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Price £1750
Reference 349
Year 1982
Make Suzuki
Model Van Van RV50
Transmission Manual
Fuel Petrol
Mileage 1422
Colour White
Page Views 18


The Japanese language is an odd one. Excruciatingly precise at times, infuriatingly vague at others. Unforgiving in its strictness in many situations and playful in lots of others. One of the ways it can be playful is the number of onomatopoeic words and phrases it employs. There are dozens of words like Don-don, Waku-waku, Tsuru-tsuru, Doki-doki and Pika-pika to describe everything from smoothness or nervousness, to persistent effort. The word Van-van (actually Ban-ban since there is no letter V in Japanese) is used to express speed, enthusiasm, excitement and noise. (I told you it was an odd language!)

The Van Van was born in the seventies, a time when Japan was growing in wealth and confidence and the boom for small leisure bikes was just kicking off. Honda already had the Monkey and the Dax and Yamaha was developing the Chappy. Suzuki took the idea from the dune buggies that were beginning to gain popularity and came up with a low-slung machine with fat, small diameter wheels. They came up with this small bike that would “Ban-ban” take you over all terrain with speed.

At first glance the Van Van might look a little comedic but it’s actually a quality small machine. Telescopic forks, pipe press backbone frame, upswept exhaust with chrome muffler guard, high bars with crossbar and those thick wheels that will transport you through the mud. Underneath she is protected by a bash plate.

The air filter is hidden in a long, torpedo shaped air box on the right of the extended (and very comfortable) seat. The paint quality and build quality all over is excellent. Plus it’s a two-stroke so plenty of get up and go as well as a lovely sound. There is also a rear rack and even an air pump, like a bicycle pump, suspended under the frame.

Ours is now 37 years old. There is some spots of corrosion on the paint and engines. Her new owner might want to leave her original or perhaps give her a fresh look and make her gleam like new. Fundamentally she is a great little machine and will give someone a huge amount of pleasure.

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