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Pair of Scare: 1969 & 1970 Suzuki T500 Titans

061316 Barn Finds - 1969 & 70 Suzuki T500 Titans - 1

Thanks to Jim S. for sending in this tip! Here is a pair of bikes, 1969 & 1970 Suzuki T500 Titans, that will both need restoration. They’re in the Gem City – Dayton, Ohio – and are listed on eBay with a Buy It Now price of $1,500. There are a lot of folks watching this auction but there are no bids yet for these two-stroke wonders.

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It’s hard, and possibly deceiving, to tell which is the better bike to start your restoration on. This “Candy Lime Green” 1970 T500 III Titan certainly looks like the best one of the two. The seller says that it “has matching engine, frame and clear Ohio title. T500-25164. Appears mostly complete except mufflers, some carburetor parts and some small items. Has surface rust all over. Has 1 year only tank with mount for tank rack(missing).” 

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They also mention that the “Tank looks good albeit faded. No significant dents or damage. Very clean inside. The gauges are complete and mileage 14476 looks correct. The engine is frozen stuck but will probably free up after soaking. Appears all original. The machine rolls freely and old tires hold air.” But, other than that…

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The repainted 1969 T500 II Titan looks like a more complete bike. But, as is always (and I mean, always!) the case, looks can be deceiving. The owner says that it “appears mostly complete. It has no title but I will provide bill of sale. T500-22146. The engine is free and sounds very good with strong compression. The engine is later and does not match. Engine # T500-105597.” So, if you’re planning on a “correct”, number-matching restoration, this isn’t the one to do. But, for a regular restoration, this one could be interesting.

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It has the “1 year only diamond seat” but it’s seen better days, maybe that can be replicated or a new OEM seat cover found online. I’ve seen the diamond seat on 1970 T500s so I’m not sure if they were early-models maybe, or something that the owners switched out for a diamond-pattern seat. I could be wrong, but I believe the photo seen here is a 1969 T500 II Titan with the diamond seat but it has the candy lime green from 1970. Again, it could be an early/late model year switchover thing. The seller says that both bikes “are mostly complete. There some missing nuts and parts. Both engines were removed and mocked back together for photos.” These will be challenging restorations, to say the least; way over my head. Are any of you fans of the Suzuki T500 and, if so, would you, could you, tackle a restoration of one or both of these bikes?


  1. Zaphod

    At the end of the exercise you’ll have at least one bike with more engine than the frame can either handle or the brakes can stop. Titans were not good handling bikes, only great for hole shots-if you had enough room to slow down… Some of it was down to tire technology however the basic intent of the bike was transportation, not for the spirited riding they were marketed in the US. I’d give them a wide berth.

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  2. Barry T

    Back in 1975 I bought a 1972 Titan 500 that looked pretty much like this. Loved that bike, the brakes weren’t so great but what the heck I was a lot younger back then.

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  3. Howard A Member

    For the early ’70’s, these were great bikes. As said before, Suzuki was the king of 2 cycles, and these were quite civilized, and quick ( not fast, those would be the Kaw 500 triples) and reliable, as long as you remembered to fill the oil tank. Unless you find one like Barry’s picture, ( such cool styling) I’d probably roll these back in the barn. ( which is probably where they will end up) Parts, like electrical and engine, are increasingly hard to find and while neat for 1970, better bikes came down the pike later and these fell out of favor. While 2 cycles made great dirt bikes, road bikes were a different matter. Besides, the “James Bond” smoke screen these leave behind, is considered offensive now, and will probably get you time in jail in California. They were nice bikes at the time though.

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  4. geomechs geomechs Member

    Suzuki brought out the 500 (500-Five? or was it Five-Hundred-Five?) in ’68. I remember a couple of them in my region. One in particular was acquired accidentally. Suzuki introduced a 305 about the same time. A local guy and his dad went to the local dealership to look at a 305 but found out that there was a delay in production (I never saw one in the flesh and understand that it never made it past the promo photos). They came home with that gold 500. I still remember that deep throaty roar compared to the high-pitched buzz of the X-6 Hustler.

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    • Scotty G Staff

      Hi Geo, I’m not sure what the 500-five is? In ’68 the only 500 Suzuki was the T500 Cobra, the first model of the T500 series. I don’t know of another 500 from Suzuki that wasn’t a two-stroke, two-cylinder. In ’71 they made the GT500 that was a 2-stroke, 2-cylinder and in ’72 the GT 550 J came out with a 3-cylinder, 2-stroke engine.
      Here’s the gold ’68 T500 Cobra: http://www.ivansperformanceproducts.com/IMG_2759.JPG

      The 305 was another great one, they made the T305 and the TC305, sort of an on/off version for 1968 only. That would be the one to have, collectibility-wise.

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      • geomechs geomechs Member

        Hi Scotty. That picture IS the bike I’m talking about. I alway s knew it as the 500/Five, although it could’ve been termed T-500. I remember the ads in Cycle Magazine, usually the centerfold, you’d see the first page: “Who makes the motorcycle that couldn’t be built?’ Over the page, see the bike and read: ‘Suzuki makes it! World’s first 500 cc dual stroke.’ The 500/Five stood for 500cc/5 speed. I always knew them as 500. It seems to me that the ‘Titan’ came out a year or so later. If you Google Suzuki 500/Five you’ll see the ad. I’d send you a link but I’ve been having a lot of trouble doing much. It seems that I’ve got to wait until the window opens telling me: ‘Shockwave Flash has crashed’ before I can write normally but links still seem to be difficult. If you can’t locate it, send me an E-mail at: geomechs@netscape.net, and I’ll do what I can when I get home after work.

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    • Howard A Member

      Hi geomechs, all I could find on the “505”, was an ad campaign that showed this bike, with an attractive woman in a suggestive pose, of course, with the caption “500/5”, presumably, the 2nd “5”, was the 5 speed. Oh, one more thing, they didn’t call it a “2” stroke,( I’m sure that conjured up images of smoking, slow, Italian bikes) so they called these “Dual” stroke. I wonder how many people that fooled.

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      • geomechs geomechs Member

        Hi Howard. There was getting to be quite a stigma over two strokes on the road so Suzuki tried to be politically correct and at least try to sound more sophisticated. Personally I thought they should have just called it as it was: a 2-stroke, but then, they didn’t call me for advice (what could they expect from a pimply-faced 15 year old anyways?). This bike was a good product overall, as long as you didn’t go too far past a gas station (but wait, the Kawasaki 500 was far worse). At over 400 lbs. this thing wasn’t all that easy to push…

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  5. stillrunners

    thanks Jim – these 500 Suzuki’s were stellar bikes through the years with Suzuki making changes and improvements….a should be respected 500 machine for the times…..

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  6. Mike Williams

    My first bike was a X-6 Hustler. Later I picked up a ’69 T-500 for $60, I got it running once, but never really used it. From the road test I read, it was a tad slower in the 1/4, but 2 mph faster at 142 mpg top end. After a decade, I sold it for $600.

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  7. Michael furgeson

    I have just picked up two T500 barn find one 69 one 71 looking to restore them but will sell , both turn over but in ruff shape .looking for parts like both need kick starter one needs clutch side cover and seat ,

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