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1975 Suzuki T500

Posted on May 28, 2011 by Scott in Café Racer, Racer. 26 comments

I always love finding out what people do for a living. Most people find their chosen occupation boring as bat poo, mainly because they have to do it for nearly every day of the week for 10 hours a day (or more). But sometimes, from an outsiders perspective some jobs just sound so friggin’ cool. Take Mark Wolf for example, he is the owner and builder of this fine Suzuki T500 cafe racer. I asked him the question I ask most people whose bike we are about to feature: “Tell us a little about yourself” in which he replied “Nothing remarkable about me. By day I’m just a licensed aircraft mechanic who builds turbine jet engines for Rolls-Royce.” What? Just an aircraft mechanic who builds jet engines for Rolls Royce? Is it just me, or does that sound awesome? But then again, I’m not the one doing it everyday. It is safe to say that when it comes to rebuilding motorcycle engines, we think Mark can probably do a pretty solid job. “I’ve rebuilt a few wrecked sportbikes over the years but the T500 is my first attempt at any sort of vintage or cafe project” says Mark.

Here’s how Mark describes the T500 build. “I bought the T500 in March of  last year. I found it through an ad placed on the web forum. It was a few hundred miles away in Knoxville, Tennessee but the price was right and it was a running bike. It was a very complete and unmolested bike but was showing it’s age. Given the overall condition of the chrome, etc. it would have been much more expensive to restore than it was worth so I didn’t feel too bad about cutting her up. I originally planned a quick and simple project with just a seat change and some clubman bars but the project grew quickly and turned into a complete rebuild.”

“The tipping point was when I decided to replace the tank. I don’t have a lot of metal fabrication experience or tooling at home so I enlisted the help of Sean at Roc City Cafe for the tank. I sent Sean my stock tank and a few measurements and we quickly decided that a tank based on the Honda CR style would be the best fit for the bike. Sean did a wonderful job and the tank dropped right on. Sean definitely deserves a “shout out” for his efforts. In my opinion, the tank really makes the bike. It took a few months to get the tank so I decided to freshen up the engine while I waited. The crank was rebuilt with fresh seals and the cylinders bored for a set of 0,5mm over pistons. I kept the engine stock overall. The only big mod was an upgrade to electronic ignition.”

Mark’s overall goal for the project was simply to have a reliable and great looking cafe styled bike. “I really didn’t do any performance mods aside from eliminating weight wherever I could. I did want to improve the braking though but I wanted to stay with drums. I found a 4LS drum from a GT750 and laced it, along with the stock rear drum, to a set of 18″ shouldered aluminum rims.”

“The build couldn’t have been done without Sean at RocCityCafe for his work on the custom tank. Sean also supplied the seat and front fender, these were off the shelf units that Mark modified to fit the bike. Also Titan Performance made the expansion chambers and rearsets. ProKote Indy did the frame powdercoating and header ceramic coating. Lastly, Mark wanted to give a bike thankyou to the fine folks at the forum. “It’s a never ending source of great builds, inspiration, and advice.”

We think Mark has created the “Rolls Royce” of Suzuki T500 cafe racers and there is a ton of info and build pics on Mark’s thread on

(Big thanks to Mike Dock aka VonYizer on D.T.T. for the tip. Keep ’em coming, lads!)

  • jack

    one of the best tanks ive seen in a while.

  • Daniel

    Make it one of the best bikes I've seen in a while, as far as I'm concerned.

  • Ceolwulf


  • revdub

    I can't imagine a better looking bike. I agree, that tank is a work of art.

  • Looks beautiful but I bet it sounds amazing with those new pipes.

  • ecosse


  • Pam


  • The venerable Suzuki Titan, a very quick bike in it's day and this is a lovely interpretation…..there's nothing quite like a handmade alloy tank.

  • redrumracer

    gorgeous tank, beautiful bike!

  • Jed


  • Ringo

    She's a stunning specimen alright! Great work Mark!!

  • Kev

    Its just beautiful Mark! Great Job on the timeless style!
    Kevin White

  • VonYinzer

    Beautiful bike Mark. Cant wait to see what your next project is.

  • Den


  • Glenn

    Congrats, a truly remarkable bike!

  • peter king

    Struth its beautiful

  • i just love this bike!!!



  • JustinLonghorn

    Yep, I can dig it.

  • Eric

    This bike won 'Best Cafe' at our Rocker's Reunion a few weeks ago. If you can believe it, it's better looking in person!

  • Phil

    Beautiful !
    Simple, pure and blanced lines …

    (would love to hear the bikes …. could be a fun addition to each posts … a little and discreet sound player)

  • Scott

    @Phil You are in luck. Mark has filmed a vid of the bike in action…

  • rafe03

    Love the tank n the 4ls brake. Sounds luverly!!

    Used to race clubmans with one. Takes me back to dicing with Commando's.

    How sweet that howl when cranked up!

  • scott halbleib

    got to see this in person at the rocker reunion in Indy. Very nice! Pics don't do it justice.

  • retro bike

    Now that's a good looking bike.

  • Troy

    just drooling…………..

  • DanB

    Awesome bike, gives me some ideas of what I might do to my '73 T500 accumulating dust in my shed.