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Author Archives: Tad Diemer

Aprilia June 8, 2018 posted by Tad Diemer

The Anti-Duc: Low-Mile 2002 Aprilia RSV Mille for Sale

For a while, World Superbike rules favored v-twins, thanks to the... um, influence of Ducati. Soon everybody wanted to get in on the act: Honda switched from a V4 to a twin for their RC51 and Aprilia's first big bike fit a Rotax v-twin into a revised version of their gorgeous aluminum twin-spar beam frame. Unfortunately, their efforts to distance themselves from Ducati also extended to the new bike's styling and, while the hyper-modern techno looks of the RSV Mille were certainly different, it's definitely not a classic design.

Instead of a 90° v-twin that is generally pretty hard to fit into a modern sportbike chassis, since it's very long front-to-back, Rotax used a much more compact 60° configuration for their 998cc twin and kept the increased vibrations in check with a pair of balance shafts. The result was a bit more "agricultural" than Ducati's engine, but it had plenty of character to go with its competitive power output, along with famous reliability.

Ergonomics of the RSV were a nice change from Ducati's race-track serious riding position, and the new Aprilia was an all-around more user-friendly machine. It's got character to spare though and, combined with the bike's reliability and currently very affordable prices, has made the Mille something of an oxymoron: an affordable, reliable Italian superbike. Which means today's example is particularly odd, since it has just 2,000 miles on it.

From the original eBay listing: 2002 Aprilia RSV Mille for Sale

Selling my 2002 Aprilia RSV Mille. I acquired this through any estate sale with only 300 miles on it. The engine was properly broken in, raising the rev limiter according to mileage, and it currently only has 2k miles on it. This is essentially a brand new bike wearing the original tires that still have the nubs on them.

I changed out the starting circuit with a more robust starter, starter relay, and wiring, replacing weak OEM setup. It comes with factory racing exhaust and race chip installed, and OEM street pipe and chip as well. Perfect, showroom condition.

I purchased this bike because of the bullet proof Rotax 60° V-twin engine in that beautiful Italian GP frame, intended to convert this into a track bike, but its just too pristine. I've seen these engines raced hard with 70k miles on them with no rebuilds!

There are NO prefect condition RSV Mille bikes left out there.
This is a cash only sale and I do not need any assistance in selling it.

"There are NO perfect condition RSV Mille bikes left out there"? That's a pretty bold statement, and one I'm sure we can trust, since he's trying to sell a bike... It is pretty unlikely that there are all that many with miles this low, but I'm sure there are at least a few out there, particularly the R version, bought by people with an eye towards future values. And that's the real issue here: this RSV in basically perfect condition, with a couple of nice, factory extras, but it's not a collectible version of the bike. It's a supremely competent bike, even in stock form, but not especially valuable yet: these regularly trade hands for far less than the $5,750 the seller is asking. If you're a collector willing to pay premium dollars for an RSV, I'd think you'd hold out for an R. If you're a fan of funky, budget exotica... You'll probably just pick one with more miles up for less money.

-tad

The Anti-Duc: Low-Mile 2002 Aprilia RSV Mille for Sale
Ducati June 7, 2018 posted by Tad Diemer

Eight Mile: Nearly New 2004 Ducati 998S Final Edition for Sale

By the time Ducati's 916 was retired, they'd wrung just about everything out of the bike there was to wring, and the sportbike world had moved on. From a stylistic perspective, the 998 was far too familiar after ten years and, while the design was still considered a classic, it was decidedly... classic. Of course Ducatisti felt the 999 that followed moved the style on a bit too far, but a significant mechanical overhaul was a good idea, and this 998S Final Edition represents the very end of the line for Tamburini's masterpiece of form and function.

The 998 looked pretty much like the original 916 with some updated graphics and wheels, was significantly evolved. Sure, some parts are interchangeable between the 916, 996, 998, and even the 748, but both the engine and frame changed significantly between the bike's introduction in 1994 and 2004, when the 998 was discontinued. The 998's frame was actually the same as the 996R, which allowed the 998 to use that bike's larger airbox and updated injectors for additional power: 123hp, up from the 996's 112. The new frame also allowed use of the 998cc Testastretta engine that was first used in the 996R, and bodywork was revised to wrap around the new frame and engine as well.

So while the 916 may be the original, the 998 is a much more thoroughly-developed package, with increased power and improved reliability from both the mechanical and electrical components. If you want to collect a Tamburini bike, you're probably looking at the original 916. If you're looking to ride your Ducati, the 998 is likely a better choice. Of course this 998S FE might be better left as a display bike: it has covered just 7.4 miles in total since it was built.

