Author Archives: Mike

Honda September 9, 2017 posted by Mike

Tasty Import: 1991 Honda VFR400R

For those US-based collectors, enthusiasts and oglers of grey-market machinery, Canada is a mysterious and wondrous locale. The nearest point to the US that regularly receives imports reserved for Europe, Canada is often the gateway to the forbidden fruit that is unobtainable exotica for US residents. A perfect case and point is today's 1991 Honda VFR400R - the NC30 being a well-respected carver in the "smaller superbike" category.

1991 Honda VFR400R for sale on eBay

The NC30 is the third generation of Honda's 400cc V-4 sport bike (preceded by the NC21 and NC24). The sporting intent of this model is not merely cosmetic; the VFR400R closely resembles the mighty RC30 because it relies on much of the same technology. Powered by a 90 degree four banger with gear driven cams, the NC30 has a 360 crank with a "big bang" firing order; the sound of a VFR400R on full song is unmistakable. On the chassis side, a twin-spar aluminum frame and trick single-sided swing arm keeps all the important bits in line. The inverted 41mm front fork is adjustable (as was the rear shock). The exhaust canister is on the left side of the bike, which maximizes the aesthetics of the exposed wheel and simplified rear wheel changes.

From the seller:
You find it! a rare edition of the famous VFR 400 NC30 in mint condition.

Sell in person in cash only.

No shipping, buyer is responsible for pick up. (Located in Canada Montreal)

Tyga fearing, anodised peg, carbon fiber/ aluminum exhaust, brand new tire, 4 cylinder V4 59HP and run A1.

50034km not miles.

The seller does not seem to have a lot to say about this bike and offers only a few pictures. Clearly the plastics and paint are not stock - but the overall effect looks very good. There are more KMs on this bike than many we tend to see (approx 31,000 miles), but like most Hondas the VFR400R is near bulletproof. There are some nice additions, but more history and maintenance information would be welcome. This bike is located in Quebec, Canada and is looking for a new home. The opening ask is $4,399.99 USD with no takers as of yet. Check it out here, as there are only a few days left. Good Luck!!

MI

Tasty Import: 1991 Honda VFR400R
Ducati September 6, 2017 posted by Mike

Limited Edition: 1992 Ducati Superlight

The world of collectable Ducatis is a diverse universe. In it you will find some truly iconic motorcycles, some groundbreaking models, some unique and interesting offerings, and a whole lot of "Limited Edition" badges. The 900 Superlight, a derivation of the 900 Supersport lineup, seems to fall into the latter two categories. It is, after all, a limited-in-numbers model - and one that is fairly coveted by riders and wanna-be owners. But it also suffers from the "me too" badging exercises played by Ducati. As such, you are looking at a rare model, but not one that differs terrifically from other examples of the breed.

1992 Ducati Superlight for sale on eBay

The basis of the SL is the 900SS: motive power via a wonderfully charismatic air-cooled L-twin, two valve desmo heads and the requisite dry clutch. Chassis duties are managed by a stout trellis frame, beefy forks up front and a conventional single shock setup (both by Showa). No single-sided swingarm trickery here; the SS models are basic motorcycles, eschewing liquid cooling, four valve heads, or even fuel injection. A basic ride that pretty much works - and works well. The Superlight takes those basics and adds two-piece composite (aluminum hoop / magnesium spokes) Mavic wheels, single seat rear bodywork, a carbon front fender and high pipes. That is pretty much it. Same everything else, with the exception of the numbered plate attached to the head stock. And a much bigger price tag.

From the seller:
- One of the last '92/'93 MK I models manufactured from the VERY few imported to the USA.
- Featuring the Rare OEM Marvic/Ankront Two Piece Magnesium Hub Wheels
- Manufactured in 1992

[Check the prices for 1970's 900ss and 750ss models - This bike is certain to appreciate]

The last of the great, air cooled, limited production Ducati’s! This rare and desirable 1992/'93 Ducati Superlight is likely among the best in existence.

IF YOU LONG TO OWN THIS RARE DUCATI, AN EXAMPLE LIKE THIS WILL NOT COME ALONG AGAIN.

More from the seller:
I purchased this bike new and am the original (and only) owner.

It is number plate # 942, indicates it was among the very last ten units made from the total limited production. I purchased the bike new, and it has been ridden less than 2650 original miles. It has never been down, raced, wrecked or abused. It has never been in the rain, and it's been properly stored and covered indoors since new. The pictures above show the bike after it was lightly washed.

It is in excellent physical and mechanical condition. It has been recently serviced by a certified motorcycle mechanic / service manager, with 40 years experience.

