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Rare Suzuki at Bonhams Auction to fetch £35,000

By General Posts

by Rob Hull from https://www.dailymail.co.uk

A 34-year-old motorcycle with just TWO ‘Push Miles’ on the clock: Rare Suzuki road bike that’s never been ridden is tipped to sell for £35,000

  • The Suzuki RG500 Gamma is an ultra-rare two-stroke road bike from the 1980s
  • It’s based on the factory 500cc Grand Prix racers of the era that won two titles
  • This example has never been ridden with its two recorded miles accrued while being manoeuvred during storage
  • Bonhams will sell it at auction this weekend with an estimate of £30k to £35k

A late eighties Suzuki RG500 motorcycle is set to go under the hammer this weekend with an astonishingly low number of miles clocked in its 34 years – and none of them came from it being driven.

The two-stroke road-going replica of the factory Grand Prix race machines of the era is already a hugely collectible motorbike today – but this particular example stands out for having just two miles on the clock.

Bonhams, which is offering the bike at its 9 October sale at the Classic Motorcycle Mechanics Show in Stafford, says these are ‘push miles’ only, accrued by owners moving the bike around by hand – meaning it’s never actually been ridden.

The auction house has estimated that the motorcycle could sell for between £30,000 and £35,000 – though its like-new condition and lack of use could see it easily eclipse that valuation when bidding commences on Saturday.

Bonhams says it represents ‘a possibly once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to acquire an unused and unregistered example of this iconic Suzuki model’.

The RG500 ‘Gamma’ was only produced by the Japanese motorcycle brand for two years between 1985 and 1987 and was heavily based on the racing machine used by its factory team.

And it was a title-winning package, with Italians Marco Lucchinelli and Franco Uncini taking the riders’ world championship in back-to-back years in 1981 and 1982.

Suzuki’s advertisement for the motorcycle at launch said: ‘No one has ever built a road machine so close in technical basis to a current GP winner. Quite frankly we do not expect that any one else ever will.’

This example was first delivered to GS Motorcycles on 7 February 1989, which is confirmed by documents that are sold with the machine – as well as copies of the owner registration card, warranty card, dealer record, and new vehicle licence application.

However, it was never actually registered, with the bike instead being retained in storage and never ridden on the road.

That means the liquid-cooled, four-cylinder, two-stroke 498cc engine has never had its full 95bhp of power exploited at 9,500rpm.

The engine used the same square-four engine layout, geared-together crankshafts, and disc-valve induction, as the racer, while the aluminum frame, rear suspension and triple disc brakes were also taken from the GP machines.

Performance was mighty for the era, with a 130mph-plus top speed, 11.5-second quarter-mile time and incredibly agile handling and brakes.

But the peaky two-stroke engine could easily punish riders who were unable to exploit the narrow power band it provided, with surges of acceleration being developed when the revs peaked.

Suzuki RG500 Gamma specs

Production: 1985-1987
Engine: 498cc, liquid cooled, square-four cylinder, two-stroke
Gearbox: 6-speed
Power: 95bhp @9500rpm
Torque: 52.6 ft-lb @9000rpm
Suspension: Front: 38mm telescopic forks, Rear: full floater rear
Brakes: Front: 260mm discs 4-piston calipers, Rear: 210mm disc 2-piston caliper
Weight: 154kgs
Top speed: 133 mph
Fuel tank capacity: 22 litres

‘Today this legendary model is highly sought after by collectors of modern Japanese classics,’ says Bonhams.

And it won’t be the first time this specific model goes to the block, with it last changing hands at the same Stafford Sale held in October 2017, where it sold for £31,050.

‘The machine has not been used/run since acquisition and has been kept dry stored in the garage,’ the lot description explains.

‘Accordingly, it will need to be fully re-commissioned to a greater or lesser extent before use,’ it adds.

Other collectible two-wheelers up for grabs this month

Ex-Barry Sheene 1979 Dunstall Suzuki GS1000 F1 race bike
Auction: Bonhams’ The Classic Motorcycle Mechanics Show, Stafford – 9 October
Estimate: £30,000-£35,000

The late Barry Sheene is the last Briton to win a premier class motorcycle Grand Prix riders’ championship, having taken the title in 1976 and ’77.

While his 500cc career continued until 1984 (his last win coming in 1981), in 1979 Suzuki GB requested for Sheene to guest ride this GS1000S at a domestic August Bank Holiday meeting at Oulton Park in 1979.

That’s despite the Briton – who made his career racing two-stroke machines – making his dislike for four-stroke racing bikes well known. He previously referred to them as ‘muck-spreaders’.

This Dunstall Suzuki is believed to be the only Japanese four-stroke he ever raced.

Despite this, Sheene finishing second in the event, narrowly beaten by fellow GP rider Ron Haslam.

Sheene, who died in March 2003 after suffering from cancer, is still today considered on of the country’s greatest motorcycle racers – hence the expectation for this rare model to achieve a high sale price this weekend.

