Author Archives: Tad Diemer

Yamaha April 26, 2017 posted by Tad Diemer

Head on Backwards: 1989 Yamaha TZR250 3MA for Sale

Competition between the Japanese manufacturers in the 250cc sportbike class was fierce, with each trying for some small advantage in terms of performance, given the limited displacement and government-mandated power cap. On paper, they all seem to follow a pretty standard template: a compact two-stroke twin cylinder engine, power-valves of one sort or another, and an aluminum beam frame. But each manufacturer went their own way trying to maximize performance within those fairly narrow parameters. While development eventually led to the NSR, RGV, and TZR all using v-twins, there were a few experiments along the way, and today's TZR250 3MA represents an interesting attempt to solve the packaging issues inherent in two-stroke design.

Obviously, two-stroke engines are very compact by nature: with no overhead-valves or cams, they're short, simple, and very light. But while the exhaust expansion chambers required for a performance two-stroke may not weigh all that much, their bulging shape takes up valuable real estate in a motorcycle. The famous "gull arm" swingarms of the period were one solution to the problem and allowed the chambers to tuck in close to the centerline of the bike to maximize cornering clearance. But the 3MA version of the TZR250 went a different route by reversing the cylinder head so that the carburetors were at the front, with the exhausts exiting directly out the rear of the bike instead of curving around the sides or underneath. The bulbous expansion chambers fitted neatly into the seat, with the exhaust exiting through the tail.

The design was eventually replaced by the v-twin 3XV version introduced in 1991 after just two years, so the experiment can be considered a bit of a failure. But there's nothing inherently wrong with the idea, and this is one of my favorite bikes of the era, at least in terms of looks and the weird factor: it's my deep and not-so-secret shame that I haven't ridden one yet, but here's hoping that the stars will align and I'll be able to find a decent California-titled example when the time is right. Scouting around the message boards, it seems that the bike's reputation for poor reliability is exaggerated but, as these were not often seen anywhere outside of Japan, parts availability will prove difficult.

From the original eBay listing:  1989 Yamaha TZR250 3MA for Sale

The parallel twin reverse cylinder version. The bike is imported from Japan. Not registered yet in the U.S. This bike is sold without title. (NO TITLE) Start engine. Original Cowl. New Aftermarket Front fork innre tubes. Dragging brakes. Need to change tires (flat tire) and a battery. Some scratches and rust, so look carefully all pictures and video. This motorcycle is 28 years ago. Sold as is.

11271km (7003mile) LOW MILE. Sold as is with NO warranty NO refunds NO return. Buyer responsible for vehicle pick-up or shipping to your location. (ITEM AT CARSON NOW)

There's also a helpful clip of the bike starting, running, and revving. The seller's English is a bit limited, but it looks like the bike runs from the video and just needs a little TLC: a brake rebuild, new tires, and some minor cosmetic issues. Normally nothing you'd find shocking in a 28 year old motorcycle, but make sure you're prepared to troll eBay and use Google Translate to track down parts to keep this running. It's certainly not pristine and it's not the cleanest example we've featured on this site, but if the price is right, it won't take all that much to get this one on the road. Obviously, the usual titling issues apply, so I doubt this bike will remain in Southern California.

-tad

Head on Backwards: 1989 Yamaha TZR250 3MA for Sale
Ducati April 25, 2017 posted by Tad Diemer

Signed and Numbered: 2006 Ducati Paul Smart 1000LE for Sale

 

Different motorcycle manufacturers have different ways of mining riders' nostalgia and their own history: Triumph makes motorcycles that look like they rolled straight out of the 1960s but perform like modern machines, while Harley Davidson makes actual 1960s motorcycles, only heavier and with 1980s brakes and electronics. Ducati's retro bikes manage to straddle the line between vintage and modern styles, so designs for their Sport Classic and Scrambler models have classic colors and shapes, but you'd never mistake them for actual vintage machines. When released, bikes like the Paul Smart 1000LE caused a sensation, but demand died out relatively quickly and the line was discontinued after just a few short years, with only the GT soldiering on until 2010.

