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Author Archives: Tad Diemer

Bimota August 26, 2014 posted by Tad Diemer

Drink the Kool-Aid:1998 Bimota Mantra DB3

Even a storied manufacturer with a portfolio of glorious bikes can make a misstep. A trend of questionable taste taken just a bit too far, a design compromised by budget, a stylist given too free a hand. The Bimota Mantra may have been all of these things working against it: it’s a bit of an overwrought mess, powered by a twin but with four exhaust pipes, giving the usual low-mount cornering-clearance problems with but additional weight and complexity, included at no extra charge! Although considering the price of these new, there may have been a line item on the original sticker for “Reduced Cornering Clearance”, too… The dash is walnut. And what were they thinking with that storage cubby at the back of the dummy tank?

1998 Bimota Mantra R Front

All that being said, these are distinctive motorcycles and no mistake, and I do like that Bimota was trying for something different. This was their first bike intended purely for the street, they went a bit overboard making this bike's street intentions visually clear...

1998 Bimota Mantra L Front

Thing is though: it’s still a Bimota. Weird exhausts and extroverted styling aside, a stiff frame, quality suspension, and strong brakes mean this will get a serious wiggle on, if you want it to. And they’re rare, with only 454 made between 1995 and 1998. Powered by Ducati’s air and oil cooled, two-valve v-twin, maintenance and hop-up parts are readily available, so you can at least leave the people laughing at you in a roiling cloud of tire smoke leaving intersections.

1998 Bimota Mantra Front

From the original eBay listing: 1998 Bimota Mantra for Sale

Original price was $ 20,000.|
BIN is less than half of that. Reserve a bit lower
Added it to my collection in 2004 with only 8010 miles.
Rare red color with only 25 made from what I have read, with a total of 454 made, mostly yellow.
Looks and runs well, but there is some paint blister on tank.
Can't see in pictures, so may have to circle areas after I look at bike, tomorrow.
It's dry and paint original from 1998.
A re-paint would be an easy color to match, or leave as - is.

Look, I have to be honest: I thought these were really cool when I was young and these were brand new. They were different, something exotic, but useable: a practical fashion statement. And having not yet been indoctrinated into motorcycle aesthetic standards, they looked exciting to me.

1998 Bimota Mantra Clocks

If I had a big bike collection, I’d probably still want one, although I’d remove that taller windscreen tout de suite and look into some other solution for those exhausts… Or maybe I’d just fit some little two-stroke carbon cans to really confuse people.

If you’re looking at starting your Bimota collection and realize you’ve no intention of spending time at the race track, and actually want to ride your acquisition, this might be a great place to start.

-tad

1998 Bimota Mantra L Side

Drink the Kool-Aid:1998 Bimota Mantra DB3
Suzuki August 23, 2014 posted by Tad Diemer

Budget Widowmaker: 1997 Suzuki TL1000S

Introduced in 1997 and made until 2001, the TL1000S was a shot across Ducati’s bow. Tired of the Bolognese firm getting all the press for their sexy, thunderous twins, Suzuki did them one better: a reliable, low-maintenance, liquid-cooled v-twin that made the power of Ducati’s 916 at the price of their air-cooled 900SS…

While 125hp may not sound particularly scary now, it was a pretty big number for a v-twin in 1997 and the grunty power delivery, combined with relatively light weight and a compact wheelbase, made for notoriously “entertaining” handling.

1997 Suzuki TL1000S L Side

In contrast to Ducati’s “L” twin, Suzuki rotated their 90° motor backwards in the chassis, allowing better packaging at the front of the bike. This left less room at the back for a traditional shock, so Suzuki whipped up a “rotary” damper that was far more compact than a traditional “linear” shock. Unfortunately, one of the reasons traditional spring/shock combos are so widely used is that they’ve got 70 years of development behind them and just flat work. When ridden hard, the TL’s rotary unit gets hot and loses its damping ability, which may contribute to the bike’s reputation for “tank slappers”, unintended wheelies, and all-around beastliness.

On paper, the TL1000S should have stomped Ducati flat, but that really never happened. But while the first bike to house Suzuki’s new twin may not have set the world on fire, the potential in the engine was obvious. It became the Engine That Powered a Thousand Bikes, finding homes in Bimota’s SB8 and the Cagiva Gran Canyon and Raptor models, and it still thumps on in the Suzuki VStrom.

1997 Suzuki TL1000S FR

From the original eBay listing: 1997 Suzuki TL1000S for Sale

A 1997 TL1000S. This V twin super sports bike was only made for a few years and this just happens to one of the cleanest one's around. This bike has never been raced or molested. It has some tasteful upgrades and that's it. The bike has a full Vance and Hines carbon fiber exhaust, not just slip on's. The rear has a turn signal eliminator kit on it, the turn signals are in the brake light. It looks very clean. Tires are good there are currently no issues with this bike at all. It is one of the cleanest TL's still around. This bike is has one of the most unique sounding engines due to the factory gear drive timing. If you’re looking at this then you know what you are looking at. This bike has a cult following. Here is your chance to pick up a very nice ride!

This is a very clean bike, it has been garaged its whole life! Must see to believe. There are no paint or decal flaws

1997 Suzuki TL1000S Dash Front

Later reviews toned down the emphasis on the TL’s “widowmaker” tendencies, suggesting that things had been exaggerated just a bit at the time. And, if you do plan to really ride this bike hard, a modern steering damper will help keep things under control, and kits are available to change out the rotary damper for a more traditional unit.

The 996cc engine does sound amazing with a set of aftermarket cans fitted, and the bassy thump that pumps out of the twin exhausts is pretty distinctive, like a very good computer simulation of a Ducati, with added bass.

The TL1000S is aging better than I would have expected: the bulbous 90’s styling is handsome at the front, although the rear is still a bit awkward to me. This example is in very nice shape, with under 11,000 miles. With bidding at $3,300 and just three days left, this represents a ton of performance and character for very minimal outlay of cash. The motors are pretty bulletproof, parts should be readily available, and would make a great day-in, day-out bike for someone who wants big twin noise and feel, but doesn’t feel like paying for Ducati maintenance.

Or someone that really, really likes wheelies.

-tad

1997 Suzuki TL1000S R Side

 

Budget Widowmaker: 1997 Suzuki TL1000S
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




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