Author Archives: Mike

Kawasaki June 26, 2017 posted by Mike

Quandary: ZXR400R OR GSX-R400SP?

Our collector friend from Utah is at it again. If you're not sure about whom I'm talking, check out this uber-rare Kawasaki KR-1R that he is selling from his collection. That is the caliber of model and condition that Gary brings to the table, and the two 400s pitted up against each other at auction today are no different. In one corner, you have a 1993 Kawasaki ZXR400R in original OEM condition. In the other corner, a rare 1989 Suzuki GSX-R400SP with exhaust. The problem is you can only pick one. I wouldn't care which one I scored; both are simply gorgeous. Let's meet the players:

1993 Kawasaki ZXR400R

When Kawasaki introduced the first ZXR400R model in 1989, it was the fastest of its peer group. With seemingly more grunt (although still adhering to Japanese home market power output limitations) and the highest top speed, it was the bad boy to have in the home market and in Europe. Interesting fact is that peak HP changed very little over the years of the model run; Kawasaki opting to bolster the torque curve in subsequent iterations rather than shooting for peak numbers. Again, this likely had more to do with home market regulations, but the result was a great all around mount: reasonably comfortable for commuting (or getting to the twisty bits), great handling due to small-ish size and weight (about 350 lbs dry), top-shelf components (upside down fork, Uni-trak, aluminum chassis, slipper clutch) and the ability to hit nearly 140 MPH on the straights. Here in the US, where the only real 400 we saw was the FZR, the Kawasaki reeked of performance in the sort of unobtainable way that made hardcore riders want them all the more. While this is not the rarest of the rare, finding a good clean example in the US is definitely not an everyday occurrence. That is the reason the last ZXR400 Gary listed was snapped up; good examples of rare bikes never last long at auction.

From the seller:
The first bike is a 1993 Kawasaki ZXR400R M model with only 3,318 kilometers (2,061miles). It is in mint condition and is completely stock. All fairings and components are 100% genuine OEM Kawasaki. Original tires, chain and sprockets along with factory warning labels. You NEVER see JDM bikes like this one.


1989 Suzuki GSX-R400SP

Suzuki was way ahead of the 400 game with the GSX-R; first released as a 1984 model, it had all the wonderful slab-sided uniqueness of its bigger brothers. And like the original GSX-R ideology, the 400 was light - undercutting the competition by several pounds (read: 20+ lbs); on a smaller bike, that is significant. As the model evolved, some of that weight came back. In 1988, the GXR-R400 gained a brand new (stiffer) chassis - known as the GK73A - accounting for some of that weight gain. In the end, the 400 Gixxer is on par with the Kawasaki in the weight department (approx 350 dry). This 1989 SP model was intended as a homologation unit for racing. Don't get your hopes up on more power, however; home market bikes were all capped on HP, and in the end all reported about the same (or very similar) numbers: 59 HP. What the SP model got you was the solo accommodations, upgraded suspension (including a remote reservoir rear shock) and a close-ratio transmission. The 1989 model also introduced the braced swingarm, adding pounds but aiding handling - and looking super cool at the same time. Like the Kawasaki, this was a model never officially brought into the US. That makes it rare Stateside, but the SP model is also pretty rare in the rest of the world as well. Arguably, the GSX-R is the least common of the 400cc class and as SPs were intended for racing, finding a clean survivor is not easy.

From the seller:
The second choice is a very rare 1989 Suzuki GSX-R400 SP (Sports Production) with 8,690 kilometers (5400 miles). It is in mint condition also with only a few small scratches on the left side on the rear fairing from rubbing against another bike during shipping. All fairings and components are 100% genuine OEM Suzuki except for the Yoshimura Cyclone full exhaust. The original OEM factory Suzuki exhaust is included with the sale of this bike. This baby RK comes with brand new Bridgestone Battlax tires. The bike color looks black indoors. It is actually metallic dark blue when outside in the sunlight. The metallic blue sparkle really pops in the sun. Its gorgeous!


From the seller:
This is a "Your Choice" auction. The winning bidder will get their choice of bikes. You don't get both, just one, for your high bid. These bikes are premium examples with extremely low miles, collector quality. Both bikes run like the day they were new. Both come with Utah titles and they are titled as street motorcycles for road use. These are rare premium bikes in premium condition for a premium price. Rare low mileage bikes like these don't come around often. If you would like more pictures please contact me and I will send you all the photos you want. $500 deposit thru PayPal due immediately after auctions end. Bike to be paid in full within 5 business days. Again, Winning bidder gets their choice of bikes. You don't get both, just one bike of your choice for your winning bid.