Values for them second-hand have been surprisingly strong however, particularly for the 1000LE and Sport models. I'm a huge fan of the offset monoshock that looks like a dual-shock setup from the left side and the tubular swingarm, although that setup on the original bikes meant a solo-seat option only. Performance was fairly tame on paper, although 92hp is really nothing to sneeze at and can be put to good use because of the bike's excellent handling. This was a bike pitched at a more mature crowd and experienced riders who appreciate a fast motorcycle but weren't interested in bench-racing or pointless horsepower-measuring contests.

Paul Smarts show up pretty regularly on eBay, considering how few were built, often with low miles and exorbitant prices. This particular bike certainly fits that description, as the asking price is $27,500 only with even lower miles and the added bonus of Paul Smart's signature on the bodywork, which should be like catnip for Ducati collectors. I'm glad the factory pipes are included for originality's sake, but they are very ugly things clearly designed to be replaced by the owner as soon as possible. The Keihan exhausts currently installed suit the classic style of the bike, but are almost too vintage for my tastes, and are likely too quiet as well. Maybe some Termignoni pipes would be more appropriate? Or those wild Zard high/low pipes that only work on the solo-seat models?

From the original eBay listing: 2006 Ducati Paul Smart 1000LE for Sale 

2006 Ducati Paul Smart 1000LE Limited Edition. Perfect condition with just under 700 miles.  Autographed by Paul Smart on the tank and tail. Both have had a clearcoat applied over them. Always garaged. Collector owned. The bike is located in Washington DC, but I can arrange for shipping anywhere. Aftermarket Keigen pipes, but the originals will be included in the sale. More photos available upon request.

Aside from a relatively uncomfortable riding position, the 1000LE makes for a pretty great roadbike, with excellent handling, adequate power and a rich midrange, wind protection, decent fuel economy, and reasonable reliability, assuming you take good care of it. But in such perfect, low-mileage condition, and with that Paul Smart signature on the bodywork, I doubt anyone would want to destroy the bike's value by actually riding it. So it's a shame that such a practical exotic will  probably spend most of its time in an office, living room, or heated garage, sealed away as an investment.

-tad

Signed and Numbered: 2006 Ducati Paul Smart 1000LE for Sale
Suzuki April 23, 2017 posted by Tad Diemer

Rare Pair: 1990 Yamaha YZF750R OW01 and 1986 Suzuki GSX-R750 Limited for Sale

Just a quick Sunday post for you folks who can't get out riding this weekend. Or for those of you on the East Coast, reading this early in the morning before heading out for the day... So here we've got a pair of rare homologation specials from the Age of the Seven-Fifty, where this now-forgotten class was the cutting edge of competition. Sure, the Big Four all had liter-sized bikes available, but while they more powerful, they were also heavier and much more road-oriented, while the 750s were that perfect balance of light weight, agility, and power. Today's Yamaha YZF750R OW01 and Suzuki GSX-R750 Limited represent some of the very best-handling and most exclusive Japanese sportbikes of the era.

First up is the Yamaha FZR750R OW01, a bike that looks deceptively ordinary at first blush. It was designed to compete directly against the RC30 and in typical Honda fashion, they engineered a completely new solution for their homologation special, with a gear-driven V4, chassis, and single-sided swingarm shared with no other bike in their lineup. Yamaha's bike shares its silhouette with the more common FZR750R, but is far more exotic than it might appear: titanium rods, twin-ring pistons, an aluminum fuel tank, detachable alloy subframe, quick-release axle clamps, and Öhlins suspension at the front and rear. The engine was almost radically oversquare, although it displaced the advertised 749cc, and used Yamaha's five-valve head.

From the original eBay listing: 1990 Yamaha FZR750R OW01 for Sale

This amazing bike has been in storage in a large collection for the last 9 years, dry stored correctly it will need recommissioning by the new owner for road use, it only has 34,000 kilometers and is in great shape with the original exhaust, toolkit and manual with pouch.

