The factory racers -the
Suzuki realised in the late sixties that racing victories made
for great advertising. Suzuki had a good 500cc bike so why not
make good use of it. the company developed a racing model from
the production version, utilising a new Norton Featherbed inspired
frame, called the XR05.
TR500 showing the featherbed inspired frame
was where the big sales potential was, so where else to start
big 500 but at Daytona. In 1968 the first machine appeared and
caused a sensation. it looked mean and went like stink. Shame
about the handling though.
TR500 at a remote road-testing site
XR05 in 1968 could pull 135mph and produced 63.5hp at 8000rpm.
bike weighed 135kg. The 1969 model managed 64.5hp at 8000rpm and
with new gearing was good for 147mph. Ron Grant ran to 5th at
the 1968 Daytona 500 on this machine and Itoh managed 9th.
author's Daytona TR500 at Wanneroo raceway
1970 the TR500 produced 70.5hp at 8000hp with a speed of 152 mph.The
bike still ran a Ceriani 9" twin leading shoe front drum brake
and Ceriani forks. For 1971-2 the TR500 ran 71.5 hp and 154 mph
from a dry weight of 130.6 kgs.
author's Daytona TR500 in the pits at Wanneroo
big change for 1973 was water-cooling for the motor. The TR500III
73 hp at 8000rpm and pushed 140kg. A new frame was introduced
for this model which ran twin disks up front and a single disk
at the rear. Jack Findlay came first at the Isle of Man on this
model. The 1974 TR500 produced 78 hp at 8700 rpm and could pull
Rick's water-cooled TR500 - this bike was ridden to success
at the 1974 Marlboro Series in New Zealand The
end of the road came in 1975 when new barrels were introduced
bike was producing 80 bhp reliably at 8900 rpm.
Bimota water-cooled TR500 of 1976
ultimate Suzuki 500 was produced in 1976 when Bimota entered the
The Bimota-Suzuki 500 used the TR500 MkIII water-cooled motor
with a dry clutch and a six speed gearbox. The Bimota used a tubular
space frame with a monoshock rear suspension with a Koni F1 shock
absorber. The Bimota-Suzuki was an Italian Suzuki initiative.
NZ Steve Roberts built Suzuki TR500 with a non-standard tank,
by John Woodley
factory Suzuki TR500 with Ceriani forks and brakes An excellent
reference on Suzuki racing machines is "Team Suzuki"
by Ray Battersby.
Daytona TR500 with a John Woodley built frame