Author Archives: Tad Diemer

Kawasaki October 21, 2017 posted by Tad Diemer

Little Kwaker: 1989 Kawasaki ZXR250A for Sale

A small-displacement motorcycle with a four-cylinder powerplant like this Kawasaki ZXR250 really makes no practical sense: singles and parallel-twins are simple to manufacture, inexpensive to maintain, easier to package, torquey, and fun to ride. Up to a certain size, where the weight of a single piston and connecting rod create unacceptable vibrations that irritate the rider and tear the engine apart from within, they really just make sense, which helps to explain the popularity of single cylinder powerplants for smaller, or entry-level machines.

But the ZXR250, introduced in 1988, wasn't really an entry-level machine. It was intended for markets where experienced riders were limited by laws and heavy taxes on larger displacement machines. Riders that might want a more sophisticated machine, and were willing to pay additional costs in terms of purchase price, maintenance, and reduced fuel economy. What they got in return was a big bike experience, just without all that pesky horsepower...

The tiny, Swiss-watch marvel of an engine in the ZXR250 displaced just 249cc, but still had four cylinders, dual overhead-cams, and sixteen tiny valves. The bike produced a claimed 45hp, with a paltry 18 ft-lbs of torque from just 15 cubic inches, enough to push the 311lb machine to 124mph. Notably, the bike could scream along happily up to 19,000rpm, a big selling-point for fans of rev-happy engines. The rest of the spec was up to big-bike standards as well: a aluminum beam frame and a set of upside-down forks, something that was pretty uncommon for sportbikes, especially smaller machines, prior to the 1990s.

From the original eBay listing: 1989 Kawasaki ZXR250A for Sale

1989 Kawasaki ZXR250A Japanese Import Rare
42hp Inline 4 250cc 4 Stroke 19000rpm Red line
53000kms Runs and Drives great.
Forks have been rebuilt, brakes have been serviced, carbs have been cleaned and serviced with bigger jets, spark plugs and wires have been replaced, speedometer cable is new, has clear turn signal covers, has a rare rear seat cover but still has rear seat underneath, has a smoked windscreen, adjustable brake and clutch levers, and a Vega Sports muffler, comes with a Daishin Racing full aluminum pipe very light. Left side has some scrapes on fairing but doesnt affect anything. Registered and clean titled in Florida.
Motorcycle is pickup only. Sold as is.

Photos show the bike fitted with Japanese plates, which I'm assuming is in lieu of blocking the Florida plates with tape or a thumb or something. It's a bit dirty [see wheels] and there is damage to the left side of the bike as described by the seller, but looks complete and is otherwise very sharp for a nearly 30 year old machine. Obviously, a 250cc four cylinder sportbike is more a novelty than anything else, especially here in the USA where cheap speed is the order of the day. But as long as the price is right, I can completely see the appeal: being able to just pin the throttle everywhere, all the time, without tripling the national speed limit or riding with suicidal abandon is pretty cool. I'm a big fan of the "slow bike fast" thing and with a $5,000 Buy It Now price, I think this will likely find a buyer.

-tad

Little Kwaker: 1989 Kawasaki ZXR250A for Sale
Yamaha October 19, 2017 posted by Tad Diemer

Ready to Roll: 1985 Yamaha RZ500 for Sale

Yamaha's two-stroke Grand Prix replica went by a few different names, depending on where it was sold: RD500LC in Europe, RZV500R for the Japanese market, and RZ500 in Canada and Australia. You'll note that nowhere do we mention which version we got here in the USA. The reason? We didn't: this wild, two-stroke four-cylinder was never officially imported during production that lasted from 1984 through 1986. I'd assume this particular RZ500 probably slipped across our northern border at some point, although it's always possible it was smuggled into the US in someone's luggage coming back from vacation in Australia...

Of course, as lightweight as a two-stroke can be, that's all relative: in 1984, a sportbike making 88hp and weighing 450lbs dry was considered pretty darn lean and mean. Of course, that was nearly 100lbs more than Suzuki's rival RG500, which also made a bit more power. But neither would impress today's riding public, weaned on 120hp 600cc supersports and 150+ hp 1000cc superbikes. But fans of two-stroke performance aren't necessarily interested in top speed or pure performance. They're into the character of that performance, in that particular two-stroke zing that pretty much requires constant use of the slick six-speed gearbox to make any sort of progress, accompanied by the two-stroke's trademark ring-a-ding and the smoky haze left in its wake.

