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Drysdale clutch cover prevents clutch drag

Race replicas, the showrooms are awash with them, all claiming they are the closest thing to a race bike available on the road.

That might be fine if you want a four-stroke MotoGP lookalike, but what about those people with a need for real GP inspired kicks? You know, for a two-stroke GP For that you have to rewind a few decades to when the shops had two-stroke offerings for sale over the counter.

Suzuki's last roll of the two-stroke race replica dice was with the RGV250 series. The RGV road bikes took their DNA from the Suzuki's Kevin Schwantz manhandled so desperately, so their pedigree is beyond reproach. The original RGV250K model arrived shouting "Real Sprinter" from its skinny flanks. The K model turned into the L model the following year and then Suzuki did a total revamp and the RGV250M arrived in 1991. It was pure 90s GP with an alloy beam frame, 'banana swingarm and sharp bodywork. The chassis wore cutting edge components for its day, from the upside-down forks to the GP-inspired swingarm it looked the business.t

It wasn't until 10 years after the RGV250M first hit the showroom floor that reader Mark Griffiths finally got his hands on one. Mark had always fancied an RGV. He says that Suzuki blood lows in his veins - it all goes back to when he was 16, "Sheene was the man and I had an AP50, a succession of Suzuki bike purchases were all down to Bazza."

But Mark's dream bike didn't quite live up to his expectations though. It was seriously lacking in the power department - stardard RGVs produce around 60bhp. And having previously owned an RG500 Gamma in the 80s, Mark admits he was maybe expecting too much from the quarter-litre machine. He texplains that he desperately missed the thrust he was used to. Because of this, Mark couldn't resist the temptation of fiddling with the engine in an attempt

Drysdale clutch cover prevents clutch drag

58 cmm January 2011

OWNER: MARK GRIFFITHS

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Frustrated with an under-performing big-bore RGV, Mark has done the hard work and his efforts have been rewarded with what many consider to be the ultimate two-s:roke race replica.

cylinder is ratio adjustable

Six-piston AP calipers are track refugees

cylinder is ratio adjustable

THIS LEFT MARK WITH ON OPTION - HE'D HAVE TO BUI OWN RGV500 SCHWANTZ R

OWNER: MARK GRIFFITHS

to release a few more ponies; he sent the top ends off to be bored to 300cc by a well known two-stroke tuner. After a long wait they came back and Mark excitedly reritted the barrels and ran them in but he wasn't impressed v/ith the improvements at all; "There was hardly any power advantage that I could detect and, to make it worse, the big bore made the engine run rather hot". But engine aside, he enjoyed the sweet handling of the RGV and it was then he realised, like many before him, that you just can't beat cubes.

Mark would have loved to have simply gone and bought a bike over the counter but any hopes that Suzuki might build a full blown GP500-style road bike disappeared when they blunted their pencils and released the Bandits in 1995. Th s was at arcund the same time the last UK bound RGV250R was shipped out. There was another incarnation of the RGV, the VJ23, but we never got that officially imported into the UK. This left Mark with only one option - he'd have to build his own RGV500

Schwantz replica. Mark hadn't even built his workshop yel, so the project started to take snape in the warmth of his house in West London. It's not just charity that begins at home.

An RG500 engine ^as sourced complete with carbs, electrics and race exhausts from a local broker who'd just bought a Gamma that nad been sat unloved for years. Quicker th\n Rewin'

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™ Kevin coull wheelie, Mai his immaculate RGV strippad down for some n^ajor surgery. With the old engii out of the way. Mark scratched his head wondering how to get the larger square four Gamma engine not only to fit, but als$> to work. Mark started this build in 2G01, he wasn't really into Computers ard only had a dog eared clipping from a magazine of^a bike someone else had built uskig these ingredients. He w$s in pure trial and error territory.

To ma<e some roi>)n in the engine bay, the rear cast section of the frame was filed back by hand to accommodate the 500's larger crankcases. With the engine sitting as far back as it could ►

Six-piston AP calipers are track refugees

Frustrated with an under-performing big-bore RGV, Mark has done the hard work and his efforts have been rewarded with what many consider to be the ultimate two-s:roke race replica.

w]/vw.ciassicmechanics.com cmm 59 Release: StoreMags & Fantamag. Magazines for All

Tiny AP rear caliper sits on a home-made bracket

The forks are standard RGV units

150mph speedo is now realistic. RG500 rev-counter doesn't look out of place

Tiny AP rear caliper sits on a home-made bracket

The forks are standard RGV units comfortably go Mark was pleased to fnd that fitting the carbs, radiator and electrics would be relatively plain sailing.

Happy witi his handiwork on the frame the parts were placed in three stacks; paint, powder and polish. The frame was sent away for powder coating, a strange choice for an alloy frame and one Mark wishes he hadn't taken with the power of hindsight, "It was a good idea at the time..." The original blue and white tracemark coloured bodywork, although immaculate, was sent away to be painted in the 1993 championship winning colours of his other Suzuki hero. "It had to be Lucky Strike colours; that was never in any doubt."

Tie engine despite coming from a running bike was stripped, internals checked and the tired standard pistons replaced with a 570cc big bore conversion. Despite :he poor results from the big bore RGV250 motor Mark stayed focused and went down that road again, but using a different tuner to do the work - he did it himse f. The days of porting his own AP50 and X7 barrels didn't take long to come back.

With the frame back from the powdercoaters, the build began. The engine slipped back in with no bother and Mark set about fabricating a subframe to hang the RG500 radiator from. The rear subframe was modified so the upper pipes from the RG motor run through it like they've always been there.

Slowly the stacks of parts 'eturned polished and painted and mounted up in the conservatory ready for fitting.

The original RG500 done bike had provided the race pipes, they were refurbished and cut and welded to make them fit the RGV chassis. It wasn't long before the bike was ready for a shake down test. There was no way it'd get an MoT as they were, but quietening them down wasn't easy. In the erd Mark had to make up some new silencers in a last ditch attempt to keep the MoT chap happy.

Despite being finished in 2002, like all the best projects Mark's has been an evolution with more tweaks and modifications along the way. To help emulate his late braking hero some AP Lockheed 6 pots and a matching AP master cylinder were sourced to take care of the duties up front. They were found on a Suzuki GSX-R track bike at his local breakers. Mark explains that another advantage of shopping locally was the ability to borrow some bits, "eBay etc is fine but you don't always want tc take a punt on something just on the off-chance that it might fit."

In Mark's mind, the saggy rear RGV shock was always going to be replaced rather than rebuilt, so he visited his local breaker with the offending item and set about measuring up other shocks. After a lot of measuring, he discovered

150mph speedo is now realistic. RG500 rev-counter doesn't look out of place

60 cmm January 2011

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