Author Archives: Tad Diemer

Honda November 4, 2017 posted by Tad Diemer

Size Doesn’t Matter: 1991 Honda RS125 for Sale

For some people, a race replica just isn’t enough. And if you want the real thing, a genuine racebike can be very pricey to run, and parts might be literally, not just figuratively, impossible to find. Sure, you can occasionally buy an NSR500V, but can you find parts to rebuild the engine? No, you cannot. Sometimes not at any price. But unlike the NSR500V or even the much more widely-produced RS250, Honda’s RS125 is an over-the-counter, full-on racebike that manages to be affordable, at least in the world of zero-percent-bodyfat racing machines.

Why are they so much less expensive? Well, they were always meant as entry-level racers, so costs were lower to begin with, and they made more of them. There are fewer parts involved as well, and those parts are less likely to be made of unobtanium. Ultimately, part of the reason the RS125 is so light is that there’s really not much there: the tiny, 124.4cc two-stroke single and six-speed gearbox are dwarfed by the aluminum frame that appears to be welded up from cast and extruded sections like a bit of industrial art. Hell, the engine is basically dwarfed by the airbox on later models. The whole thing is draped in raw, lightweight bodywork, and a primitive electrical system complete the package for an all-in dry weight of under 160lbs.

Basically, an RS125 weighs about 40lbs less than an average adult male. Which means that, if you’ve ever half-carried, half-dragged a drunk buddy into his apartment, you should have no problem whatsoever loading an RS125 into a van or truck, ramp or no ramp.

Keep in mind that, while the RS125 might spec out like some sort of dinky learner bike or a hopped-up moped, it’s serious stuff: that incredibly low weight and highly-strung engine producing 40hp mean the power-to-weight ratio on it is fairly shocking. The heritage is there as well, since both Loris Capirossi and Dani Pedrosa both won 125 championships on RS125s. From what I read, it’s so light it even crashes differently than larger machines: once they go down, they tend to skim along instead of tumbling, minimizing damage. Which is nice because whether you’re using this for track days or actual competition, you’re going to need to wring its goddamn neck, everywhere, all the time.

From the original eBay listing: 1991 Honda RS125 for Sale

Honda RS125. Very nice very original bike in excellent condition. The bike was stored for many years so it has very low hours. Small but mighty she will hit 130mph and will lap a GSX-R1000 on a tight track. Most track bikes have a hard life but this one is in fantastic shape with no damage at all other than a scrape on the clutch cover and that is about it . All the brakes work well and the motor starts straight up and runs like a banshee. The motor picks up on the throttle so fast it’s frightening. I actually have a pair of RS125s and will be selling the other one after this one to save confusion. The  opportunity to buy a real factory race bike doesn’t come along often so make the most of it now. There is  obviously no tile with this bike as it’s a race bike. No title. 

I can ship all over the world at good rates.

So the downside is you need to pretty much be an wiry teenager or a waifish supermodel to ride an RS125 in the first place. The upside is that, if you are a wiry teenager or a waifish supermodel, or are just built like one, parts aren’t impossible to find. And many bikes come with huge spares collections, since actively raced two-stroke 125s tend to accumulate those things, and spare parts don’t make much sense to keep when you’re selling on the bike they fit. The Buy It Now price for this example is $5,999 although it doesn't indicate if any spares are included, or are even available.

-tad

Size Doesn’t Matter: 1991 Honda RS125 for Sale
Aprilia November 2, 2017 posted by Tad Diemer

Do it All: Low-Mileage 2003 Aprilia Falco for Sale

I'm a big fan of "budget exotica" mainly because I'm on a budget and I like exotica. First generation Speed Triples and Daytonas, Brutales, and Monsters are all really affordable ways to get a rare performance motorcycle for very few dollars, relatively speaking, but if you want a single motorcycle that can do just about every job, Aprilia's Falco is definitely worth a look. The Falco was intended to be the more practical, sport-touring version of Aprilia's race-replica RSV Mille. But especially here in the US, where our riders are into sportbikes or cruisers, with little interest in what lies between, these are nearly impossible to find in any condition, especially with something with such low mileage. This one probably hasn't even seen its first major service yet!