Well there you have it. Let the battle commence. Performance wise, the latter stages of bike development during this time was up against the Japanese power regulations; there is not too much to choose on that front. How each of these bikes delivers on that performance is a very unique experience, however. Drool over the pictures, and this pick your sides. Are you into Team Green and do you go for the ZXR based on brand loyalty? Do you lust after the GSX-R SP? Maybe it's time to raid the 401k and the kid's college fund and make Gary a serious offer on both (just don't forget that KR-1R while your at it). Check both bikes out here, and Good Luck!!

MI

Yamaha June 23, 2017 posted by Mike

Original Fizz: 1990 Yamaha FZR600

Before the haters and the interweb know-it-alls pipe up, we all know that the FZR600 - while a great bike in its day - is not rare. So what the heck is it doing here on RSBFS??! I can sum it up with one word: Condition. These bikes are not really collector material; Yamaha simply made too many, and they were really nothing special from a tech perspective. Fast forward nearly 30 years, though, and 98% (or more) of these bikes have been through about 6-7 owners, raced, hooned, crashed, trashed and rebuilt - and look like it. Here we have what amounts to a "nearly new" Fizzer 600 with enough miles on the clock not to be a garage queen (approaching 12,000), but clean enough to eat off of. The parts are original, and the bike looks it. This example is the 1% that had no chance to be special when released, but because of the preservation has become a unique find.

1990 Yamaha FZR600 for sale on eBay

Yamaha introduced the FZR600 as an update to the FZ series. Born of the Genesis ideology, the liquid-cooled inline four is canted forward notably in order to shift weight onto the front of the bike. Unlike the 750 and 1,000cc Fizzers, the 600 makes due with only four valves per cylinder, not five; that makes it like the 400. Unlike the 400, however, the Delta Box frame on the 600 is steel, not aluminum. This was a cost move on the part of Yamaha. Another cost-saving move was the relative lack of updates to the bike over its 10 year run; aside from colors and graphics, only minor cosmetic changes were introduced to the lineup. Again, I'm damning the FZR600 with faint praise; it is nothing particularly special, yet somehow does most things right.


From the seller:
1990 FZR 600 – Immaculate condition. I hate to do this but I am finally willing to sell one of the best bikes in my collection. The reason for my decision is because I am older and my back is not like it was. In my opinion this has to be one of the nicest (if not the nicest) 1990 FZR 600’s in the entire country. The bike has all its original plastic that is in amazing condition. This bike has been garaged and babied it’s entire life. When I purchased the bike I took a year to replace any and all tiny little trim pieces that get worn overtime using ONLY new “out of wrapper” OEM parts to do so. This bike has brand new tires (less then 20 miles), a new battery, a brand new OEM fairing stabilizer bar (try to find one of those) and a new windshield that even includes the factory OEM rubber trim around it. Even the seat is like new on this bike. The bike runs like NEW and starts right up. Clutch is perfect and shifts like new. The engine has only 11,800 original miles on it. There are only two major aftermarket parts on this bike. The first is a one piece “period correct” Vance and Hines four to one exhaust system which sounds great and the other is a "Stage One" jet kit. You will be amazed at how nice this bike is. This bike turns more heads then most because young kids don’t know what it is and old people (like me) haven’t seen one in 20 years (ha). As I said, I hate to see it go but someone should be riding this!!!! The price includes a real wheel stand.

I challenge you to find a FZR600 that looks like this. Hit up the GoogleTube and do your worst. What you will end up with is a bunch of rat bikes, "naked" stunters, abandoned rust buckets and possibly even some tenable, high-mileage used bikes. If you want a period correct FZR600 - one that you can ride and one that shows well - THIS is your option. The bummer here is that the price is rather steep. The 600cc Fizzer was always a bit of a budget bike during the day; you could spend more with Honda, Kawasaki or Suzuki, but you didn't necessarily get more bike. Yamaha was smart about their trade-offs, and built a competitive bike on a budget. This particular FZR600 - while about the best we've seen in a long, long time - breaks the bank with a $4,900 Buy It Now option. There is also an auction underway with a $4k opening bid plus reserve (no takers yet). Sadly, this is the best FZR600 that we have seen, and it is not likely to be sold at these prices. A good bike? Most certainly. Great condition? Undoubtedly. Overpriced for a non-collectable model? Sorry to say, but true. Check it out here, and then share your experience with the most versatile of the 1990s 600cc set! Good Luck!!

