Monthly Archives: November 2016

Honda November 30, 2016 posted by

Little Brother: 1989 Honda VFR400R for Sale

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Looking very much like their very desirable VFR750R, the Honda VFR400R shares similar engine configuration, style, and that distinctive "PRO ARM" single-sided swingarm. The sophisticated V4 featured straight-cut gears in place of a chain or belt and drove twin overhead cams. Early VFR400s used a 180° crank, but the NC30 shared it's 360° "big bang" configuration with the VFR750, giving the bike a distinctive growl to go with the cultured whine of the gear-driven cams.

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A big-bang engine groups its combustion events close together, in stead of spreading them out evenly. In theory, this gives improved traction, as the tire has a chance to recover grip in between pulses, although that may not be a huge advantage in a bike with just 59hp and 30ft-lbs of torque... Power was modest, but had just 350lbs dry to push, and was spread across a very wide, forgiving powerband.

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These bikes didn't sell well when new, which wasn't really shocking: a period literbike could be had for similar cash and that huge increase in power could cover for a lot of sins on the road and on track. But that was hardly the point, and Honda only needed to produce a limited number to qualify them for racing. Originally intended for the Japanese market, a few made their way to the UK and mainland Europe as "parallel imports," these used to be very a very affordable way to pick up sophisticated Honda tech, but prices for these have been rapidly increasing of late, now that the RC30 is well out of reach for many collectors. Bidding on this example is north of $9,000 at this time, with the Reserve Not Met.

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From the original eBay listing: 1989 Honda VFR400R for Sale

The VFR400R(NC30) is known for its handling, turning quicker than most other 400s on the market. You don't have to ride the NC30 to know that it is right. Everything about it just looks right. The scaled-down version of the RC30 is perfect in it proportions and in its detail. The reduction in size makes it neater still.

The engine gives the impression of that of a larger machine. Peak torque is at 12,000rpm, but it doesn't drop off, giving a long, flexible spread of peak power. It will hold any top gear cruise speed up to 100mph, will pull wide open in top from 2,000rpm and runs without a hiccup to 15,000rpm.Asked whether the quality of engineering is worth owning, the answer would be yes. The build quality is nearly as good as the RC30.

This bike is in excellent un-restored condition with very low miles. I approach all my bikes with the idea of preservation over restoration. When purchasing a bike what I look for is low miles and all original, this bike fits those traits very nicely. Please examine the pictures very closely. You can see it has not been restored but it is an excellent original condition. There is some minor chips and patina showing that it is a 27 year old bike. The bike was recently cleaned from top to bottom. Everything was cleaned, all fluids changed, brakes bled and then put back together ready to ride. Here's a list of a few things that were done.

Wheels powder coated, forks rebuilt, new rotors and pads front and rear plus brakes bled, new tires Bridgestone T30's. All the plastics were cleaned and polished and the small cracks were welded on the back side so they won't crack any more than they already are. All the gauges and cockpit pieces were cleaned and polished. Brand new chain and sprockets

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The seller also includes this helpful startup video of the bike being offered, and the original listing includes plenty of additional photos if what we've included here doesn't satisfy your NC30 lust. Aside from a few minor cosmetic imperfections mentioned by the seller, this is a very nice motorcycle and 6,000 miles is barely broken-in for a Honda, so this one is ready to display or ride, whichever strikes your fancy.

-tad

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Little Brother: 1989 Honda VFR400R for Sale
MV Agusta November 29, 2016 posted by

Later Bet – 2008 MV Agusta R312 1+1

Later in the long run of F4 1000's, MV Agusta made a play for the Italian SuperStock race series, and it breathed new life into the model.  This R312 carbon edition is a great example.

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2008 MV Agusta R312 1+1 for sale on eBay

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Engine architecture unchanged, the titanium intake valves, new exhaust system, and revised electronic engine controls deliver the ludicrous 183hp while meeting Euro 3 emissions.  The steel trellis frame is also a legacy, but with 50mm Marzocchi forks and Sachs monoshock adjustable for high and low-speed damping, it's become cutting edge.  As are the Brembo radially mounted calipers over 320mm rotors.  Subtly rounded knife edges on the nose, tank, and lowers are complemented by the seat fairing with pillion above and exhaust calliope below.

