Author Archives: Donn

Featured Listing March 6, 2018 posted by Donn

Featured Listing – 1990 Honda VFR400R / NC30 – Super Clean !

Update 4.16.2018: This bike is SOLD! Congratulations to buyer and seller! -dc

Long-time friend and regular around RSBFS, Greg at Deftone Cycles had some kind of luck with his last shipment of gray-market machines. This 1990 VFR400R has just about 14,000 km ( 8,500 miles ) but the condition is exceptional.  The third generation was certainly the charm for the petite Honda, as the NC30 variant had the widest torque band, least twitchy handling, and outstanding build quality.

1990 Honda VFR400 for sale on eBay

The NC30 was built for 4 years, an eternity in the fast-moving sportbike world.  Honda's well-tested 399cc V-4 generates the nice whir of gear-driven cams, as well as 59 hp.  The NC30 re-introduced the 360-degree crankshaft, where pairs of cylinders fire together for a torquier delivery.  The chassis was revised for the 1990 model year and reviewed as the strongest and most stable of the 400-four stroke group.  House suspension is adjustable for preload and rebound, and triple discs are appropriately sized at 269mm.  Styled like its 750cc sibling, the VFR400 shows off the single-sided swingarm with a 4-2-1 left side exhaust.

Requiring very little refurbishment, this monochromatic VFR is stock except for the exhaust and without most of the usual corrosion.  Greg has this to say about the bike :

100 percent stock. Except aftermarket Header and Silencer.
Condition: Excellent.
Right side lower fairing stress cracks.
Small hairline fracture upper left.
Mileage: 8,647 / 13,917 Km

Though shoot-outs from the day accused Honda of resting on their laurels, the easier-to-ride VFR400 may have been the best solution for its intended fledgling riders, if not aspiring racers.  The drivetrain is more tractable than the usual pint-size, and the package is surprisingly capable for a junior - skilled riders will find their rewards.  Deftone Cycles asks $7,500 for the pleasure and Greg can be reached - here -

-donn

Featured Listing – 1990 Honda VFR400R / NC30 – Super Clean !
Suzuki March 6, 2018 posted by Donn

Low Mile Lookalike – 1979 Suzuki GS1000E Wes Cooley

I had expected an "S" with the GS1000 badge on this sparkling Wes Cooley commemorative, but the differences between the -E are minor and hardly detract from the aggressive looks of this AMA Superbike commemorative.

1979 Suzuki GS100E Wes Cooley for sale on eBay

Suzuki and Yoshimura joined forces and were almost instantly successful on the AMA Superbike trail.  Lightness was given priority, which helped the air/oil-cooled four's 90 hp move things in the right direction.  Pneumatic rear shocks were replaced with regular hydraulics on the -S, though forks remained air-charged.  The solid triple disks could handle the heat but not a light touch, squeaking around town.  Suzuki nailed the chassis geometry and came away with a quick-handling package that could accept a 1000cc engine's power.

Not many miles has elapsed for this GS1000, replica paint still shines, and aluminum castings made before today's miracle coatings look good.  Period Kerker is polished nicely.  Might be nice to try the rear quarter view without the luggage rack.  From the eBay auction:

Purchased in 2005, bike had approximately 5K miles on it

2005 - installed after market rack and rear tire; had front and rear tires rebalanced, and professional valve adjustment

2014 - new clutch and speedometer cable installed

2016 - new battery

No disappointments in running condition; bike runs as good as she looks! Bike has always been garaged and well maintained. This bike had the after-market Vance & Hines exhaust system (4 into 1) when I purchased it, so I do not have the original stock pipes.

Bike as you see it is exactly as I purchased it in 2005; has not been altered or repainted. The only addition / change I made to it was the after-market rack, rear tire and mechanical items (as mentioned above).

Lifting the bikini fairing from BMW's R90/S gave designers the excuse to fit a lower handlebar, receiving a sporty riding position as part of the bargain, helping high speed stability.  Suzuki played a little catch-up with the -S, it was originally just offered in Europe, but stateside dealers clamored - after all, it was the AMA winner !  Which might explain the -E instead of -S, maybe a dealer-done special or early example.  A close look at the rear wheel might divulge, the -S had an 18-inch rear.  Maybe a knowledgeable reader will have the whole story, meantime we will just have to enjoy...

-donn

Low Mile Lookalike – 1979 Suzuki GS1000E Wes Cooley
Moto Guzzi March 4, 2018 posted by Donn

Grey Goose – 1984 Moto Guzzi Le Mans Mk. III

Rare as an air-cooled Moto Guzzi Le Mans is these days, a square-head Mark III is not often among them.  And you wouldn't be faulted for expecting orangey-red or black, but this example was re-done in a very BMW-ish grey metallic.  The overall condition, trim Mk.III fairings and black wheels mask the age of this well cared-for Guzzi.

