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
Ducati July 4, 2017 posted by Marty

First Year Legend Alert: 1975 Ducati 900 SS

The 1975 Ducati 900SS is something every serious collector has on their list and given that 1975 production was less than 250 units, today's post is quite an occasion.  This nice but not pristine version is located in Manhattan Beach, California USA but I wouldn't be a bit surprised to see it go to an international sale.

1975 Ducati 900SS For Sale on eBay

To understand the significance of this bike and why it is so prized, you need to look back to 1970 when the top level GP racing class was pretty much a battle between MV Agusta (with legendary rider Agostini) and Japanese two-strokes.  Ducati had left racing over 10 years earlier due to budget constraints but was now flush with new backing and had a new series of larger displacement machines under development.  In 1970 the company decided it would be going back to the track, in part to help increase visibility to their new machines but also to help in development.

Ducati hit the track in 1970 with a new 500cc L-twin engine with two-valve desmo heads but the new machines were still no match for the then dominant Agostini and MV Agusta.   In 1972 Ducati announced a new 750cc machine that incorporated the lessons learned over the last 2 seasons along with special racetrack-oriented cams, twin spark plugs, 40mm Dell’Orto carbs and billet connecting rods.  Other top shelf bits included Marzocchi forks and triple-disc brakes.

The new 750cc machine was set to debut at Imola on April 23, 1972.   Did it work?  Well, here is what happened when GP rider Paul Smart (yes, THAT Paul Smart) took the new Ducati out for qualifying:

"On the last lap I wound it up as fast as I felt comfortable.  I wasn't going completely flat out because it was basically just a safety-wired street bike..it still had the Dunlop TT100 street tires and even still had the centerstand lugs in place.   When I brought the bike back to the pits all the Ducati mechanics were jumping up and down...it turns out I had just broken Ago's track record.”

 

The new Duc actually finished 1-2 at Imola and the public immediately clamored for a 750ss for the street.  At the end of the 1972 season Ducati promised to make replicas of the Imola winning machine available to the public but  Ducati was still a small manufacturer so this didn't actually happen until 1974.  During this 2 year period the Japanese were undergoing a crash course in development and quickly catching up to its European rivals so when Ducati finally delivered the promised Imola replica 750cc machines they also introduced a new 860cc machine, the 900 SuperSport/SS.   The new "big" Duc was essentially the 750 series machine with more power and fortunately for Ducati, this wasn't a case where more power upset the balance of the bike. The new 900ss was able to continue the performance success of the 750 for several years.  Consider this - it was on a 1978 900SS that a just-out-of-retirement 38 year old Mike Hailwood would ride to a legendary victory at the Isle of Mann TT.

Okay, we have covered the history and ties to famous racers like  Paul Smart and Mike Hailwood, but you may still be wondering why this bike is so high on so many collectors lists.  The answer is that not only is it a first year bike but it also had some unique to the year components    The 1975 edition actually had many of the same components as the the 750cc Imola race replicas.  These components were offered on the 900ss for the 1975 year only.

A quick comparison of the components for the 900ss model years is below as an example:

1975 900ss  1976 900ss
 Gas Tank  Fiberglass  Steel
 Carbs  40mm  32mm
 Exhausts  Conti Lafranconi
 Turn signals  No  Yes
 Shift  Right side  Left side

 

Simply put, for many Ducati fans and collectors the 1975 900ss is considered to be the closest you can get to the race bikes ridden by people like Smart and Hailwood.

One final factor to consider regarding the why the Ducati is so highly prized by collectors is the generally acceptance that the 750/900ss Ducati along with the Laverda 750SFC and the Norton Commando were the first modern "GP-bikes-with-lights and a horn."  You could even think of the Ducati as the progenitor of bikes such as the Ducati 888SP3 and Desmosedici.

