Author Archives: Tad Diemer

Triumph October 11, 2017 posted by Tad Diemer

Black-Clad Bruiser: 1995 Triumph Speed Triple for Sale

Triumph’s entire 1990s range of sport, sport-touring, retro, and naked machines like this original Speed Triple was built around a common spine frame and two engines, the 885cc inline triple seen here and a larger-displacement inline four. This allowed Triumph to quickly create new variations and mirror market trends without sacrificing quality, a strategy that led directly to today’s world-class motorcycles. But the company's road to success was a difficult one. They were long gone by the early 1990s, a victim of the Japanese motorcycle industry’s massive growth in the 1980s. Triumph was able to hang on throughout the 1970s, trading on their handling and reputation for performance. But once the Japanese bikes’ handling caught up with their reliably powerful engines, it was all over but the shouting.

The reborn Triumph of the 90s knew that it could never hope to compete with the Japanese in terms of outright performance, so they focused instead on quality and capitalizing on the brand’s undeniable mystique. The new Triumph motorcycles offered real-world performance, decent handling, and surprisingly high fit and finish. It's not the lightest or nimblest of machines: none of these first-generation John Bloor-era Triumphs were. But they were well-built and charismatic, just as intended.

T309 Speed Triples are definitely not track machines: a top-heavy weight distribution caused by the spine frame compromised handling, although there was a promotional one-make race series for them called the "Speed Triple Challenge" that must have been fun to watch. The rugged triple and five-speed gearbox may not offer performance that will set your hair on fire today, but the 98 claimed horses mean the Speed Triple is plenty fast for road use and the bike should sound great with the aftermarket three-into-one exhaust seen here.

The seller refers to the bike as "this original naked bike." If he means "one of the original naked bikes" then he'd be correct. The Speed Triple was introduced in 1994, but Italian rival Ducati's Monster was introduced a year prior in 1993 and Honda's proto-Monster Hawk GT was first available all the way back in 1988, although it was kind of a sales flop at the time. Nevertheless, the Speed Triple is one of Triumph's best-selling bikes of the modern era and, much like the Monster, can probably be credited with the company's current success.

From the original eBay listing: 1995 Triumph Speed Triple for Sale

Thanks for looking. This is a very good condition 1995 Triumph speed triple. It has recently had a top end overhaul and new timing chain and tensioner/guides. The bike fires on the 2nd crank every time and runs awesome. I am looking to sell to downsize my collection due to a growing family. 

I have and will include with the selling price, the original Triumph dual exhaust that is pictured in one photo. It is not installed but all hardware is there. 

Many spares are included as well which were given to me by previous owner. 

I have owned for the last 5 years and have had a blast riding this original naked bike. This bike was the first year the speed triple was offered in the USA. My offering is your chance to own a modern classic. 

There's been no interest in the bike so far at the starting bid of $1,500 but there are still a couple days left on the auction. The first-gen Speed Triple is nearly a classic at this point, but modern enough you can count on it to start every day, and the build quality of the Bloor-era bikes is high. They've been pretty cheap for a while now, and many that come up for sale feature signs of neglect, but this one looks very nice, and supposedly comes with a bunch of additional parts, so it might be worth looking into as a future collectible.

-tad

Black-Clad Bruiser: 1995 Triumph Speed Triple for Sale
Honda October 10, 2017 posted by Tad Diemer

The Last and the Best? 1994 Honda NSR250R MC28 for Sale

Sometimes, the very final version of a car or motorcycle is a pale shadow of the original, as the years inevitably add pounds and dilute the purity of what made the original example so desirable. But the Honda NSR250R went out with a bang instead of a whimper, at the top of its game, and is considered by many to be the best of the series. The MC28 might have put on a couple pounds compared to the previous MC21, owing largely to that very cool ELF-designed Pro-Arm single-sided swingarm that was heavier than the double-sided aluminum units that preceded it, but the bike was packed with cutting-edge technology.

There were three versions of the MC28, the standard R version, the SE that came with a dry clutch, and the SP that included the dry clutch and a set of lightweight Magtek wheels. This example is the regular R, but all MC28s are pretty special and come standard with that Pro-Arm swingarm, a 90° liquid-cooled two-stroke v-twin and a six-speed cassette gearbox for easy, track-side gearing changes.