Everything works and operates as it should. I would advise the buyer that the model-specific, 320mm Brembo, iron front disc rotors have not been used for hard braking in some time. However, all brakes work properly.

- All the original parts seen in the pictures will be included. I will also include the original tires if the buyer wishes.

- I will work with the buyer to accommodate their choice for shipping and/or crating/preparation.

- The buyer will be responsible for the costs of : shipping, crating, taxes, tariffs, VAT, insurance, customs fees, or ANY other expenses beyond the agreed purchase price.

More from the seller:
The bike currently has the following modifications :

- 11.5:1 compression ratio pistons from Fast By Ferracci - installed by MCC Motor Cycle Center,West of Chicago, Illinois. MCC is a highly regarded, Ducati sales and service provider.

- Ceriani Steering Damper by Storz Performance.

- Braided Stainless Steel Brake Lines.

- New tires ( although new in 1994-ish )

- Chromoly, high level exhaust hangers from Pro Italia Motors - California

- Staintune Exhaust Silencers from Australia

- K&N Air Filter and Jet Kit.

- The airbox cover has been drilled out for better flow - as was the norm of the time.

- Ferodo Brake pads.

- Up-rated Rear Sprocket

As far as flaws, they are few and very minor, due to the low mileage, careful storage and maintenance. However, it IS a used motorcycle, and it HAS been "used" (albeit very little).

There are some small nicks in the paint on either side of the fairing at it's widest point. I attribute this to when the panels were removed, and set aside when serviced.
Also, the fiberglass seat pan , unique to the model, has a fine hairline stress crack at one fastening point. This is common to all Superlights. The seat pan fiberglass was manufactured to be very light and thin. Other than that, the bike looks and rides like a well-preserved machine.

Today's example is a bit of a conundrum. The seller claims this is likely the best SL in existence. I am willing to cut the seller some poetic license slack because this is a very limited and desirable machine, but for a collectable example this one has a few too many mods (they are mostly period correct, if that softens the blow). It is certain to appreciate, but will never be a green frame 750SS or MHe. And while I don't want to nitpick (but seem to be doing so anyway), new tires put on in 1994 are simply old tires. And yet I really like this bike, the condition it is in, and it's current state. And I would ride the snot out of it because the Ducati Supersport is a fantastic platform. The opening bid on this one is a cool $10k. That would be in the range of fair money for a good SL today, but starting the bidding that high might be why there have been no takers. Check it out here, and then jump back to the comments and let us know your thoughts. Did you ever lust after a Superlight? Good Luck!!

MI

Limited Edition: 1992 Ducati Superlight
MV Agusta September 4, 2017 posted by Mike

Featured Listing: 1999 MV Agusta F4 Serie Oro

9/4/2017 Update: Significant price decrease and a live auction now underway! Links updated. -MI

The rebirth of MV Agusta in 1998 was a storied affair, a huge investment, and was centered around the introduction of the F4. The F4 was a single model that represented the direction of the new company, encompassing both style and substance. The style came from the Cagiva Research Center with legendary designer Massimo Tamburini (co-founder of Bimota and designer of the Ducati 916 series). The substance was a powerful one-two punch of history and performance. The result was phenomenal, beautiful, and utterly exclusive.

The first 300 F4s that were released worldwide were Serie Oro machines. The term "Oro" refers to the golden color of the components. But this was not mere paintwork or some marketing ploy. Instead, MV Agusta took the old-fashioned route and sculpted a bike out of unobtainium. The metal components that might be aluminum on other bikes were created in magnesium on the Oro. Magnesium is a magic material that is lighter in weight than aluminum, just as strong (or stronger in some cases), but more difficult to work with. It is an expensive, labor-intensive method to lose weight, and shows the extent of the craftsmanship that went into the launch of the F4. Components created in magnesium on the Oro include the striking wheels, frame side plates and the huge swingarm.

Exotic materials did not end with the metals. Carbon fiber usage is extensive on the Oro, including all of the painted and unpainted bodywork, the tail section and the entire gas tank. Today carbon fiber is ubiquitous - seen nearly everywhere. In 1999, this was still aerospace and F1 material, and the labor to produce these pieces was far higher than other mass production methods, including injection molded plastics (ABS) seen on many bikes of the era. The overall silhouette of the bike is familiar, yet unique. The F4 has earned many accolades as one of the most beautiful motorcycles ever produced, and it is easy to see why. It is the culmination of where Tamburini started with the Ducati 916; more aggressive in some places, yet rounder and softer in others. The MV Agusta colors of red and silver highlight the proportions wonderfully.

