Nonetheless, the 2-stroke motorcycles still have a wide following globally even though most manufacturers have more or less ceased production of their respective machines when the 21st-Century came around.
In Europe, there are companies that specialising in refurbishing or repaired obsolete 2-stroke bikes back to perfection and performance prestige, such as Honda’s NSR250-series. But these are mostly 2-stroke street bikes brought back to life, not a limited, new edition makes.
More recently, a company known as Ronax, had introduced its own 500cc 2-stroke motorcycle, which is based on the 2001 edition of the Honda NSR500 Grand Prix bike rode by Italian Valentino Rossi, and costs €100,000, with only 46 units to be made. The Ronax 500 makes 160hp @ 11,500 rpm from its nearly square (54.5 x 54 bore and stroke) 500cc V4 engine, and features two counter-rotating crankshafts inside its all-aluminum engine block.
Now, Suter, one of the chassis suppliers to the Moto2 class, has unveiled its own version of a limited edition 500cc 2-stroke machine, known as the MMX 500. As expected, the machine gets a modest makeover visually, and appears to remain largely unchanged mechanically.
Officially producing close to 195hp at 13,000 rpm, the Suter MMX 500 weighs just 127kg – which is even lighter than a Honda CBR250R or Kawasaki Ninja 250R street bike! For that kind of power-to-weight ratio, fans of 2-stroke bikes will have to spend quite a sum just to own the Suter MMX 500 as it costs approximately US$123,360, and unlike the Ronax 500, Suter is limiting the bike to a slightly higher volume – 99 units will be built, to customer-spec, of course.
Suter says that power plant is good to get the MMX 500 up to a true 195 mph (310 km/h). The company hopes that interested buyers will field their machine in the GP Bike Legends series which pits two-stroke era racers back on their smokey machines.
Text and images: Philip Chong