Perfect Anywhere The Ground Is Loose And Four Wheels Just Won’t Do

The VanVan from Suzuki comes equipped with a 200 cc engine, which is an upgrade from the old 125 cc model still available in other markets. In typical scrambler fashion, the VanVan 200 is the dirt-road/gravel-road/loose-dirt ride that qualifies it as a “sandbike” because of the fat rear tire to keep you going. Better than an ATV in some situations, the Vanvan is lightweight and capable, perfect for a jaunt around the ranch, a quick run up the trapline or an excursion on the beach, anywhere the ground is loose and four wheels just won’t do.

  • 2017 - 2019 Suzuki VanVan 200
  • Year:
    2017- 2019
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    single cylinder
  • Displacement:
    199 cc
  • Top Speed:
    70 mph
  • Price:
    4649
  • Price:

Suzuki VanVan 200 Design

2017 - 2019 Suzuki VanVan 200
- image 832085
It's retro and it looks retro emulating the UJM style so popular back in the '60s and '70s but with some modern techno to keep it real.

First out in the 1970s, the VanVan has that charming retro look that screams UJM so popular back in the ’60s and ’70s but with some modern techno to keep it real. Two-up seating is narrow and relatively low, making it easy to find the ground for those of us with short inseams.

Push-button starting made easy with the fuel-injected system shows its modern side, but I almost wish for an optional kick-start considering the intended use of the bike. If I’m away from the pavement, I like having low-tech options. While I’m thinking about a wishlist, how about some fold-down mirrors? That would be nice for offroad as well.

Instrumentation is easy to read and mounted high enough to be available at-a-glance. I hate it when I have to look down to see the gauges. The headlight is what you’d expect — classic round — though a dual set-up would suit me better, and I’ve never been a fan of the big, chunky taillight, but the better to see me with, I suppose. It’s retro and it looks retro. Maybe I’m being a little too critical today.

Suzuki VanVan 200 Chassis

Normally I would bemoan the drum at this point, but at less than 300 pounds soaking wet, even I have to admit it's good enough in this case.

Suzuki starts out on the VanVan 200 with a diamond-style, tubular steel frame with a single downtube that uses the engine as a stressed member to complete the circuit, as it were. Not only does this lower the engine in the frame, but it completely eliminates a chunk of tubing which helps keep the overall weight down. Standard forks support the front on 33 mm tubes, and a single coil-over shock tames the yoke-style swingarm in back, both with 5.35 inches of wheel travel but nothing in the way of adjustability.

Laced aluminum rims mount balloon tires that are almost comically large for the bike with a 130/80-18 up front and a 180/80-14 in back, and the tires themselves come in an on-/off-road profile for a variety of options when considering where to ride.

A two-pot caliper binds the front brake disc, and Suzuki kicked it old-school with a mechanical drum to slow the rear wheel. Normally I would bemoan the drum at this point, but at less than 300 pounds soaking wet, even I have to admit it’s good enough in this case.

Suspension Front: Telescopic, coil spring, oil damped
Suspension Rear: Link type, single coil spring, oil damped
Brakes Front: Disc brake, single rotor
Brakes Rear: Drum brake
Tires Front: 130/80-18 M/C 66P, tube type
Tires Rear: 180/80-14 M/C 78P, tube type

Suzuki VanVan 200 Drivetrain

2017 - 2019 Suzuki VanVan 200
- image 832082
It's a 200 cc bike, so you aren't going to get there fast, but 'fast' isn't its intended purpose.

Suzuki’s choice of propulsion on the VanVan 200 also contributes to the low overall weight. Nothing says “keeping it simple” like an air-cooled thumper, and that’s exactly what we have here. The single-jug, four-stroke mill displaces a mere 199 cc with a single over-head cam to manage the valve timing. Not content to rely on cooling-fin radiation alone, the factory added an oil cooler for an extra layer of protection for the engine’s lifeblood.

Not so simple is the induction management. An electronic fuel-injection system meters the air-fuel ratio for economy and emissions, and Suzuki’s automatic idle speed control (ISC) makes for easy cold starts and stable idling with no input from the rider. A catalyst in the exhaust system burns off any nastiness that escapes the combustion chamber. Sure, a carburetor would be even simpler, but that makes it tougher to meet emissions standards for road use, so here we are.

In spite of its small size, Suzuki stays retro and treats the VanVan like its full-size bikes by using a manual transmission and clutch to send power to the rear wheel. It may have been tempting to throw some sort of scooter-like CVT unit on there, but since it comes with a conventional, manual setup, it definitely qualifies as a good trainer bike.

Unlike the 125 cc version with its six-speed tranny, the VanVan 200 has a five-speed. If you don’t have too much lunch and you tuck in tight, you just might hit a top speed of 70 mph, but it’ll take everything the VanVan has to get there and it won’t want to stay there too long.

Engine: 4-stroke, air-cooled, single cylinder, SOHC
Displacement: 199 cc
Bore x Stroke: 66.0 mm x 58.2 mm
Compression Ratio: 9.4:1
Fuel System: Suzuki fuel injection, 26 mm throttle body
Ignition: Electronic ignition (CDI)
Starter: Electric
Clutch: Wet multi-plate, manual actuation
Transmission: 5-speed constant mesh
Final Drive: Chain, DID 520DMA4, 110 links

Suzuki VanVan 200 Pricing

2017 - 2019 Suzuki VanVan 200
- image 832087
MSRP on the 2019 VanVan 200 up just bit over last year, but still quite affordable at $4.6k.

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MSRP on the 2019 VanVan 200 is an affordable $4,649, up just $50 over last year. For 2019, the VanVan 200 comes in Solid Iron Gray or Metallic Fox Orange and it comes with a 12-month, unlimited mileage, limited warranty.

