Author Archives: Donn

Suzuki May 17, 2017 posted by Donn

Featured Listing – 1990 Suzuki GSX-R400

As the big four were skirmishing in the 400cc race-replica department, Suzuki's GSX-R400R was never the most popular.  But its rugged good looks, called dated back then, recall a dynamic era in sportbikes.

Like most of the 400-4 machines of the 80's and 90's, the GSX-R 400 was a junior rider's bike in the Japanese home market and other countries with progressive licensing, but an afterthought elsewhere.  Even with limited racing heritage, they are equipped and styled to thrill, with 59 hp, dual disk brakes, and full endurance fairings.  The resemblance to a GSX-R 750 was no accident, and improvements since the introduction in 1984 included a large-section alloy frame, four-piston front calipers, two piece radiator, and 4-into-1 exhaust.

This particular 400 has been someone's favorite with 12,000 miles and Utah registration, but more recently part of a collection, and carefully preserved.  Just a couple of minor corrections stand between it and the next concours.  From the eBay auction:

From the Suzuki room comes a very rare bike, A gorgeous 1990 Suzuki GSX-R400 with 19,458 kilometers (12,090 miles). Bike is in gorgeous condition with only a few issues. There is a dent in the right side of the fuel tank and the right front blinker mount is cracked and needs replaced. Scratches on both sides of the bike. This bike is a great candidate for restoration. Bike runs perfectly and will be serviced with new fluids and filters and a new battery installed for the lucky buyer. This GSX-R is 100% original. 100% OEM fairings and components. Bikes comes with a Utah state title and is titled as a street motorcycle for road use.

Offered by a Utah powersports dealer and collector, this factory original has recent maintenance, and the presence of street title is significant for a rider.  Road racing success was just over Suzuki's horizon in the late 1980's, and developments started to pay off with Kevin Schwantz aboard in the early 1990's.  Whether the buyer's intention is to ride or show ( maybe a bit of both ) this very rare Suzuki needs just a few things to excel at both.

-donn

Featured Listing – 1990 Suzuki GSX-R400
Bimota May 15, 2017 posted by Donn

Afterparty – 1999 Bimota SB8R

Up for auction just after its appearance at the Quail Motorcycle Gathering, this signature Bimota didn't trophy but is still quite special.  Developed to help Bimota out of a near bankruptcy, the SB8R was Suzuki V-twin powered with a gorgeous hybrid chassis.  Generally one of the more affordable Bimotas, the SB8R is still a rare sighting with total production of only around 150 machines.

1999 Bimota SB8R for sale on eBay

Bimota had quite a bit of experience with milled aluminum parts, but used the SB8R to showcase their carbon fiber design.  The twin aluminum spars are keyed to carbon frame connectors, and the carbon seat sub-frame is self-supporting.  The big carbon air intakes deliver to 59mm throttle bodies and shower injectors, helping the 8-valve twin generate 133 hp and 74 ft.-lbs. torque.  The fairing reviewed with great protection for the rider, and the Paoli / Öhlins suspension and ISR / Brembo brakes are not just along for the ride.

 

With just under 7,000 miles, this SB8R was selected to appear at the Quail ( see the photo by RSBFS's Marty - here - ) and the owner states proudly in the eBay auction:

I have done all the heavy lifting, replacing seals and clutch cover.  There are absolutely no fluid leaks.  Operating temperature is normal under regular riding conditions, as this bike is equipped from the factory with 1 main and two auxiliary radiators with electric pull fans.  The tires are aged but I leave the rubber preference to the new owner, as tire selection is quite a personal thing.  My bike starts and runs great.  The sound of the twin through the Arrow Racing exhaust is intoxicating.  Evoluzione engine management system with infinite on the fly adjustment will keep performance at optimal levels during riding.

 

Though exotic European show bikes often need a lot of TLC, the Suzuki drivetrain should make for lighter maintenance, and the the owner says beside tires, it's ready to ride.  With its low-volume fabrication and carefully executed improvements, the Bimota SB8R delivered the riding experience that the Suzuki TL-1000 only promised.  This particular SB8R could either ride or show, or better yet be ridden to a show...

-donn

Afterparty – 1999 Bimota SB8R
Ducati May 14, 2017 posted by Donn

Pick of the Litter – 2005 Ducati 749R #0051

Happy Mother's Day to mothers everywhere !  - Donn

Built to compete in the Supersports class and within reach of privateer teams, it's rare to see a 749R without slick tires and number plates.  Seen on RSBFS in 2016, this 2005 example almost seems unused, with under 5,000 miles and meticulous owner care.

