Project Lowbucks 2 – Our Second Pursuit of an Affordable Dirt Bike

May. 07, 2013 By Rick Sieman
Here’s the 1980 Suzuki PE 175 in the back of our pickup truck, as received, for about 200 bucks. It ran, sort of, but didn’t look too good.

In our never-ending attempt to bring you a truly low-cost good dirt bike, we now present Project Lowbucks 2. You might recall in our first lowbucks feature, we did a Suzuki RM 250 and was quite successful. Our goal is to get you a desirable, decent dirt bike without spending a lot of money. It used to be 40 years ago that you could buy a decent used dirt bike for $300 or $400, ride it for a year and sell for just about the same amount. What we’re trying to do here is to get you that bike for even less money and still end up with something you’d be happy and proud to ride.

A bunch of missing parts were unceremoniously stuffed into a spare milk crate.

This particular motorcycle is a 1980 Suzuki PE 175, one of the truly solid and durable bikes of the era. The other bikes worth considering were the Kawasaki 175 and the Yamaha 175.  We’ll tell you right up front that the best bike of three was definitely the Kawasaki 175, but the PE 175 was a good solid performer that didn’t do anything really wrong.

We located one for a few hundred bucks in running condition. The only thing wrong with it is that look like hell.  Somebody had gotten in a spray can frenzy. All of the yellow plastic was painted a tasteless shade of blue. They also got a can of flat black spray paint and proceeded to spray the swingarm, parts of the motor and all of the frame. Why they did this, we will never know.

Luckily, the saddle is in good condition with what appeared to be a fresh cover on it.

Luckily, the Suzuki came with a title and was indeed running. But it had been sitting for God knows how long. We decided to do a deep strip on the bike, literally a frame up restoration. This meant we would do a lot of sanding and painting and making sure that everything worked properly.

The opposite side view shows a fairly intact bike.

In the process, we thought we would give the average person out there some really good pointers on how and why to prep a bike. Nothing was taken for granted. Everything on the bike would be checked over to make sure it was in proper working condition. This meant that we would go through the carb, all the electronics and every pivoting joint on the bike.

So join us now as we dig into Project Lowbucks 2.

All of the plastic looked terrible and much of the blue paint was flaking and falling off.

The saddle was removed and the base was checked for cracks. Everything looked in good shape at this point.

The gas tank was checked for cracks or leaks and showed none. The petcock seem to be working okay as well.

The airbox was disassembled and the filter removed.

All the controls were removed and set to one side.

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