SUZUKI RV125 VAN VAN (2003 - on) Review
At a glance
|Owners' reliability rating:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£400|
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
The Suzuki RV125 VanVan is an enigmatic motorcycle, that’s for sure. Farm hands, gamekeepers, race teams and surf dudes would be the ideal customers: it’s perfect for whizzing around country estates, race paddocks and beaches.
Fashion-conscious, retro fans must love Suzuki RV125 Van Vans. Teenagers, probably, don’t. Who knows? But it’s still pretty cute: better than a quad or a scooter, either way.
There's a 'scene' for the VanVan in the same way as there is for Honda's loveable Monkey Bike.
Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
Very low and very comfy, the Suzuki RV125 VanVan’s a stable, smooth ride with good, if very basic, suspension and brakes. It’s light and easy to ride with a tiny turning circle, aided by wide bars. The gearbox, alas, is crunchy and agricultural while the chassis has a habit of rattling when you’re on the move, which is somewhat disconcerting. The Suzuki RV125 VanVan is not very at home on the open road.
EngineNext up: Reliability
The tiny, air-cooled four stroke Suzuki RV125 VanVan pulls acceptably in lower gears but, overall, lacks any really useful power. There’s no top end and it struggles to reach, let alone break, the national speed limit. What power there is, however, is smoothly delivered and the Suzuki RV125 VanVan's engine itself is very reliable. The Suzuki RV125 VanVan cruises happily at, erm, 50mph.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
Patchy. The Suzuki RV125 VanVan's build quality, gearbox, paintwork, power, tank size and mirrors all come in for some harsh words. However, there’s definitely something of the off-road about it and it’s more than capable of working for its living on rougher terrain: farms, beaches etc. The Suzuki RV125 VanVan is built to be thrashed, it seems.
Suzuki Van Van owners' reviews
Our readers have found that the VanVan is a relatively reliable bike, but it isn't perfect, with a score of 3.9 stars. Find out more here.
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
The Suzuki RV125 VanVan is quite pricey for a bike with no defined identity although fuel consumption, cheap parts and low insurance keep costs down. They are used as commuters by those whose ride to work entirely within speed restricted, urban areas; and newcomers like their ease of use. Thing is, they’d probably be better off with a Honda CG125 which costs considerably less than the Suzuki RV125 VanVan.
Retro through and through, the Suzuki RV125 VanVan is tiny and cute. The seat’s long, low and has plenty of room for two; there’s a luggage rack at the back and a grabrail. The analogue speedo lives in a chrome housing but there’s no fuel gauge or light (eek!). The Suzuki RV125 VanVan's chunky tyres and exhaust look funky and there’s a small, removable side panel containing a basic tool kit.
|Engine type||2v single cylinder, 6 gears|
|Frame type||Steel cradle|
|Fuel capacity||7.5 litres|
|Front brake||220mm disc|
|Rear brake||110mm disc|
|Front tyre size||130/80 x 18|
|Rear tyre size||180/80 x 14|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||90 mpg|
|Annual road tax||£20|
|Annual service cost||£400|
5 of 17
How much to insure?
|Warranty term||Two year unlimited mileage|
Top speed & performance
|Max power||12 bhp|
|Max torque||7 ft-lb|
|Top speed||60 mph|
|1/4 mile acceleration||23 secs|
|Tank range||150 miles|
Model history & versions
2003: Suzuki RV125 VanVan launched. No changes since.
Owners' reviews for the SUZUKI RV125 VAN VAN (2003 - on)
7 owners have reviewed their SUZUKI RV125 VAN VAN (2003 - on) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.
Summary of owners' reviews
|Ride quality & brakes:|
|Reliability & build quality:|
|Value vs rivals:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£400|
Annual servicing cost: £200
Worst things are clunky agricultural gearbox and slow speed. Best bits are, Very very reliable. Fuel efficient, very comfy seat. You could ride for hours on it...and you might have to. 7.5 litre tank, including 1.8litre reserve. Reserve light comes on at around 145 miles, and i've done just under 204 on a single fuelling, with a 2:1 ratio rural:town riding.
they stop. Nuff said.
Would like it if this bike could do 75mph. Maybe a bigger tank too. Otherwise, 123 mpg does come with performance costs.
Had 2 minor smidsy's in winter, o major damage...at all. Been very reliable and not a single issue.
Costs to do annual service, fill the tank, lube the chain, change the oil. Apart from that, nothing extra. Easy peasy.
Needs a slihtly bigger tank and engine option.
Buying experience: Bought from a dealer. Didn't need a warranty, as it seems. £3500 asking price, with 165 on the clock.
Annual servicing cost: £600
overall, this is an amazing bike. It does lack certain features you would expect in a more expensive bike, but this is a very robust, and kind of stylish bike. I have one and its my first bike, and im glad i chose it
its good for both roads and light tracks. the suspension could be a little better
slight amount of rust on the front fork when i bought, but it cleaning up easily enough. nothing has ever died on it
The rv125 only comes with 1 dial (for speed) and no rev meter. Also, its tyres are wider than other bikes of the same category, which feels different to other bikes
Look it's a 125 that's not quick, but it's not meant to be quick with that tyre and riding position. If you'd be aiming at a fast motorcycle you wouldn't be looking for a 125, would you? If you are you're only fooling yourself. What will get you about this bike is that it is honest. It does not pretend to do anything it can't do. After trying several 125s you realize that all that 'sports look' for a +5mph speed becomes a bit ludicrous. A sports looking bike that isn't sporty is a poor choice. The van van whizzes along and is easy to handle, it comes with 'street cred' from the days when 'cred' actually meant something. I suggest if you're looking to buy one go see it in the flesh. I wasn't very attracted to it originally but for commuting purposes it is IT, comfy seat, never less than 97 mpg after a year. I'd say it is a bit overpriced for the equipment it offers but it feels sturdy enough to last.
