Author Archives: Tad Diemer

Moto Guzzi March 10, 2018 posted by Tad Diemer

Featured Listing: 1976 Moto Guzzi 850 Le Mans for Sale

These days, Moto Guzzi is pigeonholed as the Piaggio Group's resident bearer of the sporty retro banner, building the Italian equivalent of Triumph's classic Thruxton, Speed Twin, and Bobber. Which is a damn shame, given Guzzi's history of legitimately competitive racing machines in a wide variety of classes. Of course, they almost always seemed to have that classic "speed through comfort" thing going on, even with their single-cylinder racebikes. But with very nice, but unintimidating fare like the current V7 and brutish retro-crusiers like the Griso and El Dorado, it's easy to forget that the original Moto Guzzi 850 Le Mans was, at the time, a very serious sportbike.

With distinctive styling that looks a bit like some sort of sleek, antediluvian racing tractor, the Le Mans was an update of the earlier V7 Sport and 750S, and used the same Lino Tonti frame and longitudinal v-twin, here punched out to 844cc and fitted with high-compression pistons in chrome bores, along with a hot cam, bigger valves, and larger carburetors. The resulting 71 rear-wheel-horses were corralled by a five-speed transmission and routed to the ground via Guzzi's now familiar shaft drive. Stopping was managed by a trio of disc brakes, and the Le Mans used a simple linked-braking system that sometimes causes sportbiking purists to turn up their noses, but is very effective in practice.

Obviously, "two-valve," "pushrod" and "shaft-drive" aren't words generally found in the description of a sportbike, but the Le Mans most definitely was one. It wouldn't likely impress anyone used to modern performance bikes, but in 1976, a top speed of 130mph meant the Le Mans was a legitimate player in the high-performance world, and a direct comparison to the contemporary Ducati 900SS suggests the simpler, pushrod Guzzi motor is actually revvier and the Le Mans handles just as well.

In spite of the fact that Lino Tonti's frame made for a very effective sport and street motorcycle for an impossibly long time, motorcycle frame design and suspension geometry have come a long way since the early 1970s and although the Le Mans is famously stable, it does, according to at lease one magazine article, "turn like a plank in a swimming pool." But who cares about agility when you're running tires this skinny and looking this good? Tonti-framed bikes are especially beloved of the cafe crowd due to their naturally low overall height, due to the jutting cylinders: even before you start modifying one, it's already impossibly low and lean. The downside of the Le Mans' widely-used frame and desirability is that they're pretty easy to fake, with most of the unique parts pretty easy to source, so verifying that you're looking at the real article is key before you make a purchase.

Moto Borgotaro did a pretty good job describing the bike themselves, as you can see below... The seat isn't the original part, but that's not really all that surprising, considering the originals used a newfangled closed-cell foam in their construction... that promptly disintegrated in many cases. This one looks like the earlier 750S style, so it certainly has the right character and seems a popular replacement part for Le Mans that have suffered catastrophic seat failures. Other than the modern, folding bar-end mirrors that some might not like, this thing is in pretty immaculate shape, down to the US-spec protruding headlight that is accurate, but something I'd personally try and swap out for the European version.

From the Seller: 1976 Moto Guzzi 850 Le Mans for Sale


— By Peter Boggia and Tim Parker

Tonti, essentially a “frame man” made a plan to meet De Stefani’s goal of “200 kilometers per hour, 200 kilograms, and five speeds.”

That’s 125mph, 440lb and 5-speeds in American. His plan was the V7 Sport first seen in 1971. Sure it met the goal but it was also a looker, and the frame was masterful, low, stiff and with good ground clearance, and tight to the engine – but with the lower frame rails removable. Watchword: balance.

“While the specially prepared Guzzi 750s were roaring round and round the Monza speed bowl in October 1969, breaking the records Moto Guzzi had set in June, Chief Engineer Lino Tonti, Managing Director Romolo De Stefani, and President Dore Letto were discussing how Moto Guzzi could follow up the new records.”