In typical Italian style, the Falco leans pretty hard to the "sport" end of the sport-touring continuum, with a half-fairing makes the bike look much leaner than the bulbous RSV superbike and suggests a sort of "futuristic 900SS," a bike that would have been a direct competitor at the time. The frame has a stylized trellis look to it, a departure from the very solid beam frame of the RSV, and the riding position is racy without being cripplingly compact. The Mille and the Falco do share a powerplant though, which is no bad thing: the liquid-cooled 998cc Rotax 60° v-twin may be "detuned" in this application, but the quoted 118hp isn't all that much down from the RSV's 128hp and the 162mph top speed isn't very far off either.

Reviews at the time were very positive, but the bike really didn't sell well. A shame since it's a very competent package, but it's great for modern buyers on a budget looking for something cool and relatively reliable. Finding a local dealer might be an issue, but the Rotax engine is considered to be very durable and much lower-maintenance than the Ducati twin of the period.

From the original eBay listing: 2003 Aprilia Falco for Sale

This may be the only 2003 Aprilia with less than 1550 miles. This bike has been garaged kept and serviced pursuant to schedule since it was built. Powered by a liquid-cooled Rotax 998 cc 60° V-twin engine, the Falco's 118 hp is powerful (top speed 162 mph). The Falco is fuel injected with dual exhaust. The Falco has a rare look with its half-fairing and twin-beam alloy frame. The gold twin Brembo 320 mm semi-floating front brake discs and oversize back tire are sharp.  I’m only selling it because I’m moving, and I no longer can ride it.  There are a few minor scratches (documented in phots), but the bike has never been dropped or put down.  The bike needs nothing and is ready to ride, as I just had a full service performed.   I’ve literally treated this Falco like a piece of art and have never had a problem with it. 

Buyer assumes shipping costs. You can pick up, or I will help you arrange shipping. The Falco is in St. Louis, Missouri.   

"No longer can ride it"? With just over 1,500 miles on it, it seems like the seller pretty much never had time to ride it! Well, the seller's loss is your gain, and it sounds like it's been carefully maintained ready to roll instead of just sitting, collecting dust. While a Falco isn't cutting edge now, and doesn't offer a modern bike's electronic bells and whistles, the performance-to-dollar ratio here is pretty much off the charts, offering big v-twin sound and torque, good handling, and striking, if somewhat sterile looks in a reliable package, and likely some good parts interchangeability with the hotter RSV model, all for the seller's $4,199 Buy It Now price.

-tad

Do it All: Low-Mileage 2003 Aprilia Falco for Sale
Honda October 27, 2017 posted by Tad Diemer

Time Travel: 1989 Honda GB500 TT for Sale

At a glance, you might be thinking, “Hey, when did I get redirected to ClassicSportbikesforSale?” But no, this isn’t a vintage machine, it’s a Honda GB500 TT that was built in 1989. Strangely, it was both ahead of its time and retro, something that was really only achieved by the GB500 and Moto Guzzi’s 1000S. These days, classic is king, and many of the major manufacturers are cashing in on their heritage: Ducati, BMW, Triumph all have very successful lines of retro-styled bikes with modern performance. But in the late 1980s, the classic-style craze hadn't really caught on yet here in the US, and the GB500 has languished in obscurity for a long time, although used examples command decent prices and values are now on the rise.

Styled to evoke British classics from the 50s and 60s like Norton's famous Manx racers, the GB500 is one of those “everything you need and nothing you don’t” kind of machines, assuming you’re not trying to cut some serious lap times at the track or stalk superbikes in the canyons. Powered by a sleeved-down version of Honda's XL600, it’s simple, fun, and easy to maintain. The four-valve single gave 33hp at the rear wheel, enough to push the 390lb wet machine to a top speed north of The Ton: 108mph in period tests. It's not very fast in a straight line, but handling was very good and it's obviously a handsome machine: anyone who doesn’t know what it is will probably assume it’s much, much older than it is, and you'll get plenty of questions.

