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
Suzuki January 4, 2017 posted by Marty

The Beast Below: 2001 Suzuki TL1000R

2001 Suzuki TL1000R on ebay

Back in the late 1990's the motorcycling world was gobsmacked by the Ducati 916 - not only was it shockingly beautiful, it restored the v-twin as THE desired powerplant for the motorcycling cognescenti.  Given the impact of the Ducati 916 it wasn't a surprise that the competition tried to build their own v-twins with the results including the Aprilia FalcoHonda Firestorm and Suzuki TL series (S/Street and R/Race model). While these bikes were each interesting in their own way (especially the Falco) none dethroned the Ducati.  The reasons for this were varied; the Aprilia was poorly marketed and simply bland looking in comparison while the Honda suffered from a very small fuel tank and poor (for Honda anyway) build quality.  As for the TL series, the issue was handling.

When the Suzuki TL series was introduced with the TL-S/Street version the 90 degree v-twin won raves for producing 125hp.  However the v-twin design meant that there was less room for the rear suspension so Suzuki fit a car-like rotary suspension system which involved a separate spring and rotary damper.  While this suspension is fine under most situations for the street, when the suspension came under heavy load it got hot and the suspension could struggle to respond quickly enough. The result was front wheel lift which could then result in tank slap.   The press jumped on the issue, declaring the bike as a "widow maker".

Even as Suzuki worked to resolve the TL-S/Street versions handling issues the company launched the TL- R/Race version.  Like its year younger sibling, the TL-R had a great engine (tweaked to produce 135hp) that was now mounted in a GSX-R series derived beam frame and clad with full bodywork.   The TL-R came with a factory installed steering damper but despite the changes, still maintained its reputation for dangerous handling.  Sales were below target and after 6 years Suzuki decided to pull the plug on its V-Twin series efforts and refocus its attention on the GSX/inline four series.

This particular TL1000R is in the traditional late 1990's blue and white Suzuki colors.  Personally I think it was a mistake for Suzuki to clad the TL-R in something that was so similar to the GSX-R series but the bodywork on this one does look to be pretty good.   The taillights, turnsignals, windscreen and frame sliders/crash bungs are aftermarket but could be restored pretty cheaply.  The seller does indicate some scuffs and a broken bit of fairing but also indicates that the sale includes some extra bits

Here is what the seller has to say

  • Mileage 11,338
  • Has a full Yoshimura exhaust system, Power commander + tune  
  • Included in the sale is a spare belly pan, tail fairing, and upper fairing and clear windscreen 
  • Chain and sprockets are in good condition, oil is fresh.  
  • Bike is lowered slightly but OEM shock with OEM ride height links that will go with the bike

So what is this V-Twin beastie worth?  Obviously its not a pristine bike and will require some attention if the intent is to acquire it for a collection.  However the price right now is stupid low at $2600 USD (which is barely above KBB trade in value) and these still have a reputation for being very good both as a daily commuter and on  the track.   Personally I think this one is a screaming deal right now.

Note: If you are interested in learning more about the TL1000R, check out some of our previous posts regarding the Suzuki TL1000R.

-Marty/Dallaslavowner

The Beast Below:  2001 Suzuki TL1000R
Honda December 26, 2016 posted by Marty

Boxing Day Dream: 1989 Honda RC30 with 1,550 miles in the UK

1989 Honda RC30 for sale on ebay uk

Any RSBFS readers not familiar with the Honda RC30/VFR750R can read our previous RC30/VFR750R posts to learn about this legendary bike but to quickly summarize, Honda decided to show the world what it was capable of when all the limits (financial, manpower, etc) were ignored.  The result was the Honda RC30, a machine built to win and boy did it.  In just the 1st year after its introduction the result was pure domination with 15 of the 25 finishers in the top F1 class being on the new Honda.  As this was the homologation era, street versions also had to be available, an a total of 1,500 were produced each year over a 2 year production run.

A large block of the RC30's that were produced were dedicated to the Japanese market and this particular RC30 is apparently one of these Japanese editions but interestingly, is currently located in the UK.  Despite its travels, it is probably the most pristine/intact one we have had on RSBFS, with mileage at only 1,550 miles.

The pics* seems to match the mileage with the bike looking like it just came out of the factory.  The seller does mention some slight staining around the frame plate but this is not apparent in the pics and everything looks completely OEM/stock.   Given the low miles and the statement that this is a formerly japan market bike I would assume the Japan market CDI/top speed limiter is still installed but info on how to remove/replace it is available on the web so it would be fairly straightforward to enjoy the full RC30 experience.

