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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
Honda June 4, 2018 posted by Marty

Dorian Gray: 2005 Honda Interceptor in Silver

A lot of people consider the Honda RC30 and RC45 as the best Honda sportbikes to own but those are fully track oriented machines not really setup for daily use on the street.   Additionally much of the success of the RC bikes can be traced to the VFR V4 editions (and ironically much of the RC tech then found its way back into later Honda models such as the 800cc VFR).   Today's post is a 2005 VFR 800 in a beautiful monochromatic silver and with 12,000 miles which for a VFR is barely broken in.

2005 Honda VFR800 on ebay

When Honda introduced its V4 streetbike configuration in the early 1980's, the result wasn't what the company expected.  Honda engineers deeply believed that a V4 engine would produce nearly optimum power and torque but problems arose with the camshafts in the larger displacement/700cc models.  Given the new technology of the V4 system it probably shouldn't have been a surprise that there would be issues but what was surprising was the inability of Honda, a company that prided itself on its engineering ability, to find a quick resolution to the issue.   The VF700 received a mind-boggling 8 camshaft revisions in its first year alone and the VF series quickly earned a moniker of "chocolate camshaft - it melts in your hand!" with sales being drastically impacted in the following year.

Fortunately for Honda, the company was large enough that the issues with VF series wasn't a make or break proposition but they still had to decided whether to keep working on the V4 design or walk away from the concept.  The later option was actually the financially safer choice; its what Suzuki would do with TL series and what Bimota wish they could have done with the V-Due.  But for Honda's motorcycling division, the issue was more than just a financial decision; their reputation for engineering prowess was at stake.  Honda went back to the design board and the result was the 1986 VFR, a machine engineered to a detail that was unheard of previously.  Rumor has it that the VFR was so over engineered that Honda actually lost money on every one it sold but there is no arguing that the VFR restored the companies reputation as an engineering powerhouse with the VFR winning bike of the year in its first year.  Most impressively it kept winning its market segment year after year and was even anointed as "bike of the decade" for the 1990's by CycleWorld.  Despite changes in displacement and technology the VFR line is still going strong.

NOTE:  An excellent history of the VFR lineup and the changes in each edition can be found here.

This particular VFR800 looks to be in amazing shape, although the silver color combined with the direct sunlight could potentially mask some small paint imperfections.  On the plus side the seller indicates a recent refresh including rubber and misc items.  On the negative side some frame sliders seem to be in place in some pics so its unclear as to how the bike has actually been used.  Also the seller does not indicate if the optional ABS that was available with this model is included on the bike.  This is an important question because while the VFR came standard with a linked braking system (which worked very well indeed), the VFR has a wet weight of over 500 pounds so having ABS was a major upgrade.

Here is what the seller has to say

  • New tires Michelin Pilot Power 2CT
  • New spark plugs
  • New brake pads
  • New K&N air filter
  • Fresh battery
  • Fresh oil every season.
  • All stock, except license plate mount. It was removed by the previous owner.
  • I have panniers Givi Monokey V35 for extra $500. They are barely used.

Admit it, those exhausts are cool and look great with the silver color scheme.

So is this 12,000 mile VFR worth the current asking price of $3,500 USD (extra for the hard luggage)?   While this generation of VFR will probably never appreciate as a collectors bike, if your intent is to actually ride your bikes then that price seems like a great deal.    Also the VFR is a renowned touring machine so this offers an opportunity for both at a low price.  Personally I think this would make an excellent every day rider for someone who already has their track bike or for someone who wants to move into longer distance riding without moving into the everything-but-the-fridge-goldwing segment.

-Martin G/Dallaslavowner

Dorian Gray:  2005 Honda Interceptor in Silver
Kawasaki May 25, 2018 posted by Marty

Unloved Zed sled: 1995 Kawasaki ZX9R with 6,813 miles

Kawasaki's ZX-9R has always been a bit of mongrel bike; situated between the legendary ZX7 and ZX11 series, the 899cc bike was initially developed as a response to the Honda CBR900 but never achieved top status in the segment.  Although the configuration lasted for nearly 10 years, sales were never huge for Kawasaki and it isn't considered to be a historically or technologically significant bike by collectors. Still today's offering is an ultra clean model with less than 7000 miles in its over 23 years, is in the rare for the model candleberry-wine-red color scheme and appears to have all OEM bits available so it seemed worth of a post.