The two small combustion chambers were still filled by carburetors, but the charge was ignited by what was probably the most sophisticated electronic control system available on a motorcycle at that time. The fourth iteration of Honda's electronic ignition was called, naturally, "PGM-IV." The system took in sensor input from the throttle position, gear-selection, and rpm to create three-dimensional ignition maps for each cylinder and adjust Honda's RC "Revolutionary Controlled" Valve for maximum power and response.

The biggest concern if you're looking at a NSR250 is whether or not it has been de-restricted: power for the Japanese-market 250s was limited to just 45hp, and it can be very difficult to unleash the bike's full potential without the HRC version of the ignition card that functions as the MC28's key. The seller doesn't mention whether or not this bike has already been de-restricted, but it's worth a quick email to the seller as this will affect the value and desirability, especially for anyone interested in riding this little machine in anger.

From the original eBay listing: 1994 Honda NSR250R MC28 for Sale

This is a 94 Honda NSR250 MC28 v-twin 2-stroke sportbike with credit card ignition and only 6000 kilometers (3600 miles). 

Clean North Carolina title with the correct 11 digit VIN. These are quite rare to find in the US as they were originally only sold in Japan, and this is the lowest mileage example I have ever seen here in the US. It is completely stock and all the controls are tight and smooth as you would expect on a low mileage bike. I bought this bike in 2011 after it had been removed from storage, fluids changed/replenished, new tires mounted, and new chain installed. I start it up several times a year and ride it occasionally but I doubt I have put over 200 miles on it since I have owned it. I recently put a new battery in it and disassembled the carbs to clean the bowls and jets out.  It starts and runs as it should.  I don't need to sell this bike but I have a lot of other toys and feel it is time to turn it over for someone else to enjoy if that person is out there. Tool kit is in place and I also have the passenger seat pad.  Rear stand and indoor cover is included.  Has one scuff on the right side of the tail section that has been touched up, and the rear of the right lower is discolored.  Other than that, very minor blemishes only.  Not really interested in any trades. 

Winning bidder must pick up bike in person in Charlotte, NC and pay in cash.  Title will be signed over at that time.  Willing to discuss shipping if you make all arrangements to have your carrier pick bike up at my house after all funds have cleared.

The Buy It Now price for this NSR250 is $10,000 which is reasonable for a nice, clean NSR250 with a US title. The MC28 included some of the most advanced technology ever available in the two-stroke 250cc class, and is thought of by many as being the best-looking of the breed, with the cool single-sided swingarm providing the visual flourish that seals the deal. Unfortunately, residents of states like California might be out of luck, as titling can prove impossible for a bikes less than 25 years old. Of course, if you "know a guy," or "know a guy that knows a guy" then you can probably make that happen but, if you're in a state where registering this might prove possible, it's a huge help that this bike comes with a clean US title. Otherwise, maybe just buy it and display it for a couple years before you try to register it. Certainly, the last of the Honda two-strokes will only going go up in value.

-tad

The Last and the Best? 1994 Honda NSR250R MC28 for Sale
Suzuki October 7, 2017 posted by Tad Diemer

Sweet Tooth: 1989 Suzuki RGV250Γ for Sale

Many of the most iconic race replicas are rolling billboards for tobacco products: Marlboro, John Player, Gauloises, Lucky Strike. Of course, that's no longer the case, with tobacco manufacturers largely banned from advertising on race bikes and cars, but it's hard to deny that those designs are memorable. But what if you're a racing fan, and want to own a bike from the glory days of two-stroke Grand Prix competition, but are morally opposed to the addictive, cancer-causing weed? Well, you can always look for a race replica a bike that advertises something less-lethal. Maybe something like this Suzuki RGV250Γ in Pepsi-Cola colors that just promotes... slightly less-lethal diabetes and obesity-causing sugar?

The pace of development for the 250cc two-stroke class was relentless, with multiple, distinctly different versions of each company's bike introduced during the short period between the mid 1980s and the early 1990s. This example of Suzuki's smoky two-stroke v-twin is actually a bit of a hybrid, combining the frame and bodywork of the earlier VJ21 with the swingarm and exhaust of the later VJ22. The VJ21 used a simple unit made of rectangular, box-section aluminum, while the later VJ22 used a curved, "banana" style swinger that was also made from aluminum, but distinctively curved on the right-hand side to allow the bulging expansion chambers to tuck in close to the bike's centerline and allow maximum lean angles.

The engine was Suzuki's liquid cooled, 90° two stroke v-twin with power valves and backed by a six-speed gearbox, a package that eventually found its way into Aprilia's entry into the class, the RS250. Power for de-restricted examples was in the neighborhood of 60hp, plenty to motivate the claimed dry weight of just 282lbs. The front wheel was 17" but the rear was 18" as was fashionable among two-stroke sportbikes of the period, but irritating if you're trying to shoe one today.

