Author Archives: Mike

Yamaha June 2, 2017 posted by Mike

Titled! 1991 Yamaha TZR250

The quarter-liter two stroke is the bread and butter of RSBFS. And while gray market bikes come in all shapes and sizes (including the ever-popular 400cc four stroke class and the 500cc smokers), the 250 is the volume leader. With svelte dimensions, racy accommodations and a surprising amount of power, the 250cc two stroke is - in some ways - the very essence of sport motorcycling. If you're looking for ground pounding torque, please look elsewhere. But if you are looking for handling, speed, GP bike sound and all-around rarity, the 250 class is hard to beat. Today's quarter-liter candy bar - a titled and plated Yamaha TZR250 - was pointed out to us by a reader and comes from a reputable dealer of imported exotica.

Titled 1991 Yamaha TZR250 for sale on eBay

Yamaha produced the TZR as a street-going replica of the TZ race bike starting in 1986. Over a 10 year period, the TZR morphed from a RD / RDLC replacement as a parallel twin to a reverse cylinder 3MA model, to this eventual V-twin configuration (3XV). Options and components vary greatly depending upon the variant of bike AND the locality from where it is sourced. Differences include: induction system, ignition system, power valve actuation and timing, clutch type, lighting and suspension adjustability. Power is estimated to be somewhere between 40-50 in most cases, and the dry weight of a TZR is a scant 275 lbs. This particular bike sports a conventional wet clutch and upside down forks, marking it as an R model (other variants include the RS, RSP, SP and RR).

From the seller:
1991 Yamaha TZR250 3XV

18,521 miles (29,820km)
"R" model with wet clutch and upside-down forks
All original bodywork in excellent condition (check all 24 hi-def pictures)
Engine has been fully checked including compression and leak down
Starts with one kick & runs perfectly; all controls, lights, etc. checked and operating properly
Super clean chassis and engine
Legally imported with full US Customs paperwork
DOT/EPA cleared for street legal use
Comes with US title with correct year, make, model & VIN

Bike has been fully inspected and serviced by partner Speedwerks including:
Engine fully inspected including compression and leak-down checks
Re-built carbs, NGK spark plugs, EBC brake pads
All fluid systems (fuel/oil/coolant) drained, flushed & refilled with new filters
All operating controls, switches, lights & indicators checked and working properly
Bridgestone Battlax BT-003 tires

Buy it Now: $8,999

Ask us any questions about this amazing machine. Moto2 Imports is a specialist importer of two-strokes and other Japanese sport bikes.

CALIFORNIA BUYERS: Due to California titling requirements, we currently only sell to CA buyers for track use or collection purposes. Contact Moto2 Imports for more details.

Three things jump out at me when I look at the overall advert. One: This bike is super clean and free from most of the dreaded corrosion and bodywork damage we tend to see on hastily-imported and flipped motorcycles. Two: Speedwerks, a noted repair and speed shop has performed maintenance updates and critical checks. This eases the worry about seals, air leaks, and the ubiquitous seizing that follows. Three: This puppy is titled and plated for street use. It's not often we see a clean, titled bike that is ready to ride like this one. As usual, Californians get the shaft (speaking as a native).

Of course quality has its price. In this case, a BIN of $8,999. While not outside of the pricing-spread realm, it does represent the higher end of the spectrum. The good news is that there is also an auction underway, and this one is still sitting in the basement at $2,550 with moderately heavy bidding and a reserve in place. Compared to many 250s we have come across, this one looks great and all signs seem to indicate it is a solid bike. Check it out here and understand why it was called out to us. Now if only we could do something about California laws related to imports and smokers..... Good Luck!!


Sport Bikes For Sale June 1, 2017 posted by Mike

So you want to do a Track day? Part I

Welcome to a new series of RSBFS articles outlining Track Days and how to get involved. Many riders have thought about this, but don't know where to start. RSBFS will walk you through the hows and whys about track days, bike prep and more. Join us for the journey!

Why should you consider taking it to the track?

The lure of a track day, often despite appearances, is not to prep you for a racing career. In fact, track days are not really about racing at all. Track days afford the rider an opportunity to ride further into the motorcycle's envelope of performance in a safe and controlled environment. Gone are the intersections, pedestrians, texting cagers, and the like. No driveways, no oncoming traffic, and no cops. Only a well-maintained track surface, the opportunity to attack the same set of corners multiple times, and the chance to build up some valuable muscle memory. Track days are all about learning. And having fun. And we all like to have fun, right?

Riders of all skill levels are welcome to track days. Riders of like ability and experience are grouped together to reduce the volatility of mixing pros with beginners. Most track day organizations employ skilled riders to participate in each session and ensure safety; if they see a rider struggling, they can pull them in for a discussion and some guided laps. The bigger schools offer a full curriculum over the course of day, including classroom sessions intermixed with track time. You are there to learn - in the safest environment possible. And to have fun.

