Locally built Suzuki RGV Hopkins Replica

Pics and build by Duane Coetzee

There’s something really special about breathing in 2-stroke fumes and hearing the ‘ping’ from expansion pipes. 2-stroke sportbikes will very rarely be seen on showroom floors and if they are then buyers waste no time in grabbing them.

Duane Coetzee standing with his final build


Jared, the owner of this beautiful Suzuki RGV VJ21, has quite a story behind obtaining it;

“So, some years back in 2013 I moved from South Africa to live abroad in Dubai. Unfortunately, Dubai does not exactly cater for the best regular street riding which is limited mainly to the short winter months and, for the most part, the only 2-stroke bikes I ever saw were riding in the desert. Worse, living in a high-rise apartment does not inspire a guy like me who could probably live in a shed with his ‘projects’. Never having owned a street bike before (although drooling over the various bikes my father had … AKA *polish boy*) I started thinking that I should get a bike in Dubai.



Missing home and waiting almost a year for my wife who was still in South Africa to join me permanently, my father went out and bought a tatty RGV VJ21 in a box! He then sent me a WhatsApp picture saying; ‘Here is your first street bike, so now when you visit back home you can work on this and plan for it’. This was actually just a ploy from his side since he didn’t want me to go get some ZX-10R! Nonetheless, it was his action that planted the seed for everything that transpired thereafter.



Recalling the Tyga website from my youth and often dreaming to own a bike like the ones advertised in magazines, I thought at that stage it was now or never, however, I felt the VJ21 was not the perfect platform for the Tyga fairings etc. and so we went about sourcing a cleaner/assembled RGV VJ22. Then, after researching and saving a few years, I finally had the list of major parts so I called two of my mates and sent them my credit card details.



Another year passed (together with more planning and pictures saved for inspiration) when I finally could visit South Africa and mock the fairings onto the bike. However, this was not before a rather special find when my father called again and asked if I would be interested in an SP engine (by the way, it would come with frame and fairings assembled). It was a great find and although it had been raced hard and the suspension swapped it was the perfect donor bike.



It was then roughly mid-year of 2016 when I was introduced to a perfectionist, Duane, who would be managing the last leg of the build and assembly so we dropped off the bike together with many black boxes of parts and I returned to Dubai to dream of what would be the result. Finally, after much waiting and anticipation (and hassling) Duane’s painstaking work was completed in November 2017.



Overall, I wish I could do projects like this over and over. There is something about these modern classic bikes that just do it for me and the Tyga platform appreciates this and helps ‘addicted’ people like us get by!”



Every surface of the bike had been touched and thoughtfully put back together with superb results. This was quite a special build for Duane as this was to be his last ever customer build before moving onto bigger and better things in his career. What a bike to build to close a fantastic chapter.


Author: gareth

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