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Suzuki history
Suzuki racing models 1960—1967

In 1960 Suzuki followed Honda's lead and went Grand Prix racing in Europe, with blended results. At first, Suzuki was outpaced by European teams and even by Honda, but started winning after a couple of years. The page is still under construction. Please sens my more info and material if you can.


Hugh Anderson, Isle Of Man '63

Finally a winning team. Hugh Anderson pilots his RT63 to victory in the 1963 125cc Isle Of Man TT. The Victory gave him the World Championship.
 


1960

Suzuki started racing on International circuits in 1960. The first attempt was to participate in the tough Isle Of Man TT.

Honda, that has always been one of Suzuki's worse competitors, made its International racing debut six years earlier in Sao Paolo, Brazil and in Europe 1959. In contrast to all the interest shown in Honda when it forst took part in the Isle Of Man TT in 1959, Suzuki was hardly mentioned by the journalists when the Suzuki team debuted there in 1960. The Colledas Suzuki raced with in 1960 were cobby looking 125cc twins with an orthodox piston-port design, but beyond that not much is known about them. All I know of them is that the engines were quite realiable and could be revved safely to high revs but lacked power on lower revs.

The 1960 Isle Of Man TT 125cc ultra-lightweight series were won by Carlo Ubbiali, riding a MV Agusta (the MV Agusta team took even the 2nd, 3rd, 12th and 20th places). Eleven competitors failed to finish the race, among them Mike Hailwood on a Ducati and Eddie Croocks on a MZ. Suzuki was beaten by five of the Hondas taking part of the race (6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th and 19th places) but all the three Colleda RT60s finished the race, which alone was a superb demonstation of the realibility of the Colledas.

The lap times showed anyhow that Suzuki had still lot to learn. The fastest of the Colledas achieved the speed of 71.88 mph with a finishing time 1.34.29.6 (Ubbialis winning time was 1.19.21.2 and speed 85.61 mph). Suzuki riders Toshio Matsumoto, Michio Ichino and Ray Fay (American who replaced Mitsuo Itoh who crashed on a training round and was injured) finished in 15th, 16th and 18th places. Results were modest but the experience proved vital. The team (including Mitsuo Itoh, who would later become Suzuki's racing chief) stayed at the same hotel as the top rider and engineer Ernst Degner then working for the East German MZ team. Degner was later to become an important recource for Suzuki racing team.

It should be mentioned here that Honda didn't do that well either when they debuted in Isle Of man in 1959. But they returned to the Isle in 1960 with improved machines and a twelve man team, participating in 125cc and 250cc classes. As mentioned earlier, Honda showed impressive results in the 125cc class but even more impressive result in the 250cc TT finishing 4th, 5th and 6th, proving that Honda was a force to be reckoned. The Honda team continued racing in Europe with a fourth place in the 125cc Dutch TT and eight place in the 250cc class, 2nd and 3rd in the 250cc Ulster GP and 2nd in the Italian 250cc GP in Monza. Honda had made it's marketing debut in Europe at the 1959 Dutch Show where it presented the 250cc Honda Dream and 1960 Honda began a serious fight for a place in the American and European markets. American Honda Motor was established in 1959, Honda Deutschland (Germany) in 1961 and Honda Benelux (Belgium, Netherlands, Luxemburg) a year later.

Suzuki wasn't ready yet to conquer the world. After the Isle Of Man TT the team returned to Japan to develop the Colledas.
Colleda RT60 '60 '60Colleda RT 60 1960
Engine type: Air-cooled 125 cc two-stroke twin. 13 ps/ 11.000 rpm.
Bore x Stroke: 44 x 41mm
Carburetor type: M20
Compression ratio: 8,8 :1
Maximum speed: 140 kph
Clutch type: Dry multiple plates
Transmission: 6-speed
Tire sizes: 2.50-18 / 2.50-18
Front brake: Drum, 2 x 1 cam
Rear brake: Drum, 1 cam

Click on the image for larger format.

Colleda RT60

The first attempt. Suzuki entering the International Grand Prix racing was not an emmediate success. It took another two years before Suzuki started to win races in Europe. 1960 year's Colleda RT60 presented to the Suzuki management, Mitsuo Itoh racing the bike on the 125cc Isle Of Man TT.
 



Japanese challenge . The Suzuki team photo on an English newspaper before the 1960 Isle Of Man TT.
 