*NOTE:  The listing includes both standard pics and additional classified ad pics which are located at the bottom of the ebay.co.uk listing.

The Honda RC30/VFR750R is one of those bikes that every serious collector wants to have in their collection.  It is probably the homologation bike that had the most top level track success, although the Ducati Desmosedici and Kawasaki ZX7-RR are both close runners up.  But even given its legendary success on the track and the pristine condition of this example the question remains; is this example worth the asking price of 28,000 GBP/$35,000 USD?  That price seemed a bit high at first but then again it is very unlikely you will see one for sale in this condition anytime soon and prices do seem to be steadily increasing.

I guess the question is what is this bikes destiny?  Is it already fated to exist only as a halo bike in a collection?  Or will its next owner give it some fresh fluids/rubber and do a bit of riding to see what all the fuss was about?  All I know is that if I was able to acquire this one, I would be in that second camp for at least a bit.

-Marty/Dallaslavowner

Boxing Day Dream:  1989 Honda RC30 with 1,550 miles in the UK
Suzuki December 19, 2016 posted by Marty

First Year Big Bird: 1999 Suzuki Hayabusa (the unrestricted model)

1999 Suzuki Hayabusa for sale on eBay US

Its a given that every sportbike collector has a bike (or two) they regret not adding to their collection back when they were cheap to acquire.  Typically these regrets are for bikes that introduced a new technology or reset the standards for a sportbike class.  Also they were probably in pristine/nearly all OEM condition.  My personal example of this is the 1st year Yamaha R1 (the red and white one) which has seen dramatic price appreciation over the last 2 years.  Other examples in recent years include the Suzuki TL1000 and Triumph Daytona 955i, both which have also begun to increase in value quite dramatically

I mention all this because today's post is a 1st year/1999 Suzuki Hayabusa, a model which could become another "missed opportunity" for collectors very soon.

When the Hayabusa was first announced in the late 1997, the expectations of the sportbike world were that it would be an ultra-light, ultra focused machine meant to compete against the Honda CBR900/Fireblade and Yamaha R1.  This was probably due to its name, which means "Perigrine Falcon".  But Suzuki actually decided to go after a market that hadn't seen any dramatic changes in quite a while; the big bore hyper-sport.  Suzuki's Hayabusa hearkened back to the era when bikes like the Kawasaki ZX, Honda Blackbird and Yamaha Thunderace ruled; big bikes that could cover big distances with big speed.

Did the Hayabusa deliver?  Woo wee wow, yes it did.  The big Suzuki came standard from the factory with a top speed that was over 300 kph (that's over 185 mph for our non-metric readers).  Even more insanely, upon its introduction the big "bird" bike from Hamamatsu Japan did not have any electronic speed restrictions installed so even more speed was easily possible with just a few tweaks.

It probably shouldn't have come as a surprise that, shortly after the Hayabusa was launched,  an agreement was reached between the Japanese and European manufacturers to limit motorcycles to no more than 300 kph. This meant that the unrestricted Hayabusa,was pretty much guaranteed to be the top speed champ for quite a while.  The Hayabusa actually held the top speed record for unmodified bikes for almost 10 years, finally being dethroned by the BMW S1000 in 2009.

This particular Hayabusa looks to be nearly all OEM and the seller posts a fair amount of pics showing condition.  Mileage is approximately 14,000 miles so its not been a garage quuen but a good amount of service info is provided.  Even the only non-OEM pieces are clearly identified by the owner.

Here is what the seller has to say:

  • *NEW* Pilot Sports
  • Full Akrapovic stainless steel exhaust system
  • Full synthetic fluids every 4K mi. from day one
  • PowerCommander 3 with a radical map currently programmed
  • Brock clutch kit and clutch cushion upgrade
  • Adult owned, NEVER raced, dropped or molested.  
  • Never seen rain.  Been in a heated garage on battery tender for a couple years now
  • Have stock seat and sissy bar.

One more interesting note- the big  Suzuki wasn't a runaway sales success in its first year.  Unlike most bikes, which sell well in their first year and then see their numbers decline the Hayabusa reversed this pattern.  According to Wikipedia, "sales in the United States increased from just a few thousand units in 1999 to over 10,000 in 2006."

