Sunday, October 17, 2010

Suzuki RB50 GAG extras (GSX-R50)

Suzuki RB50 GAG extrasRB50 GAG is an interesting small bike. It's one of those mini bikes the Japanese motorcycle manufacturers introduced for about three decades ago. But unlike RV50 Van Van or the PV50, RB50 wasn't a naked bike. No, it took the design from the racing track and its own GSX-R or RG/RGV Gamma models.

The RB50 GAG (A-LA41A) was introduced in 1986 and there were four different graphics available: bomber styled white, rabbit ”Little Racing” pink, GSX-R replica blue/white (also called GSX-R50, the minigixxer) and red/white (see pictures below). All four shared the same machinery.
Suzuki RB50 RB-50 GSX-R50 GAG50 GAG-50
The frame of the RB50 GAG was advanced. Like a ”real” racer, the mini-replica had also a welded aluminum box frame, hydraulic disc brake (at the front) and Full-Floater aluminum box-type swingarm.

The four-stroke engine came from the Birdie scooterette, and its power output didn't match the looks of the bike. It looked like it would be very fast but it wasn't. The air-cooled engine delivered 5,2 hp at 7.000 rpm and the dry mass of the bike was 64 kg (141 lbs). According to the service book, the European version was 1 kg (2.2 lbs) lighter. The variation can be caused by a different way of rounding the figure up or down, I don't know the reason. Anyway, according to Andrew, the webmaster of the Babygixxer homepage the model was sold under the name GSX-R50 in the United Kingdom.

Though the competition could beat it in most performance aspects, the RB50 is easy to ride and maintain. At the time, there were trim kits available for the engine but the Suzuki Motor Company discontinued the bike after only a couple of years of production and the go-fast parts produced in the 1980's are long gone. Current owners have to get by with custom-made parts or adapting parts from other bikes. It is not uncommon to see owners swapping-in parts from the competitors, NSRs and YSRs.

Suzuki had launched a model called RB even in the late 1950's but had not been used in decades. I wonder if the American radar/weather/photographic reconnaissance aircraft, Boeing RB50, had inspired the Suzuki engineers to give the bike its model name. Anyway, the bomber styled graphics of the bike must have had something to do with the fact that the RB50 reconnaissance planes were modified Boeing B50 bomber planes.

Some sources claim that the production of the RB50 ended after 1987. Still, the model was sold in Finland from 1987 to 1989 under the model Solifer-Suzuki R (the spare parts catalogs knew model name Solifer-Suzuki RB50). The specs of the Finnish version of GAG are not the same. The Soilfer-Suzuki had a lighter 2-stroke engine and the bike was stripped from some details to make it weigh less. Nevertheless the design of the bike was the same (the GSX-R replica version). Here's more info about the model.


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