From the original eBay listing: 1989 Suzuki RGV250 VJ21 for Sale

Up for sale is this clean 1989 VJ21 with a fresh top end and paint job. The bike handles well, and pulls strongly. It has benefited from an upgraded VJ22 arched swing-arm and cool dual single sided exhaust. It also has a new battery installed. It was recently imported from the UK.

The bike will come with copies of all the US customs paperwork, European registration documents, and a Bill of Sale. This is a classic and can be registered in all 50 States. I ask that the winning bidder pay a $300 deposit within 24 hours. I offer shipping with a right of refusal guarantee. If you've paid the deposit and delivery fee you can opt out of the sale whatever your misgivings may be. My delivery rates are competitive among motorcycle shipping companies.  Thanks for looking at my auction. Please check out my other listings. I currently have a variety of Grey Market Japanese Imports from Europe/UK available. I welcome all inquires and bids. However, please, please, please only bid if you willing, and able, to dispense with this transaction in a reasonable about of time. Happy Bidding! 

This one is a runner for sure, not a collector: the paint looks sharp, but isn't original, and the bike has been updated with that stylish banana swingarm of the later VJ22, along with the matching "shotgun" exhaust set up. I like the swingarm, but I'd ditch those weird green-gold levers for a set of black ones immediately if it were my bike. The big draw here? The $5,750 Buy It Now price, making it one of the most affordable RGV250s we've seen in a while. The seller claims it "can be registered in all 50 states" but that's simplifying things a bit, from what I understand. Especially in California. As always, caveat emptor. 

-tad

Honda October 5, 2017 posted by Tad Diemer

Three to Get Ready: 1986 Honda NS400R for Sale

The 1980s were a very exciting time in the motorcycling world, especially for fans of Japanese bikes, and a huge variety of machines were available in a dizzying array of configurations: two-strokes and four-strokes, singles, twins, triples, fours, and even six-cylinder engines. And it wasn't just engines that saw the application of innovative new technologies: anti-dive forks, electronic ignitions, and radial tires all became common on sporting machines for the first time. Of course, race-replicas were very popular as always, and into the mix came the Honda NS400R that combined all of those elements into a potent little package.

At the center of this unusual machine was a liquid-cooled, 90° V3 meant to ape Honda's GP machine of the period. Although with the two flanking cylinders canted forward and the middle one pointing up, it was actually the reverse of the racing machine's configuration that had the single cylinder pointed towards the front. As you'd expect, the two-stroke had Honda's ATAC powervalve to give the bike some additional midrange grunt and the 387cc engine put out a claimed 72hp through a six-speed transmission to the rear wheel. Overall, the package was very refined, with a claimed weight of just 360lbs. Handling was a definite strong point, helped by TRAC anti-dive forks up front and a Pro-Link rear, with modular Comstar wheels and radial tires at both ends.

Also, because I'm into weird details, I have to point out the tiny triangle of fairing that folds out when the sidestand is extended. Does it serve any practical purpose? Of course not. Did it cost real money to develop and manufacture? For sure it did. But that's the kind of detail that defines bikes of this period.

So why a 400cc machine, when Suzuki and Yamaha were producing race-replicas closer to the actual racing displacement of 500cc? Well bikes intended for the Japanese market were limited in terms of power and displacement throughout the period, and Honda likely wanted to make sure a single version of the bike could easily be sold in all markets. Unfortunately at the time, a perceived power and performance deficit compared to the RG500 and RZ500 likely hurt sales, but I think that's far less of an issue now: none of these bikes are especially fast by today's standards and the handling of the NS400R is famously good.

From the original eBay listing: 1986 Honda NS400R Rothmans NC19 for Sale

NS400R a road going replica of the GP motorcycle. 2 stroke with a V3 engine.

The bike is imported from Japan. Not registered yet in the US. This bike is sold without title. (NO TITLE) Sold as is with NO warranty NO refunds NO return.

Start engine! Runs OK, new battery.

This bike is original, with 25,488 km (15,837 miles) This motorcycle is 31 years old. Some scratches so look carefully all pictures and video. Sold as is.

Buyer responsible for vehicle pick-up or shipping to your location. (Bike in Carson now.) If anyone wants to come see the motorcycle, please contact me.

