1964-suzuki-m15_1
Suzuki was formed in Japan in the post World War II era initially making textile manufacturing equipment. In 1952 they began making motorcycles, their first a 36cc moped type machine called the Power Free. This machine used a two-stroke engine mounted on a traditional diamond frame bicycle. The Diamond Free was next and used a 60cc motor and a two-speed transmission. By 1954 they were making the Colleda CO, a four-stroke 90cc single, a more traditional motorcycle design. By 1960 part of their line-up included small high performance machines including the 125cc Colleda, and they were off to the Isle of Man races placing 15th, 16th and 18th in their class. An ambitious company, by the mid-1960’s they had entered international motocross competition and even hired Swede Olle Petersen to ride.

The same utilitarian small displacement two-stroke motorcycles Suzuki made for their home market in the mid-1960’s were some of the first imported to the United States. Traditional and step-through models came in 50cc and 80cc models, and one design offered a sporty up exhaust. But there were also 125cc and 250cc parallel twins foretelling the potent X6 Hustler to come in 1965.

This M15 is typical of small 1960’s Japanese bikes. The frame is pressed steel. There’s liberal chrome plating, including the shock covers, and a modest amount of plastic for the side-covers and headlight nacelle. If you had just earned your driver’s license in the mid-1960’s you would be proud to ride this Suzuki to school or your part time job, but probably stopping by the shop to see what was newer, bigger and faster.

This nice original condition Suzuki is on loan to the National Motorcycle Museum from the Jill and John Parham Collection.

Specifications:

    • Engine: Two-Stroke, Air-Cooled
    • Type: Piston Port Induction
    • Bore & Stroke: 41mm x 38mm
    • Compression Ratio: 6.7:1
    • Carburetor: VM15SC
    • Ignition: Magneto
    • Lubrication: Pre-Mix
    • Starting: Kick
    • Horsepower: 4.2 HP
    • Transmission: 4-Speed
    • Clutch: Wet, Multi-Plate
    • Frame: Pressed Steel
    • Fork: Hydraulic, Telescopic
    • Rear Suspension: Swingarm, Dual Shocks
    • Wheel/Tires: 2.25 x 17 / 2.25 x17
    • Wheelbase: 45 Inches
    • Weight: 135 Pounds
    • Top Speed: 50mph
4 replies
  1. Nathaniel H Dahl
    Nathaniel H Dahl says:

    Hi –

    I’m an American living in Taiwan and came across a 1958 Suzuki Colleda ST-5 in the back room of a small office building. It’s owned by a Canadian businessman who is close to retirement and due to physical issues can no longer ride or maintain the bike.

    It’s such a rare bike I thought I’d ask if you think it might be a desirable addition to the museum. I will be relocating to the US in 2021 and wonder if you’d be interested in adding it to your collection?

    Thanks and best regards,

    Nathaniel Dahl
    Taipei, Taiwan

    Reply
  2. Don Planalp
    Don Planalp says:

    My “starter” bike in 1969 was a 1965 Suzuki S32 Olympian — a 150cc twin very similar to the M15 in looks. Being pre-oil injection, I had to mix the oil and fuel myself!

    Reply

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