Author Archives: Mike

Moto Guzzi February 20, 2017 posted by Mike

Alternative Transport: 1983 Moto Guzzi LeMans III

In the world of big-bore bikes - man sized machines - Moto Guzzi has always stood out with a unique style of individualistic and rugged beauty. The oldest continually operational motorcycle manufacturer in Europe, Guzzi was formed in Italy in 1921 with the intent to build motorcycles after World War I. Comprised of the triumvirate of Giorgio Parodi (the money man), Giovanni Ravelli (the racer and promoter) and Carlo Guzzi (the guy who designed and built the bikes), Moto Guzzi began with a simple partnership agreement between the three. Sadly, Ravelli lost his life in a plane crash immediately following the end of the war, and would not take part in the venture. His spirit lives on, however, as the Guzzi logo incorporates wings meant to honor and commemorate the original, fallen partner.

1983 Moto Guzzi LeMans III for sale on eBay

The Le Mans series of machines drew from Moto Guzzi's great racing heritage and paid homage to the famous 24-hour race. These bikes were created during the De Tomaso era of Moto Guzzi (which lasted through the end of the 1990s). The first generation of 850 Le Mans bikes was introduced in 1976, utilizing the now familiar 90 degree V-twin that has been the Guzzi hallmark since the 1960s. Through the decades that were to follow, the Le Mans series was steadily updated, culminating in the 1000cc Le Mans Mark V in the 1990s. This bike, a Mk III edition, is the more spiritual successor to the original Le Mans model than the Mk II bike, which incorporated a larger fairing and other aerodynamic bits. Power from the longitudinally-mounted twin is modest (mid 70 HP range), but a flat torque curve aids the motoring experience. Novel features included shaft drive and an interlinked braking system whereby the rear brake pedal also activates one disk on the front.

From the seller:
Extremely nice 1983 Moto Guzzi LeMans III. 27,398 miles. Probably one of the nicest originals you'll find. Starts, runs, rides and stops exactly as it should. Fantastic example of the great bikes from this iconic Italian company. Prices for the LeMans I are out the roof, and the LeMans II have followed. Now the LeMans III has caught on and they are gaining in desirability and value daily. I have no real desire to sell this bike, but an opportunity has come along for which I could use the funds. That said, selling it is not a must so my reserve is firm. I love the bike and am aware of its value, both now and in the future, so have no problem keeping it if it doesn't meet the reserve. Bike needs nothing that I know of so is sold AS IS with no warranty. Clear title in hand.

When introduced, these Guzzi Le Mans models were every bit the performance bike as their Italian contemporaries from Ducati or Laverda. However the performance landscape was rapidly changing thanks to the Far East, and the likes of Guzzi would soon be overwhelmed by Japanese fours. The high-speed, gentlemanly cruiser fell to the crushing blow of high-RPM horsepower, stoplight drags and technical revolutions in GP racing. Today, Moto Guzzi still exists and produces motorcycles... but these are often viewed more as nostalgic novelties than outright competitors in the crowded motorcycle marketplace.

Based on the included description, this seller will be holding out for top dollar on this bike. The asking price of older Guzzis (think V7s and the like) are most definitely on the rise. We have seen a slight dip in the ascension of value lately, but there is no doubt that when it comes to the Le Mans model Gen I (often mistakenly referred to as Mark I) bikes command the highest prices. From there, it is much more the preference of the buyer that determines the value. Mark III machines with the bikini fairing and long, flat seat have the same theme as the original Le Mans, along with a host of upgrades - making them an excellent choice as a riding collector piece. I would expect values to continue to rise. This one is up just over $5k with reserve in place. Check it out here to watch the bidding, and then jump back to our Comments section and share your thoughts. Which generation of these magnificent machines is your favorite?

