Posts by tag: RG500

Yamaha August 9, 2016 posted by

Unfairly Overshadowed? 1984 Yamaha RZ500 for Sale

1984 Yamaha RZ500 R Front

Many of the weird and wonderful bikes we like to feature on this site appear in time-capsule condition, as if Doc Brown put them in a trailer behind his time-traveling DeLorean and towed them from the distant year 1985 into… The future! Others are patched-up wrecks described as having “patina” with “90% tread left on tires.” This particular RZ500 falls somewhere in the middle, and looks like a nice, clean, bike with a reasonable asking price.

Crazy, right?

1984 Yamaha RZ500 L Front

Yamaha’s RZ500, also known as the RD500LC in some markets, was one of two 500cc race-replicas designed to ape the overall specification and style of the top-level two-stroke racebikes of the era. But unlike the Suzuki RG500 “Gamma,” the Yamaha pulled a bit of a Honda with their roadgoing exotic, taking a brilliant idea and then engineering the hell out of it, ending up with a bit of a muddle. The powerplant was a liquid-cooled 50° two-stroke V4 with twin cranks. So far, so good. A pair of YPVS power valves and oil-injection helped boost performance and make the bike a bit more practical. Seems like a smart choice. Sophisticated anti-dive forks and an unusually-mounted rear shock allowed for serious handling and tight packaging, respectively. Then a balance shaft was included to handle unwanted vibrations... In theory, this should have helped make the bike run smoother and make it more civilized while simultaneously allowing a lighter frame for improved performance, but it didn’t really work out that way. The resulting bike was both heavier and less powerful than the Gamma and although the RZ has its fans, reviewers and prices reflect the Gamma’s superior performance versus the RZ500’s more practical street bias. The upside is reasonable prices compared to the Suzuki, and that singular two-stroke sound and feel.

1984 Yamaha RZ500 Tank

So what’s the big deal with the rising popularity of these two-stroke sportbikes? A bit of nostalgia and a bit of performance. These tinny-sounding streetbikes began to disappear after the mid-1980s here in the USA where ever-tightening emissions laws strangled the smoky little beasts into an early grave. Top-level racing of the era saw two-stroke machines competing exclusively and that link to race-bred machinery is a powerful thing in the minds of motorcycle enthusiasts. There’s also the axiom made popular by Colin Chapman, founder of Lotus: “Simplify, then add lightness.” And two strokes are both of those things: with fewer moving parts, they’re simpler and lighter, while theoretically making twice as much power as a four-stroke of equivalent displacement. So while a 500cc two-stroke might make similar power compared to a 1000cc four-stroke, the resulting package is much lighter, meaning the bike will turn quicker, brake better, and generally offer more feedback to the rider. Two-strokes require more maintenance, which isn’t a problem for race bikes or committed enthusiasts, and they also produce more pollution, which is something many motorcycle fans are happy to… Ahem. Overlook.

1984 Yamaha RZ500 R Side Detail

From the original eBay listing: 1984 Yamaha RZ500 for Sale

In great condition. Runs after one kick. Never downed. Never raced, 8700 Miles. Tuned by Lance Gamma

Engine: 499 cc liquid-cooled V4 two stroke Power: 64.2 kW (88 PS) @9,500 rpm Torque: 65.4 N·m @8,500 rpm Transmission 6 speed Weight 205 kg/452 lb (dry)

1984 Yamaha RZ500 R Side

There's a $9,000 opening bid with no takers as yet and a $10,000 Buy It Now price for this bit of two-stroke history. This example isn't cosmetically perfect, with a little bit of surface rust here and there on the steel frame, but appears complete and mechanically well cared-for: "tuned by Lance Gamma" certainly adds some value. Although as always, I wish these sellers would include more details about the bike's history and exactly what "tuned" means: did he adjust the carburetors, or do a performance rebuild of the motor and set up the suspension? Having been under the care of a well-known and regarded tuner is great, but a bit more detail might help the bike sell...

