The Suzuki RE5 was a rotary-engine motorcycle
manufactured by the Suzuki Motor Company from
1974 to 1976. Although there is technically
a 1977 model, it consists entirely of leftover
factory stock of motorcycles from 1976.
The RE5 was touted as the future of motorcycling.
The high-revving rotary engine, producing impressive
power figures from a very small displacement,
seemed destined for motorcycle applications.
In reality, however, there was little demand
for the technology. The rotary engine produced
a lot of heat, requiring a large and cumbersome
radiator for liquid cooling. The exhaust pipes
often burned riders' legs, forcing the factory
to produce an innovative exhaust system, one
that incorporated an air-cooling system for
the exhaust gases.
Motorcycle buyers in the mid-1970s did not
take to the motorcycle with a rotary engine,
and few were sold. The RE5 contained many parts
that it did not share with other motorcycles
on Suzuki's flagship platform, such as the GT
750. This uniqueness led to a shortage of parts
for RE5 restoration. Many people believe these
motorcycles to be too hard to restore or maintain.
Many are also discouraged by the rotary engine,
replacement parts for which are difficult to
find since they have been out of production
for a long time.