Monthly Archives: April 2017

Yamaha April 30, 2017 posted by

Classy: 1978 Yamaha TZ250

When it came to Grand Prix racing, the Yamaha TZ250 was a class-leading act. Through the late 1970s and early 1980s, Yamaha was a force to be reckoned with, and the privateer racer was the prime beneficiary. Mere mortals - with some racing creds and a pile of cash - could purchase something very close to a factory race bike. Spares were available from your dealer. And the checkered flag was only a small investment away.... Fast forward to today, and the privateer factory GP race bike is all but extinct. Thankfully some still exist in preserved condition. Today's model does more than that. This example gives you the full TZ250 experience, yet is licensed for the street (!).

1978 Yamaha TZ250 licensed racer on eBay

The 1978 model TZ250 was officially known as a "Series E." What began in 1972 as an experiment in a water-cooled 250 racer blossomed into a multi-generation product run of a decade or more. The E model is relatively unchanged from the previous gen "D" spec (why fix what isn't broken?), and touts 53 HP in stock configuration pushing a total package of 260 lbs. The result is certainly enough to get your attention, provided the tach has cleared 7,500 RPM or so. What this was NOT intended for is street bike usage. Regular TZ250 racers lack the electrical system (headlight, tail lamp, etc) and the instrumentation (i.e. speedo) necessary for street use. There are other considerations as well, including the need for an auxiliary radiator fan when stopped - race bikes are not normally designed to hang out at traffic lights.

From the seller:
1978 Yamaha TZ 250 Very rare to have a Title to a TZ250. Looking to sell a couple of my bikes to make space for something else. The TZ runs and rides good. Have a few extras that go with the bike such as pistons, piston rings, extra cylinder jug, another windscreen new, original Mikuni carbs. Any question please ask.

Not a lot of detail as to what went into this street conversion. The pictures definitely show a headlight and tail lamp, so the basics are met. Not sure how - or if - the electrical system was upgraded as a result. No turn indicators shown, so better get some practice in with your hand signals: Left arm straight out to signal left, left arm bent upwards at 90 degrees to indicate right, and middle finger waving way up high to indicate your love for DOT, EPA, and (most likely) the DMV.

Some pretty serious bidding is underway on this one, with the current price below $5k and below reserve. TZ250s are not exactly a dime a dozen these days, so there is some element of rarity right there. TZ250s that are plated for the street?! That is a whole new ball game of rare. Californians (and others in restrictive states) best do their homework first, but if you live in a state that allows it this could be the street bike to beat as far as unique might go. Check it out here, and then jump back to the Comments. Would you rock a GP racer on the street? Let us know!

MI

Classy:  1978 Yamaha TZ250
Honda April 30, 2017 posted by

One Sided Argument: 1993 Honda VFR400RR

Pop Quiz time! Say you live in the United States and want a voluptuous, import grey market bike that can't be easily found on our shores. Where do you go? Canada, of course! Just feast you eyes on this sexy NC30 - baby RC30 if you so care to call it - and wonder why these bikes couldn't be found on our side of the border. Today you might be able to find a few examples that have been imported after the fact, but the case can be made that you can do so yourself by looking up north.

With a single sided swingarm dominating the right hand side profile, there is no doubt that the NC30 is a handsome machine. But couple good looks with a turbine-smooth V-4 engine with a noise only straight-cut, gear-driven cams can make and wrap it in one of the best frames from Honda during this era and you have a sweet handling, eager steed that can take on bikes much larger in size. Cornering speed is your friend in the smaller leagues, and the NC30 delivers.

1993 Honda VFR400RR for sale on eBay

From the seller:
Super rare 1993 Honda VFR 400RR NC-30 Repsol, this is the last year made in perfect condition, never damaged, Please see pictures to answer your questions, I owned in UK and brought it here, New tires, brakes, braided lines, performance HRC Full exhaust, heated grips, Pazzo levers, chain, pinion sprocket all new, performance intake. Serious buyer please price in USD 14000km not miles. Shipping is extra and can arrange for it. Bike is selling no matter what even a min price.

