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 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
Honda June 10, 2016 posted by Marty

VFR=Very F’n Reliable: 1993 Honda VFR750 in white

The first generation VFR 750F was only offered with the uber-cool white bodywork in 1993 and it still looks quite good, especially in comparison to the other sportbike designs of the 1990's (cough-cough-I'm-looking-at-you-1993 Suzuki GSX-750R).  Fairly cheap just a few years ago, trying to find a 1993 VFR with the OEM white bodywork in good condition is now getting to be quite hard. Values have been increasing recently, as shown by this under 10,000 mile edition we listed last year went that for about $5,500 USD, well above its book value.

This one has a significantly higher number of miles than the one from last year but condition looks to be excellent and more importantly, mostly OEM.

nr7501

1993 Honda VFR 750 on ebay

Back in the early 1990's the 600cc class really started to upset the previously dominant 750cc class both in terms of performance and in sales. New 600cc bikes like the Honda 600 F2 and Kawasaki ZX6R were suddenly close performance rivals to the previously dominant 750cc class and while some companies such as Kawasaki and Yamaha responded by making their 750cc offerings even more track tech oriented, Honda decided to go a different route.

Instead of a single pure track oriented 750cc offering like the Yamaha OW01 or Kawasaki ZX7RR, Honda instead took a two-pronged approach.  Honda put their considerable technological efforts towards what would become the mind bending oval piston equipped NR750 while at the same time allowing their 750 street effort to take a more balanced approach.  The result were two epic bikes; a technological tour de force in the NR750 and possibly the best all around sportbike of the 1990's, the VFR750.

nr7502

When the VFR750 debuted Honda had just come through a debacle with the bikes predecessor, the VF700.  Flaws in the camshaft casting process had produced a reputation for "chocolate camshafts...they melt when they get hot!" and Honda was determined to restore their engineering reputation.  Rumor is that the focus on reliability was so intense that Honda lost money on the VFR750 for several years just to restore its reputation.

While reliability was a focus, the performance side of the VFR750 was nothing to sneeze at.  The VFR’s handling was on a par with the best superbikes of the day. A stock VFR finished eighth at the Suzuka 8-Hour race and another nearly stock version finished in 3rd place at the Donnington park Trophy race against competition that included the legenday Kevin Schwantz.    The Honda VFR 750 offerred bulletproof reliability and performance that measured up to all but the most performance-oriented bikes of the time.   It should come as no surprise that the VFR would in later years become a big sales success, win bike of year numerous times in the mid to late 1990's and was even crowned sportbike of the decade by numerous motorcycling publications.

nr7503

This particular VFR has a good chunk of miles on it; the seller indicates over 45,000.  Even so condition of the bike looks to be truly excellent, with no blemishes on the triple tree or gauges.   The only items that seem of note are the tailpiece and exhaust which appear to be non stock, there seem to be extra/non-stock reflectors on the front forks and perhaps a bit of paint bubbling or road rash on the lower mid fairing.

Here is what the seller has to say:

  • New brakes, grips, oil & filter
  • Good tires
  • Good chain and sprockets
  • Perfect seat
  • No leaks or other issues, Everything works, starts on first push
  • Yoshimura Pipe - subtle but noticeable
  • Needs 1 fork seal, plastics not perfect.

nr7504

So now the question - what is this lovely VFR in the cool white worth?  Well let me put it this way...when I saw that the Buy-It-Now price was only $2,350 USD I almost bought it myself.  The condition of this one looks to be very good, its the rare white bodywork scheme, maintenance history looks reasonable and while the mileage is kind of high, given the VFR's build quality reputation I don't think there will be major issues once any initial issues are resolved.

This may be one of those rare occasions when a seller has underestimated the value of his bike.    I expect this one to sell pretty quickly so if you missed out on the one from last year you might want to act fast.

Marty/Dallaslavowner

VFR=Very F’n Reliable:  1993 Honda VFR750 in white
Laverda June 2, 2016 posted by Marty

Classic or Crock: Zane era 1999 Laverda Formula

The re-launch of Top Gear UK earlier this week has made me a bit nostalgic for the old version of the show, so I thought I would do this post in the style of the old TG UK game of "Classic or Crock?" - Marty

zane3

1999 Laverda Formula for sale on Ebay

Following a bankruptcy in 1994, the Laverda marque was bought by Francisco Tognon who re-started produced using existing designs.  Early models of the re-launched Laverda included an air cooled 650 trellis framed bike known as the Ghost that was very similar to the Ducati Monster and a 650 sportbike known simply enough as the 650 (Note: A limited edition 650 sport with Kevlar bodywork was also produced).