"Beautifully restored paint, original brakes, upgraded suspension, all original switch gear... this is a three owner Le Mans"


  • VIN VE 070505
  • 19,781 miles
  • First year 850 Le Mans, not designated as the first series until the advent of the second series.
  • Repainted by current owner at 18k mi
  • Lafranconi exhaust 
  • FAC front fork upgrade
  • Velocity stacks
  • Excellent rims and newer tires 
  • Serviced 
  • Newer seat
  • All original switchgear in perfect working order 
  • Ikon shocks

Piaggio at least seems invested in Moto Guzzi's success, but dreams of a modern sportbike like the one that was rumored in the 90s will have to remain on hold for the foreseeable future. Fortunately, bikes like the Le Mans are still around to rally the faithful and keep the dream of "what could have been" alive. Sadly, the Le Mans is no longer an affordable classic, although it still is a very practical classic, with the speed to comfortably keep up with modern traffic and parts available to keep one running. It's a comment on Guzzi's famous reliability that this 20,000 mile example could probably be considered "low mileage." The crew at Moto Borgotaro aren't the usual bike-flippers, or a modern dealer looking to liquidate an estate-sale collection: classic sportbikes are their stock in trade, and this Guzzi appears to have the expected quality.


Featured Listing: 1976 Moto Guzzi 850 Le Mans for Sale
Ducati March 7, 2018 posted by Tad Diemer

Uncompromising: 1987 Ducati 750 F1 Laguna Seca for Sale

Ducati's mid to late-80s bikes existed in a kind of limbo: the modern sportbike was taking shape, and the Ducati 750 F1 Laguna Seca was birthed during this transitional period. The 750 F1 and its variations weren't quite the refined-ish, modern-ish, mass-produced-ish machines of the Cagiva era, but they weren't the nearly hand-crafted bikes of the Fabio Taglioni era either. The Laguna Seca was named after the famous California race track where Marco Lucchinelli found success in 1986, and just 200 examples were built.

The 750 F1 used a Verlicchi-designed steel trellis frame that gave it a look familiar to fans of later Ducatis, and the bike was powered by a 749cc version of their air and oil-cooled engine, here producing a claimed 76hp. Notably, the F1 still has the rear cylinder in its original configuration: later SS models had the rear cylinder rotated 180° to place both carburetors in the vee of the engine for much more elegant packaging. The bike was wrapped in bodywork designed to resemble Ducati's successful TT1 race bikes, with 16" wheels front and rear, while a dry weight of just 385lbs meant the now-familiar two-valve Pantah engine didn't have much mass to push around, giving the bike a 136mph top speed.

Quality was a bit kit-bike and the bikes were relatively crude as delivered, but the potential was there for a seriously fast motorcycle, if one took some time to develop it. Almost as if Ducati didn't bother finishing the bikes, knowing that most owners would modify them to suit their needs anyway.

From the original eBay listing: 1987 Ducati F1 Laguna Seca for Sale

The only changes to this bike upon delivery was the installation of the proper directionals, rear brake light switch and horn for street use. I installed a proper muffler in the place of the very loud Verlicchi megaphone. The bike also received an upgrade to the wheels and discs although retaining the 16"size. Magnesium Marvic/Akront rims as on the Monjuich and full floating discs replaced the original cast F1 style wheels and semi floating discs. All original parts are included in the sale. The bike is in excellent condition with only 2830 miles and has never been raced. Mileage as shown in photo is in kilometers.

The F1 and its variants spent years undervalued, but at this point, values have increased significantly, and the opening bid for this example is a cool $20,000. The bike is, as the seller indicates, not completely original, but the changes made are period correct and the parts needed to return it to stock are included. The original machine was basically a race bike with lights, so the addition of some small, folding bar-end mirrors is probably a wise concession to road safety: "First rule of Italian driving: what's behind me is not important..." I'd probably see about adding some low-restriction foam pods to those carburetors as well, since plenty of grit and sand can get past the mesh screens currently serving as "air filters."


Uncompromising: 1987 Ducati 750 F1 Laguna Seca for Sale
Ducati March 3, 2018 posted by Tad Diemer

Misplaced Priorities: 2008 Ducati Desmosedici RR for Sale

I realize that I'm spoiled. I'm spoiled because my current riding group includes five or six MV Agustas that actually run, a pair of RSV4s, a few Ducatis, a couple Bimotas, and a KTM. I'm spoiled because I live in Southern California, and car and motorcycle exotica are everywhere: I've recently come across a few Arch Motorcycles, nearly every variety of 90s two-stroke, Confederate Fighters actually being ridden on the road, a slew of Bimotas, pretty much every vintage and modern sportbike you can possibly imagine, even a Gurney Alligator. Which is possibly why I'm surprisingly blase about the Ducati Desmosedici RR, one of the most exotic machines of the past twenty years.

It's not fair to the Desmo. I should be incredibly impressed by it, but it probably doesn't help that I've never really thought the Desmo was all that beautiful. It's no doubt a very aggressive machine, with a leering, hungry-catfish face and a wild exhaust that exits through the top of the tailpiece, at least in stock form: there's also a Ducati Performance system that vents two of the cylinders through the bellypan on the right side and the others through a more traditional underseat pipe. But although it lacks the slim-waisted purpose of a 916 or the sculptural elegance of an MV Agusta F4, the D16RR, meant to closely ape the look of Ducati's 990cc MotoGP racebike, has an air of ruthlessness about it and looks like nothing else on the road.