Now as for this specific example, here is a summary of what the seller has to say

  • #214 of 246 produced in 1974
  • Has only 12,000 kilometers/roughly 7,500 original miles in its 42 year lifespan.
  • Brembo disc brakes front and rear with all new brake pads, front forks were rebuilt and new seals added.
  • DMC electronic ignition installed as well as new voltage regulator.
  • It is a 42 year old survivor and it has some imperfections. At some point in the past Ethanol cause the gas tank to leak. It also caused a "bubble like" line at the base of the gas tank. It has since been treated by GTL of Los Angeles and DOES NOT LEAK anymore. The leaks caused paint to come off the swingarm, and some other areas of the frame.  There are also, "blemishes" on both side covers and gas tank.  
  • Also, the right underside of the muffler is scraped and the left has some light scratches.

So then, what's this first year bit of Italian goodness going to cost?  A quick search of Classic Sport Bikes for sale  shows 1970's 900SS going for around $32,000 USD a few years ago, but those weren't first year bikes.  Bonhams had a pristine 1974 750cc version that went for about $50,000 USD a few years ago as well but that was in better condition and wasn't a 900SS.   I am thinking  this one is going to attract attention from serious collections and wouldn't be at all surprised to see this one go for between $45,000-60,000 USD right from the listing.

One final note- there is no Buy-It-Now option on this one.  While patience is a virtue for collectors, given the rarity of this bike I think someone is going to make the owner an offer they can't refuse/the chances of this one being relisted are low.  To put in simply, if this one is on a list for your collection you might want to move quick.

-Marty/Dallaslavowner

 

Post Script:  Happy Canada Day and 4th of July ya'll!!!

First Year Legend Alert: 1975 Ducati 900 SS
Moto Guzzi June 18, 2017 posted by Marty

Not so fast: 2006 Moto Guzzi MGS-01 in Italy

2006 Moto Guzzi MGS-01 in Italy

Moto Guzzi is often thought as being a sort of italian Harley Davidson, probably because  both manufacturers have a defining configuration that has long formed the basis of its lineup and neither is really thought of as a sportbike manufacturer.  Moto Guzzi has even used this portrayal in its own marketing, telling would-be owners that a Moto Guzzi is a motorcycle for traditionalists/for people who think the journey is more important that the speed at which they get there.  But back in 2002 Moto Guzzi had just opened a new design center and the company tasked their designers to come up with new designs around existing hardware.  A team of designers led by Giuseppe Ghezzi & Bruni Saturno took up the task and the MGS-01 concept was the result, a V-twin powered sportbike that was unlike anything the company had produced previously or since.

The MGS-01, which stands for Moto Guzzi Sport number 1, was powered by a 1200+cc 8V engine featuring chrome cylinder walls (!!!!), cosworth triple ring racing pistons, nimonic valves and a special lubrication system that sprayed oil under the pistons.  The MGS-01 would also come with an all new six-speed gearbox with reinforced clutch,  an aluminium swingarm, Ohlins for the rear shock, Brembo brakes and OZ aluminium wheels.  All in all, a huge departure from the typical Guzzi offering of the time.

The embedded video below gives you an idea of what this big red beasty looks and sounds like (skip to the 1:50 mark for just the sound).

Sounds like it can't miss, right?  Sadly, no. The MGS-01 had the misfortune of arriving right when parent company Aprilia was going through some serious financial troubles.  It took until 2004 for the first MGS-01 corsa editions to actually roll off the production line and when the Aprilia group was sold to to Piaggo in 2005 the new owners quickly pulled the plug on what they determined to be an unprofitable "halo" model.  Production numbers are under some dispute but most agree no more than 150 were produced, with the final editions going out the factory door as 2006 models.

For anyone who is interested in reading a very good writeup of the entire MGS-01 effort, click here.

As for this particular MGS-01, mileage is 2460 so its barely broken in.  The current seller does not provide any detailed service info in the Ebay auction so we are forced to rely on the pics which there are a good quantity and quality of but ..uh oh...one of the pictures shows a receipt for a repaired valve and some engine work.  The receipt does indicates mileage of 0 at the time so perhaps it was a factory recall but it it is a concern along with why the paint appears to be flaking off the engine case, the fluid color and what appears to be some sort of fluid on the tires.

So should you consider this particular MGS-01?  Well on the negative side of the ledger is the previously mentioned valve service receipt and the fact that the MGS-01 was a one-off model that marked the end of production for 8V Guzzi racing engines which means that service and parts would be an ongoing concern.   I suppose if you are really interested you could contact a dealership about parts availability and also the current seller to inquire about the valve service (or try to contact the owner who had the valve work done).   Location is also an issue unless you are willing to pay for import.

