Author Archives: Tad Diemer

MV Agusta March 24, 2017 posted by Tad Diemer

Flashback Friday: 1977 MV Agusta 800 Super America for Sale

Most factory racing efforts are intended to raise the company profile and sell more bikes, or are used to develop and test new technology that filters down to and improves road-bike performance. But the early road-legal efforts of Ferrari and MV Agusta were basically afterthoughts, and sales of these vehicles were simply intended to help fund the companies’ racing teams. In fact, MV Agusta didn’t even make a serious sporting multi-cylinder roadbike until 1967’s 600 4C, a notoriously half-arsed attempt at a production machine. Luckily, the follow up 750S and 800 Super America rectified that problem, although there were some pretty obvious indications that Count Agusta was uncomfortable putting his company’s hard-won knowledge into a bike that was available to the public…

First of all, there’s the literal elephant in the room: that 560lb wet weight. Sure, the MV Agusta carried that weight well once on the move, and plenty of other sport bikes of the late 1970s were heavy beasts, but considering the 750S cost an eye-popping $6,500 new, you’d think they could have put at least a modicum of effort into weight-reduction. The other component hamstringing the four-cylinder MV’s performance was that strange contraption stretching from the back of the gearbox to the rear wheel: a driveshaft. Supposedly, it was decided that the bike for sale to customers would swap the normal lightweight drive chain for a shaft in order to prevent customers from simply racing their roadbikes. It means maintenance is less messy, but I doubt many of these were ever going to cover the mileage for that to matter. The specialists at Magni made a chain-drive conversion for these bikes, so it might be possible to track one of those down if you have extra coin to spend.

The original 750S made 75hp which was respectable at the time, considering the output of bikes like the CB750 and Ducati SuperSport, but nothing to write home about, then or now. The later 750S America or, as it was known in some parts of Europe, the "800 Super America," bumped displacement to 788cc and swapped the gearshift across to the left side to appeal to riders in the USA although, considering the low numbers produced for all markets, I’m not really sure why they bothered with that…

So if the 800 Super America is basically fat, slow, and expensive, then what’s the point? Well if you equate “inline four” with “sanitized and boring” then prepare to have your eardrums shattered. The beautiful sand-cast, dual gear-driven overhead cam engine with a four-into-four exhaust makes a sophisticated shriek likely unknown to motorcyclists familiar with modern machines. It's narrower than a period Honda CB400 and it does handle, you just have to respect the weight and the monetary value. Which makes it pretty much ideal for the modern rider: a genuine race-replica would probably just be a pain to own, and you'd hate to crash something so valuable, so you're likely to ride at a fairly reserved pace anyway. Perfect for enjoying the play of sunlight along the tank on a beautiful afternoon and the sound of the engine bouncing off the canyon walls.

There's some good information from the seller in the listing, although describing the unloved 600 that preceded the 750 and 800 as "suffering from an identity crisis" is diplomatic in the extreme. Basically, the thing was so pug-ugly it was as if MV had extended their mechanical hobbling to include the style...

From the original eBay listing: 1977 MV Agusta 800 America for Sale

This is a very, very low mileage 4,629km/ 2,876 original miles bike! This example (VIN: 2210507) has 4,629 km was imported from Japan last year and previously was imported to Japan in 1990 and had one owner since then. It’s gorgeous and sounds amazing (refer to running video at link below) – what more could you want? Bike is an original and an un-restored example with great, great patina. This bike needs one thing to ride - GAS! Bike is fully commissioned and ready to ride.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/1us90cevf2xp765/mv%20america.mp4?dl=0

Comes with US Customs import docs so that it can be registered/titled easily in the US.

Feel free to contact me for more information, or for more pics. I can assist with worldwide shipping. I ride and collect and I am always happy to connect with new owners who have the same passion as I do. Oh, and I did put this little bike show on last year... https://petrolicious.com/art-of-the-italian-two-wheel

Frame# 221-0507 Engine# 221-0300

75 bhp, 789.3 cc DOHC four-stroke transverse inline four-cylinder engine with four Dell’Orto carburetors, five-speed mechanical transmission, oil-immersed multi-plate clutch, front hydraulic telescopic fork suspension, rear swing-arm telescopic shock suspension, and front double-disc and rear single-disc brakes. Wheelbase: 1,390 mm

Originally a helicopter manufacturer, MV began manufacturing motorcycles in 1948. The company eventually went racing in earnest, and its dual overhead-cam singles, triples, and four-cylinders dominated international racing from the 1950s through to the 1970s.