It has a few blemishes from its road use as seen in the pics rather than take up a lot of space here with this models lengthy attributes please do your own research, only 500 of these were made, a lot less than the RC30 and were quite a bit more expensive than it these bikes are getting scarce and climbing in value.

Suzuki threw their hat into the ring with their GSX-R750 Limited Edition, the homologation version of the iconic "Slabbie" version of their sportbike. Like the OW01, it's superficially similar to the standard bike, but features exotic parts intended for racing, like the lightweight dry clutch and electronic anti-dive forks. Lightweight bodywork, an aluminum tank, and a fiberglass tailsection differed from the stock machine, but the engine was still oil and air-cooled to save weight.

From the original eBay listing: 1986 Suzuki GSX-R750 Limited, GSX-R750, and GSX-R1100 for Sale

Selling off my collection of 1986 GSXR First Generation Slab Side bikes. This is the ultimate collection if you are looking for all (3) excellent condition original bikes. Bikes are to be sold as a package as I have had them a long time and would hate to break them up.

1986 GSXR 750 Limited, 4400 miles, Original bodywork, pipe, airbox, etc  in excellent condition. Never been down and has not been a previous race bike.

1986 GSXR 1100- 8000 miles, Original bodywork,  pipe, airbox, etc in excellent condition. This bike has aftermarket tinted screen.

1986 GSXR 750 Red/Blkw ith only 600 original miles. Yes that's right only 600 true miles 100% correct and still has the OEM tires on the bike. I also have original bill of sale from dealer. This may be one of the lowest original bikes in the world. Pic does not show grab rail or front markers  but I have those as well.

All bikes have lots of paperwork. Not looking to separate bikes at this time.

Both of these auctions end Monday, so move quickly if you're interested. This is the second OW01 we've posted up recently and obviously will need some work if you want to use it on the road, but a new owner may just choose to preserve it as-is. The Suzuki is part of a collection so you'll be picking up three bikes instead of just one, but they're all in very nice condition with low miles so if you're thinking of adding some classic Suzukis to your portfolio, you're in luck!

-tad

Rare Pair: 1990 Yamaha YZF750R OW01 and 1986 Suzuki GSX-R750 Limited for Sale
Bimota April 21, 2017 posted by Tad Diemer

Screaming Deal: 1996 Bimota YB9SR for Sale

This is the first Bimota YB9SR I can remember seeing for sale and the seller unfortunately includes very little information, although the photos are of decent quality. The one detail you might want to keep in mind? The $5,500 asking price which, assuming the bike is mechanically sound, makes it an absolute steal. You probably won't find the YB9 on a short list of classic Bimotas, but bascially every Bimota is rare, fast, and collectible, although "fast" might be pushing things a bit here. The "9" has nothing to do with the bike's displacement and simply indicates that it's the ninth Bimota powered by a Yamaha engine. It's a bit down on power compared to its stablemates the SB6 and the YB11, which feature the GSX-R1100 and YZF1000R "Thunderace," respectively, since the YB9 actually uses the liquid-cooled inline four and transmission from the YZF600R "Thundercat" [Ho!] with around 100hp and it even uses that bike's stock gauge cluster, nestled in between the carbon air-intake tubes.

Bimota obviously made its reputation wrapping lightweight frames and sexy bodywork around reliable powerplants from Japan, sexy powerplants from Ducati, and even the occasional German powerplant from BMW... Their early offerings used tube-style frames like the Verlicchi part from yesterday's Ducati 750 F1, but by the 1990s they'd moved on to aluminum beam frames as seen here. Access on some beam-frame models for maintenance and repair can be a bit iffy: the massive-looking part used on the SB6 and SB6R is designed to connect the steering head and swingarm pivot directly, but makes access to some parts difficult, like the front sprocket that supposedly requires the engine to be dropped when it needs changing... I've heard no such complaints about the YB11 that uses a very similar frame to the one seen here, which makes a certain amount of sense considering the fact that both use Yamaha engines.

