Author Archives: Tad Diemer

Honda May 9, 2017 posted by Tad Diemer

Tiny Four: 1988 Honda CBR250R MC19 for Sale

"When it rains, it pours" seems to apply to cool motorcycles. Haven't seen a GSX-R750LE in a long time? Suddenly, four or five examples come up for sale. I'm not sure why: maybe it's that folks hoarding them with an eye towards eventual sale suddenly see a demand for them and want to get in on the action? Or maybe individuals who've stashed them away from new are all of a certain age and are looking to liquidate their collections as they get older and less able to ride? Whatever the reason, we've seen a number of small displacement, grey-market sportbikes like this Honda CBR250R MC19 come up for sale recently in excellent condition, so if you've a hankering for tiny fours, take a look!

250s have long been associated here in the USA with learner bikes and hypermiling commuters. Generally powered by economical twins and singles, they offer low cost and high reliability, with racy styling, garish graphics, and names that link them to bigger, more capable sportbikes. But in countries where engines with greater displacement are disproportionately expensive to purchase heavily taxed, or limited by licensing laws, small inline fours like this one wrote a fascinating, if short, chapter in motorcycling history.

At a glance, the specifications look like they could come from a typical race-replica: liquid-cooled inline four, six-speed gearbox, 337lb dry weight... Then you get to that displacement: 48.5mm x 33.8mm for just 249cc. The claimed 40 horsepower is shockingly respectable although the 18,000rpm redline speaks to how hard you'll have to work to access it. This example has a bit of wear around the edges, but nothing you wouldn't expect from a well cared-for, but nearly 30 year old motorcycle.

From the original eBay listing: 1988 Honda CBR250R MC19 for Sale

For those of you that missed the Kawasaki ZXR250 sale, you get another chance for an exciting 250cc grey market Honda sport bike. This will be the last 18,000 RPM screaming 250cc inline four I will be selling. From the Honda room, comes a very special 1988 Honda CBR 250R MC19. This CBR has an inline four cylinder engine that revs to the moon and redlines at 18,000 RPM's. Its a blast to ride! This CBR is a one owner bike with only 310 kilometers (192 miles). Completely stock condition just like the day it rolled off the assembly line. Every fairing and component is 100% original stock Honda. Bike has never fallen over or been down. This CBR has a few scratches here and there from moving around the garage but shows like new. Bike is in very nice original condition and shows light patina throughout.   Bike has been serviced with new oil, coolant and filters have been serviced. Runs like the day it was new. Bike comes with Utah title in my company name and will be presented to the new owner.

With just 192 miles on the odometer, this one is certainly worthy of being put on display. Bidding is up to about $2,400 at the time of writing, with plenty of activity. The usual titling issues may apply if you're in a state with a strict DMV, so do your homework if you plan to do more than display this sweet little machine.

-tad

Tiny Four: 1988 Honda CBR250R MC19 for Sale
Yamaha May 4, 2017 posted by Tad Diemer

Track Weapon: Nico Bakker-Framed 1980 Yamaha TZ750 for Sale

I was almost hesitant to post this monster, concerned that our passionate but sometimes purity-obsessed readers would find it less of an object of desire and more an abomination. For sure, this Nico Bakker-framed Yamaha TZ750 is a mongrel, a beast. A chimera, if you will. The engine? A ferocious liquid-cooled two-stroke four-cylinder race engine and six-speed gearbox from the TZ750, which alone should be enough to at least give this thing a second look. The Bakker frame is from 1980, although it was purpose-built for the TZ to cure the bike's notoriously sketchy handling. But then you've got mismatched 17" wheels, modern-ish suspension and R6 bodywork. Hey, at least it's almost all Yamaha-sourced!

