Saturday, October 26, 2013

When Team Heron sold the Ciba Geigy bikes

At the end of the 1986 season the Heron Suzuki team sold the Ciba Geigy bikes. They were no longer competitive and Suzuki was busy with a V4, the XR71 (1986) and XR72 (1987). Gerhard Vogt from Germany bought most of the bikes and some others went to the Swiss Suzuki importer Frankonia Suzuki and were ridden during the 1987 and 88 GP seasons by Wolfgang von Muralt. After that they also went to Germany.
For more pics see 
Carbonfiber frames Suzuki RG & RGV500 racers

Friday, October 4, 2013

The holy grail of RG500's

This time a few pics of one of the most iconic RG500 Gamma's on the planet, Kevin Schwantz his F1 RG500.
He only raced this bike at Assen in the TT F1 race on the thursday evening before the Dutch TT of 1986. They changed the forks, wheels, shock and carbs and Kevin became second in the F1 race ahead of all the Suzuki works bikes. After the race the bike was returned to standard and sold.
Chief Suzuki race technician at the time, Martyn Ogbourne takes up the story, “No engine modifications were carried out, there simply was not time, just the removal of unnecessary parts, lights etc and the fitting of competition tyres. Assen is deceptively fast with a Donington Park like string of corners, I knew the bike would be out paced in a straight line but relied heavily upon Schwantz and his undoubted riding ability. The gearing required for Assen is identical to both Daytona and the TT with top speeds in excess of 190mph being the norm in the big bike classes.” The future 500 World Champion finished an impressive second behind Joey Dunlop and his factory V-four Honda. Ogbourne “I had assessed that, with the right jockey on board, the Gamma would lose around three places per lap down the straights but then make up five around the sweeping twisty bits”
Update February 26 2015, some great information provided by ex Suzuki mechanic Paul Bolton.
"Yes, so far as I remember it was a stock RG500 road bike pulled from dealer stock, which we un-crated, blue printed the engine, (I set compressions and squish), fitted a race ignition and carbs to it and exhausts, possible disc valves as well but this would have entailed some work, so maybe race bike disc valve timing, race forks, WP rear damper, race wheels and tyres, took a few unnecessary bits off it to lighten it and he raced it to finish second at Assen in 1986. It was down on top speed versus the four strokes but good on braking and corner speed. After the race it was turned back to a standard RG500 road bike, and so far as I remember re-crated and sold through the UK dealer network as a used bike. Somewhere out there someone has an RG500 that was raced to second at Assen by Kevin in 1986 and they probably don’t know the history of the bike. At the time it was just a bike for a job and it wasn’t thought to be significant."
I would really like to know if this bike still exists, so if anybody out there has information about it please let me know.  
For more pics see  
F1 RG500 Kevin Schwantz