The original idea was to take Ducati's V4-powered MotoGP racebike and detune it, then sell a few to well-heeled enthusiasts to use at trackdays or as living room ornamentation. While other "race replicas" of the period generally consisted of race bike colors, graphics, and even sponsors splashed across otherwise stock bikes, Ducati went and made a bike that had almost nothing in common with any of their production motorcycles. It even used an annoyingly-authentic 16" rear wheel, something that must be pretty inconvenient when you're trying to get street tires to shoe this thing.

Of course, the D16RR is obviously no "homologation special" since MotoGP is a prototype series and the bikes need share nothing except a badge with a company's roadgoing offerings. Appearances and specifications to the contrary, the Desmo doesn't actually use a detuned MotoGP powerplant: race engines in the premier class don't factor longevity into the equation and, even detuned, don't make useable or practical road bike powerplants, considering they lack things like a charging system or a starter...

Instead, Ducati basically whipped up an entirely new V4 engine for the bike that very, very closely mirrors the specifications and layout of the racebike while at the same time sharing almost no parts... So you still get a 989cc 90° V4 with gear-driven cams, Desmodromic valve actuation, and a "twin-pulse" firing order that gives it a bit of Ducati flavor compared to a "screamer" or "big-bang" configuration, along with a beefed-up cassette-style gearbox.

Considering the price tag, you could be forgiven for being unimpressed with the 170hp output and 425lb wet weight, but the numbers alone fail to capture the wild, track-bred character. And the Desmo is littered with top-shelf parts that help reign in the power, like the Öhlins FG353P gas-pressurized forks up front that are truly "race spec" and normally cost as much as a new GSX-R600...

From the original eBay listing: 2008 Ducati Desmosedici RR for Sale

No compromise, Italian passion personified. The high water mark for street legal sportbikes.

#895 out of 1500.

1878 miles all street so far. May increase in the next few months I don’t think I can resist doing some track days on this bike as the weather improves.

Serviced by a Ducati Master Technician at 1814 miles.

Clean title in hand, all manuals, 2 keys, technical workshop DVD.

Here’s a good article detailing the specs and history of this bike:

The bike is in my living room right now, seems perfectly normal to me, but wife isn’t amused - please buy this so I can start sleeping in my bed again.

I'm willing to deliver or meet you within a 1000 mile radius of Salt Lake City for a small additional fee.  Please contact me for details.  Or is a good option for shipping.

Bike is for sale locally also, I reserve the right to end this auction at any time.

This one appears to be nearly untouched, with under two thousand miles. Which makes sense because the seller claims it's currently being used in lieu of a big-screen television or a painting of a ship being tossed on stormy seas to liven up their home. They may have chosen to get rid of the Desmo, but is that the real problem here? New, the bike retailed for $72,000 and the 1,500 built were quickly snapped up by collectors, although anyone looking to quickly flip their purchase for profit were severely disappointed: these can often be found for well under that, and certainly much less than today's example with an $80,000 asking price. Have values jumped sharply, or is this seller simply ambitious?


Misplaced Priorities: 2008 Ducati Desmosedici RR for Sale
Honda March 1, 2018 posted by Tad Diemer

Featured Listing: 1988 Honda CBR600F Hurricane for Sale

Update 3.17.2018: The seller has notified us that the transaction is now complete for this Hurricane and in fact sold quickly after being posted for just 4 hours. Congratulations to buyer and seller! -dc

If Suzuki's GSX-R codified the sportbike formula for the masses, the Honda CBR600F Hurricane represented the next evolution. Introduced in 1987, and known in the UK as the "Jelly Mould" due to the smooth, aerodynamic bodywork, the bike featured a steel frame that persisted up until the introduction of the CBR600RR, but that was somehow never much of a handicap. Sure, it meant that later iterations of the bike were at a technical disadvantage when compared to aluminum-framed rivals, but the CBR always had that user-friendly quality for which Hondas are justifiably famous. And at around 440lbs full of fluids, the original Hurricane was still a good bit lighter than its contemporaries and it handled beautifully, rivaling the Yamaha FZ600 but with a far more refined engine.

