What to buy and how much to pay

Classic Motorcycle Mechanics - - BUYER'S GUIDE -

Against our nor­mal ad­vice it’s pos­si­ble, if not nec­es­sar­ily easy, to re­store a T500 miss­ing key parts sim­ply be­cause most stuff crosses over sev­eral years. This ap­proach works fine if you want a rider not a show bike. How­ever, the early 500/FIVE and Co­bra don’t have the same lev­els of in­ter-change­abil­ity. Many T500s wear the GT500 front end for en­hanced brak­ing and if orig­i­nal­ity is not an is­sue then it’s a sen­si­ble up­grade. T500 and GT500 cranks are dif­fer­ent on the LHS so if you have a GT crank in T cases you’ll need to use the PEI ig­ni­tion sys­tem and wiring. The ear­li­est bikes are much sought af­ter and can com­mand prices up around £8000-9000, pos­si­bly more but at that level it needs to be ab­so­lutely cor­rect. At the other end of the scale project ex­am­ples can start from as low as £1500. Some­where in the mid­dle there’s the R to M models in var­i­ous states of pre­sen­ta­tion in the £2500-£5000 bracket. The go­ing price for some­thing that not only looks good but runs cor­rectly as well cur­rently seems to be around £4000. If you don’t know your Suzukis too well, get an ex­pert to ver­ify what you’re look­ing at. On all models avoid an ex­am­ple that whines in fourth or fifth gear; the ‘box is on the way out! What would we buy? The heart says T500 Mk 2 but they are ul­tra-rare and never cheap. The head says ei­ther of the K or L models (like our bike in cam­era) so pretty yet ruth­lessly ef­fi­cient at what they were de­signed to do. Whichever T500 you opted for, you’d be guar­an­teed a truly unique rid­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

Torque-laden mo­tor...

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