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Author Archives: Tad Diemer

Ducati August 19, 2014 posted by Tad Diemer

The Price of Perfection: 2014 Ducati 1199 Panigale Superleggera

I’m not one to gush over a bike, and usually, this sort of thing doesn’t interest me: a limited-edition Italian superbike with tons of possibly pointless bling thrown at it, colorful anodized and blacker-than-black carbon everything, the slightly matte rainbow glow of titanium piping, all stuck to the bike to make it more “exclusive.”

But the Ducati Superleggera isn’t really that bike.

2014 Ducati Panigale Superleggera R Side

Many of these I’m sure will end up cocooned in heated garages, squirreled away in collections, never to turn a wheel in anger, except for an annual roll-out into the sun where they will sit, blinking dazed into the light, while they're licked clean by owners too terrified to damage their investments and egos by putting miles on something this unforgiving. But these bikes were built to be ridden, not collected...

Normally, bikes like these are the province of Ducati-specialists NCR, who can actually improve your Desmosedici by making it both lighter and more powerful. But Ducati took a page out of NCR’s playbook book and just built their own nearly unobtainable special.

This is the superbike, perfected.

Not “perfected” like a BMW S1000RR HP4, with techno-geek sophistication and nods to everyman affordability, but with every part lightened, replaced, or improved in infinitesimal ways, cost-no-object. The frame replaced with… Well, it never had a frame to begin with, but the normally aluminum airbox/headstock is replaced with cast magnesium…

2014 Ducati Panigale Superleggera Subframe

The price for the finished bike? Well the Buy-It-Now price on this one is $66,995...

From the original eBay listing: 2014 Ducati 1199 Panigale Superleggera for Sale

Truly a once in a lifetime opportunity to own a piece of motorcycling history!!  With only 500 units being made worldwide and only 200 slated for the U.S., Ducati says once those are sold, that will be it for the Superleggera

The rest of the listing is just a reprint of specs. Which is sort of pointless, if you asked me, but what else is there to say? There’s no history for this example, with 32 miles on the clock. No mods, no customization, nothing but the window sticker, and some included “race” bits that includes an Akrapovic titanium exhaust.

2014 Ducati Panigale Superleggera Dash

Weighing in at 390lbs with a full tank of fuel, more than 70 pounds less than the aforementioned BMW, with 200 claimed horsepower at the crank, you’d have to add weight to be legal in any racing class. With no regulations to conform to, this thing is lighter than a World Superbike. In fact, it doesn’t meet the requirements for any race class. It’s pointless. It’s useless. It’s better than you are, better than you will ever be, a testament to the idea of speed.

These bikes aren’t friendly: the electronic aids aren’t there to help you go faster. They’re there to allow you to go faster, if you have the skill to exploit them.

2014 Ducati Panigale Superleggera Front Wheel

And I’m sorry, but I think we can safely say that you don’t. Honestly, you will probably be faster on that BMW: this isn't some smooth, refined experience. It's an animal. A brutal, terrifiying, hairy-chested thing. You must be THIS tall to ride this ride. Under 18 not admitted without parent or guardian.

2014 Ducati Panigale Superleggera Clutch Cover

Look, I was never really a fan of the 1198. While the 999 maybe took too many stylistic chances, the 1198 didn’t take enough: basically a modernized 916, it was sleek, but bland. The Panigale, on the other hand, looks like nothing else, and is much more exciting for going its own way. The Superleggera just turns the volume up to 11, to indulge in one last cliché.

-tad

2014 Ducati Panigale Superleggera Triple Clamp

The Price of Perfection: 2014 Ducati 1199 Panigale Superleggera
MZ August 16, 2014 posted by Tad Diemer

Rare and Practical: 2005 MZ1000S

Most attempts to resurrect a defunct or struggling brand start with high-performance, limited-edition hypersports machines that inevitably get compared to the GSX-R1000, and generally not in a good way. So it was interesting when a revitalized MZ chose not to compete directly with hypersports bikes from Ducati and Aprilia, instead creating a classy gentleman's express that they hoped would be judged on its own merits.

