Author Archives: Tad Diemer

BMW April 5, 2017 posted by Tad Diemer

The Ultimate Boxer: 2009 BMW HP2 Sport ABS for Sale

In the early days of motorcycle design, there were a variety of alternatives to the telescopic forks that have become the standard in an industry evolving towards efficiency but, unfortunately also towards homogeny. Even the S1000RR that followed today’s HP2 Sport as BMW’s flagship sportbike is evidence of this: that striking asymmetrical bodywork is wrapped around an inline four and conventional, if highly sophisticated suspension. Sure, it blew everything into the weeds upon its introduction and has more performance than any mortal can actually use on the road, but it’s kind of… same-y. You certainly can’t accuse the HP2 of that.

It may look like a pair of telescopic forks up front, but that’s actually BMW’s Telelever front end, and the HP2 features a pair of Öhlins shocks: one in the rear, and one controlling the movement of the front wheel. These days, the only real players in the alternative front end game are BMW and Bimota, although there are always a few weirdo independent builders lurking in the wings. Forkless front ends have distinct theoretical advantages, but generally seem to have two problems. One, they’re more complicated to design and manufacture, and multiple linkages in set ups like the one used by Bimota can lead to play and vagueness in the handling, something that should actually be a strong point of the design. But the bigger issue seems to be the fact that the rest of the industry revolves around telescopic forks. They aren’t ideal, but people know how to set them up and make them work, you can buy highly-developed components off the rack from specialists, and riders are familiar with how they feel: Bimotas and BMWs are actually engineered with a bit of dive tuned in, so they don’t feel completely alien to riders used to telescopic forks.

Like the front suspension, the engine of the HP2 is a bit more than it seems as well. Sure, it uses BMW’s iconic flat-twin engine with its longitudinal crank, shaft-drive, and cylinder heads sticking out where you might find the highway pegs on a Harley Fat Boy. But inside, you’re looking at titanium connecting rods, and the bike debuted new four-valve cylinder heads with radial valves that helped the bike produce a claimed 128hp. Those heads feature skid plates in case you deck them out on track: roadgoing cornering clearance is generous, but track riders are advised to add a bit of rear ride height, and might need to adjust their racing lines slightly if they’re used to dragging elbows in the corners. For the rest of us, this is a very capable mount for road or track.

Elsewhere, the bike was kitted out with the best of everything: monstrous radial Brembos, adjustable ergonomics, and even a quickshifter that was the very first fitted from the factory to a production motorcycle. Carbon fiber is everywhere and includes a self-supporting rear seat unit, and helped the bike weigh in at a relatively svelte 392lbs dry. Keep in mind that those exotic titanium rods will need replacement at the 30,000 mile mark, but that’s a long way off for a collectible like this, and at least you just need two of them…

From the original eBay listing: 2009 BMW HP2 Sport ABS for Sale

This is the ABS version.  One owner bike.  Own the coolest boxer ever. This is number #103.  Only 1987 miles.  Bike is nearly perfect.  There is a small blemish on tail section.  Tires are like new, bike has been maintained at local BMW dealer with full records. Currently has extended warranty until June of 2017.

So the original listing makes the lazy eBay poster move of copy/pasting the bike's manufacturer's specs in place of any detailed information about the bike being offered. Sellers take note: no one cares about the fact that the bike has a three-phase alternator. And just what in the hell is "inner leg curve, unladen weight"? If you've got some sort of wild racing cams in your bike, the people looking to buy it might want to know. Otherwise, it just smacks of "well, I know I should post something here in this section..." It's basically non-information: no one is reading it, and most of it is pretty meaningless even if they did. I'm assuming with just a shade under 2,000 miles it probably hasn't needed anything. And even if this isn't the original owner, I'm sure the "full records" mean that the seller can confidently say "there are no issues" leave it at that.

