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Yamaha October 3, 2015 posted by

Four Hundred Four Fizzer – 1988 Yamaha FZR400

Eclipsed by the 600's, or maybe just soft-pedaled by the factory as a domestic Japanese market special, the FZR400 lived out its eight-year stateside run in relative obscurity.  Because of it medium size and power, it was a bike that any rider, almost regardless of size or experience, could jump on and have a blast.  Occasionally recognized by the media as a sweet handler, it could embarrass its big brothers in the twisties, and finding one in nice shape is a rarity these days.

20151003 1988 yamaha fzr400 right

1988 Yamaha FZR44 for sale on eBay

20151003 1988 yamaha fzr400 left

Peeking out around the bodywork is the DeltaBox aluminum frame, seriously overbuilt for the 60 hp machine.  The overbuilding continues with the 41mm forks, 282 mm dual front rotors, and 110mm front / 140mm rear tires, larger than many bigger bikes at the time.  Max thrust arrives at 12,500 rpm, and Yamaha's EXUP exhaust ultimate power valve extends the torque band from the peak at 9,500 rpm.  Great paint design on the full endurance-style fairing.  There's room for lunch behind the dual seat ( with monoposto cover ) but for anything more than that you'll need a backpack.

20151003 1988 yamaha fzr400 front

20151003 1988 yamaha fzr400 rear

Listed by a Texas dealer, this FZR400 appears very good and shows just under 12,000 miles.  Supertrapp muffler and remote-reservoir monoshock are the only mods discussed in the eBay auction:

Here we have what may be one of the best remaining Yamaha FZR400s in the market today - we understand it was owned originally by a dentist in California, and then went into a well known sport bike collection and has therefore had very little use. It is showing just 11,373 miles on the clock. 
While the motorcycle is largely original it is fitted with a period Supertrap exhaust and aftermarket rear suspension. We can source and supply original items ex-Japan if required.

A nice addition is the tail cowl has three famous signatures including that of Wayne Rainey.

This motorcycle is mint mint mint!

20151003 1988 yamaha fzr400 binnacle

Reviewed as a bike you could enjoy cruising back roads and at the far reaches of its 14,000 rpm redline, the FZR400 is a bike for junior and expert riders alike.  After 1989 the fairing was given a 90's angular styling but the early models' design hangs together nicely.  While it would be cool to happen upon a homologation special, this one appears to have been cared for and parked indoors.  Many have been to the racetrack and had 600 cc engines installed, but a carefully maintained stocker might be better in the long run...


Aprilia October 2, 2015 posted by

Squeaky Clean: 2000 Aprilia RSV Mille R for Sale

2000 Aprilia RSV Mille R R Side

While they weren't huge sellers when new, the Aprilia RSV Mille represents one of the best bargains in the sportbike world right now, sort of a "thinking-man's Italian V-twin." Which is a much more flattering thing to say about a bike than, "Wow, that thing is pretty odd-looking." Although, as I've said before, these things have really grown on me, and they certainly look the part: there's no mistaking that this bike means business, all stealth-fighter planes and angles, with interesting details wherever you look, including the Mickey Mouse headlamp. Seriously, once you've noticed that little detail, you can never unsee it...

2000 Aprilia RSV Mille R Front

When they decided to create a bike to compete against Ducati on track and in showrooms, Aprilia stuck with what they knew: a stiff and very beautifully-designed aluminum beam frame that looks very similar to the one in their proven RS250. Bodywork is an acquired taste, but very aggressive and functional: Aprilia deviated from the Ducati Paradigm by creating a serious sportbike with humane ergonomics.

2000 Aprilia RSV Mille R L Side Rear

But they also deviated from accepted sport v-twin convention by using a 998cc Rotax-designed v-twin that wasn't 90°. Until the RSV, just about every sports v-twin used a 90° configuration for smooth running at higher rpm. But 90° twins are difficult to package when mounted transversely like in a Ducati or Suzuki. Ducati's L-twin is very long and hard to fit into an appropriately short-wheelbase bike. Rotated backward, as in the Suzuki, and there's little room for a functional rear suspension.

2000 Aprilia RSV Mille R L Side Fairing

So Aprilia's twin was a 60° unit to allow optimal positioning within the chassis, while twin balance shafts took care of the smoothness. It's still a bit less refined than the aforementioned engines, but is plenty revvy, makes competitive power, and is extremely reliable as a bonus, with owners reporting very few problems, even as the miles accumulate.

2000 Aprilia RSV Mille R Rearset

The R version of the bike seen here included very choice Öhlins suspension at the front and back, along with a steering damper, forged wheels, and the expected smattering of carbon fiber bits.

From the original eBay listing: 2000 Aprilia RSV Mille R for Sale

Selling the best sport bike I've ever owned. This 2000 Aprilia RSV Mille R was the first unit that arrived at Pro Italia in 2000, and in my opinion is the finest design of the big displacement Aprilia four strokes ever made. Clean lines, narrow GP style body, very comfortable riding position, elegant round blinkers and bullet ferrari style tail lights, with no nonsense graphics and very tidy engineering of every last part. The rotax motor core and Aprilia heads make the most solid and torque-oriented motor I have ever enjoyed in a sport bike. The handling is perfectly balanced and the bike changes direction with incredible ease.

