Until I visited the Barber Motorsports Museum, the only rotary engined motorcycle that I’d ever seen or heard was the Suzuki RE-5 owned by my friend Quacka. There’s a good reason for that. There were never many production models made using a rotary mill.
Like the RE-5, the Hercules was apparently a victim of it’s own innovation – the rotary power plant was prone to heat issues. It never saw favor in the marketplace and the model died off.
The German-made Hercules W2000:
For More Information on the Hercules W2000:
The Barber Motorsports Museum is the most amazing place. It is like a Church of Motorcycling History. Be sure to check out more blog posts from our visit there
I am fortunate enough to have a very eclectic group of motorcycle friends. I’m surrounded by unique and interesting characters. So too are their bikes.
Last evening while out for an after dinner walk we ran in to our friend Quacka. He just happened to pull in to town on the maiden voyage of his 1975 Suzuki RE-5 rotary project bike.
Three cheers for the ugly duckling.
He’s turning what was a corroded mess into a real attention getter. The RE5 was never considered a real looker but it has well established cult following of Wankel-lovers these days.
Their signature roll-top gauge cluster and tail light usually garner polarizing comments. Love it or hate it, I foresee a lot of conversations with folks who “remember when they first came out” in his future.
In 1984, the first Iron Butt Rally had a first place tie. One of the riders was aboard a Suzuki RE-5. Fast forward 25 years to the 2009 Iron Butt Rally. Two more brave souls on RE-5s threw their hats in to the ring to compete. Although neither RE-5 crossed the finish line, they had a lot of folks cheering them on.
Suzuki RE-5 Links