EICMA Redux: Retro unobtanium

The 2016 Suzuki VanVan 200

Along with the Big Four and the major Euro manufacturers, there are plenty of niche companies flogging their wares at the EICMA show.

Retro bikes are an easy sell in fashion-conscious Europe, especially the small-capacity machines built around Chinese copies of the CG125, and other classic Japanese engines. There were plenty of interesting Euro retros on display this year; here’s a look at a couple of them, along with a pretty cool update from Suzuki that we’d love to see in Canada (but probably won’t).


The Brixton BX125
The Brixton BX125.

Brixton is the creation of the KSR Group, an Austrian distributor. Their BX125 is a 125cc classic-styled machine that appears very much in the same vein as the Cleveland Cyclewerks Ace, or the SYM Wolf. Their website says the bike “Combines traditional styling with the latest modern features like LED-lighting, LED-indicators, digital speedometer, combined braking system (CBS), front and rear disc brakes. The Japanese developed air-cooled single cylinder EFI-engine produces a maximum power of 8.4 kW.” Note the engine was “developed” in Japan, but it doesn’t sound as if it was built there.

We wouldn’t expect the BX125 here in Canada anytime soon. It is a cute little runabout for city streets, though.


We're not sure if this is the Hipster 125, or the Hipster 250.
We’re not sure if this is the Hipster 125, or the Hipster 250.

There it is, the dreaded “H-Word.” Mondial showed off their Hipster 125 and Hipster 250 at EICMA. They’re powered by liquid-cooled 125cc and 250cc motors respectively, with six-speed transmissions. Aside from that, information is sketchy. We do know this is not the first time someone has tried to breathe new life into the Mondial brand; the so-called “zombie brand” will not go away, which makes us wonder, which move creates more wealth: Building motorcycles, which rust away after a few years, or building a marque, that can be sold time and time again, regardless of whether any motorcycles are really sold?


The 2016 Suzuki VanVan 200
The 2016 Suzuki VanVan 200.

For years, Suzuki has sold the VanVan in other markets, but you can’t buy it in Canada. Now, they’ve updated the 200cc version, which looks as if it shares the same motor as the DR200. Hey, why mess with a good thing? That air-cooled 200cc mill has been in constant service since 1987, only getting minor updates since then (electric start, and that’s pretty much it). It’s a good way to get value from a proven platform that still does the job as well as it did when introduced.

Plus, as you can see in the title image, it’s a very aesthetically appealing machine.

There’s no word on whether this machine will make it to Canada, but we’re not expecting to see it. At $4,999, the DR200 currently has an MSRP in the same range as its liquid-cooled Japanese competition, and the VanVan would likely suffer from the same problem as Suzuki’s existing TU250X: Pricing. The TU250X is currently priced at $4,499, and we can’t see the VanVan coming in unless they can drop the price under that level, which isn’t likely.

The VanVan is said to weigh 128kg wet, with a 770mm seat height. It would be a fun little scrambler, but an 18-inch front wheel and 14-inch rear aren’t ideal for dirt work.


  1. I’ve always liked the VanVan and even owned a TW200 for a while. The trouble with the TW is that the engine is absolutely screaming at 90kmh. If Yamaha put an XT350 engine in it, it would be a blast.

    • That’s true. For a while, there was a 350 Big Wheel, but only sold in North America for a couple years, as far as I know. Of course, if you’ve been around CMG long enough, you know this, thanks to this classic video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jGzdvSCHD80

      In any case, I wonder if they keep it to 200cc because the handling drawbacks of the fatter tires become more pronounced at higher speeds?

      I’d love to have a TW200 anyway. Before I bought my DR350, I seriously considered buying a T Dub and taking some XT225 parts and aftermarket parts to build a TW270.

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