1995 Kawasaki ZX9R on ebay

The ZX9R was somewhat hastily developed by Kawasaki as a segment response to the CBR900 Fireblade.  The problem for Kawasaki was that as a smaller manufacturer they didn't have the resources to launch an all out assault against the class leading Honda (it would take a few more years until Yamaha's R1 did that).    Kawasaki instead tried to stake out a middle ground, offering a 900cc bike that wasn't an ultra-light-weight repli-racer fit only for the track but was also not a large capacity "sportbike" touring machine.  To do this Kawasaki essentially took their legendary but now outclassed ZX7/ZXR750 and incorporated a number of ZX11/ZZR-1100 design features.  Suspension was an upgrade over the 750 with fully adjustable 43 mm upside-down KYB front forks and a fully adjustable remote-reservoir KYB mono-shock while the brakes were Tokico front and rear.  The most obvious  change came in the engine but even there parts were shared with the majority of the engine pieces (crankcases, clutch and gearbox) coming from the 750cc while the cylinder head was from the ZX11/ZZR-11100 with different valve actuation.  The result was more grunt and a red line of 12,000 rpm (the Fireblade stopped at 10,500 rpm).  Put it all together and you got exactly what Kawasaki intended - a mid sized bike that existed between the ends of the segment.

While the ZX9R delivered on its intended purpose, it never really developed a strong following like the Fireblade, GSXR or the soon to follow Yamaha R1.  In retrospect is seems Kawasaki  misjudged the long term impact of the "less is more" movement begun by the Fireblade.  Also the first models of the ZX9R were heavier compared to the competition and had the typical-of-the-time Kawasaki build quality issues, especially with the paint.

As for this particular ZX9R, the bike looks to almost completely OEM but the pictures aren't the best...I mean seriously, how hard would it have been to move the truck?  The seller doesn't give any service info other than "newish tires" so I would expect there to be a need for fresh fluids with particular attention paid to the brake system (a known issue for Kawasaki bikes of this period if left standing for long periods).  On the plus side the bike looks clean with no evidence of indicator or rear tail modifications common of the era and even the exhaust looks OEM and pristine.  The only non-stock item appears to be the windscreen and the seller indicates the OEM unit will be included in the sale.

So let's jump to the question - is this low mileage and apparently almost completely OEM ZX9R worth the current Buy-It-Now price of of $3999 USD?  Well a quick search through sites like Cycletrader show that price to be a bit more than expected but not out of range given the mileage of this bike.   As for value, I don't think this one will appeal to collectors and will probably never appreciate significantly but it isn't something you are going to see at your local bike night and might also be a good fit for people who always liked the bigger ZX11/ZZR1100 in this color scheme but found that bike too big to handle easily.  Based on the pics and the mileage the current owner is not a major Kawasaki fan so they might be motivated to move off the asking price, especially if you can offer something Suzuki-related in trade?

-Marty/Dallaslavowner

Unloved Zed sled:  1995 Kawasaki ZX9R with 6,813 miles
Sport Bikes For Sale May 13, 2018 posted by Marty

Quail Motorcycle gathering 2018: Munro Racer, Flying Merkel and more

Another year and another good time at the Quail Motorcycling gathering in Carmel California last weekend.   This year was a bit warmer and was the 10th anniversary event.  Almost all the prior year winners were present and highlights included an actual race Yamaha, the Burt Munro racer and some amazing one off customs including my personal favorite a 1985 Yamaha 500cc two stroke melded to a modern day R1 chasis.   Enjoy the photos!

Rainey Yamaha, windscreen and seat were replacements but everything else looked like it had come off the track.

Here is the one I mentioned in the header.  The sign on the front is a bit hard to read due to glare but it says 1985 Yamaha RZV500.  Bodywork looks like a 2nd gen R1.  Sadly I didnt get to hear it fire.

Is that the Burt Munro Indian special?  yup..super cool

Note:  for anyone who hasn't seen the Burt Munro movie with Anthony Hopkins, definitely worth a watch.

