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Two Stroke Needs Home, Please Help: 1996 Suzuki RGV250 SP (VJ23)

Two Stroke Needs Home, Please Help: 1996 Suzuki RGV250 SP (VJ23)

Update 8.26.2012: It’s back! Buy-it-now shows $10150. I’ve also included the most recent seller description which is much improved. Good luck to buyers and seller! Links updated. -dc

Update 4.29.2012: According to the seller in the listing, this will be the last time this bike is offered before going back into the collection. Buy-it-now is listed as $10.5k. I believe this post has the most comments ever on one of our writeups and the conversation is very informative for those wondering where to start when considering a bike like this. Links updated. -dc

Update 1.18.2012: Normally I wouldn’t bump a post this soon after it’s been relisted, but the price has been dropped significantly again to $8950. Judging from the comments below, sounds like it should sell this time. -dc

Update 1.2.2012: Originally listed in late November 2011 with a buy-it-now of $13.5k, it is back on eBay with a buy-it-now of $10.5k. Thanks for the heads up on the relist Dale! Links updated.- dc

Updated seller description 8.26.2012:

Perhaps the rarest two stroke motorcycle of its kind with less than 8 known to be registered in the US.

These bikes are very rare as they were only produced for one year and never imported to the US.

This low mileage gem ( 3700 miles) is up for offer and would make a fine addition to any serious collectors collection or ride it on sunny weekends.

Have never seen one with less miles !!!!!

Bike is in exceptional condition and is in stock form. Runs perfect – shifts perfect with no issues.

Runs strong and shifts smooth / much smoother than its older brother ( the VJ 22).

Total HP is simular to the VJ 22 but comes on different with more torque and low end.

The VJ 23 behaves great on the street and from what I am told , on the track as well. A true GP frame / chassis that handles like no other bike I have ridden.

Boasts a Dry clutch , electric start , performance air filter . Iridium plugs , newer Pilots front and rear , carbon cans and clean and clear Connecticut title currently registered in connecticut.

The flaws — Left side lower bottom plastic pc has a 4 inch crack ( repairable) – Left side panel has superficial scratches ( look close or you will miss them) , The left and right grab rails have been removed.

Extra’s that will come with the bike ( approx value $2200.00) are —

Set of Sugaya chambers and cans in excellent condition / big bucks if you can find them and I have never seen a set with cans that have no dents except these.
Derestricted airbox
SRAD guages.
Extra set of new dry clutch plates.

If you choose to derestrict you will need the required SAPC to complete the derestriction package. I chose not to derestrict although very tempted after reading clips on how the bike performs once derestricted. 72 hp in a 280 lbs chassis — comparable performance to todays modern sport bikes ………..

I guess we will see what the market says an average VJ23 should go for these days. I know the price for a full power Lucky Strike model hasn’t come down a bit but this isn’t a collectors sort of RGV250SP. This bike isn’t thrashed by any stretch of the imagination but there are a few things that caught my eye.

First just a bit from the auction:

Low miles – newer tires and loads of two stroke power ..

No Issues: Runs strong – shifts solid – body parts in great shape..

Title in hand and clear… matches 11 digit VIN.

Buyer responsible for shipping arrangements – will assist shipper at pick up..

Bid with confidence and please feel free to ask questions…

100% positive feedback



Obviously the big deal there is the title and that makes any two stroke more valuable.


Below are a few things that caught my eye that differ from stock.

The triple clamps have been stripped of paint and the steering stem nut has been changed. Odd, in my opinion.

Calipers have been off and been painted. They should be black.

If you look closely, the head has been painted the same color as the calipers. It should be the same silver as the cylinder. The power valve cover looks a bit different but I’m not 100 percent sure.

The sub frame should have some ugly extensions hanging down to attach bungee cords to. They have been cut off. Rear passenger pegs are removed and some nice carbon cans have been added. Heel guard on rear master cylinder has also been painted, it should also be black.


So you are probably thinking I’m down on this bike. Not in the least. I’m just pointing out the bits that are different from stock for someone who might not have obsessed over these bikes like I have. When purchasing a machine like this, look at the mods and look at the mileage and see if it adds up. If you are comfortable then I say go for it. These are still extremely rare bikes and are not for sale everyday.

The seller has an auction going as well as a BIN of $13,500. See it all here.



  • There is something a little off about this VJ23 but I’m not sure what..
    The lack of details leave cause for concern too.
    Love the backwards plate..

  • BIN of $13K is a little off for one thing.

  • I heard that RC45! Its not like its a V model Lucky Strike!

  • Is it just me or are the side/tail fairings mismatched from the tank/headlight fairing?