In the following years Laverda tried to follow the model established by John Bloor's reborn Triumph motorcycles with modular models and incremental designs.  This philosophy resulted in bikes like the 668 Ghost, the 668 sport and when a new water cooled engine was developed in 1997, a 750 Ghost which was a standard style bike, a street oriented sportbike known as the 750S and finally a "top shelf" 750cc Sportbike known as the "Formula" or 750SF.

Even with the re-launch and influx of new capital, Laverda struggled to compete against the Japanese and within a few years ownership started to squabble.  Tognon left in 2000 taking the plans for a new triple engine with him (which became the new powerplant of the reborn Benelli Tornedo Tre 900).  The entire Laverda concern was acquired by Aprilia in 2001 and hopes were high for a bit but Aprilia itself was also struggling and when Aprilia was acquired by Piaggio a few years later the Laverda marque was mothballed.  

About 5000 bikes in total were produced across the entire lineup during 1994-2000 zane era, with maybe 1/4 of those coming into the USA starting in 1997 and a very small portion of those being the top shelf 750SF formula in 1998 and 1999.

RESULT:  Classic. The bike being sold is the top shelf bike in the entire lineup, production numbers were very limited and location all factor in.

zasne8

Often referred to as "Zanes" or "Zane-era bikes" due to the factory moving about 5 miles from the town of Breganze to the town of Zane, the last generation Laverda bikes had a lot of top shelf components incorporated into their design, including a letterbox gas tank, a Nico Bakker designed frame, Marchesini wheels, Brembo brakes, and Paoli forks and shocks.  Overall they were well designed and were strong performance competitors to the 750 Ducati of the same era.   The 750 formula also received upgraded camshafts, race spec ECU's and optional race oriented exhausts.

However the final edition Laverda models were not without fault.   Typical Italian electrics of the period including narrow gauge wire and tuning for us emissions meant heavy loads on the generator system, resulting in failing voltage regulators and rough starting.  Also oiling issues were reported to occur causing crank/big end failure after around 25,000 miles, although this problem was a bit hit-or-miss depending on how the bikes were maintained and ridden.  Perhaps most significantly, the engine was still a parallel twin that could trace it roots back to the Breganze-era Alpino model of the 1970's and produced less that 100bhp.   Faced with competition like the ZX7 and GSX-750R, the Laverda 750SF was beautiful and handled incredibly well but couldn't really compete on a straight line or the track.

RESULT:  Crock. I want to say classic given all the goodies it has but given the possibility of crank issues and the fact that the brand is out of business the result has to be Crock.

zane2zane1

The condition of this particular 1999 Laverda Formula 750SF looks to be in pristine.  Turn signals, bar ends, mirrors and the rear license plate assembly all look to be original/OEM and the condition of the decals, forks and mirrors show no indication of the bike having been down.   The only non-original pieces I am seeing is an airbox cover scratch pad, what looks like a replacement chain and possibly the 3 screws on the dash although those might simply be rusty (a common occurrence on these particular parts).

The seller doesn't list any maintenance history but the condition of the main key lock and windscreen convinces me that the bike has been stored inside.  However the color of the brake and clutch fluid also makes me think the bike has not been gone through recently, so new owners should expect to spend monies on fluids, brake pads and possibly rubber.

RESULT:  Classic.  Condition on this one looks to be nearly perfect and required maintenance looks to be a standard used bike freshening

zane7

Given the fact the Laverda marque is shut down, I don't think these bikes are a good fit for casual riders/anyone not prepared to do their own maintenance. Also right now these final edition Laverdas are not as valued as the bikes from the preceding Breganze-era, with all the Zane-era bikes seem to be in the same price band of around $2800-$6200 USD.  It will probably take another 5-10 years before the Zane-era bikes crack the 10k value mark.

RESULT:  Crock (for someone looking for an easy maintain daily rider or a short term collector).

zane4

OVERALL VERDICT:  Short Term Crock, Long Term Classic.

I know, I know...the classic/crock score is a toss-up.  Also since I own several of these bikes I have to recognize/admit that my personal feelings may be skewing my evaluation of this bike .  But this 1999 Laverda Formula 750SF meets all the raresportbike criteria (numbers produced, technology, condition and location).  Also it is the top line formula/750SF model,  condition looks to pristine with almost 100% OEM parts and it is from a discontinued but still fondly remembered marque...so I still am leaning towards classic.

I think in order for this one to move the buyer will either be a collector with a longer term outlook or someone who already has a few bikes and wants to own something a bit different...it would certainly look cool if you rode up to it at your next bike night.

