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Oh So Tempting: CA Titled 1996 Suzuki RGV250 VJ23

Ian 35


This post is in our archives. Links in this post have been updated to point to similar bikes available to bid on eBay.

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Update 3.18.2013: If you were thinking last year that you should’ve bid on this one, it’s back and a thousand off at $9500 buy-it-now. Hat tip to Matt for the spot. Links updated. -dc

Update 12.31.2012: Back on eBay for the new year and now with a slightly lower buy-it-know of $10,500. Links updated. -dc

Update 10.31.2012: Back on eBay after less than 30 days. No change in buy-it-now, links updated. -dc

This one has to be tempting for anyone interested in purchasing a VJ23. If you have a checklist, toss it out because this one looks to have it all. An avid RSBFS reader though, might recognize the bike as it has made two previous appearances here. They were both Cragislist listings. I believe the bike sold very quickly the first time but the new owner has moved the bike on to Ebay.

It really does meet all the requirements: CA title, low mileage (4611 miles), close to stock condition and derestricted. What could possibly keep it from selling? It can only be one of two things in my mind, the price or the color. The pink/purple scheme has never been a fan favorite but I’ve been told pictures don’t do the color justice (I’ve never seen this color in person). The seller is asking $11,000 BIN on the bike. While seemingly high I don’t think he out of the ballpark considering what you are getting. The CA title is the most valuable item but also consider the items to derestrict the bike. Prices on CDI’s and chambers have skyrocketed in Japan and the weak dollar has only made it worse. You could easily spend $2,000 on just those two components right now.

If you want to go all the way to complete the transformation into a derestricted “V” model you’ll need to track down a 240KPH speedo.

A few details from the auction:

This is a rare bird titled in CA.
1996 Suzuki RGV250SP
free of corrosion. 7422km ~ 4611 original miles.
Fully de-restricted with the OEM Suzuki 42E10 CDI along with the proper jetting, chambers and airbox mods.
Bike runs strong and hard.

And audio and visual treat from the seller

Maybe a boring picture but a good indication of the stock condition. Not even the OEM brake lines have been replaced.

The pipes look to be Sugaya’s road going version. They use a different cans and fit better with the belly pan than their “track” versions. I imagine any performance difference would not be noticed by 99% of us.

I really think if you can get over the sticker shock of $11,000, down the road you’d be very happy with what you got for your money.

Here is the auction.


  1. S. Martin S. Martin

    People need to hang on to this shit for a few more months. I don’t have any more money right now… I mean… uhhh… the market is saturated and you’ll get more money if you wait! 😉

  2. RC45 RC45

    I think the repeat turn over of these strokers is very telling.

    Either they are not as good as claimed and it is easier to get out from under the bike than try deal with the issues – or teh ‘title’ is not worth the paper it is printed on 😉

  3. S. Martin S. Martin

    Used 2 strokes are a money pit no matter how “well” they have been maintained. Lots of people learn that the hard way. And some people just aren’t cut out for the feel, they just wanted something cool and exotic.

    Although $11k for a bike that will be essentially impossible to maintain due to zero aftermarket support *ever* might be a wee bit optimistic. I’d much rather have another 3XV TZR or VJ22 Lucky Strike, at least I could keep either running for a long time….

  4. Ian Ian

    While I agree two strokes are not for everyone I think you are over stating the difficulty in getting parts. Nuts and bolts stuff is generic Suzuki and 23 specific parts are pretty easily sourced out of Japan (and sometimes UK), new or used. You won’t get them next day but it is not “impossible”.

  5. Joel Joel

    Plain and simple, this is a bloody bargain if you live in California!


  6. RS RS

    RGV’s are a blast to ride … and are not difficult to maintain. In fact simplier than most bikes out there..
    Granted they are not touring bikes and not for most novice riders — you guys should stick to your honda’s
    (reliable – dependable and boring!!!!!!!!!!!! )
    Give me my rg 500’s and my finely tuned RGV 250’s all day long over all the other stuff out there new or old ..
    Ok I’ll admit it – I luv 2 strokes …….
    Bike is worth $11,000 and if I didn’t just pick up a 1991 RGV and a blk / wht RG 500 ..I would grab it ….
    Damn college tuition ………….

  7. RS RS

    Oh and BTW – I have two of the 240 KPH speedo’s if anyone needs one.. and also a set of deresticted chamber RGV VJ 23 ‘s of course …………………………

  8. RC45 RC45

    Then why the high turn over rate for these used strokers?

    Facts speak louder than speculation.

    Fact is the same bikes are being churned over.


  9. S. Martin S. Martin

    Because like I said, no one wants to try and maintain a bike that was only made for 2 years. Meanwhile, spares for VJ22/RS250 and TZR Yamahas are easy to come by.