All was not simply style, however. For motivation, MV Agusta created an all-new 750cc powerplant. It is a 750cc inline four with DOHC, but there is much more here as well. Engaging with the engineering genius of the Ferrari F1 team, MV Agusta created a cylinder head with the valves arranged in a radial pattern for maximum airflow and combustion efficiency. To this they added electronic wizardry in the form of multipoint fuel injection and an induction discharge electronic ignition to complete the package. The organ pipe exhaust system (4-2-1-2-4) serves both as a powerful visual focal point at the back of the bike while also routing the exhaust plumbing up high out of the way, aiding in cornering clearance. The noise of an F4 at full song is beautiful music indeed.

On the chassis side, the six piston front calipers and the master cylinder were development updates from the Cagiva-Nissan partnership in 500cc GP racing. Both Pirelli and Michelin - at the behest of Tamburini - created special tires to suit the F4 model specifically. Suspension features include a MV Agusta-spec front fork built by Showa that includes quick release front axle clamps - yet another bit of attention to detail that shows the agonizing efforts MV Agusta went through to create the Oro.

From the seller:
1999 MV Agusta F4 Serie Oro
No 279/300
VIN ZCGF400AAXV000279
Mileage: 7800mi
Fantastic condition and ridden regularly. The only blemishes are a 3/16” scratch on the left side fairing (see close up fairing image) and there are some rock chips on the wheels that have been touched up (see wheel images).

7500mi service (including valve adjustment) recently completed and the rear wheel bearings were replaced as a pre-emptive measure at the same time (these are the two major maintenance items to watch out for on the early F4s).

Includes tool kit, owners manual, factory rear stand, both "gold” keys

I encourage prospective buyers to view the F4 in person if possible or ask any questions they may have via e-mail:

Contact: mvagustaf4oro@gmail.com

Price: Asking $36,000 OBO $32,000 Buy It Now or LIVE eBay auction

MV Agusta was determined to return to the sport of motorcycling where they once dominated with an effort worthy of the name. In the Oro, they succeeded in building both a very special motorcycle and one that works exceptionally well. That takes time, and tremendous finances. The rumor is that the Cagiva 500cc GP program was killed to help fund the F4 development, freeing up both cash reserves and engineering staff. That's how serious the rebirth of MV Agusta was in 1998, and that is how much effort went into creating the Oro model.

The MV Agusta Serie Oro is a rare and special machine. These bikes were frightfully expensive when new, and this immaculate example looks to be priced right in the range for a well-loved Oro today. With extremely limited numbers in the US (estimated at approximately 60), each individually numbered bike has the identification that makes it exclusive and distinctive. Looking good while going fast will never be a problem on this F4; your exclusivity is virtually guaranteed. And thanks to bikes like this Serie Oro, the legend of MV Agusta lives on. Contact mvagustaf4oro@gmail.com for more details.

MI

Honda September 1, 2017 posted by Mike

Featured Listing: 1990 Honda NSR250 MC21

The Honda NSR250R is THE iconic grey-market two stroke. Featuring legendary Honda build quality and infused with the kind of technology only Honda could deliver, the MC21 variant features a 90° liquid-cooled 249cc v-twin connected to a six-speed cassette-style gearbox (indicating the track intentions of the bike). Fueling - as with all successful two strokes (here's looking at you, Bimota) - was via carburetor, however Honda over-delivered on the technological advancement of the ignition system. Dubbed the PGM-III, the MC21 is able to modify the ignition curve and exhaust valving for each cylinder based on a number of parameters including throttle position, number of revs and which gear has been selected.

1990 Honda NSR250 MC21 for sale on eBay

On the chassis side an aluminum perimeter beam frame cradles the power train and tranny, while out back a trick, asymmetrical swing arm features a "gull arm" section on the right side to provide clearance for the expansion chamber. This was all copied from Luca Cadalora's race-winning NSR250 GP bike. The rear wheel was changed from a 18" to 17" (4.5" wide) for better rubber selection. Bodywork was mainly an evolution of the MC18, although small changes were made to accommodate the new machine. Colors were either red/white, blue/white or the striking red/black that we see here.

From the seller:
Up for auction to the highest bidder with NO RESERVE is a very nice 1990 Honda NSR250R MC21 with only 5,545 kilometers (3445 miles). This NSR is in beautiful condition with only one crack in the left side fairing. There are scratches and handling marks throughout the bike from its ride thru life but No dents in the tank. The bodywork is in original condition and would make a great candidate for restoration since it has such low miles. Honda bodywork is 100% genuine with aftermarket windscreen. Engine is stock. Bike runs like the day it was new. Just serviced and comes with new battery and engine fluids. Selling cheap, everything must go!