-Marty/Dallaslavowner

Classic or Crock: Zane era 1999 Laverda Formula
Kawasaki May 26, 2016 posted by Marty

Generation ZX: 2002 Kawasaki ZX7R with 4,380 miles

Back in the 1990's a rule change made it so that racing bikes had to be based on bikes available to the public.  This change was known as the "homologation rule" and it meant that suddenly regular riders were able to get their hands on street legal machines that really did have track oriented components.    The new requirement would perhaps have its most drastic result on the 750cc market segment, as seen in the Suzuki GSX-750R, Kawasaki ZX7/ZX7R and for those with a bit more cash, the Yamaha OW01.

zx7r1

2002 Kawasaki ZX7R for sale on eBay

The ZX7R was not the ultimate Kawasaki of the period, that claim belongs to the ZX7RR.  But the P series ZX7R was the final iteration of the ZX7 series that began in 1989 with the H model lineup.  The P series incorporated all the changes since then and featured an engine with a shorter stroke/wider bore which gave it much more midrange than previous models.  It also came with distinctive twin ram-air intakes, Tokiko brakes and a suspension that was adjustable front and rear.

zx7r3

Mileage on this 2002 Kawasaki ZX7R is a very low 4,380 miles according to the ebay seller.  All items appear to be factory OEM including the often replaced turn signals and mirrors which is nice but the dark photos do make it hard to see the rear license plate assembly (which got cut/trimmed on a lot of bikes of this era).

Overall the bike looks great, with only things that jump out at me is a dirty/possibly discolored windscreen and tire condition that looks a bit odd.  But the seller indicates fresh tires so perhaps the picture was right after some stickers were removed from the tires?

Note:  the seller also lists a broken lower fairing that doesn't seem to be shown in the pictures.

s-l1600

So, what is this low mileage P generation Kawasaki 750cc worth?   Well its not going to be as collectible as a first gen H1 or ZX7RR but it i its a last gen ZX7R, has low mileage and looks to have all the OEM pieces.  The Buy It Now price is only $3,500 USD is in line with current values.

While this one probably won't appreciate much,  it would be a nice pickup for someone who wants to relive a little of their youth.

-Marty/Dallaslavowner

Generation ZX:  2002 Kawasaki ZX7R with 4,380 miles
Sport Bikes For Sale May 11, 2016 posted by Marty

Boss Hoss of Sportbikes? 2002 MTT Turbine Jet Bike

For sportbikes, power and handling will always be a bit of a ying-yang proposition.  Big power usually equals big weight because "there is no replacement for displacement", while the quest for better handling can result in sacrifices somewhere in the power band.  The major manufacturers spend big money to balance the power/handling equation and the results can be astonishing (Honda Fireblade, Yamaha R1, BMW S1000, etc.) but every once in a while someone decides to focus on just one end of the spectrum. For the major manufacturers the results can be hit or miss; consider the Yamaha GTS and the turbo bikes of the mid 1980's vs the Bimota Tesi 3d and the new Kawasaki H2.

While the major manufacturers can afford the occasional flight of fancy at one end of the spectrum or the other, its not surprising that smaller manufacturers with less resources often focus exclusively on one end of the spectrum.  Hence today's post, the MTT Turbine Jet Bike.

mtt1

2002 MTT Turbine/Jet Powered sportbike on eBay

My initial impression of the MTT  Turbine is that it is like a sportbike version of the Boss Hoss: technically a motorcycle but so purely focused at one end of the power/handling spectrum that its hard to wrap my head around. Power is a huge 420 hp but unlike previous jet powered bikes, the MTT turbine engine actually powers a gearbox. However weight is listed at a goldwing level 500 pounds, which means the chances of seeing this one gracefully rolling over the top of turn 1 at Laguna Seca raceway are pretty remote.

The MTT Turbine is perhaps best known from being owned by Jay Leno who while riding it melted the front bumper of cars behind him and also from being in the unwatchable? movie Torque.

ADDENDUM:  I have been reminded that Torque has Jamie Pressley so it is not completely unwatchable.