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Presented in a winning carbon / red / white scheme, this R312 shows just over 9,000 miles and looks excellent, though a trip to spa is in order.  MV has used redline wheels elsewhere, and the forged Brembos here help the red accents on the seats and seat fairing.  The factory took care of all the carbon bling, and the bike otherwise appears stock.  No maintenance or history is offered in the comments from the eBay auction:

The F4 was created by motorcycle designer Massimo Tamburini at CRC (Cagiva Research Center) and only 150 were imported into the US. 

The F4 has a four pipe undertail exhaust, single-sided swingarm, large front forks (49 or 50 mm diameter) and one of the few production superbikes to have a hemispherical chamber 4 valves per cylinder engine.

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A perrenial takeover or bankruptcy candidate, MV Agusta has somehow continued to produce exotic and inspiring machines.  The R312 reviewed as a slightly overweight powerhouse, with finicky electronics and handling that was great when dialed in.  With base models breathtakingly priced, one can only guess what the carbon edition might have cost.  Impossible for an amateur to photograph, the carbon fairings are a great addition to a fine model year, sure to cause a tip of the sunglasses at any coffee stop...

-donn

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Later Bet – 2008 MV Agusta R312 1+1
MV Agusta November 28, 2016 posted by

Brutally Handsome: 2007 MV Agusta Brutale 910R for Sale

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MV Agusta's Brutale represents the sane and reasonable option compared to their take-no-prisoners F4. Limited development budget meant the bike shared plenty of the fully faired machine's DNA and it used a similar, if not identical frame, single-sided swingarm and wheels, along with a slightly detuned version of the radial-valved inline four. But the Brutale used a less ass-roasting shotgun exhaust set up, and dropped the gorgeous, Tamburini-designed fairings and clipons for a sleek headlamp and a tapered handlebar. Considering the brutal ergonomics of the F4, this is a good thing if you want to ride your exotic Italian, instead of just display it.

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The original 750 was considered by many to be a bit underpowered, although I suspect many of those people are size queens: the early Brutale was still plenty fast, considering the upright riding position and lack of wind protection... The later bikes like the 1078RR and 1090RR really might have been a bit too much, leaving the 910R like this one as the "just right" middle ground. Handling is excellent, with quality suspension at both ends, and the 136 claimed horses of the 910R will keep you very entertained.

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The Buy It Now price is listed at $6,700 for this example, which is on the high side for a Brutale but, considering the low miles and claimed condition, seems reasonable. If you're looking for a good deal on a truly exotic nameplate, the Brutale represents a very good deal at the moment, at 2/3 the price of a comparable F4 but with ergonomics that will let you actually ride the thing without murdering your back or crushing your fingers against the fairing when you try to maneuver it at low speeds.

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From the original eBay listing: 2007 MV Agusta Brutale 910R for Sale

In like new condition under 4,600 original miles. The bike does not have one scratch, chip, dent or scratch, adult owned garaged and covered all its life, comes with a bit of carbon fiber, (solo rear seat cover and rear tire hugger) has frame sliders, battery tender lead, new tires Avon 3D super sport front and rear....also included is the single sided rear stand, stainless steal rear wheel nut and front axle nut removal socket, two keys, factory manual and tool kit, clear title on hand... you will not find a nicer or cleaner Brutale, won't be disappointed.

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Like a great many Italian machines, these are beautifully designed but sometimes indifferently assembled. Get a good one, and you'll be looking at a champagne motorcycle on a beer budget. Get a bad one and it will eat you alive, trying to keep it running, and with MV being in-and-out of solvency over the past decade or two, parts availability can be spotty. If something's not in stock at your local dealer, assuming you have a local dealer, the wait for parts to ship from Varese could be long. Especially if you happen to need something during August, when the factory is likely to be closed...

-tad

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Brutally Handsome: 2007 MV Agusta Brutale 910R for Sale
Yamaha November 26, 2016 posted by

Black Friday – 1990 Yamaha FZR400

Junior welterweight-sized FZR 400's were made for markets with progressive licensing laws, and couldn't last in the U.S. displacement arms race.  Still, they are revered for their handling,  light weight and fun factor.  Many were fed into the racing mill, but this rare black version survived beautifully.

