Author Archives: Tad Diemer

Suzuki February 20, 2018 posted by Tad Diemer

Better Than the Real Thing? 1980 Suzuki XR69 Replica for Sale

We don't normally like to post up bikes that stray too far from stock, but this very useable, purpose-built replica of Suzuki's XR69 seemed too well put together to pass up. And certainly, this isn’t just some GS1000 with an aftermarket fairing slapped into place with some stickers holding it together. It's a gorgeous, painstakingly crafted, and fully-prepped to compete in vintage racing classes. In some ways, it's even better than a real XR69. Crash one of those, and you've destroyed a valuable investment, a living historical racing document. Crash this one, and it's just money, and significantly less money than an actual XR69.

The original XR69 was a late 70s/ early 80s four-stroke superbike, a bit like a WSBK and MotoGP hybrid. The engine was obviously based on Suzuki’s production GS1000, but power for the race engine quickly outstripped the ability of the stock platform to handle it, so Suzuki provided frames and suspension parts from their two-stroke GP bikes, and the bikes suddenly handled as well as they went. 1981 saw a switch from a dual shock setup to a Full Floater rear suspension and even better handling. Surprisingly, engines were developed by Pops Yoshimura instead of Suzuki’s in-house racing department, and the 997cc DOHC, 16-valve inline four put 134hp through the GS1000's five speed gearbox. The package was updated with a dry clutch in 1983 and top speed was 170mph, depending on gearing.

This one obviously has some minor differences. It uses a monoshock rear that would more likely have been found on the 1981 model and appears to use 17" wheels at both ends. But the frame looks pretty authentic to my inexpert eye and the overall effect is very impressive.

From the original eBay listing: 1980 Suzuki XR69 Replica for Sale

For Sale: Suzuki XR69 - A replica of the factory Yoshimura 1980 Suzuki XR69 raced for endurance racing in Europe ridden by Wes Cooley. This bike was built for the sole purpose of racing the International Challenge at Phillip Island in Australia. I have raced this bike last year and is extremely fast and performs like a modern bike. The suspension has been transformed by Dave Moss out of California and is flawless for me.

Pro mod built crank with 493 Katana rods. displacement: 1280cc. 39mm CR Keihin carbs. 31mm titanium intake valves. Stainless steel 27mm exhaust valves... extensive porting, new springs, ti retainers, hard faced cams and rocker arms. $6k in the head. No expense spared in building this engine as well as bike! All work performed by Larry Cook Racing in Portland OR.  Undercut transmission. Billet clutch hub with brand new Barnett clutch plates. Sigma Slipper clutch. Dynatek 2000 ignition with grey coils. Wego A/F gauge. Chromoly outstanding CMR custom built frame out of Canada. Custom 4:2:1 exhaust by Hindle. Brand new Ohlins rear shock with different springs. EBC front rotors and pads with unbelievable stopping power. Able to be started on the end of crank with hand starter. All making 171.5 hp. at the rear wheel with 110 fuel. There is more power to be found with different fuels!!Has tremendous power down low as well.

An extremely comfortable ride as well! Recently completely rebuilt because of top end oiling issue with new sleeves and custom pistons and tested at Utah. Perfect and Ready to go for Phillip Island with Dunlop newer slicks (1 practice session and 1 break-in session on Dyno) For all you professionals wanting to race a bike for Team USA at Phillip Island 2019 this is the one that will get you in the pointy end of the race.

What's this really worth? Well, it obviously has very minimal historic value, not being an actual historic racing motorcycle. But it is a fully-built racing machine built to compete on the vintage circuit and that $26,000 asking price seems pretty fair, considering the parts and labor that have gone into this one. The market for a replica historic racing motorcycle may be small, but this one will hopefully find the right buyer.

-tad

Better Than the Real Thing? 1980 Suzuki XR69 Replica for Sale
Honda February 19, 2018 posted by Tad Diemer

Silver Streak: 1980 Honda CB750F Super Sport for Sale

Although the term "sportbike" evokes images of sleek, fully-faired two-wheeled plastic darts, the term has been steadily evolving and originally would have been used to describe bikes like this, the Honda CB750F Super Sport.  Strangely practical-looking for a sportbike, the CB750F was the logical evolution of Honda's revolutionary, but long-in-the-tooth CB750. That bike set the motorcycling world on its ear in 1969, but ten years is a long time, and the bike was in serious need of an update.