HP2s are quirky, fast, rare, and actually usable, although they don't seem to be particularly desirable yet. Maybe they're confusing to collectors? Neither fish nor fowl, with decent, but not eyeball-flattening performance and sporty, but not particularly beautiful looks. High-quality, light-weight, race-bred parts attached to a platform ultimately limited by design in terms of absolute performance. But with a whole raft of perfectly fast, competent, and slightly vanilla inline fours out there that can be had by the bucket load, it's hard to put a price on character and individuality. Or maybe you can: the Buy It Now price for this one is $16,999 which is pretty much right on the money for a nice HP2

-tad

The Ultimate Boxer: 2009 BMW HP2 Sport ABS for Sale
Ducati March 30, 2017 posted by Tad Diemer

Silver Bullet: 1998 Ducati 900SS FE for Sale

This is it. The end of the line. The last hurrah. The final countdown. The Ducati 900SS FE or "Final Edition." Well, not really: 1999 saw the introduction of a brand new-ish, fuel-injected, Pierre Terblanche-styled SuperSport that carried over most of this bike's strengths. But this is the very last of the old-school, carbureted SuperSports that carried Ducati through the Cagiva era and into the present: following a bit of a gap left after the Terblanche machine, Ducati is back with the introduction of a very Panigalesque SuperSport for for folks who want Ducati style and handling without the terrifying top-end power and chiropractor bills.

With slab-sided styling reminiscent of Ducati's earlier 851/888, the SS FE evoked an era of less frantic performance: Ducati couldn't hope to compete with the Japanese Big Four's never-ending cycle of restyles and cryptic performance acronyms, so they didn't bother. This is the sportbike distilled, with power accessible to mere mortals and superior handling. Built around Ducati's famous trellis frame and powered by their two-valve, air-cooled L-twin engine, the Final Edition was basically a 900SS/SP with silver paint and a solo tail, along with some carbon-fiber and other lightweight bits. While most modern sportbikes discourage actual passengers by limiting accommodations to a tiny cushion and a set of pegs designed more as tie-down mounts, older sportbikes that might otherwise make decent bikes for ferrying significant others simply got rid of the seat entirely to convey Maximum Sportiness. The solo tail and deleted passenger pegs on the Final Edition also allowed the use of a high-mount exhaust that provided additional cornering clearance for spirited riding or track days.

Straight-line performance was never this bike's strong suit: with a claimed 84hp pushing the bike's 424lb wet weight, an SS would get positively murdered by any Japanese inline four of the period. But the Ducati had charisma to spare, handling, comfort, and that glorious v-twin sound that only gets better with a set of carbon-fiber exhausts. Or, if you're on a budget, you can simply drill out the rivets on the standard exhaust, remove the stock guts, and presto: booming Ducati noise for the cost of a few screws! Luckily, this particular example comes with a quality set of carbon mufflers included so, unless you're a Termignoni snob, there's not much to add.

From the original eBay listing: 1998 Ducati 900SS FE for Sale

Ducati 900 Supersport Final Edition, this bike has covered 12366 miles, fresh service at AMS Ducati Dallas which included oil change Motul 300V, fuel filter, hydraulics flushed, etc. Bike is in excellent cond with a small crack under the Michellin Man decal on the right hand lower fairing. Bridgestone tires have 1000 miles on them, upgraded clutch slave cylinder from Yoyodyne, Ducati Performance carbon mufflers, carbon tank protector. The 900 FE is limited edition and this bike is #193 of 300 bikes imported to USA in 1998. The carbon fibre fenders and clutch cover are all standard 900 FE parts. This was the last Supersport to have Mikuni carbs which have been re-jetted and matched to a K&N air filter. Bike makes 76 rear wheel horsepower on the AMS dyno. Selling bike to reduce collection. Spare key and owner's manual and toolkit included. Crating service available.