This MC21 looks very good for the most part, and sports surprisingly low miles on the all KM clocks (a reminder that this is an import). There does seem to exist some light corrosion & pitting seen on home market imports; life in Japan for a motorcycle is not a pampered affair due to continual exposure to sea air and the elements. However this bike looks to be in better condition than many that come right off the boat. There is some fairing damage which might keep it out of a museum, but nothing that would preclude one from riding the heck out of this smoking rocket. Check out the pictures carefully - the seller has provided a large number of high-res images to ensure prospective buyers know what they are getting. It's also house-trained!

This bike is located in Utah; the the seller/locale is likely familiar for regular readers of RSBFS. Gary continues to thin out his impressive collection of rare, imported sport bikes, many which have been featured right here on these pages. Check out this 1990 Honda NSR250R MC21 here - this no reserve auction is underway and should not be missed if you are in the market for a rare Honda smoker. Don't forget to check out some of Gary's other auctions as well; not all of his rare bikes make it to RSBFS. Good luck, and thank you for smoking!

MI

Featured Listing: 1990 Honda NSR250 MC21
Ducati August 29, 2017 posted by Mike

Rare Original: 1995 Ducati 916 “Varese”

Update 9.19.2017: We've been contacted by the new owner to note this bike has been sold to a collector in Minnesota. Congratulations to buyer and seller! -dc

Ducati rocked the motorcycle world with the introduction of the 916 in 1994. Here was a machine that revolutionized the idea of how sharp a street-going motorcycle could be; it offered stunning performance with supermodel good looks. From every angle and by every measure, the 916 redefined the top tier of sport bikes. No longer an evolution of the 851/888 line, the 916 was essentially all new and was an instant hit for Ducati, leading to a huge rise in sales and a fine collection of WSBK trophies.

In case you have lived in a cave for the last 20+ and have not kept tabs on any major motorcycling milestones, allow me to fill you in. The vaunted 916 essentially made its way to the top of the "best sport bike of 1995" article from every single motorcycle publication. Maybe it was the allure of the flowing bodywork. Perhaps it was the statement made by the single-sided swingarm, laying the back wheel bare to the world. Maybe it was the under-seat exhaust, tucked away for cornering clearance and aerodynamics. Perhaps it was the 90 degree L-twin, the 4-valve heads, desmo valve actuation, fuel injected and liquid cooling. But most likely it was the total package, tipping the scales at just over 420 lbs, narrow and svelte like a 600, but pushing 114 HP at the rear wheel with enough torque to loft the front end handily. Handling was unmatched, braking was a similar affair. There was no single element that made the 916 revolutionary, but the complete collection of bits was unlike anything the world had seen.

There is an interesting wrinkle to the 916 story, and one that makes this bike even more special. In 1994 Ducati was ramping production of the 916 to meet with unprecedented demand (most 1995 bikes were build in the latter part of 1994) - the rumor is that every first-year 916 in the US was spoken for before it ever left Italy. The factory in Bologna was running at full song. But a tragic fire (which started in the paint shop) shut down the production line at an inopportune time. Scrambling to continue building the most important motorcycle in Ducati's history, manufacturing was relocated to the Cagiva-owned MV Agusta factory in the city of Varese. Here, approximately 2,663 Ducati 916s were assembled (predominantly by hand) to keep the dream alive. The Bologna factory returned online in 1995, and production was reestablished there for the remainder of the builds. In addition to the base 916 model, approximately 310 SP spec bikes were also assembled in Varese.

From the seller:
A beautiful Ducati 916 in fantastic condition and extremely low miles. One of the closest to OE you can find. Comes with lots of extras, including carbon fiber bodywork and exhaust system. Minor imperfections include a vertical scratch on the right side of the tail (pictured) and very small scratches on the front of the lower left fairing.

Already one of the more rare and iconic Ducati motorcycles, this bike is one of the 2,663 916's to be hand built in the Varese factory due to a fire at the assembly line in Bologna. The 916 led Ducati to 4 World Superbike Championship victories in '94, '95, '96 and '98

Although Varese-built machines do not differ from any other 1995 model year 916, they are considered a bit special because of the circumstances involved. Some believe that a Varese 916 is build a bit better, having been more "hand made." The truth is that Varese 916s are indistinguishable from their Bologna counterparts, but for the 11th digit of the VIN; 916s assembled in Varese during this period have a "V" in that position rather than the traditional "B." Otherwise, all other parts and components are completely interchangeable with Bologna 916s of the same model year. Does that make them more collectable?

