Tagged: 500cc

1962 Matchless G50

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The British motorcycle industry has had its trying times, and because of this, there were occasions of competitors becoming partners. This was the case for AJS and Matchless, two companies with their own racing history, joining forces to stave off extinction. It didn’t work, but this 1962 Matchless G50 is what is left behind for us to enjoy.

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From the seller

1962 Matchless G50 500cc Factory Racer

500cc Single cylinder factory racer with magnesium cases. This motorcycle sports an older restoration and it has been on static display in a private collection. Full service will be required prior to returning competion use. Very rare and desirable post war British racer.

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Matchless had purchased AJS, and other manufactures just before the outbreak of war. When the umbrella name of AMC was coined in 1938, this was the company which produced war ready singles for the British and Commonwealth countries. When the war ended, AMC took AJS and Matchless racing again, and the 7R with the AJS badge was the first to make an impact. Unlike the racing Nortons of the time, the AJS used a chain to drive its OHC instead of the shaft and bevel that the Manx used. It may not have been as technically advanced, but it was also less expensive to produce, and easier to maintain. This made it a favorite of club racers, and lead to the “Boy Racer” moniker.

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In 1958, AMC used the knowledge they had learned with the 350cc AJS engine and produced a 500cc engine and gave it the Flying “M” of Matchless. It became the G50, a hint to the 50hp that it developed. With its 496cc and single over head cam, the Matchless was able to reach in excess of 130mph. The extensive use of Magnesium in construction of the engine gave it a significant weight advantage over other racers and this helped to create a more nimble bike. It may not have reached the top step of the podium at the Grand Prix level, but it did fill out the start list.

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Though AMC stopped production of the G50 in 1963, an opportunistic Colin Seeley purchased all the dies and tooling from AMC for the G50. Seeley continued to produces some very competitive motorcycles, and Seeley G50’s are as sought after as the original factory efforts.  If you pick up this 1962 Matchless G50, and you end up needing spares, don’t worry, because what Mr Seeley started in the late 1960’s continues today under the name TGA Ltd. This will allow you to race your G50 for many years to come. BB

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1974 Kawasaki H1R replica

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The same year that Honda introduced the CB750, Kawasaki gave the world something as special, but with a little more blue stroke. Offered from 1969 until 1975 the Kawasaki H1 gave the rider lots of power, but lacked the frame design to keep the power to the ground in the safest way; it was described as “the triple with a ripple.” In 1970, Kawasaki took the H1R racing and with rider Ginger Molloy aboard, they were able to gather enough points to come second to Giacomo “Ago” Agostini and his MV Augusta. This 1974 Kawasaki H1 is dressed up to look like the H1R.

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From the seller

From the serial numbers on the motor, it looks to be a 1975 H1 motor. The motor is brand new. I pulled off a cylinder and looked at the piston to check. It does not have the stock carbs and although I am not sure what size they are, they do look brand new. If I were to guess, I would say it has 32 or 34 Mikuni carbs. The cylinders are also ported. The right side head has a broken fin. Look at the pictures to see. I pulled the right head off of this to show the brand new piston. This motor is clean enough to eat off of. There is not a speck of grease, oil, or dirt on it anywhere. The aluminum is perfect. There is no oxidation or weathering on the aluminum cases. They look close to new. This bike does not have the dry clutch kit.

 

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The way the seller describes the bike, it seems like they had recently purchased it. They give the best, vaguest description of a bike that I have read in a while. They state that it appears no oil has seen the inside of the oil tank. The seller has not started it up, or appears to know if it would start up. Read the complete description to understand what you might be getting.

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More from the seller

This bike has custom chambers. It is safety wired as well. It has DID aluminum rims, 17 front and rear. The front is 2.5 by 17 and the rear is 3 by 17. The bike has Marzocchi rear shocks. If I were to keep it, I would probably put a better set of pipes on it as these pipes look like they are reworks factory pipe products. All bolts look new, no oxidation on any of the bolts or aluminum. There are a couple of small little scratches on the gas tank just from being moved around. The bodywork and paint are close to mint. No scrapes or scratches. This is done up in the right color of Kawi green.