How about some rotary engine goodness?  there was actually a whole selection of these, this was the cleanest and had a super cool rotational dash unit that sadly I didn't get a photo of in operation.

A fair selection of mid 1980's and 1990's sportbikes:

Classics including this years best in show, a Flying Merkel:

Many of the winners from the last 10 years were present too:

Some super cool customs were on hand too, including this Yamaha GTS that looked like something master chief would be on:

Some old and new electric bikes showed how far these machines have come. The past:

The present:

Last but not least, a bit of fun - the bat cycle...admit it, you heard the classic theme in your head:

There were also lots of good bikes out in the parking lot but my memory was running low so I didnt take any shots.   There were also vendors on hand including Bonhams and Aprilia and Moto Guzzi were offering test rides.  All in all, a truly great way to spend a spring day.

Note:  Price for a ticket was $75 via advance purchase and included parking and a really nice lunch, crowd was about 3000 over the course of the day.  I got there early and was able to get up close and personal with a lot of these machines.   While the next trip I have on my motorcycling bucket list is to the Barber Museum, I plan on returning again in the future.

-Marty/dallaslavowner

Quail Motorcycle gathering 2018:  Munro Racer, Flying Merkel and more
Kawasaki March 26, 2018 posted by Marty

The Dark Knight: 1992 Kawasaki Ninja ZX11

No computers no launch control no ABS, just 1052cc's of grunt fed by 4 carbs all wrapped up in bodywork that would make the dark knight drool. And with less than 9,000 miles since new, this 1992 Ninja ZX11 is a treat to behold.  I know the ZX11 might not seem like a rare sportbike but its important to remember the big Ninja was the fastest production sportbike from 1992 to 1997 in large part thanks to its ram air system.  This means it meets the RSBFS technology and historical significance criteria and when you add in the  mileage/condition of this particular unit it seemed worthy of a post.

1992 Kawasaki ZX11 with 8775 miles on ebay

We have seen previous posts here on RSBFS regarding the ZX11 which is also known as the ZZR1100 outside of the USA.  An evolution of the ZX10 (which is currently shooting up the price chart in a big way for collectors) the ZX11/ZZR1100 took the preceding model and no pun intended, turned it up to 11.  Launched in 1992 the big Ninja introduced ram air systems to the big bike segment while also offering wind tunnel based bodywork that made it far too easy to just be cruising along in comfort and suddenly realize you are well over the speed limit.  The ZX11 held the crown of fastest production motorcycle until the introduction of the Honda Blackbird  in 1997 and is considered by many to be the progenitor of the hyperspeed-touring market segment.

Another plus for the ZX11/ZZR110 is that even though it is now over 25 years old it still looks great.  I still like the fairing "wing" integrated turn signals more than the current trend of back side of the mirror embedded units and there is no eye-watering 1990's graphics package to overcome (cough-Vance-and-Hines-Yamaha-cough).  While the ZX11 was offered in several monochromatic schemes include my personal favorite of Candleberry wine red, the sales leader for the big Z was always "Ebony Pearl" or as the sales people often referred to it, Batman black.

This particular ZX11 is in excellent condition having covered only 8,775 miles since new.  Even better is the fact that the current owner seems to have kept up the the bike, although no mention is made of tire age/rubber.

Here is a summary of the info the seller has provided

  • 3rd owner of this bike and have put <800 miles on it since I purchased it 3 years ago.
  • Has a full D&D header system, K&N, Jet kit & ignition advancer (use premium fuel).
  • Recently changed all the engine & brake fluids and it has new EBC brake pads.  Also changed the fuel filters and fuel bowl transfer tube O rings, as well as the temperature sending unit in the radiator as the temp gauge didn't work when I took delivery. 
  • No cracks, rashes, abrasions, chips, etc. There is a small area on one of the fork lowers where the prior owner had to have a registration tag and it has pulled some of the paint off the lower left fork tube, but everything else defies this classic's age.
  • Will come with a number of spare new parts and gaskets to keep this beast humming well into the future.

Note:  I did communicate the seller and he indicates the OEM windscreen and exhausts are not available.

