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Yamaha February 25, 2017 posted by

Clean Machine: 1988 Yamaha FZR400

Aluminum perimeter chassis. Aluminum swingarm. Inline four-cylinder power plant. Four valves per cylinder. 14,000 RPM redline. Racing-inspired bodywork with dual headlights. Solo saddle cover to look like a monoposto. Triple disk brakes. Competent, adjustable suspension on both ends. The list of included technology reads like our favorite recipe. The only difference is in the calories: We're not talking about a middleweight 600 or open class liter bike here, but rather the smaller 400cc rocket from Yamaha.

1988 Yamaha FZR400 for sale on eBay

The FZR was not the only 400cc class participant, but in the US it was the only game in town. Honda, Kawasaki and Suzuki all offered some version of a tweener, each in some way more potent than the FZR. Yet the smaller Fizzer (although not the smallest Fizzer by any means) holds a loyal following among riders, and is generally praised as THE BEST handling sport bike to come out of the 1980s - and maybe beyond. Targeting more advanced riders, the FZR was neither the cheapest form of transport available nor was it really a beginner's bike. Unfortunately in the US, sub-500cc motorcycles are generally lumped into "first timer" categories, and many were purchased (with good intentions) as exactly that. If the bike was not abused at the hands of a newbie rider, it had a good chance of being flogged in competition, or just generally thrashed hard on the street. Not many pristine FZRs exist today, and those that do command a price.

From the seller:
ONE OF THE FEW NICE UNMOLESTED RED/WHITE FZR 400'S OUT THERE. All original except Supertrapp pipe and alarm. Manual, seat cowl, cover, original rear fender/turn signals. RUNS EXCELLENT !!

EXCELLENT CONDITION FOR THE YEAR a few minor cracks in plastic. The lower fairings having been cracked up but the bike never actually having been laid down !!!

This FZR definitely looks clean and pretty well cared for. It is well known that most of these bikes have lived a hard life - many of them on the racetrack. This one seems to have escaped much of that, but is not without some scars. The damage to the plastics is unfortunate, as these pieces are no longer available from Yamaha. And given the way the fairing scoops stick out, the damage to these areas is common. The remedies are not easy, but should be cosmetic only; this bike could still be an outstanding rider. And speaking of the riding experience, if the carbs have been rejetted properly for the exhaust then this could be quite the screaming little Fizzer.

The non-stock add-ons (signals, pipe and alarm) detract from the collector value of this bike, but some of the stock pieces are included with the sale. We don't see too many FZR400s - even though they were legally imported into the US - as these were not high-volume bikes in the day. The asking price for this one is a bit steep as far as Fizzers go, with an opening ask of $5k USD and zero takers thus far. The price is in the ballpark for a well-loved example , but probably a bit on the high side for an opening bid. Check it out here, and be sure to share your experiences with the FZR400 in the Comments section.

MI


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BMW February 24, 2017 posted by

Brains and Brawn: 2009 BMW HP2 Sport for Sale

Before the introduction of their conventional, but devastatingly effective S1000RR, BMW was known for their durable, quirky motorcycles and "old man in a Roadcrafter suit" image. But in the lead-up to the introduction of the RR, BMW attempted to revive their forgotten, but very legitimate sporting image with the limited-production HP2 Sport. BMW already had an inline-four engine that would, on the surface, have seemed like a more likely candidate for sportbike-ification, but BMW instead chose to base their sportbike on their iconic 180° flat-twin configuration. Did they choose the twin to clearly separate the planned inline-four superbike from their previous offerings? Or was the existing, longitudinally-mounted "brick" simply too heavy for sportbike duty? I'm not sure, but the resulting HP2 ended up being much more "nerd Ducati" and less "Teutonic Gixxer."

In terms of specification, the HP2 is surprisingly close to Ducati's L-twin-powered superbikes of the period: two cylinders, 128hp near the 9,500 rpm redline, and a claimed 392lbs dry weight is probably closer to the older 999 than the 1198, but the HP2 is still in the ballpark. That low weight looks especially impressive when you realize power reaches the rear wheel via a heavy driveshaft, and the BMW comes with a raft of high-performance parts to turn what might otherwise have been a bit of a sow's ear into the proverbial silk purse: dual overhead cam heads, radial valves, titanium connecting rods, adjustable ergonomics, and even a self-supporting carbon-fiber subframe. The lack of a slipper clutch is unfortunate, considering the rotational mass of the powertrain, but one is available if you have the time or money to drop the engine and install one.

The sometimes vague feeling often criticized by reviewers of BMW's "alternatively suspended" bikes is happily missing in the HP2, and handling is considered a high point, while Brembo monoblock calipers offer impressive stopping power well in excess of what might be required to rein in those 128 horses. The heads sticking out in the breeze do ultimately limit cornering clearance, but you'll need to be on a race track before it becomes anything more than an academic issue. Luckily, it comes fitted with plastic sliders... A bit of rear ride height helps, but dragging an elbow in corners might ultimately be impossible if you lack simian proportions.