This bike appears interesting in that it is indeed a rare model. Originally a UK import, this VFR400 has gone through a few updates over the years. The seller notes some performance mods, including braided steel lines, full exhaust, new levers and an upgraded intake. Looks like a rear fender delete has been performed. Not sure how I feel about the colored windscreen, but it does not appear stock to my eyes. While there are no pictures of the gauge cluster showing mileage, the seller indicates 14k in kilometers, which equates to about 8699 miles. The pictures overall are in small format and relatively low resolution, making any detail difficult to determine. Serious shoppers might want to ask more questions about detailed photographs.

This bike is being auctioned off in a no-reserve format. The opening ask is a cool $7,500 USD - which may be a fair price for the bike. Given the details we know and the lack of crisp photos, I think the ask is a bit too high to start. If everything checks out however, then no harm, no foul; time, as always, will tell all. There are other NC30s currently listed for less, so savvy buyers might want to compare and contrast. Check it out here, and good luck!

MI

One Sided Argument: 1993 Honda VFR400RR
Triumph April 29, 2017 posted by

Grand Touring: 1999 Triumph Daytona 1200SE for Sale

Motorcycling history is littered with storied nameplates undone by economic changes, and many have tried and failed to resurrect those brands, but one of the enduring success stories continues to be Triumph. Sunk by a changing economy, a changing market, and an inability to compete with the reliable, affordable, high-performance bikes from Japan, Triumph's long, slow slide into irrelevance was over by 1983. John Bloor originally purchased the defunct Triumph facility with an eye to razing it and building residences, but somewhere along the line, a bit of nationalistic inspiration struck him and he instead decided to revive the brand. Attempts to compete head-on with sportbikes from Japan a second time were always going to end in failure, so Triumph wisely chose to focus on quality and heritage instead of outright performance. That's not to say that bikes like today's Triumph Daytona 1200SE didn't have brawn to match their good looks, but that performance was never going be as focused or as inexpensive as it would be with something like a GSX-R1100. Instead, Triumph went for a different customer, one more concerned with quality and class than top-speed numbers or lap times.

The biggest limitation to ultimate performance was Triumph's decision to go with modular design based around a spine frame. That same basic frame and two engines, a triple or an inline four, could be wrapped in different bodywork to create an entire range of motorcycles and quickly add models to react to market changes, which gave versatility for a fairly low cost. Unfortunately, it meant a bit of a jack-of-all-trades quality, with too much weight carried too high for optimal handling. Nothing wrong in the engine room however: 147 horsepower may not sound all that impressive, considering the 1180cc engine, but it was one of the most powerful motorcycles available at the time and a claimed 85 lbs-ft of torque is BMW S1000RR territory. So the big Daytona can move out smartly and, most importantly, can sustain that 159mph top speed seemingly all day long, with plenty of wind protection from the big fairing and all-day ergonomics.

Styling is always subjective, but I think these look pretty cool, with that dual-round headlamp endurance racing style, but without the aggression or wild graphics of a 90s Japanese sportbike. The monochromatic color treatment, especially the black seen here, makes it look classy and elegant. I think they've aged well and prices mean you can have a classic road-burner with all-day comfort for relative peanuts. Personally, I'd prefer one of the hot-rod three-cylinder Super III models, but in either guise you're looking at a deceptively fast motorcycle.

From the original eBay listing: 1999 Triumph Daytona 1200SE for Sale

I purchased this bike three years ago to add it to the other two Daytona's I already have. The reason for the sale is that I have my hands full with my other D-12's and the other bikes we have. So... In the three years I have owned the bike I have put less than 400 miles on the it. I replaced the left and right fairings as well as the front fairing, windshield, with trim, clip-ons, fork seals, tires, and battery. I am the third owner, from what I was told. I have the bike stored in my climate controlled basement since I brought it home. The bike is completely stock. All parts used are Triumph parts. There is a very small ding on the tank. On the right side from previous owner. Also a small scratch/rub on the left side rear body work. The only thing missing is the Union Jack that gets mounted on the side fairing underneath "Special Edition". I have not located one yet. The last thing the bike needs is a carb tune. I have not done this because I wasn't riding it. I have a shop that has tuned my other D-12's that has the bikes producing 120hp and 80ft.lbs. at the rear wheel. I can have them do the work for around, $400.00, or we can discuss other options.