On the positive side of the ledger the M GS-01 is probably the ultimate expression of Guzzi's being used as modern day racers....you can think of it as the ultimate Dr. John Whittner Daytona.  And given its limited production run of 150 units the MGS-01 seems destined to be a rare sportbike that will appreciate in value over time.

As for price, from what I have been able to find OEM price from a MGS-01 was about $37,000 but the few of these we have had on RSBFS have been priced at at least that.  I don't think I can give an estimate on this one due to the service history concerns but I will say that I wouldn't be surprised to see it go for right around the OEM price.

-Marty/Dallaslavowner

Not so fast:  2006 Moto Guzzi MGS-01 in Italy
Yamaha June 12, 2017 posted by Marty

80% of an OW01?: 1996 Yamaha YZF-750R

1996 Yamaha YZF-750R on ebay

Back in the mid-1990's the main way most sporbike fans learned about the latest and greatest developments was through a subscription to a motorcycling magazine.   For me, the magazine was Cycle and I can clearly remember reading discussions about the different development philosophies of each major Japanese manufacturer.   These philosophies are reprinted below (or at least as best I can remember them) and I think most people who are fans of sportbikes from this period will agree these are still accurate for the Japanese mid -1990's machines.

  • The Honda Philosophy-  Strong in engineering and build quality but would sometimes over-engineer or develop something without a proven market.  The model line was refreshed in a phased approach over time instead of all at once.  Styling could be bland/conservative.
  • The Kawasaki Philosophy-  Great engines but suspect braking.  Not really an innovator but decent build quality.  Not as extensive a model line as Honda or Suzuki.  As for styling...well I hope you like green.
  • The Suzuki Philosophy-   Seemed to have a "try-everything-and-see-what-works" mentality resulting in a confusing model lineup.  The lower part of the lineup would sometimes have bikes with lower component quality in order to meet a price point.  Styling varied widely based on the model.
  • The Yamaha Philosophy-  Similar to Honda with great engineers but build quality not quite as strong.   Timeframe for innovation was longer than Honda and seemed more along the lines of trying to improve on a proven/existing concept rather than being a true innovator.  Model lineups were mid-sized but fortunately major components were common across the model line.  Styling choices were hit-or-miss and could sometimes be eye bending (cough-Vance-and-Hines-edition-cough-Marty).

 

The philosophy review above is relevant to today's post, a 1996 Yamaha YZF-750R. While the YZF-750R was the base version of Yamaha's YZF 750 lineup and wasn't as exotic as it's lineup siblings, it still had the same basic design. Yamaha tuned the R to be good for both street riding and canyon carving and the R actually won the 1996 Sport Rider magazine bike of the year.. While it didn't sell in the same numbers as the Suzuki or Kawasaki 750cc machines, he R version still has a very active fan base as evidenced by the EXUP Worldwide forum.

Here is what the seller has to say about this particular 1996 Yamaha YZF-750R.

  • 12,202 miles
  • all original plastics & graphics
  • spotless stainless exhaust with functioning EXUP valve
  • original windshield, blinkers,rear plastic fender
  • No aluminum ever polished or chromed
  • Some new parts  include battery, rear rotor, all brake pads, chain & sprockets, oil & filter.
  • few tiny paint chips on bottom edge of tank & one crack in top of right mid fairing 


In case you are wondering what the YZF would be like to live with today, there's some good buying advice available on VisorDown here.  I also found a previous post on the RSBFS archives which a nice video of a test of a few older bikes with the Yamaha being one of them (embedded below)

So now we come to the question of the value of this mid-90's middleweight.  Well a close inspection of the pics show some wear and tear and the spelling errors in the ebay listing are a bit of a concern.  Also given its level of components and condition, its not really a bike that will be likely to appreciate over time.  