-tad

1984 Yamaha RZ500 L Fairing

Unfairly Overshadowed? 1984 Yamaha RZ500 for Sale
Suzuki August 4, 2016 posted by

Stunning Gamma: 1988 Suzuki RG500Γ MK14 Race Bike for Sale

1988 Suzuki RG500 R Side

The road-going two-stroke fours from Suzuki and Yamaha normally tend to look a little awkward to my eye. The wheels and tires look too skinny, the brakes too small, the fairing bulbous and a little ungraceful. That all goes out the window with this 1988 Suzuki RG500Γ race bike, which seems better balanced all-around, and does away with pointless frippery like headlights, turn-signals, and rear-view mirrors...

1988 Suzuki RG500 L Tank

Motivated by a liquid-cooled square-four engine that was basically made up of a pair of parallel-twins geared together, the Suzuki was far more raw than the competing RZ500 from Yamaha. Many two-strokes of the period featured complicated technology designed to make them more practical for road use. While the RG500 had some of those as well, it seemed to revel in the very qualities that attract two-stroke fans, instead of masking them: light weight, narrow powerbands, and a generally unruly, experts-only handling.

1988 Suzuki RG500 Fairing

Power hovered right around 100hp for the road bike and, for a bike of the period that weighed under 400lbs, this represented state-of-the-art motorcycle performance. Even today, these are some of the most highly sought-after bikes of the 1980s and, although they don't offer cutting-edge power compared to modern machines, the level of involvement required to ride one quickly and the highly-strung, chainsaw-maniac shriek of the engine mean plenty of entertainment, all wreathed in heavy two-stroke smoke that drips from the four stingers.

1988 Suzuki RG500 Dry Clutch

This example is a pure racing machine that obviously doesn't even share a frame with the roadgoing model, and competed in the late 1980s in the UK, as described by the seller.

From the original eBay listing: 1988 Suzuki RG500 Race Bike for Sale

Suzuki RG500 MK14 - 1988 British F1 Winning bike. Model year 1988 VIN RGB500-10511

For the 1985 season Suzuki adopted a new approach in respect to their hugely successful RG500 partly in response to changes being seen in domestic racing. National championships were moving towards production based, four stroke formulas resulting in less demand for over the counter Grand Prix 500's. Suzuki opted to stop producing complete RG500's, instead supplying Padgett's of Batley with up rated, magnesium cased, stepped RG500 engines and their associated power valves and expansion chambers. Padgett's would then supply complete machines using a steel frame built by Harris Performance and based on the Suzuki Mk VII/VIII frame. A total of twelve engines were supplied to the Yorkshire based company with machines being built between 1985 and 1988. The machine offered is number 11 of the 12 and was ridden by Darren Dixon, a Padgett's sponsored rider to victory in the 1988 British F1 Championship. It was subsequently sold to Brian Burgess in November 1988 for his son, John, to ride in the British Superbike Championship which, at that time still allowed machines such as the RG500 to compete. The ACU eventually banned two strokes form the British Superbike Championship at the start of the 1990's. The owners continued to run the RG500 in National and club events until 1996. Roger Keen prepared the engine during the period that the motorcycle was racing and recently the engine has been stripped and rebuilt with new parts by Phil Lovet. The machine was recently returned to the livery that it wore when being raced by Darren Dixon in 1988 with the paintwork being applied by Padgett's. It is in good condition in all respects following its restoration. This significant machine is offered with a letter from Clive Padgett confirming that it was Darren Dixon's Championship winning RG500 and that Padgett's sold the motorcycle to Mr Burgess in November 1988 together with a letter from Mr Burgess outlining the machines history during his ownership and a DVD showing Darren Dixon winning three races.

1988 Suzuki RG500 Rear Wheel

The seller indicates that the bike is currently in the UK but, given the bike's rarity and the fact that it's a pure racing bike, I don't think that will be any sort of issues for buyers here in the USA or anywhere else, for that matter. I honestly don't know enough about RG500 race bikes to vouch for this bike's authenticity, so I'm happy to defer to the experts in the comments section on this one. Real, or not, it's a stunning bike, with just enough wear to suggest that it actually gets used from time to time. Bidding is active, but currently sits just north of $10,000 which is well short of where I expect it to end up.

