Andrew Holley’s Suzuki 500
The bike was bought new by my brother in 1971 as a T500J, after losing his drivers licence
for the usual teenage stupidity, he sold it and then I bought it back in Jan 1975.
Straight away it gained expansion chambers and clip ons plus home made rearsets.
In May 1975 both T500 and I headed for England, me by plane, it by boat. We stayed there for 2 years
touring around England and Europe. During this time I grafted a sidecar onto it and took my new wife around
Europe. You would not believe how hard it is to steer and outfit with clipons and rearsets.
After regaining my sanity, I ditched the chair and aquired a 20 litre tank, Dunstall fairing, Borrani
flanged alloy rims and proper rearsets. We then returned to Australia in May 1978 where it
was used on the road till 1981 when I bought a new UJM.
When Post Classic class racing started back in about 1984, I decided to dust the old girl off and turn it
into a full blown race bike, since then it has been a slow evolution to what you see today. I dont know how
much of the original bike is left, maybe the back hub!!! Its a bit like grandad’s axe, its had 2 new
heads and 3 new handles, but its still the same old axe.
Of unknown year, but heavily modified. Inspiration for which came from Collin Seeleys efforts. Basically
I removed everything above the swing arm pivot and behind the steering head and replaced with lighter
gauge straight tubes. A weight saving of 6kg (13lb) over the standard frame. With a direct connection
from steering head to swing arm pivot, the handling is much more stable.
This was lifted from a 1972 GT750, it bolts straight on with no probs and gives you a good twin
disc brake that is more than a match for the all up weight of 136kg (300lb)
Swing arm is T500 shortened by 3 inches, done by removing the section between the pivot tube and the
cross brace in front of the wheel. Koni 7610 shocks are fitted.
Crank is standard. And seems to tolerate 8500 rpm quite well, I rebuild my own and usually get them to
about 2 thou runout.
Exhaust ports are raised to 35mm and about 50mm wide.
Inlet ports are dropped to 108mm.
I leave the top end of the transfers alone except for cleaning the dags
out. The bottom end of them gets cleaned up and matched to the crankcase.
Cylinder heads are TR500 reps, made by Dave Andersen.
I have fitted straight cut primary gears as these relieve a lot of side loading on the crank, letting
it spin up much quicker. These are also by Dave Andersen. Only draw back being the turbine like whine.
Clutch is fitted with heavy duty race springs meant for a GSXR Suzuki.
These normally make the clutch action very stiff but this was fixed by ditching the screw operated clutch
throw out and using a pivoted lever.
Carbs are Mikuni VM34SC’s
Ignition is currently back to points with Bosch GT40 coils. Simple and reliable, backed up by 2 coils
from the alternator feeding through a full wave rectifier to a regulator and a big electrolytic
capacitor. No battery to worry about charging up. And you get voltage as soon as you swing the kick
I have been through several ignition systems, including Pirahna, modified GSX and GT500. I might
get the soldering iron out and do some more tinkering. Timing is set to 2.60 mm BTDC.
Custom made by Rick Roberts here in Sydney. He does beautiful work, his welding is a work of art. Its
even quiet enough to be used on the street. In fact for a while I had it registered for the road while
having a break from racing. Just bolted lights on it.I have even kept the kick starter, I hate bump
starting, and the weight saving would be 3/5 ths of f… all anyway.
The tank is a 20 litre alloy one, made by Read Titan in London.
Seat is late TR500/early RG500, I like the style of it so there!! I do have an early TR500 one as well in
case any scrutineers get picky. Fairing is a TR500 replica made by Racers Edge and
suits the bike perfectly.
I hate to think what this bike has cost me over the years, at least a deposit on a house.But these damn
machines get into your blood.