Produced between 2004 and 2007, the MZ 1000S represented a new era for formerly East German MZ. Known in classic circles as pioneers in the two-stroke revolution, their later range of bikes was powered almost exclusively by the 660cc Yamaha single. Great, practical everyman transportation, but MZ needed something to compete with more refined machinery.

2005 MZ 1000S L Side

Unfortunately, one of the reasons people create hypersports bikes in the first place is that folks with more money than skill or sense buy them as dangerous fashion accessories, and the MZ1000S disappeared with barely a ripple... In fact, this is the first one I can ever remember seeing for sale.

But don't let that discourage you: reviews may not have been glowing in terms of track prowess, but then it wasn't that sort of bike. It worked as intended, as a rideable, practical exotic that stands out in a crowd. And stand out it surely does.

2005 MZ 1000S R Side Garage

From the original eBay listing: 2005 MZ 1000S for Sale 

Gloss Black/Silver graphics Color scheme with Remus Slip on Exhausts made specifically for this bike - engine is bone stock - fuels beautifully - complete paper work from first owner and myself - factory tool kit - Digital service and owners manual in ENGLISH - parts readily available from Grahams In the UK - Pazzo Clutch and Brake levers (I do have OEM levers and they are in mint condition) Sprockets are Yamaha parts and oil filter is standard K&N item. Slight light scratches in clear coat on tail section, only noticeable up close and in full sun from first owner running soft luggage while sport touring. I do NOT have the stock exhausts.

Bike is an incredible sport bike, while she's big sitting at rest and tall in the saddle (If you have a short inseam - this might not be the bike for you - I'm 6'0" and I'm solidly on the balls of my feet at a stop.) But get it going and the size melts away - it is capable of staying with modern 600's easily in really twisty tight mountain roads and the torque is simply addicting - come out of a corner and just roll it on - you are pulling away while everyone else is downshifting like crazy to match your drive out of the corner - and like a BMW K1200/1300 or Moto Guzzi sport bike - incredibly confidence inspiring and OMG easy to ride fast!

The MZ 1000S was powered by their in-house parallel-twin, bucking the v-twin sportbike trend that saw every niche market motorcycle powered by Ducati, Honda, or Suzuki v-twin engines. This choice certainly came with built-in limitations: parallel-twin engines are very compact and less expensive to produce, but vibrate like the dickens, especially in larger-displacement applications.

Just ask Norton and Triumph.

2005 MZ 1000S L Side Garage

And they really aren’t generally rev-happy engines, happier to punch out useable torque. Even with a balance shaft or two, you’re never going to get screaming revs out of 1000cc parallel twin. Also, there’s a certain bias against the configuration: the very advantages that speak to efficiency in manufacturing suggest a certain… pragmatism that is at odds with an exotic image.

But you will get character and packaging advantages galore, and a torquey powerplant ideal for the sports touring bike MZ had in mind.

Parts availability is a big question mark, although the seller mentions that servicing has never been a problem. This is the epitome of a “mature” sport bike and should be comfortable on both long rides and fast canyon runs on Sunday morning. This could be a really cool buy for someone looking for a bike that will really stand out from the crowd.

-tad

2005 MZ 1000S L Side Rear

Rare and Practical: 2005 MZ1000S
Honda August 14, 2014 posted by Tad Diemer

Featured Listing: Exceptional 1990 Honda RC30 for Sale

Update: This bike was sold within two days of listing on RSBFS exclusively using our Featured Listing service. Congratulations to buyer and seller! -dc

RC30-01

Built between 1988-1990, Honda’s VFR750R RC30 was a limited-production motorcycle intended to homologate Honda’s planned entry in the newly-created World Superbike Championship. Pure-prototype racing machines like Moto GP bikes need have nothing in common with any other product being produced for public consumption, but most other forms of racing require that the bikes be based, however loosely, on production machines. For WSB, the rules require that a certain number machines be sold for street use to make the bike eligible for racing.

RC30-27

With a V4 displacing 748cc and crammed with all manner of titanium and magnesium parts, including gear-driven cams, the RC30 spec-sheet looks like the creation of some track junky’s fevered imagination. And the rest of the bike was just as wild, with an innovative slipper clutch and a single-sided swingarm yanked straight of the ELF endurance racers, although it lacked that bike’s truly striking wheels and single-sided front end.

