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Yet again I had to admit my negative judgement wasn’t just premature, but inappropriate too. After assessing bikes for not far short of a couple of decades now, you’d think I should know better. Being patient and seeing the whole picture is so important in this testing game, and is certainly the message I took away from my experience with this RG500. Maybe it was the stiflingly hot weather, maybe I was just expecting way too much from the Suzuki. Whatever, it took time for impressions to become fully favourable.
Owner Richard Adams had turned up on his gleaming example, eager to learn what I thought of it. At that point, things looked pretty positive. The RG is still a very stylish bit of kit, and a lap ogling it on foot got my heart going a bit. The pretty, all-encompassing bodywork reflects a design clearly well ahead of its day. It might be over a quarter of a century old now, but I reckon with just a few styling tweaks here and there, you could bring the 500 bang up-to-date. With modern suspension and wheels, you could almost pass it off as new.
With more of a sit up and beg riding position than I’d expected, and a seat low enough to get my stubby limbs on the deck, all seemed set for an easy affair. Then I tried to start it. Chuckles greeted my search for a non-existent starter button. And when I tried to boot over the square four motor in gear with the clutch in, only to deliver a lifeless swing due to no direct link between kickstarter and crankshaft, the laughter was only interrupted by the question: Are you sure you’re qualified to test this thing?” It seemed like a justifiable enquiry