These flew under the radar for a long time, compared to the 500cc Suzuki and Yamaha, but prices are on the rise now. This recently-imported example looks shiny, and the seller claims it is original. A few scrapes and scratches mar the bike, and the lower right-side pipe does have some damage, although maybe that'll buff out? There are no takers yet at the $5,800 starting bid with a couple days left on the auction. As always, the lack of a US title may be discouraging bidders, as that can be difficult to navigate, and many would rather not deal with the headache.

-tad

Three to Get Ready: 1986 Honda NS400R for Sale
Ducati October 3, 2017 posted by Tad Diemer

Featured Listing: 1987 Ducati 750 F1 Laguna Seca for Sale

Update 10.3.2017: Recently serviced at local Ducati specialist, including new timing belts, idler and tensioners, valve adjust,all fluids changed - including brake and forks, and carb rebuild with new accelerator pump. New price is $19,500 or best offer.
Contact Adam by email: adam_chovanak@yahoo.com

If you were looking to jump onto the Ducati 750 F1 bandwagon early with an eye towards making big money flipping one... That ship has sailed: these Pantah-powered race replicas now command some serious money. For years, these occupied the same place as the early Super Sport, in part because they straddle two generations of Ducatis, pre and post-Cagiva ownership, but don't seem to fully belong to either. They've got a slightly shed-built quality from the older era, combined with the "modern" Pantah L-twin and more 80s style. When new, build quality was criticized and suspension, as delivered, was a bit crude. But the potential was there from the beginning in bikes like today's featured 750 F1 Laguna Seca, it just needed a bit of development.

The 750 F1 used Ducati's characteristic trellis frame, designed in this case by Verlicchi and visibly wrapped around the lightweight aluminum tank. It was powered by a 749cc version of their air/oil-cooled, two-valve twin making a claimed 76hp and styled to look like the successful TT1 race bikes of the period. Dry weight was just 385lbs and the 16" front and 18" wheel gave nimble handling. The Montjuich, Santa Monica, and this Laguna Seca were all limited editions of the F1 that were priced higher when new and featured improved performance and a higher top speed.

For years, the F1 languished forgotten and relatively unloved, but the fact that it was conceived before the company's takeover by Cagiva and the perceived mass-production that followed seems to be the exact quality now driving the increase in prices. Looking closely, there's one obvious indicator that the F1 came before Cagiva's ownership: bikes that came later reversed the rear cylinder so that both carburetors could be fitted into the engine's vee for much more efficient packaging. Some F1s have awkward pod filters fitted that bulge out from behind the fairing, but this example doesn't bother with something as trivial as "air filtration" and just has mesh screens to keep out rocks, stray animals, and small children.

ZDM750LS-750139 / DM750L1-750238

Recently out of long-term collection in Japan - this Marco Lucchinelli Replica is a time capsule in beautiful shape with only ~2500km  / 1600 miles. Original paint and bodywork is excellent; red paint on the beautiful trellis frame very nice with some darkening on the upper surface of each tube. Clip-ons and muffler have visible surface corrosion. Runs great - bike starts right up, idles well and runs like it should. Original mirrors included in sale.

The F1 Laguna Seca, along with the Santa Monica and Montjuich, represented the pinnacle of the factory Pantah-based TT race-bikes. These hand-built race-replica bikes were closely based on the forks F1 racers with open-throat Dell'Orto carburetors, 10:1 compression pistons, bigger valves and less restrictive exhaust. Transmission uses straight-cut (like the works bikes) instead of helical primary drive gears. The Laguna Seca is fitted with Verlicchi aluminum swing-arm and solo seat.

Widely acclaimed when new - Cycle World stated, "They May Be Bargains. This last Ducati is a throwback in the spirit of the 750 SS of 1973, the F1's most famous predecessor. Like the 750 SS, the F1 is the Italian sportsbike of its era."

Mick Walker summarized in his 1989 Ducati Buyers Guide, "If you find, or already own, an F1 my advice is to hang on to it. If you are doubly lucky to have been able to afford one of the 'limited edition' models, then guard it with your life, for you have a real classic of the future. Any one of the Monjuich, Laguna Seca or Santamonica models is worth a full five stars, for they are both beautiful and rare."

This gem will make a fabulous addition to your collection. Offering with low reserve and reasonable buy-it-now. Currently on it's importation paperwork - Japanese de-registration certificate / English translation of certificate / NHTSA HS7 / EPA 3520-1 / CBP 7501 (stamped). Washington State title is available for $400 documentation fee approx. 5-week wait. WA state buyers responsible for Tax & License.