This appears to be the carbureted SR model, not the fuel-injected SRi introduced in 1996: the metal knob at the top of the triple clamp looks like it could be the choke. That's probably no bad thing, as the fuel injection system was exclusive to the Bimota and will probably make maintaining the bike more problematic: with just 651 YB9s built, anything exclusive to the model might be tricky to source. The system did add a few claimed ponies but, like all Bimotas of the period, reviews of the fueling "improvements" varied a bit and I've read both rants and raves. And as easy as it should be to maintain the YZF600 engine and transmission, be aware that bits and seals for those forks and the Paioli rear shock might not be so easy and the bodywork... Let's just say if it were mine, I'd be regularly trolling eBay for panels "just in case."

From the original Craigslist post: 1996 Bimota YB9SR for Sale

2,653 original miles. 2nd owner. All stock, 1 of 3 imported to the US. Email for more info. Available April 19-26 only.

So the listing contains very little information, but mileage is extremely low, and it looks to be in pristine condition from the few photos provided. And the price? A screaming deal at $5,500. I'm under the impression that the seller needs to sell quickly, which might explain a price more in line with a decent used 600cc supersport. Of course the YB9's 600cc engine means a modern 600cc supersport would probably destroy it in any straight-line competition, but handling should still be impressive. Maintenance should be affordable, but bodywork might be very difficult to obtain if you push a bit too hard... I'm not the biggest fan of the yellow color with blue graphics, but this is a great-looking bike and possibly the cheapest way to get into Bimota ownership outside the questionably-styled Mantra.

-tad

Screaming Deal: 1996 Bimota YB9SR for Sale
Ducati April 20, 2017 posted by Tad Diemer

Featured Listing: 1987 Ducati 750 F1 Laguna Seca for Sale

If you were looking to jump onto the Ducati 750 F1 bandwagon early with an eye towards making big money flipping one... That ship has sailed: these Pantah-powered race replicas now command some serious money. For years, these occupied the same place as the early Super Sport, in part because they straddle two generations of Ducatis, pre and post-Cagiva ownership, but don't seem to fully belong to either. They've got a slightly shed-built quality from the older era, combined with the "modern" Pantah L-twin and more 80s style. When new, build quality was criticized and suspension, as delivered, was a bit crude. But the potential was there from the beginning in bikes like today's featured 750 F1 Laguna Seca, it just needed a bit of development.

The 750 F1 used Ducati's characteristic trellis frame, designed in this case by Verlicchi and visibly wrapped around the lightweight aluminum tank. It was powered by a 749cc version of their air/oil-cooled, two-valve twin making a claimed 76hp and styled to look like the successful TT1 race bikes of the period. Dry weight was just 385lbs and the 16" front and 18" wheel gave nimble handling. The Montjuich, Santa Monica, and this Laguna Seca were all limited editions of the F1 that were priced higher when new and featured improved performance and a higher top speed.

For years, the F1 languished forgotten and relatively unloved, but the fact that it was conceived before the company's takeover by Cagiva and the perceived mass-production that followed seems to be the exact quality now driving the increase in prices. Looking closely, there's one obvious indicator that the F1 came before Cagiva's ownership: bikes that came later reversed the rear cylinder so that both carburetors could be fitted into the engine's vee for much more efficient packaging. Some F1s have awkward pod filters fitted that bulge out from behind the fairing, but this example doesn't bother with something as trivial as "air filtration" and just has mesh screens to keep out rocks, stray animals, and small children.

From the original eBay listing: 1987 Ducati 750 F1 Laguna Seca 'Lucky' Lucchinelli Replica for Sale

ZDM750LS-750139 / DM750L1-750238

Recently out of long-term collection in Japan - this Marco Lucchinelli Replica is a time capsule in beautiful shape with only ~2500km  / 1600 miles. Original paint and bodywork is excellent; red paint on the beautiful trellis frame very nice with some darkening on the upper surface of each tube. Clip-ons and muffler have visible surface corrosion. Runs great - bike starts right up, idles well and runs like it should. Original mirrors included in sale.

