Everything about the RGV is lightweight and seemingly unsubstantial. Lifting it upright off the side stand for the first time has you over balancing as the bike literally flies out of your hands. The same with the kick start as the tiny pistons offer little resistance to your right foot, this also transfers to the throttle as the merest blip has the tacho needle frantically struggling to keep up with the motion of the engine. With every rev, and with hardly any weight behind it to absorb excess vibrations, the whole bike feels alive and more than eager to take off.
Nothing changes once a gear has been selected and the clutch is eased out. There is a need to keep the revs well up while pulling away however, there is precious little power below 8000rpm so deft use of the clutch and throttle are required to get The bike is a flyer from the outset making it very difficult to hold back and potter about on, get the needle too close to the powerbands territory and off you shoot. Just keep the needle between 8 and 11 thousand and the RGV will sing a sweet song, blurring the scenery nicely while a blue haze surrounds all left behind in its wake. The engine consumes gears as fast as you could throw them into the equation, and before you know where you are the speeds are well into treble figures. Handling is delicately balanced too, every input by the rider is responded too with immediate effect. Of course this can either highlight a bad rider or lift a great one onto a higher plain with the ability to destroy larger machines once the road meanders. No feeling can come near that of diving into a corner, feeling way too fast and yet well under control thanks to the brakes and the chassis, hitting the apex just right and then feeding the throttle in to find the revs are absolutely spot on for the drive out of the bend. It doesn’t get any better than this in the world of motorcycling, not fully clothed anyway. There can be no better place to sample this than on a racetrack, the RGV simply comes alive once all of the restrictions of the open road are removed, few road-going machines can hold a light to a well-ridden Suzuki RGV on song. Pick the right track, say the Cadwell Park full circuit, and you would be in the ideal RGV hunting ground with many a new Superbike owner having to yield to the machines dominance of the proceedings.
Suzuki got the design pretty much spot on from the get go with just the rear shock letting the side down on the very first model. It is woefully under damped and with only spring pre load to play around with you are left with either a soft rear end that has some control or a stiff one with none. The rest of the chassis performs so well however that the misgivings of the rear end rarely get out of hand. At 1375mm, the wheelbase is akin to a grand prix racer, with dimensions such as this it is hardly surprising that the bike is easy to manoeuvre around. Likewise with the all up weight, with so little of it, the “Superbike” twin discs and hefty brake calipers have an easy time of braking. With so much stopping power on tap they exhibit total authority on the proceedings allowing the normal rules of stopping to be disregarded. When it comes to putting a GP racer on the road this is as near as any sane manufacture would wish to get. The on-road experience is every bit like riding a race bike, albeit with a few niceties, such as a well padded seat and rear view mirrors, not that you will ever see much in them.
Suzuki’s link with small capacity two strokes is the stuff of legends and, as they were there right at the beginning of the modern stroker era, it is only fitting that they should be at the end of this chapter in motorcycling history.
First seen in 1988, the V-twin RGV was an all-new machine sharing none of the technology seen in the previous water-cooled parallel twin, the RG250 Gamma. The demands of modern day two-stroke technology required more space for large transfer ports to travel up either side of the barrels. Crank case induction too was forcing ever larger carburettors and reed blocks to be sharing the same space and there was a need get away from the traditional side by side arrangement seen throughout the 70’s and 80’s. The natural progression was the V configuration, it had already taken a hold on the racetrack and power levels were rising fast. With the barrels now sitting in totally separate areas of the casings the necessary room was created to allow the transfer and inlet passages to be made as large as possible. The result was power and lots of it. To put it into some kind of perspective the Yamaha TZ250 from ten years before produced a shade over 50bhp, and this machine was competitive in the heat of top level GP competition, now RGV had given a road machine of the same capacity this power, and made it reliable too. Suzuki wrapped their new engine in a capable aluminium beam chassis, and kept the weight down to create a stunner straight out of the box.
The model remained largely unchanged during the next couple of years before a major redesign for 1991 with the introduction of the RGV250M. The new model was a radical departure from the original design and now featured upside down forks and the GP style banana swing arm. The latter allowing the two pipes to be routed down and under the bike, exiting on the right hand side mimicking the race bikes and giving it the look of a 500GP machine. Gone was the 18-inch rear wheel to be replaced by a wider, 17-inch item, allowing a greater variety of rubber to be fitted. This basic shape remained throughout the life of the UK specification RGV until the type was discontinued in 1996.
The road going RGV did live on in its native Japan however and Suzuki redesigned yet it again in 1997, giving the machine an all-new 70degree V twin engine like the one used in the grand prix machine and also a beefier aluminium chassis.
Suzuki RGV250 Timeline
The last of the parallel twin Suzuki’s was produced the RG250Gamma. The need for more power meant a totally new engine
1989 RGV250K (Chassis V21A-112468)
The first of the v twins the RGV250 J was launched to geart acclaim. From the outset the design won many fans for its speed and superb handling
1990 RGV250L (Chassis V21A-125818)
Very little changed during the first few years. The power was increased by around 4bhp but the type looked identical.
1991 RGV250M (Chassis V22A-110001
A total revamp with a new swing arm, USD forks and greater control given on the suspension The rear shock was now fully adjustable. The type also put on a few pounds tipping the scales at 139 kgs. 17-inch wheels all round was now the norm.
1992 RGV250N (Chassis – V22A-113627)
No major modifications, a change of graphic and a remote master cylinder for the rear brake was added but the design remained the same
1993 RGV250P (Chassis V22A-118221)
A few minor additions to the swing arm to aid strength
1994 RGV250R (Chassis V22A-122209)
1996 RGV250R – discontinued
1997 RGV 250 (Chassis V23)
An all new 70 degree engine was the main feature for this Japanese only machine. Some do find their way into the UK but are restricted to 40BHP as standard.
Engine – water-cooled, 2-stroke, 90 deg, V-twin
Capacity – 247 cc
Bore & stroke – 56 x 50.6mm
Compression Ratio – 7.3:1
Carburetion – Mikuni VM32SS
Max Power – 55 hp @ 10,750 rpm
Torque – 29 ft-lb @ 10,500 rpm
Ignition – Suzuki PEI
Transmission – 6 speed chain final drive
Frame – aluminium beam
Suspension – 41mm telescopic forks 5-way. Adjustable for spring pre load. Full-floating suspension, oil damped, spring 7-way adjustable
Wheels – 110/70-17 140/60-18
Brakes – 300mm floating disc four piston caliper, 210mm disc twin opposed piston caliper
Wheelbase – 1375mm
Weight – 128kgs
Fuel capacity – 17 ltrs (inc 5.5ltrs reserve)
Top speed – 127mph
Suzuki RGV250 Gallery
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