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 August 8, 2016 posted by Marty

They seem to come in waves:
Another 1994 Honda RC45, this one with under 900 miles

We just had a nice RC45 here on RSBFS last week and given the rarity of these it's a bit of a surprise that another one has popped up for sale so soon.  While the previous bike was a gray import bike offered by a dealer in Florida, this one looks to be a US bike currently owned by a collector.

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1994 Honda RVF750R/RC45 in Texas USA

As noted in the post from last week, the RVF750R (also known as the RC45) was introduced in 1994 as the successor to the epic RC30 and was a true homologation bike.  The RC45 came with a 749cc V4 engine containing titanium rods, ceramic-lined cylinder walls and gear driven cams, as well as a new fuel injection system and a race-ready single-sided rear swingarm.

The RC45 was a good bike on the track, being ridden to championships in 1997 and 1998.  But reviewers/riders found the bike a bit of a letdown on the street, mostly due to it being tuned to only produce around 110bhp for the U.S. version and the race gearbox having a very tall 1st gear. Consider the following review from motorcyclenews:

"Like the race version, Honda's road-going RC45 doesn't quite hit the spot, but it's still an impressive piece of exquisite engineering. As the ultimate ‘90s Superbike, the Honda RC45 lacks the pure focus of a Yamaha R1, the visceral punch of a Ducati 916 or the exotic edginess of a Bimota SB6R. Also, people might think your Honda RC45 is a Honda RVF400 NC35 from a distance..."

rc453

Mileage on this one is a low 877 according to the seller.  Unfortunately no other maintenance info is provided.  Based on the dust and color of the clutch reservoir fluid, I would bet that the bike has been standing for quite a few years and would require a thorough refresh including tires.

rc451

By the pics provided the bike looks to have been part of a serious collection.  Initial bid price is $40,000 USD with reserve not met. That price seems to be inline with what we have seen these go for in the past, even with the expected additional cost of a freshening.  Also given the rarity of these bikes, I wouldn't expect the price to drop below the opening bid.

It seems like the RC45 doesn't ring the emotional bells for a lot of collectors in the same way the RC30 did.  This one is certainly in excellent condition and is probably a good investment for a serious collector, but I wish there were a few more pics and comments by the seller.

-Marty/Dallaslavowner

They seem to come in waves:</br>Another 1994 Honda RC45, this one with under 900 miles
Honda August 2, 2016 posted by Marty

2nd Year But Still Classic: 1994 Honda CBR 900RR/Fireblade

cbr9007

1994 Honda CBR900/Fireblade on ebay

When we first started posting the CBR900RR on RSBFS a few years ago, some readers complained that it didn't belong on RSBFS.com.  The comments ranged from it not being rare enough because Honda made so many of them to the Yamaha R1 being a more pure interpretation of the small package/big power concept to it not being pretty enough and on and on. However in the last 4-5 years prices for pristine 1st gen CBR900RR/Fireblades have jumped dramatically, moving from the mid $4000 USD to over $15,000 USD, so perhaps we were on to something after all <wink wink nudge nudge>.

My personal belief is that price jump is occurring because many people are now recognizing how significant an impact the CBR900RR/Fireblade had on the sportbike world and also how rare these types of changes are to the world of sportbikes.  Prior to the Fireblade the 750cc class was the the most balanced class (the 1000+ sportbike class was more of the big power, big weight bikes).  The Honda 900RR delivered 1000+ level power in a package no bigger than a 750 and the impact was so significant that major new development in the 750cc class was essentially discontinued within a few years (except for the Suzuki GSX-750R).

The only other sportibikes I can think of that so redefined expectations of what you could buy are the Suzuki Hayabusa and Ducati Desmosedici, and while they are both epic bikes and probably future classics, neither resulted in the such a blurring of the classes like the Honda did.

cbr9004

This particular CBR900RR is a 1st gen bike but is a 1994 which means its actually the 2nd year of  production.  From what I have been able to find the differences between the first two years were apparently just paint, so a buyer would in essence be getting a 1st year bike.