So with good looks, reliability, and usable performance, why didn’t it sell very well? Well it actually did sell pretty well in its home market. But in the late 1980s, vintage nostalgia hadn’t really taken off in the US, where the bike was sold for just two years: 1989 and 1990. Part of the problem might have been that you could still buy the real thing for reasonable prices, so the main reason to get one was that you wanted the style of a 50s or 60s British bike without the hassle. The price didn't help either: it was a well-built machine, but the $4200 Honda wanted was just $500 less than a Kawasaki ZX-7, so it's pretty obvious why the bike wasn't popular among "more is more" American motorcyclists.

From the original eBay listing: 1989 Honda GB500 TT for Sale

The GB500 TT derives its name from "Great Britain, 500cc and from the Tourist Trophy" a classic 37-mile motorcycle circuit on the Isle of Man.
It was originally produced 1989-1990. It is a 498cc SOHC single cylinder with a 5 speed transmission at approx. 390 lb. It has both an electric push start and a kick start. Paint is a metallic black-green with gold pin-striping and lettering, as well as chrome wire wheels. Although the British inspired the style of the bike, Japan polished the details and improved on the engines' smoothness and durability.

My bike is the 1989 GB500.

I am the second owner and bought this bike form a collector on 08/1998. It had 1,853 mi on it at the time. I have kept it garaged and rode it for pleasure around town. The current mileage 5,226. It is in great condition. The bike is light, easy to handle and fun to ride. Its vintage British styling turns heads. It has Metzler tires. The bike has a couple of faint paint scratches on the tank. It runs great. It has a Supertrapp exhaust that reduces the overall weight and makes the bikes single cylinder thumper earn its name. The chrome on the Supertrap is slightly aged. I also have the original exhaust system that goes with the bike. I previously purchased a Corbin dual seat made specifically for this bike. This also goes with the bike.

This is a classic bike so serious buyers who are interested in this particular bike should respond. I am asking $ 6,500. If you want to have to look at the bike in person I will meet serious buyers only. If you want to take the bike for a ride you will need to bring the asking price in cash as collateral.

The $6,500 asking price is at the high end of the spectrum for a decent GB500, but this one looks especially nice, with extremely low miles. If you like the style of a classic Triumph or Norton, but want something you can ride every weekend without having to gap the plugs, replace the points, reattach wayward brackets, make sure all the lights work, and clean up puddles of oil, the GB500 is a surprisingly classy and faithful replica of the real thing, without all that famous British bike "character..."

-tad

Time Travel: 1989 Honda GB500 TT for Sale
Suzuki October 24, 2017 posted by Tad Diemer

Bad Reputation: 1997 Suzuki TL1000S for Sale

By the early 1990s, pretty much everyone making a hard-core sportbike was using an inline four engine for their regular production motorcycles. And why not? An inline four is a relatively compact engine, is capable of making excellent power for a given displacement, is smooth-running, and can achieve much higher revs than configurations using fewer, bigger pistons. But Ducati stuck with their sports v-twin, likely because of both budgetary and marketing reasons. With some pressure on various race series' governing bodies, they were allowed a bit of additional displacement compared to inline fours to keep them competitive in terms of outright power, and the wider spacing between power pulses gave them an advantage in terms of traction. But for street riders, the big benefit of a twin was character so, by the mid-1990s, the Japanese manufacturers wanted in on all that sweet vee action. For Suzuki, that meant the introduction of their stylish, half-faired TL1000S.

As has been discussed before, a transversely-mounted v-twin motor is very narrow for good aerodynamics and the perfect primary balance means it's a smooth performer, but packaging in a modern sportbike can be an issue. Ducati refers to their 90° engine as an "L-twin" to differentiate it from other v-twin sportbike engines, and it references the fact that the front cylinder is virtually horizontal, with the rear cylinder sticking almost straight up. Looking at the bike from the right hand side, the engine does indeed look like a capital L instead of a V. The problem is one of packaging: it's a long engine and, with a conventional set up, it results in a long wheelbase or a short swingarm, neither of which is ideal. Notice that, on the Panigale, the rear shock and linkage sit alongside the engine. To get the wheelbase they wanted, Suzuki rotated their own  90° v-twin backwards in the frame to clear the front wheel and used unconventional but very compact rotary damper setup at the rear. The theory is sound but, as many original owners discovered, it didn't work out all that well in practice for the TL.

