1970 Suzuki AC50 Maverick

Pint-Size Performer

| July/August 2007

Suzuki AC50 Maverick
Years Produce:
Total Production: N/A
Claimed power: 4.9hp @ 8,500rpm
Top speed: 62mph
Engine type: 49cc, two-stroke, rotary valve, air-cooled single
Weight: (dry) 73kg (160lb)
Price Then: N/A
Price Now: $500-$1,000
MPG: 75-100 (est.):

In the world of motorcycles, the Suzkuki AC50 Maverick is a relative unknown. But when it comes to small displacement bikes — often referred to as “tiddlers” — these smart and sunny bikes stand proud with their pint-size stature and surprising sophistication. Don’t let the scaled-down looks fool you. Yes, you can fit on it; yes, you can keep up with traffic; and yes, you’ll have fun riding it.

Tiddler tidbits
The term tiddler could be viewed as being derogatory, or at the very least slang. But then again, what better term to describe a class of machines that have scaled-down dimensions and near thimble-sized power units? Famous tiddlers include such note-worthy bikes as Honda’s vintage Cub C110 as well as Yamaha’s YJ and YG series. Combined with lesser-known examples from Kreidler, Yamaguchi, Aermacchi and DKW, to name only a few, there are hundreds of bikes that fall into the tiddler category.

The Sixties and Seventies proved to be the heyday for small bikes, as manufacturers tried to capture the blossoming youth market while also offering machines that would slot into small-displacement European tax categories, which rewarded smaller bikes. And the Suzuki AC50 Maverick — and its A50, AR50, AS50 and K50 derivatives — proved a success both in sales numbers and with customers, thanks to its standout features and surprisingly peppy performance.

Walk around
Replete with modern 1970s styling clues, the Suzuki AC50 Maverick lived up to its marketing hype. Period sales literature — complete with polyester-plaid-laden pilots with hipster headwear — pitched the machine as able to “do more for your image than a new pair of suede loafers.” Like most motorcycles companies in 1970, Suzuki abandoned the typical mid- to late 1960s small bike styling cues like leading-link front suspension, integral pressed steel rear fender, and one-piece headlight/speedo housing. Instead, the Maverick treated the prospective buyer with slender telescopic front forks, brilliant chrome fenders and even a wind-cheating, teardrop-shaped fuel tank, absent both chrome sides and rubber knee pads.

The brilliantly original “Pop Green” tank on our 1970 feature bike is finished off with a simple, thin, black and white stripe with “Suzuki” script running horizontally along the tank’s base. About the only leftover 1960s styling cue on the Maverick is found just a few inches north, where a very 1960s-looking Suzuki badge attaches. Even that didn’t last for more than a couple years, replaced by a longer, more rectangular tank and basic vinyl sticker on later versions.

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