This bike's dyno'd 76hp is pretty much bang-on for a carbureted two-valve Ducati at the rear wheel and, unless you want to splurge on a set of 944cc pistons and some Keihin flat-slide carburetors, you're better off just enjoying the package, rather than chasing horsepower numbers that will still get creamed by anything remotely modern. The photos in the listing aren't the greatest, considering that the bike's silver color hides imperfections and dirt pretty well, although it's pretty obvious that some of the carbon is a bit faded, but that's nearly unavoidable at this point. The FE is a bit of a top-shelf parts-bin-special, but that's not necessarily a bad thing and these are very rare motorcycles, if collectibility is your bag. I personally prefer the half-faired model in scar-your-retinas yellow, but this FE is undoubtedly the classy choice.

-tad

Silver Bullet: 1998 Ducati 900SS FE for Sale
Ducati March 29, 2017 posted by Tad Diemer

Museum Piece: Low-Mileage, One-Owner 1991 Ducati 851 for Sale

For connoisseurs, the Ducati 851 is the Bolognese superbike to have: it's not as obvious or uncomfortable as a 916, and it was the first of the four-valve breed, the speartip of Ducati's new push to be relevant to the modern sportbike world. The air-cooled, two-valve Pantah may be a classic, charismatic engine, but it couldn't possibly hope to compete against liquid-cooled, sixteen-valve inline fours in the brand-new World Superbike series that was meant to showcase the very best production-based motorcycles in wheel-to-wheel competition. So Ducati added four-valve heads and liquid-cooling to their venerable L-Twin and quickly found success: a displacement advantage helped to offset the outright power gap compared to the four-cylinder bikes, and handling was excellent.

Styling is more "functionally elegant" than "dripping with sex," but that means humane ergonomics and less flash for Ducati fans more interested in performance than posing. And although the bike's 93hp isn't huge by today's standards, it has the famous Ducati torque that's gone missing from bikes like the 1199 as they've chased revs and horsepower to compete with the fours. The low-mount dual exhausts seem to sound much better than the 916's undertail system, for some reason, and they're also obviously much less likely to roast sensitive parts of your anatomy.

Early four-valve bikes like the 851 and 888 can get expensive to maintain if you don't do some of the work yourself: frequent regular belt changes and valve-adjustments don't require pricey parts, but are labor-intensive at standard shop rates. They can be fickle, but the slow evolution of these bikes' hard parts mean spares shouldn't be too difficult to track down. In general, the rule with Ducatis is: buy wisely or pay the price, as a "cheap" example can quickly become a very expensive proposition. Luckily, today's bike avoids that by being fastidiously maintained and enthusiast-owned.

From the original eBay listing: Low-Mileage, One-Owner 1991 Ducati 851 for Sale

I purchased this bike in June of 1991 and have been the only owner since the bike was new.  I purchased the bike from Dunbar Motorsports in Brockton, Massachusetts.  The bike is currently located in Atlanta, Georgia.

The bike is in near-pristine condition, and is a desirable bike for a collection, or as a concours bike, or just as a daily rider.

Here is literally every flaw I could find, no matter how minor.  All of these minor bumps and bruises are shown in the photographs:

  • There is a very small chip in the fiberglass on the removable pillion cover that covers the passenger’s seat (see photo #8)
  • There is a very small area on the right muffler where it is rough (see photo #9).  I lent the bike to my brother soon after I got it, and he managed to drop the bike while just sitting on it (!).  The only things damaged were the right side fairing and right side mirror, a small area on the muffler and, of course, my brother’s pride.  He replaced the fairing and mirror with factory new parts (this was quite some time ago when it was still possible to get factory new parts), but the damage to the muffler was so minor that I couldn’t ask him to replace it.  Note that this was the only time in its life that the bike was dropped.
  • There is a VERY minor stress crack in the fiberglass on the front fairing (see photo #10).
  • There are 3 small parallel cracks in the paint on the frame near the right foot peg (see photo #11).
  • The rubber cover for the brake light switch is dry and starting to crack (see photo #12).

As I said, all very minor.  Other than these minor flaws, the bike is in pristine condition, and is exactly as it rolled off the showroom floor in 1991 -- down to the original Michelin Hi-Sport tires which are still in good shape (though I might recommend changing them out if you plan to take many tight corners, as they are 26 years old!).  There have been no aftermarket modifications whatsoever.

