Suzuki RE5 Rotary


Make Model

Suzuki RE5 Rotary




Liquid/oil cooled, single rotary housing


498 cc / 30.4 cu in

Compression Ratio 9.4:1


Mikuni 18-32 HHD carburetor


Dual ignition system


Electric and kick

Max Power

46 kW / 62 hp @ 6500 rpm

Max Torque

74.5 Nm / 7.6 kgf-m / 55 lb-ft @ 3500 rpm


5 Speed

Final Drive


Front Suspension

Telescopic, oil-dampened forks

Rear Suspension

Swing arm oil dampened, 5-way adjustable

Front Brakes

2 x Discs

Rear Brakes


Front Tyre

3.25-H19 4PR

Rear Tyre

4.00-H18 4PR


Length: 2220 mm / 87.4 in
Width:     870 mm / 34.3 in
Height:  1170 mm / 46.1 in


1500 mm / 59.1 in

Ground Clearance

170 mm / 6.7 in

Dry Weight

230 kg / 507 lbs

Wet Weight

252 kg / 556 lbs

Fuel Capacity 

16.8 Litres / 4.4 US gal / 3.7 Imp gal

Consumption Average

7.5 L/100 km / 13.3 km/l / 31.3 US mpg / 37.6 Imp mpg

Standing ¼ Mile  

13.9 sec / 150 km/h / 93 mph

Top Speed

176 km/h / 110 mph

Suzuki presented its first, and only, rotary engine powered motorcycle at the Tokyo Show in late 1973. The RE5, as the model was called, was Suzuki's technical flagship at the time and a fine motorcycle. The engine, originated from NSU in Germany, was smooth, quiet, powerful and had hardly any vibrations, thanks to its construction with no parts moving back-and-forth like the usual Otto engine.

The rotary, or Wankel, engine has a number of benefits over standard engines including a lack of camshafts, intake and exhaust valves, and a reduced number of moving parts. Many manufacturers experimented with the engine type and some prototypes were presented in the early 70's but Suzuki was the only motorcycle manufacturer that used the rotary engine on a mass produced bike.

Suzuki presented the engine sometimes as 1000cc, because some regulatory bodies de-rate the engine by doubling the chamber capacity. The actual cylinder capacity was 497 cc.

The design of the RE5 was not as revolutionary as its engine. The instrument panel and tail light were contained in cylindrical shapes to play on the rotary theme, otherwise the bike looked a lot like the company's two-stroke flagship GT750. Also included was a special heat shield since the rotary engine design tended to make exhaust pipes hot enough to burn riders' legs.

What happened? The customers did find the RE5 interesting, but not many but not many of them actually bought the model. Perhaps it was the new technology that scared off the customs, perhaps it was the heavy fuel consumption that made it. However, Suzuki had invested enormous sums of money to the project and had built an entire new assembly line for the rotary engines but the machines wouldn't sell.

Source suzukicycles.org