-tad

1988 Suzuki RG500 L Side

Stunning Gamma: 1988 Suzuki RG500Γ MK14 Race Bike for Sale
Yamaha July 17, 2016 posted by

V4 Race Replica: 1985 Yamaha RZ500 for Sale

1985 Yamaha RZ500 R Front

Like any market, collector car and bike values can be difficult to predict, which is why they call it “speculating.” Sure, that Anniversary Edition Corvette looks pretty sharp in a giant, plastic wedge kind of way, but will it ever be valuable enough to really justify squirreling away one instead of driving it? The same holds true for motorcycles: at the time, who would ever have expected the Yamaha RZ500 to be so much less sought-after than its direct competitor, the Suzuki RG500 Gamma?

1985 Yamaha RZ500 L Rear

On paper, the two bikes share a similar mission and specifications and both have their engine as the centerpiece: shared with no other bike in either company’s lineup, the Yamaha used a 50° V4 two-stroke and the Suzuki used a square-four two-stroke. Both were meant to mimic their respective company’s GP race bikes’ configurations and made similar power: 88hp for the Yammie and a claimed 94hp for the Suzuki. Both had paired cranks and a whole host of sophisticated engine and suspension trickery, with the Yamaha using their YPVS power valve system to boost midrange torque.

1985 Yamaha RZ500 Rear Wheel

Frame on the RZ500, known as the RD500LC in some markets, was made of steel, although the Japanese market RZV500R used a lightweight aluminum frame. Unfortunately, that bike was restricted in terms of power to 64hp, so any performance advantages, at least in a straight line, were muted. And now we’re getting to the root of the problem. Basically, Yamaha hedged their bets to make the RZ500 more accessible to the average rider, watering down their “GP bike with lights” to increase appeal: a balance shaft smoothed the raucous engine but added weight. The steel frame kept pricing down, but once again: increased weight. At 452lbs dry the RZ outweighed the RG by a staggering 80lbs.

1985 Yamaha RZ500 Clocks

Period reviewers were quick to praise the raw, authentic feel of the Suzuki compared to the more civilized Yamaha. And for racing fans looking for a connection, however tenuous, to the prototype racing machines being raced by their heroes, those pounds and the lack of edginess matter.

From the original eBay listing: 1985 Yamaha RZ500 for Sale

This bike is in possession of the coveted California Registration. I did start it, sounded good, but 2 of the cylinders were over oiling, and 2 of the carbs started leaking, so I shut her down.

This rare bike needs a new owner and a little TLC.  

1985 Yamaha RZ500 Front Wheel

But just because they don’t command quite the rabid following as the Gamma doesn’t mean the RZ isn't a blast to ride, or cheap exactly. Prices have been rising recently, as they have with all two-stroke sports motorcycles, although this one hasn't attracted much attention yet at the $9,000 starting bid. This example isn’t perfect, obviously, and will need those engine issues sorted before it's ready to go. Some minor blemishes mean you can feel comfortable hooning your bike without fear of violating a pristine collectible, because even though the RZ might be less racy than the Gamma, don’t think it doesn’t provide two-stroke race-rep thrills for children of the 1980s.

-tad

1985 Yamaha RZ500 L Front

V4 Race Replica: 1985 Yamaha RZ500 for Sale
Suzuki May 17, 2016 posted by

Gamma From Down Under: 1985 Suzuki RG500Γ for Sale

1985 Suzuki RG500 R Side

Today’s very clean Suzuki RG500Γ "Gamma" hails from power-mad Australia, where it seems like there are a disproportionate number of these two-stroke terrors stashed away. With fewer than 10,000 produced for all markets during three years of production, the bike was a true race-replica and shared its wild liquid-cooled square-four engine with no other model in Suzuki’s lineup. Styling was distinctive as well, with a pair of low-mount pipes for the front cylinders and an additional pair of pipes running under the seat and exiting on either side of the tail-section.