MI

Original Fizz: 1990 Yamaha FZR600
Aprilia June 22, 2017 posted by Mike

Tiny Tiddler: 2009 Aprilia RS125

Go figure, but these Aprilia RS125s are extremely popular on RSBFS. Nowhere near liter bike territory, the little Rotax-powered chicken chaser is the grey-market equivalent of a Honda Grom - only much, much cooler. With a single cylinder two stroke motor, lights and turn signals to make it almost legal in most states and a reputation for handling, this Aprilia will let you take the fight to those pesky Ninja 250Rs and Honda CBR250s for top title in the small bike class. Got a local track that is tight and twisty? Here is your answer. Addicted to anything that requires premix? Here is your answer. Got a few bucks laying around and hankering for a new toy? Here is your answer.

2009 Aprilia RS125 for sale on eBay

The world is changing, and we are drawn along with it - willingly or not. Gasoline and diesel are the targets of EV automobiles. Our beloved two strokes are already in their graves; four strokers have taken over everything from GP machinery to scooters. What is left but the past? This RS125 is a perfect reminder of the past. Conjuring up the glory days before Moto3, the RS125 hearkens back to an era of 125cc, entry-level GP racing. This is where pimply-faced teens cut their teeth before becoming heroes: Rossi, Biaggi, Criville, Capirossi, Locatelli, Pedrosa, Dovizioso, Luthi, Bautista, Di Meglio, Marquez. I mean, what do these guys know?

From the seller:
2009 Aprilia RS125. Purchased new, all original except tidy tail, exhaust bracket and solo seat. Factory wiring harness with no cuts/splices. Street legal, licensed and titled in my name (17 digit factory vin number). The solo seat was a factory Aprilia part (fiberglass). Bike has clear title in my name, never down or dropped, needs nothing.

Aprilia made the brave move to bring the RS125 into the US for a scant few years. Those individuals that purchased them bought well, as these are wonderful (if not small) sporting motorcycles. Keeping one on the pipe can be a mental exercise, but isn't the mental aspect what we we really seek when riding or racing? Gone is the basement torque you may expect from your Ducati. Gone is the safety net of big horsepower when you blow your corner entry and get dogged on the following straight. Small bikes are all about focus, corner speed and planning. The RS125 plays this game well with a rev-happy motor, strong brakes and decent suspension. This is a viable trainer for the younger set, and a noteworthy toy for the, uh, more mature riders (and readers) among us. If, when you step on the scale, you double the displacement of this little scoot, you will be forgiven if you pass. But you're still missing out.

Located in Tennessee and with 3,433 on the clock, this US titled bike looks to be in great condition. The seller is asking for some pretty big dollars, and already has a few bids on the hook; This RS125 is up to $4k with more to come. Check it out here, and then jump back to our Comments section for the real test: would you be able to ride a RS125, or is something, er, a little "larger" more preferable? This is a great bike for some - check it out and Good Luck!!

MI

Tiny Tiddler: 2009 Aprilia RS125
KTM June 18, 2017 posted by Mike

Alternative: 2013 KTM 1190 RC8R

The mighty RC8R was started as an internal pet project wtihin KTM R&D. This was no mere "sporty bike" project. Rather, the RC8 lineup was designed with racing in mind - Superbike competition and more. The culmination of that project was the "R" model RC8 - with top-shelf components and exclusive performance that rivaled the best of what the world had to offer. It was raced in competition with limited success, but paved the way for what is now KTM's MotoGP project. You'd be forgiven if you missed the RC8R in competition; most American buyers seemed to completely miss out on the RC8R in the showrooms too. With only a few hundred sold per year (tops), KTM eventually pulled the plug on this mega street bike. Today, the only SuperSport in the KTM lineup is the RC390.

2013 KTM RC8R for sale on eBay

The backbone of the RC8R is a tubular lattice frame of high-strength chrome-molybdenum steel. This is a page out of the early Bimota handbook, and resembles the handiwork of Ducati frames (except for the color, of course). On to that solid foundation KTM fitted a massive swingarm with adjustable pivot points. Suspension is WP on both ends, completely adjustable, naturally. In fact, adjustability might just be the RC8R's calling card: foot pegs and controls, seat height, and levers are all adjustable to help best adapt the bike to the rider. That is race bike level of detail, and certainly helps the rider control the 173 HP booming out of the 75 degree angle V-twin. Stopping this just-over-400-pound (dry) beast are Brembo radial mounts attached to lightweight, Marchesini aluminium die-cast wheels. All in all, a very formidable package.

