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Author Archives: Donn

Moto Guzzi May 20, 2018 posted by Donn

In White Satin – 1983 Moto Guzzi Le Mans III with 3,364 miles !

In remembrance of the Bal d'Or from 1971, when a Moto Guzzi 850 made a podium finish after 24 hours, came the Le Mans 850.  This Mark 3 has all the good stuff, revised heads with bigger valves, air-charged suspension, full-featured dash, and still wears its early 1980's emissions and noise regulation gear.  Complete as only a refurbished barn find can be.

1983 Moto Guzzi Le Mans III with 3,364 miles for sale on eBay

More often seen in the factory's favorite orangey red, this Le Mans is white with clean aluminum castings and black rubber, and original decals.  It has the newer "square" heads ( with tip-over protectors ) and the crankcase has its stiffeners on the outside.  Guzzi norms like shaft drive and linked braking system were an inside job.  Air suspension was new for the III but reviewed as too stiffly sprung.  God help you if you keep the turn signals on with the size of the reminders on that dash.

A recent restoration from Alabama, this Le Mans looks very close to NOS, but it's almost all original.  From the eBay auction:

I have recently changed all fluids- brake fluid, engine oil, transmission oil, final drive oil and replaced all rubber parts as well as all operating cables. The foot peg covers and bar grips had deteriorated with age. New Pirelli Sport Demons are installed as well as new brake pads that replaced the original pads. The valve lash has been set on all valves and the head torques checked. The carbs have been cleaned and tuned with mercury stix. Everything looks great and it runs like a dream.

All numbers are matching and it does not appear to have ever suffered any notable wreck damage. It has the stock air box intact as well as the totally stock exhaust system.

Still marching to their own drummer, Moto Guzzi has pinpointed the motorcyclist in many of us.  Fans of the brand are individualistic and self-reliant, and as the model reviewed - fast and stable.  This one is offered on a serious buy-it-now without the "make offer" button - independent perhaps to a fault...

-donn

In White Satin – 1983 Moto Guzzi Le Mans III with 3,364 miles !
Laverda May 16, 2018 posted by Donn

Semi-Finalist – 1983 Laverda RGS1000

Laverda was already reeling from overseas competition in the early 1980's, but had the gumption for one more design project.  The RGS was based on their recent 1000cc air-cooled triple and rode more like a Beemer than a finicky Italian exotic.  This one has been enjoyed, but is quite original and well maintained.

1983 Laverda RGS1000 ( Canada ) for sale on eBay

For the RGS, Laverda civilized the 981 cc engine with rubber mounts and quieter exhaust, but the 83 hp didn't suffer.  Marzocchi  suspension is found front and rear, but triple 280mm Brembo brakes are a little undersized for a 135 mph streamliner.  Designer details like the Veglia dash, removable pillion fairing and the tank filler in the front ( out of the way of a tank bag ) are sweet period items.

Over the age of EPA, this Laverda should be an easy import from British Columbia.  Seems cared-for despite the mileage - though my back-of-the-napkin ( ok, google ) conversion shows 57,000 miles from 92,000 KM.  Making it sound like a recent acquisition, the owner isn't a slave to details, but says this in the eBay auction:

Hello, have my beautiful almost all orig RGS to sell.  Wolfgang recently went thru her before my purchase with full tuneup, fluids, tires, rejet, etc.  He has most history on it, has had top end done plus small items.  Most normal upgrades done with ignition, etc.  Runs very strong, and smooth.

After the Laverda family abandoned ship in 1985, the company was fits and starts until industrialist Francesco Tognon was nearly successful with a couple of new models in the 1990's, making the RGS almost the last design from an icon dating back to 1873.  Fast, quiet, and smooth, the Laverda was unfortunately slower, heavier, and more expensive than its Japanese rivals.  But if you're after a continental 1980's experience, the RGS is one of a very few...

