Suzuki RGV500

Rebooted back in 2013, we’ve given our vir­tual RGV a lit­tle 2017 makeover.

Classic Motorcycle Mechanics - - RETRO - WORDS AND IM­AGES: KAR LEE

The year is 1983 and Suzuki has un­veiled the most ad­vanced road-le­gal 250 yet. The par­al­lel twin Gamma 250 was es­sen­tially a wa­ter-cooled X7 mak­ing lit­tle more than 30bhp but the chas­sis had all the tech in­clud­ing Deca-pis­ton brakes, al­loy box-sec­tion frame, monoshock rear sus­pen­sion, 16in front wheel and anti-dive forks. It was all wrapped up in sexy styling and the RG was pro­pelled straight to the top of many a wish-list. By 1986 it was over: Yamaha’s TZR250 saw to that, and Suzuki needed some­thing rad­i­cal. By 1988, along came the RGV250. It was an in­stant hit and by 1991 the VJ22 des­ig­nated RGV had a ma­jor up­date and be­came one of the most beau­ti­ful bikes to date with its ba­nana swingarm and shot­gun ex­pan­sion cham­bers. A Ja­panese home mar­ket-only ver­sion lived just two short years, end­ing pro­duc­tion in 1998 – and that was the last of the RGV. On the back of Grand Prix suc­cess, the square four RG500 burst onto the scene in 1985 and threw shade on Yamaha’s RD500. It made a claimed 95bhp, seven up on the RD. Sadly, af­ter a short pro­duc­tion run of two years the RG reached the end of the road. Thanks to emis­sion laws, the game was up for big stro­kers. In a par­al­lel uni­verse how­ever, Suzuki has built a fu­sion of the 250 and 500, and it looks like this.

The body­work would house twin head­lights and in­clude this year’s lat­est Mo­togp fad of shrouded wings to in­crease down­force at high speed: these would prob­a­bly be very rel­e­vant on such a light­weight, pow­er­ful sports­bike. Colour schemes: ob­vi­ously a Suzuki house blue/white, a retro-in­spired Suzuki red/black with more than a waft of Wal­ter Wolf and who could say no to both Pepsi and Lucky Strike ver­sions? With the track-only Suter 500 mak­ing a claimed 195bhp – a whop­ping 100 horses more than the orig­i­nal RG500 – we’d ex­pect some­thing in-be­tween the two from a road-go­ing RGV500: 140 re­li­able ponies seems a rea­son­able fig­ure. Com­bine that with a feather-weight dry 150kg, and we’re in R1m-both­er­ing ter­ri­tory. A light, but hefty beam frame would hold the V4 in place while the ba­nana swingarm would make a reap­pear­ance. With GSX-R1000 Big Pis­ton forks and wheels and ra­dial calipers do­nated from the 750, this RGV has a chas­sis the 1985 RG500 can only dream of. cmm

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