So is this 1st year unrestricted speed monster worth the $7000 USD asking price?   Well we haven't posted too many of these before so very little price info is in the RSBFS archive.  A quick search through ebay history seems to show a price for 1st year Hayabusas around $4500-$6000 USD  depending on mileage.  Given this bike has approximately 14,000 miles the sellers $7000 asking price seems to be at the high end of the range but not completely unreasonable.

The Hayabusa will never be unobtanium and you won't impress anyone by riding one to your local bike night.  Then again, we used to say the same thing about 1st year Fireblades and the R1.  And this is the 1st year model, which was produced in much less numbers and was the only unrestricted version, so perhaps the question for collectors really is - how much will I regret it if I miss this opportunity?

-Marty/Dallaslavowner

First Year Big Bird:  1999 Suzuki Hayabusa (the unrestricted model)
Honda November 18, 2016 posted by Marty

Out of the Winter Darkness: 1989 Honda RC30 in Canada

Before heading out for the holiday weekend, here is a bit of unobtanium: a 1989 Honda RC30 located in Canada.   Perhaps if you are heading towards Ontario for the holiday anyway, a short detour is in order?

rc302

1989 Honda RC30 for sale on eBay in Canada

The RC30 is a bike that every serious collector wants to own at one point, and for good reason - it was about as true a homologation bike as was ever produced.  The RC30, also known as the VFR750R, came with what was at the time unheard of specs for a street bike; titanium and magnesium cast components, track-type "slipper" clutch, a first gear designed for track starts up to 80 mph, a single-sided swingarm, etc.

The story of how the RC30 originated usually goes something like Soichiro Honda declaring he wanted to show the world what Honda could do if decided to put all its efforts towards producing a no-holds-barred sports bike and that the mandate was that there would be no compromise, no corners cut, and no bowing to the bean counters.  In short, the mandate was that the bike was to be the best and the result was the RC30, a bike built to win...and win it most certainly did.   The RC30 carried "Flying" Fred Merkel to consecutive WSB titles in 1988 and 1989, and powered Steve Hislop around the famous Isle of Man TT course at a then unheard of/first 120-mph lap.  How dominate was the RC30?  Think of it this way - in 1990 fifteen of the 25 finishers in the top F1 class were on the VFR750R/RC30.

A good review of the RC30 by visordown.com can be read here.

rc306

Given its been over 25 years since this bike was introduced, the RC30 ought to look and sound dated, but its elegant lines and tiny size (more like a big 250cc 2-stroke than a full 750cc 4-stroke) produce a stunning reaction even today.  Perhaps what keeps the RC30 an object of lust is the way it puts everything together; incredible feel from the suspension, outstanding build quality, a stupendously wide and usable powerband and the lightest weight in its class allowed the the 750cc powered machine to pretty much make the competition look stupid.  The only downside was that that all this top shelf performance didn't come cheap. The RC30 was priced at an eye popping $21,000 in 1990 (about $39,000 USD in today's dollars).

To put it simply, the word masterpiece can be commonplace when describing a rare sportbike, but in the case of the RC30 it was and still is truly justified.

rc301

This particular RC30 looks to be in good condition but I really wish the seller hadn't taken the pictures at night, had used a higher quality camera, and somehow changed the flash results.  Overall the bike looks to be OEM with the possible exception of a cut rear fender?  Also the tires look a bit off, perhaps the rear wheel is non stock?

Note:  The RC30 had different trim based on the destination country and while this particular model appears to be the dual headlight US version, it might actually be a bike produced specifically for the Canadian market (supposedly there was about 25 of these).  Unfortunately, the seller is not providing ownership history info and there is a somewhat ominous "rebuilt due to age" reference which could mean anything from a fluid change to a former track bike.

Here is what the seller has to say

  • Only 11000 km
  • All Original
  • Has been professionally rebuilt due to age to perfect spec
  • Bike rides perfect and needs nothing
  • Also has the race pkg includes race cams gives more power

rc304

Current bid price on this is only about $14,000 USD but that given that we have seen recent posts range from $22,000 to over $28,000 USD, I expect price on this one to jump.  To be honest I not sure if this is a bike produced specifically for the Canadian market or if this is a US bike (only 300 of these were reported as coming into the USA) but regardless, this one will probably hold its value over time.