John Surtees won his first world championship in the premier 500 cc class in 1956, followed by three successive world titles in 1958, 1959, and 1960. Surtees then turned his attention to Ferrari sports and Grand Prix cars, and to this day, he remains the only world champion on both two and four wheels. The torch was passed to Gary Hocking in 1961, then to Mike Hailwood in 1962, 1963, 1964, and 1965. That indomitable championship run was followed by Giacomo Agostini, who racked up an incredible seven world championships for MV from 1966 to 1972.

Driven by its dominance on the track, the MV, designed by the engineer Remor, was a major success. The beautiful DOHC inline four-cylinder engine was a genuine wonder, and MV thought it best to produce a road-going version for the public. The 600 “Quattro Cilindri” was unveiled at the Milan Motorcycle Show in November 1965. Innovative as it was, however, the 600 was not a major success. Suffering from an identity crisis, it was too expensive and not sporty enough to remind buyers of the MV Agustas ridden by the legendary Surtees, Hailwood, and Agostini. In 1969, increased displacement of 750 cc paved the way for top-level road-going performance.

The ultimate version came in response to requests from American importers. The 750 S America was unveiled in 1975 and produced until 1980. Its displacement was further increased to 790-cubic centimeters. The company had finally produced an exceptional motorcycle worthy of both its name and its fabled history.

The styling is pure Italian and the MV exudes character that few bikes can match. The 750 Sport America is on every serious collector’s shortlist, of which this MV is one of the finest.

The fact that this is no show piece, but a ready-to-go motorcycle just adds to the appeal. Shaft drive or no, these are incredibly desirable motorcycles, and probably the most valuable road-going MVs of all time. Performance obviously won't impress today and wasn't even really top of the class when new, but it was and is a chance to own a genuine bit of the MV Agusta racing mystique from an era that saw them as a dominant force in racing. Bidding is up past $35,000 with the Reserve Not Met, no surprise since previous examples of the 750S and 750S America have been listed with starting bids in the $55,000 to $75,000 range, depending on year.

-tad

Flashback Friday: 1977 MV Agusta 800 Super America for Sale
Honda March 22, 2017 posted by Tad Diemer

All You Really Need: 1990 Honda CB-1 for Sale

No one is arguing that we don't live in an era where "learner bikes" aren't very sophisticated machines, but no matter how impressive the electronics found on modern small-displacement bikes may be, and no matter stone-axe reliable the mechanicals are, there's something distinctly uninspiring about the weedy exhaust note of a single-cylinder KTM RC390. It's a great motorcycle in pretty much every way, especially considering the affordable price-point, but it definitely doesn't sound sexy. Something like this Honda CB-1 however, might appeal to both new and experienced motorcyclists, especially those a bit shorter in stature or riders who've realized the truth of the old axiom, "It's more fun to ride a slow bike fast than it is to ride a fast bike slow."

There's no problem with a lack of sexy here, although that's probably because the CB-1 wasn't really designed as an entry-level motorcycle: the 399cc inline four that motivates the CB-1 was shared with the sportier CBR400 that never officially made it to the USA, although they do show up from time-to-time as grey market imports. As you would expect, this mini-sportbike powerplant is very sophisticated, and has four tiny cylinders, sixteen valves, and dual overhead cams operated by gears, instead of the expected timing chain. The little four made 55hp and could push the 400lb machine to a top speed of 118mph. The frame is a less-sophisticated tubular steel unit instead of the CBR's aluminum beam frame, valves are bit smaller, and the CB-1 has a single-disc front brake set up, but it is otherwise very similar in terms of performance, except in top speed. Of course the CB-1 was geared a bit shorter and actually felt quicker in real-world riding than its sportier sibling.

This example appears to be very clean, although the gauges could use a little help. A trip to eBay should eventually turn something up, or fit something cool and modern from Acewell or Motogadget. The carb service mentioned by the seller is a nice bonus, as that could be a headache for a new rider, or even for an experienced wrench.

From the original eBay listing: 1990 Honda CB-1 for Sale

This is a fine specimen of a CB-1. It does not at all look its age. It's not museum quality, there are a few minor blemishes, but it is very close to perfect. The bike was just serviced: the carburetors were cleaned & synched and new tires were mounted. It runs perfectly, all the lights work, etc. It needs nothing but a new owner to enjoy the ridiculously smooth high-reving beauty.

