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Yamaha August 28, 2015 posted by

Simple and Effective – 1985 Yamaha RZ-350 Kenny Roberts Edition

These days, it's longer to tell what's not onboard the RZ-350 than what is.  One of the last two-strokes in the U.S. market, there is no ECU, no 3-way adjustable dampers, no anti-dive, no traction control, no speed shifter, no fuel injection, no anti-lock brakes, etc., etc.  Just 375 lbs., 50 ponies, and maybe you.

20150827 1985 yamaha rz350 roberts edition left

1985 Yamaha RZ-350 Kenny Roberts Edition for sale on eBay

20150827 1985 yamaha rz350 roberts edition right front

Not completely without modern equipment, the RZ-350 did have YPVS, the electronically-controlled exhaust port, which improved rideability.  But in most other ways it was just plain riding, a 350cc two-stroke introduced in 1983, the 1985 year having a lightweight bikini fairing and red-white colors.  A 6-speed transmission helps keep the 350cc twin on the boil.  Air-preload forks are complemented by monoshock rear suspension.  Triple-disk brakes make more space between telephone poles.   4.10 x 18 front and rear tires are on pretty light looking wheels.

20150827 1985 yamaha rz350 roberts edition cockpit  20150827 1985 yamaha rz350 roberts edition left fairing detail

A number of racey mods update this RZ350 - catalyst-equipped exhaust removed in favor of expansion chambers with mufflers, and handling enhancements up front include fork brace and steering damper.  The oil metering pump has been secured in favor of pre-mix, a standard racetrack update.  Otherwise the bike looks clean and original.

20150827 1985 yamaha rz350 roberts edition right tank  20150827 1985 yamaha rz350 roberts edition left engine

Though just five of the last 30 years are accounted for, the owner says in the eBay auction:

Collector quality 1985 Yamaha RZ350 Kenny Roberts Signature Edition with only 8889 actual miles in excellent condition.  All original paint and engine. Has Toomey pipes, Daytona fork brace and a steering stabilizer that appear to be period correct. The oil pump has been disabled and is set up for pre-mix only, very common safety modification. I have the dowel pin and instructions from the original owner if you want to put it back to stock.  I also have the original pipes as well as all the smog components, hoses etc. Bike also has its original tool kit and manual. Bike starts, runs, drives, stops, and idles as it should. Mechanically sound. The tires, while having plenty of tread, are starting to get weather checked. I have lovingly owned and enjoyed this bike in my collection for the last 5 years.

Might want to replace or make a close inspection of those tires and other wear parts, but this looks to be a great very sporty RZ...


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Suzuki August 27, 2015 posted by

Special Slabbie: 1986 Suzuki GSX-R750 Limited Edition for Sale

1986 Suzuki GSXR750R LE R Front

The iconic GSX-R750 looked ready for endurance racing right off the showroom floor. But while it set the standard in terms of racy looks, there were plenty of compromises made for production, and the 1986 GSX-R750R Limited Edition helped rectify that. The homologation LE included the regular production '86 bike's change to a longer swingarm, but added a dry clutch, lightweight aluminum fuel tank, solo seat, and electronic anti-dive forks.

1986 Suzuki GSXR750R LE R Side2

New, the bike cost $6,500 compared to about $4,000 for a standard GSX-R750, making it the most expensive Japanese sportbike of that time. The lightweight parts saved about 7lbs over the standard model, for a dry weight of 388lbs but it wasn't all that different from a standard GSX-R in most regards.

1986 Suzuki GSXR750R LE L Side Engine

LE's don't seem to have the desirability of the RC30 or OW01, but that may be down to the fact that they're not as exotic in terms of specification. This example has relatively low mileage and appears to be completely stock and in very good nick, as the Brits like to say.

1986 Suzuki GSXR750R LE Forks

From the original eBay listing: 1986 Suzuki GSX-R750R LE

For sale is 1986 Suzuki gsx r750r Ltd, only 8700miles (14100km)
All original with all books, 2 keys, tools.
The bike is in excellent condition with no problems
Real opportunity for collectors and people who know facts about this motorcycle.
The bike is in
Europe in my storage.
Price includes the shipping to major continental
US ports where shipping from Europe (Germany) is possible.

1986 Suzuki GSXR750R LE Dash

Starting bid is $18,800 with no takers as yet but plenty of time left. The eBay listing indicates the bike is in Florida, but the text, "Price includes the shipping to major continental US ports where shipping from Europe [Germany] is possible" combined with the German VIN tag on the bike, suggests it's in Deutschland. If you're a collector, that may not matter. If you want to register this for road use, do some homework before laying down your cash.