From the original eBay listing: 2004 Ducati 998S Final Edition for Sale

This is a new, never ridden 2004 Ducati 998S Final Edition.
It has the Testastretta engine, Ohlins shocks, Termignoni exhaust, and carbon fiber underbody.
It has never been licensed. I bought it thinking I would ride it later, and now I have lost interest in riding it. It has always been kept indoors and covered.
It had 7 miles on it when I purchased it from the dealer, and I have not added any more.

If you missed buying the most refined version of Tamburini's superbike new, this is just about the closest thing you're going to find now. It isn't one of the high-performance homologation models like the R or SPS, but that insane mileage makes it one of the rarest Ducatis around. Honestly, this is a collector and not a rider, and would probably need some work after basically sitting for the past 14 years if you wanted to actually use it, but if you want a museum piece, this is your bike. The seller is asking an eye-watering $25,000 for this one, which is stiff money for a 998. But how many are there in existence like it at this point?

-tad

Eight Mile: Nearly New 2004 Ducati 998S Final Edition for Sale
Moto Guzzi June 5, 2018 posted by Tad Diemer

Muscular Classic: 1976 Moto Guzzi 850 Le Mans for Sale

These days, Moto Guzzi "sportbikes" really need the quotation marks I've included here. Ducati managed to develop their signature 90° v-twin format and stay competitive among the current crop of tech-heavy rockets, but it's unlikely that, even given a pretty large budget to attempt something like that, Guzzi could have stayed true to their longitudinal twin and shaft drive and expected to remain relevant. And even if they'd been allowed to produce the much more radical 72°, liquid-cooled and overhead-cammed, chain final-drive package they'd been working on, a purchase by Piaggio permanently locked Guzzi into the retro-roadster limbo where they've languished ever since. I'm glad they've managed to survive into the modern era, but it's sad that that they only do so as a bit of a self-parody, since they were fully capable of building legitimate racebikes like their impressive, but unsuccessful V8 Grand Prix entry and versatile sportbikes like today's 850 Le Mans.

Often referred to as a "Mark I" Le Mans, that's obviously a name that was coined after the fact to differentiate it from the bikes that followed. An evolution of the earlier V7 Sport and 750S, the new 850 Le Mans sportbike even continued with Lino Tonti's excellent frame, wrapped around a bored-out engine with chrome-lined cylinders, high compression pistons, and a set of 36mm Dell'Orto carburetors. The result was 71 rear-wheel horsepower and a top speed of 130mph. To make sure the rider could safely slow the machine from those heady speeds, the bike used triple disc brakes and a rudimentary but very effective linked-brake system.

It's easy to dismiss the Guzzi for being a "tractor" and the chunky, slightly angular style, massive-looking engine, shaft drive, and simple, pushrod v-twin do lend themselves to agricultural comparisons. But although the spec sheet doesn't seem cutting edge now and really wasn't even when the bike was new, it's the overall package that impressed then, as well as the brute motive force supplied by the 850cc engine. The noticeable torque-reaction caused by the longitudinal crankshaft aside, handling was excellent, and the engine was revvier than you might expect. Much more rev-happy, in fact, than the contemporary Ducati bevel-drive v-twin. But it wasn't a high-strung machine and had a nice blend of exotic looks, torquey power, and practicality that saw Guzzi eventually shift from sportbike to sport-touring as they were unable to compete with the relentless pace of cutting-edge motorcycle development in the 80s and 90s.

From the original eBay listing: 1976 Moto Guzzi 850 Le Mans for Sale

Bike restored in 2016 and only 1600 miles added since... A true beauty with only natural flaws, this is a bike to be ridden.

Bike was completely gone through in 2016 by the team at world famous CYCLE GARDEN in Huntington Beach over $20k spent on restoration , tank was left with original paint . Bike looks exactly as an original 1976 should . There is not a better one to be found anywhere, this is a rare opportunity to own a true piece of motorcycle history.

"Now acknowledged as one of the great sporting motorcycles of the 1970’s, the Le Mans was a Masterpiece ” -Ian Fallon

 

A very nice video of the bike by Cycle Garden is included that shows the bike in motion and goes over some aspects of the restoration. An old Triumph or bevel-drive Ducati might have more vintage looks, if you're into chrome or polished metal, but the same qualities that have characterized Guzzis from the beginning are present here, and the first-generation Le Mans is about as good as it gets for a practical classic sportbike: it's got stable handling and the flexible motor can even keep up with more modern bikes without much trouble. The powertrain is reliable and the whole bike is pretty easy to get parts for, considering the mere 6,000 or so that were built between 1976 and 1978. Unfortunately, these are no longer the bargains they once were, and the seller's $24,979 Buy It Now price gives a pretty clear indication of where things are headed.

