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 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
Honda January 29, 2017 posted by Marty

Hello Beastie: 1991 Honda CBR1000F

1991 Honda CBR1000F on eBay

In the late 1980's/early 1990's the major Japanese motorcycle manufactures all seemed to follow the same 3-level market segment philosophy.  At the bottom end were the learner bikes of 125cc or 250cc,  in the middle were the 750cc machines including Limited Edition repli-racers that could go to the track with a few modifications.  Finally in the top segment were 1000cc machines, big bikes that could do both big speed and big distances in comfort.   In this 1000cc (and up!) segment the results included machines such as the Kawasaki ZZR1100/ZX11 and our featured bike, a CBR1000F.

The CBR1000F actually launched in 1987 and originally followed the Honda "Hurricane" naming convention.   A redesign came in 1989 with improved bodywork including a much improved front fairing.   At the same time the Hurricane moniker was was dropped and the big beastie became known simply as the CBR1000F.

For anyone interested in the details of the changes, click here.

The big Honda wasn't designed to win any awards for feather touch handling, and at nearly 500 pounds wet you weren't going to pick it up by yourself if it tipped over.  But it would track straight and true against crosswinds that would blow smaller bikes around.   Basically it was exactly as advertised; a big bike that could do big miles smoothly via big speed.

This particular CBR1000F looks to be in excellent shape.   The OEM seat, already quite comfortable, has been upgraded to a Corbin unit and the front windscreen looks to be non-OEM but otherwise everything looks to be stock and in good condition.   The seller indicates the bike has recently come out of storage and has been refreshed but does have a few light scratches and is in need of fresh rubber.  The only issue I can see i some damage t0 the riders left exhaust which might mean the bike has gone down once but no damage is apparent in the bodywork.

Here is what the seller has to say:

  • Only 16,500 miles
  • New fork seals
  • New battery
  • Been in storage for over a decade, just taken out and reconditioned by Honda technician.
  • Carbs taken apart cleaned and adjusted to factory specs
  • Tires are in decent shape but would replace 
  • Bike does have numerous scratches/scuffs...all small scratches/scuffs and might be able to buff out but wanted to disclose all flaws.

So what is this bike beastie worth?   Is it worth more than its current no-reserve Ebay price of $1,326 USD?  Before you do a double take on that price, based on ebay recent sales history, this does seem to be about the current asking price for the early 1990's CBR1000F.  But those bikes don't look as good as this one, so I would expect this price to move up a bit.

While the Honda CBR1000F probably won't ever appreciate in value, its still a very good bike with the bulletproof Honda reliability that was common of the early 1990's.  The condition and low price of this one seems like a great opportunity for anyone who is looking to keep their main bike for the track but add something a bit more "grown up" to their garage and at a very, very good price.

-Marty/Dallaslavowner

Post Script - the same seller is also offering a 1986 Kawasaki 1000R in that's more appealing, click here for details.

Hello Beastie:  1991 Honda CBR1000F
Suzuki January 15, 2017 posted by Marty

Slab vs sling: 1987 Suzuki GSX-R1100, 1988 Suzuki GSX-R750

This post is for two early edition Suzuki GSX-R's, a 1100 and a 750.  Both are in good but not perfect condition, have the desirable blue and white bodywork and similar mileage.


1987 GSX-1100R on ebay

The first bike is a 1987 GSX-R1100...a big beasty of a sportbike responsible for more than one type of skidmark for anyone willing to sling a leg over.  While the smaller displacement 750cc sibling is considered to be the first affordable, modern racer-replica suitable for daily road useage, the bigger GSX-R model actually sold better than its 750cc sibling.  This was in large part due to its being less effort to use on the road/less peaky and also because, well, "more POWAHHHH!!!" is always a big seller.

This particular GSX-R1100 is the first year "slab-side" version prized by collectors.  Condition is not perfect but all parts appear to be OEM with the exception of the windscreen (and the seller indicates he has that available).  Oddly there appears to be some front fairing damage that has been fixed via a set of 'stitches' which is not something I have seen before.  Also I can't really tell from the pics but the frame looks a bit shiny - perhaps some polishing has occurred.

Mileage is a respectable 14,186 in the pics and the seller indicates he has owned the bike for about 7 years.   The seller does indicate some idle issues which are probably due to gummed up carb needles.  Other general service info isn't provided so I would expect fresh fluids and tires to be needed.


The second bike is a GSX-R750 edition from a year earlier with similar mileage.

1988 Suzuki GSX-R750 on ebay

The 750cc GSX-R750 was initially the more desired of the the series, in part because the 750cc configuration was the dominant configuration in racing at the time.   Like the 1100 earlier in this post this one looks to be in good condition but not perfect with some bodywork issues, bits of rust on the exhaust canisters and fork oxidation.  Also the condition of the brake lines/front fairing area make me think that despite what the seller says this bike wasn't always garaged or perhaps was originally owned somewhere damp.

As for maintenance, the seller indicates a bit of rough running but on the plus side, it has fresh tires, battery and brake fluids and all parts appear to be OEM with the exception of some handgrips.

Here are a few more pics of the 750cc edition.

So, what are these worth?  Both have opening prices in the $5,000-$6,000 USD range which seems a bit high but not preposterous, especially given both bikes location in California where prices tend to be higher.   Finding first gen Suzuki's that have not been modified is getting to be tougher and tougher - you are more likely to see something like this which while cheaper, would probably end up costing more if the intent is to put it back into completely OEM condition.

From a collectors standpoint, the market for these seems to be demonstrated by the similar pricing of these two so I would not expect either of these to appreciate in price much.  Personally I think the 1100 would be more fun but both will probably appeal more to the nostalgia-oriented rider or restorer than the investment oriented collector.  Then again, market values can change fast so if a late 1980's GSX-R is on your list for your dream garage, maybe a trip to California to check both out would be in order.

-Marty/Dallaslavower

Slab vs sling:  1987 Suzuki GSX-R1100, 1988 Suzuki GSX-R750