Full disclosure is something we all appreciate when shopping for a bike. When obvious stuff is wrong but not mentioned, we bike folks think, "Hmmm... if he's not being up front with that, what else isn't he telling us?" Being upfront about minor flaws suggests that, not only is the seller honest, but that they are a bit obsessive themselves. I'm not obsessive about minor flaws like the ones present here, but I sure want to buy a bike from someone who is. For a bike meant to cover big miles at big speeds, this one shows remarkably little wear and tear, although mileage is pretty low and the seller is asking $5,199.00 for what appears to be a very nice motorcycle. This is another bike like yesterday's VF1000R where most examples that show up for sale seem to have held up very well, considering the fact that they're 20 years old devices that go belting along highways and back roads at speed, which speaks not only to build quality, but to attentive ownership. But then again, that's exactly the kind of customer Triumph was shooting for in the first place.

-tad

Grand Touring: 1999 Triumph Daytona 1200SE for Sale
Moto Guzzi April 28, 2017 posted by

One Owner: 1993 Moto Guzzi Daytona 1000

There is something about big Guzzis that set them apart. It's not just one thing, either; it's the overall package that sets the mind wandering. Italian, long legged good looks, wonderful booming V-twin sounds, some degree of exclusivity due to relative rarity, and a reputation for longevity and long ownership. Moto Guzzis evoke class, elegance, a touch of danger, and total loyalty. In the hyperbike classes, loyalty lasts just long enough for something faster to come out - usually measured in tiny increments no longer than a year. In the Guzzi class, loyalty lasts as long as the bike - and the robustness of the transverse twin is the stuff of legends.

1993 Moto Guzzi Daytona 1000 for sale on eBay

Moto Guzzi considered the Daytona a Superbike - although by modern AMA/WSBK standards that is a bit of an overstatement. Still, this was a race-bred machine by design. Moto Guzzi, then under the ownership of Alejandro de Tomaso, tapped the brilliance of US-based Guzzi racer Dr. John Wittner - whose bikes won many prestigious BOTT, Pro Twin and Endurance races. Wittner was a dentist by trade, but when the call from Italy came, he answered. The outcome was a new 4-valve head attached to an updated big block motor with a reworked bore and stroke. Power was boosted up to 95 HP, thanks in part to the addition of fuel injection. All this hung in a frame that was based on Dr. John's race winning machines. This was the most powerful, fastest Moto Guzzi twin yet, and was named for the Florida track where Dr. John had enjoyed several victories.

From the seller:
1993 Moto Guzzi DAYTONA 1000
Less Than 9400 Actual Miles
All original, never raced, always garaged

Up for is the first and my favorite of all Moto Guzzi's produced. I'm no longer able to ride it, kept it for several years thinking my health would improve, it hasn't so I finally decided to part with it.

Description Of included Items:
Carbon Fiber Hugger
Heli Bars
Heated Grips ( never connected)
New Motobatt Battery
Single Seat cowling and seat never used with shelf ware (see photo 11)
Shop and Parts Manuals
Oil Change Parts
Special tools for Cam Belt Adjusting and Fork Oil Change
Stock Bars, Grips, Reflectors and other items

More Stuff
Low Mileage Tires, less than 300 miles on them
Spare Computer
Moto Guzzi Race Stand

Moto Guzzis are an acquired taste. Like a fine wine they age well, developing a complex flavor of the vintage year they were born. The Daytona 1000 is no different, showcasing a time when Guzzi was making an investment into the bikes, and a statement to the world. This example is a one-owner model, which is quite common in the M-G world, but less so for most 24 year old bikes. And with one-owner status, you gain all the eccentricities of this particular owner along with all the eccentricities of the bike itself. In this case, you gain what appear to be a considerable number of spares and maintenance items. The win here is not just in the parts; it's in knowing more about the history of the machine and its care.