A good track day is a bit like a bike gathering. Over the course of the day you will see all kinds of bikes (from cruisers to full-blown racers), meet more people from various walks of life (from pro racers to celebrities, from blue collar to white collar workers, from youngsters being encouraged by their parents to retirees), and generally have a great time doing so. Riding on the track is an addictive experience, and you cannot help but come off the course at the end of your session pumped and completely elated. Maybe you didn't ride quite as well as you would have liked, but you will still have had a great time.

Aside from the fun, the result of a track day is a rider with more confidence in his or her skills. Riding ability is enhanced through experience with braking harder, cornering faster, and generally riding in a more focused manner than you can on the street. The schools will run particular drills around use of the front or rear brake, body placement and weight shifting, and counter-steering maneuvers. Guided sessions help build your confidence and capability. Everything you pick up at the track is applicable to your daily riding on the street. Track days make you a better rider, regardless what you ride.

So are you ready to become a better, safer rider? Stay tuned as we help you select the right track day, and help prepare for your adventure!

Your homework assignment:

All track days require bike prep and safety gear. These topics will be covered in future articles, but you are welcome to peek ahead. Do you have the appropriate personal safety gear? If not, here is your chance to shop around a bit.

We will assume that your full face helmet is newer than 5 years old. If not, this is an easy place to start. You should not be riding on the street with an older helmet, so this is something you should address regardless of whether you participate in a track day. You need your head; invest wisely and take care of it. Update your brain bucket.

RSBFS recommends one-piece leathers for the ultimate in safety. There are several different brands, but Dainese is recognized as a longstanding, quality brand and is a safe choice. Shop for track day leathers here. If thousand dollar bills fall out of your pocket every time you sneeze, consider a newer air-bag equipped suit (although this is overkill for most riders).

A spine protector - while not required by every track day organization - should be considered mandatory. You only have one spine, and back protectors have come a long way in the past few years. Many suits will have provisions to incorporate a spine protector, making them both more comfortable AND safer for your key bits.

Boots are an area that you likely already have covered. You do NOT need the latest MotoGP lambskin leather whizbang booties with toe sliders. Sure they are cool, but if you already have a pair of sturdy motorcycle boots that fully cover your ankle save your pennies for something else.

Finally, take a close look at your gloves. Do they cover all of your fingers (no shorties allowed)? Are they - at minimum - double-layered at the palm and over the knuckles? If so, you are probably OK. However for ultimate in safety you should consider a gauntlet style glove that rides up higher and helps protect the gap between the suit sleeve and the glove. The gauntlet style integrates more tightly with leathers, and provides that added bit of protection in this critical area.

Next up:
Pick your track day
Prep your motorcycle and your gear
What to expect on the day of your ride

Suzuki May 30, 2017 posted by Mike

Very Cooley: 1980 Suzuki GS1000S

Wes Cooley was a Los Angeles phenom on the club scene, and was cultivated by Pops Yoshimura to ride in the newly formed AMA Superbike Championship. Yoshimura initially fielded Kawasakis, but moved to Suzuki for the 1978 season. Wes Cooley used that dialed-in GS1000S to win the 1979 Championship, and he backed it up by doing the double in 1980 (amid stiff competition from younger guns such as Freddie Spencer and Eddie Lawson). The GS1000S streetbike was a commemorative nod to the AMA Superbike, and was produced by Suzuki in very limited numbers between 1979 and 1980. As the story goes, the GS1000S was never even supposed to come to America - but when US dealers saw it they pressured Suzuki into importing the model. Reports indicate that dealers in the US were allotted a single bike, with 500 units imported for 1979 and 700 units for 1980.

1980 Suzuki GS1000S Wes Cooley for sale on eBay

While never signatured as the "Wes Cooley" model (nor ever officially marketed as such), the GS1000S is known as the Wes model in most circles. Replicating the style and color scheme of the Yoshimura racebike was a master stroke on the part of the design department, which resulted in a wonderfully proportioned bike that spoke to race enthusiasts. The limited edition "S" model came a year after the rest of the GS1000 lineup (which included the standard GS1000 and the semi-sporty "E" model). It did not have any material differences to the other GS1000 models in terms of engine, but it did share what was widely regarded as the best chassis to emerge from Japan during the era. Ultimately, that was the secret to the success of the bike on the track. For its first entry into the 1000cc market, Suzuki created a winner - both on the race track as well as the showroom.

From the seller:
Rare limited edition 1980 Suzuki GS 1000S Wes Cooley only 700 produced.

