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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.

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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