Posts by tag: RG500

Suzuki October 19, 2016 posted by

Good As New: 1986 Suzuki RG500Γ for Sale

1986-suzuki-rg500-l-front

"It's only new once" is pretty axiomatic in the collector car and bike worlds. Meaning that a slightly imperfect, but time-capsule machine with a bit of wear and tear is generally more desirable than a perfectly restored, better-than-new example to many collectors. Original machines have flaws: they're often mass-produced, or have little cosmetic flaws from the factory, but they accurately reflect the bike as it would have been at the time it was running around, terrorizing the backroads. This 1986 Suzuki RG500Γ "Gamma" is claimed to have been restored to "as-new" condition. Personally, I'd actually prefer a bike that improves a bit upon the original, adds in a few modern parts for the sake of reliability and performance at the cost of some period-correctness. But then I'm not a well-heeled motorcycle enthusiast.

1986-suzuki-rg500-dash

If you're not familiar with Suzuki's Gamma, hello and welcome to RareSportBikesforSale! The bike was Suzuki's very trick race-replica, competing in a class of two against Yamaha's RZ500. Both used four-cylinder, two-stroke powerplants exclusive to their respective models and shared with no other bikes. In the Suzuki's case, it was a water-cooled 500cc square-four with a pair of cranks versus the Yamaha's V4, also with two crankshafts. The RG500 made in the neighborhood of 100hp and weighed in at around 400lbs dry.

1986-suzuki-rg500-l-rear

Not very impressive today but it was considered pretty quick in 1986. But the numbers don't tell the whole story, and straight-line performance wasn't really the point of this race-replica: that highly-strung engine provided an addictive hit when it came "on the pipe," while cutting-edge handling rewarded skilled riders. Of the two, the Suzuki was considered far more "hard core" and is the more desirable choice today, although both are very collectible motorcycles that evoke a lost era of two-stroke performance.

1986-suzuki-rg500-rear-wheel

From the original eBay listing: 1986 Suzuki RG500Γ for Sale

Totally restored to new machine it is a great bike
I have all the bills and documents for what was done for this rebuild
Bike comes with a service manual and a very rare microfiche of all parts for the Gamma
This bike has 2 seats a mono and double, original keys
New tires and bearings and many more original parts from Suzuki
Bike has been totally re-calibrated to factory Suzuki spec by Pulsion Suzuki call ask for Mike on this bike
Location is in Drummonville Quebec Canada
Will miss it reason for sale moving to Africa

1986-suzuki-rg500-engine-detail

The Starting Bid and the Buy It Now on this bike are both $12,500 with no takers yet. I'd prefer some higher-resolution photos that show the bike off in all its glory, but from what I can tell, it looks pretty clean, so I'm not sure what's causing bidders to be gun-shy. Maybe it's the lack of detail in the listing? The bike's inherent Canadian-ness? I'm sure our readers will have some ideas... "Restored" can have a few different meanings in eBay Land so it might be worth it to email the seller for a few more details before plunking down your cash, but for those of us just dreaming this should serve as inspiration.

-tad

1986-suzuki-rg500-r-front

Good As New: 1986 Suzuki RG500Γ for Sale
Suzuki August 30, 2016 posted by

Game-Changer: 1977 Suzuki RG500 Grand Prix Race Bike for Sale

1977 Suzuki RG500 Race Bike R Side

Prior to the RG500, two-strokes were found only in the smaller racing classes, and Suzuki was breaking new ground with this bike: no one had ever really built a two-stroke to challenge bikes in the premier class. Launched in 1974, Suzuki’s RG500 racing machine was impressively successful: with a Manufacturer's Title in 1976, the bike dominated Grand Prix racing for the next decade. That success drove the move to two-strokes for any manufacturer who wanted to remain relevant in Grand Prix racing, and two-strokes were the only game in town until rules changes for the 2002 season made four-strokes competitive again.

1977 Suzuki RG500 Race Bike L Side Tank

Power was no problem for the new, liquid-cooled engine, and the same lessons learned racing smaller bikes were scaled up for the square-four. But while four-strokes generally deliver their power in a smooth, progressive manner, two-strokes are notoriously on/off devices: a stumbling mess when “off the pipe” with an abrupt powerband like a jagged, lethal spike, characteristics only exacerbated by the dramatic displacement increase: early bikes ate chains, tires, and other consumables at an alarming rate, although development eventually cured these problems.

1977 Suzuki RG500 Race Bike R Side Engine

Early motors produced 110hp and used front and rear banks of cylinders that were the same height, but the later bikes saw the front bank a bit lower than the rear for the “stepped” motor that gave 124 hp for the 238lb machine. This 1977 machine is probably of the earlier type, although it's hard to tell for sure with the fairings in place. Either way, this is a very light, very fast motorcycle. And that's really always been the appeal of the two-stroke: simplicity, extreme light weight, and massive power for a given displacement.

1977 Suzuki RG500 Race Bike Dash

With the introduction of the new Suter MMX500, two-strokes have been heavily featured in the motorcycle press recently, and it's been interesting to read how many mechanics and riders loved preferred them to four-stroke machines: riders loved them for their light weight and challenging nature, mechanics for their simplicity and tunability.

From the original eBay listing: 1977 Suzuki RG500 Race Bike for Sale

Suzuki RG500 GP MK2 ex-Newbold, model year 1977, VIN 110077

An ICONIC RG500 version 1977 in the best paintwork scheme ever. It is an ex-John Newbold bike with all the correct standard original bits plus some works parts (tank etc). The bike was campaigned by Newbold in the Shell Sport 500 TT races beetween 1979/1981 and North West 200. It was completely restored by John Mossey who bought it in 1995 from a gentleman in Cardiff and sold then in 1997. It was just kept as showbike in collection since.

1977 Suzuki RG500 Race Bike Throttle

Bidding on the last couple of RG500 race bikes got up to between $26,000 and $44,000 although those were later bikes, and an individual bike's race history can make a huge difference in terms of value. Bidding for this one is up north of $22,000 with plenty of interest, but very little time left on the listing. Sitting in a collection means it's in amazing physical condition, although it will probably need extensive work if you plan to use it in anger...

-tad

1977 Suzuki RG500 Race Bike L Side

Game-Changer: 1977 Suzuki RG500 Grand Prix Race Bike for Sale
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