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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 Galina HB Suzuki Team TGA1
The Galina HB Suzuki Team TGA1 was photographed in a school gymnasium in Switzerland

The Galina HB Suzuki Team TGA1 was particularly noteworthy for including mechanical power steering
It was particularly noteworthy for including mechanical power steering

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.

Massimo Tamburini was employed to design a chassis for the XR45 motor from Suzuki
Massimo Tamburini was employed to design a chassis for the XR45 motor from Suzuki

A low centre of gravity and aerodynamics were of prime concern for the chassis design
A low centre of gravity and aerodynamics were of prime concern for the chassis design

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.

The mechanical power steering was meant to assist riders with the chicanes appearing on tracks around the world
The mechanical power steering was meant to assist riders with the chicanes appearing on 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.

While testing with 18in wheels was successful, with 16in items fitted the system was declared unsafe
While testing with 18in wheels was successful, with 16in items fitted the system was declared unsafe

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 chassis was an innovative in its design as the power steering
The chassis was an innovative in its design as the power steering

Despite the adjustment that Tamaburini had allowed for the bike proved difficult to set up
Despite the adjustment that Tamaburini had allowed for the bike proved difficult to set up

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.

The powerplant produced 130hp with the bike weighing just 112kg
The powerplant produced 130hp with the bike weighing just 112kg

Wolfgang Von Muralt took the bike to two 10th place finishes in 1986
Wolfgang Von Muralt took the bike to two 10th place finishes in 1986

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.

Roberto Galina HB Suzuki Team TGA1
Roberto Galina HB Suzuki Team TGA1

Roberto Galina HB Suzuki Team TGA1
Roberto Galina HB Suzuki Team TGA1

Roberto Galina HB Suzuki Team TGA1
Roberto Galina HB Suzuki Team TGA1

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