Friday, December 15, 2006

Two-stroke glory: The Suzuki RGV250


The 1990s Suzuki RGV250. Kevin Schwantz's bike for the street. Well, almost...

We love Kevin Schwantz here at Faster and Faster, and have fond memories of him riding his Suzuki RGV500 grandprix machine to the 1993 world championship. We want to be able to ride like Schwantz. We still want to wear a Schwantz-replica Arai helmet. And we want his Suzuki RGV. None of which is possible of course. But yes, in 1990, you could get tantalisingly close to being Kevin Schwantz on the street. Via the Suzuki RGV250, a head-banging two-stroke race-replica, built in homage to Kevin’s exploits on Suzuki GP racebikes.

Launched in 1989, the Suzuki RGV250 represented cutting-edge two-stroke technology of that time. While the Yamaha TZR250, the Honda NSR250 and the Kawasaki KR-1 also existed, the RGV was pretty much king of 250 race-rep hill. The bike was thin, light, and was fitted with GP-style bodywork. Trick bits included aluminium twin-spar chassis, USD forks at the front, a banana-style swingarm, and twin stacked exhaust pipes – just like you’d find on Schwantz’s bike!

The engine was a v-twin that made around 58 horsepower – enough to propel the 159-kilo RGV to a top speed of 195km/h. With the close-ratio six-speed gearbox, you could keep the engine on the boil through the twisties, and wide wheels shod with meaty tyres – along with the high-spec chassis and suspension – allowed for very high cornering speeds.

The two-stroke era started to come to an end by the late-1990s, and Suzuki ceased production of the RGV250 in 1999. Today’s GSX-Rs may offer performance far beyond what the RGV could ever aspire to, but two-stroke enthusiasts, and Kevin Schwantz fans, continue to miss the RGV250 even today…

Also see:
Kevin Schwantz speaks to Faster and Faster
The Yamaha RD500LC
2007 Suzuki GSX-R1000
Stephanie McLean talks about Barry Sheene


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