The bike was completely serviced last fall by Ducshop in Marietta, Georgia (http://ducshop.com), including belts, fluids, battery, etc.  The bike has a clear Georgia title, is registered and insured, and ridden periodically to keep its legs stretched.  The bike runs perfectly, and is a real thrill to ride.

The bike comes with all of its paperwork, including the service records, original Owner’s Identification Card, original Purchase and Warranty Registration, original Bill of Sale from the dealer (the bike cost $12,350 in 1991), and the original Owner’s Manual.  The bike also comes with a race stand that the dealer originally included with the sale of the bike (the bike has never been raced or has even been on a track).

The bike is the Strada (street) model of the 851 Superbike.  Like all Superbikes, it has the 8-valve (4 per cylinder), fuel injected “desmodromic” engine (the valves are both opened and closed by a cam to eliminate any possibility of valve float at high RPM).

The 851 Superbike model was first launched in 1987.  With its powerful liquid-cooled, fuel injected, 8-valve V-twin desmo engine, its signature steel tube trellis frame, Brembo brakes and Marzocchi suspension, it heralded the start of the modern era for Ducati.  Built for the fledgling World SuperBike series, Ducati quickly won three World SuperBike crowns in a row 1990-1992, with Frenchman Raymond Roche aboard the 1990 851, and Doug Polen riding an 851 bored out to 888cc.

The unfortunate thing about a bike like this is that part of the value is derived from the low miles and originality, a shame since these are great riders' bikes. In addition, that functional styling means a riding position that won't outright murder your spine, so the low mileage is doubly tragic. In such sharp condition, I have no doubt this one will find a very happy buyer: bidding is already up to $8,950 with several days left on the auction.

-tad

Museum Piece: Low-Mileage, One-Owner 1991 Ducati 851 for Sale
Suzuki March 28, 2017 posted by Tad Diemer

Rare Slabbie: 1986 Suzuki GSX-R 750R Limited Edition for Sale

Update 3.28.2017: Previously seen in October 2016, this GSX-R Limited is back on eBay with a starting bid of $13,500. Links updated. Good luck to buyers and seller, -dc.

1986-suzuki-gsx-r750r-le-r-front

It’s interesting how some bikes seem to come up for sale in waves, like owners who've had their bikes for years see similar bikes up for sale and think, “Hey, I’d better get in on that before demand is all gone!” Or maybe it has to do with the ages of the bikes and the related ages of the owners… Regardless, we’ve seen a number of Suzuki GSX-R750 Limited Editions come up for sale recently, in a range of conditions, but this example appears to be very clean and original.

1986-suzuki-gsx-r750r-le-l-front

The original GSX-R750 was a pretty significant bike when it was introduced in 1985, and it became an icon for good reason: the fully-faired styling, aluminum-frame, and monoshock suspension helped to define the modern sportbike, and was adopted by millions of hooligans and squids as their bike of choice. Plus, they do look pretty sharp in Suzuki’s traditional blue-and-white paint.

1986-suzuki-gsx-r750r-le-cockpit

The GSX-R750 was powered by an oil and air-cooled inline four to save weight and reduce complexity compared to water-cooling, although it did use dual overhead cams and featured four valves per cylinder. The temperatures generated were kept in check by Suzuki’s Advanced Cooling System or "SACS" that featured a double-chambered oil pump to more effectively circulate and cool the bike’s lubricant, along with oil jets that sprayed the undersides of the pistons. In spite of the obvious cooling fins cast into the engine, it’s actually oil that does most of the cooling in the Gixxer.

1986-suzuki-gsx-r750r-le-engine-detail

Based on the regular GSX-R that was introduced in 1985, the Limited Edition was intended to homologate specific parts for superbike and endurance racing, Suzuki’s equivalent of the Yamaha OW01. Parts exclusive to the LE were the vented dry clutch [clearly visible in the above picture] and electronic anti-dive forks that contrasted with Honda’s mechanically-operated forks. The seat unit offered no passenger accommodations, as befitted the bike’s race-bred styling.

