Friday, February 10, 2017

Suzuki RE5

I have a list of favourite motor bikes. Not a large one, it doesn't reach double figures, but the rotary Suzuki would be on it.
This was the Model M which came out in 1974 following millions of dollars invested in pre-production. Unfortunately they didn't sell too well. As I mentioned with the Nissan electric car, people don't warm to anything new or unusual. There were many unsold new motorbikes left in the showrooms so the Suzuki factory took them all back. They painted them a different shade of blue, fitted a different shaped handle bar and replaced that unusual "tin can" gauge housing (and matching "tin can" tail light) with something more conventional and put them out again as the Model A.
These bikes were reasonably heavy but went fairly well anyway, bearing in mind that the reason manufacturers investigated using rotary power was the incredible horsepower you could get in a lightweight frame. You don't see many of these bikes around now. There is one in the Birdwood museum and I do recall that Peter Ingram-Jones's dad had one up in Queensland. Honda, Kawasaki and Yamaha all built rotary prototypes but Suzuki was the only Japanese manufacturer to go into production with them.

Another rotary powered motorcycle was produced in Europe. This was the air cooled Hercules.

Norton produced a rotary as well.
Now, while we are talking about different sorts of motorbikes, how about the Rokon automatic?
I particularly like the starter.
It reminds me of my lawnmower.
Rokon also make a 2 wheel drive.

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