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Yamaha YZR500 vs. Suzuki RG500 Seen from the 21st Century (Part Two)
Yamaha YZR500 vs. Suzuki RG500 Seen from the 21st Century (Part Two)

Although the first two-stroke bike to win the 500cc World Championship was the Yamaha YZR500 OW23 with Giacomo Agostini at his controls in 1975. It seems that the Japanese were not able to manage the resources and knowledge acquired and were diluted in a strategy that did not focus efforts on a single leading driver. In 1976 Yamaha decided not to officially participate in the World Championship and only provided a customer racing motorcycle to Giacomo Agostini.

Meanwhile Suzuki, who at the beginning of the sixties had "bought" all the knowledge about two-strokes developed by Walter Kaaden and Erns Degner in MZ, managed to cure the youth problems that his 500 motorcycle had.

Barry Sheene champion with Suzuki in 76 and 77

In addition, in Suzuki they signed a young British man who stood out over the other riders of the brand, Barry Sheene was going to climb in the 1976 season to the most developed two-stroke on the grid. That season Sheene had five victories. But the dominance of the Suzuki was such that Suzuki won three more races that season, took a second place and only fell off the podium in the Tourist Trophy where J. Williams finished seventh. However, at the end of the season the first six positions of the World Championship were occupied by pilots driving a Suzuki.

And the following season things did not change much, since Among the 32 motorcycles participating in the 1977 World 500, 27 were Suzuki. Still Barry Sheene won seven races, for a Findlay, a Hennen, a second place went to Marco Lucchinelli and a third to Rougerie. In the 11 races there was always a Suzuki on the podium.

Technically the Suzuki RG500 XR14 used a four-cylinder in-frame engine. Engines that arose from joining two 250 cc twins in parallel. The simplicity of the design was such that each cylinder had its own independent float carburetor. Its own rotary intake valve and resonator exhaust in charge of extracting every last horsepower from the cylinder.

Besides the Suzuki's chassis had been evolved without compromise with the chassis used up to that time, which allowed the motorcycle to be driven in the opposite style to the four-stroke. While the four-stroke bikes tried to brake to the bare minimum and corner very carefully, the two-strokes required to be driven in a different way. You braked a lot at the entrance of the curve, you turned and as soon as the bike was fairly straight, the throttle was fully opened to take advantage of the blazing accelerations of the two-stroke engine. Of course, for this, the tires also had to evolve accordingly.

Suzuki RG500 XR14 datasheet

Tomorrow we will continue with the Yamaha YZR500 OW48R.

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