Additional photos of this Gamma 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. 7,340 examples were produced in the first year of production (1985), with another 1,412 in 1986 and a final 532 specimens in 1987, making for a total of just 9,284. Due to emissions regulations (among other reasons), Suzuki never officially sold the RG500 Gamma in America, though it was offered in Canada so a few grey market examples have found their way across the border.
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.”
We knew the previous owner of this bike, as he sold this RG500 on Iconic Motorbike Auctions last year. He acquired it on eBay in 2006 and had it in his collection until 2020. The owner before him performed a tremendous amount of modifications (detailed below). One of the changes was swapping the speedometer for a MPH unit – at the time it had approximately 3,800 miles. Based on the ownership history we believe the current reading of 15,948 miles reflects approximately 5,050 miles.
There are over $10,000 in aftermarket upgrades in this Gamma. Work included modified clutch baskets with oil passages, Tommy Crawford chambers, 5 degree cut rotors, all new gears in the transmission, ported and polished cylinders, Drysdale billet shifter shaft support, Drysdale billet clutch cover, bored carbs (to 30.8 by Rick Lance), Lance Air Filters, Grosse Needle Valves, and an updated radiator from a GSX-R.
It is also equipped with Tecnomagnesio Vortice wheels (3.5×17 front, 5.5×17 rear), Brembo brakes (4-piston front, 2-piston rear), stainless steel brake lines, Race Tech cartridge emulators (anti dive removed), Fox shock with 340# spring, and a braced swing arm.
Other highlights include a relocated battery box and oil tank, carbon fiber fork brace, carbon rearset plates, carbon tire hugger, new seat, new mirrors, bar-end weights from a Yamaha TZ, and a Rick Lance nose fairing with integrated European signal lights.
In its current state, this example has been dyno’d at 100 hp at the crank! It also received a complete servicing at the end of 2018 from us – the work included a fork rebuild, fluid flush (brakes/coolant/transmission, carb rebuild, new tires, and several small parts.