Mention the word "Rotary" or "Wankel" to a car enthusiast and the first thing that'll come to their minds is Mazda's RX-7 and RX-8, and in some cases the Mazda 787B Group C Le Mans race car. But few are aware that these magical triangular power generators also appeared on two-wheelers, race bikes that too!
Rotary engines, apart from their efficiency drawbacks, were a perfect fit for superbikes. They produced high power and moderate torque wrapped in a small package; all of this with a very high redline. It is a shame that they had to be phased out, since rotary engines gave their machines a distinct character
The motorcycle in question here is the Norton RCW588, which gets its name from a 588cc twin-rotor Wankel engine. This particular engine makes over 135PS and 104Nm of torque. The bike was raced in the 1989, 1990 and 1991 season of the Isle of Man TT. The rider brave enough to tackle this road course, is two-time Isle of Man TT champion Trevor Nation.
Judging from the way he navigated his through the narrow course, we're convinced that he didn't have much regard for his life, which really is something we feel is common to all those daredevils that ride at the Isle of Man. The terrific riding shots, narrow circuit, and that screaming rotary in the background makes for an exhilarating watch. So what are you waiting for?