MI

Alternative Transport: 1983 Moto Guzzi LeMans III
Ducati February 19, 2017 posted by Mike

Ride it like Mike: 1980 Ducati 900 MHR

The history of Ducati racing is long and storied. And while many riders have tasted success on the booming twins from Bologna, perhaps none have matched the exploits of Mike "The Bike" Hailwood. In honor of their legendary rider and his comeback success in the 1978 TT (Tourist Trophy), Ducati created the 900 MHR (Mike Hailwood replica) in 1979 - and continued the model through the mid 1980s. Meant to replicate the racer, the 900 MHR edition had everything it needed to go fast, and nothing else. As a prime example of weight savings, Ducati omitted the electric starter and went with the lighter, old-school method of kick starting. Given the TT background, the occasional bump start would likely also be OK.

1980 Ducati 900 MHR for sale on eBay

The MHR series of bikes was the last major evolution of the bevel drive desmo twin before the introduction of the "rubber band" Pantah. It exudes all of the wonderful charismatic noises and idiosyncrasies of these early Ducatis, while offering up a rare and unique ownership experience. These bikes are not exactly plentiful as far as this era of Ducati goes, as Ducati were simply not moving many bikes period. Nor are they particularly powerful; Ducati rated the L-twin desmo at a mere 72 horsepower back in 1980. That is not a lot by today's standards, nor was it a lot by the Japanese four-cylinder standards of the early 1980s. What the Ducati did have to offer was torque - significant amounts of lower RPM grunt, fed through a dry clutch and 5-speed gearbox. Easier to ride fast through changing conditions than the hyper-strung Japanese multis, it's no wonder that Ducati dominated the TT (Mike Hailwood might have had something to do with that as well).

From the seller:
Ducati 900 SS MHR original 13700 KM (8600mile).
Motorcycle not Mint condition, Very good Running !.
Has crack original screen.
chips and scratch on original paint.
some surface rust.
Brake good working.
Electric works,
Please see more picture for detail.
Kick only Model.
Very rare to find Vintage Bevel Desmo Twin.

The seller has offered some good pictures on this bike, but not too much by way of information. One little bit of info that is definitely missing is the whereabouts of the factory lowers and side panels. The MHR model came with a full envelope of fiberglass, yet this bike is only listed with the upper fairing and windscreen. I do not believe the original lowers are still available from the factory, meaning that 3rd party lowers would need to be sourced to truly complete the bike. Otherwise, this Southern California-based machine looks to be in pretty good condition for a 37 year old import.

We have seen Ducati prices fluctuate wildly over the years on RSBFS. This bike has been bid to up over $13,000 USD and it looks like it will sell. It would be well-bought at the current figure, but I would expect it to go up as we get closer to the close of auction. We have seen these models listed for double this amount in years past - albeit in more complete condition. Fun Fact: These Mike Hailwood Replica machines are not exactly the Holy Grail of rarity when it comes to Ducatis; and estimated 7,000 MHRs were built between 1979 and 1986, making the MHR model the the most numerous of all the bevel-drive twin models made. Still, owning a Ducati from this period does place you in an exclusive group. It is a fantastic looking machine, and likely to fare well in the future. And it is eminently enjoyable today as something you can ride. What more can you ask for? Check it out here, and let us know what you think!

MI

Ride it like Mike: 1980 Ducati 900 MHR
Honda February 13, 2017 posted by Mike

X-Rated! 1979 Honda CBX

In the world of bike porn, there are many shapes and sizes. And while most lust-worthy machines are built from the ground up to become a whole - frame, suspension, motor, bodywork - the outrageous, plus sized Honda CBX seems to be a machine totally built around the motor. The first gen CBX made no bones about what made it special - it was a naked bike showing off its wares to the world. Born from the engineering might of Honda during a time of great experimentation, this inline six-cylinder with DOHC and four valves per cylinder pumped out an impressive 105 brake horsepower. And while the motor looks impossibly wide when viewed from the front, Honda spent considerable effort to reduce the flare at the bottom end, stacking ancillaries such as the alternator behind the block.