As the seller mentions, the bike isn't cosmetically perfect, but no bike that's thirty years old and in original condition is likely to be. Bodywork is very sharp, but some of the exposed metal parts have some surface corrosion but the paint on the bodywork looks very nice and mileage is extremely low at just 1,600. The seller is asking for $27,500 $19,500 which seems fair, considering what regular F1s have been going for of late. As you may have guessed, this Featured Listing is being offered by the same seller as yesterday's RG400Γ and it is also a Japanese import, with paperwork that should allow the bike to be legally titled, depending on your local DMV.

-tad

Featured Listing: 1987 Ducati 750 F1 Laguna Seca for Sale
Moto Guzzi October 3, 2017 posted by Tad Diemer

Flawed Masterpiece: 1955 Moto Guzzi 8C “Otto Cilindri” for Sale

Fans of modern machinery may not understand how Moto Guzzi, with their clunky driveshafts and pushrod v-twins, is allowed even a grudging membership to the sportbike club. Of course, a look back a bit further shows Guzzi was very successful in a variety of racing classes throughout the 40s and 50s. But they wanted to play in the premiere 500cc Grand Prix class with Gilera and MV Agusta, both of whom used inline fours as the basis for their race winning machines. Guzzi knew that, in order to compete without years of development, they needed to try something new that would increase power without increasing weight, and they did it with the "Otto Cilindri." Long and low, with a period "dustbin" fairing that made it look like a wheeled torpedo, the bike was as terrifying for riders as it was for the opposition.

The brand new 500cc Grand Prix machine was powered by a brand new V8 engine... Let's just stop there and let that sink in for a moment. A motorcycle. Powered by a 499cc V8. That's not a euphemism or a catchy name. That's "V8." As in "has eight cylinders." It also had four gear-driven overhead cams, eight Dell'Orto carburetors, liquid cooling, oil stored in the frame, and weighed in at 326 pounds with the full fairing in place. If this thing had actually finished a few more races, it'd be in the pantheon of all-time greats. Unfortunately, that's why this bike is a glorious footnote, instead of an unforgettable masterpiece.

The main issue was that the 78hp produced by the ferocious engine was too much for the tire and suspension technology of the period. The bike was capable of very nearly 180mph, but period testing and races were plagued by crashes, with riders eventually refusing to pilot it until it stopped trying to actively kill them. Which is saying something, since basically the entire sport of motorcycle racing was trying to kill riders during this period. Handling was likely compromised by the engine being set too far back in the frame. This was common practice at the time, ostensibly to increase traction at the rear, but put too little weight on the front for stability and handling. Mechanical failures didn't help: the bikes overheated and broke cranks with alarming regularity.

The Otto Cilindri was terrifyingly fast, even considering the mechanical and handling problems: it actually finished fourth and fifth at the 1957 Isle of Man TT, with the fourth-place bike running on 7 cylinders. Considering the ambition of the project, the reliability and handling challenges are no surprise and it is likely that, with time, the bike would have realized its full potential. Unfortunately, Moto Guzzi pulled out of Grand Prix racing in 1957, so this project will always be more of an interesting "what if."

From the original eBay listing: 1955 Moto Guzzi 8C for Sale

Moto Guzzi 8C "Continuation"

Model year 1955

Rare opportunity to acquire one of only 7 "continuation" built in 2001 by Todaro/Frigerio from original Moto Guzzi Factory drawings.
This is the last built, fitted with ORIGINAL crankshaft, pistons and timing gear.

Fully working.

 

Parade race and collect.

Bike is currently located in Italy, 33080 Roveredo in Piano, but i can get them delivered all around World at cost, no problem.

Hat tip to Odd-Bike, where I originally saw this bike posted. Just a handful of the V8 race bikes were ever built, and only two of those remain. But in the early 2000 a small run of seven "continuation" models were built to the original's exact specifications, including the magnesium engine cases and brake drums, although the continuation bikes will likely benefit from improvements in metallurgy. Note that the seller claims this is "fully working" which means that, not only is this a historical artifact, it's also an actual, rideable motorcycle. I'd bet this is one of the rarest, most exotic and historic machines we've ever featured on this site, although it's a bit older than our usual focus. Just how incredible this engine was in concept and execution is beyond the scope of this post or my limited engineering knowledge, but if you've never heard of this thing, it's worth checking out additional sources.

-tad

Flawed Masterpiece: 1955 Moto Guzzi 8C “Otto Cilindri” for Sale