From the seller:
2013 KTM 1190 RC8R White/Orange Only 1,400 Miles
Can't be told from new - Full Service History / Climate Controlled Storage
Original Books' Service Manual Keys & Tool Kit
Private Party Sale Title in hand Ready to transfer. No Paypal Game Cash or Bank check Only
Exterior Color:
White/Orange
Engine:
1195 cc
Title Condition:
Clear

The KTM RC8R does not quite have the supermodel good looks of the Ducati Panigale, but that keeps it from being a "me too" type of machine. Poised - as if ready to transform into something else - the KTM looks raw, mean and fast. These are wonderful bikes indeed, and the later year variants (such as this 2013 example) are free from the minor hiccups and teething that plagued the first year models. This is a solid, reliable, and confidence-inspiring mount, sure to make a statement when you arrive. Even sitting still it has a unique - exclusive - quality.

This particular example has only 1,400 miles on the clock; that helps explain why it looks so clean. There will be those that question a bike that has been ridden so few miles, but one man's garage queen is another man's nearly new motorcycle. And since you cannot get an RC8R any longer, wouldn't you rather get the newest one you can? Bidding starts high on this one: $12,995 is the opening ask, with a reserve in place. It may be too soon for these oddball quasi-Ducs to appreciate, as they were only recently discontinued (due to poor sales). In time, I would have to think the collecting world would come to appreciate this bike somewhat differently. Check it out here, as there are plenty of great pics of this steed. Then just back to our Comments section and give us a piece of your mind on this KTM: Is it a current superbike, a flash in the pan, or a future collectable? Good Luck!!

MI

Alternative: 2013 KTM 1190 RC8R
Kawasaki June 17, 2017 posted by Mike

Featured Listing: 1989 Kawasaki KR-1R!

It may take you a little bit to pry yourself away from this first picture. It's OK, I'll wait a moment. Yes, that is an honest-to-God, freaking *original* Kawasaki KR-1R. The rarest of the rare of the quarter-liter smoking set has arrived, and this is your chance (and likely your only chance) to score one of these "what lies at the end of the rainbow" sort of machines. KR-1 examples are few and far between these days. The "R" spec - as it does with all other mega cool bikes with sporting intent - kicks things up a notch into crazy uber collectable mode. With KR-1 models coming across our pages so infrequently, it should be no surprise that the one and only KR-1R seen here on RSBFS was over 6 years ago (and based in England). Today, we are thrilled to bring you what must be one of only a handful of KR-1Rs that live here in the US - and this one is titled for street use.

You might wonder what's the big deal about the KR-1R. Visually, it differs little from the lesser KR bikes. They all share the same parallel twin, reed valve inducted 250cc two stroke power plant. This motor, while not the trendy v-twin variety, has the distinction of being the most powerful of the 250cc smoking set. When it comes to bragging rights, the Kawasaki hits hard. Fun fact: A KR-1R holds the speed record at Bonneville for 250cc production motorcycles. The KR-1S is slightly different from a base KR-1 by color scheme and wheels. There are also bits that you cannot easily see, such as improved suspension components and chassis modifications (all KR models have an aluminum chassis, naturally). Take the KR-1S, add larger carbs for even more power, bolt on a close ratio gearbox and stronger clutch springs and you have one of the approximately 180 KR-1R Kawasakis in the world. It goes without saying that the KR-1R has a unique paint job with its nomenclature very, very clearly stated. All "R" model bikes were domestic (Japan) only machines.

From the seller:
The bike came from a Kawasaki collector in Japan. Motor is all stock. Stock carbs,
stock airbox, stock heads, ect all confirmed OEM Kawasaki. Fairings 100% OEM.
Windshield appears to be OEM. Two Keys.

Previous collector has cosmetically customized this KR-1R with Kawasaki OEM green
front fender, Beet rear sets and Beet exhaust and mufflers. Some suspension
components have been polished.

The bike has been professionally resprayed. Being a Kawasaki dealer with ties to
Japan, I was able to source OEM decals and correct paint codes. The paint job was done correctly. You may notice, The lower air vent was not blacked in like you see other KR-1R's on the internet. The green and black paint lays over the air vent with a 50/50 split like it came from the factory.

All three brake calipers were sent to Powerhouse in England for complete
refurbishment. Powder coated, new seals, pistons, pads, ect. because they were old
looking. I have all the original brake parts that go with the bike.

More from the seller:
Bike has newish tires, Dunlop GPR's, new brake fluid, new coolant, new oil, new
battery. Bike runs flawless at sea level and a little rich at my 4500ft elevation.
Bikes runs perfectly.

Bike comes with Utah title and is titled as a street bike for road use. I am looking
for offers over $20K - highest offer wins the bike. Potential buyers can contact me via email with offers. Only 180 bikes were made and this one is a very low serial number. Complete Serial number won't be published.

