Author Archives: Marty

Full Name: Marty G Website:
Info: owner, zanemoto zane laverda nutter, currently owning more than I should bit of a collector too
Yamaha April 17, 2017 posted by Marty

Collector Alert: 1989 Yamaha FZR750RR/OW-01 with 741 miles

1989 Yamaha FZR-750RR/OW-01 for sale on ebay

Most collectors of homologation bikes place the Yamaha FZR750RR/OW-01 near the top of their lists, along with the Honda RC30 and Kawasaki ZX7RR and...whats that you say, you don't understand all the fuss about homologation bikes?   Well I don't see any big blue police boxes or dogs named Peabody around so I guess I will just have to do my best to go explain the historical significance of these machines.

In the late 1980's race series organizers and major manufacturers agreed that it was in both of their interests if race bikes were more closely based on bikes that people could actually buy.  The thinking was this would keep fan interest, cut down on development costs and weed out money losing engineer flights of fancy (i'm looking at you, Norton rotary).  The adage of the day was "a win on Sunday equals sales on Monday".  But the major manufacturers engineer departments were still charged with winning and made the legitimate point that race bikes had very different performance needs from standard street machines.  In the end a compromise was reached; racebikes would still have to be based on a bike available for sale to the general public but the base bike could be a limited edition series that was equipped with the same components as the bikes that would be used on the racetrack, including racetrack level frames, engines and suspensions.  The limited edition bikes had to be able to be able to pass emissions and run legally on the street but could otherwise essentially be race bikes with lights and a license plate.  This agreement became known as the homologation rule and bikes from the era are referred to as homolgation bikes.


Okay, so they had some track-oriented tech, but you still don't see what's the big deal?  Consider this - a factory racetrack-level motorcycle has components that are hellishly expensive to develop and produce, the prices for one of these limited edition/homolgation bike was usually significantly higher than a standard street version.  The OW-01 had a list price of about $16,000 USD, which back in 1989 was equal to about a year of private college tuition.  And even with their high prices the street legal homologation machines were often unprofitable for the manufacturers so to cut down on losses the production run was typically a very small number of bikes.  For the FZR750RR/OW-01, production was 500 units over two years. But while Yamaha's 750cc powered machine was pricey and parts would always be a challenge, anyone who bought one did actually get something quite special: titanium rods, twin-ring pistons, an aluminum tank with a track ready fuel filler were all wrapped up in a beautiful hand welded frame. This was then combined with Ohlins suspension, magnesium brake calipers and quick detach sub-frame and axle release clamps.

And best of all, these track-oriented goodies weren't just for show. While not quite as successful as its main rival the Honda RC30, the FZR-750RR was used as the basis of multiple World Superbike wins, a British Sport Bike (BSB) title, set an Isle of Man TT lap record and was ridden to victory in the 1993 Daytona 200.

So in summary, homologation bikes were an opportunity for mere mortals to experience what a true race bike was like. They were also quite rare from a price and production number perspective and many were bought by privateer racers and then actually used on the track. This means that finding one today in pristine condition is quite a challenge and given that the primary rare sport bike criteria are condition, number produced, historical significance and technology, its only natural that the OW-01 always causes a fuss/is a big deal to collectors.

As for this FZR750RR/OW-01, a  quick look at the pictures in this auction show that the seller is a big fan on the late 1980's/early 1990's homolgation bikes.   The seller indicates a recent freshening of items which together with the low mileage means this one is a good option for someone building a collection.

Here is an overview of what the seller has to say

  • New battery,new fork seals and fork oil, new spark plugs
  • Fresh fluids including engine oil, new coolant flush, new brake fluid, and original air filter was serviced.
  • Carburetor jets and needles are original and still comes with the factory jetting set from the factory.  Runs a little rich at my elevation (Utah) but will need nothing if your going to run it at sea level. If your in a high elevation state it will need jets and fine tuning.
  • Still has the original factory tires, however there are age cracks in the sidewalls.
  • Still has its original chain & sprockets with factory safety wire, original brake pads and all original fairings and factory components.
  • Air breather hose was replaced since the original was hard and cracked.
  • Slight ripple in the muffler that does not show up in photos, you would never know it if I didn't mention it to you but its there.  Muffler was chromed and re-finished to repair the tiny ding in it that you cannot see now.
  • There is patina here and there as you would expect from a 28 year old motorcycle.  Also there was a scratch protection pad on the tank at one time, since been removed but has left a clear residue behind from adhesion.
  • The original fuel tank cap was replaced with a NOS OEM Yamaha fuel cap due to a rough edge from being dropped on the ground in the past we believe. Original fuel cap is included with sale.