-donn

Semi-Finalist – 1983 Laverda RGS1000
Ducati May 14, 2018 posted by Donn

Featured Listing – 2001 Ducati MH900e #413

The singular MH900e has made regular appearances here at RSBFS, the Terblanche design and sparkling execution combined for a quick sell-out of the run of 2,000. This collector has been nicely personalized with an unusual eye toward usability.

2001 Ducati MH900e #413 for sale on eBay

The red and polish MH900e has such a distinctive design that discussion of its specs is secondary, but the fuel injected desmodue pulls its weight.  The air-cooled 904cc is tuned for 75 hp and a wider torque band, making the long, low piece of art more rideable.  Outdoing their usual trellis fretwork, Ducati made the chassis show off the engine and its systems.  Beside being a fabricator's showcase, the sculpted single-sided swingarm works well with the Paioli reservoir shock and eases rear wheel cleaning.  The fairing / tank combination flows, and the separate exhausts wind their way out to the long underseat mufflers.

The owner of this MH900e wanted to ride it more than most, and his modifications are good-looking and practical.  Foremost, a neat mod replaces the battery / tank internals and  increases fuel capacity to a realistic 4.6 gallons.  Updates to the levers and belt covers are well chosen, and the stainless exhaust looks great compared to the factory black.  More detail from the eBay auction:

Super, super clean, with tasteful upgrades, runs with no issues, sounds awesome, and is not a garage queen, but actually ridden, yet lives in my living room most of the time. I'm moving, and no room for several bikes, so here's your chance.

Rizoma cam belt covers, Rizoma Urlo grips and levers, now Brembo master cylinders, fresh oils and Pro-One billet finned oil cooler/filter, California Cycleworks tank/battery conversion which increases fuel tank capacity almost twice as much and rids the ugly and heavy dual battery. Has Lithium single battery, open pod filters, high voltage Dyna ignition, belly pan eliminator (have original), fully polished and chromed stainless exhaust is a beauty, yet not loud and great sound. Luimoto cross stiched suede seat cover, good tires, 3D show chain, etc.

Ducati made the low volume special work well enough to impress reviewers, though long ergonomics and compromised dash and mirrors reinforced its showy roots.  While it looks too cool for most owners to let it outside, this one has amassed enough miles for an oil change, but not so many that the next owner couldn't bring it into the hall.  Bidding on the auction is quite active and there is a reasonable buy-it-now of $22,000.

At the other end of the spectrum, the owner also has a fully restored 1938 BMW R66 on offer - here -.  Questions about either machine can be addressed through the eBay auctions...

-donn

Featured Listing – 2001 Ducati MH900e #413
Suzuki May 13, 2018 posted by Donn

Grown-up Hooligan – 1996 Suzuki GSX-R1100

Most buyers' guides advise to purchase the latest edition of a particular model, capitalizing on improvements and technical advances.  First built in 1986, the GSX-R1100 spanned twelve great sportbike years, and those interested in the model can choose from very different rides depending on the letter code.  This late model has been hidden away with under 2,000 miles and despite 20-plus years appears complete and undamaged.

1996 Suzuki GSX-R1100 for sale on eBay

Always a speed demon's machine, the 1986 model came with 137 hp and after a major engine re-design in 1989 and the adoption of water cooling in 1993, the 1996 machine had 156 hp on tap.  Frame stiffness advanced as well with the use of 5-sided tubing, and an earlier banana swingarm was superceded by a fabricated and braced swingarm for 1995.  More sculpted than the earlier endurance racing derived bodies, the 1996 model streamlined its way to nearly 170 mph.  As ever, weight increased as the model grew up, cresting 500 lbs. dry for the 1996 year.