The issue was that the damper worked fine up until the pace heated up, along with the oil inside, which caused it to quickly loose its ability to, um... dampen. This led to an unenviable reputation for scary tank-slappers and terrifying on-the-limit handling. A larger capacity unit would probably have solved the problem, but several companies have stepped in and developed a compact spring/shock that replaces the stock Suzuki unit and gives predictable performance, allowing the bike's otherwise excellent design to shine.

The TL's handling may have been suspect, but there is no doubting that engine: in various states of tune, it's powered a variety of Suzuki sport and touring models, along with a gaggle of Bimotas and Cagivas. It's powerful, reliable, and makes all those v-twin noises without the occasional frustrations that came with Ducati ownership at the time. Ducati service intervals are even longer than some Japanese makes these days, but when the TL was introduced, Ducati ownership required real commitment to deal with the recommended 6,000 mile valve adjustments. You might be lacking the famous dry-clutch rattle but, fitted with a good set of carbon fiber cans as seen here, the TL makes all the right noises.

Many TLs have led hard lives: they were billed as affordable Ducati-killers and people certainly treated them that way, so it's nice to see one that's been used, but well cared-for.  Some of the aesthetic upgrades may not be to your taste, but good carbon fiber is never a terrible idea, and you can probably find someone willing to swap for the stock parts if you're interested in originality. Something I wouldn't change is the rear shock conversion that's been fitted to sort the handling, the steering damper that should cure any errant bar motions, and the carbon cans fitted to bring out the expected big-twin boom.

Reading the seller's detailed description, there's something strangely familiar about it though...

From the original eBay listing: 1997 Suzuki TL1000S for Sale

Up for sale is a fantastic condition fuel injected 1997 Suzuki TL1000S with just over 21k on it. This bike has great personality, tons of low-end power and mid range grunt. Super fast but easily controllable and has great handling. This bike would make a great weekend twisty runner, commuter bike, or fully at home on the track. It is extremely fun to ride. It rides very smooth and can keep up with most sport bikes thru the twistys. Its a fantastic mixture of lightweight body/frame (gotta love the trellis style frame) and the perfect amount of power for the street. You wont be disappointed with this bike. Thousands of dollars in aftermarket goodies and hundreds spent on recent maintence items. This bike is ready to hop on and ride.

The bike has thousands of dollars in aftermarket upgrades and accessories below is a list:

1. Devil Slip-on Carbon Fiber exhaust (This exhaust is exactly what a V-Twin sport bike should sound like)
2. Carbon Fiber look Rear Hugger
3. Carbon Fiber look Air Dam Surrounds
4. Shorty turn signals front
5. Smoked Windscreen
6. Pro-Grip Carbon Tank Protector
7. Integrated rear tail lamp assembly (brake lights, running lights, and turn signals)
8. Adjustable shorty levers (Silver levers with black adjusters)
9. Aftermarket rear wave rotor
10. Aftermarket front wave rotors (not currently installed)
11. R1 rear shock conversion installed (This fixes all the problems with the rotary damper totally removes it)
12. Renthal Grips
13. Aftermarket black Aluminum side mirrors
14. Weisco Fuel Management (dyno tuned for current setup, runs amazing)
15. Aluminum Pro-Tek front and rear brake reservoir covers
16. Carbon Fiber Exhaust boot shields
17. Stainless Steel brake lines front and rear
18. Fender Eliminator
19. Aftermarket Color Matched Undertail

Here is a list of recent maintence items done to the bike:

1. Brand new oil and filter (Synth oil)
2. Chain adjusted and oiled
3. Coolant Flush
4. Steering Dampener Replaced
5. Spark plugs replaced
6. TPS adjusted/recalibrated
7. Battery Tender Hook-up
9. DID chain
10. Front and rear sprocket

Bike comes with a tub of extras that include the passenger seat, all documents for maintence and tuner, some of the stock parts, as well as some additional parts for the bike. Look at picture to see all. Any questions please ask. Price is negotiable. Need gone ASAP.