-tad

Muscular Classic: 1976 Moto Guzzi 850 Le Mans for Sale
Honda June 1, 2018 posted by Tad Diemer

Sharp Little Blade: 1991 Honda CBR400RR NC29 for Sale

If you're into bikes that aren't obviously compensating for something, this little Honda CBR400RR offers big-bike looks and serious refinement in a more compact, less overwhelming package. The included photos are very nice, but the seller has included just three of them, so I'll keep this post short. In general, 400cc sportbikes from this period are grey market imports: while very popular overseas and in particular in their home market of Japan, there was little to no interest in a sportbike displacing less than 600cc here in the USA.

That's unfortunate, because this "Baby Blade," so called because its bigger sibling was called the "Fireblade" in other markets, was a pretty sophisticated machine. It was powered by a 399cc inline four with sixteen valves, gear-driven twin overhead cams that was suspended in a stiff aluminum frame. The 70hp available from de-restricted versions was put through a six-speed gearbox and overall there's plenty of fun to be had on a tight canyon road.

Americans actually could pick up the CBR's close relative in the relatively obscure CB-1 that used a detuned version of the CBR's engine but replaced the aluminum frame with one made of steel. Weight was similar as the CB didn't have a fairing, but it looks like Honda might have gambled correctly in not importing the CBR, since the CB-1 didn't sell very well.

From the original eBay listing: 1991 Honda CBR400RR NC29 for Sale

1991 Honda CBR400RR NC29 aka Baby Blade

Classic smaller displacement sport bike popular in Japan/UK. Imported from Japan.
Starts and runs nicely all through rev range!

Recently carb tuned and de-restricted. Bike is in KM and I added a MPH overlay.

Makes a great small displacement track bike! 

New: 

  • Pirelli Rosso Corsa
  • Screen
  • Mirrors
  • Battery
  • Tank grip
  • Axle slider

Buy It Now price is $5,500 which is a pretty decent price although you'll obviously have to be careful to verify you can register it where you live. This one is in Texas and I'm assuming it's been road-registered there since the seller has gone to the trouble to add the MPH overlay to the speedometer.

-tad

Sharp Little Blade: 1991 Honda CBR400RR NC29 for Sale
Suzuki May 31, 2018 posted by Tad Diemer

Canadian Stroker: 1986 Suzuki RG500Γ for Sale

Suzuki's RG500Γ "Gamma" didn't actually use a detuned version of the racing RGB500's engine, but at least shared that machine's square four two-stroke configuration, so it looked and felt like it could have been developed from the real thing. The specifications were certainly unlike anything else on the road: twin cranks, disc valves, four cylinders and 498cc, surrounded by a lightweight aluminum frame.

A quartet of very compact Mikuni flat-slide carburetors tucked in on the sides of the engine and fed the liquid-cooled two-stroke, a six-speed cassette gearbox kept the engine on the boil, and Suzuki's "Full-Floater" suspension system and anti-dive forks helped put the power to the ground.

That square four turns fuel and air into a combination of power and heavy smoke that dribbles out of the four separate exhausts at idle. Once "on the pipe," it puts a claimed 95hp through the impossibly skinny 120-section tire, enough to easily motivate the 340lb dry weight. Handling and braking were both exemplary in 1986, but have obviously been far surpassed.

The feeling is still there though and, in spite of Suzuki' Automatic Exhaust Control power valve that helped give the lightweight machine a more manageable powerband, the bike was still a very raw experience. Which is exactly what makes it such a desirable bike today: it's a race-replica that does more than just look the part.

From the original eBay listing: 1986 Suzuki RG500Γ for Sale

The bike has never been plated or crashed.  Have owned it since 1990.  Very low mileage, very fast and reliable, 1 -2 kick starts (usually 1).  The only mar on the cosmetics is 4 small dimples , the result of a board sliding over and contacting the tank while in storage.  Can put the winning bidder in touch with the shop that did the engine work.  The shop owner races a gamma in vintage Class, he is the predominate specialist in Eastern Canada.  The entire engine, including the crankshafts and powertrain have been rebuilt and/or inspected, the invoices exceeded $6,000 US and can be emailed to the winning bidder.  My storage people can also do crating, export documents and shipping (Div. of Tippet Richardson Int.)  Shipping are dependent on destination, an advanced quote can be provided.

