The Ronax: A 500cc GP Bike To Call Your Own
It is not often that we have cause to write about road-going motorcycles, but this is something a little bit special. The German engineering company Ronax have released a 500cc two-stroke V4 track missile, a cross between a Honda NSR500 and Yamaha YZR500. The bike is an 80° V4 two-stroke featuring two counter-rotating cranks, a design similar to Yamaha's 500cc GP machine, the two counter-rotating crankshafts balancing each other's inertial torque out. The bike features electronic fuel injection, and comes in at a paltry 145kg dry weight. The weight is kept low due to extensive use of aluminium and carbon fiber parts, the bodywork, tank, rear seat unit and airbox all being produced from CF. Quoted power is 160bhp, a fair few short of the 200 generally ascribed to the last of the 500cc Grand Prix racers.
To call it a road-going motorcycle is something of a misnomer. There are fittings for lights, and a hanger for a license plate, all of which can be fitted quickly after use on a track. However, the limited production run - just 46 are to be made, a careful nod to the last 500cc champion Valentino Rossi, phrased to avoid the wrath of his mighty marketing machine - means that the bikes will not be homologated for full-time road use. A quirk in German transportation laws means that the bike can be ridden on German roads without a full technical inspection on special temporary transport plates. Specialist bikes in such small numbers are very expensive to homologate for road use, and even with fuel injection, question marks remain over whether the bike would pass emissions tests. The use of temporary plates neatly circumvents that little problem, though you will either have to move to Germany or find a similar loophole in your local legislation to enjoy the same privilege.
As you might expect, such a bike is not cheap. The asking price is €100,000, ex German VAT at 19%. For that money, however, you will own something utterly unique and very special indeed. At 160bhp and something in the region of 165kg fully fueled, it will make an extraordinary track day weapon. And you are unlikely to have to worry about ever seeing another pull up in the garage next to yours, something which can happen to owners of the more high-end sports bikes such as Ducati's Panigale 1199R.
Expensive, exclusive and impractical as it may be, there is one thing for certain about the Ronax 500. It is a thing of extraordinary beauty.