1985 Suzuki RG500 Front Wheel

The approximately 100hp produced by that very compact powerplant obviously looks pretty limp by today’s sportbike standards, since even the weakest 600 makes well north of that figure with far less effort. But that’s exactly the point of the Gamma: the skill needed to get the most out of the bike and the lightswitch power delivery made the bike both feel faster than it was on paper and made handling that much more exciting. Hey, anyone can jump on a liter bike and go fast, but it takes talent and nerve to extract every last one of those two-stroke horses.

1985 Suzuki RG500 Cockpit

Both the RG500 and its rival, the Yamaha RZ500 are both surprisingly small in the flesh: that slab-sided 80s styling and bulky tail-section suggest that they’ll be huge, in spite of the design brief and claimed 340lb dry weight. This example is helped by a very handsome white-and-blue Suzuki color scheme.

1985 Suzuki RG500 R Side Front

From the original eBay listing: 1985 Suzuki RG500Γ "Gamma" for Sale

FOR SALE - #00069 1985 SUZUKI RG500, 18,849 Kilometres VIN – JA1HM31A7G2100069

A rare find today - they’re not making any more of these!

This RG is damn near mint condition – nearly ! Showing 18,849 KMS – that’s about 9,000 miles - she presents very, very well. Tastefully upgraded with 17” wheels from a 1988 GSXR750 – 3.50 x 17” front and 4.50 x 17” rear, the STOCK wheels and discs are INCLUDED in the sale. In the sought after factory blue and white colour scheme.

Bike is currently located in Australia – we are a reputable Classic Bike Dealer and have USA references available if required. Price includes crating, Australian export charges and sea freight to the West Coast of the USA.

1985 Suzuki RG500 R Side Detail

Miles are low but, according to our readers, it has been common practice to disconnect the odometer cables on these increasingly valuable machines... With a $20,000 starting bid and no takers as yet, I’m curious as to why there’s been so little interest in the bike so far. Gammas have been blue-chip collectibles for a while now, with established demand and ever-increasing values. Have those values plateaued? Or is it just the Australian provenance that’s putting off buyers? The 17" wheels might offend some purists but should, at the very least, improve handling by allowing the fitment of modern, sticky rubber in widths the original designers could only dream of. And the seller includes the original wheels and brakes, if that's how you prefer to roll.

If it were my money, I’d keep the modern wheels and tires: I like the updated looks and having a bit more grip at the rear when that manic powerplant is “on the pipe” sounds like a good idea to me…

-tad

 

1985 Suzuki RG500 L Side

Gamma From Down Under: 1985 Suzuki RG500Γ for Sale
Suzuki March 7, 2016 posted by

Time Capsule Two-Stroke: 1986 Suzuki RG500Γ for Sale with Just 30km!

1986 Suzuki RG500 R Side

Fans of bikes like today’s RG500 Γ “Gamma” may fantasize that they are every bit as fast as a modern sportbike. But they’re probably viewing things through rose-tinted glasses: 95hp and 350lbs dry aren’t exceptional numbers today. Matched with the flexible frame and shockingly skinny tires, you’re looking at something would probably have a hard time shaking a modern 600 on road or track. But that’s hardly the point: like many vintage machines, it’s the sense of occasion that these bikes bring to the table and the experience of taming such a famously wild motorcycle.

1986 Suzuki RG500 L Side

The RG’s tach doesn’t even read below 3,000rpm and that should give you a hint of what to expect. With 500cc’s, the bike has enough displacement to work at lower rpm but it’s pretty unimpressive until you pass 6,000rpm. Between that point and 8,500 however, the power literally doubles and the bike lurches forward with a ferocity that belies the dyno sheet. And although the RG’s power is relatively modest by today’s standards, the overall package is still impressively light.