Mechanically, the Hurricane signaled a shift for Honda away from the V4 engine configuration. It still made sense for more focused racing machinery but, for a mass-produced motorcycle like the CBR, an inline four was easier to package and less complicated to manufacture. That inline engine displaced 598.5cc and was much more oversquare than generally seen at the time, with a bore and stroke of 63mm x 48mm, something that was allowed by the bike's liquid cooling. It produced 85hp with the help of a 4-into-1 exhaust and could push the slippery machine to over 140mph, with triple disc brakes that could pull the bike down quickly and safely from those speeds.

The impressive top speed was made possible by the bike's sleek styling: after Ducati pointed the way towards the future with their fully-enclosed Paso, Honda took the ball and ran with it, taking advantage of the aerodynamic and manufacturing advantages, since the bike's mechanical parts could also be conveniently hidden out of sight without concern for tucking wires and hoses out of the way or a need to "beautify" the mechanical parts. And, while Ducatisti resisted the Paso's modernity, Honda fans embraced the future and the new Hurricane sold in droves.

Today's Featured Listing is a low-mileage survivor with just 12,000 miles on the odometer and an asking price of $3,750. It appears to be in very nice, original, unmolested condition, excepting a Yoshimura exhaust the seller claims has been on the bike since new, so it may not be OEM, but is at the very least period-correct.

From the Seller's original Craigslist post: 1988 Honda CBR600F Hurricane for Sale

Up for sale is my 1988 Honda Hurricane! She runs and rides fantastic.

If you are looking at this ad, you know how rare these are to find in this condition and this color scheme with low mileage.

It has an original Yoshimura complete exhaust system that was installed when new. She is ready to go with a new battery, fork seals, new OEM chain, fresh oil change, re-built master cylinder and re-built carbs. She is mostly original except I did replace the brake lines with braided ones when the brakes were rebuilt. She has a couple minor blemishes in the decals and tank but it has never been dropped or laid down.

The title is clean and in hand. I do not need any help selling the bike and ask that only serious buyers reach out to me. I am not in a hurry to sell her so no low ball offers and no joy rides. I am happy to send additional pictures and or video upon request.

Thank you for looking!

Certainly, Honda sold plenty of their seemingly simple, but still revolutionary Hurricane when they were new. But, like so many older Japanese motorcycles, they were used and abused, raced and thrashed and ridden hard, then put away wet. At some point, as values decreased and they were sold on down the line, they needed some sort of maintenance the owner couldn't afford or justify, and they were left to rot. But a few are still around and have been restored or cherished by their original owners, and they may still be affordable, but that can't possibly last.


Featured Listing: 1988 Honda CBR600F Hurricane for Sale
Aprilia March 1, 2018 posted by Tad Diemer

Sharp-Dressed Hooligan: 1997 Aprilia RS250 With Just 240 Miles for Sale

Update 3.1.2018: We first saw this California unicorn in mid-December last year and the auction was pulled before the conclusion. This time it's back with a buy-it-now of $12,900. Links updated. -dc

Built between 1995 and 2002, although the last couple years were "for off-road use only," the Aprilia RS250 was one of the last holdouts from the two-stroke brigade, following the RGV250 into history. It's also one of the best-looking: some folks can't say no to the garish neon graphics of their youth, but I'm a sucker for the basic black of the RS250. It helps to highlight the beautiful frame and swingarm that manage to look both strong and elegant. Every bike in the class used an aluminum beam frame, but units found on the RGV and NSR were far more straightforward and industrial-looking than the almost sculptural parts used by Aprilia.

I'd be happy with any RS250, but I'm a particular fan of this earlier version's styling, and I think it's one of the best-looking sportbikes of all time. The gauges in particular look less horribly dated than on the later machines. The engine was the same across both versions, and was taken from Suzuki's fierce little RGV250Γ. Aprilia claims that it was "modified" but that appears to have been marketing claptrap: readers more intimately familiar with both machines and with no skin in the game swear they're identical, barring some minor "Aprilia" branding.

Of course, the the fact that the RS250 shared its engine with the RGV250 might lessen its pedigree somewhat, but makes the spares situation much more palatable. In this case, it might not be a problem, since it seems like this particular machine is destined to be lovingly admired instead of happily thrashed...

From the original eBay listing: 1997 Aprilia RS250 for Sale

1997 Aprilia RS250, 240 miles, and a California plate registered to its original 17 digit VIN. That should pretty much sum it up. Bike is in 100% stock original condition and still has the original tires on it. These bikes have the VJ22A RGV250 motor in them which is fantastic when mated to the RS250 chassis ands factory Brembo brakes. Starts right up and purrs away as expected. This is a highly collectible two stroke as not many of these exist and only a handful are registered for the street [see pics]. Current registration, California title in hand, sold as is. Enjoy the ride… The bike is for sale locally so the auction can end at any time, FYI.