1984 Moto Guzzi Le Mans Mk. III for sale on eBay

The Le Mans has had such a long run that every example can be a history lesson.  The Mk.III was a substantial revision, angular from cylinder heads to fairings, with slight changes to engine and chassis geometry.  What weren't changed were the Le Mans paradigms - shaft drive, linked brakes, clip-ons, stable handling, and generous torque.  Gas rear shocks and coupled air forks were a notable addition, as were 18-inch wheels  front and rear.

Owned by a BMW wrench and evident mega-fan, this 850 Le Mans was treated to many performance enhancements and charcoal urban camouflage - looking very good for 30, thank you.  Original parts to ( gasp ! ) return it to stock are also included.  From the eBay auction:

It has been treated lovingly, always stored in a heated dry environment. It has been owned by a BMW Motorrad Master Technician (myself) since 1989. It was ridden briefly a few days ago to take the photos you are viewing. It definitely needs to get out and stretch its legs a bit but it has been registered as non-op here in California (it is fully insured however) and it needs tires as the Metzelers mounted on it are vintage as well.

It has been treated to the best, most desirable upgrades in the time I have owned it. Almost all of the upgrades were carried out in 1990 and 1991. The upgrades include RaceCo (Brooklyn, NY, RIP)  helical cut gear-driven camshaft, Ohlins piggyback shock absorbers, TeleFix adjustable handlebars (NLA), Agostini alloy rearset footrests (NLA), de-linked brakes with custom Kosman brake lines, K & N individual air filters, brand new Dyna ignition (with good used spare), new Lucas coils, and TeleFix fork brace. It includes one Albert sport bar end mirror that is shown in the photos. It also received new rings, a full de-carb and valve guide seals a few years back. I am including all of the original stock parts that I hung onto including the airbox, Marzocchi shocks, footrests, coils, cam sprockets, handlebars, etc. See photos for details. The photos are part of the description and I do not state that everything is included to return it to stock trim. If you don't see it, it is not included.

The paintwork was done by the legendary Mike Stolarz at Bavarian Cycle Works in 1990. It is as gorgeous as the day it was completed. It is charcoal metallic and silver metallic with hand painted gold pinstripes. The decals and pinstriping were clear coated with the rest of the paint. It contributed to winning a trophy at the Corona Del Mar bike show despite having been ridden all the way from San Francisco the day before and competing without the benefit of a wash!

Even in the mid-eighties the Guzzi's were idiosyncratic, using their own measures of an exciting ride rather than the yardstick of the stopwatch and race results.  The Mk. III was replaced for a few years by the 948cc CX-100, while the company completed development of noise and emissions-compliant airbox and carburetors.  The early-80's reintroduction was a homecoming for fans of the model, and continued almost for the rest of the decade.  This Mk. III looks to have received the star treatment right from the very beginning...

-donn

Grey Goose – 1984 Moto Guzzi Le Mans Mk. III
Honda March 1, 2018 posted by Donn

‘Mon Bros – 1988 Honda Bros 400 ( NT400 )

Along with more racey junior editions that were JDM only, Honda had a naked / standard in the 400 cc category.  The Bros ( known elsewhere as the NT or Hawk ) were designed as a V-twin team,  400 and 650 cc's.  Likely a grey market import to the U.K., this Bros 400 has landed in Tennessee and is looking to show its versatile brand of maneuverability to a new stateside owner.

1988 Honda Bros 400 ( NT400 ) for sale on eBay

Honda designed a 52-degree V-twin for the Bros's and it's similar to other water-coolers like the TransAlp.  In 389cc guise the three-valve arrangement results in 37 hp at a civilized 8,500 rpm.  It's coupled to a five-speed transmission, housed in an aluminum twin spar frame, and equipped with single disks and clip-on handlebars.  Right-side-up forks, single-sided swingarm and a stubby mass-centralizing muffler show the nature of compromise.

With km's adding up to about 12,000 miles, the little Bros looks complete and un-scarred, though the seat fairing seems darker that the rest of the forest green metalflake.  The bike still sports its British tag from a previous life the seller was able to sample in London.  From the eBay auction:

Here we have a very clean, extremely rare, and low mileage, 1988 Honda Bros 400. In the U.S. we recognize its clean lines as those of a Honda Hawk. Everywhere else in the world this model was called the Bros., and a 400cc model was available in addition to the 650. This is a very nice, fully stock, collectible motorcycle. It runs very well. I had the good fortune to cross London on this bike a few months ago on congested roads. It proved to be quite the traffic assassin. The small water-cooled twin produces generous mid range torque, allowing for quick work within tight spaces. The bike will be sold with a Tennessee registration, tag, and title.