1986 Suzuki GSXR750R LE R Side Tail

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Moto Guzzi August 27, 2015 posted by

Red Survivor – 1985 Moto Guzzi Le Mans 1000 Mk. IV

Almost 20 years on since the introduction of the V7 and the big V-twin was still the basis for the Moto-Guzzi range.  Alejandro De Tomaso took a personal interest in the machine, displacement was increased from 850 to 1000cc, and the front wheel size reduced to 16 inches in the interest of quicker handling.  In various minor revisions and special editions, the Le Mans 1000 carried the marque until the early nineties when fuel injected models were ready.

20150826 1985 moto guzzi le mans 1000 mk iv right

1985 Moto Guzzi Le Mans 1000 Mk. IV for sale on eBay

20150826 1985 moto guzzi le mans 1000 mk iv left

Sporting a more angular but bikini-style fairing, the Mk. IV Le Mans looks back at the sporty cafe racer it was when introduced in 1976.  The red-orange paint, now extended to the frame and forks, recalls earlier 850 models.  Small body fairing and chin scoop direct air over the cylinders.  Larger valves and 10:1 compression ratio gave a nice bump in power from the 850, needed as weight had creeped up to over 500 lbs.  With shaft drive and the fairly high-geared 5-speed transmission, if not super quick the 1000 was plenty fast with a top speed of almost 140 mph.  Steering was enhanced with the 16-inch front wheel, though not all riders considered it an improvement to the long heavyweight the bike had become.  Early linked brakes were a safety enhancement, handlebar lever operating the right front brake disk, and pedal gave you left front and rear brake together, each disk 270mm.

20150826 1985 moto guzzi le mans 1000 mk iv right front  20150826 1985 moto guzzi le mans 1000 mk iv right rear

Sparklingly presented by a Nashville dealer, this Le Mans has only 5,100 original miles and appears unrestored.  The eBay auction lists a few updates and repairs:

This Le Mans is in fantastic original condition and was just picked up from the second owner. It is bone stock with the exception of the leather bags and upgraded exhaust (comes with original exhaust as well, in poor condition) The paint is all original and is very glossy with very few minute blemishes. The tires are new Metzlers, 500mi ago. The brakes lines were all replaced due to age (original included) and the rear master cylinder was also recently replaced. Comes with all it's original keys, 2 ignition, and two for the neck.

20150826 1985 moto guzzi le mans 1000 mk iv right engine detail  20150826 1985 moto guzzi le mans 1000 mk iv binnacle

Though a mature design at the beginning of the sportbike "revolution", the Le Mans 1000 is still a looker, and can still perform.  The bombproof twin and shaft drive make it a cafe racer for the long term...


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Suzuki August 26, 2015 posted by

The V-Twin, Perfected: 1998 Suzuki TL1000R for Sale

1998 Suzuki TL1000R L Side

It was clear that Ducati had a lock on the "sexy v-twin" market in the mid-90s, selling basically every 916 they could make at a very premium price. But, aside from the funky, springless valves, they weren't really offering anything all that innovative, and Suzuki figured they could do something much better for cheaper. And the TL1000R and S were definitely a bargain, offering 916-levels of power for the price of a much slower air-cooled Ducati 900SS. So the TL1000R and more street-oriented S should have sold like hotcakes and beaten their Bolognese competition like a red-headed stepchild in comparison tests, but something went wrong...

1998 Suzuki TL1000R L Side Front

Transverse v-twins have a bit of a packaging problem: go with a perfect primary balace 90° configuration and the engine is very long, making it difficult to package into a short-wheelbase bike with an appropriate length swingarm. Go with something like a 45° configuration and packaging isn't a problem, but you get a ton of vibration unsuitable for a sportbike engine. Suzuki solved this problem by rotating the engine backward in the chassis compared to a Ducati that has the front cylinder lying almost horizontal. The only problem was that this left little space for the rear suspension, so Suzuki used a "rotary" damper that was very compact and should, theoretically at least, have been a perfect solution.

1998 Suzuki TL1000R R Side Rear

The TL's were powerful, but the innovative rotary damper wasn't sized correctly to tame the forces involved and they tended to get hot with hard use and lose their dampening. This led to unpredictable handling and a nasty reputation for wayward handling and general scariness. If you're a casual street rider, the stock damper is probably fine, assuming it's in good shape. But folks who ride their bikes hard tend to go with a compact aftermarket shock/spring setup that should transform the handling.

