THE SHEENE MACHINE
The name of Barry Sheene is synonymous with Suzuki’s RG500. He helped develop it, spent most of his career riding it (1974-1979 and 1983-1984) and won 18 GPS and two 500cc world championships on it.
The RG500 was raced for 13 years before being replaced by the RGV500 in 1987. It won four riders’ world titles, seven constructors’ titles, and 49 individual Grands Prix.
Sheene signed for Suzuki in 1973 so was heavily involved in the development of the RG500. He debuted the bike during the 1974 season and won his first 500cc GP at Assen on it the following year. By 1976 the fast-but-fickle RG500 was well and truly sorted, to the point where nine out of the top 10 placings in the championship were Suzukis.
Sheene was a brilliant rider but he also needed a brilliant bike in order to win his first 500cc world championship. This is his 1976 Suzuki RG500 in detail.