A few days ago, walking on a parallel street in the Viale Marconi area of Rome, I had a vision, almost heavenly, of a beautiful and perfect Suzuki RG 500 Gamma, one of the most incredible and desired motorcycles for sports bikers of the past, produced from 1985 to 1989. An object of desire, something more and different from any other bike produced and registered for use on the road. The extraordinary model derived directly from the production of motorcycles built by the Japanese company for the private owners of the 500 Class World Championship from 1976 to 1984.
A motorcycle with extreme technical characteristics, the empty weight close to 170 kg, power over 90 hp, aluminum alloy frame, but above all the extraordinary 2-cylinder 2-stroke engine with admission to a rotating disk. I remember with great nostalgia when Autodromo Vallelunga Piero Taruffi, the fantastic RG 500they came out of the parabolic curve of Rome and darted on the main straight, a unique emotion. A bike that is difficult to use, as bad as the two times have always been, terribly explosive and scorbutic, but which was exciting. I remember being lucky enough to try one, even if for a few kilometers; unbelievable when it was reactive, and how much emotion it gave in feeling the front wheel coming off the ground when the gas was thrown open. The memories linked to that fantastic world of 2Ts are incredible, and make me nostalgic, especially having used it in competitions. An extremely simple engine in its architecture, carburetor fuel supply, reed valve inlet, and expansion exhaust. These were the things we talked about when we owned a 2T: carburetion, slats, and exhaust. You wanted to go faster, you changed the exhaust terminal with a nice Polini, Giannelli, Proma and Malossi just to name a few. Then you worked on the carburetion, which changed depending on the outside temperature, altitude, and a thousand other parameters; only the best mechanics were able to fuel a 2T properly.
I remember the constant slamming, to be able to get a well-carburated motorcycle, it was a continuous disassembly and reassemble the spark plug, which told you if you were “thin or fat”. Some said empirical and almost comical methods to verify the perfect carburetion: start with a nice pull with a warm engine, then place the bike on a tripod, position yourself in the back of the bike giving some nice staggering. If they burned your eyes, it meant that the bike was bad. An alternative method to the one best known for losing sight …
However the 2T is an exceptional engine, but it has a very big defect: it pollutes. This led him to be practically abandoned by all the motorcycle manufacturers, which in the mid-90s, practically decreed the end of their use, with the exception of their use in small displacements or in specialized motocross/enduro bikes.
Perhaps the last real experiment in producing a 2T bike, which really aroused so much attention, came from the small company Bimota, which made the 500 Value. Motorcycle produced since 1997 powered by electronic injection. A dream for the enthusiasts, but that was quickly interrupted, both for the problems of reliability of the engine, but also for the failure of the company that took place on March 2001. In reality, the project was then acquired by Piero Caronni, who continued its development going from the electronic injection system to the classic carburetors.
The 4T model that probably came close – due to the emotional characteristics of the 1980s / 1990s – was probably the Ducati 851, presented in 1987 and designed by Ing. Massimo Bordi. An extraordinary bike, which had great commercial results also thanks to the results in the world of SuperBike competitions. The “sound” produced by the two tailpipes was unique, you could recognize it indiscriminately in the middle of hundreds of bikes. Probably the Ducati 851 was the model that started the commercial rebirth of the Bolognese house, in those years owned by the Castiglioni brothers. Then came the 916 …
If you compare some technical data, between the Suzuki RG 500 Gamma and the Ducati 851, it comes out that:
- Suzuki RG 500 Gamma dry weight = 154 kg (declared)
- Power declared as Suzuki RG 500 Range = 95 HP at 10,000 rpm
- Ducati 851 dry weight = 180 kg (declared)
- Power declared Ducati 851 = 105 HP at 9,000 rpm (declared)
From these data, it emerges that the weight/power ratio was slightly favorable to the Japanese motorcycle but substantially similar.