RC30-04

Contact the Seller via Email

From the seller: 1990 Honda RC30 for Sale

US spec 1990 Honda RC30 for sale.  Number 187 of only 200 produced for the US market in 1990, somewhat rare bike with valid title.   The bike was manufactured January 1990 and originally titled in Tennessee.  It currently has a valid Florida title.  The motorcycle is located in central Florida.

This RC30 is in very nice original condition with only 10,000+ miles.  The bike has been in a museum since 2007 and was professionally prepped for display.  Please look at the pictures to see that there are only a few small nicks on the bike.  The bodywork is almost perfect except for 2 small areas; (a) there is slight checking in the gel coat on the right side under the seat, (b) the underside of the front fairing has some minor scratches and a small area of gel coat checking on the left bottom.  It is 100% OEM except for upgraded break and clutch cables, and upgraded front calipers which are cast iron (the OEM calipers come with the bike).  The bike only has 1 OEM key.  The buyer has a choice; available in its current pristine museum form, or I will prepare it for the road.  I guarantee there are no mechanical flaws with this bike.  I have sold off most of my 21 bike Honda collection over the past 3 years and have received zero complaints.  I only have this RC30 and a pristine RC45 left from the collection.

Please see the list of OEM Honda RC30 memorabilia that comes with the bike (12 items).  Contact:  GAULANDY@YAHOO.COM

RC30-07

The performance seems tame today, with just north of 100hp at the wheel [a claimed 118hp at the crank] pushing almost 500lbs wet, and standing-start acceleration hampered by a race-track friendly first gear that took you all the way to 80mph. But that was hardly the point. With feedback and feel to spare, and a flexible powerband and a spine-tingling v4 snarl, the bike was faster and lighter than anything in the 750cc class when introduced, although for the price, you’d expect it to be: $21,000 in 1990.

RC30-11

But more importantly, the bike was competitive right out of the box, winning the WSB title for which it was intended in both 1988 and 1989, along with a slew of victories at the TT and in endurance racing that lasted well beyond the normal lifespan of a racing motorcycle. The road-going RC30 was the best of both worlds: an exotic racing machine with direct ties to factory racing efforts and an eminently useable motorcycle for the road with actual dealer support and surprising reliability.

These are some of the rarest and most collectible Hondas of the modern era and, at the seller's $22,000 asking price, seems likely to be snapped up quickly.

-tad

Featured Listing: Exceptional 1990 Honda RC30 for Sale
Suzuki August 14, 2014 posted by Tad Diemer

More 80’s Madness! 1986 Suzuki RG500 Walter Wolf Replica

Update 8.14.2014: I had this post scheduled for today but the listing was pulled down early. Anyone from here snag it? Thanks for the post Tad. -dc

The term “race replica” gets thrown around pretty often. But as racing machinery has become more and more specialized, race replicas have become more and more of an “in name only” proposition, a paint and tape job featuring the exact same technical specifications, with a higher price and additional free advertising for the sponsors. I mean, I love the Repsol Hondas, but let’s be honest: they’ve got little to nothing in common with the race bikes.

But that wasn’t always the case, and Suzuki’s RG500 Gamma was much closer to the real thing than you’re likely to find at the dealer today.

1986 Suzuki RG500 Gamma R Side

Another one of the unusual powerplants from the wild-west period of the 1980’s is this Suzuki RG500 Gamma and its square four. Basically two water-cooled parallel twins geared to a common crankshaft, it was powerful, lightweight and, compared to Yamaha’s RD500, was much less compromised for the road: weighing in at under 400lbs dry, it made almost 100bhp at the crank. With typically brutal two-stroke power delivery and a short wheelbase that made it a very serious tool for experienced riders.