Barn-find 1964 Lambretta GT200 scooter
Auction: H&H Classics National Motorcycle Museum Sale, Birmingham – 27 October
Estimate: £3,000-£4,000

This ‘extremely rare’ 1964 Lambretta GT 200 Italian has been sitting in a makeshift lean-to shed since 1976 and was uncovered in July before being brought to auction later this month.

While it needs plenty of restoration, Mike Davis of H&H, said: ‘There has been lots of commission bids already after it appeared on our website for the coming sale. I will not be surprised if it far exceeds its estimate. It is a fantastic opportunity to restore and ride.’

The scooter is mostly complete with original tinware and it has been confirmed as a correct numbers machine.

The engine turns over with compression. It comes with an old RF60 continuation logbook, but the V5c will have to be applied for. Once restored by its new owner, it would easily become a collector’s item.

Dream E-Type: Early days of the Honda 4-Stroke

By General Posts

from https://www.thesundaily.my

Mr Honda’s disdain for two-stroke engines fuelled the relentless pursuit of perfection for his little four-strokers.

It was March 1951 when Soichiro Honda summoned engineer Kiyoshi Kawashima from Hamamatsu.

“‘Kawashima, would you mind coming over for a moment?’ It was the beginning of a two-month stint in the capital as I worked on the design of the E-Type 4-stroke engine in a corner of the Tokyo Plant,” recalls Kawashima. “When the plans were at last ready the Old Man dashed in to see it, bringing Fujisawa, with him.” (Takeo Fujisawa was Honda Motor Co Ltd’s co-founder.)

Kawashima can remember clearly that day in May 1951. “As he showed the plans to Fujisawa, Mr. Honda gave us an enthusiastic commentary: ‘Ah, I see. You have this kind of valve and the cam goes like that. This is what I call an engine, it isn’t just a two-stroke machine that looks as though it’s been cut from a bamboo tube with holes drilled. This will sell. Honda will do well with this!’ Mr. Fujisawa didn’t have any understanding of the plans, he didn’t know anything about mechanical things at all, so he just said things like ‘Hm, yes, that’s great,’” said Kawashima, laughing.

The now-legendary test crossing of the Hakone Pass took place on July 15. In those days the Hakone Pass was considered the ultimate test for a motor vehicle. Even lorries could only get over it if they stopped for a rest every now and then. So it was certainly a challenge for a small 150cc motorcycle. Kawashima acted as both the engine designer and on that occasion, as test rider.

“Actually we’d been using the Hakone Pass as a test track for quite some time by then. I was sure we could climb it, but I was pretty nervous because the Old Man and Mr. Fujisawa were coming along as well.

“If the engine had overheated or something and conked out right in front of Mr. Fujisawa, the Old Man would have suffered a terrible loss of face. That day a typhoon was approaching but history relates that the engine was completely untroubled in the torrential rain and raced up the hill in top gear.

“I joked to myself that it was lucky there was so much rain and spray, because it meant that the air-cooling worked liked water-cooling and helped keep the temperature down. Although I say that I went up in top gear, there were only two gears, which was just as well,” he said, laughing. “Looking back on it, I think that was a good, plucky little engine.”

The story goes that the motorcycle overtook the Buick that Honda and Fujisawa were riding in. Kawashima went over first and the three men were reunited at the summit of the pass, where they hugged each other with delight.

The Dream E-Type was Honda’s first four-stroke machine. The Japanese motorcycle industry had become more competitive about a year before and bikes with four-stroke engines were produced for the first time. The market started to show preference for four-stroke rather than two-stroke bikes.

Later, Honda came to be known as “Four-Stroke Honda” although in fact it was rather slow in switching to the new type of engine. But at this time a lot of four-stroke engines were fitted with side-valves for reasons of economy and ease of manufacture, while Honda opted for the overhead valve system.

Another difference was that Honda’s bikes, both two- and four-stroke, were much more powerful than other Japanese machines with 150cc engines.

“The Old Man probably wanted to make proper four-stroke bikes from the very beginning. In those days people’s ideas about two-stroke engines were rather hazy and since they burn up lubricating oil, which isn’t meant to be burnt, the Old Man probably only tolerated them as a kind of stop-gap at a time when he had no money and inadequate facility,” said Kawashima.

“For two decades after the launch in the following year of Cub F-Type (a two-stroker), Honda made only four-stroke bikes. The E-Type was the first bike the Old Man really enjoyed making.”

The E-Type’s frame, like that of the D-Type’s, was of channel-frame construction, but because there had been so much trouble with the failure of the wet-cone clutch on the D-Type, the E-Type was fitted instead with a dry-type multiple disc clutch. The clutch control was also changed to the more conventional left-hand lever system.

Kawashima recalls: “On reflection, we realised we had made a mistake in being too unique and we decided to make our bikes more conventional. But since it’s not Honda’s way to revert to old designs, we decided that the point of difference should be the quality of the engine. These were extraordinary bikes in the best sense. They sold well and brought pleasure to both customers and dealers.”

