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Suzuki July 18, 2018 posted by

Featured Listing: Tidy 1986 Suzuki RG400

The Suzuki RG500 Gamma was the king of Sportbike Hill back in the mid-80s, as it tipped its hat to the high-strung square fours that a series of talented Americans were dominating with on the world stage. There were more successful Japanese brands on track, but the big 'Zook was the way to go if you wanted un-compromised road performance.

1986 Suzuki RG400 for sale on eBay

To make the machine compatible with the laws in its home country, Suzuki de-bored the 500 to produce a 400cc version. The 1986 Suzuki RG400 before you is a rarer beast than its hairy-chested stablemate, and is a fantastic mount in its own right. This one is curious, as the seller says it's a 400, and the ad lists a 400cc engine, but it wears aftermarket RG500 bodywork. The original stuff apparently is included.

Still, as a stock example of an increasingly rare piece of 1980s gear, this bike checks a lot of boxes. The bodywork and drivetrain are clean, but not so much that you'd feel guilty riding the beast.

From the eBay listing:

1986 Suzuki Rg Gamma 400
Runs perfect, all stock, bodywork is aftermarket with excellent fitment, tank is original with small ding, currently has tank cover over tank to protect tank, comes with some original body work as well
Has 22,000 km which converts to 13,670 miles
Can assist with shipping if Needed
Call me with questions 954-809-8596 my name is mike

As these bikes get rarer and rarer, it will be increasingly hard to find one that isn't too nice to take out and properly enjoy from time to time. With the aftermarket plastics, this one should fit the bill nicely.

Yamaha July 18, 2018 posted by

Featured Listing: 1984 Yamaha RZV500R for Sale

Update 7.18.2018: Price reduced to $12,000. Thanks as always for supporting the site, Ted! -dc

Yamaha threw their hat into the Grand Prix race replica ring with the… Well what this bike was called depended on where the thing was being sold. In Canada and Australia, it was an RZ500, which fits since it was like a bigger, faster RZ350. In Europe, it was the RD500LC, which also makes plenty of sense considering the RD series’ history, but with added Liquid Cooling! And in Japan, it was the RZV500R as seen in today’s Featured Listing, which sounds the most exotic to me.

And like Honda’s NS400R and Suzuki’s RG500, the RZ/RD/RZV was powered by a racing-inspired, two-stroke multi that was shared with no other bike in Yamaha's lineup. That made the bikes very exclusive, but not really cost-effective to produce. But really, what other sort of motorcycle would you power with a liquid-cooled 50° two-stroke V4 that featured twin cranks and a balance shaft displacing nearly 500cc? The rest of the package was likewise geared towards sportbike domination: a six-speed gearbox, a pair of YPVS power valves, Autolube oil-injection system, an underslung rear shock that was very exotic at the time, anti-dive forks, and 16” front and 18” wheels shod with typically skinny period tires.

Unfortunately, in spite of the racy looks and the inclusion of magnesium parts, the RZ500 still weighed in at a period-appropriate 450lbs dry. The problem was that rival Suzuki’s RG500 weighed significantly less while making more power than the RZ’s 88 claimed ponies. The RZ was designed from the start to be a civilized race-replica, but at the time the RG stole Yamaha's thunder with their much wilder ride.

But today, neither bike would be considered particularly fast on a racetrack and the appeal is a combination of nostalgia and the singularly exciting character of a big two-stroke, something the RZ still has in abundance and at a lower cost than an equivalent RG.  The RG has always been "the one to have," and steadily increasing values mean it's been priced out of reach for many fans. But although RZ prices have climbed to keep pace with the general increase of all 80s two-stroke sportbikes, they still lag behind the Gamma, making them the affordable choice.

This example is the Japanese-market RZV500R and featured an aluminum frame instead of the steel units on the other versions. Unfortunately, the aluminum frame wasn't something added to enhance performance, it was to offset the damage done by home market regulations that limited output to 64hp. Luckily, this example has supposedly been de-restricted and features a very sharp set of custom spannies that look far more upswept than the stock parts and should liberate more of the famous two-stroke crackle, along with FZR wheels, brakes, and front forks to match.

From the seller: 1984 Yamaha RZV500R for Sale

VIN#: 51X002446

Entering the world of RZ500’s has introduced me to several collectors who have shared some of their incredible knowledge of the Yamaha model. RZ500’s were built by Yamaha in model years 1984 and 1985. They were never sold new in the US and any that are currently here were brought in as Grey Market Vehicles. Yamaha Canada imported the RZ500 model which was also sold in Australia. The United Kingdom model was named the RD500 and came with a different color scheme than the RZ.