The seller is asking just $3,100 for this particular bike, a bargain considering the performance and sophistication found here. There are near cult-like levels of devotion surrounding the somewhat forgotten Honda CB-1 and it's v-twin stablemate the Hawk GT, although that hasn't translated into increased values, as these are still very affordable bikes and offer performance, rarity, and relatively easy maintenance. Although handling is limited by the budget suspension, bolt-on upgrades from the era's CBR should sort that out easily and improve stopping as well with a second front brake disc and caliper. In an era of relatively simple and economical small-displacement machines, something like this offers up big-bike thrills in a very sophisticated, manageable package, with a low price tag, street cred, and good looks.

-tad

All You Really Need: 1990 Honda CB-1 for Sale
Suzuki March 21, 2017 posted by Tad Diemer

Slingshot My Heart: 1988 Suzuki GSX-R750 for Sale

Suzuki's original GSX-R750 is arguably one of the most influential sportbikes of all time. Other bikes may have incorporated some of its design and performance elements, but none were able to combine them all into such an affordable package, or were able to capture the public's imagination in the same way. Every iteration of the Gixxer was made by the bucketload, but the bike's reliability and ubiquity meant that they were used and abused, and then discarded, making pristine examples like this one both desirable and very hard to come by. The early "Slabbie" has already reached collector status,  but the second-generation "Slingshot" GSX-R750 models are steadily increasing in value as well and offer more modern performance and handling, compared to the slightly vintage original.

Looking at the slab-sided design, it's pretty easy to see where the Slabbie GSX-R got its nickname, but the Slingshot is named for the 38mm semi-flatslide Mikuni "Slingshot" carburetors that fed the 748cc inline four cylinder engine. Suzuki's original GSX-R was designed with simplicity and light weight in mind and, as a result, the bike was oil instead of water-cooled. But the significant cooling demands of a high-performance sportbike meant the Gixxer needed a sophisticated, high-capacity oil pump and associated cooling and filtration system known as Suzuki Advanced Cooling System or "SACS" to keep temperatures under control. SACS was used on the GSX-R750 and 1100 up until 1992 when Suzuki bowed to convention and switched to water cooling for subsequent generations of the bike.

This particular example appears to be in excellent condition and has obviously been enthusiast-owned and lovingly maintained. It isn't just some well-maintained survivor though: it includes some very tasty modifications like that Metmachex swingarm, a very desirable bit and the suspension has been more than just "overhauled," as the original bike didn't have upside-down forks until 1991. The LED signals are probably not to everyone's taste, but they're reliable, improve visibility, and are, as the seller mentions, easily changed.

 

From the original eBay listing: 1988 Suzuki GSX-R750 for Sale

You are bidding on a 1988 Suzuki GSXR-750 first year, 2nd Gen. model GSXR-J aka Slingshot in Suzuki's traditional blue & white paint scheme that is very sought after. This is one of the lightest and fastest oil cooled GSXR of its time. This particular bike is mostly original condition with the exception of a few upgrades which I'll list later on in the description. Some of the OEM parts  I still have (I'll notate) and can be sold with the bike, if you are interested in going back to stock.

The exhaust is a Yoshimura pipe ceramic coated and aluminium canister. The Mikuni 36mm flat slide carburetors has a Stage 3 jet kit, these both were ideal performance mods for this motor. The blinkers have been replaced with modern LEDs but you can easily go back to stock since all the wiring and connectors are intact. Also, the windscreen was switched out to a tinted by the previous owner. The suspension has had a major upgraded since the stock GSX-R were notoriously known to have a low ground clearance with only a slim margin of error. Both the front and rear have been completely rebuilt by Lindemann Engineering. The rear swingarm is ultra-rare Metmachex (equal to JMC) braced and with eccentric adjusters. This is the style of the endurance racers used back in the late 80's since the stock was shown to have flex. I do have the original OEM swing arm available upon request. The original speedo and tach have been replaced due to the needles falling off. I replaced them with an 1100 model of that year since it's was close to the miles but I do have the original for the new owner and I am basing the miles on the original speedo/tach cluster.  
 
All of the body panels are original and in good condition, no cracks or brittle spots. There are some scratches from general wear and tear which I'll try and capture in the photos. The wheels are in great shape, paint is excellent and no sizable chips. Cosmetically, I would claim this motorcycle is an 8 out of 10.  Mechanically it is flawless, runs perfect, shifts smooth, pulls hard and easy to ride. All of the electrics work as they should; blinkers, horn, lights, speedo, tach, are properly functioning. The bike just had a full detailed service and tune up, all fluids were flushed, and mechanically everything was inspected and replaced if necessary. The Battery and tires are less than a year old.  