DSC_0457_zpsgblrxcy8

While the eBay post has a lot of pictures of the bike, there does not seem to be any info regarding mileage or maintenance (whatever that might be?).  Tires look to be in good condition but age is unknown so this one would definitely require a call or a visit to inspect.  As for review of the bike, the ultra low production number means there isn't much out there except for a wikipedia page and a few small reviews such as this one from bangshift.com.

mtt3

Now for the question, is this bike worth $114,000 USD?   To be honest I don't know.  While at first it seems a bit ridiculous, it does meet many of the criteria of a rare sportbike;  it incorporates technology not seen before in sportbikes, it had a limited produced run (only 17 made) and condition of this particular offering seems to be quite good so it does seem to qualify.  The price seems to be based off the seller trying to recoup original cost but unfortunately, bikes above the $100,000 USD level are usually of some historical significance, such as Casey Stoner's or Valentino Rossi's Ducati.

Overall I think the only way this bike appreciates in value is if it becomes part of a multi-generational collection and even then it will be more of a curiosity than collection defining member.   But I have to admit, I would love to see one in person and hear it start up, I can just imagine the looks on the termignoni and akropovic equipped folks...

-Marty/Dallaslavowner

Boss Hoss of Sportbikes?  2002 MTT Turbine Jet Bike
Kawasaki May 2, 2016 posted by Marty

The Definitive 750 Kawasaki? 1996 ZX7RR N1

Say Nebraska to most people and they will probably think of something to do with football or Warren Buffett or crops.  Fortunately rare sportbike fandom knows no geographical limit and here to prove it is a 1996 ZX7RR that the seller indicates is coming out a large collection in Nebraska.

zx7rr1

1996 Kawasaki ZX7RR on eBay

Pristine versions of the ZX7RR are increasing in value very quickly and with good reason; the RR (also referred to as the N1 or Muzzy edition) is probably the ultimate iteration of Kawasaki's ZX7 line.  The ZX7RR was built to meet the homologation requirements of the late 1990's which said race bikes had to be based on versions for the street.  The result was a bike that was quite a step up in performance from the standard 750cc ZX7.

I am not saying the standard ZX7 street bike was lacking but the ZX7RR had lots of top shelf/track oriented components that the standard bike didn't get.  These included things like an adjustable steering head, larger flatside carburetors, upgrades to the front forks, rear shocks and brakes and lots of carbon fiber.

For anyone who is interested in the development history of the ZX7RR, check out the embedded video below

A lot of ZX7RR machines went straight to the track where they were stripped of their street items and raced hard or crashed.  Also it was the 1990's so a lot of people made changes to their bikes such as flush mounted turn signals, aftermarket exhausts and chopped rear fenders.   All of this means finding one today in good condition with the majority the OEM street bits on it/available is becoming quite difficult.

This particular ZX7RR looks to be very clean and perhaps more importantly, looks to have all the the OEM equipment including the windscreen, exhaust, turn signals and uncut rear license plate assembly.  Its not perfect as the seller indicates and I did notice what looks like a paint chip on the front wheel (possibly from leaking brake fluid?) but overall it looks great.

zx7rr3

Here is a summary of what the seller has to say:

  • Production #38 of 500*
  • Has 4400 original miles
  • Has been freshened & tuned and is ready to ride (NOTE:  Color of the fluid in the brake master cylinder seems to support this - MARTY)
  • When not ridden has spent all its life indoors
  • Had a full muzzy titanium exhaust installed on it shortly after it was new but the factory pristine exhaust has been re-installed and the exhaust hanger currently on it will be replaced with the correct original for the new owner
  • Currently has no battery however a new one will be provided for the new owner
  • The tail appears to have scratches in the pictures but it is just the sun reflection.  There are two cracks shown in the pictures one way down on the bottom of the left side fairing under the bike and one on the right side by the side scoop, both very easily repaired

*NOTE:  The actual production numbers of the ZX7RR/N1 are a bit unclear; my research found references to only 500 total produced in a single year run (1996 only) but I also found references to a production run of about 1300 worldwide across 1996 and 1997 with the 500 number being what was brought into the USA.  

zx7rr4

zx7rr2

Now for the question- what is the realistic price for one of these pieces of late 1990's homologation goodness?  Well we have posted a few of these previously on RSBFS and prices are definitely on an upswing.   Available for around $6,000 USD just a few years ago, prices now seem to range between around $10,000 USD for a lightly used but not completely stock unit to over $17,000 USD for a NOS version last year.  The seller has indicated he will end the auction early if a price is met and bikes like this tend to get reposted on several websites so I do expect this one to move/not be relisted.  If the ZX7RR is on your list for acquisition, this might be your chance.

-Marty/Dallaslavowner

ADDENDUM:  For the readers who have sent us message/posted comments about RSBFS posts being reposted on other websites without credit (ex- thecherrycreeknews) we were already aware of this but thanks for the notes.

The Definitive 750 Kawasaki?  1996 ZX7RR N1