issue of Old Bike Mart – on sale now!