The E-Type went on sale in October 1951. Compared to the D-Type, which had shipped 160 units per month at its peak, 500 units of the E-Type were being shipped out a month only half a year after its launch and a year later, when it was fitted with a third gear, that rose to 2,000; three years later annual production reached 32,000 units.

Now that Honda had overcome the critical problems of its early years, the company would, as Honda himself had predicted, start to expand thanks to the success of the E-Type and seize the opportunity for rapid future development.

Kawashima riding a Dream E-Type at the Suzuka Circuit on April 1, 1992.

Yamaha updates its iconic YZ125 for the First Time in 15 Years

By General Posts

by Cristina Mircea from https://www.autoevolution.com

For so long now it looked like Yamaha had given up on its legendary YZ125 two-stroke, but the company finally decided to fully update its motocross bike with the launch of the new, reimagined 2022 version.

Even the Japanese manufacturer admits that this is the first full update the 2022 YZ125 receives in over 15 years, but with its new features, the motorcycle now jumps to the top of the 125cc two-stroke class. It is now more powerful, more ergonomic, and with a more aggressive look.

So, what’s new? Well, for starters, the overall design and graphic scheme of the new YZ125, which looks rougher, with the new appearance better highlighting the racing capabilities of the bike. It has a new front and rear fender design and the body panels and radiator shrouds are slimmer. The seat is flatter and the fuel tank narrower, offering an improved riding experience, making it easier to shift body weight and maintain good control of the motorcycle.

Yamaha completely redesigned the liquid-cooled 125cc engine, which is more powerful than the one in the 2021 model. All the parts in it are new, including its cylinder body, piston, crankcase, expansion chamber, etc.

Moving on to the braking system, that too has also been updated to be lighter and offer a better feel. It has larger front pistons, a redesigned 270mm (10.6 in) front rotor with a 30 percent increase in pad contact area and higher friction pad material. The rear rotor is smaller, with a diameter of 240mm (9.4 in), although it keeps the same braking power.

The manufacturer also boasts the revised suspension and improved fueling, thanks to the new, high-precision Hitachi Astemo Keihin PWK38S carburetor with throttle position sensor and 3D-map-controlled CDI unit, for precise ignition timing.

Yamaha says the new 2022 YZ125 motorcycle will be available in dealerships starting this October, for a price of $6,899.

Langen Motorcycles Is Bringing Back Two-Stroke Sportbikes

By General Posts

by Zac Kurylyk from https://www.rideapart.com

The RZ350 formula gets updated for the 2020s.

Two-stroke sportbikes had their day, but now they’re done and gone, right? Wrong. Over in the U.K., Langen Motorcycles—a low-volume startup with some high-revving ideas—is revisiting the old-school oil burner with a limited-production run of custom-built, two-stroke motorcycles.

Clearly inspired by sporty, mid-80s two-strokes like Yamaha’s RZ-series, Langen’s bikes are a pleasant, if smoky, surprise. The company sourced its 250cc, liquid-cooled, 90-degree V-twin from Italian company Vins. Although two-strokes are often seen as outdated, this engine has modern touches like electronic fuel injection and a counter-rotating crankshaft. It supposedly makes around 80 horsepower, a massive output for a 250cc engine. As a comparison, Kawasaki’s hot new ZX-25R four-stroke should make around 50 horsepower, and that’s with a 17,000 rpm redline.

Light And Fast:

Langen’s use of high-quality, high-tech bike components doesn’t stop at the engine, however. For suspension, there’s a set of 43mm Öhlins forks up front and dual Ktech Piggyback Razor shocks in back. Brakes are dual-discs up front and a single disc aft with billet aluminum radial calipers. In addition, the bikes have hand-built aluminum frames and carbon-fiber bodywork to cut down on weight.

That, in a nutshell, is the appeal of two-stroke motorcycles: high power, low weight. Langen says its completed machines should weigh around 250 pounds. Most of the current 300-400cc beginner bikes on the market weigh between 350 and 400 pounds.

Langen’s machines are built for a different type of customer, though. As its website says:

“Each part is constructed to exacting standards using either modern methods such as 5-axis CNC machining and additive manufacturing or hand crafted using traditional methods such as carbon fibre [sic] lay ups and gold leaf gilding.

During the design and build of the motorcycle each new owner will have an input over the final design, ergonomics, geometry to truly create a unique machine and a lasting relationship with the team that designed and built their bike.”

Custom-built using expensive methods and components, from pricey materials—don’t expect a Langen to come cheap, even if it’s “only” a 250. The bikes should be gorgeous to look at, though, and fun to ride. Langen’s website says, “motorcycles should provide raw excitement to ride and be a pleasure to stand and admire. Form and function can work in perfect harmony.” If you’ve got the dough, and you want a small, sporty bike that’s pared down to the essentials, it sounds like Langen’s got a machine for you.