    Shit, these things were almost impossible to get parts for EVEN WHEN THEY WERE STILL BEING SOLD. Wish I had bought a VJ23 LuckyStrike back then and parked it in my living room…

  10. Big Tex Big Tex

    Having owned most of the two strokes from the early 90s, I can tell that by far my experience has been best with the 3XV. I ride my bikes like they were meant to be ridden, and the 3XV is a great bike, quite edgy. My MC28 is a very well balanced bike but lacks the character of the 3XV.
    If you look hard enough you can find the parts but it takes time and because of the lack of availability prices can be high. Agree with the VJ22 sentiment, from S. Martin

    I would look at this bike in person though, there were a few comments on a forum that may be of interest to the buyer …

  11. nedragr nedragr

    RS….how much for your pipes??? Had a deresticted set that I lent to a buddy a few years ago and he sold the bike before installing them. Unfortunately he let my pipes go with it at the time.

    Also be interested in selling mine at this time as I’m looking at thinning the herd of Greys…

  12. Ian Ian

    I think that 23 deserves a feature listing here. Shoot us an email.

  13. alan collishaw alan collishaw

    spares are easy to get in the uk,i get pistons etc within 48hrs.
    they are an aquired taste and to correct an earlier response,they finished production june 1st 96.
    all three of my v models were built on that day.

  14. jim jim

    1996 SUZUKI
    Heres the deal, it has a 17 digit vin and its very Koser

    World region:Asia
    Manufactured in:Japan

  15. Ian Ian

    I’m assuming that is some sort of made up VIN by the state? Should have VJ23A at the beginning.

  16. jim jim

    I used the same data base the states use, it checks out! However the frame stamping should be checked out as being sat

  17. Ian Ian

    Cool site, thanks for sharing.

  18. alan collishaw alan collishaw

    yes jim,your info is correct.however if you look on the headstock you will find that its vj23a-101634,that was built may 96.

    as i stated earlier my v model lucky strike was built 1st june 96,its vin is vj23-102140,just 68 bikes from the final frame number.

    also all 23,s from 101499 were 97 model year just to confuse things further.hth.

  19. nedragr nedragr

    The one I own was very early on….100746 noting it was built in 96. Actually bought it from a guy that didn’t know what he had…him thinking it was nothing more than a VJ22 model. and the old 90 degree motor.

  20. jim jim

    He sent me a photo of the frame vin area. it is a rivoted plate and looks to be correct as the Ducati F1( it was soldered on) I had once. If you have the title and it matches the numbers you should be good to go

  21. Jimbo Jimbo

    Always wanted a VJ23, this one looks awesome, if it was closer I would take a look, I think that price sucks though. I bet I could fly to Japan and find one cheap then have it shipped back here for half the money.

  22. Ian Ian

    Jimbo my man, if you can pull that off for $5,000 then you are my hero.

    The boat for inexpensive two strokes and a good exchange rate sailed away several years ago.

  23. nedragr nedragr

    My brother-in-law just flew over and is currenly in Japan to see his daughter and the ticket alone cost him $2700. Maybe once the Bank of Japan starts printing money like the Fed maybe the exchange will turn back in our favor.

  24. Jimbo Jimbo

    I was going to fly one way then ride it back to the USA.

  25. Harossi Harossi

    Having an MC28 as well as a VJ22 I can tell you that I never had difficulty finding parts, and honestly after riding them occasionally for the past 4 years, I didn’t need much. Indeed you wouldn’t be able to just walk in to your local dealer and find spare parts for these bikes, but keep in mind that they are limited production 15-20 year old bikes. Now, for the specific post, I think that the price asked is way too high.


    It looks like people are just flippin’ bikes’s disgusting…really has ruined the used market… for cars too. “I find em…I fix em..I flip em…it’s all about the profit”.

  27. Ian Ian

    I think the market has spoken on this one. It has been for sale for several months now. Priced to high. Have faith, Capitalism still works.

  28. 6thgear 6thgear

    Man, I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m really getting tired of looking at this particular bike.

  29. Tim Tim

    Will spring fever help it sell this time?

    Nope, $5,000 too much. Maybe 5yrs ago $11,000 or $9500

    today lucky to get $7k

  30. Jimbo Jimbo

    This thing for sale again? I hear VJ23 parts are really tough to get, and of course pricey. I rather spend that amount of money on a RG400 or 500.

  31. SmokinJoe439 SmokinJoe439

    you think RG400/500 parts are cheap and easy to find? about the same. I wonder if they will trade me for my vj22 and mc21?

  32. ApeHangar ApeHangar

    Evidently most people would rather spend that kind of money on something else. Instead of wetting yourselves every time this silly bike comes on the market, one of you fellers should cough up the coin so you can love this thing like you profess to. At least the rest of us would be spared the regurgitated posting, maybe even (gasp) for an entire riding season!

  33. Dan Dan

    Message received, I won’t bump this bike anymore!


  34. jim jim

    This bike is nice , damm , Jane the Plain sportbikes cost more and then depreciate fast! And talking about depreciating,what did this old beat up VJ23 electric start 6 speed v twin two stroke sell for new ? It just needs to find a new owner( by the way if you buy a “RareSportBike” that is pristine what will you have to worry parts supplies about for? Spark plugs? Are going you to commute with it and wear it out????)

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