Here at RSBFS we have some regular readers who will be able to offer better insight on the current fair price for this RC30, so if its time for you to add one to your collection, I suggest you check out the the comments on this post or the previous RSBFS posts linked above.  But anyone who is seriously interested will want to be quick as eBay auctions of these bikes often end early.   I would also be curious to hear from anyone who has imported a bike from Canada to the USA, suggestions for shipping companies...no reason...nothing to see here...move along now...

-Marty/Dallaslavowner

Out of the Winter Darkness:  1989 Honda RC30 in Canada
Benelli November 10, 2016 posted by Marty

Quick Fix? 2005 Benelli Novocento in need of some care

Most of the bikes we post on RSBFS are in pristine condition or if not, are so rare as to make their condition less of a concern.  This one is somewhere in the middle...a 2005 Benelli Novocento with what appears to be light cosmetic damage.

Before proceeding further with this post, I have to admit that in the past I have had a bit of bias against the newer Benelli bikes, mostly due to the fact that the triple engine was originally designed to be the new power plant for my beloved Laverda marque (a pox on your house, Francesco Tognon!)  But as any smart collector or US/UK voter knows, allowing your emotions to influence decisions can cause you to do/not do things that you end up quickly regretting.  Therefore we present this 2005 Benelli Novocento in need of some light care/restoration for your consideration.

benelli-1

2005 Benelli Novocento on for sale eBay

The history of Benelli has been well chronicled on RSBFS, with an especially good write up done here, but suffice to say the company has gone through the trials and tribulations that are typical for a small Italian motorcycle manufacturer.  Right now primary ownership seems to be Chinese with a major brand focus on scooters but parts for this model do appear to be available.  This is important because this bike does show evidence of being lightly down but the seller is quite honest about this with lots of details/pics and the damage looks to be cosmetic.  Best of all the price seems to have been adjusted to reflect the current condition so this might be an opportunity to pick up one of these at a discount.

belllei-4>

Reviews by owners of the 900cc Benelli were very positive, although the seat height is apparently fairly high and apparently the OEM mirrors are basically worthless.  It may not be the fastest bike but it looks and sounds awesome and it certainly isn't something you are likely to see at your local bike night.

Here is a video review from Motorvision.

Mileage on this one is at 6,155 which means it has been broken in.  The seller does indicate that all the issues associated with the early Benelli bikes have been addressed, including the factory warranty replacement of the clutch basket.

Here is an overview of what the seller has posted in the ebay listing

  • Upon bringing the bike home, I ordered all of the updated parts it required from a Benelli dealer in Germany.  This includes updated clutch basket and bearings, z25 gear, alternator drive cup and cushions, z25/alternator driven shaft, bellville washer and bolt, side cover gasket, as well as a few other pieces.
  • All original parts will be included in sale.  
  • Oil has been changed every season (less than 1000 miles) with AMSoil full synthetic and hiflofiltro filter (one filter will be included with the sale).
  • The only upgrades from stock have been a Leo Vince sbk titanium slip on exhaust, and a top notch Rk gold chain.
  • Comes with a benelli branded ,fitted cover.
  • I will be including many extra parts, some used, some new, including stock exhaust, cover, full shop manual in english, extra carbon fiber mount for the Leo Vince exhaust if you want to delete the passenger pegs, extra coil sticks

bellie-3

The seller seems to be quite honest about the condition and includes additional pics in listing via a link to google drive.  There are also a fair number of questions with seller responses embedded within the eBay listing , which seems to indicate an honest seller.

Note - I emailed the owner about the missing riders right mirror, he indicates this is not included in the sale.  However research on owners has indicated the mirrors on this bike are one of the more commonly replaced items due to the standard ones poor effectiveness.

benelli5

Now for the question - should you consider acquiring this bike?  Well as stated previously it is in need of some love to bring it back to OEM condition but most of the effort seems to be cosmetic.  The level of detail provided by the seller is good so I don't think this one has been abused, probably just unlucky.  And the current opening bid price of $5000 is much less than the average $9500 prices we have seen for these previously on RSBFS so even with the cost of any repairs/restoration you might end up ahead.

I think this bit of green and silver triple powered Italiana is a good opportunity for someone who is reasonably comfortable with light restoration.  Personally I would consider this bike as an acquisition if the seat height was a few inches less.