Price: Accepting offers over $20,000

Deadline: July 1, 2017

Contact: rmurangemasters@aol.com

If some of the pictures look familiar, you will notice this is indeed the same Utah collector (and Kawasaki dealer) that recently thinned out a number of exotic machines (some purchased by RSBFS readers!). Gary states that this KR-1R was a crown jewel in his collection, but it is time to move on. There are A LOT of pictures, and I've included as many as possible. If you are serious buyer and there is something that you want to see, ping Gary for more details. Word from our readers is that Gary is great to work with and the purchased hardware shows up looking as advertised. That is good to know, especially when dealing with what may be the only US-based KR-1R with a street title.

Values are hard to come by when so few examples change hands, but I can assure you that $20k is a bottom dollar bargain number when it comes to a clean and sorted KR-1R (if you can even find one). This bike looks fantastic, and is one of the more rare models you might hope to see on RSBFS this year (or the next). So if you have a spare kidney laying around that you're not really using, NOW is the time to reach out to Gary (rmurangemasters@aol.com) and make a deal. Good Luck!!

Featured Listing: 1989 Kawasaki KR-1R!
Honda June 16, 2017 posted by Mike

Tariff Buster: 1984 Honda Nighthawk S

The 1980s were a crazy-good time for motorcycling. Every major manufacturer was exploring the boundaries of what was possible. Everyone was in search of the silver bullet for performance; be it at the racetrack or the showroom. This was a heady era for Honda, as they pumped out new motorcycle variants seemingly every year. From two strokes to turbos, singles to six-bangers, Honda tried nearly everything. One of the surprising successes during this time was the Nighthawk S. Intended as a sporty commuter (comfortable, reliable, low maintenance), the Nighthawk S impressed with it's power and handling prowess. Today, the Nighthawk S remains a beloved, bygone model.

1984 Honda Nighthawk S with 2,500 miles!

Between 1984 and 1986, the American motorcycle scene was a mess. Harley-Davidson, the only remaining American manufacturer at the time, was flirting with bankruptcy like it was a super model. Using patriotism as their platform, H-D convinced Congress (and then President, Ronald Reagan) to increase the tariff on imported motorcycles greater than 700cc. This 10x tariff increase ensured H-D - who only produced bikes above the 700cc threshold - could be price competitive. Enter the Nighthawk S: Originally designed as a 750, the Nighthawk's 700cc air-cooled, inline four cylinder featured 4-valves per pot and hydraulic valve lifters - a nod to reducing the maintenance interval. With a willing motor, a solid chassis, 16" GP-inspired front wheel, comfortable seating position with bikini fairing and shaft drive, the CB700SC (as it was formally known) became the do-it-all hot rod - equally home in the canyons as it was for commuting.

From the seller:
HONDA'S all-new "HOT-ROD", the title given in 1984 by the trade magazines and publications. The Honda CB700SC was produced specifically for the US market. It was during this period steep tariffs were levied by the US International Trade Commission on motorcycles with engines larger than 700cc, With this tariff Honda provided an America-style, shaft-drive sport-custom that honored another American custom, a hot-rodding machine. Take a look at the specifications provided by a Cycle Guide Magazine of February 1984, you will see then why it was Honda's Hot-Rod.

If you are a serious buyer looking for an exceptional-almost new condition, original no aftermarket modifications, with possibly the lowest mileage NIGHTHAWK S of less than 2500 miles, for sale by original owner, well then this is your bike.

Performs and runs like new, seeing is believing! Note: Original magazines as show in photos will be provided to buyer.

Although produced for only a handful of years, the Nighthawk S is not rare from a "limited edition" marketing perspective. In fact, it sold rather well during its years of availability; American riders loved the combo of sport and reliability (the opposite of what Harley was offering) and they voted with their wallets. However like many UJM machines, finding a loved and cared-for one some 33 years later is nearly impossible. These Hondas are as reliable as your average chunk of cement - and are about as prone to leaking (again, the opposite of H-D hardware from the time). They are also pretty economical as far as older bikes go, making them excellent "buy and hold" motorcycles.

The verdict is still out in terms of whether or not the NightHawk S will ever be a collector bike - but like all UJMs, anything 30+ years old with low mileage and this clean will always have a market. This auction starts at $4,999 with a reserve in place. The Buy It Now option is available for one buck shy of $7,500. That is a good bit more than the sub-$4k that this model went for new, but good luck finding another 2,500 mile example in this sort of condition. Check it out here, and then share your thoughts and experiences with the NightHawk S in our Comments section. Good luck!!

MI

Tariff Buster: 1984 Honda Nighthawk S