This particular Fireblade looks to be pretty much all OEM including the often removed turn signals and rear fender/taillight unit still in place.  The only non OEM pieces I notice are an exhaust canister/muffler and a Scotts steering damper.  Unfortunately the seller does not provide any service info or ownership history.  The bar ends appear to be a bit nicked up but I am not seeing any evidence of the bike being down, so perhaps this just paint flaking from north Texas temp changes or from where it was parked?   Regarding fluids or rubber, the front brake reservoir does look a bit dark so interested parties would be wise to send a note to the seller to get more info but given Honda's build quality in the late 1990's.  I wouldn't be too worried about engine function even if this bike is still on original fluids.

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So now we must consider, what is this 2nd year/1st gen CBR900RR worth?  Well we had a pristine 1st year model in the most desired Blue/Red/White go for $15k earlier this year.  This one probably won't fetch anything near that price but I wouldn't be surprised to see it go for around $5000 due to its low mileage.

-Marty/Dallaslavowner

2nd Year But Still Classic:  1994 Honda CBR 900RR/Fireblade
Honda July 30, 2016 posted by Marty

Unobtanium alert: 1996 Honda RVF750R RC45

Back in the 1990's Honda introduced new technology to the sportbike world at a truly dizzying pace.  From 1990 to 1999, Honda USA introduced sportbike riders to the RC30, RC45, RC51, CBR600F2, VFR750, the legendary NR750 and the CBR900RR.  Personally I can't think of another manufacturer that launched so many top of class bikes over a similar length time frame.

While the Honda RC30 actually launched in 1987 in Japan, it didn't come to the USA until 1990  The RC30 was a techo tour-de-force that won a lot of races and developed a deep following.   The follow up RVF750R, also often referred to as just the RC45, wasn't as successful on the track but interestingly, for many collectors the RC45 is more desirable.

For anyone who is interested, an overview of all the differences between the RC30 and RC45 can be found here on Wikipedia.

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Introduced in 1994 and produced until 1999 but only imported officially into the US for 1994 with a 50 unit allocation, the Honda RC45 was a true homologation bike.  Right out of the box the bike came with a lot of top shelf components including an exotic DOHC 749cc V4 engine that had titanium rods, ceramic-lined cylinder walls and gear driven cams.  The RC45 also incorporated a new fuel injection system, lots of cast magnesium parts to reduce weight, a new aluminium twin-spar chassis and an exotic (for 1994) single-sided rear swingarm.

rc457

1996 Honda RVF750R/RC45 on ebay

And yet despite all the new tech, the RC45 didn't have quite the same level of track or sales success as the preceeding RC30 and initially was considered to be a bit of a failure.  Part of this was due to the fact that the new powerplant in the street/homolgation version was tuned to only produce around 110bhp for the U.S. version/118 for the European version which wasn't a huge jump from what standard 750cc sportbikes of the same era were offering.  Also street riding on the RC45 first gear was reported to be kind of a pain due to a very tall 1st gear.

While the RC45 didn't find favor on the street, things were quite different when it was taken to the track.  In peak race form the bike was transformed with power reported as being nearly 190 bhp.  Track successes of the RVF750R included Miguel Duhamel wining the 1996 Daytona 200, John Kocinski winning the 1997 WSBK championship and Ben Bostrom winning the 1998 AMA Superbike Championship.

rc458

As for this particular RC45, sharp eyed viewers have probably caught that this US-located bike is listed as 1996 with a VIN # well above 50 (NOTE:  This is assuming they can tear their eyes away from the art that is the perfect welds on this bike).  These issues are explained by the seller as being due to the fact that this particular RC45 was originally delivered/sold in Switzerland in 1996 and then imported into the USA.  While "gray-market" RC45's can be a pain to get registered, the seller also indicates they have a US title in hand.

rc454

From the photos in the eBay listing, this particular RC45 looks to be completely original with only a few small nicks.  I guess the excellent condition should not be surprise given the listed mileage of about 2800 miles/4400 kilometers.  Personally my only concern is that the eBay seller has a zero feedback rating and some of the pics on this eBay listing look incredibly professional/like official promo pics instead of pics of the actual bike being sold.