-Marty/Dallaslavowner

Quick Fix? 2005 Benelli Novocento in need of some care
Ducati October 28, 2016 posted by Marty

851 with extra grunt: 1993 Ducati 888 SPO

duc8882

1993 Ducati 888 SPO for sale on eBay

Back in the late 1980's/early 1990's, Ducati was turning things around.  The bologna-based company had developed its 851 engine back in 1987 and the fuel injected L-twin engine was powerful, reliable and had brought Ducati something it had not had for many years; racing success.  But the Ducati bosses recognized that even though their 851 machines were doing well on the track, something more powerful was needed to keep pace with the competition, especially since the big Japanese firms had decided to focus development on not only power but also improved handling and light weight.   The simplest solution for Ducati was to increase the bore size to 888 while working on their next gen bike, the epic 916, hence the Ducati 888 series was born.    This post is for a SPO version, which was the 1993 edition (the 1994 edition was designed as the 888 Limited Edition).

duc8884

The 888SPO was a bit of a band-aid bike for Ducati. The company originally intended to bring its race replica SP5 bike into the US but couldn't get them past D.O.T requirements.  So for the US market Ducati took their European 888 Strada which was basically just an 851 with an 888cc engine in it and added some top shelf SP5 components such as a single seat, up-swept exhaust system and upgraded Ohlins shock system to create the 888 SPO for 1993.  According to the Ducatiforums, approximately 290 were built for the US market

NOTE: For 1994 the 888 got even more top shelf goodies and was named the 888 Limited.  According to the Ducati forums, only 100 888 Limited editions were imported for the US market.

duc8881

What was the 888 like to own/ride?  Here is a review by Visordown

"By far the best were the Öhlins-kitted SPs, culminating with the best-of-the-bunch SP5 in 1993. But like anything exotic and Italian, getting the best out of an 888 requires experience, knowledge, patience and money. The factory's base suspension settings were all over the shop making a good 888 class-leadingly stunning and a bad one worse than a poorly rebuilt write-off with flat tyres, square wheels and a chocolate frame.

But the key to the 888s celebrity status isn't the fact that it's drop-dead gorgeous, vastly fast, or rewarding to ride. It can indeed be all of those things, granted, but because the factory produced so few by today's mass-manufacturing standards, it's the 888's scarcity that adds volumes to its value and appeal. The 888 is the biking equivalent of a Ferrari 250GTO, and that dear reader, is why you want one."

duc8885

This particular 888 looks to be in great shape with the only non-OEM item I am seeing being the tank scratch/bump pad.  Also I think the rear license plate mount might have been cut down a bit/"profiled".

The seller includes good information regarding maintenance in the ebay listing, which is always a good sign.  Here are the highlights of what the seller has to say:

  • For sale is my beloved 1993 Ducati 888 Sport Production (h)Omologation (SPO).  Maintained to be a daily driver but only used when sunny and dry.
  • Factory original bodywork and never been dropped or repaired, every switch and lever works as intended from the factory.
  • Belts, timing and all fluids serviced within the last 1000 miles.
  • I believe I am the third owner after purchasing from a close friend who cared for her similarly. All original with the exception of the following:
    • Fast by Ferracci carbon fiber exhaust
    • Fast by Ferracci power chip
    • Fast by Ferracci carbon fiber front fender (identical to 1994 888 SPO LTD)
    • Fast by Ferracci fuel cap
    • Fuel tank lined and sealed
    • Fuel tank pad
    • Lithium battery (Feb2016)
    • Performance silicone blue brake and clutch lines
    • Profiled rear fender
    • European high power headlight
    • Battery tender quick release plug

duc8883

So what is this lovely redhead worth?   The entire 888 series is pretty rare, with slightly less than 400 brought into the USA over the two year run, so its going to be of interest to both investment-oriented collectors and fans of the period.  The near OEM condition of this will also likely impact the price.  The only concern would be that mileage is about 16,000 which can be an issue if the bike hasn't had proper maintenance but the info provided by the seller should make this one has been taken care of.

Prices for the Ducati 888 SPO's and Limiteds we have posted previously on RSBFS  seem to show a current market value of about $10,000 USD, more for bikes that have had some upgrades.  The current bid price on this one is at $7,300 USD and the reserve has been met so this one will definitely be moving on to a new owner after the auction ends.   Overall, this seems to be an opportunity for a relatively safe acquisition of a limited edition Ducati that will probably appreciate over time.

-Marty/Dallaslavowner

851 with extra grunt:  1993 Ducati 888 SPO