  • I think it’s been down on the right side – look at where the cans mount – silver showing – bet cans and fairing changed. I orientally thought this might be a bitser (bad bike made to look good from bits of other bikes)

    I own a rgv250sp lucky strike with Brian turfrey pipes – something wrong but I can’t quite place it – but I’m no expert

  • i’m looking at this bike and there’s definitely something very wrong…

    OH GOT IT.

    this guy wants $13.5 for it! man, that was like a where’s waldo picture.

  • Jon,
    I only know of about 3 sets of those Turfrey pipes being made. Very nice item to own.

  • Jon…..are you the one that bought Steve’s??

  • The bike was bought in NY – previous owner was not named Steve -bike was originally titled in cally. Pipes were on bike

  • Need Help? How much help ya need$

  • From the editor LY RE another VJ 23 …

    I’ve hinted at it a couple of times; the price. The auction is ongoing but the seller has also listed a buy it now price. Are you holding on to your wallet? $14,500 and it can be yours. On one hand that is outlandish. On the other hand he is pricing in the pain in the ass factor of getting a clean/low mile VJ23 into the United States. You can find an extremely clean VJ23 in Japan for $6,000 to $8000. Then you have to factor another $2,500 for shipping and broker fees. Another $500 if you are going to have someone break down the bike for shipping. There will be fee’s to be paid at customs as well. You could easily be in for over $12,500 and you have to be squeezing your cheeks for months worrying if the bike will get through customs and once home worrying if you can get a title. It can be done cheaper but it is a gamble. All that being said, I still think the price is a bit high. That price might be appropriate if this was the ultra rare V model (only a few hundred made and derestricted) in say Lucky Strike colors. I can vouch for the VJ23 though, they are a blast to ride. The engine is strong, the chassis is rock solid and there is that exotic factor. I spent over 5 years restoring mine so I’d be more than willing to answer any questions you might have about these bikes. If you are ready to throw down some cash,

    From the poster..
    Rare exotic bike … Price to pay for one in excellent cond.
    BTW — head and calipers are the correct color for model and year..
    “5 years to restore your VJ23?? “must have been a wreck. 5 years x $30 per hr x est.. 500 hrs – Wow the editor must be into his VJ 23 for $40K LOL..
    This one is in excellent cond @ $13,500..

  • For comparison’s sake a mint and titled V model Lucky Strike sold last Fall for $15,000.

  • So what is the bike worth ya think??
    10 – 11 ??

  • I think $9500 is a fair price. It is in good shape with low miles and its not the pink one! I am on the look out for a 84 RG250WE in HB colors and a LS VJ23 if anyone knows of any….

  • I think you’d have to see this bike in person and know the history on it before making an offer. Are the things I pointed out someone having fun with a spray can or has this bike had components apart for some reason.

    It is a plus that it has been titled correctly with the 11 digit VIN. $1000-$1500 right there.

    The bike is worth some money, I just don’t know if it is worth premium money. Just my two cents, I’m just going off of pictures.

    The sad part is now a days you have to factor in the derestriction costs because all those components have become so damn expensive. I bet is was 50% cheaper to buy pipes, cdi’s etc 4-5 years ago.

  • Too bad it can’t be titled in CA

  • Collin,
    What are the current regs in CA? Nothing without a 17 digit VIN?

  • Need CARB and EPA stickers to register in CA. Sold my VJ23 LS for 10K about 5 years ago. They are nice bikes, but the NSR250 MC28 is still a much better bike imho.


  • And if a grey bike already has a CA title you are good to go, correct? No need for the stickers?

  • Ian you need to have at least 7500 miles on the odometer in order to register the bike here or else its considered new. They do that to keep out all the 49 state bikes even if they are the same. Also they do want to see CARB and EPA stickers as Joel said. I’m trying to register my NC29 in CA and I have a CHP appointment on the 21st of next month. I think I can get around the stickers because its registered as a assembled vehicle. I also bought an Aprilia RSV4 out of state and I have to wait till I got 7500 miles before I can register it here so for now I got to register it somewhere else. Luckily I got family and friends outside CA.

    And yes if it already has a title in CA but its a Grey bike, you should have no problem registering it. I had no prob when I registered my NC30 but I have heard they pulled the title and registration from another NC30 owner because it was never meant for the US market. I hope and pray that never happens to me.

  • Great info guys, thanks for passing it along.

    I normally value a title at around $1000 to $1500 on a grey bike. Should it be $2000 or more for a CA title?

  • Seems to be some knowledgeable folks here so I have to ask – how difficult is it to import a bike from Japan? I’d love to have a 250 2-stroke as a track day toy.