1986-suzuki-gsx-r750r-le-headlamps

From the original eBay listing: 1986 Suzuki GSX-R 750R Limited Edition for Sale

The bike is an amazing piece of history, absolutely gorgeous and has been in my collection for some time. However I am feeling my mortality and so it is time to pass it on to a new owner. I have rode this bike sparingly over the past years but have maintained it both mechanically and cosmetically in a temperature controlled environment. Cosmetically, the bike is in excellent condition for a 30 year old bike, with the exception of a very, very small soft dimple in the right hand upper rear corner of the tank that a good PDR tank man could take care of but in my neck of the woods there are none. (had to place light to see it) All original equipment to best of my knowledge, but will let you be the judge. I understand in terms of a collector bike originality is important. I noticed the exhaust pipe was not right after purchase, the heat shield louvres were horizontal rather vertical as they should be ...and spent a tidy sum to make it right.

Mechanically the bike is “spot on” (just tuned) but you may want to do some fine tuning as well as set the bike up to accommodate you personally, or simple admire for what it is, and will be in the future. One fork seal starting to slightly weep, and if you planning on riding I would suggest new tires as these are getting on in years.

I am not going into the history or the desirability of this particular model. It is generally well known by any student of the early superbikes that maybe interested in this bike. And if not there is considerable available on-line or from knowledgeable resources. Also for some, what it is, and is not as far as originality will be a subject of debate, I personally do not regard myself as a expert so I have attempted to display the bike in the best way I can by removing the plastics. Someone willing to pay what I am asking at least deserves to have the opportunity to evaluate the bike in the proper manner. All in all, I personally feel it a very nice example in comparison to the limited number eBay sales I have monitored in the past.

1986-suzuki-gsx-r750r-le-front-wheel

Just 299 examples were imported in 1986, making this one rare Suzuki. This example has a few minor nicks and chips, but looks very clean and complete, with bidding up north of $11,000 and the reserve not met. There are several days left on the auction and active interest, which should come as no surprise, considering a recent, very non-original example sold for over $19,000!

-tad

1986-suzuki-gsx-r750r-le-r-side

Rare Slabbie: 1986 Suzuki GSX-R 750R Limited Edition for Sale
MV Agusta March 24, 2017 posted by Tad Diemer

Flashback Friday: 1977 MV Agusta 800 Super America for Sale

Most factory racing efforts are intended to raise the company profile and sell more bikes, or are used to develop and test new technology that filters down to and improves road-bike performance. But the early road-legal efforts of Ferrari and MV Agusta were basically afterthoughts, and sales of these vehicles were simply intended to help fund the companies’ racing teams. In fact, MV Agusta didn’t even make a serious sporting multi-cylinder roadbike until 1967’s 600 4C, a notoriously half-arsed attempt at a production machine. Luckily, the follow up 750S and 800 Super America rectified that problem, although there were some pretty obvious indications that Count Agusta was uncomfortable putting his company’s hard-won knowledge into a bike that was available to the public…

First of all, there’s the literal elephant in the room: that 560lb wet weight. Sure, the MV Agusta carried that weight well once on the move, and plenty of other sport bikes of the late 1970s were heavy beasts, but considering the 750S cost an eye-popping $6,500 new, you’d think they could have put at least a modicum of effort into weight-reduction. The other component hamstringing the four-cylinder MV’s performance was that strange contraption stretching from the back of the gearbox to the rear wheel: a driveshaft. Supposedly, it was decided that the bike for sale to customers would swap the normal lightweight drive chain for a shaft in order to prevent customers from simply racing their roadbikes. It means maintenance is less messy, but I doubt many of these were ever going to cover the mileage for that to matter. The specialists at Magni made a chain-drive conversion for these bikes, so it might be possible to track one of those down if you have extra coin to spend.

