SELLER SAYS: Delivered to Australia when new in 1975, this desirable, first year Suzuki RE5 ‘M’ remains in excellent original condition. Presented by only its third owner, this bike runs, rides and stops as it should. With only a little over 11,400km on the clock, this rotary-engined motorcycle was Suzuki’s first foray into the rotary market in the 1970’s. The venture proved to be a commercial failure making these motorcycles very collectible. With excellent paint, chrome work and all rubber fittings, this motorcycle would be an envious addition to any collection. Contact Carl on 0419 531 360 (Bendigo, Vic.)
EDITOR TERLICK SAYS: What a fascinating story is the story of the RE5. Rotary engines were the buzz of the automotive world in the early 1970s, and pretty much all the big manufacturers of cars and bikes wanted “a piece of the future”. The basic rotary design was simple, and it promised (and delivered) an incredibly smooth and admirably powerful payout. But when push came to shove, making the rotary work was difficult. Being so completely different to regular piston engines, they needed start-from-scratch production lines and dedicated tooling. They also needed complex carburation (five throttle cables!) and heavy-duty heat management. And they were thirsty. In the end, only Mazda made the engine work for cars and only Suzuki made it work for bikes. Well, nearly. Suzuki believed the rotary had a big future, and they spent a fortune to get it to production. But it didn’t sell. Despite the excitement, the RE5 just didn’t have enough benefits over its mainstream competitors to lure buyers. I’ve read one article saying the RE5 almost sent Suzuki broke, and another that reckoned Suzuki eventually loaded ships with unsold RE5s, containers full of parts and production-line tooling, and dumped the whole lot in the ocean off Japan. Both assertions are almost certainly nonsense. Fast forward almost 50 years, and the RE5 is a true collectible. They were a great bike – no doubt about it – and their rarity and uniqueness make good ones a rare find indeed. This bike of Carl’s looks like a wonderful example, with low mileage and high originality. Great stuff.