Suzuki GSX-8S with Kevin Schwantz tribute livery revealed

Suzuki Italia is building five limited edition versions of the GSX-8S daubed in the same livery as Schwantz’s RGV500

Kevin Schwantz Suzuki GSX-8S

There’s a special new version of the Suzuki GSX-8S, but you can only buy one if you live in Italy. 

To coincide with an event in Turin this month, and to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Kevin Schwantz clinching the Grand Prix motorcycle 500 championship, Suzuki Italia has splashed the livery of the Texan’s RGV500 over the middleweight naked bike. Oh, and a car, and an outboard engine. 

The GSX-8S, a Swift Sport and a DF200AP outboard all enjoy a similar treatment, with a white base coat enhanced by red, green and black stripes and Schwantz’s race number, 34. Unsurprisingly, Suzuki neglects to mention that the original livery was inspired by the Suzuki factory team’s cigarette sponsorship of the time…

Five examples of each will be built, each signed by Schwantz himself. The 8S costs €11,490 (just under £10,000). A standard version of the Yamaha MT-07 rival is €8,900, for comparison. 

Livery aside, it’s all as per any other GSX-8S. That means you get a brand-new 776cc parallel twin with a 270-degree crankshaft, producing 82bhp at 9,000pm and 60lb ft of torque at 6,500rpm. That engine goes into a new frame (a big deal considering Suzuki’s ageing line-up) with fairly basic KYB suspension hanging off either end. 

As for the RGV500, it was raced by Suzuki in one form or another as far back as 1986, but the two-stroke, V4-powered machine didn’t win a title until 1993 with Schwantz. The #34 became particularly popular in Italy and was the preferred rider of Valentino Rossi during the nine-time World Champion’s formative years. 

Kenny Roberts Jr. became the last rider to snare a championship aboard the RGV500 in 2000, in the penultimate year of the two-stroke GP era. Suzuki would'nt win again until Joan Mir in 2020, and the team has since departed Grand Prix racing.