Though reviews of the Bros cited the mushy suspension and bargain tires, the unexpected fun factor was such that the writers didn't want to give it up.  Easy riding position, quick handling, and pretty good torque all beat the admittedly low expectations.  With the rarity around here, it's a winning hack around or pit bike, or even a learner as it was intended.  Lots of bids on the no-reserve auction with three days to go, and the owner hints of more to come...

-donn

‘Mon Bros – 1988 Honda Bros 400 ( NT400 )
Aprilia February 27, 2018 posted by Donn

Ahem – 2003 Aprilia RS250 GP1

The Aprilia RS250's picture is next to "peaky" in Webster's - mumbling around town, just butting in to the conversation at 5,000 rpm, but singing all the way to 60 two-stroke hp at 11,900 rpm.  Just 309 lbs dry, the RS250 can be a riding lesson every time out and demands only regular attention to the gearshift and a quality full-synthetic two-stroke oil.

2003 Aprilia RS250 GP1 for sale on eBay

Aprilia's racing department successes are shared with the road bike engineers, like the special alloy frame and swingarm,  40mm upside forks and fully adjustable monoshock.  The learning curve of twin 298mm front disks made unplanned stoppies an issue for one reviewer.  Combination digital / analog dash gives the tachometer priority.  17" front and rear alloy wheels are almost invisible in black.  In case you forget its racing heritage, the kick-only starter, lightly padded seat, and just silly pillion are there to remind.

Regular readers will recognize Gary's impeccable taste and Utah location, and this Aprilia is no exception.  With just under 11,000 miles, it's well-presented and photographed, with just a few hints of a paint chip or fastener corrosion here or there.  The GP-1 decal celebrates Marco Melandri's 250cc championship the year before, stripes accented by the semi-gloss black fairings.  From the eBay auction:

Only 17,652 kilometers (10,968 miles). Bike is in mint condition with only a few very light scratches and handling marks. Bike appears to have never been laid down. All fairings and components are 100% genuine OEM factory Aprilia. Bike is completely stock. Just serviced with new Pirelli Diablo tires, new battery and new engine fluids. Bike runs like the day it was new. Lights, suspension, transmission operating as new from the factory. This is a premium bike that is very rare here in the United States. Bike has a 17 digit VIN and is titled in the State of Utah.

Aprilia's lightweights had super build quality and were priced accordingly.  The Suzuki-based engine is reliable for the highly-tuned segment, with easier parts availability.  Successful almost from their racing start in the early 1990's, Aprilia's championships continued until the two-stroke was wiped from the Moto3 rule book in 2012.  The shrinking market led Suzuki to cease production of the engines in the early 2000's, making this one of the last road-going smokers available, and a very nice example...

-donn

Ahem – 2003 Aprilia RS250 GP1
Yamaha February 23, 2018 posted by Donn

Urban Camo – 1994 Yamaha YZF750R

Descendant of Yamaha's OW01 homologation special, the YZF-750R was a vaunted endurance racer in race trim, and a two-time Bike of the Year winner in the mid-90's.  A victim of the displacement arms race and an aging platform, the Yamaha 750 lasted only a few years.  This YZF might be a little rough around the edges but has great potential.

1994 Yamaha YZF750R for sale on eBay

The five-valve Genesis head was used on the YZF-750R, pushing 125 hp, with the EXUP exhaust valve helping broaden the curve for the 59 ft-lbs. torque.  The quick-handling chassis was complemented by 41mm upside-down forks and slowed with six-piston calipers over 320mm disks.  Full bodywork has an aggressive stance and room for a co-rider.

Resident of sunny California, this YZF appears to be complete, with mandatory rear fender-ectomy, turn signal change and smaller muffler.  Pictures need more resolution but this bike may be Öhlins equipped, and only minor scuffs are apparent.  From the eBay auction:

29,000 miles
carbs recently rebuilt, may need to be adjusted
starts and runs

a few other items of interest:
MSRP of $10,500 back in 1994.
inverted forks
6 piston calipers
26,000 mile valve adjustment intervals
Genesis 5 valve head
1995 bike of the year for SportRider
1994 bike of the year for Cycle World
only real contender against the Ducati 916 in those years

The Yamaha had a great combination of handling, power, torque, and brakes, and a number are seen with significant miles.  Build quality was second only to Honda and got demerits for just the 432 lbs. dry weight and notchy transmission.  Though better photos and history would help a serious bidder, it's a no reserve auction and might be right for a knowledgeable fan of the model...

-donn

Urban Camo – 1994 Yamaha YZF750R