  • It can and has been done. You must be totally dedicated to researching the process and spending some money. For a track day toy I think you could find plenty of options already here with no headaches involved.

    Aprilia Cup Bikes appear regularly for sale and if want more of a race bike there are plenty of Honda RS250’s or TZ250’s out there.

  • did this bike sell? I don’t see it on ebay any longer

  • Looks like there was one bid of $8000 and the reserve was not met.

  • If there’s truely interest in a 23 I’d be willing to part with mine. http://www.bikepics.com/members/nedragr/96rgv250/

    23000 km’s on it though….well sorted, runs strong. Sugaya pipes and deresticted ECU offered by Suzuki. At 53 it’s time somebody else gets to enjoy. Titled and licensed in N.Dakota. Does state 2001 as the bike was titled in Texas prior to my purchase.

  • How much Nedragr ..
    Might have interest..


  • Open to offers…..really don’t know what to ask??? Like I said bike is well sorted runs strong but I’m a little short on being able to supply its history. Never has been saftey wired and the bike was still stock when I bought it outside of paint.

  • Hope this isn’t hijacking anything, but as for titling a “gray”, how is it that some garage joker can make a raked out super chopper out of scrap steel tubing, get it titled as a “custom built” and have it go thru with ease? I know these bikes aren’t as environmentally clean as a 4 stroke, but why is it so hard for even an RVF400 or the like to get a title when obviously it’s road worthy elsewhere on the planet?

  • DH, funny how the world works huh? You should explore that option for a grey bike as well, a little bird told me it works. Here is a something possibly worth exploring: before Cycle News stopped using paper they ran a small paragraph that said due to the popularity of home built choppers, the EPA was giving everyone a pass on one non exempt engine. Now how that works on the state level I have no clue. I never looked into it because mine were already titled.

  • So, theoretically you could acquire say an ex-cup bike RS250 with no title, apply for a “custom built” title -like a chopper- and they’d give you a VIN? Depending on the state, all that would be required would be an inspection for mirrors, license plate light, horn, etc…

  • I generally don’t go into specifics but I would say check with your state dmv for their particular rules and I have feeling you will find a couple of options. They may take a little work but there will be options.

  • It is always the roll of the dice when trying to title. Have 4 Greys and each one had it’s own story. Pins and needles every time.

  • My brother and I imported a Aprilia RS250 Chesterfield replica from Italy to WI back in 96. Tried the whole “custom built” deal and gotten red flagged. Was it a coincidence at the time Vicky Jackson Bells husband or mechanic I cant remember, had a crate of 30 of them sitting at the port of customs and screwed it up for everyone. I believe I still have the letter from USDOT. Bike ended up in Jay Bernards hands down in TX and we got a 92 851 out of it!!

  • DH, I share your thoughts exactly. How can some ratty ass chopper with no front brake, signals, catalytic converter, doesn’t meet epa noise limits, etc,, get a title and plate,, where as my much more road worthy 92 VFR400 cannot. That sucks bad. I took my CBR400 with an FL assembled vehicle title and plate to the CHP for an inspection last month and they gave my the shaft. They knew exactly what it was. So I sold it to a guy who’s going to race it and kept the FL plate.

    The guy who bough my CBR knows a guy who had a Nissan Skyline that he got from a domestic dealer. Later on the dealer got audited and right after some CHP officers showed up at his door asking if he had a Nissan Skyline. He told them no but then a few days later they showed up again and told him they knew he had it. Long story short he lost his $75,000 car.

    I’ve heard you can get a grey market bike a green sticker then go back and get an upgrade to make it fully street legal. Then I heard any bike or car over 25 years old is ok to be imported in the US. If thats the case I only got 5 years left..

  • I believe we had some comments recently that Washington state had recently relaxed there laws about registering bikes to try to raise revenue. I believe it was directed at getting dirt bikes on the road but would work for grey bikes.

  • I knew a guy in Elgin, IL who imported 2 RS250’s back in the mid-90’s. I found out about him in a Roadracing World classified ad… I was like “Hey! I live there” and contacted him about them. I was a broke college kid so he knew I wasn’t a buyer, I just wanted to see them and take photos. One was the Reggianni replica, and the other was the Chesterfield. The Reggianni bike was still in that area as of last year, but it had changed hands a number of times. It’s even in a couple “coffee table” motorcycle books I have. Weird huh? The owner was nice enough to spark up the Reggianni bike and show me how easy it wheelies up the street! Couldn’t believe how quiet it was until it got on the pipe! Anyway, back then I wanted to import grays because I thought they were way cooler then the average CBR600. Even went out to GPstar in CA (around ’95) to try and deal with them… Anyway, I guess I’ve always been too late.