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rc453

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Based on the listed phone number the seller appears to be a dealer located in Florida and while the maintenance/ownership history isn't as complete as I would like for a bike like this, the seller did provide the following service info.

  • "Recent" full service (quote marks added by me - Marty).
  • New Pirellis.
  • New fuel pump.
  • New Battery
  • Original stand included.
  • Spare ECU.
  • Spare complete period Micron exhaust included.

rc45cropped

So what is this bit of mid 1990's homologation goodness worth?  Well the RVF750R is current one of the top desired 750cc homolgation machines of the 1990's, the others being the Kawasaki ZX7RR and Yamaha OW01.  This particular RC45 looks good but there are some things I would personally follow up on, such as the VIN#/title situation and also, given the color of the brake fluid in the master cylinder, what exactly was meant by "recent" full service.

Previous postings of these seem to have gone for a price between $24,000 and $29,000 USD.  Assuming the title is clear, I would expect price to be somewhere in the upper part of that range band.

ADDENDUM:  Some of our frequent readers/comments of RSBFS such as RC45 and The Collector are more experienced with the RC45, hopefully we can get them to provide their input in the comments section.

-Marty/Dallaslavowner

Unobtanium alert:  1996 Honda RVF750R RC45
Honda July 25, 2016 posted by Marty

Back to the future: 1985 Honda VF1000R with under 500 miles

I have to admit the VF1000R was a bit before my time; my memories of 1985 are more about flying Deloreans than 1000cc sportbikes. For anyone else who doesn't remember, the Honda VF series of bikes included everything from a 400cc standard to 1000cc sportbikes.  The passage of time has relegated most of the lineup to the dustbin of history but the VF1000R is still highly desired by collectors.  Why?   Well it was the top bike in the lineup which is always a draw to collectors but more importantly, it was one the first models released by Honda after the VF-F "chocolate cams" issue damaged Hondas reputation. The response by Honda was to over engineer the next series of bikes (the VF-R series) resulting in bikes that had previously unheard of levels of performance, comfort and most importantly, reliability.  The VF1000R was the bike that proved Honda could make a big sportbike that would work everyday.

vf1000r1

1985 Honda VF1000R for sale on ebay

While the VF1000R was engineered to show that Honda had resolved the cam issues of the VF-F series, it was also designed to be the basis of race efforts and a showcase of Honda technology.  The big sportbike with the tasteful red over blue and white paint job included a lot of race tech from the company's race team efforts via significant changes to the engine, front suspension, bodywork, and rider ergonomics.  The result was the VF1000R was rated as the fastest production motorcycle until the Kawasaki GPZ900R took the title a year later.

An excellent and detailed explanation of all the changes between the VF1000F and the VF1000R series of bikes can be found here.

vf1000r4

While the VF1000R was a significant technological advancement from the F series that came before it, all the changes did result in one problem; an increase in weight.  The resulting bike weighed in at nearly 600 pounds with half a tank of fuel, roughly 85 pounds heavier than the F series race bike it was based on.  The result was the R version struggled to be competitive when it was used in racing.

Also the introduction of the CBR series in the late 1980's/early 1990's began an era where riders could get a mid-sized/much lighter bike that offered nearly the same power as the previous generation liter bikes like the VF1000R.  It would take until the introduction of the Yamaha R1 in 1998 for the liter bike class to regain its status as the king of the cc configurations.

vf1000r6

This particular VF1000R is in pristine condition and is listed with an astonishing 431 miles (yes you read that right). The seller indicates this particular bike sat indoors for 25 years but that a full refresh has already been completed (details below).