There hasn't been much activity so far, but the opening bid was set at $18,000 and the seller is in Canada, which may be limiting interest in the bike. While I think this color and graphics scheme is very flattering, it may also be that purists prefer the classic blue-and-white Suzuki scheme. Hopefully, we'll see some interest over the next couple of days!

-tad

Canadian Stroker: 1986 Suzuki RG500Γ for Sale
Aprilia May 30, 2018 posted by Tad Diemer

Featured Listing: 2000 Aprilia RS250 Cup Challenge for Sale

"A man's got to know his limitations," Clint Eastwood's Dirty Harry famously deadpans in Magnum Force, a film which happens to feature several Italian motorcycles, none of which are an Aprilia RS250 like this Cup Challenge bike. The decision-makers at Aprilia must have been fans of Clint Eastwood though, as they took that advice to heart: when they were planning the RS250, they stuck with what they knew and kept the frame design and styling in-house, while leaving the engine and transmission to an established manufacturer with vastly greater resources and expertise.

Instead, they used the 249cc v-twin from Suzuki's RGV250. Power for the RGV was listed at just 45hp, so the RS250's claimed 70 horses made it seem like the Aprilia version must have been outrageously modified, tuned to the absolute hilt. The reality was that Japanese restrictions meant all the home-market two-strokes were officially limited to 45hp, and were all capable of similar outputs when properly tuned and de-restricted. In fact, those in-the-know claim that Aprilia's modifications  pretty much amounted to a set of engine cases with "Aprilia" cast into them, and that 55hp at the rear wheel is a much more realistic expectation.

No problem: the Suzuki twin was plenty powerful and tuneable, with good parts availability and a high-strung character that complimented Aprilia's masterpiece of a frame, an aluminum beam unit that looked great and worked even better: reviewers then and now often refer to the RS250 as being one of the best-handling motorcycles of all time. Weight was pared to the bone and the bike was kick-start only. With about 300 pounds to stop, the triple Goldline Brembos were almost overkill, considering the same setup was used to effectively halt the much heavier Ducati 916 and the massive Moto Guzzi Sport 1100...

So the bike fit the standard quarter-liter mold: aluminum frame, asymmetrical "banana" swingarm to clear the expansion chambers, kick-start, and agility instead of brute strength. But where the Japanese bikes were often decorated with wild graphics and bold colors, the Aprilia kept things classy in elegant, basic black. Some of the earlier models featured race-replica graphics and colors, but even those were pretty understated, compared to other bikes in the class.

The Aprilia RS250 Cup Challenge version was created to compete in a one-make race series late in the model's life. It was never really intended to be a roadbike, but did come with an actual VIN so some have been converted, as you can see here: this example does the bare minimum to make it road-legal and looks that much cooler for it.

From the original eBay listing: 2000 Aprilia RS250 Cup Challenge for Sale

2000 Aprilia RS250 Cup Challenge Edition. Original owner. Titled and registered here in AZ since new. Street legal and plated. 2 stroke twin. 6 Speed. Never damaged or raced. Some track days over the last 18 years. 5400 miles since new. RS50 taillight and rear turn signals. Small Piaa headlight with switch and brake light switch to keep the DMV happy. New battery, oil service and fork service. Fresh coolant and brake fluid as well. Carburetors and power valves were also cleaned and synched. Factory service manual and some gearing go with. If you want to show up at bike night and be a bit different here’s your ride. The smell of castor smells like victory. Mechanically and aesthetically in excellent condition.

Well, this might have a couple nods to streetability that will "keep the DMV happy" but your mileage, as they say, may vary, depending on where you live. Honestly, all RS250s here in the US are "grey market" bikes and only quasi-legal at best here in California. That's part of what makes CA titles so valuable for bikes like these: if your RS250 doesn't already have one, it's unlikely you'll be able to get one. Then you're forced to register your bike in your Arizona-living buddy's name, and end up riding around hoping the CHP doesn't give you a hard time when they pull you over... This one has clearly been enthusiast-owned and miles are very low. Although it's really a converted race bike, the "road legal" equipment installation is pretty slick and unobtrusive. And reversible! Bidding is pretty active over on eBay and there's plenty of time left to get a bid in, so head on over and take a look!

-tad
Featured Listing: 2000 Aprilia RS250 Cup Challenge for Sale