Warranty: 12-month, unlimited mileage, limited warranty with extensions available through Suzuki Extended Protection (SEP)
Color:
└ 2017: Metallic Triton Blue & Metallic Matte Fibroin Gray
└ 2018: Pearl Mira Red, Solid Black
└ 2019: Solid Iron Gray, Metallic Fox Orange
Price:
└ 2017, 2018: $4,599
└ 2019: $4,649

Suzuki VanVan 200 Competitors

2016 - 2019 Yamaha TW200
- image 800719
2017 - 2019 Suzuki VanVan 200
- image 832088
I might go for the more comfortable seat on the VanVan as the hard seat on the Yamaha just begs for you to be up on the pegs more than not, but that depends on your intended use.

The VanVan 200 is more or less a mini scrambler, a look reinforced by the whole retro vibe it has going on, so I knew I wasn’t going to find a competitor based on looks alone. Once I got past that and considered designed purpose, engine size and price it didn’t take long to settle on the TW200 from Yamaha.

Right off, we notice the more dirt-centric look of the TW200 , sort of a dirtbike-made-chubby by its truncated frame that leaves it with a short, 52.2-inch wheelbase, just a hair under the 54.5-inch wheelbase on the VanVan. In spite of the shorter length, the Yamaha carries its bench seat at 31.1-inches tall, almost a full inch higher than the Suzuki.

While the 5.35-inch suspension travel on the VanVan is probably plenty for most riders, Yamaha takes it up a notch with 5.9 inches of travel in the back and a whopping 6.3 inches of travel up front, which will come into play more if you plan on spending more time in the dirt than on pavement. Both bikes use a drum rear brake to supplement the front hydraulic disc, and both sport laced rims with fat, dual-purpose hoops that look like they would handle loose and soft surfaces, such as sand, like a boss.

The Yamaha mill gives up a mere 3 cubes to the 199 cc VanVan, and it sticks to the same air-cooled, one-lung format but with a 28 mm Mikuni carburetor to feed the beast. Call me old fashioned, but I’ll take the carb over fuel injection for simplicity when adventures take you off the pavement. Both bikes run a standard, big-bike control layout complete with a manual clutch and five-speed, constant-mesh transmission to regulate speed and operating rpm.

Prices are nearly identical, which almost raises suspicion of collusion. (Just kidding guys, take it easy.) In the end, it really comes down to whether you want something that looks like a fairly modern mini-enduro bike, or something that looks more like a classic homemade scrambler.

Is there a winner? I might go for the more comfortable seat on the VanVan as the hard seat on the Yamaha just begs for you to be up on the pegs more than not, but that depends on your intended use.

He Said

My husband and fellow motorcycle writer, TJ Hinton, says, “I gotta say that I’m liking the VanVan, maybe not so much for what it actually is, but more for the retro-tastic vibe that I don’t quite recognize, but feel like I should. It has a kind of ’70s-ishness that I find appealing, and it looks perfect for beach and riverbank shenanigans — the sort I’m a little too old for, to be honest.”

She Said

“Ha! I’m older than my husband and I’m down for some riverbank shenanigans, I assure you. This is a snappy little bike, well suited for places that don’t have pavement. It doesn’t have enough oomph for the interstate so it is limited as a commuter unless your commute is local. It’s a 200 cc engine, so the more weight you pack on, the more it groans; but for a run out to check the fenceline, camping on the beach, or a spin up the logging road, this bike is a blast and the seat is oh-so comfortable.”

Suzuki VanVan 200 Specifications

Engine & Drivetrain:
Engine: 4-stroke, air-cooled, single cylinder, SOHC
Displacement: 199 cc
Bore x Stroke: 66.0 mm x 58.2 mm
Compression Ratio: 9.4:1
Fuel System: Suzuki fuel injection, 26 mm throttle body
Ignition: Electronic ignition (CDI)
Starter: Electric
Clutch: Wet multi-plate, manual actuation
Transmission: 5-speed constant mesh
Final Drive: Chain, DID 520DMA4, 110 links
Chassis:
Suspension Front: Telescopic, coil spring, oil damped
Suspension Rear: Link type, single coil spring, oil damped
Brakes Front: Disc brake, single rotor
Brakes Rear: Drum brake
Tires Front: 130/80-18 M/C 66P, tube type
Tires Rear: 180/80-14 M/C 78P, tube type
Dimensions & Capacities:
Overall Length: 84.3 in (2,140 mm)
Overall Width: 34.1 in (865 mm)
Wheelbase: 54.5 in (1,385 mm)
Ground Clearance: 8.7 in (220 mm)
Seat Height: 30.3 in (770 mm)
Curb Weight: 282.2 lbs (128.0 kg)
Fuel Tank Capacity: 1.7 US gal (6.5 L)
Top Speed: 70 mph
Details:
Warranty: 12-month, unlimited mileage, limited warranty with extensions available through Suzuki Extended Protection (SEP)
Color:
└ 2017: Metallic Triton Blue & Metallic Matte Fibroin Gray
└ 2018: Pearl Mira Red, Solid Black
└ 2019: Solid Iron Gray, Metallic Fox Orange
Price:
└ 2017, 2018: $4,599
└ 2019: $4,649

Further Reading

Yamaha TW200

2016 - 2019 Yamaha TW200
- image 800715

See our review of the Yamaha TW200.

Suzuki

ALLYN IMAGES - DO NOT DELETE
- image 788898

Read more Suzuki news.

All images featured on this website are copyrighted to their respective rightful owners. No infringement is intended. Image Source: suzukicycles.com, yamaha-motor.com

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