A 500GP bike with power steering…..
Galina HB Suzuki Team TGA1
By Phil Aynsley
It’s not often you come across a bike that was designed with power steering! However I photographed just such an animal in a school gymnasium in a small village in Switzerland last year.
The Gallina TGA1 came about as a result of Suzuki informing Roberto Galina (owner of the successful Galina HB Suzuki team) that they would be pulling out of GP racing at the end of 1983. As it turned out they were still able to supply works XR45 motors so Galina employed a certain Massimo Tamburini (of Bimota, Ducati 916 & MV 750 fame), to design a chassis that stressed having a low C-of-G and excellent aerodynamics.
Not only did Tamburini achieve these goals he threw in mechanical power steering as well! This utilised a wide belt and various cams/pulleys housed in the massive steering head. The idea was to help the riders deal with all the chicanes that were beginning to appear at tracks around the world.
However while the original system worked fairly well on a test bike fitted with 18 inch wheels, it was a different story with the 16 inch wheels fitted to the TGA1! Team riders Franco Uncini and Sergio Pellandini declared the bike unsafe and the system was removed.
The rest of Tamurini’s design was just as innovative with Avional 24 alloy sheet glued either side of a honeycomb carbon fibre centre in a six piece chassis that was bolted to the steering head with 12 large bolts.
The bike, the sole example constructed – TGA-0001, proved difficult to set up despite (or perhaps due to) the various adjustments Tamburini had provided for – castor angle, trail etc. Development continued though 1984 but it was never declared race-worthy.
However in 1986 the Swiss rider Wolfgang Von Muralt rode the bike to two 10th places, despite being far too tall for the bike which had been tailored around the compact Uncini. Output was 130hp at 12,000rpm. Dry weight 112kg.