So is this big black beastie worth the Buy It Now price of $4,300 USD?   Well I have to admit I have a weakness for the big Z even though it is a BIG bike and a bit too tall for me. Also the pictures on this one are good but not great (there is no clear pic of the license plate area) and I would have much preferred to see it out in sunshine /daylight.  Lastly I am not sure what the holes are that appear in the frame under the gas tank on the riders right size, I think the cover shroud from the fairing might have been removed but this would need to be confirmed.

Overall I really think the question is what is your intent for acquiring this bike.  The listing seems targeted towards day-to-day riders rather than collectors or perhaps a nostalgia-rider who never got to experience the big Zed.  For any collector considering this particular ZX11 the main question would be whether the recent dramatic price jumps in the predecessor ZX10 model means they think the ZX11 will see similar appreciation in the near future.  All I can say is that if I bought this bike I would be putting in the earbuds and go for a late night or early morning blast listening to this.

-Marty/Dallaslavowner

The Dark Knight: 1992 Kawasaki Ninja ZX11
Ducati March 20, 2018 posted by Marty

Lust AND trust: 2004 Ducati 999R FILA edition in Florida USA

Today's post is for a Ducati FILA 999R in Florida  with less than 2,000 miles since new.  While the 999 series isn't hard to find for sale, approximately 70 FILA editions were imported into the USA so finding one in this condition and mileage is quite rare.

2004 999R FILA with under 1300 miles on ebay

For a while it seemed like every Ducati sportbike had at least 3 different versions with some also having a "commemorative edition".   While these commemorative editions seemed to be mostly overpriced marketing exercises (cough-Nieman-Marcus-748-cough) the Ducati FILA edition was a bit different.  The FILA 999R was launched to celebrate Ducati's 200th win in the World Superbike Championship and came with all the 999R level goodies such as carbon-fiber bodywork, top-level engine internals, as well as an upgraded fuel system and upgraded suspension.  All the changes meant that the R offered 40BHP more over the basic/strada version while also being lighter and handling better.

The FILA edition also had another advantage over the other 999 versions; it just looked much better.  Initial reviews of the 999 series were that it certainly wasn't as pretty as the predecessor 998 (which still looked in large part like the legendary 916).  Many people commented that the 916 had a balance of form and function, also sometimes called "the-balance-between-lust-and-trust".  The 999 was perceived as high trust, low lust in large part due to its full fairing on the front but very small rear fairing.  Fortunately the FILA edition elicited no such complains although a few reviewers indicated the paint and decal quality could leave something to be desired.

This particular bit of carbon wrapped goodness is being offered by a dealer in Florida.   Unfortunately there is zero information in the listing about any servicing and given the low miles, I would expect the tires and fluids to all be original and also the belts would likely need to be redone.  While this (and possibly a battery) would be likely costs, this bike looks to be absolutely pristine.

So is this 999R FILA worth the Buy-It-Now price of $18,500 USD?   Honestly I think that price is a bit high.  FILA editions seem to trade somewhere between 11-13k so the price bump for this one seems to be based on the mileage and the fact that the seller is a dealer.  The seller does indicate an opening bid price of $15,000 USD which is more reasonable and demonstrates a bit of potential movement on the price.

Perhaps the real question is whether this one will appreciate going forward.   While certainly not as dramatic as a Desmosedici or Supermono, the FILA edition does seem to be the most desired 999 series bike.  I would predict a bit more depreciation over the next 8 years, then a stabilization and slow price increase over time.  This one will probably appeal to a collector with a long term mindset and homologation/Ducati R series collector.

-Marty/Dallaslavowner

Lust AND trust:  2004 Ducati 999R FILA edition in Florida USA
Bimota December 28, 2017 posted by Marty

Bitcoin level Bimota: Zero miles 1992 Bimota Tesi 1D in Switzerland

Here is a time capsule, a zero miles/NOS Bimota Tesi 1D SR that has never had fluids installed.  The 1st generation Bimota Tesi is already a bit of unobtanium and something every collector considers so this one is certainly one to take notice of...plus the color scheme is perfect for the holidays.

1992 Bimota Tesi 1D with zero miles in Switzerland

Thinking back on the late 1990's, it seems safe to say that the manufacturer that best embodied the period ethos of "throw-it-against-the-wall-and-see-what-sticks" was Bimota.   Part of that was due to its small nature/lack of multi-layered governance and part of it was also probably due to it being an Italian firm where a certain level of fla.ir is expected.  Regardless, Bimota was willing to bring unproven concepts all the way to market and while some of these never delivered as promised (cough-VDue-cough), the Tesi series actually did what it promised.