The F1 Laguna Seca, along with the Santa Monica and Montjuich, represented the pinnacle of the factory Pantah-based TT race-bikes. These hand-built race-replica bikes were closely based on the forks F1 racers with open-throat Dell'Orto carburetors, 10:1 compression pistons, bigger valves and less restrictive exhaust. Transmission uses straight-cut (like the works bikes) instead of helical primary drive gears. The Laguna Seca is fitted with Verlicchi aluminum swing-arm and solo seat.

Widely acclaimed when new - Cycle World stated, "They May Be Bargains. This last Ducati is a throwback in the spirit of the 750 SS of 1973, the F1's most famous predecessor. Like the 750 SS, the F1 is the Italian sportsbike of its era."

Mick Walker summarized in his 1989 Ducati Buyers Guide, "If you find, or already own, an F1 my advice is to hang on to it. If you are doubly lucky to have been able to afford one of the 'limited edition' models, then guard it with your life, for you have a real classic of the future. Any one of the Monjuich, Laguna Seca or Santamonica models is worth a full five stars, for they are both beautiful and rare."

This gem will make a fabulous addition to your collection. Offering with low reserve and reasonable buy-it-now. Currently on it's importation paperwork - Japanese de-registration certificate / English translation of certificate / NHTSA HS7 / EPA 3520-1 / CBP 7501 (stamped). Washington State title is available for $400 documentation fee approx. 5-week wait. WA state buyers responsible for Tax & License.

As the seller mentions, the bike isn't cosmetically perfect, but no bike that's thirty years old and in original condition is likely to be. Bodywork is very sharp, but some of the exposed metal parts have some surface corrosion but the paint on the bodywork looks very nice and mileage is extremely low at just 1,600. The seller is asking for $27,500 which seems fair, considering what regular F1s have been going for of late. As you may have guessed, this Featured Listing is being offered by the same seller as yesterday's RG400Γ and it is also a Japanese import, with paperwork that should allow the bike to be legally titled, depending on your local DMV.

-tad

Featured Listing: 1987 Ducati 750 F1 Laguna Seca for Sale
Suzuki April 19, 2017 posted by Tad Diemer

Featured Listing: 1985 Suzuki RG400Γ for Sale

With prices of Suzuki's RG500Γ "Gamma" through the roof right now, fans of 80s two-stroke exotica have had to look elsewhere for their smoky thrills, and today's Featured Listing RG400Γ might be just the ticket for collectors seeking two-stroke performance on a less extravagant budget. Certainly, values of the Japanese-market RG400Γ have been below those of the bigger bike, in spite of it being less common, owing to a significant power deficit: claimed weight is nearly identical at 340lbs dry, but claimed power is down significantly from 93hp to 59. That'd still make for a pretty fun package in a road bike, and you're still looking at better straight-line performance than the 250cc machines of the same period.

1985 Suzuki RG400 for sale on eBay

The Gamma was introduced in 1985 and lasted until 1987, although none of the bigger two-stroke machines lasted very long on the market. Suzuki's race-replica two-stroke was powered by an unusual liquid-cooled, square four engine that was configured like a siamesed pair of parallel twins, with two crankshafts and the "rear twin" slightly higher than the front for a sort of stepped design. The firing order helped to cancel out vibrations and the Gamma was designed without a heavy, power-consuming balance shaft as a result. The smaller RG400 was intended specifically for the Japanese market and was powered by a version of the engine that used the same 50.6mm stroke, but a smaller bore of 50mm versus 56mm to arrive at the reduced 397cc displacement.