1986 Suzuki RG500 Dash

And it isn’t just the twin-crank, liquid-cooled two-stroke square-four engine that shouts its racy intentions: the bike featured a cassette gearbox that was a joy to use and a very high-spec suspension that included Suzuki’s Full Floater rear suspension, a clever system of linkages that applies equal pressure to both the top and bottom of the rear shock.

1986 Suzuki RG500 Rear Suspension

The slab-sided styling and upright riding position suggest more of a sport-touring mission and trick you into thinking these are much bulkier machines. I’ve never seen this particular paint scheme before and it is very flattering: these 80s two-stroke race-replicas are very compact and light, but they sure don’t look it in photos.

1986 Suzuki RG500 Front Wheel

From the original eBay listing: 1986 Suzuki RG500Γ for Sale

All original with only 30 kilometers!

The Suzuki RG500 "Gamma" was produced between 1985 and 1987. The Gamma sports a liquid cooled two stroke, rotary valve, twin crank, square four engine displacing 498 cubic centimeters with 93.7 brake horsepower, aluminum boxsection frame with castings for the headstock and swingarm. The front suspension has pre-load adjust and an anti-dive system. At the rear the full-floater suspension design uses dual-swingarms. The motorcycle weighed 154 kg (340 lb) dry. The Gamma is an up and coming collector motorcycle and this example with only 30 kilometers on the clock is possibly the lowest mileage and best example to exist! Selling with a clear Minnesota title!

 

1986 Suzuki RG500 R Detail

The seller also includes a nice video of the bike here.

People sometimes misunderstand the “racing machine for the road” description. There’s the assumption that a race car or bike has ungodly amounts of power and massive amounts of grip, but that’s really not the point. Weight is the enemy of performance and, no matter how much power you’re throwing out, lighter weight to achieve the same power-to-weight ratio is better. More weight means more stress on components, more fuel and tires consumed for the same result, and so on. Race bikes are often more powerful than their roadgoing counterparts, but it’s really the lightness, the precision of a racebike, all the jewel-like engineering details, and the way it all works together when handled by a skilled rider. It’s the experience that people are really looking for, a connection between themselves and the road that simple power can’t create, and that is something the RG500 delivers in spades, regardless of the ultimate performance available.

The question in this case is: just how much are you willing to pay for one of the purest sportbikes of all time? It’s probably one of the lowest-mileage examples to be found anywhere and is in pristine condition, but the Buy It Now price is an eye-watering $36,950!

-tad

1986 Suzuki RG500 L

Time Capsule Two-Stroke: 1986 Suzuki RG500Γ for Sale with Just 30km!
Suzuki February 28, 2016 posted by

Tasty Replica: 1986 Suzuki RG500Γ Walter Wolf for Sale

1986 Suzuki RG500 Walter Wolf R Side

Race-replicas are generally garish affairs: race bike paint is intended to offer up a striking rolling billboard that differentiates the machine on track and gets attention for sponsors. But the Suzuki RG500 Walter Wolf replica offers up subtle but effective style that's very unusual among race-reps. Maybe that's because Walter Wolf never actually sponsored racing motorcycles... Although named like a Bond Villain, Walter Wolf was actually an Austrian-born, Canadian oil-industry success that sponsored a Formula 1 team in the 1970s.

1986 Suzuki RG500 Walter Wolf L Side

 

The RG500 was fitted with an exotic, race-inspired powerplant, a water-cooled "square" four with a pair of cranshafts that was shared with no other production motorcycle. Dry weight was under 400lbs and, with 100 crankshaft horsepower, the RG offered up a roadgoing Moto GP experience unavailable anywhere else.

1986 Suzuki RG500 Walter Wolf Front

The seller mentions that he's also owned Yamaha's RD/RZ500 but considers the Gamma to be a "far better performer." While on paper the two were very evenly matched, in practice the Gamma was edgier, sportier. In what likely seemed like a good idea at the time, Yamaha pitched their two-stroke V4 for the street, fitting a balance shaft that gave the bike a far more refined feel. But Suzuki's RG500 managed to more closely replicate the racebike feel buyers were looking for, and is generally far more sought-after today. The Yammie certainly has it's devotees and is a very desirable motorcycle, but reviewers are pretty clear: the Gamma is where it's at for speed and thrills.

