While many two-stroke icons have their roots back to the 1980’s and 90’s, there is one that is much more modern and just as worthy as praise, that modern two-stroke is the Suter MMX 500.
Suter Racing Products got their start back in 1996 and first developed the Suter Racing Clutch System, quickly this turned to high-performance engines, motorcycles and other component development.
Suter worked in partnership with well-established manufacturers like Kawasaki and Aprilia.
Between 2010-2012 Suter Racing won the Constructors World Championship each year with legendary rider Marc Marquez winning them the title in 2012.
For 2015 things were kicked up a gear and the MMX 500 was released, an all new four-cylinder, two-stroke Grand Prix racing bike that was a huge technical design and engineering feat.
The Suter MMX 500 is an exclusive racing motorcycle, enhanced by its strictly limited edition status. Developed and produced by our racing division, this technical masterpiece is built with skilful hands for appreciating hearts.Suter
The company knew that the 500cc class of motorcycle world championship racing was best of the best, it was an era of impressive lightweight motorcycles with a maximum of four-cylinders that could reach outstanding speeds.
This all ended in 2002, but Suter thought it was about time to revive the Golden Era of motorcycle racing; and thought the GP legends class would appreciate a 500cc 2 stroke; to do so they would need a worthy competitor which is how the MMX 500 found its way into production.
Only 99 of the MMX 500 have been produced and they are sold on demand directly through Suter with an asking price of just over £100,000.
Is it worth it? That’s up to you to decide, let’s take a deeper look into the Suter MMX 500.
Suter MMX 500 Review
The mission of the Suter MMX 500 was to be the first of its kind available on the open market to the public. It is unique in that it is a MotoGP spec, 576cc, road-racing 2-stroke powered by four-cylinders.
Suter set out to combine traditional 2-stroke knowledge with modern technical advancements to make the ultimate 500cc racer.
Only the best parts are used and the craftsmanship is second to none, the bodywork is all carbon fiber along with fuel tank which means the bike only weighs in at 127kg.
Double counter rotating crankshafts and electronic fuel injection are just two of the more modern technologies applied to the 2-stroke design.
While the best components are used as standard, the buyer also has the choice to upgrade even further should they wish for things like lightweight rims or electronic mapping software.
So how does it feel to ride?
Well, Wayne Gardner (Australian legendary GP racer), took the Suter out and it scared the life out of him.
The power is immense and the front wheel just wants to fly up, he said the wheel flew up vertically, and it was the first time he nearly flipped a GP bike or a 500cc for that matter.
You need to use the full 13,000 rpm to get the most out of it, just like the good old classic strokers, the MMX 500 makes you work through the power bands but once you do the torque is unmatched and at 195 hp you have an abundance of power to have fun with.
Handling is exceptional and it will throw down in the corners as low as you want to go, then spit you back out of the bend with venom.
There is no traction control, wheelie control or launch control, no fancy electronics, just a real brutal two stroke GP racer that if you have the cash you could own.
Suter MMX 500 Specs
- Engine – 4 cylinder, V4, 2-stroke with double counter rotating crankshafts
- Displacement – 576cc
- Bore x Stroke – 56 x 58.5mm
- Max Power – 195 hp
- Max Revs – 13,000 rpm
- Aspiration – Electronic fuel injection, four port throttle body and four carbon reed valves
- Exhaust Valve – Double flap, electronically controlled
- Exhaust – Akrapovic four single resonance Titanium chambers
- Gearbox – Six speed cassette
- Clutch – Suter multi-disc dry
- Frame – CNC machined Aluminum twin-spar with multi-adjustable steering/wheelbase/riding position and height
- Swingarm – Aluminum swingarm, CNC machined, adjustable
- Front Suspension – Öhlins upside down front fork
- Rear Suspension – Öhlins rear shock – front and back suspension all adjustable for preload, compression and rebound damping
- Wheels – OZ either Magnesium or Aluminium 17 inch x 3.75 on Front, 17 inch x 6.0 on back
- Front Brakes – Brembo two 320mm steel front disc with 4 piston caliper
- Rear Brake – Brembo single 218mm steel back disc with 2 piston caliper
- Fuel Tank – Carbon Fiber
- Bodywork – Carbon Fiber
The MMX 500 top speed is said to be in excess of 310kmh which equates to 192mph.
Suter MMX 500 at the 2016 Isle of Man TT
Of course the MMX 500 wouldn’t be worth its salt as a racer if it hadn’t made headlines at the Isle of Man TT, the pinnacle of all road-races.
Ian Lougher is an icon in the racing world known for 8 victories at the North West 200, 10 wins at the Isle of Man, and a further 32 wins at the Southern 100.
He was the racer selected to take Suter to the 2016 TT and again in 2018.
It was breaking news when the announcement came that the Suter MMX 500 would be racing, with the Swiss company claiming that the race would be a test ground for technology they were developing to cut two-stroke emissions and make them feasible as everyday engines once more.
The two-stroke V4, was the only one in the Senior TT category to be raced in both 2016 and later when Lougher again piloted the bike in 2018.
In 2016 Lougher only managed to scrape 34th place in the race, with an average of 117.54 mph on the infamous mountain course.
Back for the 2018 Senior TT on the 2017 Suter, the legendary Scotsman improved both his time and his position with a 21st place and an average speed of 120.807
Due to the hot weather it was very fast racing that year and Peter Hickman won the race race with an average speed of 131.7mph on a BMW S 1000 RR.
Perhaps the MMX 500’s final position never really mattered, as the announcement that Suter would be racing was enough to get them worldwide attention and get people excited again about the potential of GP style two-stroke racers.
I don’t think Suter Racing are quite finished with the TT, and it is possible we will see another bash at some point in the future.
Could the 2-stroke make a comeback?
A couple of years ago the immediate response to this would have been no, there is no way we will get to see road-going 2-stroke motorcycles again; all we can hope is those that still have the RD500‘s and TZR250’s are looking after them so that we still get to look back on the good old days.
Why? Well worldwide oil supplies are diminishing and the world is in a rush to cut emissions, traditional two-strokes of days gone by were pollutants and that is why with the exception of racing events they became extinct.
However, there are some people who still believe in the power of the two-stroke engine and are working tirelessly to bring it back in a more environmentally friendly capacity. In fact some have gone as far to say that these new two-strokes have the potential to be less damaging than many current four-stroke engines.
Kawasaki are working on a supercharged two-stroke engine with a crossplane crank and an all new engine design called the CTIS by inventor Basil Van Rooyen which has many people excited.
Essentially the CTIS engine offers great performance with minimal emissions.
The prototype engine…was built onto an 800cc V-twin Suzuki Boulevard crankcase, with modified Rotax 800 cylinder jackets and heads used. The engine could be used in anything, from 33bhp to 160bhp motorcycle engines.Visordown
I think it is too early to say that the two-stroke engine will see a huge comeback, but we have seen two-stroke technology attempting to improve in recent years such as with the Suter, the Ronax 500, the ill fated Bimota V-Due and KTM’s two stroke motocross bikes.
Is it all a dream that we will one day have road-legal two-strokes back dominating the streets? Probably, but we can hope right?
Well, I doubt very much I will ever get my hands on the Suter MMX 500, but I sure would love to.
Suter Racing have crafted a motorcycle out of a passion for an iconic era in Grand Prix race history.
During that development of moulding old with new, the designers managed to keep the bike as honest as possible without ruining it with modern tech, just garnishing it enough to make it simply brilliant.