Refresh details

  • Flushed brakes, add stainless steel braided brake lines, rebuilt rear master cylinder
  • Lubed and adjusted throttle and clutch cables
  • Flushed cooling system
  • Torqued and checked all chassis fittings and fasteners,  check/tighten steering head bearings,
  • Replaced shock (rear) with Hagon coil-over upgrade, shock was valved and springs for me being a 180 lb. solo rider optimum.
  • Replaced battery, NGK spark plugs,
  • Performed compression check and full tune, including clean and synch carbs, flush fuel tank and add 1 gallon bath metal rust remover, replace petcock assembly (leaking).  
  • Added engine top-end oiling kit from Daughtry Motorsports (early VF1000's were reported to suffer top end oiling deficiency and this kit addresses that fully).  Includes oil filter with adapter for top-end oiling kit.
  • Replaced original tires (old and cracked) with brand new Bridgestone Battlax BT45's.  Went to 150/70/17 rear (stock was 140) and 120/80/16 front (stock size).

vf1000rspringsvf1000r5

So what is this fresh slab of mid-1980's sportbike goodness worth?  Well when I wrote this post the current high bid was $6,550 USD with a still listed Buy-It-Now option of $12,990 USD.  The price seemed a bit high at first but is actually in line with what other VF1000R's have sold for recently.   Given the outstanding condition, recent refresh and low miles, I think the reserve on this one will probably be near the Buy-It-Now price.

As the seller incides in their eBay listing "if you are serious about owning one of the nicest VF1000R's in the country this is the right bike."   Personally it's a bit before my time but it would be an excellent addition for a serious collector or perhaps someone who wants to re-live a bit of the 1980's.

-Marty/Dallaslavowner

Back to the future: 1985 Honda VF1000R with under 500 miles
Kawasaki July 8, 2016 posted by Marty

Collector Alert: Pristine 1996 Kawasaki ZX-7RR/N1 formerly owned by Rob Muzzy

rr1

Attention collectors, here is an opportunity to acquire a bit of unobtanium; one of the actual 1996 Kawasaki ZX-7RR bikes owned by the legendary Rob Muzzy in pristine OEM condition.  The seller includes a lot of good ownership history information in their ebay listing plus the bike itself looks to be in amazing condition. Location is on the east coast of the USA, so if you haven't earmarked all your monies for air conditioning bills, this one might be worth a close look.

1996 Kawasaki ZX-7RR/N1 on ebay

rr5

The 1996 Kawasaki 750RR is currently one of the top 3 750cc homologation bikes for anyone building a 1990's sportbike collection, with the others being the Yamaha OW01 and the Honda RC45.   The ZX-7RR, also often referred to by its 'N1' model number, had a lot of true race oriented tech, including an adjustable swing arm pivot, race orientated close ratio gearbox, larger flat sided carbs as well as track level Nissan calipers and upgraded suspension pieces.

For anyone who wants to understand the development of the N1, good information is available in previous RSBFS posts.

zx7add

Condition of this one looks to be excellent and all OEM/bone stock, including the exhaust canister and turn signals.  Mileage is indicated as approximately 1800 miles.

rr3

rr2

Here is a summary of what else the seller has to say regarding condition.

  • Stock including all the warning labels and reflectors
  • Has never seen the rain or elements,  always stored indoors, no rust or oxidation present anywhere on the bike.
  • Bodywork and Tank are 100%,  grips show no wear, the headlights don't have any pitting.
  • Comes with the factory OEM exhaust in excellent condition.
  • An untouched unmolested original.

rr4

What is this 1996 Kawasaki ZX-7RR worth?  Well as previously noted, its one of the 3 main 750cc homologation bikes currently prized by collectors and its been said that only 500 were produced (although that number has been disputed) so rarity has to be taken into account.  Additional pluses for this one are pristine condition and that it is previous ownership history by Rob Muzzy.  The only minuses are a bit of an issue with the title mileage and some minor scuffs are mentioned.