The Yamaha was powered by the kind of oddball engine you just don't see enough of these days: a liquid-cooled 50° two-stroke V4 that featured twin cranks, a pair of YPVS power valves and lubrication handled by Yamaha’s Autolube oil-injection. 80s fashion meant a 16" wheel up front, along with anti-dive forks, and an 18" rear wheel. Two-stroke engines themselves are generally very compact, but the expansion chambers required for performance applications meant different packaging challenges, and led to the RZ500's underslung rear shock that cleared space for the rear cylinders' exhaust pipes.

The seller's description indicates that the bike is not completely stock, but anything other than a mothballed time capsule is likely to have had some wear-and-tear, and it seems like the current or previous owners have taken every opportunity to update or improve the bike when opportunities presented themselves.

From the original eBay listing: 1985 Yamaha RZ500 for Sale

1985 YAMAHA RZ500 V4 Two Stroke
Excellent condition, Looks amazing and runs great
COMPLETE engine rebuild and Stage III porting by Wilson Performance about 6500 miles ago. Total cost $6,400.00     (documentation attached)
Wilson Performance Air Filter System (documentation attached)
Wilbers rear shock Series 640. Complete factory rebuild in Aug 2017 (documentation attached)
Jim Lomas polished stainless steel chambers
Mikuni 34mm round slide carbs (nicely jetted)|
New AVON AM26 Road Runner tires
New chain and sprockets with 520 chain conversion
DYNA Coils
New bodywork
Factory Yamaha Service manual included and the rear stand
Bodywork kit is from Australia and runs about $1100.00
EBC brake rotors front and rear

The Buy It Now price is listed at $15,000 on the nose, pretty much the going price for a nice RZ500 these days. From the description, this bike looks like it's in very nice condition and is ready to be ridden, with proper maintenance and mild performance updates that should increase power and rideability. With new bodywork and the non-stock exhaust, this might not appeal to the most dogmatic of purists out there but, for everyone else, it looks like a very nice example, and the recent engine work should hopefully put prospective buyers' minds at ease.

-tad

Ready to Roll: 1985 Yamaha RZ500 for Sale
Bimota October 17, 2017 posted by Tad Diemer

Why Be Ordinary? 1992 Bimota YB8 for Sale

By the end of the 1990s, it could be argued that Bimota was basically irrelevant. After all, the whole point of a Bimota was simple: take a powerful, reliable engine from a bike from an established manufacturer, then slip it into a stiff, lightweight frame with the best suspension money could buy at both ends, and wrap it all in simple, lightweight bodywork. The resulting bikes were free from practical considerations, expensive, and very fast. Sure, they often weren't quite finished as delivered, but a bit of time setting one up to your personal preferences meant you had the ultimate exotic racebike for the road. Unfortunately, the relentless pace of the Japanese manufacturers meant that their powerful, reliable engines were soon housed in bikes that were lighter than past efforts and handled much better than ever before, erasing any real advantage the Rimini machines had over their stock counterparts. But before that happened, bikes like this Bimota YB8 showed just how spectacular the results could be.

The YB8 was an evolutionary design, and used same basic frame as the YB4 and YB6, but used the larger, more powerful FZR1000 engine, complete with the famed EXUP system. 149 claimed horses doesn't sound like much in this era of superbikes making more than 200hp at the rear wheel, but keep in mind that Yamaha felt that the FZR only needed five gears for its literbike instead of the six found on 600s and 750s, and the 1002cc engine has a spread of torque that would make a modern machine jealous. Bimota claimed their alloy-framed confection was a claimed 64lbs lighter than a donor bike that no one would call slow even today. In the YB8, it meant a tested top speed of 173mph to match the race-bred handling.

One of the things that stands out on the YB8 and Bimotas in general is something that's missing: bodywork fasteners. If you've ever serviced your own sportbike, you know that, in most cases, removing the bodywork is a nightmare of tiny, sometimes inaccessible fasteners, screws, and plastic clips, that require all manner of wiggling and cursing to remove. Not here. Just a few bolts attach the bodywork, helped by the fact that the panels themselves are made up of just a few pieces. Great for simplicity, but possibly very expensive if your pride and joy tips over in the garage...

From the original eBay listing: 1992 Bimota YB8 for Sale

1992 Bimota YB8
1,900 original miles (3,200 kilometers)
Original / Unrestored
A+ condition
Clean title in hand
VIN: ZESS8YA23NRANS003

Here is a quick video with walk around etc... Sorry for my terrible mic on my camera. Also may seem like I'm winding it out a little at the end of the video, was just trying to show that it runs good on power, was no where near red line. Also switched to open source music so my apologies if it is annoying.