1986 Suzuki RG500 Gamma Tank

While “Walter Wolf” sounds like the villain from a James Bond film or possibly a children’s cartoon, it was actually the name of oil magnate and motorsports lover/sponsor who sponsored teams at the highest level of competition in both Formula 1 and Moto GP. Walter Wolf was born in Austria, but a Canadian citizen and the racing team was based out of the UK. Still with me? He’s quite a character, and still very much alive, although much of his story is too long and strange to recount here…

1986 Suzuki RG500 Gamma Rear Engine

From the original eBay listing: 1986 RG500 Gamma Walter Wolf Replica

This 1986 Walter Wolf RG500 is in beautiful condition for its age. All pictures are recently taken. The bike does have a few flaws such as one of the side rear panels is missing a tab on the right side the front fairing has been repaired do to cracking which appears to be very well done. The belly pan has some gas damage as well as a few scratches. I have been a collector of the 2 stoke street bikes and I don't like being surprised and don't want to surprise anyone else so I will disclose everything I know about this gamma. The rear brake is not leaking but could possibly use a rebuild or bleeding. The bike runs very well with fresh tires and battery. Pictures do not do this beauty justice this bike is stunning in person. It has gross valves and air filters on it and also comes with stock seat and air box parts. The belly pan is not really too visible but it is damaged from fuel. There is a small repair of the sticker in the picture and the clock foam has a small imperfection

1986 Suzuki RG500 Gamma Dash

Production for the Gamma isn’t exactly rare by European bike standards, with just north of 9,000 built between 1985 and 1987. But with only 100 genuine Walter Wolf replicas produced in total, these are a rare edition of an already very desirable bike. It’s located in Cali, but it’s not clear if the bike is titled for road use, which would make this "WW" even more special.

1986 Suzuki RG500 Gamma Front Wheel

With a $20,000 starting bid, there are no takers as yet, although that seems like a pretty fair price, considering what regular Gammas go for… And that black and red paint really flatters the slightly slab-sided styling of the bike.

-tad

1986 Suzuki RG500 Gamma R Side No Fairing

More 80’s Madness! 1986 Suzuki RG500 Walter Wolf Replica
Honda August 12, 2014 posted by Tad Diemer

Featured Listing: Titled 1994 Honda RC45 For Sale

Update: This bike was sold within two days of listing on RSBFS exclusively using our Featured Listing service. Congratulations to buyer and seller! -dc

Homologation specials sometimes might seem like pretty poor deals from a “performance-for-the-dollar” perspective: they’re intended to make sure manufacturers can use certain parts or even whole machines for production-based racing, so the road bike is going to be priced like the very low-volume exotic it is, but may be somewhat restricted for street use and lack some of the elements that will make the racing machine competitive on track. So you get exotic technology and exotic price in a package that isn’t necessarily any faster than lesser machines.

But for folks who want something truly special, a bike with such direct links to racing is worth any price, and Honda’s RC bikes are very, very special indeed.

1994 RC45 R Side

Honda’s RVF750R RC45 was their follow up to the iconic RC30, a bike that won the World Super Bike Championship in both 1988 and 1989.

The RC45 was powered by 749cc, 90° V4 with gear-driven cams and while displacement was almost the same as the earlier RC30, the cam gears were moved to the side of the engine to improve packaging and the bore/stroke were changed significantly, making the engine more oversquare to reduce piston speed and increase revs.

A sophisticated fuel injection system fed the almost impossibly smooth engine, a slipper clutch helped with downshifts, and a single-sided swingarm made tire changes fast and easy during endurance racing.

1994 RC45 Front Rear

The RC45 is perhaps the ideal package: it’s one of the best-looking sportbikes of all time, with a nearly perfect balance of purposeful, understated aggression and a wealth of exotic details to capture the eye of cognoscenti, all wrapped up with Honda reliability and attention to detail.

But with only 105hp at the rear wheel, the RC45 was just a bit faster than a 600 of the time, making the nearly $27,000 this cost new a very tough sell. Or it would have been a tough sell, if they had attempted to sell very many…

1994 RC45 Front and Fairing

With only 200 made worldwide and approximately 50 sent to the US, these are extremely rare, with as few as 20 circulating among US collectors. And the seller offers a choice to the buyer: keep this in its current, museum-ready condition, or have him prep it for road-use.

Contact the Seller via Email

From the seller: 1994 Honda RC45 for Sale

US-spec 1994 Honda RC45 for sale.  Number 47 of only 50 produced for the US market in 1994, of which 20+ were delivered to private race teams... very, very rare bike with valid title. The bike was manufactured February 1994 and originally titled in California.  It currently has a valid Florida title. The motorcycle is located in central Florida.