The Tesi promise was improved handling via a new suspension feature; hub-centered steering.  The Bimota hub centered suspension setup transferred braking force into the frame, not up into the headstock area like on a conventional bike.  Without the impact of braking on the forks, the front end was significantly more stable which made handling feather quick and rock stable.

NOTE:  A good write up about the concept of hub-centered steering and Tesi can be found here.

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At the launch of the Tesi 1D Bimota said the plan was to build 300 but the actual production numbers are a bit vague.   According to sources I found, over 400 were produced between its launch and end in 1994 and this number is said to have included about 50 produced with 400cc for Japan as well as some "Final Edition" and SR models which came with a 904cc 851 motor (the seller indicates this is one of the SR editions).

Mounted in Bimota's beautiful "Omega" frame the 904cc Ducati powerplant worked with the hub-center handling improvements to deliver a bike incredibly nimble for its size.  So why didn't the the Tesi and it's hub-centered design become the future of motorcycling?  The main factor was probably price.  When introduced the Tesi was offered at the eye-popping price of $40,000 USD which made it the most expensive motorcycle on the market.   Also, the complexity of the bike scared away some owners, especially after reports surfaced that the futuristic electrics and digital dash board could suddenly shut down or give wrong readings.

>

Now lets look at this particular Tesi 1D.  According to the seller, the bike has essentially been a display piece since production.  Below is a summary of what the seller has to say:

  • Never ridden, never run, properly prepared for long term display.
  • Specifically ordered from the distributor without any fluids when new in 1992. Neither the hydraulic brake system front and rear, nor the cooling system nor the original battery have ever been filled with fluids.
  • All mechanical components inside the engine are still coated with assembly lube from the Ducati factory. The engine is filled with a light-weight oil to preserve internals, it has never been started or run.
  • Kept in a climate controlled environment without UV light present, so there has been no deterioration of any rubber pieces and no discoloration of any painted or coated surfaces. Of course there is no oxidation present on any metal surfaces or fasteners.
  • The protective yellow zinc plating on all three cast iron Brembo rotor surfaces is still present, the seat foam on the molded solo seat pad and backrest is still uncompressed. The tires mounted were specified to be racing tires when ordered new. Levers, grips, pegs, chain, sprockets as most everything else on this motorcycle are as new as they were in 1992.
  • Comes with all the original ownership documents, customs forms, the owners manual, the warranty booklet, copies of the parts manual and workshop manual and the original Tesi toolkit in duplicate.
  • The original early Tesi rear stand, the one off custom front stand (for displaying the bike with both tires off the ground) both mph and km/h dash boards (km dash & computer packed up, mph dash with protective white film still underneath, mounted in the fairing) and two original Weber Marelli P7 ECU computers, one chip'd for regular street use and the other fully open P7 ECU chipped for race use performance, are also included.
  • Multiple other original spares come with this bike. Of course the red Bimota cover is present and in its correct Bimota bag.

Note:  The seller also provides additional photos via an online photo album here.

Now for the real question - is this bike worth the current asking price of $150,000 USD?   Yes, you read that number right - $150,000 USD.   That's almost 4 times the original asking price which is a level of increase I don't think we have ever seen on RSBFS before.  To be honest, when I saw that asking price I thought this was possibly a test listing by the seller but after communication with them, this is in fact the actual Buy-It-Now asking price.  Since in most cases sellers expect offers with 10-15% of the BIN price, its seems safe to say this one is going to cost 6 figures US for any interested parties.

So is a zero miles 1D SR Tesi worth that much?  Personally I don't think so but the 1D and 2D series of the Tesi come up for sale so rarely I don't know what the current value is.   I do think the current ask price means it won't go to an investment oriented collector but it could draw interest from the zero miles/"crate-bike" crowd.   I guess we can only wait and see...but it would sure be a nice way to start the new year with it in your living room.

-Marty G/Dallaslavowner

Bitcoin level Bimota:  Zero miles 1992 Bimota Tesi 1D in Switzerland