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I was able to find some power numbers on a racing H1R from 1972, the last year that it was campaigned. 75hp at 9000rpm, with its 5 speed gear box it was good in excess of 160mph depending on gearing. The major visual and performance difference between the replica for sale and the as-raced H1R is the front break. Because 2-strokes offer no engine braking, the biggest and best brake was needed to insure that the rider was able to slow for the first corner of the course. The original H1R used huge Four Leading Shoe drum brakes because at the time, were more advanced then disk brakes. The replica offered has the advantage of dual disk.

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Internal performance differences can only be guessed at, but numbers I was able to find for an original 1974 H1 were 59hp at 8000rpm with fuel/air duties being handled by 28mm Mikuni’s. With my eye calipers, it looks like this replica may have added a few mm to the bank of carbs, the seller guesses 32 or 34. To handle the exhaust, the money shot shows that something more then stock was used. So if you are to pick up this 1974 Kawasaki H1R replica, you might have to spend some time sorting, but the end result should be very rewarding. BB

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1975 Kawasaki H1

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In the early 1990’s when the music scene in the North West started to hit the rest of the country, one of the factors in the sound was the weather. Everyone outside of the NW thought that it rained 365 days a year and all the musicians in the area had nothing to do but write and perform music inside. I think that misconception could transfer to the builder of this 1975 Kawasaki H1, as it is being offered about as North and West as you can get in Washington State without being in the Sound. They have spend a lot of time in the garage putting this rider together.

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Stream of conscience from the seller

hello.for auction today is a fabulous running kawaski H1 500 2 stroke racer….cafe custom that i built about 5 years ago…….if you know anything about h1’s you will know that they were one of the most adrenaline pumping bikes ever made……..ok engine top rebuilt less than 3500 miles ago………burns super clean .nice brown color on all plugs…..the frame has a clear wa state title and it is from the year 1975……….the engine is a 1971 H1 motor…………if you are looking for a garage queen this may not be the bike for you although it does look very very nice………….this bike is a rider………..totally reliable and from stone cold a 1 to 2 kick start bike………some features…….jim lomas hand made expansion chambers(the right outside pipe as you can see has a small dent this was from the kick starter hitting it when  i first built the bike and i did not include enuf clearance………….bronze swingarm bushings and taper head bearings make this bike handle beautifully even at HIGH speeds……..dont believe the old stories that h1 were bad handlers…with the bronze bearings and head taper bearings this bike track true as an arrow………power dynamo electronic ignition..the absolute best in my opinion…….aluminum clip ons………custom pvc oil tank……hand made seat.(made by me)….all paint done by myself………..ok the tank is an old fiberglass unit that i sealed with caswell expoxy….i sealed it 3 times so as to insure no leakage and vapor damage to the paint……this tank had a flat bottom with no tunnel consequently i remove the section of the frame to accomodate fitting it…..i will include the piece i removed in case the new owner wishes to change the tank…it is an easy reweld……..evrything works as it should a bonafide 110 plus mile an hour bike………clear w state title in my name and collector tabbed…….as it is a used bike no warranties………..will assist where possible with shipping..thks good luck …………

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The builder of this 1975 Kawasaki H1 has told us a lot about the bike, really quickly. It looks like they were aware of the reputation of poor handling and addressed that. They spent energy to make sure that there is a good spark as well. The styling of the bike is something that stands out, and the seller hits some high points in their description. But because it is a unique build, the buyer will have to spend time looking, to see if it is something that satisfies their taste. BB

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1950 Vincent Red Comet

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Vincent made the single cylinder Comet from 1935 until 1955. Not as big and dominant in the world of Motorcycling as its 1000cc brother, the 500cc Comet single is nothing to kick to the side. Like the bigger twin there were options on performance. The road going Comet, the Sport Comet, the TT and the Comet Special. The ultimate, and rarest was one of 31 “breathed on” from the factory, Grey Flash. This 1950 Vincent Red Comet is on the track now, but started life as a bike for the road.

