Zero-mile example of one of the rarest Japanese streetbikes,1977 Suzuki RE-5 Rotary Frame no. RE515866 Engine no. RE515299

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Lot 135
Zero-mile example of one of the rarest Japanese streetbikes,1977 Suzuki RE-5 Rotary
Frame no. RE515866 Engine no. RE515299

US$ 13,000 - 16,000
£ 10,000 - 12,000
Zero-mile example of one of the rarest Japanese streetbikes
1977 Suzuki RE-5 Rotary
Frame no. RE515866
Engine no. RE515299
After taking small steps at the beginning of the 1960s, followed by bigger strides as the decade closed,
the Japanese motorcycle industry really picked up the pace in the 1970s and rose to world dominance.
The Big Four all made significant advances, each trying to out-do the other in a rush of new, exciting
models like the two-wheeled world had never seen. One of the most interesting was the Suzuki RE5
Rotary, the first – and so far only – attempt to produce a Wankel-engined motorcycle in large numbers.

While the single-rotor 497cc engine was simple in theory, with significantly fewer moving parts than a
piston-powered counterpart, its support systems were complex for the time. Besides a traditional wet-
sump oiling system, the RE5 needed a secondary oil tank and lines that led to the carburetor, which then
mixed oil with the fuel – not unlike a two-stroke's automatic oil injector – to lubricate the rotor seals.
The carburetor itself was very automotive-looking, a massive two-barrel downdraft unit with no less
than five cables attached plus a variety of linkages. Even the exhaust system was complex. Because
a rotary generates more heat than a conventional motor, the RE5 required a finned collector box that
then routed gases to twin exhaust pipes that were double-walled and had grilled intakes at the front to
catch cooling air and direct it along the length of the mufflers.

Despite its advanced features, the RE5 worked no better than Suzuki's conventional four-cylinder GS750.
Retailoring the bike as a touring model didn't help because the rotary's poor fuel mileage limited useful
range. So after just two years in production, Suzuki pulled the plug on the RE5, making it among the
most rare of 1970s Japanese streetbikes.

This 1977 model from the last year of sales is special in that has never been ridden, showing just 0.7-
mile on the odometer – that from being moved round the garage. The seat still wears its protective
plastic covering. A true time-capsule machine.
Contacts
Zero-mile example of one of the rarest Japanese streetbikes,1977 Suzuki RE-5 Rotary Frame no. RE515866 Engine no. RE515299
Zero-mile example of one of the rarest Japanese streetbikes,1977 Suzuki RE-5 Rotary Frame no. RE515866 Engine no. RE515299
Zero-mile example of one of the rarest Japanese streetbikes,1977 Suzuki RE-5 Rotary Frame no. RE515866 Engine no. RE515299
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