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1986 Suzuki RG500: 60 in 3.4


While not a motorcycle expert, I do love sport bikes from the ’80s. In general, I’m a fan of the colors and styles of almost all machinery from that era – a bit more squared off. Plenty of character lines, much different than the drag coefficient heroes that dot our landscape today. This 1986 Suzuki RG500 here on craigslist in San Clemente, California not only comes to the plate with the wild graphics and color-coded wheels that I love, but also impressive engineering that made this a seriously quick bike: a two stroke, rotary valve, twin crank, square four engine churning out almost 100 bhp, giving it a 0-60 time of 3.4 seconds – in 1986! Weighing a measly 340 lbs. meant this thing could absolutely haul, and the clever POSI-DAMP anti-dive system kept it under control when stopping was needed. What a bike! I wish it were mine. Thanks to reader Bailey M. for the find.


  1. Avatar photo leiniedude Member

    Hello. Not a comment but a question. Anyone else having problems getting into the e-bay or Craigslist links? It always worked well. Thanks, Mike.

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  2. Avatar photo cory

    Probably the best bike we couldn’t buy after The epa killed off road going two strokes. These can still hold their own with current sportbikes. I would love to have it

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  3. Avatar photo Robert Member


    They are working fine here.



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    • Avatar photo Leiniedude Member

      Thanks Robert, I will have the kid up the road look at it, he owes me for a bicycle tune up! Take care, Mike.

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  4. Avatar photo Howard A Member

    2 words, crotch rocket. Never liked this racing style bike for the street. That driving position would get mighty tiring after a while. ( I see people on bikes like these, and it doesn’t look like they are having any fun) Maybe racing from one stoplight to another, which is very popular in big cities. While I do like 2 cycle bikes, for certain purposes, this “ring-ding” is a limited interest bike, for me. If I want to go fast on a bike, and still be able to go for a long cruise, I’ll get a Kawasaki Z-1.

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    • Avatar photo Dallas

      Hi Howard. Rest assured that there are many people who find sport bikes to be fun! Many riders (including me) even ride long distance on “crotch rockets” and if you’re in reasonable shape and have the right mindset it can be a great time. I did a ~1,200 mile long weekend trip on my Yamaha R1 last summer, and have done many similar trips on my Ducati 900SS/SP, and they were lots of fun. Just sayin’.

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  5. Avatar photo jim s

    this bike is on ebay with bids at $14100 and reserve not met. this and the yamaha rz500 interested me back then but they were not legal in the USA so i rode a rz350 instead. the US spec rz350 had cataytic converters and some other high tech systems in order to pass EPA testing.

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  6. Avatar photo jim s

    this bike has had a lot of changes made to it but the seller is incliding the stock parts which is great. someone is going to get a nice piece of history and a really fast bike. great find.

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  7. Avatar photo Tirefriar

    Part of the high price is constituted by a California registration. It’s illegal but not impossible to register a twin stroke in Cali and that takes too many hoops to jump through. The ten strokes are much more reasonable in states that will allow for them to be operated legally on the street. I’d love to have myself a sport twin stroke such as this Gamma but alas, I live in Commiefornia and at this price it doesn’t make much sense.

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  8. Avatar photo the chucker

    This reminds me of my first motorcycle, a 1984 Kenny Roberts Edition RZ350. Man, I wish I still had that bike!

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  9. Avatar photo gunningbar

    A friend has one since new in 86… great bikes.. but he went thru hell registering it (in CA) and I think he had to do some quasi legal maneuvers … (he drove it down from Canada and told customs it was a race bike).. so caveat emptor.

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  10. Avatar photo Thorsten

    I had one of These in the same colour combination here in Germany. Bought New and sold it after one year. It is a racing bike with registration. Consumption of 4 Gallons on 60 miles.
    Never again I had such a low weight and powerful bike. I should’t have sold her…..

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  11. Avatar photo krash

    wow…and in beautiful shape….what a great looking bike…

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  12. Avatar photo ELT

    I never knew they made this bike. I remember watching Barry Sheene try to tame the evil racing version of it all those years ago.

    Like 1

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