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From the seller

1950 Vincent Comet racer. This bike is named “The Red Rocket”. This bike was purchased from a road race museum two years ago. It has been entrusted to us at TT Cycles to handle the sale. The bike is bump start, but we have fitted a kick lever to it just to get her started. The photo of the bike in our shop shows it with the fairing removed. The fairing and rear stand are included. The bike has quite a history. It has been run at Isle of Man and Bonneville. It has been to the Vincent Owners Group Meet over in the UK. The bike was built by Al Mark and the following is an excerpt from an interview with Al about this bike.

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“Meanwhile, Al was wheeling around Willow Springs on quite different machines, including another famous single, a Manx Norton. The “Red Rocket” 498cc single cylinder Vincent Comet seen here, sadly enough passed into Al’s possession as a gift from a dying friend. In stock non-race Comet form, the bike had had been sitting outside at prey to the elements for 27 years, and Al was determined to revive it, spending two years and then some, brining the little Vincent back to speed. He added his own personal interpretation, including the red paint job and bolted on the Manx Norton replica Peel Dolphin Mark II fiberglass fairing which gave a 6 mph advantage of the standard stiletto fairing of the era. He also mounted a tachometer, rewired the entire bike, and modified the distributor using a small jeweler’s lathe. “With that tinker toy lathe, it took me nine hours just to modify the 27-tooth countershaft sprocket.”

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With only 26,000 original miles, the original standard cylinder bores were found to be quite serviceable. Well-known Vincent expert Marty Dickerson supplied a brand new standard 11:1 piston while legendary restorer Mike Parti implanted an Alpha big end and lined the flywheels. The heads were ported to match the Amal GP carburetor that Al found at a swap meet where he also located the Norton 4-speed transmission now found on the Red Rocket in place of the standard Burman box.

 

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As for the name of the bike, Al says he took creative license in assigning it the moniker of “Red Rocket” as the Vincent is technically a Comet streetbike that’s been massaged into a Gray Flash replica, with a Manx fairing and a red paint job. “I painted it red because I wanted people to see me on the track and get out of my way or at least give me a wide berth.”

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The Vincent Comet is half the engine of the bigger Rapide, but not half the motorcycle. To own a Comet may not have as much cache as being an owner of a Vincent twin, but this 1950 Vincent Comet race bike is still special. As the seller states, you can continue to campaign it on the track, or with a few additions, and a few subtractions (11:1 CR would be hard to kick start) you could ride this to the local bike night, and do it really fast. BB

1962 Velocette Clubman

The same seller who is offering the 1959 Velocette Viper has up for offer the bigger, badder brother. This 1962 Velocette Venom Clubman is the 500cc companion to the Viper, but with “Clubman” in the title, you get even a little more.

 

From the seller

Very nice bike in excellent condition. Running and roadworthy. Meticulous Owner, just serviced and ready to ride.

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The Venom was offered from 1955 until 1970. Its 499cc OHV single in original form would give the rider 34bhp at 6200 rpm and top out at 100mph. The Clubman was offered in both the Viper and this Venom from 1960. Before it left the factory, the Clubman would get a bigger Amal TT carb, exchanged the Lucas magneto with an adjustable BTH racing mag. These combined with a higher compression piston raising the final compression to 9.3 to 1, created a bike that you could Club race, therefore a Clubman racer.

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Along with the engine work, the bike came with rear-set foot controls, a close ratio gear box, and lower handle bars. A large front brake was available as well as a Megaphone exhaust to replace the more restrictive Fishtail that was Velocette.