The original 750S made 75hp which was respectable at the time, considering the output of bikes like the CB750 and Ducati SuperSport, but nothing to write home about, then or now. The later 750S America or, as it was known in some parts of Europe, the "800 Super America," bumped displacement to 788cc and swapped the gearshift across to the left side to appeal to riders in the USA although, considering the low numbers produced for all markets, I’m not really sure why they bothered with that…

So if the 800 Super America is basically fat, slow, and expensive, then what’s the point? Well if you equate “inline four” with “sanitized and boring” then prepare to have your eardrums shattered. The beautiful sand-cast, dual gear-driven overhead cam engine with a four-into-four exhaust makes a sophisticated shriek likely unknown to motorcyclists familiar with modern machines. It's narrower than a period Honda CB400 and it does handle, you just have to respect the weight and the monetary value. Which makes it pretty much ideal for the modern rider: a genuine race-replica would probably just be a pain to own, and you'd hate to crash something so valuable, so you're likely to ride at a fairly reserved pace anyway. Perfect for enjoying the play of sunlight along the tank on a beautiful afternoon and the sound of the engine bouncing off the canyon walls.

There's some good information from the seller in the listing, although describing the unloved 600 that preceded the 750 and 800 as "suffering from an identity crisis" is diplomatic in the extreme. Basically, the thing was so pug-ugly it was as if MV had extended their mechanical hobbling to include the style...

From the original eBay listing: 1977 MV Agusta 800 America for Sale

This is a very, very low mileage 4,629km/ 2,876 original miles bike! This example (VIN: 2210507) has 4,629 km was imported from Japan last year and previously was imported to Japan in 1990 and had one owner since then. It’s gorgeous and sounds amazing (refer to running video at link below) – what more could you want? Bike is an original and an un-restored example with great, great patina. This bike needs one thing to ride - GAS! Bike is fully commissioned and ready to ride.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/1us90cevf2xp765/mv%20america.mp4?dl=0

Comes with US Customs import docs so that it can be registered/titled easily in the US.

Feel free to contact me for more information, or for more pics. I can assist with worldwide shipping. I ride and collect and I am always happy to connect with new owners who have the same passion as I do. Oh, and I did put this little bike show on last year... https://petrolicious.com/art-of-the-italian-two-wheel

Frame# 221-0507 Engine# 221-0300

75 bhp, 789.3 cc DOHC four-stroke transverse inline four-cylinder engine with four Dell’Orto carburetors, five-speed mechanical transmission, oil-immersed multi-plate clutch, front hydraulic telescopic fork suspension, rear swing-arm telescopic shock suspension, and front double-disc and rear single-disc brakes. Wheelbase: 1,390 mm

Originally a helicopter manufacturer, MV began manufacturing motorcycles in 1948. The company eventually went racing in earnest, and its dual overhead-cam singles, triples, and four-cylinders dominated international racing from the 1950s through to the 1970s.

John Surtees won his first world championship in the premier 500 cc class in 1956, followed by three successive world titles in 1958, 1959, and 1960. Surtees then turned his attention to Ferrari sports and Grand Prix cars, and to this day, he remains the only world champion on both two and four wheels. The torch was passed to Gary Hocking in 1961, then to Mike Hailwood in 1962, 1963, 1964, and 1965. That indomitable championship run was followed by Giacomo Agostini, who racked up an incredible seven world championships for MV from 1966 to 1972.

Driven by its dominance on the track, the MV, designed by the engineer Remor, was a major success. The beautiful DOHC inline four-cylinder engine was a genuine wonder, and MV thought it best to produce a road-going version for the public. The 600 “Quattro Cilindri” was unveiled at the Milan Motorcycle Show in November 1965. Innovative as it was, however, the 600 was not a major success. Suffering from an identity crisis, it was too expensive and not sporty enough to remind buyers of the MV Agustas ridden by the legendary Surtees, Hailwood, and Agostini. In 1969, increased displacement of 750 cc paved the way for top-level road-going performance.