And as a racing machine, the bike's constant evolution is far more in keeping with the original intent than some perfectly preserved collectible. In a way, it's even cooler than a period-correct TZ750: each and every one of those is a piece of history and should probably be cared for as such and ridden with kid gloves. This? It will handle better than folks like Kenny Roberts, who raced the TZ750 back when it was new, could ever have imagined and mere mortals can take it to the track and ride it in anger. And possibly not die.

When introduced in the 1970s, the TZ700 and TZ750 that followed became the bikes to beat on racetracks in Europe and in the United States, where they dominated AMA racing for years. This was a motorcycle from the era where engines were making rapid leaps in terms of raw performance, while suspension design, tire technology, and handling advanced more slowly: even the early bikes with just 90hp were shredding rear tires and trying to eject their pilots. By the time 1980 rolled around, the TZ was making much more like 140hp in a lightweight package that was good for 185mph top speed, with solid reliability.

Early machines used a frame with a twin-shock rear suspension that was later updated one with thicker tubing and a monoshock in 1975. Unfortunately, handling was never much more than "adequate," with pilots hanging on for dear life as much actually riding them, which explains the Nico Bakker frame seen here, something the seller claims is just one of five made for the TZ. Nico Bakker is, of course, one of the most talented frame designers of all time, and his work has graced racebikes, low-volume specials, and even production roadbikes built by everyone from Suzuki to Laverda.

From the original eBay listing: Nico Bakker-Framed 1980 Yamaha TZ750 for Sale

This is a 1980 Nikko Baker chassis TZ750. Number 5 of 5 that were built for the Big TZ. Yamaha used these aftermarket chassis to rectify the problems with their ill handling factory chassis. These frames were far superior to the stock units and Yamaha used them until they figured out a solution for their own. This bike has been modified with the correct pieces to keep it AHRMA and WERA legal. It is a weapon in any Vintage class you care to run it in. Nikko Baker used the Full Floater style rear suspension with a link and conventional type shock. As apposed to the limited adjustability of the stock mono shock modified backbone Moto Cross unit Yamaha was using. An Ohlins remote reservoir unit replaced that. Upgraded fork tubes ( conventional style ) from a late model Honda CBR900RR with adjustable internals from KPS suspension. Set up for a 180 lbs rider. A 17" Honda 5 spoke 3.5, aluminum wheel is used up front with 310mm HRC rotors and 4 piston Nissan calipers for stopping power. A billet Yoshimura top triple tree and aftermarket billet clip ons. As for the rear wheel it has a 3 spoke 17" Marvic 5.5 Magnesium wheel. Taking advantage of readily available, easy and inexpensive parts instead of the custom Nikko Bakers hand formed tank and tail section. A 2001 R6 tank was used along with a 2004 R1 race tail section. Fits excellently and can be aquired all over incase anything gets damage in a crash. We use the stock style fairing still. Nothing works as well or keeps the integrity of the original TZ like the stock unit. All the original body and engine parts that came on the unit go with the bike also. Like stock Yamaha forks and triple trees, Astrolite wheels ( 18" x 5.0 rear and 18" x 3.0 front ) Spondon front calipers, and hand formed aluminum fuel tank ect. Tank is about $2500 to $3000 and over a year wait time to get.

Engine wise it has a complete rebuild on her and every go fast goodie made for the TZ750. New Renstar individual cylinders with reed cages, Renstar billet crank shafts, new transmission ( set up and cut by Paul Gast ) Lentz chambers with 10" aftermarket aluminum silencers. Along with the 40mm Lectron high velocity power jet carburetors Magura 1/4 turn throttle and cables and Brembo radial master cylinder . It has all the best stuff to make an amazing Vintage liter bike slayer.  Bike comes with loads of spares too. Cylinders, heads, crankshafts, rod rebuild kits, pistons clutch parts, transmission, gearing and tons of spare Lectron tuning needles and parts. Also have the original factory round slide Mikuni carbs and cables. Plus more misc parts and gaskets.

I have only one issue. I couldn't source out a new Ignition stator and box. So after unit was completed i sent it out to be gone thru as a precaution. It will be back and installed on unit by time of delivery.