Bought the bike from a guy who had it sitting in his living room for several years. I love the early 90s carbed full fairing sport bikes so I had to have this when I saw it. The only reason I am selling is to fund another purchase that I have been given exclusive opportunity for. I was given a folder full of paperwork, with full service history, manuals, brochures etc... from what I see in there this bike stickered for $23,000 in 1992. I am also under the impression that this was one of only a handful of these imported into the U.S. for sale.

A bike like this is really only going to go up in value as the full fairing bikes of the early 90s are just getting rarer by the day, this one was rare in the first place with only 252 being manufactured there is probably only a handful left, and maybe none in this condition with this low of miles... please only bid if you are serious about owning and IF YOU HAVE 0 FEEDBACK YOU MUST CONTACT ME PRIOR TO BIDDING

THE ODO IS AT 3200... I AM OF THE UNDERSTANDING THAT THIS IS IN KILOMETERS... which would translate to ~1,900 miles...PLEASE UNDERSTAND I AM NOT 100% CERTAIN OF THAT, IF YOU KNOW HOW I CAN FIND OUT FOR SURE LET ME KNOW, WORST CASE SCENARIO IT HAS 3200 MILES.

Bike is for sale locally for $18,500 obo although I did not know exactly what to ask as the bike very well could be one of a kind in this condition, with this low of miles. I am definitely negotiable. If bike does not sell prior to auction end it will sell to highest bidder. Local buyers encouraged to come see the bike in person, all others I can send pictures or video of whatever you would like to see.

SHIPPING: I am happy to assist your shipper in any way I can, I can also provide a shipped to your door price where I arrange all of the shipping. Shipping motorcycles these days is very reasonable usually costing 200-600$ depending on how far you are from Reno, NV.

If you have ANY questions please feel free to contact me call or text at 775 742 8807 or message through eBay.

In case you missed it in the excerpt above, the seller does include a video of the bike, including a walk-around, start-up, rev, and even a ride. I recommend you turn the volume way down, or skip forward to the 2:20 mark to avoid the really horrible music that's even worse than the seller suggests. It's not the greatest video but it does give you a pretty good idea of what to expect. The seller is very honest about the fact that he wasn't sure how to price this, which is refreshing. Unfortunately, that $18,500 asking price seems optimistic, considering what 90s Bimotas have been selling, or not selling for recently. These Bimotas have a bit of a kit-bike feel to them, but with a bit of patience and, in some cases, even a bit of re-engineering, they can be made into very fast machines, since the fundamentals are all there: the trademark frame, powerful engine, high quality, if slightly dated suspension, and lightweight bodywork. This does look like a very nice example, a sharp, low-mileage bike that should need nothing, whether you plan to display it or to use it on the road.

-tad

Why Be Ordinary? 1992 Bimota YB8 for Sale
Suzuki October 13, 2017 posted by Tad Diemer

Featured Listing: 1986 Suzuki RG500Γ Gamma for Sale

Like Ducati’s MotoGP inspired Desmosedici, the square four in the Suzuki RG500Γ "Gamma" in today's Featured Listing wasn’t actually a detuned version of the race bike's engine. Race bikes engines are built for power, not longevity, and simply “de-tuning” is probably not going be enough to make one work in a road bike. So in both cases, the engines shared the configuration and general specifications with their MotoGP racebike counterparts, but few or no actual parts. Which almost makes them cooler in my mind: in both cases, the one-off engines were built to be installed in a very limited run of exotic motorcycles, with no intention that they be mass-produced or turn much of a profit. These engines and bikes exist seemingly only for a very small group of enthusiasts, and there's something inherently cool about that. Also, I love using the Greek alphabet typing up these posts.

The "configuration and general specifications" we're talking about in this case refers to the two-stroke, twin-crank, disc-valve square four that displaced 498cc. Four very compact Mikuni flat-slides fed fuel and air into the engine, and the gearbox was a quick-change cassette six-speed. Of course it featured a power valve system, in this case Suzuki's AEC or Automatic Exhaust Control that helped smooth out the two-stroke's abrupt powerband. The result? The Gamma put just a bit less than 100hp worth of stinky, heavy exhaust smoke out of its four tiny stinger exhaust pipes.

The rest of the bike was more familiar, with an aluminum frame not all that different from the GSX-R, with hydraulic anti-dive forks in the front and Suzuki's "Full-Floater" system out back. Skinny period 16" front and 17" rear wheels mean terrifyingly skinny tires that look like they'd be more at home on a beach-cruiser bicycle today, but were par for the course in 1986. With 340lbs worth of dry weight to push around and less than 100 horses to do it with, performance seems like it would be unimpressive. But it's the very nature of that spiky power delivery, the all-or-nothing acceleration that requires constant use of the gearbox to make fast progress, the challenge that seems to get two-stroke fans excited.