1979 Honda CBX for sale on eBay

The CBX debuted in the latter part of 1978 and were badged as 1979 models. The first generation bikes actually developed more outright HP than the follow on models, although the later years did have overall improvements in torque and general responsiveness. Sold alongside the CB900F, the CBX was a bigger, badder and far more expensive machine. And while CBX sales were far better than other "experimental" bikes of the time (think the CX-series Turbos), it was handily outsold by the cheaper 900F.

The seller's text goes a long way to describing the CBX history, variances and qualities:

From the seller:
Introduced in 1978 as a 1979 model, the Honda CBX topped its competitors with a 6-cylinder dual overhead camshaft engine; however, it was not the first inline 6-cylinder from the Japanese-motorcycle titan. Honda developed a series of sophisticated multi-piston 4-stroke Grand Prix-racing entries culminating in the RC165 and RC166 250cc inline 6-cylinder machines. The engine was successful in 1966 and 1967, and was the precursor to the CBX. The fact the CBX engine has its roots in Grand Prix racing is not coincidental. Engineer Shoichiro Irimajiri developed the 6-cylinder Grand Prix engine and led the team behind the CBX powerplant. Six cylinders, 24 valves and chain-driven dual overhead camshafts help the 1,000cc Honda engine crank out 105 horsepower. Six Mikuni carburetors with an integral accelerator pump deliver the right combination of fuel and air into the cylinders. The CBX engine is integrated into the frame as a stressed member, and the absence of conventional downtubes makes for a clear display of all six cylinders and the exhaust. Honda pushed into the future with bold styling and innovative features on the Super Sport CBX. The sculpted tank blended into CBX-logo side covers and the kicked-up winged tail section looked fast at rest. Lightweight Comstar 5-spoke alloy wheels were equipped with dual front and single rear disc brakes to slow the CBX from velocity. In an effort to improve lagging sales Honda pushed the CBX away from pure sport into a sports touring direction in 1981-82. Full fairings and hard saddlebags position the earlier and more powerful CBX1000 Super Sport into a unique spot in collectible Honda history. This 1979 Honda CBX first and most powerful year of what was then the fastest production motorcycle in the world. This bike will thrill you with its smooth idle and fantastic power and the sound is unmistakable, go for a ride or just add to your collection.

While Honda did race six-cylinder machines in the 1960s, this was their first jump into sixes for the street. However they were not alone: Benelli had already come (and gone) with the Sei models, and Kawasaki was soon to follow with their excellent KZ1300 liquid cooled example. And while Kawasaki transitioned their naked bike into a full-blown touring bike, Honda elected to evolve the CBX into a sport tourer. They would re-enter the six-cylinder world with the dominating Gold Wing touring RV, but chose to drop the inline arrangement in favor of a boxer layout. Most recently BMW introduced the K1600, an inline six more narrow than some fours.

The CBX line has always been a visceral affair. These bikes have serious presence, amazing sound, and actually function as a terrific day-to-day rider. Being a Honda, they are well built and surprisingly reliable. Parts are still available for the model, making it an excellent collector choice. Prices have been on the rise with these machines - especially the earliest models - but nothing compared to an RC30, RG500 Gamma or D16RR. Interest in this particular bike is solid, with bidding up to $7,700 with reserve still in place. I, for one, will be watching this one. This bike is clean and looks very, very original. Check it out here, and then share your six-cylinder thoughts in our Comments section. Is a CBX on your bike porn bucket list? Good Luck!

MI

X-Rated!  1979 Honda CBX
Laverda February 12, 2017 posted by Mike

Formula for Success: 1999 Laverda 750S Formula

While there is no guaranteed formula for success in the motorcycling business, there are some pretty basic tenets worth following. The first is to start with a decent brand name and reputation. Laverda - building performance motorcycles since 1949 - fits that bill perfectly. The second rule is that the bike has to look good; as we all know, style sells. The Formula edition of the 750S offers full bodywork rivaling the best Italy has to offer (Bimota and Ducati included). Rule number three is to engineer the heck out of it to ensure a solid platform. Laverda rang up legendary framemeister Nico Bakker who created the robust chassis. The next step is to ensure adequate power - Laverda punched out their 650cc parallel twin to 750cc and the Formula edition provided uprated cams, revised fuel-injection settings and carbon-fibre Termignoni silencers to boost top-end power to aclaimed figure of 92bhp. The last step is to drizzle liberally with the best components money can buy, which Laverda did with Termi exhaust, Brembo binders, Paioli suspension front and rear, Marchesini wheels and Weber-Marelli electrics. What emerged as the 750S Formula was a handsome, potent machine that totally failed to turn the tides of Laverda's fortune. The company went under for good a few short years later.