The bike was displayed in a humidity controlled private collection for the past 22 years. It has been recently gone though, new tires mounted less than 100 miles ago and is in excellent running condition. The engine is completely stock and unmodified, everything works on the bike including the clock. It comes with a Factory and Clymers service manual. As you can see from the photos the bike is in excellent condition and has been well taken care of.

Well-loved and unmodified Wes Cooley models are rare affairs. They are becoming harder to find, and more expensive to procure. Such is the nature of collectable bikes; the good ones will always be perceived as good, whether the market is up or down. Chances are strong that if a bike evoked some emotion on the day it was new, it will still be able to do so nearly 40 years later - for a price. And this bike really does look to be in excellent shape.

This bike has approximately 5,000 miles on the odometer, and is located in Tennessee. There are only a few days left on the auction, and interest has been moderate. I expect this one to climb a bit more before the final bell, so if you are interested I suggest you jump in quickly. Check it out here, and celebrate all the wonder that is the Wes Cooley Suzuki (that isn't officially a Wes Cooley commemorative model). Good Luck!!


Very Cooley: 1980 Suzuki GS1000S
Yamaha May 28, 2017 posted by Mike

CA Fun: 1984 Yamaha RZV 500R

Today we have a bit of two stroke fun located in California. The Yamaha RZV model was built for the Japanese home market only. Notable changes came with the "Z" descriptor, including an all-aluminum frame and a "made to comply with Japanese regulations" restricted output engine. From a chassis and weight department, the RZV is the model you want. From a power perspective, you wanted the export-market RZ500. In stock configuration, the RZV is the more rare of the two bikes, given that it was not exported widely outside of Japan, but any of the big RZs could be considered reasonably rare in the United States (where we sadly received none).

1984 Yamaha RZV500R for sale on eBay

From the seller:
1984 RZV 500R All Original!
For being 33 years old, this bike is in great condition!
All fluids have just been changed (Motor, Forks, Brake Lines, Radiator) at 5000 km. Brand New Tires!
Bike runs and drives perfect!
5192 kilometers on the dash = 3226 US Miles.
Bike was imported from Japan and sent to California in a shipping container years ago. I have no paperwork. Vin number is available upon request to verify status.

The seller notes fluid changes, but no mention of engine seals. These are the items that are both critical to proper engine function (and longevity) and the more costly items to replace due to the invasive nature of where they are placed. I would much rather ride an old smoker that has old fluids but new seals than the other way around. Thus, it would appear that while this bike has low miles and looks to be in great condition, some maintenance work will be necessary to avoid seizing due to an air leak condition.

This CA located bike is also missing something else that is critical; a title and plates. This may not be a big deal in some states (where a bill of sale will open the door to riding nirvana), but is a potentially huge issue in California where licensing regs are not so lax. CA plated bikes have a gold plating for a reason, and the lack of registration on this one does have some impact to value.

The good side, this bike looks to be in decent condition for the age. There exists the requisite corrosion that one would expect from a Japanese import; this is common to any bike that lives near the seaboard. The plastics look great (with a possible crack on the upper right side panel and a missing fastener which could spell a broken tab), as does the paint and seat. The stock pipes look a bit peppered (or possibly just dirty), but nothing extreme to my eye. Even the wheels look decent, and the bike comes shod with new tires.

The big RZs are the mainstay of the grey-market world here in the US. Values have been solid for the past several years, with truly excellent examples commanding the highest prices. Being all stock is a real plus for this bike; it can only be all-original once. The location might be a positive for some, but the lack of registration and title is definitely a minus. A CA plate could have added another $1-2k to the price tag. All in all, this appears to be a solid example of the RZV breed. The internet does not wholly agree at this time, however: Bidding is just over $6k with a few days to go, and the bike has not met reserve. The BIN is set for $14k - pretty high dollar for the model - so it is possible this seller will be holding out for a while. Check it out here, and then let us know which you would prefer: RZ or RZV? Good Luck!!


CA Fun: 1984 Yamaha RZV 500R
Honda May 26, 2017 posted by Mike

Battle of the 400s! Honda CBR400RR or Kawasaki ZXR400R

The collection from Utah keeps on giving! Up for grabs this week is your choice of either a CBR400RR or a ZXR400R; both are 1995 models, but winning the auction only allows you to choose one. So which of these two ultra-rare grey bikes do you choose? Read on before you decide!

From the seller:
These two 400's will be the last of the bikes I will be listing for sale. I've sold a lot of bikes and the honey hole is running dry.