The ultimate version came in response to requests from American importers. The 750 S America was unveiled in 1975 and produced until 1980. Its displacement was further increased to 790-cubic centimeters. The company had finally produced an exceptional motorcycle worthy of both its name and its fabled history.

The styling is pure Italian and the MV exudes character that few bikes can match. The 750 Sport America is on every serious collector’s shortlist, of which this MV is one of the finest.

The fact that this is no show piece, but a ready-to-go motorcycle just adds to the appeal. Shaft drive or no, these are incredibly desirable motorcycles, and probably the most valuable road-going MVs of all time. Performance obviously won't impress today and wasn't even really top of the class when new, but it was and is a chance to own a genuine bit of the MV Agusta racing mystique from an era that saw them as a dominant force in racing. Bidding is up past $35,000 with the Reserve Not Met, no surprise since previous examples of the 750S and 750S America have been listed with starting bids in the $55,000 to $75,000 range, depending on year.

-tad

Flashback Friday: 1977 MV Agusta 800 Super America for Sale
Honda March 22, 2017 posted by Tad Diemer

All You Really Need: 1990 Honda CB-1 for Sale

No one is arguing that we don't live in an era where "learner bikes" aren't very sophisticated machines, but no matter how impressive the electronics found on modern small-displacement bikes may be, and no matter stone-axe reliable the mechanicals are, there's something distinctly uninspiring about the weedy exhaust note of a single-cylinder KTM RC390. It's a great motorcycle in pretty much every way, especially considering the affordable price-point, but it definitely doesn't sound sexy. Something like this Honda CB-1 however, might appeal to both new and experienced motorcyclists, especially those a bit shorter in stature or riders who've realized the truth of the old axiom, "It's more fun to ride a slow bike fast than it is to ride a fast bike slow."

There's no problem with a lack of sexy here, although that's probably because the CB-1 wasn't really designed as an entry-level motorcycle: the 399cc inline four that motivates the CB-1 was shared with the sportier CBR400 that never officially made it to the USA, although they do show up from time-to-time as grey market imports. As you would expect, this mini-sportbike powerplant is very sophisticated, and has four tiny cylinders, sixteen valves, and dual overhead cams operated by gears, instead of the expected timing chain. The little four made 55hp and could push the 400lb machine to a top speed of 118mph. The frame is a less-sophisticated tubular steel unit instead of the CBR's aluminum beam frame, valves are bit smaller, and the CB-1 has a single-disc front brake set up, but it is otherwise very similar in terms of performance, except in top speed. Of course the CB-1 was geared a bit shorter and actually felt quicker in real-world riding than its sportier sibling.

This example appears to be very clean, although the gauges could use a little help. A trip to eBay should eventually turn something up, or fit something cool and modern from Acewell or Motogadget. The carb service mentioned by the seller is a nice bonus, as that could be a headache for a new rider, or even for an experienced wrench.

From the original eBay listing: 1990 Honda CB-1 for Sale

This is a fine specimen of a CB-1. It does not at all look its age. It's not museum quality, there are a few minor blemishes, but it is very close to perfect. The bike was just serviced: the carburetors were cleaned & synched and new tires were mounted. It runs perfectly, all the lights work, etc. It needs nothing but a new owner to enjoy the ridiculously smooth high-reving beauty.

The seller is asking just $3,100 for this particular bike, a bargain considering the performance and sophistication found here. There are near cult-like levels of devotion surrounding the somewhat forgotten Honda CB-1 and it's v-twin stablemate the Hawk GT, although that hasn't translated into increased values, as these are still very affordable bikes and offer performance, rarity, and relatively easy maintenance. Although handling is limited by the budget suspension, bolt-on upgrades from the era's CBR should sort that out easily and improve stopping as well with a second front brake disc and caliper. In an era of relatively simple and economical small-displacement machines, something like this offers up big-bike thrills in a very sophisticated, manageable package, with a low price tag, street cred, and good looks.

-tad

All You Really Need: 1990 Honda CB-1 for Sale