1961

The team had now skipped the Colleda name and participated in the 1961 year's Isle Of Man TT as the Suzuki team. This time the team had rotary valve 125cc and 250cc twins. The 250cc Colleda RV61 gave its peak power between 9.500 and 10.000 rpm but was useless under 8.500 revs. Six speeds wasn't enough for such a narrow usefull register and the slipping clutch didn't make it easier for the rider. But with a skillful rider the bike was quick in acceleration and could acchieve a maximum speed of 195 kph. Unfortunately both the acceleration and speed were replaced by a cascaded of missfiring as soon as the engine had gained its working temperature.

Suzuki had hired Hugh Anderson of New Zealand and Alastair Kinf of Scotland to ride their bikes.

After the failure on Isle Of Man Suzuki made another attempt at the Dutch GP not doing any better in Assen. Ichino, Itoh and Matsumoto crossed the finish line 14th, 16th and 17th, but none of the 250s managed to finish the event. Suzuki didn't participate in any other races that year but returned to Japan after the Dutch GP.

Still, 1961 proved to be an important year for the Suzuki racing team. The MZ rider Ernst Degner defected from East Germany later in 1961. Suzuki team, that was in desperate need for help in improving their machines, managed to hire Degner to help Suzuki develop their engines.
 

Suzuki RT-61 RT61 '61 -61 race racingSuzuki RT61 1961
Engine type: Air-cooled 124.62 cc parallel twin rotary valve 2-stroke. 15 ps/ 10.000 rpm.
Bore x stroke: 44 x 41 mm
Carburetor type: M22
Compression ratio: 8.8:1
Top speed: 150 kph
Clutch type: Dry multiple plates
Transmission: 6 speeds
Tyres: 2.50-18 / 2.50-18
Brake type (front): 2 drums, 1 cam
Brake type (rear): 1 drum, 1 cam

Click on the image for larger format.

RV61 RV-61 RV 61 '61 -61Suzuki RV61 1961
Engine type: Air-cooled 248.63 cc single cylinder rotary valve 2-stroke. 28 ps/ 9.000 rpm.
Bore x stroke: 56 x 50.5 mm
Carburetor type: M30
Compression ratio: 8.8:1
Top speed: 190 kph
Clutch type: Dry multiple plates
Transmission: 6 speeds
Tyres: 2.75-18 / 2.75-18
Brake type (front): 2 drums, 1 cam
Brake type (rear): 1 drum, 1 cam

Do you have a RV61 picture?



Five times RT61. Five Suzuki 125cc racers in a row.
 


Enrst Degner

Ernst Degner (on the left) defenced from East Germany and joined the Suzuki team in late 1961. Degner was a excellent rider but also a brilliant engineer. During the winter 1961—1962 Degner helped Suzuki to develop a new generation of Suzuki racing machines. Click on the image for larger picture.
 


1962

Suzuki RM62 RM-62 RM 62 '62 -62Suzuki RM62 1962
Engine type: Air-cooled 49.64 cc single cylinder rotary valve 2-stroke. 8 hp/ 10.500 rpm.
Bore x stroke: 40.0 x 39.5 mm
Carburetor type: M22
Compression ratio: 9:1
Top speed: 145 kph
Clutch type: Dry multiple plates
Transmission: 8 speeds
Tyres: 2.00-18 / 2.25-18
Brake type (front): 2 drums, 1 cam
Brake type (rear): 1 drum, 1 cam

RT62 RT-62 RT 62Suzuki RT62 1962
Engine type: Air-cooled 123.67 cc single cylinder rotary valve 2-stroke. 20 ps/ 10.500 rpm.
Bore x stroke: 54.0 x 54.0mm
Carburetor type: M29
Compression ratio: 9:1
Top speed: 165 kph
Clutch type: Dry multiple plates
Transmission: 7 gears
Tyres: 2.50-18 / 2.50-18
Brake type (front): 2 drums, 1 cam
Brake type (rear): 1 drum, 1 cam

Click on the image for larger format.
RT62D RT-62D RT-62 D RT 62 D -62Suzuki RT62D 1962
Engine type: Air-cooled 123.67 cc single cylinder rotary valve 2-stroke. 20 ps/ 10.500 rpm.
Top speed: 165 kph

The same specifications as the RT62. The rear exhaust was developed to Ernst Degner exclusive use.

