Suzuki T500. From superbike to discounted middle engine

Suzuki T500 1
ER Classics Desktop 2022

I bought a blue one for 600 guilders. I had a very nice green cream for 1.000 guilders. I traded one with a highly explosive ex-sprint block for some parts. My second sidecar combination was one. With a Reimo one-in-one expansion pipe. I bought it in Tiel for 2250 guilders. And then there was that orange Suzuki T500 from Alphen. Those times are over.

A while ago, on my advice, a business relation bought a Suzuki T500

The seventy-one was for sale in a very neat condition. The owner stated wrong float levels. The T500 was shipped to Alphen and disappeared from sight for quite some time. After about three months I saw the Alphen owner again for my work. His grievous features were not even caused by his employer's impending corporate reorganisations, but by his Suzuki. EVERYTHING had already been done and the thing still didn't work. Through a fairly obscure transaction I suddenly had a Suzuki T500 that was almost non-functioning.

Two-strokes are dumb and technically not much more complicated than a Big Mac

So I opened the Suzuki with vague interest. The former owner of Alphen had not lied. The engine had new ignition coils, new points, new capacitors and fresh spark plugs. Diagonally behind it was a battery with the price sticker still on it. Some careful pedaling showed the tips sparking and the spark plugs getting wet noses. After about twenty kicks, the engine gave one fat, somewhat obscene-sounding thud.

The float levels were checked and not correct, the ignition timing was checked and not correct, one of the new capacitors had blown and was replaced. The engine idled for a few minutes, picked up once properly and resumed one oriental silence. As I thought, I saw one wrinkly bubble appear under the paint on the tank, which at one point began to leak dejectedly and with little energy. When changing the engine to get a different perspective, the taillight glass was smashed with the same sound that was heard three minutes later when I sat down on my glasses. Thank God I, a seasoned motorcyclist, always have a hip flask in my breast pocket.

While I was kicking at the pink elephants, I decided to try another start

Slowly simmering, the twin ran at no load. A suspicious twist of the throttle gave a brief two-stroke blear. The engine was idling quietly again. One careful lap in the parking lot showed an exemplary classic to the entire neighborhood. Yes, it's old, you can see that, but look how nice it still rides… The satisfied rattling Suzuki was put on the box in front of the house on the sidewalk and I happily went to get my helmet and gloves. Having a blast on my moped. Kick off, sit, open the throttle and let the clutch come in.

The end

At the moment the speed was at its highest, the clutch mechanism collapsed while I just put the box in its one. After topping up and emptying the hip flask, the rear axle turned out to be diagonally in the fork, the chain was behind the sprocket and sat in the front as a somewhat sloppy plug between the various output shafts. The whole thing was garnished with the characteristic crumbled aluminum chunks that you get when a crankcase has lost it again to one chain. I bought motorcycle magazines and researched used BMW prices and larger hip flasks.

In the meantime, such a disastrous experience does not detract from the toppers that were the T500's

And that they are now being sold for more than when they were last new (3.999 guilders?). That is absolutely right. And the copy that lives in Alex's treasury is realistically priced and greedy. If only my shed was a little bigger…


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  1. What a wonderful article! The T 500 was my first motorcycle. Bought it to get a driver's license. In 1977. Then you got a so-called test area and you could drive around with an L on the back with your motorcycle. With that motorbike I went to Soestdijk Palace with a friend on Queen's Day. We had put the L behind the license plate and he was driving because he already had a driver's license. From Soest to Balkbrug. On the way, the main fuse blew so that we no longer had any lights. The next day back to The Hague in the pouring rain without lighting and without a motorcycle suit. I had made vests for us from garbage bags so that our torso remained dry. This T 500 got a different color and a different buddy seat a few times before I sold it and bought a Honda 500 four. At least it braked and was much more economical and achieved a higher top speed in headwinds, but I will never forget the Sous. I actually had a few more after that.

  2. Hi Motaars, I had a blue '80 GT with electronic ignition, it broke every 2 years. Waiting time always got longer because it had to come from Japan. After 7 years I sold it to someone who replaced the broken coils with a normal ignition. He still drives it now. Greetings Lieven

    D42F3316 7803 4BDC B586 2D6DFAFFE93C

  3. Hey Dolf,
    Beautiful story filled with imagery.
    The Titan 500 is a very strong bear , handling and brakes on the weak side and drinking like a cow !
    Compared to Yamaha 350 ( RD and LC ) he had to lose out , they had the track experience in the genes .
    Notwithstanding ( par contre ) I still like to see the bear because of its simple appearance !

    Best regards ,

  4. Comes a man with a Matchless that was put away on foot…… in 1970. Nice man, has already sold a ton on a Kawasaki W 650, king axle, runs like clockwork, sewing machine, what's that called, oh, like a Japanese. What will you do with such an English pastry you wonder. Owner, I've been dragging it behind me since my student days, from room to room and from house to another house. I went to England one more time. I should have said STOP then, let it be beautiful memories, but then you won't get any stories and it quickly becomes boring. In all that time, 50 years, no one had ever stood up to speak the redeeming words, I'll help you with that. How difficult can it be, technology from the 50s. Nice, magneto, how did that work again. The complete Matchless is brought once with the announcement that only the piston is stuck. Well, complete, there was a frame with motor and two wheels, mounted. I had to look up in an accompanying book what the engine would have looked like. The stories of the owner also came loose, the ride to England was not very successful either. And it wasn't an original 350 either, it was a 500 and the bike had also got a different tank and the seat was gone too, I believe. After a few beers you could already draw the conclusion that the sweet engine had already died a bit in 1970 and was heavily encrypted. How do you stay positive, by drinking a few more beers. I want to hear the engine run first, I can still hear myself say. Engine disassembled, cylinder honed, new piston rings, new valve springs, valves polished a little tight again, all tolerances checked, the ignition magnets a little excited again. New points and capacitor and a lot of read-in regarding camshaft timing and magneto ignition timing. Gasoline supply is also not forgotten, oil in and pedal. In the end the bike came to life 4 times with great pops as a reward but it also took 4 weeks of pedaling to achieve this meager result. Help lines have been put out towards the Matchless club, what am I overlooking. Teach me to rein in this Matchless, no result from that side. I humbly had to bow my head and inform the owner that I can't. With a small but dignified service, the Matchless is now in a corner with a sheet over it, the owner is a vicar, did I mention that.

  5. Nice story again! I had one too, very strong but what a bad road holding. Girlfriend on the back and through a hole resulted in her suddenly sitting on my shoulders and no longer wanted to go. I myself once, shrinking from the pain in my back, went to lie down in the grass for a while. I got rid of it after I turned out to have no braking power in a rain shower. Bought BMW (R 50), a blessing for my back.

  6. One of my earlier bikes, had a lot of fun with it and never again, I should never have sold it. But indeed my shed is and was not big enough although I would like to add it again to my collection.

  7. It was my first motorcycle, always ran without any problems, just like my current suzukiGSF1200S-Bandit, which I bought new for 24 years.

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