Squirrel Power: Saving a Suzuki FA50


We went to our closest small town hardware store and found some brass tubing that was the perfect ID for our pin.  We then cut a piece off to press into the seat (pro tip: keep the pin inside the tubing when you cut it.  Brass is soft and will deform really easily, crushing the cut end of the tube and making it impossible to push the pin through).  The tube was a tight fit into the seat and because of the overhangs for the seat itself, it was a bit of a debacle getting the tube in.  Pressing involved a hammer and a punch.

But once pressed in, the pivot works as it should.  Hopefully this will prevent further damage from occurring to the seat.  Best of all, the tube only cost a couple bucks and makes our original seat even better.

The license plate bracket was smashed flat against the bottom of the tail light.  With some Clarkson technology, we were able to make it functional again.

Now that our little Suzuki is running and reliable, we are very happy with it.  It’s still very slow though and there remains some work to do.  While there aren’t a ton of mods for this bike, there are a few things we can do to add some grunt to this little motor.  Some cheap mods include bumping up the compression ratio, adding a good air filter, and playing with the ignition timing.  A decent exhaust with expansion chamber will also add some ponies (some exhausts will actually double the FA50’s power).  A 12V electrical system would allow us to upgrade the entire ignition system and give us a hotter spark, as well as install brighter lights and a louder horn.  And if we get really ambitious we can turn to porting the head and installing a 60cc cylinder kit.  Plus, there are high performance (read: modern and not dry-rotted) tires, a fancy rear shock, higher performance brake shoes, and some clutch tuning we can add to the mix.

For such a forgotten bike, the possibilities are pretty wide.  How greedy will we get?  Depends on how many close encounters with traffic we meet.  For now, this bike is sitting in the garage as riding in in below 30 degree weather is pretty miserable.  As the weather warms up, we’ll play with it more and see if we can beat the neighborhood kids on their foot powered Razors.


As I write this, we are definitely not in moped weather anymore, though we are in perfect VehiCross weather!  Right now the FA50 is sitting in the back of the garage, waiting for a warm day to ride again.  While it sits, we'll buy a few simple speed parts and get it ready for the Spring.  Our FA50 has already proven to be a unique little bike and one we can't wait to put some miles on.  Who knows, maybe it will even turn this car guy into a bike guy.


  1. Lol!! I bought one in ’98, still have it, and it still brings a smile to my face. I have upgraded since but it’s still fun to run around town.

  2. I had one in high school back in 82-84. My dad got it for me when I asked for a car. It broke the ice quite well, but was not very useful for dates. Still had a lot of fun with it. Drove it to school my jr and sr year, as well as going to the hang out pizza place with friends. Lots of good memories. I actually got mine to hit 40mph a couple of times, but that was going down a pretty steep hill. Most of the time I topped out at around 30mph.

  3. I have a fz50 very similar. The headlight is close enough to a 6v led flash light head, one of the ones that use the big square 6v battery. While the light pattern isn’t ideal it’s still a load brighter than factory

  4. I just bought an FA50 as a project. Thanks for the story and the insights. I am really looking forward to the rebuild and perhaps some customization of mine.

    1. Did you ever end up fixing it up? I just found one and wanna do the same thing but I don’t really know where to start.

      1. Hey Alex! You ever get started? I’m a newbie in the midst of restoring one too and would love to chat

  5. I’m in KY and looking for an FA50- still got this one or know of any others around? Had one in the 80s and looooved it!


    1. I actually bought a second last year with a dead engine. Been slowly rebuilding it (you’ll see more on that project at a later date).

    2. I have one i just got its all. Original it’s a 19 89 Suzuki fa50 MDZ start on first kick runs excellent very excellent shape I’ll decals paint chrome rims everything is original just like it came up for the showroom asking 600 for it

    1. I have a 1983 Suzuki FA 50 I’m looking for some parts not sure if I can use a fly wheel off any 49 cc to a 50 cc flywheel ??

  6. I am looking for a carb for FA50. I can’t find a part number and the one I found on the internet is soldout.

    Do you have a part number for the replacement you used?

    ” The new carb is a Chinese knockoff and it shows: there is casting flash all over the body, which is clearly made of an inferior alloy, and the float inside is plastic. Installing the new carb means replacing the throttle and choke cable ends, which are both sized differently. Fortunately, the new carb includes both. “

    1. I bought my carb on eBay, but Treatland sells them now. Treatland also sells larger carbs and accompanying intakes if you’re looking for more power.

  7. i noticed that you didnt have a muffler, i just bought an ’84 FA50 without a muffler and i dont know wether any muffler off ebay or amazon will work or if i even need one. could you help me out?

    1. You can ride your FA50 with no exhaust, but it will make your ears ring after a few miles. I already tried making my own exhaust for this FA50 and it was a failure. You can find used exhausts on eBay for ~$60, but most of them are rusted to death and clogged with 2-stroke soot. I would recommend getting an MLM exhaust from Treatland. MLM has three different exhaust options for the FA50. They’re all brand new and bolt in. They have an OEM replacement exhaust as well as a couple of performance options. If you’re doing a straight restoration, the OEM exhaust is the cheapest. But if you want a little extra power, the side bleed exhaust works on just about an FA50 build. I have one for this FA50, but have not written up the installation or review yet. I tried it on the stock engine and it made a noticeable improvement in mid range torque. I am currently running it on a 60cc engine I just finished up late in the Fall and it is a necessity to make that engine sing.

    1. You can find it in the factory service manual. Just search online and you’ll find a PDF scan of the entire Suzuki manual. It will also show you how the kick starter is laid out and it’s really important to assemble it correctly. If you don’t, the kick starter will shred itself.

  8. Can anyone send me a link to the exact mikuni replacement carburetor that comes withThe throttle and choke ends as well as the intake gasket.

    Please and thank you

  9. Louisville, or Lex? I’m in Louisville. I rode all the way up to central Indiana to get a 80 Garelli SSXL, that been sitting in a warehouse for thirty years. I’m planning on an engine swap for that bad boy. I hope that fa50 done you well.

    1. Lexington when this was written, but I’ve moved back to the East Coast since then. It’s a great little bike except when I forget to air up the tires and cut an inner tube! Got more to come for this little guy too

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