 

As I had written about the Viper, Velocettes are a little less known by those who don’t covet them. The seller again is giving up 17 words and 3 pictures (of just two sides of the bike). This tells me that the seller knows his audience, and being someone who covets the Velocette Venom Clubman will keep an eye on this auction. BB

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1970 Kawasaki H1 500

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There is something special about 2-stoke engines. The fact that they started small, and grew slowly bigger. How they took over the starting grid and then the podium at the Grand Prix level. Then they just disappeared. A flash in the pan that is motorcycling. This 1970 Kawasaki H1 500cc is an early example of that rise to glory, and it may have sat because of some of the inherent dangers that a 2-stokes present.

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From the seller

Here’s something you don’t see everyday. An all original 1970 Kawasaki H1 with only 2112 miles. I bought this Kawasaki from the original owner. He had stopped riding it in 1974 and it just sat in his garage covered until I bought it in 1995. I completely went over the entire motorcycle. When I had the pipes off for cleaning I inspected the cylinders and they were like new. I also had the side case off to free the clutch plates and the inside looked great with no sludge. I cleaned and rebuilt the carbs, changed all the fluids and spark plugs, rebuilt the petcock, cleaned the fuel tank, and installed a battery. I rode it for about 40 miles to make sure everything worked properly and then removed the battery and completely drained the fuel, including the carbs, and it has been in my collection ever since.

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More from the seller

This H1 is in excellent condition with very nice paint, beautiful chrome and a perfect seat. Nothing on this bike has been touched up or painted. There are some scratches on the tank, and one small ding on the right side that is hard to see, also a small area of discoloration on one pipe from an acid stain. The tires are the original Dunlop Gold Seal K77 on the front and Dunlop Gold Seal K87 on the rear with NO checking or cracks. I have the original title, the Temporary Registration Certificate from when it was purchased on 6/25/70, the plastic Kawasaki Service Kard, the original license plate with the 1974 registration sticker on it, and the Sales Tax Certificate.

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This Kawasaki has the original matching engine and frame, and the numbers are correct.

Frame# KAF18153

Engine# KAE16865

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Can someone explain Kawasaki numbering to me? I know that some manufactures number different parts of the bike differently, and there is a magic ratio, or specific gap between engine and frame, but this seems random.

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Went the whole article without saying “Widowmaker”, so now you can own this 1970 Kawasaki H1 and try not to mention that moniker to your significant others. BB

1937 BMW R5

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When Max Fritz first designed BMW’s flat-twin engine in 1921, BMW didn’t even make motorcycles. It wasn’t until 1923 that the first BMW engine rolled in its own BMW frame. In 1935 BMW made a change, it was the year that they added a second cam; now the left cam took care of the left cylinder, and the right cam took care of the right cylinder. With this change, a sportier BMW was created, and they went racing to test the new bike, in the dirt, over six days. This 1937 BMW R5 is now available for you to live the history.

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From the seller (as presented in the auction)

1937 BMW R5 frame#224420.Motor 196684 .Trans#113699.Cyl heads 504420 matching #.Speedo Viegel#376683.1.0 ratio Carbs #k37 waa3.Headlight lens DDR Ruhla EFA.Carco fuel taps.EFA horn #8416.2/2. Finned generator cover. Incorrect rear fender looks very corrct.MTR redone .Imported frome Hungary 20 plus years ago First time offerd ror sale in the USA.older rest. needs a little TLC .Not ran in awhile.

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The R5 first hit the road at the 1935 ISDT races in Germany. The factory team took the new engine in a new welded oval and conical tube steel frame. Previous BMW had been cradled by Art Deco pressed sheet metal frames. Though the rear end was still rigid, the front end had adjustable, oil dampened telescopic front forks. On a historical fun fact level, the R5 received a plunger rear suspension in 1937 for the factor race bikes. The same rear suspension would not show up in a production bike until 1952.

