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.

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That's a pretty awesome looking bike.

It makes me sad though, that one day not too far from now we'll all be stuck watching unimaginative silent electric bikes whizz around a track and we'll have to pay a similar sum to ride a real 4-stroke motorbike...

Nothing, absolute nothing can ever beat a good two stroke!! It's to bad I don't have 100.000euros left in my pockets, now I'm going to sit in a dark corner of my workshop and feel depressed that they don't make a lot more of these beautiful bikes and then also in 250 or 350 and so on and on and on ........

I owed an RZ500 back in the day.

Nothing like the feel of a powerful 2 stroke engine... memories

I too feel the day will come when even 4 stroke motorcycles will be a thing of the past. It is at least refreshing to see that on this website we still appreciate 2 and 4 stroke engines unlike most of the Formula 1 car guys who all think hybrids and electrics are the way to go. Not to mention the self driving cars, self riding motorcycles will be next. Give me a sportbike and leave me alone enviros!

Still remember that last 500cc championship vividly. I miss the days of the riders controlling 100% of the bike. The past 7 years have been different, and not in a good way.

Fuel tank vented to steering stem, directly into atmosphere, as a proper race bike should.


Three hours maximum.....before I'd be in jail. NO WAY I could behave on that thing.

Jeez, just the exhaust sound would be a license loser. "Officer, there is a Godzilla sized chainsaw a block away from my house! I can't see it because it flies by too fast, but you can hear it coming from the next time zone."

Same way I felt having a race prepped AND plated CRF450 supermoto for a while. How on earth do you keep the from end on earth?! And it was LOUD. Kept the license plate covered in dirt which seemed to help for a time.

Come to think of it, doesn't any real sportbike offer this same dilemma? When I started racing I stopped street riding altogether but got plenty of track time. Riding on the street on one is like having a 12" chef's knife at the breakfast table. Mighty fun though eh?

#1 Will play the Powerball tonight!
#2 Weighs full of fluids as a road bike, the same as a modern MotoGP bike.
#3 If #1 comes true, will be calling up Chuck Aksland to, ahh, "go through the motor" :D

Braving the one star here. I don't like riding/racing 2 strokes. The power band just feels weird and fiddly. Nothing, nothing, then BAM it is an angry unwieldy hornet. I have two race specific 2 strokes in the garage gathering dust. Wide powerbands give me rhythm, torque is joyful. Back when I was racing I looked into what all 4 stroke motors bigger than a single I could squeeze into a 250GP frame and this looked like a super fun way to enjoy all the classes just under 600's. I don't like turning wrenches as much as riding them either, another vote for 4 strokes. My 600rr feels compact enough and handles great such that I feel like I have found my niche.

There, I said it.

This is a fetish! ;) Kidding, to each their own of course, the weight is obviously amazing!

To each their own and we all respect your opinion here, 5 stars for having an opinion and going with it.

2 strokes are risk/reward power units in many ways. As you've said, they are peaky and not for everyone, but the insta-response you get with the throttle is almost telepathic once you get used to it, and then so satisfying. A complete 'Rush'

One quick story:

I used to have an XR250 dirtbike, my buddy had a CR125 *2 stroke. Always a dead heat when we raced, but, the 2 stroke was 100 times more fun to ride and 'felt' much faster.. :))

I am with Motoshrink on the powerbands being a light switch on the 2 strokes. But that for me that was part of the challenge if riding them to know where the power kicked in. And that was on a dirtbike with no tach, just sound. This bike is beautiful. A true trackday weapon. But 100,000 euros is up in an area that is more than I personally cannot wrap my head around. Whether I have it or not. Good to see someone stepped up and made it. Maybe the new age of electronics have spread the powerband. THAT would be nice to hear of if anyone tests it. I think two strokes will make a come back at some point. When Scott Redding rode one last year, (I think), he loved it. Said they should be brought back, and I think, it may happen.

2-strokes powerbands ain't narrower as 4-strokers, as long as you compare equal equipment. a KR1s for example has power between 7000 and 12000, that's 5000rpm's and almost half of the entire range. a comparable ZXR400 of the same era made it's power between 9000 and 14000, also about 5000rpm's rage, but that's only about 1/3rd of the entire range....

On the roads, hitting the powerband is already half the fun and I sometimes deliberatly drop below it just so it can kick back in. And on track , if you drop out of it's power-range, you're doing it wrong ... ;-)

The ZXR400 was a gutless monster that was lucky to outrun a 250 4stroke. the CBR 400RR had a wider powerband, as did the VFR400. Even the CBR250 span nicely from below 8 through to 18.

Altho a good RGV was lighter and had a bit of character...

that must have been a very bad ZXR you rode, 'cause the ones I rode certainly weren't "gutless". I even won my first race ever on one, in a field of 250 2-strokes, 400 4-cyl and 650 twin 4-strokes. And all bikes in the field were basicly stock.

We need something like the former AMA F1 Championship reconstituted in the US to bring a venue for top class US racers to step up and show their stuff. I would think, as expensive as these sound to a private party, that bikes like this, the mentioned Suter, or Buell RW750 if it could come back into production, would be quite a bit more affordable to race at a top National level than 4-stroke based racing machines. We have nothing going on in contrast to BSB or Spain's racing programs, but a US national racing series running bikes of this nature would grab MY attention, at least, probably beyond what current MotoGP does. I'm probably weird though.

On the other hand...maybe guys like Rossi and Scott Redding and Casey Stoner who bemoan the extinction of the 2-stroke 500's would all come flocking to the US to ride these bikes in battle, in preference to what they currently have to aspire to! LOL

I don't remember that much exhaust smoke when I raced two strokes (a long time ago) or when MotoGP raced them into this century. I wonder why this bike smokes that much?