Is it a pure collectible museum-piece? Absolutely not, not even close. Is it beautiful? Well, if pure function is your idea of beauty, then maybe it is. Keep in mind that if you're a fan of originality and want something closer to the stock TZ750, the seller does mention that the original bodywork, wheels, and other parts will come with the bike, although I'd want to verify exactly what that includes before dropping money if that's the direction I wanted to go. I've got no idea how to value something like this, but the seller obviously does: the Buy It Now price is set at $45,000. The comments section is open, so let me know what you guys think about this beast! And remember: keep it civil guys.

-tad

Track Weapon: Nico Bakker-Framed 1980 Yamaha TZ750 for Sale
Kawasaki May 3, 2017 posted by Tad Diemer

Tiny and Green: 1994 Kawasaki ZXR250 for Sale

Little sportbikes like this very nice Kawasaki ZXR250 were never imported to the USA for a very good reason: there was basically zero demand for them. In other countries, licensing limitations, high taxes on larger-displacement bikes, and much more expensive fuel mean that riders don't necessarily graduate from a 250 to a 600 to a full-on literbike. In places where you're incentivized to "think small" a bike like this makes perfect sense, since it has the big-bike styling, real sportbike handling, and mechanical sophistication an experienced rider might want, all in a fun-size package.

The bike was introduced in 1988 with a major mechanical and styling refresh in 1991. Displacing just 249cc, that little jewel of an engine produced a claimed 45 hp and just a sliver of torque at 18 ft.lbs and could push the 311 lb dry machine all the way to 124 mph. Obviously, the ZXR250 isn't going to offer up all that much more in the way of straight-line performance compared to something like a modern Ninja 300: you can't get blood from a stone. Or in this case, horsepower from just 15 cubic inches. And modern entry-level machines provide technology this little Kawasaki couldn't dream of. But with modern 250s mostly built around torquey singles or economical parallel twins, this inline four with its positively shrieking 19,000 rpm redline may offer more noise than actual power, but it also provides plenty of rider involvement to go with that spine-tingling sound.

Modern entry-level sportbikes have powerplants chosen for their simplicity, economy, ease-of-maintenance, and torquey power delivery so new riders can focus more on riding and less on shifting gears to chase insane redlines. So obviously, a carbureted inline four-cylinder will require much more effort to maintain and more skill to ride effectively, but I expect fans of small sportbikes know exactly what they're in for with a bike like this. Today's example has had a few miles roll under the wheels, but looks from photos to be in exceptionally good condition. I prefer the earlier style fairings with twin round headlamps, but that's simply a matter of taste. You certainly can't argue with the condition of what's on display here or those very 1990s HVAC hoses leading to the airbox...

From the original eBay listing: 1994 Kawasaki ZXR250 for Sale

Up for your consideration is a RARE MINT CONDITION low mileage 1994 Kawasaki ZXR250 with 19,518 Kilometers (12,127 miles). It is in mint condition and has new battery, Kawasaki filter & engine oil, new coolant flush, new brake fluid, new spark plugs and original air filter was serviced. This ZXR250 isn't your typical Ninja 250 that was sold here in the states. This ZXR has an inline four cylinder engine that revs to a 19,000 redline. In my opinion, its one of the best bikes you can ride on a twisty road. Even though this ZXR250 is completely stock, it comes with an extra carbon fiber aftermarket slip on muffler included in the sale.

When we received the bike, It was taken apart and cleaned and inspected along with the full service. We noticed that the bike has been very well taken care of over the years. You can tell it was loved as a child, lol. The bike runs and rides like the day it was new. Would make a great addition to any collection. This ZXR250 comes with a clean Utah title in my company name that will be presented to the new owner.