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It is a little difficult to determine what is there from the photos and description from the auction. The Amal-Fisher carburetors are specific to the R5 and are about the hardest thing to find in the world. If you do find they, they will cost you the equivalence of a small vacation home. Goggling the numbers the seller added after the word “carbs”, the first thing that came up was “old Russian Carb”. The fact that they say it was imported from Hungary will give other hints as to its condition and originality. Looking over the dark pictures, most of what you see, appears to be BMW related. Place you bid on this 1937 BMW R5 and start the adventure that is owning a pre-war European motorcycle. BB

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Not a R5 but a supercharged BMW entered in the 1935 ISDT

Not a R5 but a supercharged BMW entered in the 1935 ISDT

1968 BMW R69S and R50US

Here is a study in motorcycles and their value and desirability. Two bikes from the same manufacture, same year, same paint, one 600cc and one 500cc. One given the “Sport” designation, one developed for the US market (?)

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First, the 1968 R69S, first offered in 1960, but and evolution of the R69 (no S) from 1955. It is the pinnacle of BMW motorcycles until 1970, the largest displacement, the most powerful engine, and the most sought after of the /2 era by collectors. Even with over 11,000 produces, prices are high, and by counting how many view this auction, the demand is high

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From the seller

The paint is all original with exception of the front half of the rear fender, nicely repainted and correctly restripped many years ago. The hydraulic steering damper, tank (two badges and tank interior both perfect), seat (perfect), headlamp, wiring harness, horn, exhaust, carbs, and fenders are all original to this bike, the rims and spokes are original and in fine condition, and new tires were mounted in 2012.

In the past I’ve placed a factory original VDO labelled oil pump gear tachometer, dated to 1969 and fully functional, added an original Albert bar end mirror of the early type, replaced the carburetor float chamber covers with lever tops, and replaced the original Everbest petcock with a more practical Germa petcock.

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Included in the auction are the original tool kit, shop rag, owners manual, appropriate keys, a trophy from when the bike took first prize at a national MOA meet in 1987, the “S” crankshaft balancer, and a new, properly sized wet cell battery that has not been activated.  The original BMW labelled rubber battery strap, battery tray cushion, and a new hi-lo/horn wiring harness are included in the sale, but are not shown on the pictures.

 

Now a look at the 1968 R50US. Built in the same year, painted the same way, but with a 500cc engine, without any S for sport. As you will see, there is also a change up front. The Earles Forks of the R69S are replaces with a traditional tele-front fork.

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From the Seller

BIKE ISN’T PERFECT, BUT IT’S VERY VERY NICE.  TANK, FRONT FENDER AND FRAME ARE ALL PRETTY GLOSSY AND PAINT IS VERY GOOD.  THE REAR FENDER THOUGH IS A BIT DIFFERENT.  DAD SAID HE BOUGHT THE BIKE AS YOU SEE IT, AND THE REAR FENDER ALWAYS LOOKED ROUGH.  ALMOST LOOKS LIKE JUST A QUICK TOP COAT TO ME.  I AGAIN TRIED TO GET ANGLES THAT COULD SHOW THE DULLNESS OF THE PAINT ON THE REAR FENDER.

YOU’LL SEE SOME SCRATCHES, A SMALL DING IN THE PIPES IN A COUPLE SPOTS ETC.  IT IS WHAT IT IS.  THIS IS A NICE ONE THOUGH.

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One of the major difference in a collect-ability factor, is that the total numbers produced. For the R50US numbers have been quoted as low as 400 bikes. It was only offered for 1968 and 1969, and the front fork change from the /2 bikes leads BMW to the /5 bikes of 1970. So is the R50US a transitional bike? Was it really something designed for the US market? That is a question for BMW and BMW enthusiast to debate. But you now can spend a lot more to get a Sporty 1968 R69S, or a lot less for a 1968 R50US. Do you want more power, or exclusivity in your collection? You know power can be created, can uniqueness? BB

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1948 Norton International

This 1948 Norton International appears to have spent some time with the Rudge Ulster that we had just pointed out. That is probably why it jumped out at me as I was cruising listings this morning.

