Nathan says

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Suzuki RGV500 Celebration -

“Suzuki had got as far as they could with the old square-four RG500, even af­ter they went from disc to reed valves to­wards the end, to calm the power de­liv­ery and soften throt­tle re­sponse. With the carbs on the out­side, the en­gine was not as com­pact as they wanted it to be.

The nat­u­ral pro­gres­sion was to go for a V for­ma­tion and in 1987 the RGV500 was born. With the carbs in the mid­dle of the V, the reed valve en­gine started to cre­ate proper power.

By the time Kevin rode the first Pepsi bike in 1988 they’d got the de­sign nailed and it was a steady evo­lu­tion from there. The ’88 bike had both crankshafts go­ing the same way, but the prob­lem was that with the carbs in the mid­dle of the en­gine the crank­shaft went the against the in­take flow, so the bikes never re­ally had the power.

This 1989 RGV has counter-ro­tat­ing cranks and that’s when they started to cre­ate some re­ally good power, but they had a prob­lem with re­li­a­bil­ity. Cranks were break­ing sim­ply be­cause the bike was cre­at­ing too much power.

Kevin ac­knowl­edges that 1989 was his best ever sea­son. He won six races, but he had three me­chan­i­cal DNFS and three crashes. If he hadn’t had ei­ther of those he would’ve won the world cham­pi­onship.

The RGV500 had Suzuki’s first big alu­minium beam frame, but the team was chang­ing it all the time, ex­per­i­ment­ing with dif­fer­ent lay­outs, swingarm pivot po­si­tions and steer­ing head an­gles.

The 1988 bike had con­ven­tional Showa sus­pen­sion and the lower ex­hausts ei­ther side of the bike. But ’89 saw the first in­car­na­tion of the ba­nana swingarm, al­low­ing both pipes to come up the right hand side and the first gen­er­a­tion Kayaba up­side down fork. They raced all sea­son with cast alu­minum calipers, but bil­let ver­sions were in devel­op­ment.”

Bul­bous tail con­cealed half the ex­hausts

The ex­quis­ite sim­plic­ity of rac­ing clocks

320mm iron discs with four-pis­ton calipers

Ba­nana swingarm still looks fresh

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