?  

So, now for the price question- what is this bit of homologation era history going to cost?  While the listing has an excellent level of detail and some services have been done, the condition is not perfect (note the cracks in the dash foam) and there is a need for fresh tires.  Recent examples of FZR750RR/OW-01 on RSBFS  show a price range of between $16,000 -$25,000 USD so the sellers Buy-It-Now price of $27,500 seems to be a bit optimistic.

My person opinion is that the value of this one is right about $23,000 USD,  Current bid is at about $12,600 USD with about 5 days on the auction left.  Unless the seller has a significantly lower reserve than the Buy-It-Now price I don't think one will sell on the auction but any interested parties might want to follow the listing on Ebay and reach out to the seller after it ends.  Then again, Ebay can be a funny thing and part of being a smart collector is knowing when to pull the trigger so if this one is on your list, it might be time to move.

 

-Marty/Dallaslavowner

Collector Alert:  1989 Yamaha FZR750RR/OW-01 with 741 miles
Benelli March 27, 2017 posted by Marty

Unobtanium Alert: 1982 Benelli Sei 900 with 52 miles

1982 Benelli 900 Sei with 52 miles on ebay

Back in the late 70's and early 1980's most motorcycle manufacturers were focused on one aspect of bike development: power or as the t-shirts used to be emblazoned, "no-replacement-for-moving-fast-down-the-pavement!'   This orientation towards higher and higher top speeds resulted in motorcycle manufacturers trying lots of different configurations, including turbochargers and 6-cylinder engines.  While the large manufacturers could afford to pursue both routes (example:  the Honda turbo CX and 6-cylinder CBX in the same lineup) , smaller manufacturers typically picked one or the other method.  But even with their larger lineups the large companies didn't always end up with the most desirable bike; consider the 6-cylinder Sei range from small Italian manufacturer Benelli.

Benelli was actually the first company to introduce a six-cylinder universal motorcycle way way back in 1972 with the 750 Sei (six in italian).  Somewhat ironically the 750cc Sei was actually conceived as a response to the Honda 500 Four series, except per ownership it had to "go big".  And go big it did, with six 125cc in-line cylinders fed by 3 separate 24mm carburetors. And while other companies 6-cylinder efforts where forced to look somewhat consistent with the rest of the bikes in the company's lineup, the Benelli operated under no such pretense.  The Sei was outfitted like a typical Italian machine of the period with gobs of chrome and dramatic Italian red paint.  Oh and it had one of the best exhaust systems ever produced, consisting of six separate trumpet/cone pipes stacked 3 to a side that made a truly epic sound (check it out here.).   Sadly this unit has the 3-into-1 units on each side which were offered by the company at the time but the triple pipes for each side are apparently available fairly easily.

When the Sei 750 was unveiled in 1972, the press was wowed, calling it "outrageous" and a "flashbike" but the pressure from the cheaper Japanese was unrelenting so in 1979 Benelli upped the displacement to 900cc.   A unique duplex drive chain was added, wire wheels were replaced with gold-colored Campagnolo rims and a rear disc brake replaced the former drum unit.   But even with these changes, the bigger Benelli was still hampered by a limited distribution network and the continuing Japanese onslaught.   By the end of production in 1989, fewer than 2,000 examples of the 900 Sei had been built.  It has been estimated that less than 80 of them made it to the U.S. market. (Motorcycle Classics, May/June 2015) so finding one here in the states in this condition and mileage is not something that will happen often.

As for condition, well the mileage kind of speaks to that.  The seller does include some decent pictures, although some more basic profile shots would have been nice.

Here is a summary of what the seller writes in the ebay listing.