1999 Laverda 750S Formula for sale on eBay

There is much to like about the 750S Formula. The parallel twin loves to rev, giving it a completely different character than the primary Italian competition, the Ducati 748. Handling is reported to be extremely nimble, with the combination of Nico Bakker chassis and Paioli suspension working well together. This is a proper sport bike with serious potential, but sadly with few real-world credentials. These were simply not produced in enough numbers to make a dent in the market, or in Laverda's finances.

From the seller:
1999 LAVERDA 750S FORMULA ,RARE 1 OWNER MOTORCYCLE ,NO ISSUES ,RUNS FANTASTIC ,PERFOMANCE CHIP INSTALLED AT DEALER STOCK CHIP INCLUDED ,VERY BEAUTIFUL AND RARE WITHFULL FAIRING AND TERMIGNONI EXHAUST ,NEW BATTERY ,ALL MANUALS ,CLEAN TITLE

Located in sunny California, this 750S Formula is listed with 26,672 miles on the clock. In addition to the numerous performance mods from the factory, this one also sports an aftermarket ECU chip (the stock chip is included in the sale). Overall the bike looks to be in good condition. The left side Termi shows some scratching, which could signal a kickstand incident (these bikes are known to sit rather high on their side stands). It doesn't look major, but worth investigating. As with all bikes from defunct manufacturers, replacement parts are going to be an issue - but may not be an immediate concern for well-cared for machines. Check it out here, and enjoy the last gasp from this storied Italian marque. If you've got experience with these models, please share your thoughts in our Comments section. Good Luck!!

MI

Formula for Success: 1999 Laverda 750S Formula
Laverda February 11, 2017 posted by Mike

Make Mine a Triple: 1984 LAVERDA JOTA

In the annals of what could have been sits the very underrated motorcycling firm of Laverda. Best known for their iconic three-cylinder machines, Moto Laverda was formed in 1949 by Francesco Laverda - to make motorcycles. This was a very different start than many other Italian manufacturers of the era - many who started in farm equipment or bicycles. Being a newer player, Laverda did not need to rebuild post-war facilities and return the company to civilian duty; they could just get on with the business of making motorcycles. And that is exactly what they did. From 1949 through the early 1990s Laverda continued to forge their own, independent path.

1984 Laverda Jota RGS for sale on eBay

But times were about to change for this Italian marque. Directly from the Laverda.com website: "In the nineties the company went through a rough period in terms of finances and the market, partially caused by a production diversification policy that did not achieve the expected results." Laverda went into receivership, and was acquired by the Aprilia Group. As of 2004 Laverda was part of the Piaggio Group, who has publicly stated that they have no interest in returning this storied brand back to market.

This 1984 Jota RGS (Real Gran Sport) was one of the bikes that kept Laverda afloat in the waning years. Powered by a one liter triple, the Jota was the performance bike of the Laverda stable. Given that this is a later example, the crank timing is the smoother 120 degree variant, versus the early model's 180 lumpy firing order. The RGS nomenclature (not to mention fairing design) designates high speed transport as a favorite pastime; when originally released in 1976 the Jota was the fastest production motorcycle in the world.