No word in the auction about how this GT came to have so few miles, but does give an unfaired peek-a-boo.  Just a monthly ride up the Palisade Parkway from Englewood to Bear Mountain would have put a lot more on the odometer than its 1,675 miles.  Freshly detailed with a fancy Corbin saddle, it has somehow outsmarted the garage elves, except for the left rear turn signal.  From the eBay auction:

1996 Suzuki GSXR 1100 

1674 ORIGINAL MILES 

VERY LOW MILES FOR ITS YEAR AND IT'S IN PERFECT CONDITION

1 OWNER 

CLEAN TITLE

D&D EXHAUST

OFFERS ACCEPTED TOO

I would trade for a supermoto

As always, I defer to sharper-eyed experts and welcome the model year and graphics debate.  Pictures can fib, so until a real inspection is made, condition is an open question.  New fluids, seals, rubber, four carburetor rebuilds, and some tuning are all on the menu for returning this GSX-R to the road.  What can't be denied is a 156 hp superbike without advanced electronics, and the way time will slow for the next owner on some late summer day...

-donn

Grown-up Hooligan – 1996 Suzuki GSX-R1100
BMW May 10, 2018 posted by Donn

Stealth Tron Bike – 1991 BMW K1

BMW offered its radical K1 in eye-catching ketchup and mustard or a Michigan fan's navy and gold livery, but is occasionally seen in a grown-up grey or black.  This one is fan-owned and looks excellent.

1991 BMW K1 for sale on eBay

BMW was looking to inject some pizazz into its inline engine menu, and equipped the K1 with a four valve engine which was limited to 100 hp but capable of more.  The bodywork cheated the wind to a cD of .34 - a new low for a production machine.  Contrary to their usual practice of building most everything in house, Marzocchi forks and Brembo brakes were used to complete the BMW Paralever's work.  Always a safety innovator, the company made ABS standard on the K1.

Bone stock with just over 10,000 miles, this K1 whispers the name where most examples shout.  With complex bodywork made since 1988, this '91 likely has all the adjustments made by the factory to address heat control and fit issues.  From the eBay auction:

This example is an all original K1 with no modifications.  The bike has been recently serviced and has a new battery.   Powered by a 1000CC/100 hp engine that runs smooth and strong.  Transmission shifts flawlessly through all gears.   The factory graphics on the gray K1 were subtle and only across the base of the fairing. The bike needs nothing but a new home.  Odometer has just kilometers; above distance ridden is listed in miles because kilometers are not offered.   The K1 is a very nice collectable bike that will be a valued addition to any collection.   Bike is sold on a clear Florida title in my name.

The K1 attempted to bridge the sport-touring divide with an interesting result.  A sporty engine concealed an annoying secondary vibration, and the sleek design required special soft luggage.  Wet weight and wide turning radius made it an experienced rider's machine, which I guess the MSRP did as well.  This is a super example for a fan or collector without a taste for the garish 90's graphics...

-donn

 

Stealth Tron Bike – 1991 BMW K1
Laverda May 8, 2018 posted by Donn

Double Espresso – 1998 Laverda 668 Ghost Strike

Though Laverda's fortunes were largely in the 90's rear-view mirror, the company breathed new life into its mid-size parallel twin, commissioning a sporty jack-of-all-trades.  The Ghost Strike had a fine chassis and premium appointments, and can't be beat in the rarity dept.

1998 Laverda 668 Ghost Strike for sale on eBay

Laverda differentiated the Ghost Strike from their other multi-purpose machines with its Nico Bakker designed aluminum frame and WP suspension.  Motive force came from a DOHC parallel twin, expanded to 668cc and updated with Marelli injection and 70 hp.  Fuel is centralized under the seat and the airbox is in the "tank".

Not much detail about this Houston-based Laverda, but it has only 12,000 miles and looks good.  Not sure about the non-standard appearing left side cover and dash fasteners though.  From the eBay auction:

Great looking 1998 Laverda Ghost Strike.  It starts, runs and drives well.  Paint and seat are in excellent shape.  Mileage on speedometer is in km, so I used a conversion for miles.  This is a unique classic motorcycle.  Have fun with it!

The 668's tight handling and relaxed riding position won points, only to give them up for a notchy gearbox and too loud exhaust.  The name was soon to be retired after being purchased by Aprilia and then Piaggio, but the late Ghost Strike is a singular Euro machine perfect for the fan or collector.

-donn

Double Espresso – 1998 Laverda 668 Ghost Strike