From the original eBay listing: 2009 BMW HP2 Sport for Sale

Original adult owner purchased from Lone Star BMW in Austin Texas.  Carbon fiber body panels, forged aluminum rims, brembo antilock brakes, clutchless upshift, and ohlines suspension.  All warranty work done and service completed.  Replaced the fuel pump with a ethanol compatible unit. Never dropped, raced or crashed.  There is a blemish on the right lower fairing from a stone.  This is the ultimate boxer. With only approximately 115 ever imported to the US, you don't have to wait for this to become a rare classic - it already is!  Clear Texas title.  2016 miles.

Keep in mind that there's a price to be paid for all that exclusivity and high-performance technology: these weren't meant for casual owners and, when new, were priced north of $20,000. Maintenance costs are appropriate for a low-production exotic as well, and BMW recommends the titanium connecting rods get replaced at 30,000 miles, so start saving now. Hey, at least valve-adjustments should be a snap!

-tad


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Yamaha February 23, 2017 posted by

North Star: 1985 Yamaha RZ500 in Canada

Perennial fan favorite, the RZ500 ranks among the top bikes viewed, watched, clicked on or lusted after on the pages of RSBFS. And it's no wonder why: with GP-inspired good looks, twin-crank V-4 two stroke power and a racing pedigree, the big RZ was all that riders could want from a sport bike in the early to mid 1980s. It made the right noises, had the go-fast credentials, and made one feel like King Kenny or Eddie Lawson right out of the box; as long as that box was not opened in the USA. Perhaps it is the forbidden fruit aspect of the big RZ that gets the blood pumping. Although readily available in most other world markets, the US was left wanting.

1985 Yamaha RZ500 for sale on eBay

Yamaha made two versions of this bike. For most of the world, they released what you see here: the RZ500. For the home market in Japan, Yamaha produced the RZV500. The RZV sports an aluminum chassis and weighs less than the RZ. However home market rules limited the HP, and thus the RZV was sold in de-rated condition. In stock form the RZ was the faster of the two bikes, although the hot combination is the RZV chassis with an RZ-spec (or greater) engine setup.

From the seller:
Awesome V4 2 stroke collector bike, less than 1000kms since engine was rebuilt, bike is in fantastic condition, sounds great with the Jolly Moto pipes which are worth 2k alone
comes with the original pipes in nice condition, original airboxes and mirrors
serious bidders only, no its not cheap for a collector item like this,
bike is located in BC Canada

shipping is buyers responsibility, i will assist whatever transport company you choose
dont ask me for a shipping quote, ask them

Since none of the RZ500s that landed in North America officially made it to the US, the quickest route to smoker glory came from our friends north of the border. Imported Canadian RZs have been fulfilling the fantasies of American riders ever since these beasts hit the showroom floor, and continue to offer a steady supply of ring-a-ding-ding to those with the desire and wherewithal. Shipping and paperwork not necessarily included.

With rare Jolly Moto pipes, some mods and a recent rebuild, this example could be a good find for someone interested in riding their collection in anger. It is not in pristine, stock condition - but appears to be holding up well. Nearly 30,000 miles have passed under the wheels of this bad boy, but it lacks the type of corrosion we typically see from bikes in this locale. Pity the pipes require rear bodywork changes, but it's probably worth it as the revs rise and bike comes on full song. Located in BC, Canada, this RZ500 could be your cure for the winter blues.

MI


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Honda February 22, 2017 posted by

Original Class Owner – 1989 Honda CBR600F

Honda dropped the pebble in 1987 that eventually became a tidal ( and supersport title ) wave, but the first-generation machines with their steel frames, four carbs, and streamlined bodies have been all but forgotten.  Here is a substantially stock example whose clean presentation belies its 28 years and 33,000 miles.

1989 Honda CBR600F for sale on eBay

 

Returning to an inline four after the V-4 Interceptors, the CBR600F claimed 85 hp from its 598 water cooled cc's.  The crankcase and cylinder bases are cast together in innovative manufacturing process, limiting crankshaft flex.  The twin beam frame also supported the steering head from the top of the engine, but very little of that could be seen under the all-covering soap bar.  Forks from Showa and Pro-Link rear were pre-load adjustable, and Nissin brakes were not oversized but rated excellent.

 

For the miles and condition, the CBR presented here would be expected to be restored or at least a re-paint.  Whether a very careful rider or long-past rehabilitation, the factory colors and equipment look great.  The Georgia owner says this in the eBay auction:

Up for auction is a beautiful unmolested first year production 1989 CBR600 in the rare Red, White, Blue color combination that is all original except the muffler. The original plastic and fairing is in incredible shape along with the factory white wheels. The white is a beautiful pearl that pops in the light. No fade or clear coat issues. No tears in the seat. No leaks in the engine and the under carriage is very clean and appears it has never been ridden in the rain. You would be hard pressed to find a cleaner CBR600 from this era. Bike has always been garaged and it's obvious with the condition of the paint. This collector's bike is the first year of the CBR and not the Hurricane. Just installed a new battery and bike fires right up every time. All lights and gauges work as they should. There is nothing wrong with this bike! I doubt you will find a cleaner CBR600 from this era in this condition.