If compared to a modern (or even period) Japanese sport bike, the big Guzzi Daytona would be trounced in terms of performance (lap time, quarter mile, etc). Yet years later, the Guzzi will hold its value while the Japanese machine (save for the homologation models) will depreciate as fast as the next model is introduced. Moto Guzzis are bikes you hold on to. They are keepers. This is why they are not commonly found for sale, and when they are they tend to command higher prices. This one is available with an opening ask of $7,800, and a BIN of $11,300. That is a bargain considering this was $15k when new, and the value will certainly appreciate over time. Lots of people are watching this one. If you need a Guzzi fix, this just might be your chance. Good Luck!!

MI

One Owner: 1993 Moto Guzzi Daytona 1000
Honda April 28, 2017 posted by

Overbuilt Race-Rep: 1985 Honda VF1000R for Sale

Values of Honda’s overbuilt homologation special VF1000R have been shockingly low up until very recently, but these red-white-and-blue beasts are starting to see a significant increase in price. They’re not lightweight or nimble at nearly 600lbs with a tank of fuel, but Honda’s build quality and engineering prowess are on display throughout the bike: the 998cc V4 used gear-driven cams in place of chains, Torque-Reactive Anti-Dive Control forks for better performance under braking, modular Comstar wheels and radial tires when radial tires were still rare and exotic, quick-release axles, adjustable bars, and even a vented rear brake... No, I don’t mean cross-drilled, the rear brake was vented.

The style of the bodywork reflected the VF1000R’s endurance-racing roots and features some interesting little quirks: you can see where Aprilia got some design ideas from those funky mesh side-panels. Two different headlight configurations were available, depending on year: the dual-headlight setup is generally considered more desirable, although they’re both tucked behind a single rectangular lens so they don’t look like you’d expect if you’re picturing something like an RC30. This example uses the single headlight that has a couple of additional vents around the sides and top to take up the space left by the bigger unit. Why two styles? Honda was worried the dual setup wouldn’t pass US regulations and created an alternative treatment, just in case.

All-in-all it was typical Honda overkill, which is fine unless it leads to a significant increase in weight which blunts performance significantly: the VF1000R certainly isn’t a slow bike, but it’s not all that fast either. Handling was a bit ponderous, but good set up can help quite a bit and the positive news for road-riders is that the available performance is pretty effortless, the fairings provide good wind protection, and the bike can cruise at its near 150mph top speed with ease.

From the original eBay listing: 1985 Honda VF1000R for Sale

This was the superbike of the day in 1985. I looked long and hard to find one in really nice original condition as it is getting hard to find good ones. This one was always stored inside and I have in in a climate controlled facility. I don't think it has ever been laid over as it is basically scratch free EXCEPT for on both sides of the front fender there are scratches that I guess were caused by someone's poor quality tie downs. You can see the scratches in the pic's. It has new tires. It has he original pipes which is unbelievable in itself.

The seller is right that these are rare bikes, although nice ones do show up pretty regularly on eBay. They're the kind of bikes people bought and cherished from new, so thrashed examples seem more like the exception rather than the rule. Which is good, because finding replacement parts is pretty difficult and the aftermarket is basically nonexistent. So why didn’t these capture the public’s imagination in the way the later RC30 and RC45 did? Probably a combination of the aforementioned visual and physical bulk. But maybe it also had something to do with the V4’s negative perception at the time that resulted from a few of the early VF750’s chain-driven cam lobes de-lobing, sometimes referred to as the “Chocolate Camshaft” syndrome. That issue actually affected only a small group of the early V4 bikes with chain-driven cams, but Honda's reputation took a big hit and required the incredible high-quality of the VFR750 that followed to erase that black mark.

