1 SUTER MMX500
‘ The fastest, most-advanced production two-stroke the world has ever seen’
So, this megamoney, lowvolume track machine is the greatest twostroke ever? Too right it is. The Suter MMX500 is the best stroker the world has ever seen – and it’s currently in production. Anyone can rock up to Suter Racing’s Swiss base and buy one, provided you’re willing to cash-in your pension and downgrade your house.
The Swiss specialists (who have contracts with most of the Motogp grid) released the MMX500 as a track-only bike in 2015 and have an eye on getting it homologated as a roadbike too.
Imagine a parallel universe, where Motogp never went-four-stroke? This is what the future would look like. So that’s fuel injection, modern electronics and engine management and a chassis that teeters on the cutting edge.
The figures are astounding. The MMX500 is powered by Suter’s own 576cc twin-crank 80-degree V4. It kicks out 188bhp at the back wheel and weighs 130kg ready to go, yet it is flexible enough to be ridden in the wet, starts easily, idles like a road bike and despite its astounding performance could be ridden by anyone who fancies a trackday. Provided of course, you’ve got the £100,000 you need to buy one. We were hugely excited when we heard that Suter were going to van a pair of bikes over from their Alpine lair for us to test. With it they brought their top mechanic, Didier Langouet. We were less excited about the weather – an Indian summer had turned overnight into a soggy English autumn.
It looks like the day’s a write-off, but Didier’s got other ideas. “You know we’ve got some wets, don’t you?” I pretend I haven’t heard him and instead quiz him about the bike.
Nine titanium bolts are all that’s needed to remove the entire carbon fairing and underneath is pure mechanical porn. The titanium Akrapovic expansion chambers wrap themselves around the MMX like engorged boa constrictors.
We could spend all day looking at the bike but with the weather not looking like clearing, we’ve got no choice but to go out on wets. As part of my job I’ve been lucky enough to have ridden race-
bikes like Schwantz’s Pepsi RGV500, but I’m not going to pretend I’m not a little nervous. Didier bump-starts the bike, warms it up and beckons me over.
Just climbing on is a job. The bars are low, the seat high, the pegs rear-set. It’s short, too – tuck in and your head can clout the steeply-angled screen. Time to take control. Revs rise and fall as the display scuds across the carbon-shrouded 2D dash. Highfrequency vibes penetrate deep and a bellow from the airbox mixes with the staccato blare of those magnificent Akrapovic stingers. It’s malevolent, angry, and makes a Motogp bike seem like a shrinking violet.
Time to man up and select first gear. The gearbox has a short, positive throw and the hydraulic clutch is light and well-modulated. The MMX pulls away as easily as any road bike I’ve ever ridden, aided by strong midrange power. Old 500GP riders talked about a bike being grunty when it had a 1500rpm powerband, but a Suter makes usable power from 6000rpm right to its 12,500rpm redline.
Power builds strongly as soon as you touch the throttle, multiplying as revs rise. It’s all you can do to tuck in hold on and feed it ratios. Such is the shunt that it’s impossible to open the throttle hard in first or second without wheelies, wheelspin, or a blown mind.
The MMX500 just charges forward, fury barely contained. The sound echoes off the pitwall, bouncing off the empty stands and multiplying in its intensity. It feels alien, yet at the same time so familiar. As a race fan this is the soundtrack of hundreds of lost 500GP weekends. The experience so intense – you can even smell and taste it – as the laps pass by a fragrant mist of burnt Panolin two-stroke oil (3% pre-mix) hangs in the air.
The fuel injection makes it manageable. At Rockingham you need a bike that works at small throttle openings but the fuelling is perfect.
The chassis is stunning too – as you’d expect from a bike that weighs 60kg less than a Panigale. But what is astounding is how well it works on a low-grip, treacherous day. The steer- ing is light, but the bike doesn’t fall on its side, instead it just gives you any angle you need. It’s happy at medium lean generating enough feel to know what’s going on, and gives just enough feedback as you go faster to allow you to understand what’s going on. The brakes tell the same story – huge power of course, but with progression and feel.
I could ride all day, but it’s time to return to the pits. My brain’s fried by the brilliance, the sophistication, the ability of the MMX. Forget two-strokes, this is one of the greatest motorcycles of all time. Full stop.
‘The experience is so intense – you can even smell and taste it’
Matt gets ready to ride the MMX500. Nervous? And the rest...
Minimalism in motorcycle form, it’s beautifully pure and simple
Titanium Akrapovic exhausts are simply stunning
Race-spec shock is hooked up to optional datalogger
Red and green switches richen and weaken mixture
Suter’s slipper clutch is as light to use as your bike’s