These R (racing spec) bikes were not profitable for Aprilia even with a $17,000 price tag because of the full Ohlins suspension front and rear, OZ forged wheels and other upgrades that came with the limited edition bike. 

I also had the bike modified to enable two-passenger use, so the rear subframe was changed to the pillion type, and the easy to bolt on passenger peg mounts were procured and come with the bike, as do any parts that I upgraded, which include MOTO TECH fully adjustable rear-sets, matching forged adjustable brake and clutch levers, as well as the racing exhaust slip-on and high ZeroG windscreen. 

There isn't a more comfortable and better handling sport bike out there, even 15 years later. 

The bike was just fully serviced at Pro Italia where it received new injectors (just tired from non-use). Rubber is also quite fresh Pirelli Corsas with just one ride on them. I have always considered I would keep this bike forever, but I have so many now that I am not using it at all. It has enjoyed the last many years in the garage parked in between a Ducati Paul Smart and a 1973 Moto Guzzi V7 Sport.

I like that little humble-brag at the end there. Yeah, very nice: you have exquisite taste and lots of money, although I think I'd be selling the Paul Smart and keeping the Mille as a canyon carver or track bike: the SportClassics are great motorcycles, but maybe not as focused as the RSV and certainly not as fast in a straight line.

2000 Aprilia RSV Mille R L Side

The RSV is a great package, but part of what makes them so appealing right now is their low price. This one's opening bid is $6,000 with no takers as yet. It's in very nice, well-maintained shape, and the R version is suitably collectible, but I think at this point in time the seller's being just a bit ambitious: bottom-feeder sportbikers looking for a bargain know that you can find nice examples for less, and aren't too bothered about higher miles found on less expensive bikes, since the Rotax motor is about as close as you can get to Japanese reliability in an Italian twin.


2000 Aprilia RSV Mille R Dash

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Bimota October 1, 2015 posted by

We Live Too Fast – 1988 Bimota YB6

The liter-bike big brother of the successful 750cc YB4, the Bimota YB6 was a super-high performance hand-crafted machine.  Designed by Frederico Martini, a total of 546 of the Yamaha-powered superbike were produced from 1988-90.  It looked a great deal like the 1987 championship-winning YB4, but had 140 hp of Yamaha 5-valve engine behind the fairing.

20150930 1988 bimota yb6 left

1988 Bimota YB6 for sale on eBay

20150930 1988 bimota yb6 right front

20150930 1988 bimota yb6 left rear

Squeezing the four cylinder engine as a stressed member, the massive aluminum extrusions of the YB6 provide a stable platform for the 165 mph machine.  The swingarm is a similar welded extrusion, and the big Yamaha motor is rotated a few degrees back to shorten the wheelbase.  Marzocchi provided the fully adjustable 42mm forks and remote reservoir monoshock.  four-piston Brembo calipers grip the 320mm front rotors, with 230mm rear.  Lovely endurance monoposto fairing is one of the most together designs ever, with dual fresh air intakes and classic but exciting graphics.

20150930 1988 bimota yb6 right front detail

20150930 1988 bimota yb6 right cockpit

Listed by a Piano, Italy shop that appears to specialize in restoring and customizing Harleys ( their motto is the title of this post ), this YB6 looks amazing.  Number 125 of the production run, it also looks to be number 1 in the Bimota historic register.  Pictured with a track-oriented dash with no odometer, the auction says it has 12,000 miles, might be km.  Not-so-period Termignoni carbon muffler could be retro-modded easily.  Lights and street dash are included, along with owner's manual and rear stand.  The owner offers references and assistance with shipping.  From the eBay auction:


Very early model, one owner from new (the president of Bimota Club Italia), fully preserved conditions, comes with original indicators, user manual, dashboard, paddock stand. Italian registration documents.

Bike is currently located in Italy, 33080 Roveredo in Piano (Pordenone) but I can get them delivered all around the World at cost, no problem.

We can supply US contact as reference.

20150930 1988 bimota yb6 binnacle

20150930 1988 bimota yb6 right front wheel

Likely a project to register for the road, this could be a collection starter, or could be a superb vintage racer with the YB4-based frame.  A top seller for Bimota, but only an hour's production at their engine supplier, the YB6 is a hand-built superbike with a great pedigree.  Just a pleasure to look at and daydream...

20150930 1988 bimota yb6 right rear detail


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Suzuki September 30, 2015 posted by

Gorilla For Sale – 1986 Suzuki GSX-R1100

The big-bore sportbike can lead a hard life, racing from light to light, changing hands often - it's rare to see one survive without some half thought-out mods and undamaged, but here is the exception.  The GSX-R models were the right step for Suzuki after many years developing the GS and Katana, introducing the 750 and 1100 to the USA in 1986 and starting a dynasty.  Lightweight for the time, with the beginnings of alloy frame construction and a now legendary powerplant, the GSX-R1100 is a once and future flagship.