This is a YOUR CHOICE auction. Up for your consideration is a 1995 Honda CBR400RR Fireblade with 22,014 kilometers (13,678 miles) or a 1995 Kawasaki Ninja ZXR400R with 25,254 kilometers (15,692 miles). High bidder will have their choice of bikes. You don't get both bikes, you only get to choose ONE for your high bid. Both bikes have scratches and scrapes throughout. The Fireblade has a Fat Daddy aftermarket muffler installed but also comes with its original stock OEM muffler included. Both bikes are in great condition and would make great candidates for restoration. Both bikes run perfectly like the day they were new. Both bikes will have new batteries, new fluids and filters serviced. Both bikes come with Utah state titles and are titled as motorcycles for street use. Fairings and components on both bikes are 100% OEM factory original. Both look very nice and have good curb appeal.

1995 Honda CBR400RR Fireblade

1995 Kawasaki ZXR400R Ninja

There has been some good feedback about this seller in the RSBFS comments section (see this post here) and we have definitely seen some amazing motorcycles. But how would you choose between one of these little rocket ships? Neither is exactly in concours condition, but that might just be the appeal. Both are riders, meaning that you could pick one, thrash on it until your face hurts from smiling so much, and then park it knowing that you did not just ruin some zero mile investment. You can check the auction out here. Activity has been moderate thus far, and the current bid for one of these beauties sits at $6k with a reserve still in place.

If you are looking to add a grey-market 400 to your collection, this is a great opportunity. This seller has liquidated a serious number of bikes, and this is the end of that line. It is rare to see a collection such as this thinned out in one fell swoop, but it is certainly exciting to watch! Act now for one of these housebroken machines; it may be some time before we see the likes of them again. Good Luck!!


Battle of the 400s!  Honda CBR400RR or Kawasaki ZXR400R
Yamaha May 23, 2017 posted by Mike

Welterweight: 1989 Yamaha FZR400R

The 400cc class of bikes is a special one. In the 1980s and 1990s these sub-middleweights provided a rare mix of compact geometry, light weight and just enough horsepower (if there is such a thing). The resulting motorcycles were outstanding rider machines, race-worthy platforms and lusted after by world markets. The US was privy to but one such example: The Yamaha FZR400. Created in 1986 as the "1WG" series of bikes, the FZR400 ran through numerous changes through 1990. Today the little Fizzers are the most common of the 400cc set in the States, and in many ways the best for those who prefer riding to collecting. Parts, knowledge and upgrades are available more readily for the Yamaha, making it an easy 400cc choice. And the ride is nothing short of fantastic.

1989 Yamaha FZR400R for sale on eBay

Everything on the FZR400R is a big bike on Slim Fast. The motor is a Genesis derivative - right down to the extremely canted cylinders - but only 399cc instead of a 750 or 1100. The chassis - a slick aluminum Delta Box unit - looks like an OW01 was given the shrinky-dink treatment. Ditto the bodywork (with the cool, double headlights), cockpit (yes, redline starts at 14k) and other pieces of kit. The FZR400R is no dog; there are some proper numbers in this beast, including 60 HP and a scant 352 pound dry weight.

From the seller:
Up for auction to the highest bidder with NO RESERVE is a 1989 Yamaha FZR400R with only 14,524 kilometers (9,025 miles).

This FZR has a crack in the windscreen, it had a crack in the lower left fairing and cracks in the mirror mounts that have been repaired, left side of the tank has been touched up and repaired, rear passenger seat is cracking and needs to be re upholstered, There is a small piece broken off of the tab on the underside of the fairing but still useable. The bike has scratches and scrapes throughout. Right side plastic liner piece is missing. Touch up paint here and there to hide the nicks and scratches. The bike has good curb appeal but the kid that probably owned it was on a budget so everything was repaired on the cheap by himself.

The good news is the bike is solid and only has 9,025 miles and under the plastic it looks clean. It runs like the day it was new. The lower fork tubes, radiator, exhaust headers, frame and swing arm are all clean and no damage. This bike would make an excellent candidate for restoration. A professional body guy could make this bike look perfect. Bike will come with new battery, fluids and filters. This FZR has a slip on muffler by O.V.E.R. but bike comes with stock OEM muffler also. All fairings are OEM Yamaha original.

Bike comes with Utah state title and is titled as a street motorcycle for road use. Happy bidding.

The seller has done a good job outlining the pros and cons of this particular example. The bike looks great in the photos, but there are some blems on this young 28 year old. It is likely that prior ownership has brought with it some errant issues that will need to be remedied if you want to show. If you just want to go, it looks like it could be more cosmetic than actual damage; ride the wheels off and have fun. Send us a postcard when you finally wipe the smile off your face.

This bike is being offered by the Utah collector with a number of tasty bikes - this one complete with title and tags. The auction format is No Reserve, which is a nice way of saying that the highest bidder wins (even if it is a low bid). At the time of writing, this bid is sitting in very affordable territory at $2,000 USD. I would not expect this to hang out in sub $5k circles by the end of it all, but it will be interesting to see where it ends. Check it out here before it's gone. Good Luck!!


Welterweight: 1989 Yamaha FZR400R