Author Archives: Mike

Kawasaki March 3, 2017 posted by Mike

Superbike Daddy: 1978 Kawasaki Z1-R

I know that for many of our readers, RSBFS is all about the import smokers. And while we do love our grey-market popcorn poppers, variety is - as they say - the spice of life. Two-strokes did not always dominate the sport bike scene, as evidenced by today's example of what ruled the streets in 1978. Our younger readers will be forgiven if this simply looks like a Universal Japanese Motorcycle (UJM) from the period, but two-wheeled transport circa pre-1980 was a relatively simple affair. Air cooled, carburetor-fed Japanese multis were the hot ticket, and cubic centimeters made the world go 'round. Throughout the 1970s, the Big Four traded blows with big bikes, and the Kawasaki Z1-R (1978-1980) could go toe to toe with the best on the road.

1978 Kawasaki Z1-R for sale on eBay

Owing more to the KZ lineup than the original Z1 design, the Z1-R is pretty typical of this era: big motor (1,015cc over square inline four), tubular steel frame, simple un-adjustable front forks and twin shocks. Novelty items include the bikini fairing (variations to make a reappearance on the ELR model as well as early GPzs), four-into-one exhaust, low maintenance cast wheels, and triple disk brakes. Expect about 90 HP off the showroom floor, in a package tipping the scales at over 540 lbs. With a top speed in the 130s, the Z1-R was a powerhouse with subtle intent. In all, this was an evolutionary move by Kawasaki; the revolution would have to wait until 1984 and the introduction of the 900 Ninja.

From the seller:
OWNED THIS BIKE SINCE 1992 (SECOND OWNER),HAVE ALL THE SERVICE WORK RECORDS I HAVE DONE TO BIKE.VERY CLEAN & RUN STRONG. IT IS A TURN KEY BIKE. GARAGE KEPT. 33284 ACTUAL MILES.

There is nothing *particularly* special or rare about the Z1-R line, save for the fact that they didn't speed off the showroom floors at a sufficient rate. Not even bolting on a turbo and creating the first of the factory blower bikes could help move these models. As a result, staring down the barrel of a 40th birthday, not many of these exist in great condition. Laws of supply and demand govern all, and I would expect to see good examples fetching more over the coming years. This will not likely appreciate in the same manner of a RC30 or truly rare and iconic model, but it should fare respectably given the lower price of entry.

This well-loved Z1-R is located in Oklahoma. The seller claims to be the second owner, which helps explain the condition. There have been some minor, non-destructive mods which should lower maintenance and improve the riding experience, and the seller will include the original parts. This bike is listed with a BIN of $12,500 - a number that some may scoff at. It does appear a bit high for the model. But the challenge would be to find another in this level of condition. I'm sure there is some emotional equity included in that number by the seller - but can you blame him? Check it out here, and share your thoughts. Would you take this, or hold out for an ELR or early model GPz? Let us know!

MI

Superbike Daddy: 1978 Kawasaki Z1-R
Honda March 2, 2017 posted by Mike

Featured Listing: 1990 Honda NSR250R MC21

Update 3.4.2017: SOLD in 2 days! Contact us for a $59 Featured Listing if you'd like similar exposure from Rare SportBikes For Sale! dan@motoringblogs.com

It's no secret that the staff of RSBFS believe that two strokes were a gift from the gods to enable mere mortals to perform acts of speed not otherwise possible. Pound for pound the two cycle engine puts out more HP than any other form of reciprocating, internal combustion format. With no overhead valves, these engines can be impossibly compact both in height as well as width. The packaging possibilities enable very tidy proportions and, when combined with the power and lack of heft can equate to stunning performance. Take this beautiful 1990 NSR250R as an example: a 250cc v-twin producing approximately 45 HP (restricted due to Japanese legislation), yet pushing only 290 lbs of bike. The most similar 4-stroke example - a Ninja 250R - develops 10-15 less HP, yet pushes a much heavier bike (by 15-20 pounds, dry). The victor in any form of performance measurement is obvious.