Two-stroke engines are simple and very light weight, making them perfect for off-road and commuter machines. But that same incredible simplicity and a relatively high power-to-weight ratio also make them ideal for road-racing motorcycles and, once Walter Kaaden's two-stroke tuning secrets were "acquired" by Suzuki, they dominated Grand Prix motorcycle racing into the modern era. Riders familiar with performance two-stroke motorcycles love their incredible agility and savage power delivery, characteristics that defined the Gamma when it was new. As has been pointed out ad nauseam in the comments sections, even the RG500 isn't really all that fast by today's standards, although it's still a challenging ride: handling was superior for a 1980s motorcycle, but suspension has come a long way since then and the 59hp of the RG400 is being channeled through a 120-section rear tire that you'd be more likely to find on the front of a sportbike these days... But fans of the Gamma love the rawness, the purity of the bike. Or are just high on sweet, sweet two-stroke exhaust fumes.

This particular example features Walter Wolf graphics, which could be a plus or a minus, depending on your tastes. Suzuki fans might prefer the iconic blue-and-white colors, but I think Gammas are a little bit bulbous in the traditional Suzuki colors, and the Walter Wolf graphics slim the bike down nicely.

From the original eBay listing: 1985 Suzuki RG400Γ for Sale

This early RG400 Walter Wolf is in good original condition with ~19,500km  / 12,100 miles. Recently purchased out of Japanese collection with 1987 Ducati 750 F1 Laguna Seca also listed on eBay. The mid to late 1980's was a great time to be a motorcyclist. Technology was evolving rapidly with the Japanese and European manufactures innovating at a tremendous pace. There were a myriad of engine layouts, number of cylinders, 2-stroke and 4-stroke vying for top honors and in the case of the NR500 - oval pistons! Technology proven on the race-track inevitably made it's way to the showroom to the great benefit of the riding public.  For a couple years in the later 1/2 of the 1980's enthusiasts in the rest of the world could go to their local dealer and buy an honest-to-goodness 2-stroke 4-cylinder F1 race-replica! The RG400/500 Gamma - along with the Yamaha RZ500 and Honda NS400 - brought the sound, the smell, and the looks of the GP circuit within reach of the knowledgeable motorcycle enthusiast.

The RG's square-4, twin-crank, rotary disk-valve RG400 is durable and reliable and easy to service and and readily modified for more power.

I've owned about a dozen RG500 as well as RZ500 in the early 1990's and this really takes me back. This one is a great 'rider' that draws a crowd and thumbs-up. It starts right up, idles well with and runs like 'back in the day' (a little smokey). Still has original oil-injection, airbox, and the original paint and bodywork. The aluminum frame is clean and bright with no sign of damage. Chassis and brakes are original and work like they should. Riding down the road, it's well-composed. A couple points worth noting 1) no belly-pan; 2) crack in upper fairing near windscreen at right rear-view mirror; 3) a couple touch-up on seat-section plastic; 4) turn-signal button missing (signals still work).

Ride it as it is, restore, or modify to suit your preference - whichever way you go, it'll bring a smile on your face and make a fabulous addition to your collection.
Currently on it's importation paperwork - Japanese de-registration certificate / English translation of certificate / NHTSA HS7 / EPA 3520-1 / CBP 7501 (stamped). Washington State title is available for $400 documentation fee approx. 5-week wait. WA state buyers responsible for Tax & License.

Happy to work with your shipper. In the past year I have shipped to/from Japan / Germany / England / Australia / Chicago / Georgia  / Arizona / California / Oregon / etc.i. I have been happy with Haul Bikes and would expect shipping to be in the $500 range to California and maybe $600-700 to the East Coast.

This looks like a pretty nice bike, considering the $9,250 asking price. There are a couple of cosmetic issues clearly disclosed by the seller and, although you might have to go with some aftermarket bodywork to replace that bellypan if you're on a budget, the bike is obviously usable without it. As always, it's important to do your homework if you plan to use this on the road: it sounds like the seller has all the paperwork needed to register this RG400, but whether or not that's even possible will vary, depending on your home state. Hm. I wonder what a Washington State PO Box runs per year...

-tad

Featured Listing: 1985 Suzuki RG400Γ for Sale