Classic Motorcycle Mechanics

The RV Time Line


The RV family arrived with a bit of a bang in 1972 and comprised of 50, 75, 90 and 125 derivative­s based around already extant engines. Amazingly for something that ought to have had only limited appeal, the entire range ran almost unchanged for 10 years other than cosmetic updates. The 50 was marketed at home as the Van-van which, in colloquial Japanese, is said to mean ‘More and more’ or ‘Keep going on’! The 90 variant was gifted the title Rover, whilst the 125 was punted out as the Tracker.

The entire range developed something of a cult within the home market, which probably explains why Suzuki kept on churning them out for so long. The Van-van following was something different to the monkey bike craze and period images often show the strange little Suzukis being ridden by younger Japanese women very much like fashion statements. When environmen­tal concerns drove the two-stroke single RVS off the road no one else bothered with the concept until Suzuki revisited the notion again in 2002.

Once again the company took an existing engine, this time a successful four-stroke 125 single, and built a bike around it taking styling cues from the 70s machines. Second time around the unique long seat actually married up to a convention­al tank, spoked wheels replaced the pressed steel ones and the front brake morphed from drum to disc. The second generation Van-van ran from 2002 through to at least 2017, thereby outliving its progenitor by some five years.

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