Bidding is up just past $3,000 with several days left on the auction. Interest in these little machines seems pretty high when they come up for auction, and several CBR250RRs have been featured on this site recently. They offer good handling and great looks, but very modest power, so I think you're mainly buying these for the novelty, that insane and very accessible redline, or as a Kawi completist. There are definitely more economical ways to sportbike, but fewer more stylish.

-tad

Tiny and Green: 1994 Kawasaki ZXR250 for Sale
Honda May 1, 2017 posted by Tad Diemer

Race-Kitted: 1985 Honda VF750F Interceptor with Full-Factory HRC Engine Kit for Sale

Honda has been a believer in the V4 engine configuration for a long time, and it really started with bikes like this VF750F that includes a genuine HRC racing engine kit! Introduced in 1982 and available in a variety of displacements, including 400cc and 500cc versions, it was really the VF750F that really defined the breed, as it was the displacement eligible for AMA competition. V4 engines are complex and expensive to produce, but make flexible power, are very compact, and make some of the best noises in the motorcycling world. Unfortunately, some early VF750's suffered from the notorious "chocolate camshafts" where cam lobes crumbled and caused engines to fail. This was swiftly corrected and didn't affect all models, but Honda's reputation took a hit. The upside that is the bikes that followed, particularly the VFR750, were so massively overbuilt and lovingly bolted together that they helped to cement Honda's V4 machine in the public's mind as the ultimate sports-touring motorcycle.

By now, that shouldn't be a problem for a bike like this one that has already had 18,000 miles roll under the wheels. And if problems do appear, you can just swap in that HRC engine kit! That kit replaces the stock bike's timing chains with a set of precise gears as you can see in the photo below, just like on last week's VF1000R.

Part of what makes the 90° V4 so charismatic is that it's no high-strung screamer like an inline four. The 748cc engine put a claimed 86hp through a five speed gearbox and could push the 487lb dry machine on to 134mph. At nearly 550lbs wet, the bike wasn't exactly light, but it was agile, powerful, and even a little bit practical: the traits off the later jack-of-all-trades VFR are present even in this early incarnation.

From the original eBay listing: 1985 Honda VF750F with Full-Factory HRC Engine Kit for Sale

Very rare piece of race history with the HRC engine kit.  Build your own HRC Spencer replica!

Starting with a 1985 VF750F.  This bike has been with the original owner up to 2015.  Bought new and lovingly maintained over the past 32 years.  Now in my possession, I have recently installed a NOS period correct (1983) Supertrapp exhaust.  The bike has 30,000 KM, ( 18,000 miles).  it looks new with no blemishes or flaws.  It is in incredible condition and runs flawlessly.  It is a perfect platform to start your replica build.  I have the original bill of sale too.

The bonus piece and the reasons for the price is the full factory HRC engine kit included with the bike.  There is a full engine supplied to make this a Freddie Spencer HRC VF750R replica, (Freddie Spencer decals included).  Race fairing and rear cowl is included as well.  All that is needed to complete is the exhaust and radiator/oil cooler combo, (or just use the NOS supertrapp currently on).

Specific on engine:  1983 HRC NC5 VF750 Gear Driven Superbike engine. This is one of about 25 HRC Kit engines which were imported from HRC to American Honda's Race Team, some were used in house and others were sold to priveteers.  (*Carbs in picture not included in sale*).

 This engine will need to be assembled. The rods/piston's are not in the motor. Most parts will be suppiled for the rebuild as in new rings, new pistons, Titanum rods. The HRC manual will be supplied for information, set up, complete list of all kit parts and part numbers.

These kits were about $9500 new in 1983 and included Magnesium valve covers, clutch, ignition and oil pan in Mag. The HRC parts included in these race motors included the following, Gear Driven Cams, Close Ratio Trans, Titanuim Rods, Titanium Valves, HRC Ported Heads with byrilum seats, HRC Crankshaft, oil pump, Dry Clutch and ignition. *Carbs in picture not included in sale*.

I am not sure where you will ever get another opportunity like this.  Act fast, my email is already loading up with messages!