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1990 Yamaha FZR400 for sale on eBay

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Pushing nearly 60 horses out of the 399 cc inline four, the FZR400 had plenty of motivation, though it arrived at a tall 11,500 rpm.  While many larger sportbikes used steel frames, the 400's Deltabox was aluminum.  Front forks were right-sized at 41 mm, and the rear monoshock was only adjustable for preload.  Brakes are capable with twin 282mm front disks and 210mm rear.  Dual headlights dominate the front of the full fairing, and the smallish rider's seat is downstairs from a diminutive pillion.

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Appearing to be a one-rider bike with under 2,500 miles, this FZR appears unrestored though some freshening up has been done.  A few photos without fairing show this to be a very lightly used and clean example.  As the owner states in the eBay auction:

Impeccable as new condition, legendary Yamaha road racer. One owner 2478 original miles. I have in hand the original title,  bill of sale/invoice & all Yamaha documents. All stock, except for braided steel front brake lines, aftermarket fork springs, new tires & a new sealed gel battery. Carbs have a recent sync, head decarbonized & valve clearances checked. This bike runs as good as it looks. Starts & idles smoothly hot or cold. Great verbal history as well.

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The Japanese manufacturers have an extraordinarily competitive spirit, and innovations of the mid-1980's that had recently been on their GP bikes soon found their way to the showroom.  While the FZR400 never had quite the speed of the Honda or Kawasaki, there was a build quality and price advantage which translated into more racetrack time, where truth will out.  This FZR400 has been renewed mechanically and looks ready to help the next rider discover that truth again, but this time in a subdued paint scheme, instead of the usual red and white...

-donn

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Black Friday – 1990 Yamaha FZR400
Yamaha November 23, 2016 posted by

11 Out of 10 – 1984 Yamaha RZ350

Evolving from the now-vintage RD350, Yamaha made a splash with the first perimeter frame for the RZ350, along with the YPVS power valve and rear monoshock.  Due to emissions concerns it was short-lived in the U.S., but this example is better than excellent.

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1984 Yamaha RZ350 for sale on eBay

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Yamaha's 347cc parallel twin is water cooled and has oil metering, making its 50-plus hp at least less troublesome.  An early adopter of catalysts and vapor canisters, the RZ had a temperature warning light on the dash for the cats.  Emissions were also reduced by the YPVS ( Yamaha Power Valve System ) moveable exhaust port, and its rudimentary computer control extended the twin's powerband.  Elsewhere the bike was well-equipped for the day, with 32mm conventional forks, preload-adjustable rear monoshock, and 267 mm disk brakes disks all around.  The flowing lines of the tank and seat fairing were complemented by the handlebar mounted bikini up front, available in red/white or Kenny Roberts yellow paint.

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Not often seen so original, this RZ350 comes out of Illinois with just under 7,000 miles.  Exhausts have been updated to expansion chambers and mufflers, but elsewhere it's surprisingly unfettered, and the factory finishes around the bike are beautiful.  Most often seen with a dual seat, this one has the sporty monoposto.  From the eBay auction:

Up for sale is a 1984 Yamaha RZ350 K/R. This bike is in Museum quality condition. Paint on entire bike is original and in like new condition. This bike comes with the single seat option. All dual seat parts are included with this sale. Bike has Chamber exhaust from HVC cycle. Carbs have been jetted for exhaust and a Y boot with a K&N air filter attached. Look, at all the pictures and check out the video attached, lots of info can be had from this. If you are looking at this bike then I'm sure you aware of its heritage and the somewhat rareness of it. There are only 3 minor flaws, 1- the windscreen on the bike has a crack about 1 inch in length. There is a brand new NOS screen in a box that will go with the bike. It has never been installed. 2- The speedo is what I call sleepy. After the bike sits for some time the bike has to be ridden approx. a mile before the speedo will register. This has been this way since I've owned the bike. Always works so I've left it alone. 3- There is a super small ding in the tank in the very front right side than cant even be seen unless your really looking. Just want to be real honest.  I didn't see it until I owned the bike for several years. I've owned the bike approx. 5 years and have never had a ounce of trouble with just regular maintenance.  The bike is being sold without a warranty and shipping is up to buyer. I can store the bike for a short time in a heated garage.