Click on the image for larger format.
RV62 RV-62 RV 62Suzuki RV62 1962
Engine type: Air-cooled 247.34 cc twin cylinder rotary valve 2-stroke. 15 ps/ 10.000 rpm.
Bore x stroke: 54.0 x 54.0 mm
Carburetor type: M29
Compression ratio: 9:1
Top speed: 210 kph
Clutch type: Dry multiple plates
Transmission: 6 gears
Tyres: 2.75-18 / 3.00-18
Brake type (front): 2 drums, 1 cam
Brake type (rear): 1 drum, 1 cam


1963

RM63 RM-63 RM 63 '63 -63

RM63 RM-63 RM 63 '63 -63
Suzuki RM63 1963
Engine type: Air-cooled 49.64 cc single cylinder rotary valve 2-stroke. 11 ps/ 13.000 rpm.
Bore x stroke: 40.0 x 39.5 mm
Carburetor type: M24
Compression ratio: 8.8:1
Top speed: 150 kph
Clutch type: Dry multiple plates
Transmission: 9 gears
Tyres: 2.00-18 / 2.25-18
Brake type (front): 1 drum, 2 cam
Brake type (rear): 1 drum, 1 cam


The first picture shows the bike with the racing fairing, the second one without it.
Click for larger format.
Suzuki RT63 '63 -63


Suzuki RT63 1963
Engine type: Air-cooled 123.70 cc twin cylinder rotary valve 2-stroke. 25.5 ps/ 12.000 rpm.
Bore x stroke: 43.0 x 42.6 mm
Carburetor type: M24
Compression ratio: 8.8:1
Top speed: 184 kph
Clutch type: Dry multiple plates
Transmission: 8 gears
Tyres: 2.50-18 / 2.50-18
Brake type (front): 2 drums, 1 cam
Brake type (rear): 1 drum, 1 cam


The first picture shows the bike with the racing fairing, the second one without it.
Click for larger format.
RZ63-II '63 -63 Suzuki RZ63-II 1963
Engine type: Air-cooled 247.32 cc four cylinder rotary valve 2-stroke. 52 ps/ 12.500 rpm.
Bore x stroke: 43.0 x 42.6 mm
Carburetor type: M24
Compression ratio: 8.8:1
Top speed: 225 kph
Clutch type: Dry multiple plates
Transmission: 6 gears
Tyres: 2.75-18 / 3.00-18
Brake type (front): 2 drums, 1 cam
Brake type (rear): 1 drum, 1 cam

Click on the image for larger format.



1964

Already at the'63 Japanese GP, the last race of the year, Suzuki participated with its RT64A, an evolution of the RT63, with a water-cooled engine November 1964. Enrst Degner won the race, but Honda was not far behind. Suzuki skipped the develeping of the RT64A engine and started constructing a new machine instead, with more cylinders. Two wasn't enough to win races in the future, Suzuki thought.

The developement of a square-four, water cooled engine, internally called RK64, started emmediately after the Japanese GP. But the developement of the machine, RK64, wasn't finished untill the season was already over. The engine design was completed in December 1964 and first evolution engines built in February 1965. Even then, the testing of the new engine showed several problems, such as too high crankcase oil temperature.

Suzuki chose to develop another 125cc engine parallelly with the square-four. If the engineers couldn't solve the problems with a square-four engine, a triple might be easier to construct? Planning of the engine that later became the square-three RJ66, started in November 1965.

RZ64 '64 -64Suzuki RZ64 1964
Engine type: Air-cooled 247.32 cc four cylinder rotary valve 2-stroke. 52 ps/ 12.500 rpm.
Bore x stroke: 43.0 x 42.6 mm
Carburetor type: M24
Compression ratio: 8.8:1
Top speed: 225 kph
Clutch type: Dry multiple plates
Transmission: 6 gears
Tyres: 2.75-18 / 3.00-18
Brake type (front): 2 drums, 1 cam
Brake type (rear): 1 drum, 1 cam

Click on the image for larger format.

Hugh Anderson, Solitude Germany '64

One more corner. Hugh Anderson in Solitude, Germany.



1965



Suzuki's 125cc square-four 125cc RS67 only participated in the Japanese GP in Nvember 1967 and the Singaporean GP in March 1968.

The evolution of the square-four engine strated immediately after the 1964 Japanese GP in November 1964. Honda, with its square-four engines, had stolen the 1964 championship from Suzuki.

RV61 RV-61 RV 61 '61 -61

Suzuki RS65
November 1964 - April 1967
Engine type: Water-cooled 125 cc square-four 2-stroke.
Bore x Stroke: 35.5 x 31.5 mm
Carburetor: M20


Hugh Anderson, Oulton Park '65

Another World Championship. Hugh Anderson at Oulton Park in April 1965 with his 125cc Suzuki RT65. Anderson took 125cc world title that year. The German TT gave Anderson another win. Notice the charasteristic helmet Hugh Anderson is wearing. The letters NZ stands for New Zeeland, his home country.



