Author Archives: Mike

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!
Honda February 9, 2017 posted by Mike

Featured Hot Rod: 1993 Honda CBR900RR / 954RR Hybrid!

Since the dawn of internal combustion there have always been those independent spirits with a vision of speed. The recipe is age old and time worn; take a small vehicle and stuff a big motor into it. The engine swap shuffle has been played many, many times, to vehicles too countless to note. The quest is always the same: start with something good, add more power, and make it better. Manufacturers are not ignorant of this magic spell either - the original Honda CBR900RR is the perfect example of what happens when you take a CBR600 and stuff a 900 into it. Bingo! A factory hot rod is born. What happens when someone takes that hot rod and ups the ante? You get an even hotter hot rod, such as this CBR900RR with motivation from a 954RR mill.

Featured Listing: 1993 Honda 900RR/954RR Hybrid!

Countless engine swap projects end in a pile of parts. Fewer actually make it to running status, despite looking rather Frankenstein. Fewer still manage to pull off the swap with good looking results. Chris Perkins - the man with the vision and the 900RR - wanted to reach this rare level and beyond. Chris wanted it to look factory - a true sleeper. Look closely at the photos, as "sleeper" is exactly what this builder pulled off. Integrating the best of the 1993 900RR qualities while taking advantage of the performance and electronic enhancements of the 2003 954RR model, this hybrid spans ten years of engine development without changing the overall stance of the original 900RR.

From the seller:
1993 Honda CBR900RR Chassis with a 2003 CBR954RR Fuel injected engine and electronics.
Custom built, one off bike featured on Superstreetbike.com
The bike was built with the intent to make a "Pro-Touring" style bike that sheds old technology and be ridden like a modern sport bike, sans the carburetors and jetting issues usually associated with older bikes.

Top quality products were used in the build, such as:

Ohlins rear shock
Two Brothers Carbon canister on a stock CBR954RR exhaust header
Dunlop D208 Qualifiers front and rear
RK chain
Supersprox Chain wheels
EBC HH brake pads
Servo Buddy to eliminate the exhaust valve
NGK plugs
K&N filter
PPG DCU 2 stage paint buried with liberal amounts of PPG 2021 clear
Ballistic lithium battery

Bike presents as new, and has been started then drained of all fuel.
Fresh oil and filter. Thermostat and coolant have been changed..

Asking $9800

Leafing through the swap info reads like a never-ending set of challenges and innovative solutions (you can read the article at SuperStreetBike.com). The 900RR frame needed to be modified due to the changes in how the 954RR motor was mounted. Solution: A CBR1000 front mount fabricated onto the chassis, with older tabs and mounts removed. The 954RR motor is fuel injected, requiring a change to the fuel tank. Solution: Graft the bottom a 954RR tank into a 900RR tank. Similar challenges were presented with the electrics (a lithium battery makes room for the 954RR ECU), gauges (custom mount to make the 954RR cluster fit in the stock location) and exhaust (modified 954RR pieces). What sounds so simple - stuff a big motor in a small bike chassis - can be tremendously complicated. Chris methodically worked his way through each of these issues with ingenuity and innovation. The resultant machine looks absolutely stock, yet is unique unto itself.

This fantastic melding of old performance into a new hot rod is available directly from the builder. With stock looks and a healthy bump in power, it is sure to be a screamer. So roll with the old-school cool that is the original double R, knowing that beneath the skin you have what it takes to hang with much newer machinery. Your sleeper awaits you - just contact Chris for details!

MI

Featured Hot Rod: 1993 Honda CBR900RR / 954RR Hybrid!
Suzuki February 8, 2017 posted by Mike

Sharp Sword: 1982 SUZUKI GS1000 KATANA

In ancient Japan, the Katana was known as the samurai sword. Smaller than the long broadswords of the day, the Katana changed the art of Japanese warfare; quick to draw, the lighter blade could strike quickly before the enemy could react. When victory depended upon response times, the Katana became the weapon of choice. Sadly, such artistry was eradicated by the rise of firearms technology. But for a period of time, the Katana sword ruled the battlefield.

1982 Suzuki GS1000 Katana for sale on eBay

Like the samurai sword, the Suzuki Katana could be written off as a bygone relic of past times. With its air-cooled four cylinder lump displacing 1000cc and breathing through CV carbs, this twin-shock, mild-steel backbone chassis beast would soon be decimated by giant leaps in performance and technology: liquid cooling, fuel injection, single shock suspension with rising rate linkages, aluminum perimeter frames. But for a meteoric moment, the Katana ruled a world that had never seen the likes of its power and beauty.

Using a new design language penned by creator Hans Muth, the Katana oozed angular lines and purposeful design. But it was not simply cosmetic; the tiny front fairing and upright windscreen reduced front end lift by a considerable amount (decades before GP machines started using wings). The power plant was more narrow than its predecessors, and churned up an estimated 108 ponies - a magical number in 1982. The riding position was forward canted, expecting a committed rider. The result was a machine that looked like no other, and performed like no other.

From the seller:
MUSUEM BIKE SOLD AT FIXED PRICE,
RARE UNCRASHED LOW MILES TIME CAPSULE SUZUKI KATANA 1000
1882 MODEL, DRY TANK, ZERO RUST AND SHINEY INSIDE,
THE CARBURETORS WERE DRAINED OF ALL FUEL BEFORE STORAGE IN 1984. THIS BIKE WAS KITTED WITH FACTORY YOSHIMURA REAR SETS, YOSHIMURA OIL COOLER KIT, YOSHIMURA EXHAUST SYSTEM, THE REAR SHOCKS ARE S&W 13"LONG. IT HAS THE ORIGINAL DUNLOP 391 RACE COMPOUND ELITE TIRES STILL. THE SEAT IS SWEET WITH NO RIPS OR TEARS. SOME ONE INSTALLED FLUSH STYLE TURN SIGNALS AND THE STOCK REARS TURN SIGNALS ARE INCLUDED IN THE SALE. THE BIKE HAS 19,559 ORIGINAL MILES

Suzuki produced several Katana models in varying capacities and with different interpretations of the same, angular design (including a pop-up headlight version in 750cc). In an ironic twist, the US saw the smaller of the two one-liter models: The original 1000cc version in the US was actually a de-stroked GS1100 motor to comply with the 1025cc limit for SuperBike racing (Wes Cooley, for one, had good success racing the the Katana). Markets outside the US had access to the original 1100cc motor.

More from the seller:
The Fuel tank has two scratches, not dented or dinded, see photos*** this is the only flaw on the whole paint of the bike. Clear Oregon title from a dealer. You will never get the opportunity to find a better specimen of Suzuki race history to own. check out the specification card on this bike in the photos. NOTE I have never started this bike since I received it from the Sale. It's a museum piece not a toy for children or commuters

Katanas have steadily risen in value over the years. Perhaps it is the 35 years that have elapsed since this iconic form stunned international audiences. Perhaps, despite the instant-relic status a year or two later (think 900 Ninja or even Suzuki's own groundbreaking GSX-R), the Katana continues to impress because it made a statement. It changed the nature of warfare - if only for a brief moment - to impress with looks as well as brawn. This example, while emerging as a museum denizen, actually has nearly 20k on the clock. It certainly is not fully stock. The seller is looking for $9k OBO. You can check out all of the details here, and then jump back to the comments section and let us know what you think. Good Luck!

MI

Sharp Sword: 1982 SUZUKI GS1000 KATANA