Surely one of - if not *the* - most comfy 125s on the market, the VanVan is a very sturdy looking effort. Both tyres are oversized, but the rear hilariously so (same as the Yamaha TW125). Marmite retro styling, is how it tends to be described. Its looks will either click instantly with you or not - they're an odd admix of enemy dispatch rider, winebago bike and '70s off-roader. Personally I love it. To my mind it's one of the few bikes being manufactured today that doesn't look like it's made mostly of Lego, or else been modelled on a kid's Transformer toy. In some ways it's not much more than a two-wheeled quad bike - one bloke asked me if I rounded up livestock on it. I grinned - sheepishly. Arf. It does love to bimble through the mud of the back lanes, and it'll inspire learners' confidence in a trice. But it also has an insatiable taste for narrow streets and urban settings – the big tyres and broad seat soak up those neglected road surfaces like no other. Please note too that the shorter rider will have no trouble reaching the ground on the VanVan. As mentioned above there's also a very informative website that encourages owners to undertake maintenance – youtube uploads and step-by-step photographed guides are numerous, all provided by professional and very seasoned riders and mechanics. Suffice to say the bike's small thumper engine is a simple affair – oil changes, chain adjustment and various other regular jobs are a breeze. First time fettlers will be in their element. True, it has little to offer in the way of speed – but it enjoys trying, and will whisk you up to 50 in a way that'll soon have you smiling. And don't be surprised if, when you pop out for a paper and packet of Cutter's Choice, you find yourself taking an hour or more on the way back. You don't get a rev counter, and you don't even get a petrol light on the older carb models (but there's an old fashioned tripometer that makes it easy to keep track of how many miles you've done since filling the tank). Nor does it have a centre stand – which makes chain oiling a bit hard if you don't have a drive to wheel it back and forth on. So yes, it's a very basic affair, the VanVan – making for really trad motorbiking. Also, the paint is a bit thin in places, and you really must try to keep that rear mono-shocker greased because it'll catch the worst of the weather where it is. There's a really simple way to extend the rear mudguard, however – a common mod that all owners should get on with. Ditto a 'fender extender' for the front too – where once again crap gets flung into the frame. But with these easy tasks done, and if owners take a little time to regularly spritz the VanVan w/ WD40 type products, and maybe dab on some Wax Oyl and/or grease around the frame and beneath (where the sump plug is), the VanVan will probably run forever with regular oil changes. Price-wise you'll need to spy your chance – I dropped on an '04 plate earlier this year with just 96 (!) miles on the clock, and it cos me just under £1500. Yeah – the bike had been laid up for 8 years (no idea what the story was, because the bike had clearly not been ridden, dropped or even run in). They come up on eBay every week – and similar bikes can go for over two grand one week, and 1500 the next. Took me a few weeks to get a CBT, then I needed an MOT and one or two other things (carbs cleaned), but in the last couple of months I've put 1500 miles on it. Most of that at half throttle. But the bike's run in perfectly now, and is always really eager to please. I'll never sell it. I couldn't – it's far too good.
My first geared bike was the oddly (and cutely) named van ...... van. questionable why the design team choose that name, but what i know is that its a corker of a bike very few people know! big tyres are the most exotic thing a 125 can sprout without it having to be a performance issue, and at £1799 new, was a bargan i wanted to have in my life!!! equipment was poor at best, but the feel, the enjoyment and fun i had on it was astounding, and when everyone went for ghastly YBR125's, i was so much cooler on the Van. all day comfort when chugging to whitby and back the long (185 mile) way from hull was bliss. i know its a non sporty 125 so giving it more credit than it deserves may be a sly personal chose but for us image concious youths, something crazy and sweet like this is just what i longed for when i was 18. i wish i could of had it in those retro colours though ..... gahhhh
Having been into the monkeybike scene for several years me and four other friends have now bought Suzuki Vanvans Check out suzukivanvan.co.uk for pictures,modifications,accesories and ride reports including an Alps trip of over 800 miles to France,Italy & Switzerland!!
I bought an RV125 because I was looking for a lightweight, nimble urban hack as a second bike – but I’ll admit that I ended up choosing it over other more sensible alternatives because of its cute, cool, retro styling. Yes, it lacks top-end, but what meagre power it has is well geared to shuttle you briskly enough up to 50mph. The engine seems to thrive on being thrashed; full throttle take-offs from the traffic lights, keeping it pinned while upshifting into second with some deft clutch slipping, and it’s just about quick enough to stay ahead of the cars. You do need to develop a feel for the RV’s handling; first impressions are that it’s quite bouncy and imprecise, but what it needs is a smooth, steady input, which it rewards with surprisingly accurate lines, even on those agricultural balloon tyres. On the move the stance has a touch of supermoto about it, and you find yourself putting a lot of weight over the front while counter-steering it with the wide bars, always trying to hold as much speed as you can. It’s actually a real hoot to ride in the city, and I continue to be charmed by it. The biggest shame is that the Van Van is only sold in the UK in learner-legal 12bhp form – in the rest of Europe it’s available with 200cc and 16 bhp, which I can imagine gives it that extra bit of power it needs.