Why we love the RGV

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Suzuki RGV500 Celebration -

Suzuki might’ve pro­duced a race bike-ap­ing square four RG500 road bike in the mid-80s, but the RGV500 we all re­ally wanted never ar­rived. The clos­est we ever got was the RGV250, which was no bad thing be­cause it was a gem of a ma­chine.

Look­ing every inch like Sch­wantz’s 500, es­pe­cially the early ’ 90s RGV250M and N mod­els with their up­side forks, ba­nana swingarms and twin up­swept pipes, the two-stroke 250 was a true pocket racer. Light, flick­able, smelly, zingy - few bikes de­liv­ered the same level of pure unadul­ter­ated fun back in the day. The jewel-like V-twin mo­tor even had the same bore and stroke as Sch­wantz’s 500, al­beit with fewer pis­tons.

The RGV250J (VJ21A) was launched as a Ja­pan-only model in 1988, but Suzuki brought the K model to the UK a year later. It was re­designed for 1991 and the RGV250M (VJ22A) with new styling, a 17in rear wheel (re­plac­ing the 18-incher) and those new forks and swingarm. The ’92 N was a slightly tweaked ver­sion, iden­ti­fi­able by two, in­stead of three, gills in the rear tail unit.

Suzuki had to re­vert back to a straight swingarm for the 1993 P model af­ter Honda po­litely re­minded them the ba­nana shape was their patent. The fol­low­ing year’s R was the last of­fi­cially im­ported to the UK, but the RGV car­ried on in Ja­pan with a com­pletely over­hauled and ut­terly de­li­cious 1996 RGV250T (VJ23A).

Through­out the RGV250’S his­tory, Suzuki made tasty spe­cial-edi­tion Ja­pan-only ver­sions, boast­ing things like dry clutches, close-ra­tio gear­boxes and up­rated sus­pen­sion, which are now ul­tra-rare.

You can still buy just about every new part you need for your RGV250 thanks to Suzuki’s bril­liant on­line Vin­tage Parts pro­gram – browse it at www.suzuki-gb.co.uk.

‘It was the best look­ing bike in the world when I was a boy’ OWNER STEVE WOOD

Se­nior Road Tester Adam Child speaks to eleven fa­nat­i­cal RGV250 own­ers to find out how the RGV500 in­spired them... If ever the pop­u­lar­ity of the RGV needed con­firm­ing, we were in­un­dated with replies when we asked on­line if own­ers fan­cied join­ing us at Rock­ing­ham to talk about their bikes. Out of more than 50 will­ing vol­un­teers we chose these lucky eleven. BRUCE BLAKELEY 1 RGV250L - VJ21A (Pepsi) Your RGV “I’ve owned this bike for just over a year.” What does the RGV mean to you? “I guess its nos­tal­gia. You smell the two-stroke and re­mem­ber want­ing a 500 as a kid.” 2 CHRIS HOP­KINS RGV250N - VJ22A N (Lucky Strike) Your RGV “I’ve had it for two years now. It has a Max­ton rear shock and fork job.” What does the RGV mean to you? “I’ve just al­ways loved them. This is the clos­est you’re go­ing to get to own­ing a two-stroke GP bike on the road.” 3 RICHARD DAVIS RGV250M SP - VJ22A SP (blue and white) Your RGV “I have only owned it for 12 months. I took a gam­ble on an Ebay auc­tion.” What does the RGV mean to you? “It was the bike I could never af­ford un­til now. I was a mas­sive GP fan – and still am. This is the clos­est I’ll get to own­ing a GP bike.” 4 TIM DAVIS RGV250P - VJ22A (blue and white) Your RGV “I’ve owned this one for five years.” What does the RGV mean to you? “I wanted one when I was a kid but I couldn’t af­ford it. It was the same as Kevin’s so I had to have one.” 5 STEVE WOOD RGV250R – VJ22A (blue and white) Your RGV “I’ve owned this bike for 10 years.” What does the RGV mean to you? “It was the best look­ing bike in the world when I was a boy and still is to­day. Al­ways wanted one be­cause of GP rac­ing.” 6 JAMES RGV250N JACK­SON- VJ22A (blueYour RGVand “I’ve white) had it for six years.” What does the RGV mean to you? “I wanted one af­ter years of watch­ing Sch­wantz. To find an orig­i­nal blew my mind away. It’s fan­tas­tic.” 7 IAN JACK­SON RGV250M - VJ22A (Lucky Strike) Your RGV “I’ve not had it long. Bought it on Ebay, but it needed some work, we sorted the carb and it’s run ever since.” What does the RGV mean to you? “Kevin’s signed the fuel tank. He and his dad wanted their photo on the bike. We sent the pic­tures back to Amer­ica.” 8 DAVE BIR­CHALL RGV250N – VJ22A (Black) Your RGV “I’ve owned it for 16 years and got it when I was 19. It’s all stan­dard, apart from Tiga pipes and a GSX-R rear shock.” What does the RGV mean to you? “It means ev­ery­thing to me. When I was a lad and watched GP rac­ing I wanted to be Kevin Sch­wantz. He rode the 500, I wanted that and the 250 was the clos­est I could get.” 9 BARRY MAN­TELL RGV250P - VJ22A (pur­ple and red) Your RGV “I’ve owned it for 15 years and it’s been fully stripped back and re­built since.” What“I was love the doesmy best two-strokesthe one RGV out mean there.”and to the you? 500 10 NEIL PEAR­SON RGV250SP - VJ21A (blue and white) Your RGV “I’ve owned it for a year. It’s a bike I’ve been hunt­ing for ages and I wanted an orig­i­nal.” What “Aged does18 all the my RGV mates mean had to Xr3is, you? but I was a biker. Kevin was my hero and the RGV was a 130mph two-stroke.” 11 GARRY JAY RGV250L - VJ21A (white and black) Your RGV “It’s stan­dard ex­cept for Tiga pipes and Piper­cross air-fil­ter. I’ve got an­other, built out of bits, with a 300cc en­gine, for track­days.” What does the RGV mean to you? “It re­minds me of be­ing a fan of GPS and the Trans At­lantic se­ries back in the day, see­ing the greats bat­tle it out.”

‘ This is the clos­est thing I’ll get to own­ing a GP bike’ OWNER RICHARD DAVIS

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