|Until 1973 500cc road racing machines were basically converted road bikes, Suzuki's model was the TR500 (XR05) based on the Suzuki T500, a 2-stroke 500cc two cylinder bike. The 500cc class had been dominated for some years by; MV-Augusta and Honda this where 4-stroke 6 cilinder bikes. Yamaha came with a 2-stroke machine and began to take the victories.
Half way 1973 Suzuki's general manager of the engineering deparment agreed on building a revolutionaire road racing bike to beat Yamaha on the track and to boost Suzuki's sales in Europe. Suzuki's racing deparment had eight months time to develop the first 500cc road racing bike that wasn't based on a roadster but that was designed for on purpous: Racing.
This bike became known as the XR14, better known as the RG500
Suzuki choose to develop a "Square Four" engine, four cylinders placed in a square, this made the engine compact and not as wide as when they would have made a four cylinder-in-line engine. The lay-out of the engine made it also possible to use a rotary-disc intake. Actualy the engine was build up out of four 125cc one cilinder engines since each cylinder had its own crank-shaft and crank-chase, this made it also easy to tune the engine, to test the engine on a dyno meter you could just take a single cylinder and see the results.
Each of the four crank-shafts drove the primary gear, this meant quit some theeting problems. The XR14 had a six speed gearbox and five port cylinders. In 1974 the engine developed some 95 bhp at 11.200 rpm. The engine was put in a "full loop" frame.
The bike's debut was at the French Grand Prix 1974 at Clerment Ferrand. Suzuki's 1974 works riders were; Barry Sheene and Jack Findlay. Sheene practiced 4th and finished the race with a 2nd place. Everybody knew Suzuki ment bussiness. In Austria it was ; Sheene 3rd and Findlay 4th . The 1974 season was one with ups and downs, the engine seized but the biggest problem was the handeling of the bikes, the problem was the stiffness of the frame. Halfway the season Suzuki did weld an extra tube to gain more stiffness.
In the rider's Championship Sheen finished 5th, Findlay 6th
The Munufacturer's Championship Suzuki Finished 3rd, not bad for a complete new machine.
For 1975 Suzuki contracted Barry Sheene and Tepi Lansivuori to race the XR14's. The engine basically stayed the same ; 5 port cylinder ; bore x stroke 56 x 50,5 mm but now peaking 100 bhp at 11.200 rpm. The XR14 was now using a new frame , instead of a bended upper tube they now used a straight tube (basically what Suzuki did with the extra welded tube in 1974).
The 1975 GP season started at Paul Ricard, only Lansivuori could start for Team Suzuki since Barry Sheene was recovering from a heavy crash at Daytona. Lansivuori led Agostini until a broken gear linkage broke and Tepi had to retire. Sheene was hoping to start again in Austria but the track officials refused to let him start, Lansivuori had e superb race and finished 2nd. Sheene did race again at the German Grand Prix but he had to retire because the engine did misfire, Lansivouri finished 3rd and new XR14 rider Stan Woods finished 5th. For the Italian G.P. four riders were racing a XR14; Sheene, Woods, Toracca and Gallina (later to became team manager for Suzuki Italy)., Lansivouri couldn't start because of a broken collar bone. In Italy the bikes were unreliable and only Toracca finished. At the Dutch Grand Prix round, Suzuki had three works bikes; Sheene, Lansivuori and John Newbold, so far Newbold had only been racing the XR05 and was said by the factory that he could race the spare bike at Assen. Sheene trained pole position and the whole race he did battle with Ago to pass him at the last lap. The moment was there; Sheene and the XR14 both had their first Grand Prix win. Despite the victory at the Dutch TT the bike was still not reliable enough, At the end of 1975 Lansivuori was 4th and Sheene 6th.
The season ended with rumours for the 1976 season; an improved XR14, a 750cc version for F750 races and an over-the-counter RG500. The over-the-counter RG500 was for real, but Suzuki came with shocking news for 1976
|Frame with extra tube|
|Jack Findlay 1974|