That being said, the current bid price is below $1600 which seems stupid low (although reserve has not been met). And even though the 1996 Yamaha YZF-750R is the lowest spec model of the 1996 Yamaha 750cc sportbike line, the Yamaha philosophy means that this is probably an opportunity to experience 75-80% of the performance of the legendary OW01 at a fraction of the cost. Perhaps this one is best suited for our more senior RSBFS readers to experience or relive a bit of the 1990's 750cc sportbike experience, someone who wants to finally experience a EXUP machine without a huge outlay of monies. And I would be willing to bet you won't see another one anytime soon at your next bike night.

Marty/Dallaslavowner

80% of an OW01?:  1996 Yamaha YZF-750R
Laverda May 30, 2017 posted by Marty

WAUW: Cor Dees Laverda collection for sale (Netherlands)

I know this listing has already been posted on the RSBFS Facebook page and on other sites such as laverdaforum.com but this opportunity is too unique to not deserve a post here on the RSBFS mothership site - Marty

Late spring is usually the busiest time for RSBFS as people bring their bikes out of storage and decide they need to "thin the herd" a bit. A good example is the recent listings from seller Whiteknuckle in Springville, Utah who has been offering quite a wide variety of makes, models and conditions.   But over in the Netherlands another collection is up for sale that is truly amazing, the Laverda collection assembled by Mr. Coor Dees.  Apparently after 30+ years of collection Dees has decided to hang it up and the entire collection/museum is now up for sale with over 80 Laverda's as well as a huge amount of memorabilia such as cutaways of engines.  Also includes is a massive photo archive that tells the story of the Laverda marque decade by decade.

Laverda Motorcycle Collection/Museum in the Netherlands

Dees dedication to the Laverda marque has produced possibly the finest long term collection of the north-Italian Laverda marque.  He collected everything related, even artifacts and old machinery showing the agricultural roots of Laverda and his close friendship with the Laverda family allowed him to purchase many of the bikes and associated memorabilia directly from the Laverda factory.  Now, after thirty years of collecting, he feels that it's finally time to hand over the keys to his amazing collection.

The full list of the bikes that will be included in the sale is available via the link above but below are some some highlights of the offered machines.

*Laverda Racing models*
1973 Laverda 750 Side sidecar racer - factory SFC engine
1975 Laverda 750 SFC 1976 Belgium Champion
1975 Laverda 1000 spaceframe works endurance racer
1975 Laverda 1200 Franz Laimböck Monocoque racer
1978 Laverda 500 Formula Mk2 - one of 75 - Laverda Cup

*Laverda Prototypes*
1971 Laverda 1000 Milano EICMA motorshow - prototype
1986 Laverda OR 600 Atlas prototype
1986 Laverda 668 Cruiser prototype
1989 Laverda 668 Hidalgo prototype
1989 Laverda 700 El Cid prototype

*Laverda 650 & 750*
1968 Laverda 650 production number 17 - May 1968
1971 Laverda 750 SF
1972 Laverda 750 SF
1973 Laverda 750 GTF
1973 Laverda 750 SF1
1974 Laverda 750 Polizia Allessandria police
1974 Laverda 750 SF2

*Laverda 1000 & 1200*
1974 Laverda 1000 3C
1977 Laverda 1000 3CL
1980 Laverda 1000 Jota 180
1981 Laverda 1000 RGS Executive panniers & fairing
1982 Laverda 1000 Jota 120
1982 Laverda 1200 TS
1983 Laverda 1000 RGA
1989 Laverda 1000 SFC wire wheels - 2000 km

*Laverda Zanè production*
1995 Laverda 650 I.E.
1997 Laverda 668 Diamante
1999 Laverda 750 Formula

I have to admit I am personally happy to see some Zanè-era models also included as well as some prototypes I have never even heard of.  Amazingly even the original Laverda entrance sign of the old Breganze factory will be included in the sale (200 kg and 4m long, it was in the Laverda factory between 1952 and 2000).

Now before you begin looking through your checkbook, there are a few caveats with this offering.  Though the complete collection is for sale, Mr. Dees will (for now) keep the most significant specimen of Laverda engineering: the legendary Laverda V6.  After eight years of determination Dees has indicated he has almost completed the restoration of the 1991 V6 racer back to its 24-hour endurance race trim.  Dees has also indicated he wishes to continue working on the original 90-degree 1000cc Vee-Six prototype which caused a sensation during its presentation at the 1977 Milano Motorcycle Exhibition.

