Never heard of a Ronax 500? Don’t worry you are not alone.
It is perhaps one of the craziest limited edition two-stroke motorcycles ever sold, with an equally wild price tag and only 46 units to have been produced.
It is a Honda NSR500 GP bike replica even down to the 160 horsepower that the motor boasts and yet it is somehow road legal.
Valentino Rossi, yes none other than the man himself won the last 500cc World Championship in 2001 on an NSR500.
Four-strokes were then forced back into the racing world for big capacity bikes and two strokes were rendered basically obsolete.
Until 2014 when the Ronax 500 was released, with a statement that only 46 units would be made, with a sure nod to Rossi’s 46 number that has become synonymous with the racing hero.
With such few numbers made, most of us mere mortals will never have the fortune of seeing one in the flesh let alone take it for a spin.
So let me take you on a journey and fill you in on all you need to know about the Ronax 500.
Ronax 500 Review
Ronax have created an absolutely unadulterated race bike honoring the 500cc Grand Prix days with no oversights of any details that make the perfect race machine.
Yet, somehow the German company managed to also make the Ronax 500 road legal by simply applying the basic necessities such as lights.
The V4 engine has a Bore and Stroke of 54 x 54mm and is laid out just like the race winning GP bikes in particular the Yamaha YZR500 and NSR500, the last two race winning bikes of the era.
Just like the YZR500 the Ronax uses a pair of counter-rotating crankshafts, although as an extra touch both cranks sit in CNC-machined billet aluminium crankcases.
The 6 speed cassette type gearbox allows for easy gear ratio swaps, so you can tune the bike to suit with ease.
It is a super lightweight bike with a full aluminium twin spar frame and swingarm, the steering head was also produced to be fully adjustable.
No expense was spared (and rightly so with the final retail price of the bike) Ohlins suspension both front and rear mesh together for the perfect adjustable setup, that the rider can tune to suit the road conditions.
Brembo brakes also grace the front and rear wheels providing excellent stopping power that is more than equal to the acceleration the engine is capable of.
Furthermore, the bodywork, fuel tank, and rear tail section were all produced from carbon fibre. The four exhaust mufflers were all also made from carbon/kevlar.
Overall this meant the bike weighed in at just 145kg dry, the power to weight ratio therefore was significant, and that claimed 160 horsepower in such a lightweight package makes for either a fantastically brilliant ride or a truly terrifying one depending on the rider’s skill.
Ronax themselves aren’t shy about coming forward with their description of the model:
“Refined craftsmanship and technical highlights, such as electronically controlled injection or a starter , give the Ronax 500 a contemporary look when it comes to handling and handling. Consistent lightweight construction, precise manufacturing and the finest materials ensure an optimal power-to-weight ratio and a pure driving experience.”
The fact of the matter is the Germans put together a motorcycle that took all the best bits out of 500cc two-stroke GP machines, threw it into theirs and added modern functionality, technical details and materials to make it better than anything that had come before it.
From a style perspective the Ronax 500 is straight out of the 90’s, with its funky GP style bodywork, big tank, bulky fairing etc. So, it looks like nothing else available on the modern new market today.
The likes of the YZR (Yamaha RD500LC) and NSR were not easy bikes to ride, mainly down to the fact that they were race bikes and only racers were meant to ride them. Skilled riders, with training, finesse, and buckets of courage to take on the masses of instantaneous power.
What that means is that the Ronax 500 is not going to be any different to ride. It is a pure monster that will take skill and bravery to master and unleash its full potential.
Ergonomically you are put into a straight up sports riding position, comfort isn’t necessary when you are pinning the throttle while holding on for your life.
Another super cool feature is that each Ronax 500 is handmade. Only components like the Ohlins and Brembos are outsourced. Aside from these parts, the bikes are handmade to order.
German built, so quality is obviously second to none and the bike is really quite beautiful. It is built for purpose, to be the best racer created, and everything else is secondary, but even within that the bike is pretty stunning visually.
It is a bike ready to race, the only real downside is the fact the Ronax 500 was priced at 100,000 Euros, so only the wealthy could afford one and only the insane and wealthy would likely take one to the track.
Ronax 500 Specs
Engine and Transmission
- Engine – Two-stroke, 80 degree, V4 with two counter-rotating crankshafts
- Capacity – 499cc
- Lubrication – Fuel Injection
- Exhaust – Four stainless steel tuned pipes with carbon fibre end cans
- Electric Start
- Max Power – 160 horsepower at 11,500rpm
- Clutch – Multi-disc clutch in oil bath
- Transmission – 6 speed
- Final Drive – Chain
Chassis and Dimensions
- Frame – Aluminium bridge frame, CNC processed
- Steering Damper – Ohlins
- Front Suspension – Ohlins 43mm upside down fork
- Rear Suspension – Aluminium swingarm with Ohlins monoshock
- Front Brakes – 2 x 320mm discs, Brembo monobloc, 4 piston
- Rear Brakes – Single 210mm Brembo disc, 2 piston caliper
What is the top speed of a Ronax 500?
The Ronax 500 is quite capable of speeds of 186mph and perhaps beyond.
How much can you expect to pay in the UK and USA?
The Ronax 500 went on sale for 100,000 Euros which equated to around $136,000/£79,000 at the time of release.
At the time of researching the Ronax 500 I could not find a single advert for a used one for sale.
Perhaps in a few years time one may come up, but I expect the bike will not have lost any value and may well have risen.
The Ronax 500 honors Grand Prix racing in the best way possible, by being a better representation of the 500cc two stroke Grand Prix bikes of times gone by. It is extreme in every sense, from the materials used to the design and to the price tag.
However, it is hand-crafted quality and a bike that many two-stroke GP fans will have dreamt of. It is quite literally many a motorcycle fan’s dream realised, so for that alone it is really cool.
For a change though, I don’t think I will go as far to say I want to add one to my collection, even if I had the money I’d be too terrified to use it.
I would settle for seeing one on the track though, with a skilled rider getting everything they can out of it.
Watch the video below to see the Ronax 500 in action.