  • all-original Benelli 900 Sei, never registered, only 80 kilometers total.
  • perfect chrome, polished alloy and rich Italian Racing Red paintwork, all the original/unique badges are in place and in as-new condition
  • original Pirelli tires, Campagnolo wheels, dual-link roller chain drive and Brembo brakes all in A1 condition
  • disc brakes are fitted to both of the gold finished Campagnolo rims
  • comes with complete Italian documentation

Now we come to the big (no pun intended) question - what is this six cylinder 1970's survivor going to cost you?  Short answer - it's not going to be cheap.  Previous listings on RSBFS for similar Benelli Sei bikes (mostly the 750 series) seem to range between $11,000 USD and $18,000 USD and I would expect this one to be somewhere near the top of that range.   NOTE:  Current bidding is already over $10,000 USD.

Given the limited production run and condition, the value of this one will probably continue to creep up especially if the mileage is kept down.  This pristine 1980's Italian big six will probably appeal mostly to someone seeking an investment/collector bike but I have to admit I would love to hear this one at a bike night, maybe with the triple pipes added and in an exhaust note competition against something like a Ducati Desmosdici...that would be truly amazing.

-Marty/Dallaslavowner

Unobtanium Alert:  1982 Benelli Sei 900 with 52 miles
Yamaha March 19, 2017 posted by Marty

Collector Alert: 1998 Yamaha R1 with 4395 miles

1998 Yamaha R1 on ebay

Ahh the Yamaha YZF R1...not just the bike that moved the motorcycle world beyond the legendary Honda CBR900RR/ Fireblade but also the template for pretty much every superbike that followed.   When it was introduced the YZF-R1 changed the expecation of what a street superbike could by packaging a power to weight ratio that had only seen on pure track machines with a bike comfortable enough to use everyday.  It shouldn't be a surprise the R1 was named as "One-Of-The-10-Sportbikes-you-have-to-own!" by Practical Sportbikes in their Oct 2016 issue.   As motorcycling editor Phil West wrote

"In producing the  YZF R1 (Kunihiko) Miwa and his team not only revolutionized sportbike design, they created the template for every superbike to this day."

For anyone unfamiliar with the R1 development history, in 1996 most inside Yamaha believed the market for super-sportbikes was static or decreasing.  Faced with this lack of growth Yamaha decided the only path was to get a bigger share of the market "pie".  Authorization was given to start working on a new superbike with a mandate that it had to position Yamaha for both race and sales success.  This was a tall order given that the competition included the legendary Honda CBR900/Fireblade.

Lead by Kunihiko Miwa, a team of Yamaha engineers undertook the project guided by thee major concepts; make it have the highest power, make it have the lowest weight, and make ii have the most compact dimensions.  The result was a design that shortened the length of the engine by vertically stacking the gearbox (an unheard of feature for a streetbike) and then joined it with a new lightweight frame developed around the concept of ultra-light weight and rider control/ergonomics.  New handlebars/clipons, one piece brakes and even LCD gauges were all incorporated into the design.

Upon its launch in late 1997 the R1 delivered 150ps while weighing only 177kg  (that's 148gbp and 390 pounds in Imperial).  Not only did the R1 dramatically exceeded the performance of the competition, it and reset the bar that had been established by the Honda CBR900RR/Fireblade earlier in the decade, it also seemed like it came from a different planet compared to the Thunderace it was replacing.

This particular R1 is in the first year blue/silver color scheme which seems to have been more popular than the white/red style.  Condition looks to be absolutely pristine and the seller does a very good job with the photos showing the bikes condition.   While service history/details aren't much that is to be expected given the very low mileage.

Here is what the seller has to say:

  • No scratches, only a few pin size marks from road dust
  • Mileage under 5000
  • Original exhaust changed when new, inever used and comes with the bike
  • Original paint, seats, tires and rear bike stand
  • Original books, keys, Bill of sale, copy of MSO, original title, service records and shop manual.
  • Bike has had only 2 collector owners in its 19 year pampered life.   Always stored in Heated and Air Conditioned Collector Garage

So what is this benchmarking blue beauty worth?  The current asking price for this one is at $6995 USD which is kind of high in my opinion but not out of line with what we have seen previously on RSBFS.  While this one is not in the red and white bodywork more currently prized by collectors, it is in amazing shape.  I think a fair price for this one is about $6400, maybe a bit more if the seller throws in fresh rubber or shipping.

