When you visit a motorcycle museum, what do you hope to see? I’m betting you hope the museum is displaying a bike you used to own, or one your father or grandfather rode. Common or rare, you get to take a look again, maybe from the perspective of decades of design changes such as when you look at a new Harley-Davidson LiveWire, a pre-War Knucklehead and a 1912 Harley, side by side as they are in the National Motorcycle Museum lobby.

This Suzuki JR50 is owned by Jay Gaard a very serious off-road motorcycle restorer/collector who has loaned over 50 bikes to the Museum over the years. JR50’s were made from 1977 to 2006 and were a shared platform of Suzuki and Kawasaki; KDX50. Many people can identify with this machine. For some families they were back yard play bikes, for others a first race bike. Here’s what Jay Gaard told us about this Suzuki JR50 and one of his daughters, Holly:

“Back quite few years ago Holly’s favorite movie was a 2001 Disney film called Motocrossed. I watched it with the girls many times. Holly said ‘I wish I had a little motorcycle of my own.’ Well, I found one when she, her sister, and her mom were on vacation. I got it detailed up and running and it ended up being given to her by her Grandma and Grandpa Gaard. Needless to say she was thrilled to get it and still is to this day.

So technically, this bike is Holly’s and she’s decided to share it with the many visitors to the Museum figuring it may mean something to them, too. Some of you no doubt have owned one, maybe got your start riding, even racing a JR50 or other “junior” sized motorcycle. But if not, there are another 550 bikes to look over at the Museum and many will make you stop and ponder your personal motorcycling history.


    • Engine: Two-Stroke, Single
    • Type: Air-cooled, Piston Port Induction
    • Bore & Stroke: 41mm x 38mm
    • Displacement: 49cc’s
    • Compression Ratio: 5.6:1
    • Carburetor: Mikuni VM12
    • Ignition: Magneto
    • Lubrication: Oil Injection
    • Horsepower: Not Listed
    • Primary: Gear Driven
    • Transmission: Single Speed Automatic
    • Frame: Steel, Tubular
    • Seat Height: 19 Inches
    • Suspension: Height Adjustable: Telescopic Fork / Twin Shocks
    • Wheels / Tires: 2.50 X 10 / 2.50 X 10
    • Brakes: Drum Front & Rear
    • Weight: 84 Pounds
    • Wheelbase: 34 Inches
6 replies
  1. Patrick Snead
    Patrick Snead says:

    I’m a certified motorcycle service technician for Honda Yamaha and Suzuki and I’ve worked on many JR50’s and owned one myself and it was a great little kids bike! Loved it!

  2. Damon Haner
    Damon Haner says:

    Got mine for Christmas 1996 when I was 4 years old, Then I remembered my dad coming home with a magazine with the article that Jeremy McGrath switched to Suzuki. It was perfect timing


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