 

Though the factory had the resources and riders to make its mark on AMA Superbike and Supersport, the cost savings afforded by the full fairing allowed privateers to take the CBR600F to the next level.  Great right out of the box, the bike excelled in classes where major updates were ruled out.  Alloy frames and adjustable everything would come to the CBR600F, but the initial years of production were a revolution in their own right.  This clean example deserves a closer look at least...

-donn

 


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Yamaha February 21, 2017 posted by

Going Solo: 1994 Yamaha YZF750R for Sale

A solo seat on a sportbike is a statement of intent that says, "I'm a very serious sports motorcycle rider, and a passenger will only slow me down when I'm out dragging a knee in the canyons." Or maybe it just says that your significant other has their own motorcycle for canyon-carving... Honestly, considering the utterly impractical nature of modern sportbike design, pillion seats and pegs are, for all intents and purposes, largely decorative. Sure, people can ride back there in a pinch, but it ain't much fun. The comfort situation might have been better back in the 1980s and 1990s, but the message broadcast by a solo tail like the one on this very clean Yamaha YZF750R is the same now as it was then.

The top-spec YZF750SP was never officially sold here in the USA, and the R lacked that bike's adjustable swingarm pivot, flatslide carbs, and bolt-on rear subframe/solo seat combo. Gearbox ratios were different as well and the bike featured hotter cams and higher-spec suspension. With a claimed 125hp from the 749cc engine and a dry weight of 432lbs, absolute performance is closer to a modern 600 than a genuine superbike, but with some upgrades to the suspension and modern tires, there's plenty of fun to be had.

Ironically, the most significant part of the YZF750's story might be three other letters: CBR. The CBR900RR was introduced in 1993 and basically rewrote the rules for the class, offering nearly literbike power in a 750cc package. It ignored established rules that saw roadbike displacements reflecting racing class limits to embody the "win on Sunday, sell on Monday" philosophy: until the introduction of the CBR, the 750cc class was hotly contested on the street as it was in World Superbike, the premier production-based racing class of the era, where it represented the class limit for four-cylinder displacement. But the CBR belonged to no racing class at all and its popularity helped signal the end of the 750 class dominance.

But that certainly doesn't mean the YZF750R is a bad motorcycle. In fact, the 750cc bikes represent the pinnacle of 1990s superbike development. I prefer the earlier round headlamps to these "cat's eye" peepers and the simpler, less garish "speedblock" graphics of the late 1980s, but there's no arguing that, if you want a 90's superbike, you'd be hard-pressed to find one nicer than this YZF750R.

From the original eBay listing: 1994 Yamaha YZF750R for Sale

For sale is my truly superb YZF750R. I was with intention to hold onto it forever but I am seriously short of good garage space following my son's moving here from overseas with his "toys" etc. This may be the best one in the country, no exaggeration!  It looks like it left the showroom this morning.

This model was only imported for about 2 years and most of them were just used for the race track. This bike has NEVER seen a race track!  It starts up instantly, idles smoothly, is very fast and I have never had it close to the red line of 13,000rpm.  It has only done 6,600  miles from new, no noises or smoke or any leaks. When tested by magazines at the time, this model attained a speed of 165mph, a deep sounding after market exhaust system lets a bit more power out! For those not familiar with this machine, it has the 5 valves per cylinder engine.

It will purr along at 40 mph in 6th gear and carburates perfectly. I use full synthetic Mobil motorcycle oil and non ethanol 93 octane gas. I will be 70 years old next year and take it out for a 20 mile ride every few weeks on the local back roads here in NC.   I have had many, many bikes over the years both on the road and on the track, and this one always gives me a grin when I dismount.

I am starting the bidding at $5000 with no reserve. NADA has it valued way above this with a lot more miles for the year. I paid more than this a few years ago.  Ride it home or I will assist with any shipping to be paid for by the high bidder.  Clear NC title.

I'm not sure the seller is correct that "most of them were just used for the race track," as that was the job of the higher-spec YZF750SP. But, since the SP was never officially sold in the USA, you certainly would have started with this bike if you wanted to race a 750cc Yamaha here in the 1990s. That being said, the later YZF750 is a pretty rare machine in any guise here in the USA, especially in such extremely clean, low-mileage condition. Starting bid for this very nice YZF is $5,000 with no takers yet and four days left on the auction. That's definitely on the high end for a YZF but, if you've got an eye towards collectibility, it doesn't seem outrageous, considering this one is so clean you could just about eat off it.

The YZF750R generally came with pillion accommodations but the solo tail seen here, possibly from an SP, should save some weight and allows the aftermarket pipe to tuck in higher and closer for improved cornering clearance. It certainly looks the part. The D&D exhaust and the fake-looking carbon dash, on the other hand, are much more questionable choices but are easily replaced with a bit of careful eBay shopping. I'm not exactly sure what that switch on the left fairing in-fill panel does, though. Last time I saw one of those on a bike, it was a switch to turn off the rear brake light in case you needed to, um... run from the cops.

-tad


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