This GSX-R750 was well-taken care of and adult own, and I am the 3rd owner. It was never abused or down to my knowledge.  Please feel free to ask any questions, do not hesitate to contact me. If you need any additional pictures or have any additional questions,  feel free to message me or call me here 424-225-2028. Also, I'm including with the sale, are the OEM passenger seat, and tank bra. Service manual and receipts for all maintenance and upgrades.

There is plenty of time left on this auction, but bidding is already pretty active. This particular version of the GSX-R was only produced for a couple of years and doesn't seem to have been particularly well-regarded when it was new but, with all due respect to the original "Slabbie" I think it's far and away the best-looking GSX-R ever made and if I had space in my garage, I'd really want to find a nice one.

-tad

Slingshot My Heart: 1988 Suzuki GSX-R750 for Sale
Aprilia March 20, 2017 posted by Tad Diemer

Never Been Kissed: 2004 Aprilia RS250 Challenge with ZERO Miles!

Update 3.20.2017: Back on eBay after first being on RSBFS in August 2014 for $11k. Current bid is just under $7k reserve not met. Links updated. -dc

I’ve always loved the look of the Aprilia RS 250, but I’m only a recent convert to the stink and rattle of two-strokes. Well, technically, I’m a hypothetical convert, since I’ve yet to actually ride one. For many riders, their very first experiences on two wheels involved quasi-legal antics on dirt bikes, but I’m the only gear-head in the family, and bikes were strictly verboten growing up. I'm also biased against them: after spending years in LA working late-night jobs, there’s nothing I hate more than the tinny wail of a leaf blower at 8am so I sure didn’t want my motorcycles to sound related to those hateful things.

2004 Aprilia RS250 L Rear

But while I still don’t think they make a very pretty noise, the light weight and tinny, chainsaw shriek of bikes like the RGV and Gamma have become increasingly intriguing for me. There’s something strange and exotic about them, and I’m pretty sure the RS250 would be a great place to start.

2004 Aprilia RS250 Dash

Aprilia’s little road and track bike used a modified version of Suzuki’s RGV250 motor boosted to 60hp and featured classy, generally subdued race-replica paint schemes that have aged very well. Although those 60 ponies come on in a typical two-stroke rush that keeps you dancing on the shift lever, the bike’s very light weight and amazing handling make that a joy, rather than a chore.

2004 Aprilia RS250 Gearshift

From the original eBay listing: 2004 Aprilia RS250 Challenge for Sale

Brand new, zero miles, mint condition from the factory. I bought the bike for my collection. It has been properly stored and the engine has been fogged once a year with CRC Marine engine fog. It should be noted that this bike is not street legal. It has no turn signals, brake lights, or headlight. THIS IS A RACEBIKE THROUGH AND THROUGH. It would make a great addition for a serious collector, or perfect for your local track day. This bike may be the last of the great two stroke RS250s with zero miles. The bike comes with the very detailed factory manual and the factory spring tuning kit.

2004 Aprilia RS250 L Front

This bike presents a bit of a problem. The RS250 Challenge is a tool for going fast, a full-on track-rat race bike. So what do you do with this one? Seems a shame to abuse it on the track, but what else to do with such a focused motorcycle? Display it? They’re great-looking machines, but they’re meant to be ridden, and with no title, making it street-legal is not an option without some serious DMV shenanigans. And then there’s that whole “zero miles” thing again…

For collectors, it won’t get any better than this: a hermetically-sealed time capsule limited-edition bike that actually runs. For riders? Well, we’ll probably go sniffing around elsewhere for a bike we won't feel guilty about thrashing.

-tad

2004 Aprilia RS250 R Rear

Never Been Kissed: 2004 Aprilia RS250 Challenge with ZERO Miles!
Honda March 17, 2017 posted by Tad Diemer

The Big One: 1994 Honda CB1000 for Sale

We all love focused, hard-core sporting machines. It's right there in the website's name, so why else would you be here? But there comes a time when past injuries, the debilitating effects of aging, and old war wounds start to make the fully-committed, racer's-crouch position required impossible to maintain for the length of time it takes to get from your garage to the good riding roads. So what then? Load your sportbike into the back of a pickup truck to haul to the canyons? Throw in the towel and buy a Harley? Ride through the pain and get addicted to prescription opioids? Fear not! There's a middle ground option: buy yourself one of the brand new "super nakeds" from KTM or Aprilia. The V4 Tuono and Super Duke are great bikes, but very expensive so, if your money doesn't stretch to one of those impressive, do-everything machines, something like this Honda CB1000 might give you plenty of bang for not too many bucks.