2005 Ducati 749R #0051 for sale on eBay

The 749 was made for only a few years, and just 200 copies of the -R were made each year in 2004-06.  The testastretta engine is more oversquare than the base model or the 999, helping the 749R rev a little easier and claim 121 hp at 10,250 rpm.  Elsewhere the Termignoni, Öhlins, Brembo, and Marchesini components and build quality are a pinnacle.  Templating its  big brother in many ways, the 749 does have plastic instead of carbon bodywork and a factory slipper clutch which even the 999 didn't get.

 

One always hopes the previous owner will turn out to have been a bit of a fanatic, easily confirmed in this case.  This 749R changed hands after it was the subject of - this - RSBFS Featured Listing just last winter.  After riding the bike just a handful of miles over the year, this owner has made some nice moves in returning this 749R to as-delivered condition, including new fairing lowers and insulation, and a head-scratching re-installation of the DOT license plate mount and fender extension.  From the eBay auction:

On offer is a 2005 Ducati 749R homologation Superbike, serial 0051, 4841 miles. This bike is in superior cosmetic and mechanical condition, having excellent maintenance and care over the years. I am the third owner to the best of my knowledge, originally believed to have been sold by Ferracci into Pennsylvania, then to Connecticut, then relocated with this owner to Florida where I purchased it. All services are up to date, tires have about 600 miles, many service records. In my ownership of about 16 months, the fairing lowers have been replaced with new parts, early heat damage corrected with tubing wrap, now fairings are as new. The fairing interior sound padding has also been replaced, along with the old fasteners, tool kit is the complete original unit, now located back on the inside of the RH fairing. Original complicated license plate mount has been installed using all factory parts, now as original. New battery has been installed, all original warning decals are in place including the "servo starter" label on the rear of the tank. Samco hoses were installed by the previous owner.

 

The 749's as a group tested better for the road than the 999, as the performance is more usable, and to paraphrase one review, you take the 749 out for a ride, but the 999 runs away with you.  The 749R with 121 hp might have an easier time getting out of hand than a base or -S, but then no Ducati Superbike is for a novice rider.  That said, it seems all but guaranteed that this particular 749R will be seeing a lot of the display stand and rather little of the road or racetrack...

-donn

Pick of the Litter – 2005 Ducati 749R #0051
Ducati May 10, 2017 posted by Donn

Moving On – 2005 Ducati 999R

Despite its great racing record, the 999 was never a fan favorite - as the Pierre Terblanche design was a bit ahead of its time.  But a super-fast R-model with ridiculous horsepower makes its own introductions.  This well-ridden and maintained 999R appears ready to ride and has an unused set of carbon fairings available.

2005 Ducati 999R for sale on eBay

Ducati planned a return to AMA Superbike in 2005, and homologation rules didn't allow much powertrain work, so the 999R is very close to a racer's machine.  The narrow head engine has "titanium inside" and claims 150 hp to push a just-over-400 lb. machine.  The specs read like many late Ducatis but suspension, wheels, and brake components are the finest, and every parameter adjustable, including steering head angle and seat position.

 

Though high-end superbikes are often seen with just break-in miles, this one of 200 has almost 10,000 miles and was treated to a top end rebuild in 2012.  Stock overall condition looks excellent with just a scrape on the lowers and maybe a nice detail required before a show.  The owner promises an unused set of bodywork with a buy-it-now which seems like the makings of a bargain.  From the eBay auction:

This bike was the first 2005 sold by Motocorsa Portland.  This model was the last Ducati to come with full carbon fiber body work(except plastic tail piece).  Of all the bikes I've owned this by far gets more attention than any.  2005 was the first year of the deep sump 999r 150 rwhp motor and the big swingarm.   The following year came in that hideous xerox paint scheme and the previous year came with the weaker motor and wimpy swingarm.

In 2012 at 6721 miles, I had the top end freshened with new pistons, rings and cylinders re-nikasiled.   Runs great and handles as good as anything out there.  Dunlop Q3's are fresh.

 

The 999 had RE-vo looks to match the E-vo engine, and base models languished in the showrooms.  That and the high list price made it hard for aftermarket suppliers to get involved.  Performance was off the charts but was harder to enjoy on the road.  The high windscreen provides exceptional protection for the rider at speed.  Somehow this owner has kept the average mph up enough to lighten the handgrips and keep riding.  Nice work if you can get it...

-donn

Moving On – 2005 Ducati 999R
Laverda May 8, 2017 posted by Donn

1999 Laverda 750S with under 1,000 miles !

In the late 1990's Laverda was re-incarnating their past glory and made some of their best big upright twins and triples, before being purchased and then shuttered by Aprilia.  Presented here is a rare yellow and very late 750S, sparkling with only 994 miles.  Could be the nearest thing to a brand new Laverda out there.

