RGV250 – Ready or Not

Riding the RGV250 for the first time around the track was an unforgettable experience. There were mixed feelings of fear and excitement. The truth was that we didn’t know much about this bike prior to taking it to the track.The RGV250 was a track bike and therefore could not be legally ridden on the road. The only way of finding out what needed attention on the bike (apart from the basics) was to turn a few laps and assess the situation from there.

Our bike had the oil injection system removed by the previous owner, so just like a real race bike we had to premix the oil and fuel. There are several choices available when it comes to 2-stroke motor oils, but it’s absolutely vital that you only use the best lubricants in a race bike. We were recommended to use either Castrol A-747 or Motul 800 2T with a fuel to oil mixture of 40:1.

With the bike fueled up, it was time to warm her up – this is the fun part as it always draws lots of attention. A single kick on the starter and the twin cylinder 2-stroke fires up with all its traditional charm. A plume of white smoke escapes the exhaust cans as the RGV stutters and putters searching for it’s optimal engine temperature. A few blips of the throttle and the RGV finds it’s confidence. The sweet tinny sound and reduced white smoke tells me that it’s time.

With the outing lap out of the way, it was time to see what level this bike was at.

Coming out of the final turn 12 and onto the main straight I start to recall my brother telling me of how these 2-strokers had a tendency to seize when shutting off from full throttle. Anyone who has been around eastern creek knows that turn 1 is one of those full commitment corners due to it’s high speed. Both rider and motorcycle must trust each other for turn one to ever work out. Given that this was a new relationship and on good advice from Al we figured that it would be good practice to cover the clutch lever just in case the little RGV were to back out and have second thoughts.

Getting on the throttle out of the very tight turn 2, I could feel the soft suspension causing the bike to wallow and feel horribly unstable. Unlike our VFR, the RGV lacks front end adjustment. Regardless of that, it would take more than a few clicks to fix the front end. There was something clearly wrong with how this bike was turning. RGV’s are famous for their handling, but this was not the case with ours. Something had to be done.

The power from the engine felt great though, the powerband that these bikes produce is no lie. When it comes on, it comes on hard. It almost feels like a turbo – when you hit the sweet spot it just pushes you so fast that it’s hard to believe you are riding a 250. But all that power is useless to us if we can’t get the bike to turn!

Lap 3 and I start to get a handle on the gearing, but then suddenly the bike begins to loose power. Uh-oh – what could this be? It felt as thought the bike was starving of fuel. Half way around the circuit my goal is to get her back into the pits. Fortunately for me, I made it back.

We refueled the bike with much more gas this time. The bike started first go, so pretending as if everything would be alright again, Al agreed to give it a shot in the next session.

Again – 3 laps around and following Al who looked to be having fun, I see him pull over to the side of the circuit. As I come around for lap 4 on the trusty old VFR, I see Al trying to kick the engine over. Hmmm he must be pissed! After the session concluded, we decided to retire the bike. We didn’t want to push our luck with the track marshals who acknowledged us having problems.

Test successful you could say. Clearly our 2-stroke toy was not ready for this sort of thing. This whole exercise was a gamble on our part, but what fun could we draw if it all just worked?

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