20150929 1986 suzuki gsx-r1100 right

1986 Suzuki GSX-R1100 for sale on eBay

20150929 1986 suzuki gsx-r1100 left

Suzuki's 1052cc mill is air and oil-cooled, with a newly designed two-stage oil pump providing high pressure to the bearings and lower pressure feed to cool the internals.  The carburetted engine with double overhead cams generates 125 hp and 76 ft-lbs. torque.  It's laid in a cradle of aluminum extrusions welded to cast connectors and steering head, more heavily built than the 750 frame and quite rigid.  Only five speeds are required with all that torque.  41mm front forks are fully adjustable, and Full Floater monoshock rear shock is adjustable for rebound.  Twin 310mm disks are up front with 4-piston calipers, and a single 220mm disk follows.

20150929 1986 suzuki gsx-r1100 binnacle

This GSX-R has almost 12,000 miles but it doesn't amount to even light wear over just about 30 years.  Surprisingly stock for a liter bike of a certain age, most have been "improved" or all the alloys polished, re-painted or even re-bodied.  Looks super in the pictures, just a couple of notes in the eBay auction:

Has original Air Box, Exhaust, all wire ties, all frame plugs, hardware, assembly check paint on bolt heads, original brush finish on frame. Runs as good as it looks. Bike is 99% original I’d say.

Whats NOT original:
Battery (brand new sealed Yuasa brand)
Tires (brand new Bridgestone BT45s)

20150929 1986 suzuki gsx-r1100 front

20150929 1986 suzuki gsx-r1100 rear

Bidding started almost as soon as it was posted, and there's no telling what a time machine like this can bring.  Tests from the day praised the big machine's handling, torque and light weight, it'd be something to step back in time and smash an 11-second quarter-mile or straighten out Laguna Seca...


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Honda September 29, 2015 posted by

Featured Listing: 1988 Honda VFR400R for Sale


A precursor to the iconic NC30 that was a sort of "mini RC30," the VFR400R was powered by the a 399cc, gear-driven V4 and had the bigger model's same ELF-designed Pro-Arm single-sided swingarm. Visual differences compared to the later NC30 include a more conventional, street-bike styled single headlight and bodywork, along with four bolts to hold the rear wheel in place, instead of a single large hub nut.


This earlier iteration of Honda's jewel-like V4 used a more conventional 180° crank, whereas later NC30 versions used a 360° "big bang" crank and firing order for improved traction and tire life. The 180° crank engine should sound a bit more like a conventional four, with combustion events spaced more evenly throughout each engine revolution. You still get the distinctive whine of the gear-driven cams fitted to these engines however.


Although the small V4 isn't as manic at high revs as other 400cc four-cylinders, it should have a much wider powerband and still rev to a screaming 14,000rpm. Grunt is ultimately limited by the miniscule displacement, but handling is superlative and these were [and still are] very popular in the UK as track-day bikes, although the 18" rear wheel does limit tire choice somewhat.

1988 Honda VFR400R for sale on eBay

From the seller: 1988 Honda VFR400R for Sale

Imported legally this year from the UK with the idea of learning about  and testing the market as a possible business idea for the future.

When I received it, it would not idle, so, rather than clean the carbs, I opted for the more circuitous route and replaced the regulator/rectifier, coils, plugs, plug wires and battery as well as the starter solenoid for good measure. It ran better, but eventually I did clean the carbs and found the elusive idle.

The motor is sweet. Whining gear whir and a really nice howling exhaust note as it revs from clutch out at about 3000 all the way up to a redline of 14,000. Smooth and very torque strong powerband all the way up.

Also, as stated in the eBay post, the bodywork is original and a little rough on the two lower panels. The tank and balance of the beautiful old plastic is pretty nice in a slightly weathered patina appreciators sort of way.

I would like to mention the scale. The bike is small, the clearances around the engine and really throughout are tight and favor the small of hand. But, I am 5'10" and do not reach the bum stop under most riding conditions, so the ergonomics are semi comfortable and definitely not cramped.

Overall, this is a very sound , fun ride without the overkill of a larger superbike. I had an S3 400 Kawasaki that would pop your arms straight on the power, but this 400 is faster and more controllable in getting there. Like a RD400 but more muscular and with a much broader powerband. Throttle feedback is really fine. Would make a thrilling track bike or a good rider.

1988 Honda VFR400R L Fairing

Designed mainly for the Japanese market, a good number found their way over to the UK where they were popular as grey-market or "parallel imports." This example is a bit rough around the edges, as the seller clearly indicates, but these are the original panels and 27 years and 28,000 miles means some scuffs and scrapes and minor cracks are to be expected.

1988 Honda VFR400R R Side

The VFR400R is very rare here in the US, meaning this should be of interest to Honda fans here looking to complete their V4 collections or track day riders more concerned with corner speed than top speed. All-in-all, this bike lacks the endurance-racer styling and raucous "big bang" engine of later versions, but still provides the basic handling goodness that made these so popular in the first place.




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SpeedWerks Bikes Previously Listed:
-1991 Ducati 851
-1989 Yamaha FZR400
-1998 Derbi GPR50
-NSR250 MC21
-91 GSX-R 750
-89 FZR400
-NSR250SP MC28
-RS250 Cup