 

Introduced in 1979, the CB750F took the earlier machine and moved the game on a bit: SOHC became DOHC, and two valves per cylinder became four. It was still air-cooled, but the changes led to a claimed 72hp from the 748cc engine. Bore and stroke were perfectly square: 62mm x 62mm. Why not more oversquare per typical, high-revving motorcycle convention? Well Honda felt that the narrower bore meant a narrower, more aerodynamic engine and less surface area meant better combustion. It wasn't particularly light, although the 503lb dry weight was pretty standard for the period, as were the 19" front 18" rear wheels, now cast instead of spoked.

The bike was updated slightly for the 1980 model year seen here with improved rear Showa shocks, a reinforced swingarm, a frame revised to increase rigidity, and heavier, but stronger wheels that replaced the 1979's Comstar hoops. Overall, weight was increased, but so was handling. The package might seem underwhelming for riders used to modern hardware, but period reviews were very positive, praising the bike's agility, stability, and the powerful engine.

From the original eBay listing: 1980 Honda CB750F Super Sport for Sale

Amazing pristine collector Super Sport bike in rare "seldom seen" condition

  • 750cc inline DOHC engine
  • 78HP 5 speed
  • 12 Second 1/4 mile sport bike
  • Timeless design
  • Super Sport racing handle bars
  • New tires 
  • Two owner bike

Silver Metallic paint that appears brand new. Bike has had recent service. Meticulous detail work done and looks and runs like brand new motorcycle. Garaged kept by collector and still looks new 38 years later - She's ready to ride! Beautiful bike with a style that will keep on pleasing. I get compliments on this bike every time it goes out. Rare condition and there will be absolutely no disappointments. I'll be here to assist your shippers any way I can. 

To me it appears to have been completely restored, but I'm not certain. This just my opinion. I've restored a lot of cars in my time but not a bike. This bike is absolutely gorgeous and looks freshly done. I purchased it from a fellow car collector. Again, it looks like a complete restoration had been performed but I can't be certain. Bike has never been dropped or laid down. You can't restore a bike for what I'm asking. Please look closely at the photos as they are a true representation of the immaculate condition of this Super Sport bike.

Here's a beautiful sport bike being offered here in exceptional condition!  You will not find another motorcycle like this one in this condition for this price! It's cheaper than a dirt bike! I've put a very reasonable price of only $5,800 on the bike. For the money that has been spent on this bike, it can't be duplicated for anywhere close to what I'm asking. Jump on this deal… she needs a new home, admirer and a rider that wants to show her off! Again… you will not be disappointed! You're buying the "BEST"

Thank you for your consideration. Drew - Arizona

Wow. Well this CB750F is very nice, but $5,800 is a pretty big jump over the last time I eyeballed values. Of course, in a couple years' time, that might start to look like a bargain... Certainly, these aren't modern sportbikes in any sense of the word, with an air-cooled engine, dual shock rear suspension, spindly forks, and huge wheels. And the weight is pretty shocking as well. But unlike the potentially crippling ergonomics of something like an MV Agusta F4, this old school superbike offers a pretty relaxed riding position and a wide, flat seat that probably works well for two, so you can share your vintage sportbike with your vintage back, and maybe a vintage companion.

-tad

Silver Streak: 1980 Honda CB750F Super Sport for Sale
Kawasaki February 15, 2018 posted by Tad Diemer

Boosted: 1978 Kawasaki KZ 1000 Z1-R TC Turbo for Sale

Turbochargers are pretty ubiquitous these days, allowing for insane levels of reliable performance and fuel economy, especially when coupled with modern electronics permitting compression ratios that early adopters of boost could only dream of. Modern cars offer flat torque curves and seamless power, but older turbocharged set ups were notorious for lag that felt like you were towing a piano, right up until the turbo finally spooled up and launched you at the horizon. For a brief, glorious period in the 1980s, the Japanese motorcycle manufacturers, all flush with cash from their domination of the world motorcycle market and caught up in the rush towards an exciting, digital future, introduced turbocharging to the motorcycling world. Slapping TURBO badges onto cars was already the cool new thing, so why not bikes? Unfortunately, it wasn't that simple, and the trend died out after a few short years. But it all started here, with Kawasaki's Z1-R TC.