1998 Suzuki TL1000R Under Seat

This TL1000R is extensively upgraded and includes that shock modification, along with some top-shelf brakes and other tasty components.

From the original eBay listing: 1998 Suzuki TL1000R for Sale

Ex AMA Roadracing championship winning Team Owner selling personal ride. 

I am selling my fully loaded immaculately clean Superbike 1998 Suzuki TLR1000.  For those of you who share in the love of these v-twin superbikes. I am offering this one of a kind Street/Superbike. This bike is immaculate in every way and has ONLY 1420 original miles. This is quite possibly the best example of a virgin year TLR1000 in existence. This bike has never been crashed or tumped over and has never seen rain. It features only the best of the best racing parts and components to make it quicker, lighter, and better handling than the original v-twin monster Suzuki sold between 1998 and 2003. This bike was built incorporating surplus superbike parts from the Corona Suzuki AMA Formula Extreme and Superbike GSXR’s we always preferred the TLR power delivery over the GSXR for street use so it made perfect sense to make this machine a true hot rod since we had an overage of racing goodies already.

The bodywork is 100% original OEM suzuki (not that crappy chinese bodywork) and the paint is absolutely perfect with not a single flaw or blemish (it has an Ohlins front fender instead of the OE Suzuki front fender). There is not a single chip, scratch, crack, or abrasion anywhere on the bike. It is absolutely mint. It has the original OE Suzuki windscreen that is also perfect. We saved tons of weight on this build and we made it handle like the TLR should have handled from the factory by using full Ohlins Superbike suspension, lighter wheels, full titanium exhaust, and other super trick goodies. The engine is bone stock, and 100% original with only 1420 miles. The bike also includes a Dynojet Powercommander PC3 and has been custom mapped on our in-house dyno. 

The racing parts and add-on parts have less than a few hundred miles on them (even the tires) as i built this bike when there was about 1100 miles showing on the ODO. Nothing leaks and everything works perfectly. Charging system puts out 14.5 volts. I use only Maxima Full Synthetic 15/50 in this motor and it has had 2 oil changes in its short life (oil was changed twice simply because of the time on the oil (17 years) - not due to mileage. Inside of fuel tank is perfect with absolutely zero rust. Bike thunders to life with the push of the button. It has the original branded YUASA battery that is only 2 year old and since it is maintained on a trickle charger it should have a couple more good years left in her easy. 

This bike has been stored indoors (of course) in a climate controlled environment amongst many other super cool and collectible bikes its entire life so the finishes on the metals and painted surfaces are just as they were when they were manufactured.

Included with the bike is the original ignition switch, seat lock and gas cap with factory key. I also have the OE passenger seat, the passenger foot peg brackets and foot pegs, the OE muffler heat shields, as well as the front and rear turn signals.

There's also an extensive list of the modifications and updates that have been done to this bike over at the listing, work that appears to have been done to a very high standard. Fresh off the showroom floor, these were disappointing bikes. They made plenty of power, but they felt heavy and that rotary damper was a notorious trouble spot, although some bikes were better than others.

1998 Suzuki TL1000R Front End

But as the foundation for something special, the TL1000R can be epic: there's a reason Suzuki's been making and selling that engine as long as they have and putting in sportbikes and adventure-tourers. And they've probably sold almost as many engines to power bikes by Cagiva and Bimota and probably a few I've forgotten. It's powerful, reliable, and makes a very sexy noise with a set of cans fitted. Not quite as raucous or as angry as a Ducati, but very deep and satisfying.

1998 Suzuki TL1000R L Side RearThe TL1000R a do-it-all sportbike and, while this one is seriously pricey, I don't think it's outrageously priced: this is one of the nicest R's I've ever seen and you'd never be able to duplicate it for the money. And knowing it comes from a pro shop makes this one, to me, a keeper.


1998 Suzuki TL1000R R Side

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Ducati August 26, 2015 posted by

End of the Line: 1998 Ducati 900SS FE for Sale

1998 Ducati 900SS FE R Side Front

At some point, you may get to thinking, "These modern sport bikes are going to kill me." It's a pretty logical conclusion. It's bad enough we have to dodge car drivers on cell phones, off-leash dogs, deer, moose, apparently coyotes... We have to watch out for road debris, sand, rocks, wet leaves, and sometimes discarded tracksuit pants... But even the bikes themselves are trying to do us in, with insane horsepower figures available at screaming rpm and handling that doesn't feel right unless you're hanging off the bike at 80mph as you leave the Dairy Queen parking lot. But the Ducati 900SS is a bike that you can appreciate at any speed, regardless of what Hunter Thompson says.