This RC45 is in exceptional condition with only 6,001 miles. The bike has been in a museum since 2008 and was professionally prepped for display. Please look at the pictures to see that there are almost no nicks anywhere on the bike. It is 100% OEM.  The buyer has a choice; available in its current pristine museum form, or I will prepare it for the road. I guarantee there are no flaws with this bike. I have sold off most of my 21 bike Honda collection over the past 3 years and have received zero complaints. I only have this RC45 and a pristine RC30 left from the collection.

Contact the Seller via Email

Out of the box, the RC45 was not as immediately successful as its predecessor: it won races, but it took a while to fine-tune the bike's handling and get it right, and Honda scored only a single WSB title with the bike. While the RC45’s history wasn’t quite as illustrious as the RC30, it was a hugely versatile machine that won regularly at the Isle of Man TT and in endurance racing in the years following its WSB career.

1994 RC45 Underseat

Then and now, these are expensive machines. Expensive, but very polished, with smooth power and stable, but nimble handling. And whatever the price of the road bike, Honda fans can’t put a price on being able to get this close to what is literally a race-bike for the road. With an asking price of $28,000 and a seller who clearly loves the marque, this looks like a great opportunity for the right buyer!

-tad

1994 R Rear Suspension

Featured Listing: Titled 1994 Honda RC45 For Sale
Honda August 10, 2014 posted by Tad Diemer

Quirky Track Day Fun: 1985 Honda NS400R for Sale

While I’m not the biggest fan of the 1980’s in terms of style, I love the free-for-all philosophy that went into motorcycle design of the period: four-strokes, two-strokes, and rotaries. Turbos. One, two, three, and four cylinder engines, innovative suspensions, and all manner of weirdness.

This Honda NSR400R embodies some of the best features of the era, when experimentation and new ideas seemed to be popping out of the woodwork.

1985 Honda NSR400R R Front

In general, Honda has become a very conservative manufacturer, although a few of their more recent offerings show off a bit of that old experimental spirit as they try to produce some actually useful, interesting motorcycles for normal riders, instead of chasing the ever-decreasing market share of pure headbanging motorcycles we’re all here to read about.

1985 Honda NSR400R L Rear

All of Honda’s NSR bikes are pure racing or race-replica two-stroke motorcycles, often over-the-counter, turnkey factory race bikes like the NSR250. The NSR400R fell into the latter category: a streetbike meant to evoke Honda’s pure race machines.

1985 Honda NSR400R Dash

This bike featured a liquid-cooled, two-stroke 90° V3 with the two flanking cylinders canted forward and the middle one pointing up, and put 72hp through a six-speed transmission, making it very quick for a middleweight sports machine. Period reviews refer to it being a very polished bike, with little of the unrefined frenzy common to two-strokes: liquid cooling quiets the clatter somewhat, and Honda’s ATAC power-valve smooths the power delivery and plumps up the low end. Power still comes on in a two-stroke rush, just a more dignified, manageable rush. Very Honda.

With unusual modular wheels and very light weight, handling was some of the best of the period, which makes the fact that these weren’t available in the States more of a shame.

1985 Honda NSR400R L Front

From the original eBay listing: 1985 NSR400R for Sale

Very rare 3 cylinder 2 stroke purchased from a private Honda collection in the Northeast got home put fresh gas in it and started right up. 13,392 original miles very nice condition sorry no title.

With the slightly dull, all-black fairings instead of customary Honda graphics or the traditional red/white/blue paint, and a bit of surface rust on the exhaust, this is clearly meant for one thing and one thing only: budget track-day thrashing. With workman like number-plates, safety wiring, and Dzuz fasteners for easy maintenance, it has all the features required and keeps costs down.

1985 Honda NSR400R R Rearset

But that’s a shame, since such a cool bike deserves at least a nice, ten-foot track bike paint job. At the very least, I’d get some aftermarket fairings painted up decently and ditch those stuck on numberplates for a solo-tailpiece and a bit of foam padding: if you can’t title this thing for the road, you might as well go all-in!

Honestly, I’d love to pick something like this up. My main concern would be finding good tires for it!

-tad

1985 Honda NSR400R R Side

Quirky Track Day Fun: 1985 Honda NS400R for Sale




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