When the Z1-R TC was introduced, turbocharging was considered pretty exotic technology for the most part, and only rarely seen even on production cars. At the time, the Z1-R was at the end of its life cycle, and newer, better, faster things were being offered by other manufacturers, so Kawasaki needed to drum up some interest in their lame-duck model before the introduction of the GPz. What better way to do that than by creating something that would likely kill inexperienced riders? Hey, it worked for their famously lethal two-stroke H1 and H2... The new turbocharged version of the bike quickly developed a widowmaker reputation like its predecessors, and for similar reasons: an on/off powerband coupled with primitive handling and marginal brakes. Even passing cars required a bit of precognition, and riders learned to build boost while waiting for a gap in traffic, dragging the rear brake to control speed while holding the throttle open to keep the turbo spooled...

Ultimately, the bike was a hoot, but if TCs didn't kill their riders with their unpredictable power delivery and sketchy handling, they had a tendency to blow up: the Z1-R TC Turbo was basically a stock bike with the addition of an aftermarket turbo package from the Turbo Cycle Company that included a log-style or 4-into-1 header and a boost gauge. Oh sure, you could specify a fully built engine to handle the boost if you wanted to, but how many buyers do you think opted for that when the bike was new? Not too many. And how many new owners do you think ignored the safety sticker instructing them to not, under any circumstances, adjust the wastegate to allow more boost and sweet, sweet performance, basically for free? The answer again? Not too many.

Luckily, this example avoids the whole "four-cylinder grenade between your legs" issue with a built motor that should provide years of trouble-free, if not lag-free, hooliganism. Which just means you're that much more likely to wheelie into a hedge, but at least you'll have a better idea which of the bike's lethal characteristics will most likely kill you.

From the original eBay listing: 1978 Kawasaki Z1-R TC for Sale

Here we have a beautiful '78 Z1R-TC Turbo. It has been completely rebuilt and gone through. Engine has a welded crank, fresh MTC turbo piston set with Teflon buttons, valves have been reseated with new seals, all engine seals have been replaced, new clutch, cam chain and guides are new as well, copper head gasket, carb rebuilt, as well as petcock, new o-ring chain and sprockets all brakes rebuilt, new pads, turbo spins freely, opened and inspected, new gaskets, you get the point. tires are Dunlops, tank replaced with a rust free one, no bondo fresh paint with lots of clear, one defect on decal on left front, (if it really bothers you, my painter will fix it, I just wanted to get the bike up for sale now rather than waiting for that, original bike had about 18k on speedo, was growling so it got replaced, boost gauge was cracked, so it got replaced with a Mr. Turbo new old stock.

I did my best to keep it as original as possible, tail pipe is dent free and freshly triple chrome plated. all chrome on engine is brand new triple chromed, (if you hate the chrome, I have a very clean non turbo '78 Z1R that I will swap out the chrome for stock) but it looks incredible with the black engine, exhaust head pipes were badly blued so I chose to paint them with header paint (no sanding, just painted) new owner can choose to rechrome head pipes, but they will blue again. I built this bike to be ridden (welded crank and forged turbo pistons). Without those mods these bikes twisted cranks and melted pistons.

That being said, still has original Bendix/Zenith carb, and stock ignition and advancer for originality, but Nice coils were added. I put some break-in miles on bike, waste gate is set to just seat as for break in I didn't want to boost it, but the sweet sound of the turbo is evident while riding, hoping to put some miles on it before end of auction as well as a little more fine tuning. I was a certified motorcycle mechanic and worked on the big 4 Jap brands through the eighties and nineties, have changed careers since then, so now I truly enjoy working on these old bikes for a hobby, but can't keep them all. I'm sure I forgot something, but be assured, engine is built correctly and bike is really nice. 