From the seller:
1984 LAVERDA RGA JOTA 1000CC TRIPLE VERY RARE ,RUNS LIKE A JEWEL ,RECENT SERVICE ,NO ISSUES ,NEW BATTERY,

Laverda triples were never made in the numbers that would put a blip on the radar of the Big Four. As such, they are always in limited supply. What makes this one interesting to US readers is that it is a federalized model - here legally. No gray-market import, this Jota rolled through US Customs with the blessings of DOT and the EPA. This means that there should be NO difficulty in registering it for use where you live. And this is a bike that you *should* use. Laverda triples have a feel and a rhythm that is unique. These are well-made machines, sturdy and strong in a brawny sort of way. Legal in the US and something you should ride: You don't see that every day on RSBFS.

This bike is available in California (but appears to have Colorado registration). The seller claims a clean title, which is always a good thing. This bike has a very interesting VIN (....0000010), but that does not usually greatly affect resale value. Still, it is a novel VIN which only adds to the allure of this particular example. Bids are up to $4k at the time of this writing with reserve still in place. How high will it go? Check it out here, and share your Laverda thoughts in our Comments section. Good Luck!!

MI

Make Mine a Triple: 1984 LAVERDA JOTA
Bimota February 10, 2017 posted by Mike

1984 Bimota KB3 in Italy!

In the 1970s and 1980s, the Big Four Japanese motorcycle manufacturers appeared to know little about frame design and its effect on handling. Enter the small shop known as Bimota, formed as a hobby by Valerio Bianchi, Giuseppe Morri and Massimo Tamburini. Using existing motorcycles as a jumping off point, the Rimini firm created stout new frames and sensuous bodywork made to accept a variety of Japanese engines. These were initially offered as kits; buyers received the chassis, bodywork and suspension, to which they affixed the engine, transmission and electrics from a donor cycle. Completed Bimota motorcycles were ridden to rave reviews; razor sharp handling (usually to the compromise of comfort and convenience) was the order of the day.

1984 Bimota KB3 for sale on eBay

This 1984 Bimota KB3 (the 3rd model in the series of Kawasaki-powered Bimotas), shows the company making a massive turning point. Unlike kit-built bikes assembled by amatuers or hired guns, by the early 1980s Bimota was starting to assemble them in their own factory. This tiny company from northern Italy near the Adriatic Sea was making the jump to become a full-fledged manufacturer of motorcycles. And whereas the kit-built bikes were all unique and custom - showing the nature (and skill level) of their builders - this move by Bimota to assemble in house leads to a more consistent offering across the model type. This KB3, powered by a Kawasaki KZ1000 engine, was one of the early Bimotas that could be considered "factory built."

From the seller:
Bimota KB3 1000cc - ONE OF ONLY 30 UNITS FACTORY BUILT
model year 1984
VIN 0051.

Fantastic original preserved shiny conditions, one of only 30 factory built kb3 (not a kit), just 15k kms from new. Perfectly working. Unique opportunity.

Ride and collect!

The KB3 came on the heels of the watershed bike for Bimota, the GPz550-powered KB2 Laser. And whereas the KB2 frame was created using short, straight sections of chrome moly tubing welded in a pyramid matrix to handle loads, the KB3 chassis incorporates longer sections of tubing and novel aluminum stress plates - all of which have been welded, bolted and epoxy bonded together. Billet aluminum sections join upper and lower sections, and provide a base for the swingarm pivot. The sleek bodywork is created from Kevlar - a magical substance of strength and lightweight in 1984. Maximizing stiffness to ensure optimum handling while shaving off an estimated 65 lbs from a standard KZ1000, the KB3 was perhaps the ultimate literbike in existence.

There were only 112 KB3s created, ensuring the rarity of these special bikes. We have seen a few on the pages of RSBFS, and they never fail to enchant. These are bikes that do not come around often, and never in such original condition. This bike is located in Italy (naturally!), appears to be in the best original condition we have seen, and is looking for a new home. When first offered by Bimota, these were very expensive machines ($13k and up). Collector status has done well for these incredible bikes, and while the opening ask on this one was a single US dollar, I expect the final auction result to include a few more zeros. No idea where the reserve is set, so this will be one to watch. Check it out here, and then share your thoughts on your favorite old-school Bimota in our comments section. Good Luck!!

MI

1984 Bimota KB3 in Italy!