1 SUTER MMX500

‘ The fastest, most-ad­vanced pro­duc­tion two-stroke the world has ever seen’

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Feature - MATT WILDEE MCN SE­NIOR ED­I­TOR AND TWO-STROKE AFI­CIONADO

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

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