I was assured by previous owner it is the real deal, My buddy had it at his shop for a while getting title sorted out and gathering parts for me. He also contacted a Z1R turbo Guru who claimed he could tell you if it was a true Z1R turbo, and he was unable to tell us it wasn't. For what that is worth, wish I had original bill of sale etc. but I don't. Bike does have the correct ATP stuff that only came on true TC Z1-R's, Nice bike, contact me with questions, I have a slight reserve on bike which I may lift if we get close, good luck... Thanks for looking, will try to add more pics,  and update listing as needed, also new battery, and Amsoil, engine cranked over with plugs out to ensure full prime with oil, and oil return from turbo verified before initial fire up of course.

If you're concerned about the bike's authenticity, I know it can be a challenge with TC: if you can source a nice, clean Z1-R and the original parts for the turbo kit, you can build one of your own, since that's pretty much what Kawasaki did with the original. It's nice to see that kind of transparency from a seller, and the fact that the engine has been fully built to survive actual use should go a long way towards helping the bike find a buyer. So a bit of a question mark surrounding the bike's originality might keep the value down slightly, but you can't argue with the build quality so maybe this one will actually get ridden, instead of tucked away in a corner somewhere. Ultimately, the same things that made the TC a lousy motorcycle are the qualities that endear them to collectors today: they're wild, wooly, and savage, a rite of passage more than a practical mode of transportation.

-tad

Boosted: 1978 Kawasaki KZ 1000 Z1-R TC Turbo for Sale
MV Agusta February 14, 2018 posted by Tad Diemer

Jacket Included: 2005 MV Agusta F4 1000 Tamburini for Sale

Limited by budgets and economies of scale, many smaller car and motorcycle manufacturers are stuck rehashing the same product line, trying to keep pace with much larger companies capable of significant revamps and updates of their models to keep pace with the ruthless advance of technology and changing consumer tastes. Certainly, the Italian brands have often fallen victim to this and, until pretty recently, even Ducati was often forced to generate excitement through "limited editions" that amounted to performance and appearance upgrades to existing, sometimes obsolete machines. But that's not necessarily a bad thing, especially when your existing, obsolete machine is as spectacular as Massimo Tamburini's most beautiful creation, the MV Agusta F4.

Out of date the F4 may have been by 2005, but when the original bike looks so good and offers such a high level of performance, that phrase is of limited importance. It may have been 40 pounds heavier than more affordable competition like Suzuki's benchmark GSX-R1000 while offering very similar power, but it's not like the F4 was by any measure slow. The biggest issue, aside from purchase and running costs, was how much harder you had to work for that speed: ergonomics really are pretty brutal for anything other than committed riding, and anyone considering an F4 today should keep in mind that the bike is devoid of any electronic safety net, so you'd better be sure of the road surface or be fully upright before pulling the trigger. In an era of 200hp superbikes, it's easy to dismiss a 170hp machine, but inexperienced riders do so at their peril.

To drum up interest in a bike that had basically been around since the 1999 introduction of the F4 750, MV Agusta took their more powerful 998cc version and basically made everything lighter or better or at the very least carbon-fiber-ier and created the F4 1000 Tamburini. The result was still nearly 20lbs heavier than a GSX-R1000 but I'm not sure anyone with the means to buy one really cared. Power was up just a few ponies, but the big news was the addition of MV's interesting and effective Torque Shift System that used two sets of intake runners to improve midrange power without sacrificing the top end.

Inline fours can sound a bit bland to me when they drive past, but the sound of the F4 from the saddle is entirely different, much more frantic and exotic than something like a BMW S1000RR, and the soft stutter of the Engine Brake System on the overrun adds a layer of additional interest. That system was fitted in lieu of a slipper clutch and basically holds a couple of valves on once cylinder open on a closed throttle. It works very well, allowing hard downshifts without locking the rear wheel.

Most sportbikes go through a period of time where they just look out of date, before becoming "classic," but the F4 somehow missed that phase entirely. It's shocking how much attention even an ordinary example can generate, and how good it still looks in the flesh. It's like owning an affordable Ferrari: it doesn't really matter that you bought that 308 a few years back for $25,000, everyone still thinks you're some kind of rich guy, because Ferrari. Of course, if you're interested in today's Tamburini edition of the F4, it would probably help to actually be rich...

From the original eBay listing: 2005 MV Agusta F4 1000 Tamburini for Sale

2005 MV Agusta Tamburini #254 our of 300 ever built. Mint condition with 1,400 miles. I am the second owner was originally purchased locally in Dallas TX at an MV dealer will come with all original documents, COA, etc and an MV Agusta leather jacket.