-tad

Yamaha April 27, 2017 posted by

Collector Alert: 1988 Yamaha FZR400 with 94 Original Miles for Sale

Sometimes, the amazingly low-mileage bikes that we stumble across surprise me. I mean, who at the time it was new would think to ferret away a pristine Yamaha FZR400? Of course it was always a cool bike, but the kind of thing you'd buy and preserve as a collectible? Seems strange, but the upside is that someone gets to bid on this example that has the classic white-and-blue "speedblock" graphics and just 94 miles from new.

Modern vehicle technology is incredible, offering up reliability, safety, and efficiency at an affordable cost. New motorcyclists are almost spoiled for choice these days, with slick, utilitarian offerings from Honda, Kawasaki, Yamaha, Suzuki, and even KTM that look good and perform well. They don't offer much in the way of inspirational engine notes or cutting-edge handling, however: all are powered by parallel twins or singles and sound a bit agricultural or slightly obnoxious, depending on whether you have a Two Bros exhaust fitted or not.

The middleweight sportbike class is fast disappearing as well, with just the GSX-R600 and R6 left as Honda and Triumph discontinue their 600cc sportbikes. But in the late 1980s, you were spoiled for choice, and the FZR400 offered a stepping-stone up in terms of refinement from something fast but a bit crude like a TZR250. Most of the 400cc sportbikes never made it to the USA officially, as demand for what would be considered "small" sportbikes has always been pretty non-existent. We got a few bikes with their genes like the Honda CB1, but those never sold well either, making all bikes in the class pretty rare and desirable these days.

The FZR400's 399cc four-cylinder produced a claimed 64hp, still plenty of power for a bike that weighed 410lbs wet, but, with little power below 5,000 rpm, the rev-happy motor meant you had to work it like a two-stroke to make fast progress for maximum rider involvement. Interestingly, the FZR400 was a much more serious weapon than the bigger 600 although they look nearly identical at a glance. The 400 made less power but handled better due to the lighter, stiffer aluminum frame used by the smaller bike, versus the 600's steel part. Yes, the 600 fits into the 400's frame, so if you come across a 400 with a blown or high-mileage motor, you might want to consider finding a 600 to rebuild and slot in instead.

From the original eBay listing: 1988 Yamaha FZR400 for Sale

Up for your consideration is a very RARE, very nice low mileage almost new 1988 Yamaha FZR 400 3EN1 with only 152 Kilometers (94 miles). It is in mint condition and has new battery, Yamaha filter & engine oil, new coolant flush, new fork seals and fork oil,  new brake fluid, new spark plugs and original air filter was serviced. Runs like the day it was new. Carburetor jets and needles are original and still comes with the factory jetting set from the factory. This FZR in mint condition and near museum quality. It still has the original factory tires, however there are age cracks in the sidewalls. There is patina here and there as you would expect from a 29 year old motorcycle. This FZR still has its original chain & sprockets, original brake pads and all original fairings and factory components. There is a small crack in the windscreen, however I have a new windscreen that will come with the bike. I haven't installed it to preserve the originality of the bike.

When we received the bike, It was taken apart and cleaned and inspected along with the full service. The muffler was chromed and re-finished to look new again. This FZR would make a excellent candidate for restoration, making it a true museum piece for your living room or just keep it and ride the hell out of it and make your friends jealous, lol. This FZR comes with a clean Utah title in my company name that will be presented to the new owner.

Okay, so the $8,999 asking price is pretty stupid money for a 400cc Japanese sportbike. Or at least is is right now: scoff all you like but I bet in a few years, Yamaha fans will be wishing they'd jumped in when these were so cheap... Especially at this mileage, although part of what's so cool about the FZR400 is the light weight and agile handling, so it's kind of a waste as a museum piece. I'm also not sure even very many of your motorcycling buddies will be very jealous if you have this in your garage or living room, let alone your more normal friends. Bidding's already up to $7,600 with plenty of interest, so I'll be interested to see if it makes it to that Buy It Now price.

-tad

Collector Alert: 1988 Yamaha FZR400 with 94 Original Miles for Sale

Search

Subscribe by Email

Get all our new posts delivered to your email automatically. Spam free! Enter your email address:

FB Like Box

Historically Significant MotoGP Artwork at MotoDeity.com

Archives