1995 Ducati 916 Varese for sale on eBay

Putting the Varese complication aside, the 1995 model year 916 is an aspiring classic. This is perhaps one of the most recognizable motorcycles in the world. 20+ years later, this bike still looks fresh and new. Massimo Tamburini's masterpiece was a shot across the bow of all other manufacturers; Ducati was in the game to win. Sure, the Honda RC30 offered a single-sided swing arm years previous, and the oval-piston NR750 sported both that and the under tail exhaust - but neither bike was a mainstream build. The 916 took those elements and owned them for good. And today, these early 916s are gaining popularity - with prices following. This particular US-based Varese 916 has been on eBay for a bit, and is listed with a $18,590 Buy It Now. That is a bit higher than a clean 916 might bring, but the scant 2,265 miles, the claimed originality (although I spy with my little eye a non-OEM Evoluzione clutch slave cylinder), the impressive collection of spares, the FBF exhaust cans, the overall condition and the Varese connection might make this one worth it. Be sure to check it out, as the seller is open to offers. This is your chance to own what many consider to be "the most beautiful motorcycle in the world." Good Luck!!

MI

Rare Original: 1995 Ducati 916 “Varese”
Ducati August 27, 2017 posted by Mike

Remembrance: 2010 Ducati 848 Nicky Hayden Edition

Let me start out by making it clear: Ducati built this bike to celebrate Nicky's competitive streak and championship-winning skills while he continued racing for the Bologna squad - current tense. Today, we look at this very differently, and make quiet, respectful references in the past tense. This was not intended to be a remembrance model; tragic events turned it into that. Although Nicky raced for Ducati for 5 seasons in MotoGP, he was never able to duplicate his 2006 championship Honda form on the Italian machines. Yet in 2010 Ducati honored Hayden with a bespoke 848 Superbike showcasing the Kentucky Kid's signature and USA-themed styling elements. Only 150 were made world wide.

The Ducati 848 is the little brother to the 1098/1198, in the same manner as the 749/999 and 748/916 model pairings. In fact, the 848 benefits from many of the same components as the 1198, including oil cooler and radiator. With 134 HP pushing only 370 pounds of bike, the 848 is good for 160+ on the top end. But that is not the whole story. With 70 foot pounds of torque ready to assist you, the Ducati twin is very forgiving should you select a slightly higher gear than the situation calls for. That is one of the Ducati's (not so) secret weapons in the wet; tractable, usable power. The rest of the bike is pure Ducati. That is to say, finished to a high level of specification, including trademark trellis frame, aluminum single-sided swingarm, Showa suspension components front and rear, Brembo monobloc calipers, Termi pipes and Marchesini lightweight wheels.

From the seller:
2010 Ducati 848 NH (Nicky Hayden Edition). Great condition, no mechanical issues at all. Has been well taken care of and runs perfectly. Nothing to fix, ready to ride. Includes Bilt helmet, Sedici lambskin gloves, and full cover. Nicky Hayden autograph on gas tank.

Mechanically speaking, the real differentiation between the Nicky Hayden Edition of the 848 and the standard offering is graphical. There are no extra-sporty bits included with the NHE, unless the signature on the tank inspires you to greatness every time you ride in a manner that a plain red tank just doesn't manage. Otherwise, you are looking at more of a marketing exercise than a technical one; but as usual, Ducati pulled off another great looking bike (at a slight premium over the base model). This particular example looks reasonably well cared for (despite the 38,709 miles on the clocks - something of a record for most Ducati Superbikes), although I would like to know a LOT more about the maintenance history of this bike. There appears to be a license plate eliminator out back, and Nicky's signature is badly faded. Still, it presents decently well.

This 2010 Ducati 848 Nicky Hayden Edition is available on eBay as a Buy It Now classified. The asking price: $6,200. All in all, that is not too bad considering. This particular bike has a few too many miles on it to be a collector, but then again the NHE bikes haven't really appreciated in the same manner as other Ducati limited edition models (the 2000 MHe, for example). And it is too early to tell how the passing of the legend that was Nicky Hayden will play into the future value of these machines. But with only 150 created by Ducati, you can be sure there won't be another one on every corner you pass. Check it out here, and then share your thoughts in the Comments section. Good luck (and Godspeed, Nicky).

MI

Remembrance: 2010 Ducati 848 Nicky Hayden Edition