While not having these bikes in the sales of collection might disuuad some prospective owners, Dees has stated that once these two (of three!) existing Laverda 1000 V-Six machines come up for sale, the new owner of the collection will be given the Right of First Offer to purchase both machines as well as the remaining factory V6 spares and technical drawings.

Another caveat of the sales is that the collection has to be maintained.  This could be by being included in a museum or exposed as part of a larger collection of motorcycles but Dees also wants the collection to be based somewhere where there is a strong Laverda community, ideally near the companies home of Breganze, Italy.  Lastly he wants the collection open to the public so it can be admired on a regular basis by visitors from across the world.

It seems safe to assume the sale price for this amazing collection will likely depend on how closely the new owner is able to satisfy Dees requirements.  While Dees has stated he is ready to sell his collection at a very reasonable price if the next owner is a real enthusiast who is willing to exhibit the collection for the next decades, it has been my experience that when a lifetime-effort collection like this is sold what typically happens is the collection is parsed with the highest-end/most notable pieces being added to a major collection (possibly being rotated) while other categories are eventually sold off to collectors more oriented towards those aspects.

Given the size of this collection and the caveats on the sale, I don't think this one will be going to a private collector.  Perhaps it can be acquired by one of the big museums in Italy such as the Museo Nazionale del Motociclo.  If by some chance it does end up in private hands all I can say is hopefully whomever acquires this amazing collection will at least meet the final caveat of keeping the collection open to the public so fans of the marque can continue to enjoy these Northern-Italian lovelies.

-Marty/Dallaslavowner

 

WAUW:  Cor Dees Laverda collection for sale (Netherlands)
Kawasaki May 21, 2017 posted by Marty

Featured listing: 1990 Kawasaki ZX750F Ninja

1990 Kawasaki ZX750F Ninja in red and black

Back in 1990 the 750cc configuration was still king on both the track and the sales floor.  Some major manufactures had dipped a cautious toe into offering track level performance as a separate model option (ex:  Suzuki GSX-750R LE) but the homologation era was still a bit away and overall the focus was still on bikes that could handle the all three of the major missions; street, track and light touring.  Sadly this philosophy and the 750cc class have pretty much faded into the pages of history so today's Featured listing of a Kawasaki ZX750R is quite a treat.

The seller of this is one is Gary in Springville, Utah who has been offering up lots of good stuff lately but to be honest, this one really jumps out for me.  Perhaps its the tasteful red and black paint scheme that a lot of the Kawasaki's of this period had, perhaps its the very pristine condition or maybe its just me getting old but I have to admit this one really brings back the memories of youthful hooliganism and makes me want to add this one to my collection.

As the pictures show, mileage is about 9100 miles but condition is pristine with very few marks anywhere.  Even the key/top yoke area looks pristine/scratch free..incredible.  As for equipment everything appears to be stock/OEM with the exception of  the front windscreen and the seller indicates fresh fluids and a new battery are included.  However no info is offered as to the age of the tires so there might be some cost there.  The only other point of attention I am seeing might be the front brake hoses which isn't a surprise given the bikes age and the fact that early 1990's Kawasaki's had a reputation for somewhat poor braking anyway.  Come to think of it, an upgrade to the braking system might be a good idea regardless of condition.

Here is what the seller has to say and some more pics.

For your consideration is a mint state 1990 Kawasaki Ninja 750 with only 9082 miles. The bike sold new in Hayward California on June 15, 1991 to a young lady who will remain nameless. This Ninja was taken care of and nursed all the days of its life. It is in perfect condition and looks like new. Looks like it has 900 miles on it, not 9,000.  Runs like the day it was new, has new battery and fresh fluids. Comes with Utah title, Kawasaki vehicle report, Kawasaki history report, owners manual and tool kit along with two keys.

A quick search through the RSBFS archives shows that while we do get see the mid 1980's 750 turbo and mid 1900's  ZX7/ZX7R fairly regularly, this model appears much less frequently.  While that's great from an exclusivity perspective, it makes it hard to figure out a price for this one.

