BMW Motorrad Spezial

This Suzuki racing motorcycle has 14 gears

Suzuki RK67 racing motorcycle
By Richard Fowler of Motorsport Retro.

This amazing piece of machinery was the last of the purebred 50cc Suzuki racebikes built in 1967. And it’s a technological as well as aesthetic masterpiece: the engine was tuned to an extraordinary 350hp per liter.

The RK67 motor was a two-stroke, water-cooled parallel twin, and the Japanese factory managed to squeeze a remarkable 17.5hp out of it, with a redline of 17,300rpm. To keep the bike in its extremely narrow power band, Suzuki fitted the bike with a 14-speed gearbox.

The RK67 also sported an aluminum frame, and tipped the scales at a skinny 58kg (128lbs): in the hands of Suzuki’s three factory riders, top speed was a healthy 176kph (109mph).

Suzuki RK67 racing motorcycle
The 50cc class was first run in 1962, with Suzuki immediately setting the pace. But strong competition from Honda during the mid 60s forced Suzuki to develop micro-masterpieces like the RK67.

Suzuki RK67 racing motorcycle
In 1967, German rider Hans-Georg Anscheidt won the 50cc World Championship aboard the RK67, and with teammates Yoshimi Katayama and Stuart Graham, helped Suzuki lift the manufacturer’s crown too. Then the FIM announced in 1967 that it planned to limit future 50cc racing engines to a single cylinder and six transmission speeds.

So Suzuki stopped the development of its next model, the 3-cylinder RP68, and withdrew from the World Championship at the end of 1967. However, Anscheidt ran the RK67 in the 50cc class in 1968, as a privateer—and once again won the Championship. A fitting swansong to one of the most remarkable racing motorcycles of all time.

Suzuki RK67 racing motorcycle
Suzuki RK67 racing motorcycle

  • tmbrudy
  • WOW! Thats quite the gem.
    I’m a suzuki fan and i love historic bikes.
    I love that era of small capacity bikes, the skinny tires and beautiful fairings.
    Very simple but has that racer type of elegance.

  • KTM guy

    I’m not sure a parallel twin 50cc engine with a 14 speed gearbox is all that simple! Great bike. Looks a treat.

  • WRXr

    I wonder how light such a bike could be if updated with modern materials (Ti CF) and bits (disks instead of drums, fuel injection).

    If it is 128lbs using period materials and “cheesework”, is 100lbs with modern materials obtainable?

  • Mr. Larry

    Here’s more on the RP68 50cc V-3 (as in TRIPLE)-

  • dave


  • Pamberjack

    (In a Crocodile Dundee voice): Now THAT’S a tank.

  • JU
  • Seb

    Pffffffffffffffffffffffffff….!!!!! :-)

  • WRXr

    Mate that 14 gear gear train to a modern automatic dual-clutch and you might have something rideable by a mortal. Meaning me. Hmm…the potential…

  • Laurent

    now, THAT is a proper screamer.

    I miss them


  • Tinman

    Reminds me of a modern Top Fuel Dragster, Amazzzing power with no practicle applications. Two 25cc pistons screaming out 17.5 HP, is quite a feat, with a 14 spd gear box, just how narrow was the power band?

  • Quite a piece of history this bike, way cool.

  • There were those who wondered if the bike actually belonged to 50cc TT. Suzuki rider and star of the East German Ernst Degmer introduced a magnificent performance that silenced the doubters now.