One final note - I think is important to recognize that just a few years ago a 1st year Yamaha R1 wasn't high on the list of future classics for most collectors.  Everyone seemed to think it was a great bike, probably the final great sport bike of the 1990's, and yes it dethroned the Honda CBR900RR/Fireblade, but a future classic?  While these same collectors were probably still searching for a Ducati 916SP or Kawasaki Zx7RR or perhaps even a first year CBR900RR/Fireblade, prices for first year R1's were  starting to move up and are now no longer cheap.  The value will probably continue to rise over time so this might be a rare chance to get one before prices get out of reach.

-Marty/Dallaslavowner

Collector Alert:  1998 Yamaha R1 with 4395 miles
Honda March 9, 2017 posted by Marty

The difficult 2nd album: 1994 Honda RC45/RVF750R

The Honda RVF750R/RC45 is always an interesting topic of discussion on RSBFS and with good reason. Part of Honda's technological onslaught of the 1990's (which included the RC30 and NR750), the RC45 was a true homolgation bike that came with lots of top level components including a 749cc V4 powerplant containing titanium rods and ceramic-lined cylinder walls, a new fuel injection system, and a track ready single-sided rear swingarm.   Add to this a ultra light weight achieved via a new aluminium twin-spar chassis and cast magnesium components and the result was something that, on paper at least, looked ready to compete at the highest level.

1994 Honda RC45 on eBay

But despite all of this techno goodness the RC45 didn't achieve the same level of track or sales success as doesn't seem to be as prized as its predecessor, the RC30.   Part of this was due to the breakthrough nature of the RC30, part was due to the competition on the track being much closer and part was due to what the RC45 was like to ride on the street.  The street version was tuned with a very tall 1st gear and only producing around 110/118 horses for the US/Euro version, which meant the RC45 didn't offer street riders a huge jump in performance from what other much cheaper 750 sportbikes were offering at the time.  Simply put, for a lot of non-track oriented buyers the RVF750R/RC45 performance didn't match the price.

Now this doesn't mean the RC45 wasn't a great sportbike- far from it.  While it may have been a bit of a let down on the street, things were quite different when it was taken to the track and tuned up.  In peak race form the bike was transformed to having nearly 190 bhp and was a capable enough machine to deliver championships over a span of years, including Miguel Duhamel's 1996 Daytona 200, John Kocinski's 1997 WSBK championship and Ben Bostrom's 1998 AMA Superbike Championship.

As for this particular RC45, it looks to be mostly OEM and the seller indicates that the parts which are not OEM are still with the bike.  Based on the pics provided the seller seems to be a big fan of 1990's sportbikes (although not their mirrors apparently) so there is a good chance this one has been taken care of properly.

Here is a summary of the info the seller gives in the ebay listing:

  • 2200 miles
  • Has a (Honda CBR) F3 front wheel, HRC carbon fiber front fender, HRC rear-sets.
  • Previous owner installed the Yoshimura bolt on muffler but have since found a brand new, in the box, stock muffler.  
  • Was going to remove the turn signals and trim the rear fender, so I bought an extra OEM rear fender to turn it back stock.
  • Will come with all the stock parts that were removed.
  • Bike still has its original tool kits, swing arm stand, and even the original helmet lock.
  • Documentation includes the service manual, parts manual, owners manual, pages from the Honda Red Book, a sales brochure, copies of the previous title and some Honda service updates.

So what is this pretty much pristine bit of homologation Honda technology worth?  Well current bid is up to about $30,000 USD with reserve not met.  That isn't surprising given the last one of these we saw on RSBFS hit $40,000 USD.  While that one was an ultra low mileage (<1000) example, I would still expect the reserve on this one to be in the mid $30,000 area if not higher.

From a collector standpoint, the major appreciation in value has probably already happened.  That isn't to say the value will go down, it just won't be jumping up dramatically.   I think this one will probably be best suited for someone who is similar to the current owner - a fan of mid 1990's homologation bikes.