Current price is $2,550 USD with the reserve not met and I would not be surprised if it goes up to nearly double that by the time the auction is finished.  I think this one is a great add for a someone wishing to relive a bit of their youth, a Kawasaki lineup collector or maybe even as a present from a spouse to someone approaching the big 4-0... maybe just leave the browser open where your spouse can see it... 🙂

Marty/Dallaslavowner

Featured listing:  1990 Kawasaki ZX750F Ninja
Events May 10, 2017 posted by Marty

Brrrrr…Britten! Quail Motorcycle gathering 2017 (UPDATED)

UPDATE:  The linked FLICKR album now contains pictures of the 2017 winners.

Quail Motorcycle Gathering - May 6 2017

Here at RSBFS we have certain criteria for what makes a great RSBFS candidate.  But what are the criteria that makes for a great motorcycle event?  How about a concourse-level gathering where you can see some unobtanium up close, such as Britten V1000 or Mondial dustbin racer? Or maybe its a meet with a wide variety of brands and types in different conditions?  What about crowd size - some events can be truly massive and you meet people from all over the world, others are quite small and focused on a particular type of bike.  How about having someone famous attend and speak to the crowd or having good food and/or music, do these impact what makes a great motorcycle event?

Personally I think its a combination of all of these criteria and I am pleased to let our faithful RSBFS readers know that the Quail Motorcycle gathering last weekend met all the above.

The event is held in Carmel California which is about 2 hours south of San Francisco. (Note- for anyone attending next year, bring a good coat, it can be surprisingly cold in California in May). Tickets were $85 online and $95 on site which is pricey but included a really nice lunch and the cost does cut down keep the crowd size down so you can actually interact with the bikes on display. The Quail event has been going on for about 9 years and this year was celebration of Norton. Sadly there was no new Norton V4 but there were lots of other great bikes, good food and Kenny Roberts Sr was onsite for a meet/greet.

For 2017 there were over 250 entries, ranging from unobtainum like the aforementioned Britten to beautiful restorations such as the Brough Superior pictured above.  There were also regular bikes like a nice Honda 600 F2 and numerous Ducati's.  Sadly there were only two of my beloved Laverda's but I guess that means if I enter one of mine next year I won't have to worry too much about the competition.

Award categories included the following:

  • Best of Show - presented to the most significant motorcycle on the field in terms of presentation and historical significance.  Last year this went to a 1925 BMW R37.
  • Spirit Award - presented to the motorcycle that best represents the true spirt of motorcycling.  Last year this went to a 1964 MV Agusta.
  • Industry Award - presented to a factory produced "groundbreaking" motorcycle.  Last year this went toa 2009 Ducati Monster "Leggero".
  • Design and Style Award - presented to the motorcycle based on its industry leading design, concept and style.  Last year this went to a 1960 Velocette.
  • Innovation Award - presented to the most innovative motorcycle on the field in terms of technology.  Last year this went to 1973 Vincati 1200cc (a Vincent engine in a Ducati frame!  More info here)
  • Significance in Racing - presented to the motorcycle that best exemplified the essence of racing.  Last year tis went to a 1957 Harley Davidson KR.
  • Historical Vehicle Associate (HVA) Preservation Award - presented to a historically significant motorcycle.  Has to be scrupulously preserved and be an examply of our cultural past/national heritage.  Last year this went to 1910 Pierce Four

Other award classes included American, British, Italian, Japanese, Other European, Antique, Competiton On-Road, Competition Off Road and Custom/Modified

Here are a few more pics

  • BSA, beautiful restoration

Couple of nice Honda's, including a custom and a garage queen RC30 (tags say registration of 2008)

Nice Ducs

There was really something at the show for everyone.  Oh and did I mention the parking lot?   Walking up to the main entry of the event I saw numerous Ducati 851's and specials (including the one signed by Danny Pedrosa pictured above), Honda Turbo's, a Moto Guzzi Norge, a Ducati Superlight...I could go on and on.  Suffice to say I will definitely be going back again and think this event should be on every motorcycle collectors bucket list.  Main link to the event is here, feel free to ask any questions in the comments and I will try to answer.

Marty/Dallaslavowner

Brrrrr…Britten! Quail Motorcycle gathering 2017 (UPDATED)