Unless you're "of a certain age" or younger and a bit of a bike nerd, the appeal of the whole two-stroke thing may fly over your head. They're smoky, buzzy, and generally pretty high-maintenance. They also have famously narrow and fairly abrupt powerbands, making them challenging to ride quickly. But even though they do require more regular maintenance than a four-stroke motorcycle, the upside is that they're relatively simple to work on, lacking traditional intake valves, and therefore cams, cam chains, cam belts, pushrods, or any of the other bits typically associated with "normal" motorcycles.

This particular bike is claimed to have seen the attention of the famous Rick Lance during its refresh and appears to be in extremely nice condition, ready to become the showcase of the next owner's collection and hopefully be the talk of every motorcycle gathering when the new owner takes it out for a spin and stretches its legs.

 

From the Seller: 1986 Suzuki RG500 Gamma for Sale

Located in Greater Chicagoland Area 1986 Suzuki RG500 Gamma

This 1986 RG500 Gamma with 17,769 km (approximately 11,041 miles) is in near mint original condition.  It comes out of the famous BAC car and motorcycle collection. It was extremely well cared for by the previous owner and the current owner.  BAC has owned this bike for almost ten years.  The current owner searched for almost two years to find the best one that could be found.  After purchasing the bike, he had Mike the Chicagoland expert on Gammas along with Rick Lance, a Gamma guru, to supply necessary technical information to bring this bike back to its original factory condition and near mint condition.  The bike runs just as you would expect an original factory bike to run.  And looks exactly like an original factory bike would look after only a few thousand miles were put on it.

Over the years many of these bikes have either been raced into the ground or had the engines pulled out to put in a smaller bike leaving the close to mint original bikes very few and far between.  The current elderly owner has collected cars and motorcycles and says that these Gammas have a long way to go in terms of appreciation and wants to be sure that the next owner is going to preserve the intrinsic and cosmetic value as he has invested so much time, energy and money to bring this bike to its highest level.

Mike the master Gamma mechanic and Rick spent two long years getting this bike and all its necessary parts together to make this bike one of the finest original Gamma’s that exists.

Great bike for those who want only the finest and priced accordingly.

Asking price is $18,500 negotiable.

For more information please contact adreply514@gmail.com

Other two-stroke GP replicas of the period compromised: the RD500LC famously added a balance shaft to make the bike more civilized, while Honda's NS400R went with a smaller displacement to help home-market sales. Both offered a much more refined experience, and both have a far less rabid cult following than the RG500 as a result. Prices have been steadily rising, although the RD and NS have increased in value as well, perhaps simply because RGs have been nearly unobtainable for a while now. If you've been looking for an RG and have the cash to spend, this one is worth a look.

-tad

Featured Listing: 1986 Suzuki RG500Γ Gamma for Sale
Suzuki October 12, 2017 posted by Tad Diemer

Slab-Sided Collectible: 1986 Suzuki GSX-R750 Limited for Sale

It's hard to imagine that, just a couple years before the introduction of the GSX-R750, Suzuki's top-performing repli-racer was the stylish, but very last-generation GS1000S, a bike with twin shocks, handlebars, a center-stand, and a bar-mounted bikini fairing. The original "Slabbie" GSX-R750 that came along in 1985 brought modern endurance-racing style to the masses and codified the formula laid out by much rarer and more exotic machines like the Bimota SB2. This particular GSX-R750 Limited Edition claws back some exotic cachet from the Italian brand, and is one of just 299 imported to the USA to meet AMA homologation requirements.

The heart of the GSX-R was an oil and air-cooled inline four with dual overhead cams and four valves per cylinder. It lacked liquid-cooling in a bid to save weight, reduce complexity, and improve reliability, but still had a few high-tech tricks up its sleeve: Suzuki’s Advanced Cooling System or "SACS" featured a double-chambered oil pump was designed to more efficiently circulate and cool the bike’s lubricant, along with oil jets that sprayed the bottom of the pistons. The aluminum frame used a mono-shock rear and four-piston brake calipers clamped triple discs. The Limited version added a very trick dry clutch, lightweight solo seat tail section, and the GSX-R1100's electronic anti-dive forks.

The Limited was differentiated by the striking red, white, and blue paint seen here on the distinctive, slab-sided bodywork, compared to the standard white-and-blue or red-and-black available on the regular GSX-R. When new, the bike was the most expensive Japanese sportbike, and was priced at $6,500, a shocking $2,000 more than the standard model. Performance advantages were very minimal but that wasn't really the point and this is, to my mind, the best-looking version of the early GSX-R.