Oooh, a jacket! Well that's it then, I'm going to drop the $38,000 asking price if it includes a gen-u-ine MV Agusta jacket [not pictured]! Hey, considering the original $43,000 asking price, not adjusted for inflation, that price seems almost reasonable. There's not much information in the listing, but what is there really to say about a "mint condition" bike with so few miles? Normally, I'd want to know if the little things that are typically done to improve the F4 have been taken care of, but I'm pretty sure it's safe to assume they haven't considering the mileage and the bike's collectable nature. I'm sure no one will really care all that much about the fragile fuel connectors being replaced with more robust bits, or a Power Commander being fitted and dyno-tuned, but who knows? Maybe someone will get dinged thirty years from now for those sensible changes at some obnoxious, concourse-style event where they judge that kind of "originality" to be critically important.

-tad

Jacket Included: 2005 MV Agusta F4 1000 Tamburini for Sale
Suzuki February 10, 2018 posted by Tad Diemer

Rare Screamer: 1987 Suzuki GSX-R400 GK71 for Sale

Most times, even if their models share no significant components, motorcycle manufacturers go to great lengths to make sure their bikes all share a strong familial resemblance. In fact, the most recent GSX-R600 and 750 are virtually identical and appear to share their frames and body panels, with only their engine displacements, graphic treatments, and tachometer faces to differentiate them. That makes particular sense at the moment, since the GSX-R750 has pretty much been in a class of one since the the ascendance of the 1000cc machines and developing a bike that shared most of its important components with another mass-produced model was virtually a requirement. Ironically, with the seeming demise of the 600 supersport class, I wonder if it won't be the 750 that has the last laugh... In any event, the designers of the GK71 version of the Suzuki GSX-R400 clearly didn't get that memo.

Taking a look at the bigger 750 and 1100 versions of the GSX-R, this 400 looks markedly different. The tail is sleeker, with a pronounced taper when viewed from the rear, the fairing has several rows of gills, like a small, primitive shark, a single headlight in place of its bigger siblings' round units, and an actual dash, instead of a foam instrument surround. All-in-all, it's very obviously a Suzuki, but looks very little like the larger GSX-R models.

The seller refers to this as a 1987 and a shot of the title confirms this but, supposedly, the 1987 had twin headlamps and gold brake calipers, so this may in fact be a 1986 model year bike, since that appears to have been the only year with the rectangular headlamp. The exhaust pipe would also have more of a perforated style shroud like the 750 and 1100, but the aftermarket Micron fitted here makes it hard to say for sure. Regardless, you're looking at a 398cc inline four making 60hp and backed by a six-speed gearbox, hung in an aluminum twin-spar frame with a weight of 337lbs dry.

From the original eBay listing: 1987 Suzuki GSX-R400 GK71 for Sale

Here we have a rare, well maintained, and super quick Suzuki GK71 GSX-R400. This is a clean machine sporting corrosion free aluminum frame/swingarm, stock fairings, and only minor imperfections. It sounds great, and pulls linearly all the way up to redline. I had great fun running this bike over the mountain during last year's TT races on the Isle of Man. It ran faultlessly, and was the impetus of many a conversation with other race fans.

The GSX-R400 was rarely seen outside Japan, and there's been little interest in the bike for the most part, as it wasn't nearly as exotic as the Honda NC30, as refined as the CBR400, or as agile and affordable as the FZR400. It was a bit crude in comparison, but was still a very competent, relatively sophisticated machine, and a slight lack of performance compared to rivals shouldn't discourage anyone at this point. 30,000 miles is on the high end for a collectible sportbike, but assuming it's been properly maintained and cared for, that wouldn't put me off too much assuming the price was right. And considering the bidding is up a bit over $1,500 I think you'd have a hard time finding something else that offers this combination of rarity and unintimidating performance.