All of these models had steel frames and were delivered in what was considered unrestricted versions with higher horsepower than the domestic Japanese version of the motorcycle. The Japanese bikes with restricted horse power had smaller carburetors and exhaust systems to that end. In an attempt to balance the lost of power, the Japanese bikes were equipped with aluminum frames which were considerably lighter, but again, only for Japanese domestic consumption. That model of the RZ was called the RZV500, is model of bike being offered here. Our bike has the aluminum frame, different mirrors and decals identifying it as the RZV, the most desirable version of the bike if unrestricted. In this case that has been done with a set of Tommy Crawford Expansion Chamber Exhausts. The pipes are said to work well, are rare to find and are no longer made. A perfect storm so to speak.

This bike has been modified additionally with what we assume are a period FZR Front Forks and a set of matching wheels. There is also an Ohlin’s rear Shock Absorber in the back.

The owner of the bike was a huge enthusiast of Road Race bikes and at the time was doing some club racing. Being in the Service, when it was time to be stationed at another post, the Service took care of moving his personal property including his motorcycles. As per regulations, vehicles that were transported with personal property were to have all of their fuel removed, which was done with a tag hanging from the handle bar noting this. Unfortunately, medical issues evolved that prevented the bike from being recommissioned and it been in this state for over ten years. Sadly for the owner, he never was able to ride again and his family is selling the bike as part of his estate.

Collectors with an interest in the bikes have warned us about trying to start the bike without a serious inspection and reconditioning. Crank seals, carburetors and possibly other work may be needed and we are not in a position or capable of any of it. The bike, in running order, would most likely bring over $20,000 and is now priced accordingly to accommodate the possible needed work. It has an Oregon clear and clean title of ownership.

So this should pretty much be the highest-performing version of the RZ: the lighter aluminum frame combined with the full-power engine. More power, less weight, what's not to like? That is, once the bike is reconditioned, of course... The Seller is asking $15,295 $12,000 for this one and, if you're handy with the wrenches and love to tune two-strokes, or have deep pockets and Lance Gamma's number on speed dial, this could be a good opportunity to pick up a clean RZV with more modern running gear that just needs some mechanical attention.

-tad

Honda July 18, 2018 posted by

Meeting Your Heroes: 1989 Honda VFR400R NC30 for Sale

With values of the VFR750R RC30 through the roof, the VFR400R NC30 has become the affordable go-to for fans of Honda's V4 homologation specials. Styled like a 4/5 scale model of the RC30, the NC30's dual headlamps, aluminum beam frame, and Pro-Arm single-sided swingarm ape the bigger bike's look and function. Significantly the engine shares its V4 configuration, gear-driven cams, and 360° "big bang" crankshaft with the RC30.

The big bang firing order helps give the later Honda V4s their characteristic flat droning exhaust note and supposedly improves corner exit grip, compared to a more traditional 180° firing order that evenly spaces the combustion events. Even if you're not pushing the limits of traction, the big bang engines offer a very wide, forgiving powerband.

On paper, the Honda VFR400R doesn't seem like it'd impress a modern rider. Just 400cc? Are you joking? Well no. First of all, it has a dry weight of around 300lbs, so the 59 horses don't have very much mass to haul around, which is reflected in the bike's surprising 130mph top speed. Most importantly, the NC30 was designed to offer some of the best handling available at any price, and is still considered to be one of the all-time greats.

I was lucky enough to ride one of these recently and it was an absolute pleasure: famously agile handling meant the bike was intuitive, east to ride, and plenty of fun, even though I wasn't pushing its cornering limits. If you're slightly terrified trying to use anything approaching maximum revs on a modern sportbike, you'll be happy to know that the NC30 is both flexible at low rpm and happy to spin to its 14,500rpm limit. In fact chasing the redline was pretty much required, since I was working to keep up with a friend who was riding an MV Agusta F4R...