The seller is asking an eye-watering $13,900 for the package, which seems pretty shocking until you consider that engine. Maybe it's best to think of it as a Honda race engine with a spare bike included, since VF750Fs currently aren't especially valuable at the moment, although prices appear to be on the rise. That being said, from the few photos of the actual bike that are included, this appears to be an exceptionally clean, if not 100% original example of this significant machine.

-tad

Race-Kitted: 1985 Honda VF750F Interceptor with Full-Factory HRC Engine Kit for Sale
Triumph April 29, 2017 posted by Tad Diemer

Grand Touring: 1999 Triumph Daytona 1200SE for Sale

Motorcycling history is littered with storied nameplates undone by economic changes, and many have tried and failed to resurrect those brands, but one of the enduring success stories continues to be Triumph. Sunk by a changing economy, a changing market, and an inability to compete with the reliable, affordable, high-performance bikes from Japan, Triumph's long, slow slide into irrelevance was over by 1983. John Bloor originally purchased the defunct Triumph facility with an eye to razing it and building residences, but somewhere along the line, a bit of nationalistic inspiration struck him and he instead decided to revive the brand. Attempts to compete head-on with sportbikes from Japan a second time were always going to end in failure, so Triumph wisely chose to focus on quality and heritage instead of outright performance. That's not to say that bikes like today's Triumph Daytona 1200SE didn't have brawn to match their good looks, but that performance was never going be as focused or as inexpensive as it would be with something like a GSX-R1100. Instead, Triumph went for a different customer, one more concerned with quality and class than top-speed numbers or lap times.

The biggest limitation to ultimate performance was Triumph's decision to go with modular design based around a spine frame. That same basic frame and two engines, a triple or an inline four, could be wrapped in different bodywork to create an entire range of motorcycles and quickly add models to react to market changes, which gave versatility for a fairly low cost. Unfortunately, it meant a bit of a jack-of-all-trades quality, with too much weight carried too high for optimal handling. Nothing wrong in the engine room however: 147 horsepower may not sound all that impressive, considering the 1180cc engine, but it was one of the most powerful motorcycles available at the time and a claimed 85 lbs-ft of torque is BMW S1000RR territory. So the big Daytona can move out smartly and, most importantly, can sustain that 159mph top speed seemingly all day long, with plenty of wind protection from the big fairing and all-day ergonomics.

Styling is always subjective, but I think these look pretty cool, with that dual-round headlamp endurance racing style, but without the aggression or wild graphics of a 90s Japanese sportbike. The monochromatic color treatment, especially the black seen here, makes it look classy and elegant. I think they've aged well and prices mean you can have a classic road-burner with all-day comfort for relative peanuts. Personally, I'd prefer one of the hot-rod three-cylinder Super III models, but in either guise you're looking at a deceptively fast motorcycle.

From the original eBay listing: 1999 Triumph Daytona 1200SE for Sale

I purchased this bike three years ago to add it to the other two Daytona's I already have. The reason for the sale is that I have my hands full with my other D-12's and the other bikes we have. So... In the three years I have owned the bike I have put less than 400 miles on the it. I replaced the left and right fairings as well as the front fairing, windshield, with trim, clip-ons, fork seals, tires, and battery. I am the third owner, from what I was told. I have the bike stored in my climate controlled basement since I brought it home. The bike is completely stock. All parts used are Triumph parts. There is a very small ding on the tank. On the right side from previous owner. Also a small scratch/rub on the left side rear body work. The only thing missing is the Union Jack that gets mounted on the side fairing underneath "Special Edition". I have not located one yet. The last thing the bike needs is a carb tune. I have not done this because I wasn't riding it. I have a shop that has tuned my other D-12's that has the bikes producing 120hp and 80ft.lbs. at the rear wheel. I can have them do the work for around, $400.00, or we can discuss other options.