1999 Laverda 750S for sale on eBay

 

The basis of the 750S is the company's signature twin, but updated with 4 valves per cylinder, a balance shaft, fresh air intakes and Weber fuel injection.  The powerplant inspired reviewers to put the excellent twin-spar alloy frame through its paces, and the premium Paoli suspension was worthy.  The company was known for not scrimping on components, as the gold line Brembo brakes and Marchesini wheels testify.  The fairing favors the solo rider with a snug seat and step up for the pillion, and the upturn of the dual exhausts is delayed to accomodate the rather rear-set pegs.

 

Evidently on display almost since new, this 750S still needs its break-in miles.  You'll have to lift the seat to add fuel, since the 750S was an early convert to underseat fuel and high airbox.  Finishes are unmarked and somehow the bike escaped the garage elves that usually plot a tipover or dent.  The seller relates that he is the second owner, and keeps it simple in the eBay auction:

1999 Laverada 750S with 994 original miles (1598 Kilometers) in like new condition no damage ever. Temperature and humidity controlled environment, on battery tender and covered. Starts and runs strong. Everything works, no leaks. Pictures speak for themselves.

 

At the time, European manufacturers were reeling from eastern competition, and couldn't hope to turn the clocks back.  Like many, the Laverda response was reverential to past glories, and a competent if not class-winning performer.  Great design and top components make for a worthwhile experience, though at this point one would have to be mindful of the parts availability question.  But if you have the bug for a classic Italian, why not pick one that looks showroom new ?

-donn

1999 Laverda 750S with under 1,000 miles !
Honda May 5, 2017 posted by Donn

Polished V4 – 1987 Honda VFR700F Interceptor

Honda took some lumps over the cam metallurgy on the early 1980's V4 engines, and re-introduced the engine in 1985 with gear-driven cams and impeccable quality control.  Almost a unicorn in its own right, the VFR700F was a de-stroked 750 staying out of a tariff scuffle.  This example has been refurbished to a level that will please the pickiest concours judge and make the rider happy on the way home.

1987 Honda VFR700F Interceptor for sale on eBay

Doubling down on the smooth and compact V4 engine, Honda did the heavy lifting that brought us the WSBK-winning RC30 and RC45, and transferred a great deal of the success to the carburetted 699 cc model.  The twin-spar frame is large section for the era, and the bike had adjustable Showa suspension, with Pro-Link rear.  Keeping with the times, there's a 16" front and 18" rear wheel, helping the slightly overweight bike turn in.  Very together Honda fairing design, and the angle of the frame is reflected in the seat console.

 

Seeming to have put the entire bike in a vibratory polisher, this VFR700F owner took things to a rare level, cosmetically and mechanically.  Keeping a basically stock look, the rear fender was cleaned up nicely.  Updates to the exhaust and front wheel size indicate a very knowledgeable owner.  Hard to believe it's an '87 with 22K miles.  The owner offers more high-res pictures - here - with comments and upgrades from the eBay auction:

Original bodywork restored and painted in matching original Pearl Crescent White, with black accents throughout the bike. Several desirable upgrades, 22,375 miles, mechanically and cosmetically inspected, cleaned, updated, replaced, repainted, repaired...anything needing attention was accomplished. This Interceptor is in excellent condition, no issues, no disappointments. The paint is new, the mechanics are correct, the tank is rust-free inside. The bike starts and runs perfectly hot or cold, runs straight and has a unique, modern vibe on a vintage bike.

- 17-inch front wheel from CBR600 (in place of OEM 16") with fresh Avon Road Rider
- Wheels finished in black (from original white) with white painted pinstripe
- Galfer stainless steel brake lines, front & rear
- OEM mufflers shortened 5 1/2 inches and painted black -- great sound, great look
- Carb jet kit
- Rear fender eliminator with original turn signal and seat lock mounts shaved from subframe
- LED rear turn signals
- Powdercoated engine covers in "Bronze Texture" -- clutch & alternator
- Seat recovered in marine grade vinyl
- Front fender reshaped for a lighter look
- NOS front turn signals mounted with shorter stalks to tuck the signals closer to the body
- Reproduction windscreen
- ODI hand grips
- New OEM fuel petcock
- Various rubber mounts, grommets, etc. replaced as needed
- Original owners manual
- Bike is completely cleaned and detailed

 

The quality and overall balance of the second generation V4's kept them on a lot of best bike lists through the late 1980's, though the 700 keeps a low profile.  Honda shortly returned to the inline four for their more sporting machines, but continued developing the V4 throughout the 90's.  With only a day to run, the bidding on this updated and beautified VFR is active but seems low.  There is still time to swoop in for this very rare Honda...

-donn

Polished V4 – 1987 Honda VFR700F Interceptor