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Light weight was always the RZ's unkept secret, fully fueled it was still under 400 lbs., allowing the limited horsepower, bargain suspension and diminutive brakes to work their magic.  Many of the model found their way to the track, or were modified for the street, but the RZ350 presented here has been spared most of that agony.  Likely to continue as an occasional rider or show bike, the original equipment and finishes make this Kenny Roberts edition very special...

-donn

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11 Out of 10 – 1984 Yamaha RZ350
MZ November 23, 2016 posted by

Iron Curtain: 2005 MZ 1000S for Sale

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Looking a bit like Aprilia's Falco, the MZ 1000S was a high-end sport-touring motorcycle from a largely forgotten East German manufacturer that was powered by a big-bore parallel-twin engine. What could possibly go wrong? Well, not much really: as the seller mentions, parts to maintain the 1000S are available online, they've got a good reputation for reliability, and are apparently relatively easy to service. If you're looking for something quirky and practical, with real-world performance, this might be worth a look.

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Unfortunately MZ or Motorrad und Zweiradwerk is relatively unheard of outside vintage biking circles and fans of weird 90's bikes powered by Yamaha singles. And even if you know the name, you might associate it with agricultural-grade, commuters and smoky two-strokes, which is hardly the image they were trying to present with this upmarket machine. More likely, they'd want you to remember their racing roots, and the fact that MZ two-strokes developed by Walter Kaaden basically set the standard for two-stroke performance and dominated the smaller racing classes between 1955-1976. The Japanese really only broke their stranglehold when racer Ernst Denger defected and took the brand's racing secrets to Suzuki...

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Parallel-twin engines aren't found in too many premium motorcycles these days: they're reliable and very compact, but tend to vibrate badly as displacements increase. Just ask Norton and Triumph... But with modern balance-shafts, vibration is manageable, and parallel-twins offer up the character and midrange of a v-twin without the packaging challenges, and the MZ's engine was backed by a six-speed cassette gearbox. Made for just three years before disappearing, along with the rest of MZ, the bike received positive, if not glowing reviews.

From the original eBay listing: 2005 MZ 1000S for Sale

You are bidding on my 2005 MZ 1000S "sport touring" bike. This bike is in great condition with very low mileage, a little over 2,000 miles,and ready for thousands more. This bike is totally stock with no mods, and really a steal for what you are getting. There are many "Chinese" bikes going for this price, but you get real German engineering/quality with this one. Here are the details:

This bike is in great shape, and I just had the following done within the last month. All oil/filters changed to factory spec Silkolene products, as well as brake & clutch fluids. Battery replaced at the same time, so this bike is ready for many miles. Starts right up,and runs though the 6-speed cassette transmission with no issues. Previous owner swapped out the gearing from factory original 17/43 sprockets to Vortex 16/45 sprockets to aid in upper end tractability. I do not have the original; sprockets, but they are easily obtainable on eBay if desired. The original turn signals were replaced by the previous owner, and I do not have the originals.

Cosmetically the bike is in great shape with a small amount of scratches in the factory paint here & there, but by no means rough. Hard to actually photograph to be honest.

Parts are easily obtainable from Grahams Motorcycles in the UK, and a lot of the the consumable items such as sprockets, brake pads,filters are readily available on eBay. Original factory owners manual included. Clear title ready to transfer.

Overall a really nice bike that will not get "lost in the crowd" of also ran sport bikes. Please ask questions, as all sales are final, and shipping transport must be completed within 2-3 weeks unless prior arrangements made. A Paypal deposit of $250.00 due within 48 hrs of auction's end, and full payment within 7 days. Also, please make sure you clear it with your wife/girlfriend/boyfriend /dog/cat before bidding. Thanks!

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The Buy It Now price is listed at $4,499.99 which, aside from looking like it belongs in the window of something on a used-car lot, is a pretty screaming deal, considering the performance and rarity. It's not going to offer cutting-edge performance, but that was never the intent. Instead, it's a mature sportbike you can ride to the twisties, then through the twisties, without needing a chiropractor at the end of the day.

-tad

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Iron Curtain: 2005 MZ 1000S for Sale

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