  • DH,
    If you are after an Aprilia, keep the faith, plated Aprilia’s come up for sale on a regular basis.

  • Thanks Ian…
    Actually, an old banana-arm VJ22 that needs lots of love is more what I had in mind. Nothing stock and perfect, but a project for me to make my own. I’m sure those are a dime a dozen somewhere in the world -like old Honda CB’s are here…

  • Good man, RGV’s are nice bikes. Remember, if you find a newer braced swing arm model that it is an easy swap to put the banana arm on.

  • Hey guys for crying out load .. focus on this rare beauty ..
    Its titled – its rare and its priced right..
    Not to mention it is gorgeous…

  • I want a 23 to go with my 22 but I’m gonna wait now the titling laws have changed here in WA what was once kind of hard is now much easier!

  • No issues titling my 11 digit VIN NC30 in WA 6 months ago. I was surprised (and delighted).

  • So any Washington-ites want to find me an RVF400 or VJ22 frame and engine, title it, and I’ll do the rest?

  • I might have to visit my friend up in Washington and bring my NC30 with me.

  • Well it still requires an inspection process it has to go through which is just checking for street legal equipment and it’s an ORV first before it passes inspection. It was meant more so to daul sport a dirt bike they brought in on themselves when they started pulling plates on KTM’s pissed off the wrong people and we got the law changed. This law will only work on a complete fully operational bike and for a state resident I couldn’t take a project bike down it wouldn’t pass the braking distance test etc. DH VJ22 parts are so easy to find in japan usually much cheaper compared to uk/aus stuff it’s the shipping costs thats killer sometimes. Collin your NC30 would look sick next to my friends NC35 thats in my garage right now. Too much damn snow here to even think about ridding.

  • I keep flip flopping between the NC35 and the VJ22. If I could get the NC35 frame/swingarm, tank and engine, I’d put the forks/wheels/bodywork that I want to use from here in the USA. So the hard part would be getting the parts from Japan/UK thru our customs and into my garage. Who knows? Maybe by the the time I can do all that, it’ll be easy to do and everyone will have one…

  • Parts are easy getting through customs I have never had an issue and I have gotten alot of parts from japan. I have not tried a whole motor yet most stuff has to fit within postal requirements. The largest item I’ve got shipped so far was a complete VJ22 SP front end wheel/tire/rotors/forks/tripples/brakes

  • oh yea I forgot when getting parts from japan not once have I ever paid import taxes either on used parts.

  • SmokinJoe,
    please contact me:

  • I have a NC30 in my garage here in Japan I’ll send it to you peice by piece USPS Priority mail. lol

  • anyone have any info on derestricting this bike – difficulty getting parts? cost?

  • Believe me…
    I’ve considered finding someone overseas and doing that very thing! It would probably get a little costly though…

  • Jim V,
    Derestriction consists of CDI, pipes, jetting, rear sprocket and speedo (I’ve never changed my speedo though with no issues). The air box is slightly different as well but it is real simple fix to do at home. Prices for CDI’s and pipes have skyrocketed in the past two years. Most everything comes from Japan but you can score a few item out of UK/Europe sometimes.

  • I have a question for you vj23 experts. I lost power to my speedometer, which also has the odometer on it. What could have happened? Do you know how to get the KM’s of my bike if I don’t have power? Any answers would be appreciated. I’m still thinking about selling my 97 full power lucky strike. But if willl be tough without getting the KM’s right.

  • Cesi,
    Have you checked for a loose connection or something fuse related? If no one can help you here post the question at rgv250.co.uk.

  • Cesi please email me wildcatsean@gmail.com if your RGV is for sale in the US.

  • i own three full power 23,s inc a lucky strike,all i will say is someone buy that bike.
    you don,t know what you,re missing.

    btw hi ian and sean.

  • I have a 1992 RGV250SP (street legal / clean KS title) if anyone is interested. It was tagged & insured, but has since lapsed since I don’t live in KS anymore, but the bike is on stands at my brother’s house in KS. I did not bring the bike with me when I moved, and have not had the chance to bring it to my current location. It’s been a while, so I can’t remember the exact milage, but if you’re really interested, I can call my brother to find out. IIRC, the milage is shown in Kilometers. I do recall there is a warning sticker of some sort that’s on the tank written in Japanese, not English. You can email me at whocanitbenow68@yahoo.com

  • Whats up Alan? When will we see some of the 23’s for sale? I know….never.

  • Seller can ask what he wants, but buyers will only pay what they want…

  • Sold 8-26-12 – Buy it now of $10,150

  • Until its relisted in 2 weeks time again.

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