1998 Ducati 900SS FE L Side

Of course, the FE model was only the "Final Edition" of the first-generation belt-drive SS and there was a whole bit of shark-gilled weirdness to follow, although some would like to pretend Pierre Terblanche's 1999 version doesn't exist, like sci-fi film buffs who like to pretend "Alien 3" doesn't exist.

1998 Ducati 900SS FE Cockpit

And let's be real here: the FE was basically a 900SS with a Superlight-style solo-seat and upswept pipes, with very nice, very subtle silver paint and some carbon bits. And like the Superlight, it isn't particularly light, or all that super. But what it is an honest, good-handling sports motorcycle with a torquey, charismatic engine and classic looks. 80hp is plenty for most riding, and more is available if you want to swap in a set of flat-slide carbs or a big-bore kit. Handling isn't cutting-edge sharp, but there's plenty of grip and stability on tap if you want to hit the canyons on Sunday morning. The ergonomics are humane but still sporty, so you can stave off the purchase of a Barcalounger Harley or Goldwing.

1998 Ducati 900SS FE L Side Tail

So this is a motorcycle for aging gracefully out of knee-dragging cornering antics, one you can enjoy while taking it easy, but a bike that can still show the kids a thing or two when the situation demands. Or you come around the corner and find a deer standing in the middle of the road.

From the original eBay listing: 1998 Ducati 900SS FE for Sale

The FE Stands for 'Final Edition', and the 900SS FE was a last special production run of the old carburetor-equipped SS before it was replaced in 1998. Based around the 900SS Superlight, the FE had special cosmetics, a tuned engine, and elegant chassis changes. The special silver single-seat bodywork was wrapped around a modified engine, with race-style high-level exhaust pipes. The front brakes have cast-iron racing discs and the black wheels are lightweight. A carbon-fibre clock surround, chainguard, mudguard and body panels complete the high spec. The FE's performance was only slightly improved over the standard bike, and it was really intended as a special celebration of the old model. Only 800 were produced. Limited to just 300 bikes in North America, the 900SS FE is the last of the 2nd generation SuperSports to be produced by the Bologna factory.Based on the 900SS SP, the FE comes dressed in elegant silver bodywork and black wheels, with carbon fiber rear fender, dashboard cover, and countershaft drive cover. A solo (monoposto) seat completes the stunning visual impression.

But there's more than just skin deep beauty in the FE.

To back up the race-bred look, a few additional changes have been made as well. The exhaust pipes have been raised to provide improved cornering clearances. New cast iron floating brake rotors have been fitted with remote reservoirs and adjustable levers. New cylinders, alternator, and voltage regulator have been added. The resulting combination will assure that the thrill of the ride matches the beauty of the machine. To further secure it's place in the DUCATI legacy, the top triple clamp of each FE will be fitted with a consecutively numbered commemorative plaque. There will be no doubt as to the special position the FE will assume in the heritage of the most sought after sport motorcycles in the world.

While most of the Pantah-engined 900's are very undervalued right now, the Superlight and FE represent a definite investment opportunity, at least in the short term. At some point, all those $3,500 900SS will go up in value, but for now, they're the dirt cheap way into Ducati sportbike ownership. But because they're so cheap, some have high miles or have been a bit abused. Although keep in mind that the Pantah engine is good for some serious mileage when properly maintained, so 10,000 miles on the engine means it's just nicely run-in.

1998 Ducati 900SS FE L Engine

The more exclusive models were pitched as collectibles from new, and many have been lovingly maintained. This example has reasonable mileage and looks very clean, with just that faded carbon and a bit of a tear in the seat, all of which could be easily fixed without destroying the originality or patina. Strangely enough though, while I've always thought the early Monsters look very classy in silver, the SS looks a bit bland. Purely an issue of personal taste, but I'll stick with a nice, yellow, half-faired SS-SP, thanks.


1998 Ducati 900SS FE R Side

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Do You have a special sportbike that should be listed on our site? Sell your bike with a Featured Listing for just $59. We seek out 1985-2002ish model years that are near perfect and in original condition, that would appeal to collectors and enthusiasts. Our readers help sell another bike every 2-3 days! Email me to get started!

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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
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