Additional photos are available here for your perusal.
Derived straight from Suzuki’s half-liter RG Gamma XR45 factory Grand Prix racer, the RG500 was a road-legal replica racer produced between 1985 and 1987. From the mid-‘70s to the mid-‘80s, Suzuki was a dominant force in premier class competition. Barry Sheene achieved back-to-back 500cc championship titles in ’76 and ’77 before the Gallina Suzuki team repeated the feat half-a-decade-later with riders Marco Lucchinelli and Franco Uncini in ’81 and ’82. Suzuki also won seven consecutive 500cc Class Constructors’ titles around this same time.
To capitalize on the brand’s reputation for building high-performance race bikes, Suzuki decided to develop a slightly-tamed production version of its competition square-four machine. The production model’s engine was based on the XR45’s race-bred 130 hp unit. The 498cc, rotary valve, twin-crank, two-stroke, square-four featured Mikuni 28mm flat-side carbs, an exhaust utilizing SAEC (Suzuki Automatic Exhaust Control), a six-speed cassette-style gearbox, and thermostatically controlled liquid-cooling. Elements such as the barrels and crankcases on the RG500 were virtually identical to those on the XR45, though a few changes were obviously made for the sake of the road-going model’s longevity.
The race-derived motor put down as much as 95 hp at 9,500 rpm and 53 ft-lbs of torque at 8,000 rpm. Weighing in at just 340 lbs dry, the RG offered a top speed of over 130 mph and could fire off quarter-mile runs in 11-seconds flat. The Suzuki’s 16-inch front-wheel held a set of twin 260mm discs and quad-piston calipers while the 17-inch rear hoop sported a single 210 mm disc with a dual-pot caliper.
Like the powertrain, the RG500’s frame was also borrowed straight off the race bike; a lightweight box-section aluminum alloy perimeter frame with a cast steering head that funneled air toward the carbs. Tacked onto the front was a set of 38mm forks with preload adjustment and Suzuki’s “POSI DAMP” anti-dive system, while out back the square-section double-sided alloy swing-arm was hooked up to a full-floating monoshock.
Classic Motorbikes described the Gamma’s place among its competitors by stating, “Place the RD500, NS400 and RG500 Gamma side-by-side and you would have three of the top manufacturers attempts at producing a replica of their respective GP racers, however, with all but one of those machines, all you purchased was a mere shadow of the original design. That is not to say the others were rubbish, far from it in fact, but the RG was definitely nearer the mark, and actually far closer to the race machine than you might ever imagine. The Suzuki is almost an exact replica of the race machine.”
In preparation for the listing, the seller had us replace the battery, the coolant, the gearbox oil, the brake pads and fluid, the spark plugs, and the fuel lines. We also cleaned and synced the carbs, cleaned the front brake piston, installed a new chain and sprockets, and gave the bike a thorough detailing. Finally, we installed new Bridgestone Battlax BT46 tires with date codes of 0721 and 1622.
Gas Tank Internal: Ok
Tire Year Front: 0721 / Rear: 1622
Tire Life Front: 100% / Rear: 100%
Tire Press Front: 36PSI / Rear: 38PSI
Brake Life Front: 100% / Rear: 100%
Suspension leaks: No
Drive Chain: New
Hydraulic Front and Rear Brake Fluid:
Oil Quality: New Level: Good
Coolant Quality: New Level: Good
Low Beam: Ok
High Beam: Ok
Tail Light: Ok
Brake Light: Ok
Plate Light: Ok
Test Ride: ok, Unit operates as designed
• Body work is in fair condition
• Some scrapes, etc.
• Lower fairing has multiple breaks but is complete
• Some signs of corrosion and rust on upper right exhaust cover
• Brake Caliper, front master brake cylinder vapor blast and repaint
• Vapor blast handlebars and lower forks/Anti-dive plates
• Powdercoat wheels
Currently located at our facility in Santa Monica, California (please make an appointment for an inspection), this Suzuki is offered on a clean Tennessee title. Please note that as an import, this bike lacks certain compliance and emissions stickers that the state of California would require to transfer a title. Have any RG500 stories or questions about this listing? Let us know in the “Comments” tab!