The 1993 Suzuki RGV500 is from an era when Grand Prix machines were beautiful like few before or since. It's also a touchstone to a golden age of fabulous fag sponsorship, wild highsides and day-glo cool, an era that gave us Schwantz versus Rainey, vast power versus scant control and Mick Doohan v Honda's nasty NSR500.
In outright terms, the Suzuki RGV wasn't the fastest thing on the grid. On the all-important Honkenheim speed trap leaderboard, 1993 saw this bike, Kevin Schwantz's, languishing in eighth, some way behind the ballistic, 320km/h Rothmans Hondas. But it's all relative. Blessed with, by 500cc two-stroke standards, a degree of user-friendliness thanks to its twin exhaust power valves, the Suzuki RGV's V4 was potent enough and, under Schwants's aggressive instruction, bagged five wins on the way to the title that year.
For the 1993 GP season Suzuki found consistency with the Suzuki RGV - race weekends were finally about fine-tunning the jetting and set-up rather than fixing big problems.
Using much of the 1992 bike helped - the bike's chassis and engine cases went largely unchanged.
The frame uses two spars of box-section aluminum to span the gap between the adjustable headstock and the machined-from-solid rear section at the swingarm pivot. According to Suzuki, its geometry was used on the first SRAD GSX-R750, the 1996 Suzuki 750T. The swingarm has a beauty that defies description and seems impossible for what is a lump of metal. The banana-shaped beast is also box-section aluminum and pivots on needle roller bearings.
When former Suzuki GP team manager Garry Taylor retired, the factory offered him a bike of his choice on permanent loan. The answer came quickly, 'It's the 1993 championship-winning bike and to my mind, it doesn't get much better that that,' says Taylor. 'The bike was in our old building for years, up on a plinth - this is exactly how it finished the '93 season. They got it running for the first time in years a few months ago and it it was just great to see the old girl running again, the noise really is something else.
By modern standards it's not very complicated. You don't need computers to get it started. The powerpack for the power valves was knackered and the gearbox oil had jellified. We always ran the bike on street Motul oil so we popped out for some of that and fitted fresh tyres, Michelin thought it might be wise. That really was it.
'To be honest, anything to do with Kevin has a special place for me, even if it hadn't been the championship-winning bike, I'd walk through fire for Kevin, he's just and extraordinary guy' Gary Taylor said.