Introduced in 1992 and built through 1996, the CB1000 wasn't actually sold here in the US until 1994. It used an updated version of the 1987 Hurricane's liquid-cooled inline four that displaced 998cc, produced a claimed 97hp, and was backed by a five-speed gearbox. The CB1000 was known as "Project Big One" behind the scenes at Honda while in development and was apparently actually called the "Big One" in Japan. Make no mistake, this is a pretty large  motorcycle: those are actually 18" wheels front and rear, and the old-tech package weighed in at 542 lbs dry.

The bike was well reviewed and handled much better than you'd expect, considering the weight and spindly, non-adjustable forks, but Honda's CB1000 was a bit before its time, a big naked before big nakeds were really popular. It's always been a bit of an oddity here: Honda basically priced themselves out of the American market, as there was only a $500 difference between the CB1000 and the CBR1000, a much faster, nimbler, and an all-around more high-performance motorcycle. For buyers here, style won out over practicality, and the CB1000 is a pretty rare sight on our roads, especially in such nice, well-maintained condition.

From the original eBay listing: 1994 Honda CB1000 for Sale

Very hard to find conditions like this CB1000, NEW synthetic oil and filter, front fork seals, seal protectors, rear tire, front and rear brake pads, carburetors cleaned, synced, K & N air filter, D & D muffler, Corbin leather seat, no rust, no dent, no scratch, no smoke, never down or crash, start right up, all day comfort with powerful 1000cc engine, no issue everything works. clear title, Honda legendary build quality, you would swear riding a brand new bike with that solid feel.You see it you will buy it, no test ride unless full payment in my hand, Spring time is here, hurry to take this rare and beautiful bike to go for a ride, it will put a smile your face, absolutely no disappointment here.

The seller also includes a short clip of the bike starting and running. Bidding is active, but still well under $3,000. Miles on this one are reasonable, considering how practical these are, and condition appears to be excellent. I'm not sure these have all that much collectible potential in the near future, but throw on a set of modern forks and this might be a great do-it-all sporty bike for a rider with limited funds, a willing spirit and flesh that's weak.

-tad

The Big One: 1994 Honda CB1000 for Sale
Ducati March 14, 2017 posted by Tad Diemer

Odd Duck: 1982 Ducati Pantah 600TL for Sale

Pantah Week continues with this very rare, and very oddly-styled machine. When you say "Ducati" to pretty much anyone, it conjures up images of sleek, exotic, often uncomfortable machines designed to win at all costs on track and inflame the desires of motorcyclists all over the world. What you wouldn't normally imagine is something like this basically brand-new Ducati Pantah 600TL...

While the sport-touring oriented bodywork of the 600TL may not be to everyone's taste, there's nothing wrong with the components under the skin: it's motivated by the same 583cc, two-valve v-twin and five-speed gearbox as the 600SL sportbike. It uses the same as well, so handling should be excellent, although it is less stable at high speeds than its sportier brother and the top speed is lower. That funky black front fender looks like a replacement item, but period ads and photos suggest that this is in fact the original part.

 

Obviously there have been a few styling misfires from Ducati over the years: their Giorgetto Giugiaro-styled 860GT was certainly not well-liked when new, although time and a general love of all things bevel-drive have seen values of even that much-maligned machine steadily increasing in value. And sportier 600SLs languished in unloved obscurity until recently, when prices have begun to rise, along with bikes like yesterday's 750 F1. Will time be as kind to the the 600TL? It may be too soon to tell, but this particular bike has virtually no miles on it and is basically a museum-piece, so it might be a good place to start for weird Ducati speculators.

From the original eBay listing: 1982 Ducati Pantah 600TL for Sale

This is a brand new 1982 600TL.  It has 2.9 miles on it.  It comes with book, tools and parts manual.  I bought this bike from the stocking Ducati dealer in Ohio.  He told me that in 1982 30 600TL came to the US and that this is one of them.  The bike has never been driven, the battery has never had battery acid in it.  It has a Conti muffler, 36 Din Delorto carbs.  This bike has all custom papers and duty paid for Canada, but the US title is still on hand.  This bike is extremely rare, it may be the only new one in the world!

Normally rare, zero-mile bikes are a recipe for a static display. But in this case, all the parts you'd need to get it roadworthy should be readily available. You could probably even slot in a much larger, more powerful version of the venerable L-twin with a bit of work... The starting bid is set at $8,250 with no takers as yet although there is still plenty of time left on the auction. I've never seen one for sale before, and it's very rare here in the USA, but that doesn't necessarily mean that it'll ever really be worth all that much to collectors, except as an oddity.

-tad

Odd Duck: 1982 Ducati Pantah 600TL for Sale