From the original eBay listing: 1986 Suzuki GSX-R750 Limited Edition for Sale

Race homologation special. It has 4545 miles. This bike is in as near perfect collectors condition for a 31 year old bike. Motorcycle was just fully serviced (ie carbs were serviced; all fluids changed; new tires added, as originals showed signs of cracking.)

These bikes have surged in price, exceeding $20K in most cases.

If you are looking at this bike, you know what it is, so NO LOW BALL OFFERS!!!!

The seller is correct that prices have surged, and his bike appears to be in excellent, very original condition that includes a stock exhaust that could be either "cool and retro" or "shockingly ugly" depending on your predilection for slotted heat shields. Certainly it's of value to collectors. Unfortunately, while his $20,000 asking price is fair, it actually seems just a bit on the high-side, at least looking at Limited Editions we've featured here on RSBFS in the past. I'm not sure just how far off his asking price an offer would have to be before it qualifies as "a low ball offer," but I have a feeling he may be disappointed. Will at least one buyer meet his asking price? It's very possible: those same recent bikes I mentioned didn't quite get to $20,000 but were very close.

-tad

Slab-Sided Collectible: 1986 Suzuki GSX-R750 Limited for Sale
Triumph October 11, 2017 posted by Tad Diemer

Black-Clad Bruiser: 1995 Triumph Speed Triple for Sale

Triumph’s entire 1990s range of sport, sport-touring, retro, and naked machines like this original Speed Triple was built around a common spine frame and two engines, the 885cc inline triple seen here and a larger-displacement inline four. This allowed Triumph to quickly create new variations and mirror market trends without sacrificing quality, a strategy that led directly to today’s world-class motorcycles. But the company's road to success was a difficult one. They were long gone by the early 1990s, a victim of the Japanese motorcycle industry’s massive growth in the 1980s. Triumph was able to hang on throughout the 1970s, trading on their handling and reputation for performance. But once the Japanese bikes’ handling caught up with their reliably powerful engines, it was all over but the shouting.

The reborn Triumph of the 90s knew that it could never hope to compete with the Japanese in terms of outright performance, so they focused instead on quality and capitalizing on the brand’s undeniable mystique. The new Triumph motorcycles offered real-world performance, decent handling, and surprisingly high fit and finish. It's not the lightest or nimblest of machines: none of these first-generation John Bloor-era Triumphs were. But they were well-built and charismatic, just as intended.

T309 Speed Triples are definitely not track machines: a top-heavy weight distribution caused by the spine frame compromised handling, although there was a promotional one-make race series for them called the "Speed Triple Challenge" that must have been fun to watch. The rugged triple and five-speed gearbox may not offer performance that will set your hair on fire today, but the 98 claimed horses mean the Speed Triple is plenty fast for road use and the bike should sound great with the aftermarket three-into-one exhaust seen here.

The seller refers to the bike as "this original naked bike." If he means "one of the original naked bikes" then he'd be correct. The Speed Triple was introduced in 1994, but Italian rival Ducati's Monster was introduced a year prior in 1993 and Honda's proto-Monster Hawk GT was first available all the way back in 1988, although it was kind of a sales flop at the time. Nevertheless, the Speed Triple is one of Triumph's best-selling bikes of the modern era and, much like the Monster, can probably be credited with the company's current success.

From the original eBay listing: 1995 Triumph Speed Triple for Sale

Thanks for looking. This is a very good condition 1995 Triumph speed triple. It has recently had a top end overhaul and new timing chain and tensioner/guides. The bike fires on the 2nd crank every time and runs awesome. I am looking to sell to downsize my collection due to a growing family. 

I have and will include with the selling price, the original Triumph dual exhaust that is pictured in one photo. It is not installed but all hardware is there. 

Many spares are included as well which were given to me by previous owner. 

I have owned for the last 5 years and have had a blast riding this original naked bike. This bike was the first year the speed triple was offered in the USA. My offering is your chance to own a modern classic. 

There's been no interest in the bike so far at the starting bid of $1,500 but there are still a couple days left on the auction. The first-gen Speed Triple is nearly a classic at this point, but modern enough you can count on it to start every day, and the build quality of the Bloor-era bikes is high. They've been pretty cheap for a while now, and many that come up for sale feature signs of neglect, but this one looks very nice, and supposedly comes with a bunch of additional parts, so it might be worth looking into as a future collectible.

-tad

Black-Clad Bruiser: 1995 Triumph Speed Triple for Sale