From the original eBay listing: 1989 Honda VFR400R NC30 for Sale

Up for auction is a beautiful 1989 Honda VFR400 model NC30. Hands down the most desirable color scheme. Gas tank is mint condition with zero rust inside the tank. The bike was legally imported into the United States. The bike has a clear Arizona US title with the proper 11 digit VIN number (title and frame number match). Bike starts right up runs perfect with no oil leaks. The bike is all original and is a true pleasure to ride pulling through all gears very hard. With a 14,000k rpm red line the bike will leave you with a smile on your face for days. Please view all the images as there are few scratches and scuff's throughout the bike. Also please keep in mind that this is all OEM factory Honda fairings and not the cheaper aftermarket stuff.The bike is all sock minus the stainless steel brake lines. All the electronics including horn, turn signals, high / low beam, and Killswitch all work as they should. This bike is being sold locally and I encourage all bidders to come down and view the bike in person or send a local mechanic on your behalf to view for you. Rare vintage Japanese bikes don't come up often and this is a beautiful example with no disappointment.

These days, it isn't too hard to find an NC30 for sale: the spike in RC30 prices and the fact that these have hit the 25 year mark has seen an influx of Japanese market bikes. So the trick isn't so much finding one for sale, it's finding a nice one for the right price. This one looks very clean and original, with the usual wear and tear you'd expect on a bike of this age that's actually been ridden often enough to accumulate the 27,000 miles indicated. The stock exhaust is a little quiet for my taste, but it does mean you can hear the cool whine from the gear-driven camshafts... There are still several days left on this auction and bidding is a bit slow so far, possibly owing to the mileage. But this is a Honda, and the fact that it isn't museum-quality just means you might get to ride and enjoy this cool little machine for

-tad


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Bimota July 17, 2018 posted by

Nice Curves: Low-Mileage 1995 Bimota SB6 for Sale

Tad first posted this one in December when it had a buy-it-now of $25k. It was relisted and eBay showed a sale at just over $10k. It's back now from the same seller with a buy-it-now of $15k or best offer. Thanks for the heads up, Donn! Links updated. -dc

The SB6 and SB6R were some of Bimota's best-selling bikes of all time, and featured what must be the mother of all beam frames. That distinctive, very rigid aluminum unit used Bimota's "Straight Connection Technology," designed to link the steering head directly to the swingarm pivot. This improved chassis rigidity at the expense of servicing: you pretty much have to unbolt the engine and swing it forward to adjust the carburetors, change the spark plugs, replace the front sprocket, or access the alternator drive that tends to fail...

Fortunately, this earlier SB6 at least features a set of Suzuki gauges, a good thing since the later Bimota units supposedly pack it in with unfortunate regularity. They may look fairly mundane, but least they work! The engine should be pretty reliable too, and powerful to boot: those gauges are matched to the inline four and five-speed gearbox from Suzuki's GSX-R1100.

I much prefer Bimota's follow up to this bike, the SB6R which pretty much embodies my favorite aspects of 1990s styling. Sure, the 916 might be the more iconic 90s design, but part of the reason is that it doesn't actually look like anything else from that era. The SB6R has the bulbous curves of the donor GSX-R, but with better colors, less weight, and more all-around Italian-ness.

But the strength of the original SB6 is that it looks like pretty much nothing from any era, unless you count Crea's weird, organic-nightmare bodywork kits from the era... Go ahead and Google that, and then promise me you'll never complain about Pierre Terblanche's 999 ever again. The SB6 is striking wrapper that contains all the analog performance you could ever want, along with a powerplant that should be at least easy to get parts for, even if it isn't actually all that convenient to work on.

From the original eBay listing: 1995 Bimota SB6 for Sale

This is a one owner bike that has been stored inside a house.

Only 670 Miles!

The bike fluids have been drained and cleaned for proper storage. The bike is all original and near perfect.

It has never been on the market until now. I have had the bike in my house for over a year and just moved it to my warehouse and decided to let someone else enjoy it. I got the bike from a friend that knew the original owner and connected us.

I am open to fair offers. I listed the bike at top market price because someone might pay that. However make a fair offer and you might own this very rare, one owner Bimota.

Also, it has the Suzuki 1100 motor... Dyno specs in pics from years ago.

Since the seller "got the bike from a friend that knew the original owner and connected us," wouldn't that technically make this a two-owner bike? Even though the second owner only had it a year? Unfortunately, 1990s Bimotas were a bit unfinished from the factory, and great concepts suffered from pretty poor execution. If you had the time or money to go through your expensive Italian exotic to correct electrical faults and set up the suspension properly, you were left with a serious weapon for road or track. Of course, most buyers wanted their money to buy an actual, functioning motorcycle, and Bimota's kit-bike quality certainly hasn't helped values.  The $24,900 asking price is very ambitious for an SB6 but, with those kind of miles, maybe a collector who wants a very clean, low-mileage example of a very cool machine will bite. However, I'd say the seller's negotiation technique could be... stronger.

-tad


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