Monday, April 26, 2010
Who calls a motorbike a Van-Van? Especially in 2003? And, more to the point, why? Well, if you are Suzuki's marketing team, the answer is very simple. Suzuki call their cute little RV125 a Van-Van because they had one in their range in the dark ages, it was popular and it seemed like a good idea to resurrect it. So they did.
To be fair, the new bike does bear more than a passing resemblance to its antediluvian predecessor. The big chrome headlight, spoked wheels, single front disc with a drum on the back, the elderly air cooled single cylinder engine and the retro styling all hark back to a gentler age of motorcycling. Actually that isn't entirely true. The age of motorcycling that they invoke memories from wasn't gentle at all. It was full of evil handling semi reliable overpowered and underbraked animals of motorbikes. And a few gentle souls, which died out as more and more people were converted to the dark side of multi-cylinder high performance biking.
But they do say that what goes around, comes around. And that's certainly the case here, where there seems to be an increasing demand for a commuter bike that isn't a scooter but isn't a missile either. Plenty of people still have sufficient prejudice against scooters that they need something with big wheels, but at the same time they have a sufficiently realistic view of their abilities to limit the performance available to them. The bombsites that masquerade as road surfaces in our cities mean that a commuter needs pretty plush suspension, while the occasional need to go up the kerb to reach that last parking bay means that big balloon tyres will be a major plus. The seat needs to be large enough to handle a full size bottom and there needs to be some luggage capacity.