Memories: Jeff Ware
For one glorious year – 1985, two of the most iconic two-stroke motorcycles ruled the streets. One of them was the RG500…
THE FIRST TIME…
It was on the cover of a book I picked up, The World’s Fastest Motorcycles, which I still have!
Watching 500 GP on TV, Wayne Gardner had just arrived on the scene, plus the RG500 Gamma’s were racing in the Coca Cola series and other races like the Swann Series, which I saw at Oran Park.
The RG500 was just a pure racer’s dream for the street. It was the ultimate machine and to this day there is no truer GP replica bike available and there never will be – no wonder they are so collectable…
Around that era, RG and RZ500s were popular, and the hard-core two-stroke fans were still choosing them over the better performing GSX-R750F and FZ750N, simply due to the street cred, the two-stroke sensation and the smell!
Man, do I remember that sweet four-cylinder two-stroke smell through the mountains. You always knew when you were chasing one even if you could not see it…
WHAT MADE IT SPECIAL?
The look, the colours and the way it resembled the real GP racers with the same fairing shape. Fat tyres for the era, four stunning mufflers, a trick race dash and a very cool aircraft style fuel cap that nothing else had back then.
The alloy frame was also very trick for its day and so was the suspension. With a top speed of 225km/h it was fast, 95hp and 154kg was unheard of. The disc valve square-four 500cc two-stroke engine was simply the coolest thing on the planet and still is!
Own one? I would swap all of the bikes in my garage for an immaculate RG500 and that includes my RG250HB and Royal Enfield. Does that answer the question? I had one, as you may have read, but had to sell it when Covid-19 hit…
WHAT ARE THE CHANCES?
They are on the market but mainly from Japan. I want another Aussie spec one and I am looking at $40k plus for a good one, if I can find it! So it’s out of the question now…
SPECIFICATIONS: 1985 RG500
Engine: Liquid-cooled, twin crank, rotary valve two-stroke 500
Colours: Blue/White or Walter Wolf
Claimed power: 70.8kw[95hp]@9000rpm
Claimed torque: 72Nm[53.1ft-lbs]@9000rpm
Dry weight: 154kg
Fuel capacity: 17L
Chassis: Double cradle alloy
Suspension: 38mm telescopic, air adjustable with adjustable preload and anti-dive
Front brakes: 270mm dual rotors with four-piston calipers
THE COST OF LIVING
NEW PRICE: $5,795 + ORC (stocker)
USED PRICE: $25,000 - $90,000 AUD
BAD POINTS: Brittle seals and possible rusting on main bearings and big-ends, weak gearbox, 16in tyre choice could be limiting and high price may put the bike out of reach.
GOOD POINTS: Blistering performance, good brakes/handling and ultimate bragging rights.