The last two 1996 Kawasaki ZX7RR/N1's we had on RSBFS in similar condition went for between $17,000 and $19,000 USD so this one isn't probably going to be cheap...I would expect the final price to be somewhere in the same area.

-Martyy/Dallaslavowner

Collector Alert:  Pristine 1996 Kawasaki ZX-7RR/N1 formerly owned by Rob Muzzy
Ducati June 17, 2016 posted by Marty

Bit of an odd Duc: 2003? Ducati 999R FILA edition

Hmmm...the seller lists this one as a 2003 Ducati 999R FILA edition but a few things seem odd, including the year listed and the graphics.   Perhaps someone with more direct experience can advise in the comments section...?

fil3

2003 Ducati 999R FILA edition on ebay

First a bit of history; back in the early 2000's it seemed like every new Ducati sportbike had a minimum of 3 different versions plus a commemorative edition. There would be a basic/strada street version, a mid-level bike S bike with some upgrades still intended for street riders and finally a top level R bike that, while still street legal, included lots of track oriented tech.  Any commemorative editions would typically be based on either the S or R level bikes, although occasionally they were even done at the standard/strada level (I'm-looking-at-you-Nieman-marcus-edition-Ducati-749).

The Ducati FILA editions were based on the top level 999"R" and were introduced in 2004 to celebrate Ducati's 200th win in the World Superbike Championship (note: there was also a James Toseland FILA edition in 2005).  The FILA editions came with carbon-fibre bodywork, lighter engine internals, upgraded injectors, a lighter front and rear sub-frame and Ohlins front and rear suspension.   The changes added added up to about another 40HP from the basic/strada 999.

The FILA edition also had another advantage over the strada and S versions; it looked much better.  When the 999 was launched many people found the design to be a step back from the predecessor 998 (which was an evolution of the Tamburini penned 916).   To many people the initial versions of the 999 looked unbalanced, with full fairings on the front but an exposed trellis frame and odd small rear fairing.   Fortunately versions such as the S based Parts Unlimited and R version FILA and XEROX editions met with much more approval.

fil5

This particular bike is listed as a 2003 Ducati FILA edition and at it looks clean with no indication of having been abused ordown.  The only non-stock items I noticed were the chain and wheel stripes (which might be decals) and possibly the license plate hanger/tail unit.

However a closer review did raise a few questions, including why is bike listed as a 2003 FILA edition? From what I remembered and what I found on the web, the FILA edition was offered from 2004-2006 but not in 2003.  Also the decals on the front fairing/windscreen area and gas tank do not seem to match to the standard FILA edition decal layout and what have seen on previous 999R FILA editions here on RSBFS.   Its possible they were removed by a previous owner but since there was also a general 999R in 2003 so its also possible this bike has undergone a bodywork and/or wheel change by a previous/current owner who didn't like the look of the standard bike.

fila4

Some general service info about the bike is included in the auction listing as are lots of good pictures.  Here is what the seller has to say:

  • 11,745 miles
  • Never been dropped but very small nicks in paint on lower fairing.
  • Less than normal wear and tear for bike this age and mileage
  • New battery, Pirelli tires in good condition
  • Always serviced by Ducati dealers only and stored in climate controlled area
  • Completely stock with no upgrades
  • Comes with spare key and owners manual

fil2

fil7

So what is the 2003 Ducati 999R FILA-badged beauty worth?  Well it certainly looks to be in very good condition and the current bid price is about $5,400 USD with 3 days to run (reserve is not met at this time).  Prices for a Ducati 999R FILA editions seem to be hovering between 12k-15k USD (which is about 1/2 of their original asking price) and for this one I would expect reserve to be right in the middle of that range given the mileage and condition, provided it can be confirmed to be an actual FILA edition.

Overall this appears to a good Rare Sportbike but I am not sure it will appreciate over time.  Also any serious collector would need to contact the seller regarding whats going on with the fairing decals and perhaps perform a VIN check?

-Marty/Dallaslavowner

Bit of an odd Duc:  2003? Ducati 999R FILA edition