Got a vintage bike? Do you find parts hard to come by? Do not despair, for the manufacturers know your pain and are doing the best to keep your machine on the road.
Well, at least Suzuki are.
Anybody who rides a bike that's no longer in production, or a more obscure model that might not have sold in great numbers in the UK knows the frustration of getting spare parts when it comes to maintenance. My old dad's never-on-the-UK-market Yamaha is a machine to behold, but he finds spare parts in this country to be as rare as hen's teeth, and any breakdown is followed by weeks or months off the road as some vital part is shipped over from Japan.
That's why Suzuki has a Vintage Parts Programme, a scheme designed by the company to keep "retired" bikes on the road. It's proving incredibly popular for lovers of older machines, and they are gradually increasing the number of models for which spares are available.
The company has just added a cult classic in the AP50 bike to the scheme. Describing it as the "iconic 49cc rotary-valved two stroke", it's been a nightmare for enthusiasts who've previously had to cannibalise parts from dead machines. And with only a finite number of used parts in the world, it made sense for Suzuki to cater for this demand.
Also in the Vintage scheme are the RGV250, GT750, the original GSX-R750, and the GT250 X7, making it easier to find, buy and fit parts to classic Suzuki machines by using a single online resource. Parts booklets, brochures and service manuals are also available to download.
"Since the programme's launch we had a clear plan of the models we wanted to include, and the AP50 was always on there as an iconic sports-moped. We're just as enthusiastic when it comes to projects and restorations of older Suzukis as the restorers themselves, so we've looked at the most popular and tried to accommodate them," Suzuki's Tim Davies said.
"It takes time to get everything in place to add a bike to the programme, but hopefully it helps those restoring one of the included models and makes the process that bit easier."
We're looking forward to seeing more restored Suzukis at shows and runs in the near future.