1986 Suzuki RG500 Walter Wolf L Side Engine

From the original eBay listing: 1986 Suzuki RG500Γ Walter Wolf Replica for Sale

I'm selling my 1986 Suzuki RG 500 Walter Wolf. If you are not familiar with this bike, read below.

The RG500 Walter Wolf  was a very limited, very distinctive edition of the 500cc Suzuki machine that has won seven championships in world class Gran Prix racing. That racing heritage continued in 1986 with the Walter Wolf sponsored RG500 winning the Canadian National Pro and American Production Championships. The full power Walter Wolf RG500 Gamma of which on 99 were produced, were only exported to Canada. No one (including the Japanese domestic market) was to receive the real deal 95 HP Wolf. The Canadian bikes did not have the WW logo on the gauges nor the WW key. Of the 99 production Canada WW's a surprising number went to Mexico where Walter Wolf was a big name in F1 auto racing circles.

I bought my WW from the original owner in 2001. He was a Suzuki dealer in Long Island New York. He used his connections to get the bike delivered to his dealership, and had it registered and titled in New York State. When he sold it to me he included a  Walter Wolf key blank, lots of magazines articles about the Suzuki Gamma. He also included a scale model "kit" that is in the original box, as well as "odds and ends".

Included in the "odds and ends" is misc hardware turn signal lenses and "blanks"... and a fairing retro-fit from Suzuki Japan. I have the original owners manual and the factory shop manual. I also have a MPH speedometer. I believe I have the "proper" front and rear turn signals as well.

I have the 2-up seat.
I have the factory lift stand with the GAMMA Logo.
I also have a complete set of micro-fiche..
I have the original factory tool kit.
When he sold it to me he also gave me the original shipping container... which I (sadly) threw away.

Just before he sold the bike to me he had a "low side". I had it repaired and refinished by Sean Lezotte of CCR. The color match is perfect. One of the canisters was "scuffed". I have some cans of the proper blue paint.

I installed new tires (Avon's). I had a gear dog break off... which I replaced.

I moved to Georgia in 2007 and titled the bike in Georgia (clean). In 2010 I had the bike "looked over" by one of the famous "Gamma Gurus" who gave it a clean bill of health.

After his work and assessment I rode the bike for about 100 miles. I then parked it in a climate controlled garage..

That is the entire history of the bike except the issue of mileage. When I bought the bike it had a MPH speedometer on it that the previous owner said was necessary to pass NY inspection. The last "mechanic" to work on the bike replaced my MPH speedometer with my KPH speedometer... for unknown reasons. I would say the MPH speedometer number is correct. I have BOTH speedometers.

I am a motorcycle enthusiast. I have owned many high performance motorcycles over the past 30-35 years including RZ 500's,  Nortons, Triumphs, Rickmans and other iconic street bikes.

This is a fine example of a really high performance motorcycle. Riding one of these V-4 Two Strokes is quite fun. Having owned the RZ and the RG, I thought both were incredible..but the Suzuki was a better performer.

My pictures are not arranged in any particular order....and look horrible. I am no photographer.

I hope to get a fair price from an enthusiast.

If not, I'll keep it.

1986 Suzuki RG500 Walter Wolf Dash

Well that seems fair. And given the interest a regular Gamma generates, I don't think he'll have too much trouble drumming up the interest he wants. Mileage isn't super-low at 12,000 but it certainly is in super condition otherwise. The bike looks beautiful and is claimed to run well, but will the fact that the bike lacks the iconic "WW" logo gauges deter the purists?

Time and the comments section will tell.

-tad

1986 Suzuki RG500 Walter Wolf R Side Front

Tasty Replica: 1986 Suzuki RG500Γ Walter Wolf for Sale