-Marty/Dallaslavowner

The difficult 2nd album:  1994 Honda RC45/RVF750R
Suzuki February 18, 2017 posted by Marty

Unloved Kat: 1997 Suzuki Katana 750 with 1,300 miles

If we were to ask RSBFS readers what 750cc sportbike of the 1990's they would most like to own now, I would bet most would choose a Suzuki GSX-750R Limited Edition or maybe a Yamaha OW01 or perhaps a Kawasaki ZX7R/ ZX7RR.  A few intrepid souls might throw a Honda VFR750 or Ducati 748 into the mix but would anyone have the Suzuki Katana 750 on their list?

1997 Suzuki Katana 750 with 1300 miles

The 2nd generation Katana 750 (also known as the GSX-S) was produced at a time when Suzuki couldn't seem to figure out where to focus its efforts.  Suzuki's lineup included race oriented machines such as the 4 cylinder powered GSX-750R and a new V-Twin powered TL1000 series.  These were offered along with several more two other street-oriented models; the Katana 750 and the "dramatically styled!" RF900.  And to make matters more complex, new models such as the GSX-600R, TL1000R, RF600R and Katana 600 were already in the pipeline and would be introduced within the next year.  This wide variety of offerings was great for potential buyers who could find a bike exactly suited for their particular needs and price range but it also meant intense competition for development and marketing monies.  The result was the Katana lineup (and to a large extent, the RF lineup too) didn't received the attention/development monies to keep up with the competition and regularly came in last in model comparisons.

Even though it never got much development support from the Hamamatsu home office, the 2nd generation Katana wasn't a bad bike.  Based on the same long-stroke 750 engine as the GSX-R750 but tuned to focus more on lower and mid-range torque delivery than top speed, the Katana was perfectly adept as a street oriented sportbike with light touring aspirations.  While the competition were all moving towards pressed aluminum featherweight frames and fuel injection, the Katana frame was still steel and 36mm carbs were used to preserve low and mid-range torque while not sacrificing too much top end, and suspension/forks were standard for the time 41mm.  Styling was contemporary for the period and build quality was good (although not a match of Honda of the period).

Its important to note the Katana did have one "ace" over the competition; price.  The wide lineup meant all the major components were already available to Suzuki.  The result was that while many other 750 sport bikes were bumping the $8,000 USD price barrier, the Katana 750 was offered for barely over $7000.

Overall the 750cc Katana sold well but not spectacularly.  A revision in 1998 (the year after this bike)  with updated bodywork and improved mechanicals did help make the Katana a bit more popular but it seems like the entire model line was never a priority for Suzuki.   The 2nd gen Katana/GSX-S seems to fall into the same category as the Kawasaki ZX6/ZZR600 or maybe the Yamaha FZR's of the same period; a sportbike not really intended for track use, bikes with a focus more on price/value than pure performance.

This particular Katana 750cc has obviously been parked for quite a while and the seller freely admits it will need servicing.  Pictures are limited but everyone looks to be OEM and intact.  Mileage is only 1300 miles since new so its really not even been broken in.

Here is what the seller has to say

  • Only 1,300 miles.
  • Has been stored since 2004.
  • Has a small dent in the gas tank where I dropped my helmet on it and a broken mirror.
  • There are a couple minor scratches. Otherwise in excellent condition.
  • Will need a new battery.

Overall it seems like it was a bike that was bought, ridden for maybe a season or two and then tucked away with "I'll get back into riding next year".  Obviously any new owner would need to plan for fresh fluids and rubber as well as a possible shock rebuild and maybe front fork fluids being done.  Also the seller indicates some pending registration fees in California so this one might be best suited to someone intending to take it out of state?

Okay so now the question - why should you consider this 750cc Katana? Given its lack of breakthrough technology and historical reputation against the competition of the time it seems highly unlikely that it will appreciate much in value.  I only found one other post on RSBFS for a 2nd generation Katana and that was back in 2011 for a 1990 edition so the market value of this one can't really be known.

Essentially this is a 20 years old bike that was never broken in.   Yes it needs a full refresh  so it will take some monies to enjoy it but the stupid low price of $1200 USD and ultra low mileage makes me think you really can't go wrong on this one - its probably worth that price in parts alone given Suzuki's interchangeable component philosophy of the times.  This really seems like a good opportunity for someone to pick up a 750cc sportbike that can easily be brought back into daily use, especially if they are looking for a daily driver with some light touring capabilities.