Full disclosure is something we all appreciate when shopping for a bike. When obvious stuff is wrong but not mentioned, we bike folks think, "Hmmm... if he's not being up front with that, what else isn't he telling us?" Being upfront about minor flaws suggests that, not only is the seller honest, but that they are a bit obsessive themselves. I'm not obsessive about minor flaws like the ones present here, but I sure want to buy a bike from someone who is. For a bike meant to cover big miles at big speeds, this one shows remarkably little wear and tear, although mileage is pretty low and the seller is asking $5,199.00 for what appears to be a very nice motorcycle. This is another bike like yesterday's VF1000R where most examples that show up for sale seem to have held up very well, considering the fact that they're 20 years old devices that go belting along highways and back roads at speed, which speaks not only to build quality, but to attentive ownership. But then again, that's exactly the kind of customer Triumph was shooting for in the first place.

-tad

Grand Touring: 1999 Triumph Daytona 1200SE for Sale
Honda April 28, 2017 posted by Tad Diemer

Overbuilt Race-Rep: 1985 Honda VF1000R for Sale

Values of Honda’s overbuilt homologation special VF1000R have been shockingly low up until very recently, but these red-white-and-blue beasts are starting to see a significant increase in price. They’re not lightweight or nimble at nearly 600lbs with a tank of fuel, but Honda’s build quality and engineering prowess are on display throughout the bike: the 998cc V4 used gear-driven cams in place of chains, Torque-Reactive Anti-Dive Control forks for better performance under braking, modular Comstar wheels and radial tires when radial tires were still rare and exotic, quick-release axles, adjustable bars, and even a vented rear brake... No, I don’t mean cross-drilled, the rear brake was vented.

The style of the bodywork reflected the VF1000R’s endurance-racing roots and features some interesting little quirks: you can see where Aprilia got some design ideas from those funky mesh side-panels. Two different headlight configurations were available, depending on year: the dual-headlight setup is generally considered more desirable, although they’re both tucked behind a single rectangular lens so they don’t look like you’d expect if you’re picturing something like an RC30. This example uses the single headlight that has a couple of additional vents around the sides and top to take up the space left by the bigger unit. Why two styles? Honda was worried the dual setup wouldn’t pass US regulations and created an alternative treatment, just in case.

All-in-all it was typical Honda overkill, which is fine unless it leads to a significant increase in weight which blunts performance significantly: the VF1000R certainly isn’t a slow bike, but it’s not all that fast either. Handling was a bit ponderous, but good set up can help quite a bit and the positive news for road-riders is that the available performance is pretty effortless, the fairings provide good wind protection, and the bike can cruise at its near 150mph top speed with ease.

From the original eBay listing: 1985 Honda VF1000R for Sale

This was the superbike of the day in 1985. I looked long and hard to find one in really nice original condition as it is getting hard to find good ones. This one was always stored inside and I have in in a climate controlled facility. I don't think it has ever been laid over as it is basically scratch free EXCEPT for on both sides of the front fender there are scratches that I guess were caused by someone's poor quality tie downs. You can see the scratches in the pic's. It has new tires. It has he original pipes which is unbelievable in itself.

The seller is right that these are rare bikes, although nice ones do show up pretty regularly on eBay. They're the kind of bikes people bought and cherished from new, so thrashed examples seem more like the exception rather than the rule. Which is good, because finding replacement parts is pretty difficult and the aftermarket is basically nonexistent. So why didn’t these capture the public’s imagination in the way the later RC30 and RC45 did? Probably a combination of the aforementioned visual and physical bulk. But maybe it also had something to do with the V4’s negative perception at the time that resulted from a few of the early VF750’s chain-driven cam lobes de-lobing, sometimes referred to as the “Chocolate Camshaft” syndrome. That issue actually affected only a small group of the early V4 bikes with chain-driven cams, but Honda's reputation took a big hit and required the incredible high-quality of the VFR750 that followed to erase that black mark.

-tad