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From the seller

This came out of the same collection as the Ulster. The matching number engine was in another Norton in the collection !  So I put it back where it belongs. Doing an internet search revealed that the “sister” Inter to this beauty exists in California i.e. sequential serial number!  I have not done any work to attempt to start this bike. The indicated mileage is a guess as I can not read the first digit  and who knows if the speedometer was changed in all those years. The speedometer drive is not installed and the cable is missing. The engine appears to be in good condition without broken fins or other signs of abuse. Tail light is incorrect.

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The Norton International is an OHC single cylinder bike which has a long and rich racing history. Beginning in the 1930’s and concluding with final production in 1958. Norton raced, and won far longer then should have been expected with a single cylinder. In the beginning the OHC design was supreme, later the featherbed frame kept the Norton Winning ways.

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Like all good manufactures, Norton saw that putting lights on their race winners would allow them to sell more bikes. So you could buy two bikes, this 1948 Norton International with lights to ride to work, and find another one without lights that you could race on the weekends. BB

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1971 Suzuki TR500 Seeley frame

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Two stroke engines started to creep on to the GP circuit starting the in the early 1960’s. Lets not forget that Ernst Degner came from behind the Iron Curtain to join Suzuki in 1961 and a gained a 125cc World Championship in 1963. By the end of the 60’s 500cc twin cylinder 2-strokes were racing, and racing well. This 1971 Suzuki TR500 in Seeley frame could have been in the mix at a little race in Daytona.

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From the seller

Suzuki TR 500 Seeley Framed Factory GP Racer.
This is a pristine, fully restored Suzuki TR 500 Factory GP Bike, one of only a handful or examples in the world. The bike has racing provenance and has been authenticated by Colin Seeley. The frame is stamped by Colin Seeley CS 262 S (August 1971)
The engine is a Factory Suzuki TR 500 Motor, direct from the Suzuki Factory to their team riders. The Engine has been completely rebuilt by a Suzuki specialist and features a number of details unique to an original TR 500 Motor. Factory stamped cases, etc etc.  Front end is original Ceriani 35mm GP. Magnesium Triple Trees. Ceriani Wheels, front and rear. Borrani Alloy Rims. Complete hand sculpted bodywork in Aluminum by the master Mr Evan Wilcox. Twin Mikuni Flat sided race Carburetors. Every nut and bolt on this bike has been professionally restored or replaced with original Factory Suzuki Parts.
The bike is located in Seattle, USA.

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The seller says the bike has a racing background, but does not list a race or rider that this bike may have been attached with. From what I gleaned from the world wide web, the TR500 first raced under the factor designated XR05, and instead of a Seeley frame like this bike, it was cradled in a “Norton Featherbed” inspired frame. They first raced in Daytona in 1968 and were able to reach 135mph on the high banks because of the 63hp generated at 8000rpm. A year later, with 1hp more and 12 more mph top speed, the factory TR500 was able to place two riders in the top 10.

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I found that by 1971, the year of this TR500, the Suzuki was producing 71hp and was good for 154mph. But the big leap came with water cooling and in 1973 and 78hp at 8700rpm were reached for 160mph top speed. These kind of jumps really show what factory efforts can achieve, even with the relatively new 2-stroke technology. It wasn’t much later that 10, 12, 13,000 rpm screamers were effecting the GP circuit.

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As I have stated before, I sure wish that the winning bid for ex factory bikes came with an ex factory mechanic. The name and phone number for the Suzuki specialist who rebuilt the engine should at least be included  with this 1971 Suzuki TR500 in Seeley frame. I am in the Greater Seattle area, wonder if the seller will allow some window shopping? BB

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