-Marty/Dallaslavowner

Unloved Kat:  1997 Suzuki Katana 750 with 1,300 miles
Bimota February 14, 2017 posted by Marty

The VDue that worked:
1999 Bimota VDue Trofeo in Italy

Update 2.14.2017: We last posted this bike roughly a year ago, and bidding stopped at a little over $20k, reserve not met. Links are updated with the current auction. Good luck to buyers and seller! -dc

Here is something we have only had on RSBFS once before, a Bimota VDue Trofeo edition.  The Trofeo was a track oriented VDue produced by the factory that incorporated a host of changes which Bimota claimed fixed the problems that had plagued the VDue since its launch.

vduetrof1

1999 Bimota VDue Trofeo in Italy

The VDue was supposed to be a game changer for Bimota; it would have not only the specialized frame and top-spec suspension components Bimota was known for but also have a new direct-injected 500cc two-stroke v-twin.  Pollution regulations in the 1990's were making it harder for new two-stroke models to get approved for street use. Bimota decided the solution was fuel injection; it would defeat a lot of the pollution and would place Bimota at the top of the sportbike-as-luxury-item category.

As regularly RSBFS readers know, despite the promise of the VDue design, the first VDue models had major problems, especially in the fuel management and engine areas.  These problems have been detailed in previous VDue listings here on RSBFS.  For anyone who is curious, an especially good explanation was done in a post back in December by RSBFS contributor Tad D which can be read here.

Suffice to say the VDue is now considered the bike that forced Bimota into bankruptcy and the last of the big/500cc two-stroke sportbikes.

vduetro4

The Trofeo was an effort by Bimota to prove the VDue issues were resolved.  Built as a run of 26 track-focused bikes by Bimota and "leased" to racers by Bimota for a sponsored challenger/race series called "Trophy", the 26 Trofeo editions came with serious racing components, including race-oriented carburetors, a race-spec electrical harness and ECU and different exhaust systems.

vduetroph5

According to research, the Trofeo edition did not have the engine issues or peaky power delivery that had plagued the earlier models and the engine didn't suffer any major issues.   Another 177 VDue's were produced after the Trofeo version and those also seemed to have less problems but the initial reputation remained. and the VDue was one more nail in the coffin of Bimota.

Note:  I can't help but think what might have been if Bimota had taken the VDue racing first, identified and then resolved the engine issues and then made a street legal VDue version available to the masses.  Perhaps we would still be hearing stuff like this on the streets of the USA today.

vduetrof3

For this VDue Trofeo mileage is listed as zero and the bike has apparently been in a collection since 2003.  This bike shows a VIN# of 26 and the seller indicates this is the last Trofeo and the only one that is still in NOS condition.

NOTE:  According to the VDue.it website, the Trofeo models cannot have a numberplate for road usage.  Not sure what this means for any non uk buyer.

Obviously a full service (including tires) would be required before it went back on the street.

Here is what the seller has to say:

  • Not to be confused with the injection model or the later not factory built Evoluzione road model.
  • This is the last of 26 units the factory built in 1999 to compete in the Bimota 500 VDue Trofeo.
  • The bike is new unused/new san some small scratches in years of storing.
  • Unique occasion to own the most desiderable version of the only Bimota model with Bimota engine!
  • The only one of the 26 units still new

vduetrof2

What is this "last" VDue Trofeo worth?   Well I have seen VDue's listed for between $22,000 USD to $39,500 USD and given their limited production run of only 378(ish) units an average price for a VDue is tough to pin down.  In the UK gently ridden fuel injected models seem to be offered around $24,000 USD while in the US prices seem to be about $7,000 higher .  This one is supposed to be the last Trofeo which isn't fuel injected and has zero miles so I would guess a price of $27,000-$32,000 USD. While that price is kind of steep for a 16 year old bike that had a reputation for engine problems and might not be able to be used on the street, I do think it would be a jewel in any collection.

-Marty/Dallaslavowner

The VDue that worked: </br>1999 Bimota VDue Trofeo in Italy