Bidding is very active, and up to $7,800 with a couple days left on the auction. It's always disappointing when the seller doesn't include more details about a bike, but what else is there to say? The thing has just 240 miles on it, so pretty much a couple weekends worth of canyon riding over the bike's entire 20 year life. The current tags add significantly to the value, since it's hard to get that paperwork for a grey-market bike in California without "knowing a guy." It's great to hear that it runs, but I can't imagine any new owner would put many more miles on it, and that is especially sad: I know a bunch of guys with very nice grey market two-strokes that would love a chance to thrash this little Aprilia out in the canyons.


Sharp-Dressed Hooligan: 1997 Aprilia RS250 With Just 240 Miles for Sale
Suzuki February 28, 2018 posted by Tad Diemer

Very Rare Slingshot: 1989 Suzuki GSX-R750RK for Sale

Update 3.2.2018: My apologies, the links to the first RK we wrote up below led to bike now linked in this post, which is a second RK available from "whiteknuckle". Sorry for the confusion, I'll watch the VINs closer in the future. Good catch, James! -dc

Update 2.28.2018 This GSX-R750RK was first listed last month for $27,500 and is relisted for $24,900 buy-it-now or offer. Links updated. -dc

From the same era as last weekend’s OW01 and a direct competitor on the race track, this Suzuki GSX-R750RR is maybe the least well known of the period’s homologation specials, and it’s my personal opinion that this is the best-looking GSX-R of all time. But it’s also hugely rare, another case where they were supposed to build 500 for homologation purposes, but it’s unclear if that many were actually made. Certainly, they’re extremely hard to find here in the USA, although some did make it to Canada.

Why is the bike so rare? Well the general idea with homologation specials is for the basic platform to win races, so the manufacturers really didn’t care all that much about marketing them, and they were priced accordingly: the GSX-R750RR or “RK” as it was also known was actually a good bit more expensive than Honda’s RC30 and looked far less exotic to anyone not in-the-know. The rules only specified that you had to build 500 examples, not that you actually needed to sell the things.

Why is the bike so special? Well the RK was chock-full of trick, track-ready goodness. First of all, Suzuki used race-spec internals, along with different bore and stroke for the RK. But, counter to usual racing thought, they went from the standard Slingshot's 73 x 44.7mm back to the earlier bike's 70 x 48.7mm and used sand-cast engine cases, along with a brace of 40mm Mikuni CV carbs. Why go to a longer stroke engine? To regain some of the older bike's missing midrange torque, something the new bike was sorely lacking. The oil-cooler was updated [remember that these were oil-cooled], and a second unit was added to keep cylinder head temps under control. A close-ratio six-speed gearbox with an uprated clutch helped handle the abuse racers were likely to inflict. The swingarm was braced, the aluminum tank has a lower profile, the fairing has a revised shape and is made of lighter fiberglass compared to the stock plastic. The frame was revised as well, made thicker around the steering head, and there were updated suspension components at the front and back.

From the original eBay listing: 1989 Suzuki GSX-R750RK for Sale

Up for sale is a beautiful 1989 Suzuki GSX-R750RK GR79C with only 22,801 kilometers (14,168 miles). This rare RK is a homogilation bike from the racing division at Suzuki. JDM model. Very limited build. Bike is 100% stock except for the RUN stickers. All fairings and components are 100% genuine OEM Suzuki factory. Bike only has a few tiny scratches and handling marks from shipping. Rear butt pad is worn, however not bad but needs to be re-upholstered to be perfect. Engine is very clean, no corrosion present. No blistering in the paint. Bike appears to have never been down or crashed. This bike has a ton of curb appeal and presents itself as a bike with 1,400 miles, not 14,000. Runs like the day it was new. New battery and new fluids. Bike comes with Utah state title and is titled as a street bike for road use.

The Buy It Now price is set at $27,500 and there are still a few days left on the listing. Unlike many valuable homologation bikes, this one actually has a few miles on it. Certainly nothing to worry about and, if you plan to ride it on occasion, you at least know that it won't need a complete overhaul before you take it out for a brisk weekend ride. It's always tricky to judge from photos, but this looks to be as described and is in excellent shape for a nearly thirty year old bike... Resplendent in classic Suzuki blue-and-white with the signature red tail section, it's a great-looking machine, although the afterthought-level brake light could have been better integrated...


Very Rare Slingshot: 1989 Suzuki GSX-R750RK for Sale