This particular NSR250R is a MC21 model. And while approximately 16,000 of these models were produced, NONE of them were officially imported into the United States. So what is an enterprising, knee dragging two-stroke enthusiast to do? Import one, of course. That sure sounds easy, but in reality can be a nightmare in terms of shipping arrangements, importation paperwork, and then dealing with the powers that be in order to properly register the bike for use on the road. The stories of those that have tried are too numerous to count; you see the bikes for sale with "no title" or similar nomenclature. To find a legally licensed NSR250R in the US - one with a title that you can *actually* ride on the street - now that is rare indeed.

From the seller:
1990 Honda NSR250R MC21. 12,407 Miles (19,968 Kilometers)

Bike is being sold from my personal collection. This is a very clean well cared for unmodified bike. Completely original and unrestored. Only change is Powder coated Fork Tubes with new fork seals January 2017. Bike needs nothing. All fluids are fresh. Shifts and revs to redline perfectly. Starts effortlessly every time. Continental Conti Sport Attack 2 Tires are brand new with Zero miles on them. OEM Fairings have some hairline scratches and touchup paint using only a fine brush, No respray or rattle can. Please see images. Otherwise straight from the factory. Bike has Vin Matching State of Ohio Title. MC21-1013*** “Buyer is responsible for their own State Requirements.” Imported into the States through all legal channels. EPA and Declaration papers provided. Sold as is. Buyer responsible for shipping. Thanks for looking. Please email any questions. Price is 7500.00 USD.

This seller has provided a wealth of information about this bike, along with numerous, clear pictures. Look closely: you will see a very clean and well-cared for import. This is not the "just off the boat from Japan and full of corrosion" level of import, but rather a fully sorted and loved example from a rider's personal collection. If originality scores any points with you, check out the list of modifications: powder coated fork tubes and a bit of touch up paint. No stories of swapped out suspension, engine mods, chambers or otherwise. No flush-mounted signals with a rear fender delete kit added. No wires hanging where something has been removed, no holes where something is missing. This is the type of bike that RSBFS staff love to see - and our readers too.

The best part of this NSR250R? An asking price of only $7,500. Yes, we have seen them cheaper, but more often than not we see them go for more...especially bikes in this type of condition (go ahead and search). This is a very realistic price for what looks to be a great, original example of the NSR breed. With low miles, official paperwork and the ability to register and ride it in your state (not all states need apply - you know who you are.), this MC21 model is looking like a very good buy. Better act quickly - this one is going to be gone in a haze of blue smoke very soon!

MI

Featured Listing: 1990 Honda NSR250R MC21
Yamaha February 25, 2017 posted by Mike

Clean Machine: 1988 Yamaha FZR400

Aluminum perimeter chassis. Aluminum swingarm. Inline four-cylinder power plant. Four valves per cylinder. 14,000 RPM redline. Racing-inspired bodywork with dual headlights. Solo saddle cover to look like a monoposto. Triple disk brakes. Competent, adjustable suspension on both ends. The list of included technology reads like our favorite recipe. The only difference is in the calories: We're not talking about a middleweight 600 or open class liter bike here, but rather the smaller 400cc rocket from Yamaha.

1988 Yamaha FZR400 for sale on eBay

The FZR was not the only 400cc class participant, but in the US it was the only game in town. Honda, Kawasaki and Suzuki all offered some version of a tweener, each in some way more potent than the FZR. Yet the smaller Fizzer (although not the smallest Fizzer by any means) holds a loyal following among riders, and is generally praised as THE BEST handling sport bike to come out of the 1980s - and maybe beyond. Targeting more advanced riders, the FZR was neither the cheapest form of transport available nor was it really a beginner's bike. Unfortunately in the US, sub-500cc motorcycles are generally lumped into "first timer" categories, and many were purchased (with good intentions) as exactly that. If the bike was not abused at the hands of a newbie rider, it had a good chance of being flogged in competition, or just generally thrashed hard on the street. Not many pristine FZRs exist today, and those that do command a price.

