Post by decotriumph on Jan 6, 2020 14:41:19 GMT -5
Another member of this forum asked me to relate my ownership experiences with RE5s since I’ve owned four, including a new one in 1975. My story is probably not as interesting or exciting as some others’ but we all love the RE5s and other motorcycles, and we want to keep this forum active, so here ‘tis. It’s a little wordy, so feel free to scan (or ignore)! I’m a writer and editor, so…
RE5 #1 - When the RE5 came out in 1975, I bought a blue one from R.W. Geeting Sales & Service in Anderson, Indiana, trading in a ’74 Yamaha DT360. That RE5 was so smooth, and the metalflake blue paint sparkled in the sun! Not too long after I got it, Suzuki issued a recall to replace the engines. I don’t recall the reason, but it may have been rotor tips. Anyway, they replaced the entire engine under warranty. I hadn’t had any issues up to that point, nor did I have any with the new engine. In 1978, I sold that RE5 to a co-worker, as I was taking a two-year leave of absence to go to college. Visual aid #1, taken from the web (not my bike, but just like it).
RE5 #2 - Spring of 1980. I was close to graduating college (Harding University in Searcy, AR) and had gotten a decent tax refund (‘cause I wasn’t making any money!). Lo and behold, there was a used red 1975 RE5 for sale in the local Penny Trader. It had the full white touring kit on it. According to the owner, it was “missing 2nd gear” but was “otherwise in good shape.” I test rode it, and was able to skip 2nd with no problem, so I bought it. When I got it home, I noticed the chain looked pretty worn, so I took it to the local Suzuki dealer and had a new chain put on it. Then I set out for a ride home to Indiana, via Nashville, Tennessee. When I got to Cave City, Kentucky, my new chain broke. Some locals helped me haul the bike to a Harley repair shop in Glasgow and the owner repaired my chain. In Scottsburg, Indiana (125 miles up the road from Glasgow), I stopped for gas and looked at my chain. The master link clip was gone and the link was starting to work loose. I called a friend in Indiana with a trailer and towed the bike to Geeting’s. They dug into the bike the following week and determined the transmission was trashed (bent shaft along with the broken 2nd gear) and needed rebuilt. I traded the bike in on a new TS125, which I soon traded for a new GS550E. Visual aid #2, my bike and me behind my apartment in Searcy.
RE5 #3 – 1994 or so. I still had RE5 lust. A clapped out but complete ’75 showed up on the local trader paper for cheap. It was west of Indianapolis. It was ugly with its rusty chrome and dull, brush painted red tank, but it was complete, was not stuck, and had good compression. I bought it and hauled it home with the intention of restoring it. I even still had my original factory service manual from 1975 and managed to get a couple of unobtanium parts from Geeting’s stash. However, I sold this one when #4 came along. Visual aid #3, my bike at home.
RE5 #4 – 1996 or 1997. A friend told me that his uncle had an old Suzuki that he wanted to sell. It turned out to be a pristine low mileage black ’76 RE5 with a Suzuki fairing. I bought it. The only mark on it, other than some chips in the pinstripe tape on the fairing, was some rust on the muffler guards, which I quickly fixed with some high-heat flat black paint. Ah, I had a sweet-running and pretty RE5 again! In 1998, I opened a motorcycle dealership near Indianapolis, selling Triumph, Ducati, Moto Guzzi, ATK, and Laverda. By 1999, I needed to raise some cash, so I sold my collection (’76 RE5, ’79 Benelli 750 Sei, 1979 Ducati Darmah) at the J. Wood Auction in Daytona during Bike Week. Should have kept the bikes. I still wound up having to close the shop! Visual aid #4, my ’76.
That’s it. I now have no RE5 but I may again someday soon. Ironically, Jess’ Rotary Recycle was housed three miles from me before he closed it; I stopped in once and drooled all over his floor. My doctor, who has never ridden a motorcycle in his life, has two RE5 projects that he got from Jess! My doc is a car guy and we recently swapped cars. Small world, heh?