“Although the engine is a development of those in the early bikes, there were no fundamental changes, so it’s still very similar, although they changed the V angle several times right up to 2001, varying it between 70° and 80°. Other than that it’s just tweaks to carbs and ignition, which is where they found the extra power.
The early Pepsi bikes had a single guillotine exhaust powervalve set-up, but this one has a twin power valve system: a guillotine and rotary, which gave better low down power. It also had a rudimentary quickshifter for the first time.
You can see that as they learned more about the chassis it’s a bit neater looking and easier to work on. They had three or four different chassis in 1994 to suit different circuits. This was the era where the frame had an adjustable steering head angle with different inserts, adjustable offset for the triple clamps and different swingarm pivot and also adjustable ride height positions for the first time.
Suzukis were always known to have fickle handling, but Kevin could notice a millimeter of ride height and it would make a big difference to the bike.”
Kenny won the championship in 2000 carrying the number two plate. The 2001 bike is distinguishable by its orange bellypan carrying Fortuna sponsorship. There were a lot of engine changes in ’01 and the crank was offset slightly for the first time. Early bikes had a 54mm bore, then a 56mm and from 1997 back down to a 54mm, but with a longer stroke to increase capacity slightly. But the engine architecture is similar and the cassette gearbox is almost interchangeable between much older models.
Over the RGV’S life they went from proper big bang motors, to screamer engines. Two bikes from the same year could have different crankshaft timing – they changed them to suit the tracks, conditions and rider preference. They had 180°, 90° and 45° cranks.
2000 was the first time they went with the self-supporting carbon fibre subframe and another change in suspension brand, going from Showa to Öhlins. Limited electronics started to creep in with selectable power maps.
The wheel design changed over the years. Early RGV500S had three spokes, but were bending a little, so they went to five spoke Marchesinis in ‘94, and to multi-spoke BBS wheels with the KR bike. From 1998 the bike had Brembo radial-mount calipers.
Schwantz on his way to the title in 1993
Lucky Strike were synonymous with Suzuki
This is a world champion’s view. Nice, isn’t it?