From the seller:
ONE OF THE FEW NICE UNMOLESTED RED/WHITE FZR 400'S OUT THERE. All original except Supertrapp pipe and alarm. Manual, seat cowl, cover, original rear fender/turn signals. RUNS EXCELLENT !!

EXCELLENT CONDITION FOR THE YEAR a few minor cracks in plastic. The lower fairings having been cracked up but the bike never actually having been laid down !!!

This FZR definitely looks clean and pretty well cared for. It is well known that most of these bikes have lived a hard life - many of them on the racetrack. This one seems to have escaped much of that, but is not without some scars. The damage to the plastics is unfortunate, as these pieces are no longer available from Yamaha. And given the way the fairing scoops stick out, the damage to these areas is common. The remedies are not easy, but should be cosmetic only; this bike could still be an outstanding rider. And speaking of the riding experience, if the carbs have been rejetted properly for the exhaust then this could be quite the screaming little Fizzer.

The non-stock add-ons (signals, pipe and alarm) detract from the collector value of this bike, but some of the stock pieces are included with the sale. We don't see too many FZR400s - even though they were legally imported into the US - as these were not high-volume bikes in the day. The asking price for this one is a bit steep as far as Fizzers go, with an opening ask of $5k USD and zero takers thus far. The price is in the ballpark for a well-loved example , but probably a bit on the high side for an opening bid. Check it out here, and be sure to share your experiences with the FZR400 in the Comments section.

MI

Clean Machine: 1988 Yamaha FZR400
Yamaha February 23, 2017 posted by Mike

North Star: 1985 Yamaha RZ500 in Canada

Perennial fan favorite, the RZ500 ranks among the top bikes viewed, watched, clicked on or lusted after on the pages of RSBFS. And it's no wonder why: with GP-inspired good looks, twin-crank V-4 two stroke power and a racing pedigree, the big RZ was all that riders could want from a sport bike in the early to mid 1980s. It made the right noises, had the go-fast credentials, and made one feel like King Kenny or Eddie Lawson right out of the box; as long as that box was not opened in the USA. Perhaps it is the forbidden fruit aspect of the big RZ that gets the blood pumping. Although readily available in most other world markets, the US was left wanting.

1985 Yamaha RZ500 for sale on eBay

Yamaha made two versions of this bike. For most of the world, they released what you see here: the RZ500. For the home market in Japan, Yamaha produced the RZV500. The RZV sports an aluminum chassis and weighs less than the RZ. However home market rules limited the HP, and thus the RZV was sold in de-rated condition. In stock form the RZ was the faster of the two bikes, although the hot combination is the RZV chassis with an RZ-spec (or greater) engine setup.

From the seller:
Awesome V4 2 stroke collector bike, less than 1000kms since engine was rebuilt, bike is in fantastic condition, sounds great with the Jolly Moto pipes which are worth 2k alone
comes with the original pipes in nice condition, original airboxes and mirrors
serious bidders only, no its not cheap for a collector item like this,
bike is located in BC Canada

shipping is buyers responsibility, i will assist whatever transport company you choose
dont ask me for a shipping quote, ask them

Since none of the RZ500s that landed in North America officially made it to the US, the quickest route to smoker glory came from our friends north of the border. Imported Canadian RZs have been fulfilling the fantasies of American riders ever since these beasts hit the showroom floor, and continue to offer a steady supply of ring-a-ding-ding to those with the desire and wherewithal. Shipping and paperwork not necessarily included.

With rare Jolly Moto pipes, some mods and a recent rebuild, this example could be a good find for someone interested in riding their collection in anger. It is not in pristine, stock condition - but appears to be holding up well. Nearly 30,000 miles have passed under the wheels of this bad boy, but it lacks the type of corrosion we typically see from bikes in this locale. Pity the pipes require rear bodywork changes, but it's probably worth it as the revs rise and bike comes on full song. Located in BC, Canada, this RZ500 could be your cure for the winter blues.

MI

North Star: 1985 Yamaha RZ500 in Canada
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