1966


RZ66 '66 -66
Georg Anscheidt was another talanted rider that had a Suzuki and knew to use it. Here's Anscheidt in West Germany GP steering his water-cooled 50cc RK66 to a victory in Hockenheim.

Suzuki RZ66
Engine type: Air-cooled 247.32 cc four cylinder rotary valve 2-stroke. 52 ps/ 12.500 rpm.
Bore x stroke: 43.0 x 42.6 mm
Carburetor type: M24
Compression ratio: 8.8:1
Top speed: 225 kph
Clutch type: Dry multiple plates
Transmission: 6 gears
Tyres: 2.75-18 / 3.00-18
Brake type (front): 2 drums, 1 cam
Brake type (rear): 1 drum, 1 cam

Click on the image for larger format.
Here's even larger picture.
RV61 RV-61 RV 61 '61 -61 Suzuki RJ66
November 1965 - January 1967
Engine type: Water-cooled 125 cc square-three 2-stroke.
Carburetor: M26



1967

RS67 Suzuki racer


Suzuki's 125cc square-four 125cc RS67 only participated in the Japanese GP in November 1967 and the Singaporean GP in March 1968.

'67 RK67 RK-67

Suzuki RK67 1967
Engine type: Water-cooled 50 cc parallel twin 2-stroke. Maximum 17.500 rpm, 170 kph.
Transmission: 14 speeds

Click on the image for larger format. Here's even larger picture.
RS67 RS-67 RS 67 '61 -61
RS67 RS-67 RS 67 '61 -61
RS67 RS-67 RS 67 '61 -61

RS67 RS-67 RS 67 '61 -61
Suzuki RS67 1967
February 1967 - August 1967
Engine type: Water-cooled 125 cc square-four 2-stroke.
Bore x Stroke: 35.5 x 31.5 mm
Compression ratio: 8.4
Carburetor: VM24
42 hp / 16,500 rpm (350 bhp per liter), 145 mph.
Transmission: 12 speeds

Click on the image for larger format. Here's even larger picture.

The pictures on the left:
The two first pictures are apparently the same bike, although some modifications have been made to the front fork between the pictures. The last two pictures appears to be Katayama's ride. The picture of Katayama and his RS67 was taken at Singapore's GP in March 1968.

RV61 RV-61 RV 61 '61 -61

Suzuki RS 67 U / RS 68
July 1967 - February 1968
Dry weight: 95 kg (209 lbs)
Wheelbase: 1,240 mm
Engine type: Water-cooled 125 cc 90° V-4 2-stroke.
Bore x Stroke: 35.5 x 31.5 mm
Compression ratio: 8.4
Carburetor: VM24
42 hp / 16,500 rpm (350 bhp per liter), 145 mph.
Transmission: 12 speeds

Click on the image for larger format. Here's even larger picture.



1968


FIM announced in 1967 that 50cc racing engines would be limited to single cylinder and six transmission speeds, to be followed a year later by twin cylinder and six-speed restrictions for 125s.

That's why Suzuki's 1968 year's 50cc racer RP68 never appeared on any race. It was an incredible machine with three cylinders and 19 horsepower. It was ready for racing already in 1967, just before the Japan Grand Prix in 1967 but Suzuki decided there was no point to race a new machine once and then put it in mothballs.
 

RV61 RV-61 RV 61 '61 -61

Suzuki RP 68
Engine type: Water-cooled 50 cc triple cylinder 2-stroke. 19 hp/ 20,000 rpm (380 bhp per liter), 170 kph.
Transmission: 14 speeds

Click on the image for larger format. Here's even larger picture.

RV61 RV-61 RV 61 '61 -61

Suzuki RS 67 U / RS 68
July 1967 - February 1968
Dry weight: 95 kg (209 lbs)
Wheelbase: 1,240 mm
Engine type: Water-cooled 125 cc 90° V-4 2-stroke.
Bore x Stroke: 35.5 x 31.5 mm
Compression ratio: 8.4
Carburetor: VM24
42 hp / 16,500 rpm (350 bhp per liter), 145 mph.
Transmission: 12 speeds

Click on the image for larger format. Here's even larger picture.



More: Suzuki racing models of the 1950's

More: All Suzuki models

Sources: http://www.europark.com/nakano/ Vic Willoughby: Roadracing, Suzuki Motor Company, The Encyclopedia Of Motorcycles, The History Of Japanese Motorcycles etc.

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