-tad

Rare Screamer: 1987 Suzuki GSX-R400 GK71 for Sale
Ducati February 7, 2018 posted by Tad Diemer

Improving Perfection: 2005 Ducati 999R for Sale

Many people assume that whatever dusty, badly-lit, low-resolution photographs they’ve taken will be enough sell their valuable motorcycles and include almost no additional information. But it’s easy to head in the other direction and go full-on used car salesman, which the listing for this Ducati 999R has done, going so far as to describe it as being “built like a MotoGP bike…” Hyperbole is fine: I obviously indulge in stylistic excess regularly. But comparing an homologation superbike to a pure prototype racing machine suggests someone who is more of a salesman than a knowledgeable enthusiast.

Considering that the 999R has basically little in common with a MotoGP machine other than the Ducati name and the fact that it has two wheels and an engine, "built like a WSBK bike" would be much more accurate, and much closer to the original point. So if the 999R, even a “custom” one, is really nothing like a MotoGP race bike, what exactly is it?

Well unlike the 999S that was basically a spiffed-up version of the standard 999 with nicer suspension and some carbon-fiber farkles for "weight savings," the 999R was intended to homologate the bike for competition, AMA Superbike racing in particular. Titanium rods and valves meant less reciprocating mass, a completely new cylinder head design meant better breathing, and bore and stroke were completely different than the standard bike, much more oversquare, to increase the bike's appetite for revs: 104mm × 58.8mm versus 100mm × 63.5mm for a displacement of exactly 999cc, instead of the 999's 998cc... Compression was higher and the crank knife-edged where it lived behind the sand-cast engine cases, all of which added up to 134 rear wheel horses and 76.6 lb-ft of torque.

The seller suggests that this customized 999R is even more desirable than a completely original bike, and lists everything that's gone into it. The main issue here is that in hyping up changes that supposedly make the bike "more bad-ass," he's missing the real point of the 999R’s value. Originality is often critical in establishing the desirability of limited-production bikes like this and, as the listing describes the “custom” touches, I’m imagining the value dropping in the minds of potential buyers. That’s not to say that the changes are bad, mind you, and the modified engine definitely could prove to be enticing to buyers who actually plan to use their purchase for track or fast road work. But I'd definitely want someone other than the person who wrote the listing to tell me about the build in more detail.

From the original eBay listing: 2005 Ducati 999R for Sale

UPGRADED - CARBON WHEELS

THIS IS IT! The Ducati 999R - Motorcycle History. If you are looking for one the baddest bikes ever made - this is it. Pure Ducati. Period!

When owning one of the rarest bikes in the world is not enough we invite you to take a look at our custom 2005 Ducati 999R. This is your once in a lifetime opportunity to own a piece of motorcycle history. This bike is in perfect condition with very low miles. Truly breathtaking! This 999R is highly upgraded:

- $10k Engine Rebuilt with Lighter Titanium Rods by Ducati Race Technician
- BST Carbon Fiber Rims
- NCR Rear Sets Custom Made
- Brembo Brakes and Master Cylinders
- Custom Seat
- NCR Race Gas Cover
- STM Dry Clutch
- EVR Cylinder
- Dark Upgrade Windshield
- New Rear Brake and Turn Signal
- 6112 Miles on Bike Overall (After Engine Rebuild Less than 1000 miles)
- Garage Kept
- Bike Has Never Been Down

There’s no other way to describe the Ducati 999R than as a race bike with lights; it really is that close to the real thing.

Breathtaking quickness—0 to 60 mph comes in less than three seconds—is matched by the bike’s Brembo brakes. The Ducati 999R is built like a MotoGP bike so it’s dripping with exotic parts. The Desmodromic motor is packed with titanium, specially coated alloys and magnesium. Many carbon fiber parts and the exhaust heat shield is from a carbon/ceramic composite.

Mileage is pretty low and the bike does look very sharp, helped by some high-quality, professional photography. Of course, all of the 999 models had dry clutches, so the listing is probably referring to an STM slipper clutch [and cool slotted housing], and I'm pretty sure the bike had Brembo brake and clutch masters originally, just not the radial units seen here. Also, when did "Dark Upgrade Windshield" become a selling-point for a rare and collectible superbike? Are the original parts, especially the wheels, included? At least any missing peripherals can likely be cheaply sourced at the moment to get it closer to stock condition. The $19,880 Buy It Now is on the higher end for an original R, but the question remains: do the changes made to this particular bike increase or decrease the value?

-tad

Improving Perfection: 2005 Ducati 999R for Sale