2017 Suter MMX 500 Limited Edition #19 of 99 (+video)

Suter MMX500 on race track
Dave getting comfortable on his new bike

Suter Racing Technology MMX 500

Suter MMX500 Dave 1
Proud new owner at speed

Suter Racing Technology (SRT) was founded by Eskil Suter in 1996, towards the tail end of his 250cc and 500cc World Championship racing career. Starting out by manufacturing race clutches (now ubiquitous in Moto2), Suter subsequently became a diverse engineering company capable of taking concepts through to finished product at its facility near Zurich in Switzerland. Anything from propulsion systems, chassis, concept vehicles, engines, clutch systems, and special components, even complete prototype motorcycles are all made in-house.

SRT designed and developed the Petronas FP1 900cc three-cylinder superbike engine that competed in the Superbike World Championship from 2002 to 2005. The company also helped with the development of the Kawasaki ZX-RR that competed in MotoGP between 2004 and 2006.

In the two years 2006 and 2007, Suter helped Ilmor Engineering in the chassis design of the 800cc Ilmor X3 MotoGP racebike. In 2010, Suter Racing Technology started providing its chassis in Moto2, subsequently winning the Manufacturers’ Championship three years in a row from 2010 to 2012, with Marc Márquez becoming the 2012 Moto2 world champion on a Suter chassis. For the 2012 Claiming Rules in MotoGP, Suter also built a MotoGP prototype machine powered by a 1000cc BMW S1000RR engine, and fielded by the Marc VDS Racing Team and Forward Racing.

Rearset footpegs and shockNot prepared to compete on price, Suter rely on their legendary Swiss quality and craftsmanship and focus on providing solutions faster and better engineered than their competitors.

The powerful combination of exhaustive research and analysis from a top team of highly qualified engineers and technicians, operating from a state-of-the-art production facility enable the company to produce some of the most amazingly engineered products on the planet.

In 2016, STR announced the limited run—just 99 units—of a complete project motorcycle: the Suter MMX 500. It was an amazing achievement to create an in-house engine and chassis, and the end result is breathtakingly exquisite. Every tiny detail of this machine is absolutely stunning; the level of precision and care that goes into the Suter is astonishing; each machine is a rolling showcase of their talents.

Achieving what the unfortunate Bimota V Due never managed, the fuel-injected Suter V4 576 cc motor is a liquid-cooled two-stroke, featuring a double counter-rotating crankshaft, a 56 mm x 58.5 mm bore/stroke redlined at 13,000 rpm, and mated to an in-house dry clutch and six speed cassette-style track-shift gearbox.

Using the simple and light two-stroke technology, Suter Racing claims an unparalleled power-to-weight ratio of 195 peak horsepower (at 13,000 rpm), propelling a machine that weighs a mere 280 pounds wet weight. Yes, you read that correctly—280 pounds. To put that in perspective, that is a jaw-dropping 65 pounds lighter than the current MotoGP minimum weight requirement of 345 pounds! To say the machine caused a stir when it was announced would be somewhat of an understatement.

A Mectronik ECU handles the fueling, and the crankcase ported motor receives the fuel mixture via carbon reed-valves, with the exhaust exiting past flapper valves in the headers to help the Akrapovic titanium expansion chambers.

A 2D data-log system is optional, but beyond that and the electronic fueling however, there are no rider-aids such as traction or wheelie control on the MMX 500. Suter quickly realized that even using modern-day highly sophisticated fuel injection, tempering the power for these types of control would lean out the engine and risk seizure. Two-stroke engines are much more sensitive to fuel mixture than four-stroke motors.

Suter’s conventional aluminum twin-spar chassis and well-braced swingarm are suspended using absolute best-spec Öhlins suspension front and rear, with similar top-shelf Brembo brakes to bring the bike down from its theoretical-but-highly-likely 195 mph top speed.

Aluminum GP-spec 17-inch Oz wheels are also available in optional magnesium and are shod with Dunlop slicks 125/75R-17 on the front, and a 205/75R-17 at the back. The carbon fiber bodywork and fuel tank are absolutely exquisite, and can be painted or with decals to any customer spec.

front suspension Ohlins
Ohlins MotoGP fork and Brembo top line calipers

The Suter MMX 500 is essentially made to order, with #19 and the first machine sold in America purchased by Dave Frick in the mid-west. He flew out to California to take delivery of his machine at The Thermal Club in the California desert, kindly arranged by Geoff Maloney of GP Tech.

One might say that Dave is a two-stroke nut—he owns several vintage street and racebikes, not one of which is a four-stroke! He was never a racer, but he enjoys many track days, and when the Suter was announced it seemed like the perfect machine to him and he decided to buy one.

“The bike is so beautifully crafted and detailed that I tried to persuade my wife to buy a second that we could display in the sitting room, but she wouldn’t go for it” he laughs. Although I did not get a chance to ride the machine, I did get Dave’s impressions after several sessions, and at the end of the day Ultimate Motorcycling Consultant-at-Large Kaming Ko managed a few laps as well, before the rain came.

Dave’s overwhelming impression with his new bike was obviously the power-to-weight ratio that has created a machine that “turns almost without thinking” it is so intuitive. Clearly Suter have got the chassis numbers right as the bike is not nervous at all. Following Dave on a Yamaha FZ-10 I was impressed at how easily and quickly he flicked through one of Thermal’s slow left/right chicanes and left me somewhat floundering. As the saying goes “there’s no replacement for displacement”, but I’d add that incredible light weight doesn’t hurt either.

Kaming Ko Kawasaki H2R
Kaming Ko in the seventies on his Kawasaki H2R

Kaming has owned multiple 2-strokes over the years and competed on a Kawasaki H2R in the seventies, so he was interested to try the Suter. His impression is that “the [MMX 500] is nimble. It is sharp and very sensitive to rider’s input, not like those old nails I once owned and competed [on]” he laughs.

When I asked about power delivery (190 hp and 280 pounds, with no traction control!) the overriding impression from both riders is that far from having the old-school ‘light-switch’ power delivery, the Suter’s powerband is very broad, with plenty of low down torque. Ultimately the MMX 500 is very easy to ride.

Kaming Ko and Suter MMX500
Kaming Ko liked the Suter MMX500!

Kaming’s impression of course was one of surprise: “The MMX 500 engine pulls from 5000 rpm to 13,000 rpm [the redline] smoothly; it only pulls hard slightly after 9000rpm. It wasn’t violent like my H2R that produced less power, but all on top and was very scary to ride. Whereas the MMX 500 pulls cleanly even below 4000rpm.”

The Suter has an onboard fuel trim mode that adds or reduces fuel by plus or minus in 5-level increments, adding in 3% or reducing by 1.5% stages, and that allows the rider to fine tune the mixture on the fly as needed. The baseline setting is towards the rich side (especially for break-in) to protect the engine.

Kaming felt “the MMX500 is by far is the best 2-stroke I have ever ridden even though only for few laps with poor weather condition.”

Pricing is set at 128,000 Swiss francs, plus shipping and import taxes. Depending on exchange rates at the time, you won’t see much change out of $150,000.

Interested parties in loaning me $150k can reach me at the magazine. If you want one for yourself you can contact Suter Racing at suter500@suterracing.ch, or telephone +41 52 397 10 60.