Clymer Manuals got a close-up look at Gary Berger’s 1972 Suzuki RV90J on display at the 2013 HoAME Vintage Motorcycle Rally. This vintage Japanese play bike won the Constellation Award sponsored by Motorcycle Closeouts.
Using the same motor as the Suzuki TS90 Honcho and TC90 Blazer, the RV90 Rover was made to be simpler and more fun. The low center of gravity and giant balloon tires made this more of a minibike, and perfect for younger riders or riding on sand. The RV prefix had nothing to do with recreational vehicles, but plenty of these ended up strapped to the bumpers of motorhomes for use in camp because after all, it was fully street legal for errand running duty! The rotary valve motor gave you 8-10 hp for a top speed of about 50 mph, but the wide ratio 4-speed transmission had a low first gear for hauling full-sized adults around on or off road.
Read more about the Suzuki RV90 on Suzukicycles.org.
Though the RV line did not last that long in the US, it remained popular with young people in Japan and was sold until 1981. It was joined by RV50, and RV125 models, all know as VanVan in Japan, which represents the sound of the motor revving as well as meaning more and more. In 2002 new VanVan bikes were introduced in 125 and 200 sizes with more conventional style, but still with oversized balloon tires. In 2016, Suzuki USA surprised everyone by offering the Suzuki RV200 VanVan in North America.
Read more about Suzuki history here on Wikipedia.
Clymer Girl and the crew didn’t have to go far to attend the HoAME show and rally, as it was just up the road at the Kansas City Airline History Museum in the Downtown Airport. The show was packed with classic vintage and antique motorcycles representing the best of British, German, Japanese, Italian, and American manufacturers. Some of the brands on display were Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, BMW, Harley-Davidson, Triumph, BSA, Norton, Indian, Cushman, Vespa, Laverda, Lambretta, Ducati, Matchless, Zundapp, Moto Guzzi, and more. There was everything from 100% perfect restorations, to well worn bikes daily riders, to full-on customized cafe racers, choppers, bobbers, dirt bikes, road racers – any type or style of motorcycle you could image. As part of the museum’s permanent exhibits, there were also vintage propeller driven passenger planes, including a Douglas DC-3, a Martin 404, and, the pride of their collection, a 1958 Lockheed Super Constellation.
While Clymer doesn’t have a manual that covers this Suzuki specifically, most of the information you need is in the TS/TC90 section of the Clymer Vintage Collection Two-Stroke Motorcycle Manual which covers all early two-stroke Suzukis.