Introduced in 1997 and made until 2001, the TL1000S was a shot across Ducati's bow. Tired of the Bolognese firm getting all the press for their sexy, thunderous twins, Suzuki did them one better: a reliable, low-maintenance, liquid-cooled v-twin that made the power of Ducati's 916 at the price of their air-cooled 900SS...

While 125hp may not sound particularly scary now, it was a pretty big number for a v-twin in 1997 and the grunty power delivery, combined with relatively light weight and a compact wheelbase, made for notoriously "entertaining" handling.

In contrast to Ducati's "L" twin, Suzuki rotated their 90° motor backwards in the chassis, allowing better packaging at the front of the bike. This left less room at the back for a traditional shock, so Suzuki whipped up a "rotary" damper that was far more compact than a traditional "linear" shock. Unfortunately, one of the reasons traditional spring/shock combos are so widely used is that they've got 70 years of development behind them and just flat work. When ridden hard, the TL's rotary unit gets hot and loses its damping ability, which may contribute to the bike's reputation for "tank slappers", unintended wheelies, and all-around beastliness.

On paper, the TL1000S should have stomped Ducati flat, but that really never happened. But while the first bike to house Suzuki's new twin may not have set the world on fire, the potential in the engine was obvious. It became the Engine That Powered a Thousand Bikes, finding homes in Bimota's SB8 and the Cagiva Gran Canyon and Raptor models, and it still thumps on in the Suzuki VStrom.

Later reviews toned down the emphasis on the TL's "widowmaker" tendencies, suggesting that things had been exaggerated just a bit at the time. And, if you do plan to really ride this bike hard, a modern steering damper will help keep things under control, and kits are available to change out the rotary damper for a more traditional unit.

The 996cc engine does sound amazing with a set of aftermarket cans fitted, and the bassy thump that pumps out of the twin exhausts is pretty distinctive, like a very good computer simulation of a Ducati, with added bass.

The TL1000S is aging better than most. The motors are pretty bulletproof, parts should be readily available, and would make a great day-in, day-out bike for someone who wants big twin noise and feel, but doesn't feel like paying for Ducati maintenance.

Or someone that really, really likes wheelies.

Look, Suzuki's TL1000S is a pretty cool bike, and historically significant as described above, but I'll be frank: the reason I posted this example is because the seller's description is basically a cut-and-paste of another post I wrote a while back! This isn't the first time that's happened and honestly, I'm flattered. Hey, if someone thinks my description of a particular model will help them sell it, I'm doing something right. Reading through it, I do wish I'd been a little less liberal with the quotation marks though... In any event, the TL1000S still offers up a whole bunch of bang for the buck. Nice ones are already pretty hard to find, but still don't command much money. The looks may not be to everyone's taste, but I think it's better-looking than the bulbous, more conventionally-styled TL1000R and, with the replacement of the rotary damper, should be a solid handler. The epitome of 90s styling, with analog big-twin power and tasteful upgrades at a bargain price? What's not to like?

-tad

Bad Reputation: 1997 Suzuki TL1000S for Sale
Yamaha October 23, 2017 posted by Tad Diemer

Historic Stroker: 1977 Yamaha TZ750 for Sale

Update 10.23.2017: We first saw this TZ750 for sale in March 2016 with a buy-it-now of $95k. It is now listed for $62k. Good luck to buyers and seller! Links updated. -dc

1977 Yamaha TZ750 R Side

It’s pretty much raining Yamaha TZ750s this week, with no less than three of these valuable and iconic racers available for sale, of the 600 or so that were built throughout production. It’s a bit older than the bikes we normally feature here on the site, but I think we can make an exception in this case. If you’re not familiar, the TZ750 was Yamaha’s two-stroke roadracing machine that was dominant in AMA racing during the 1970s.

1977 Yamaha TZ750 L Side Tank

Early bikes put out around 90hp but that jumped to 140 by the time 1977 had rolled around. That may not sound like much by today’s standards, but combined with the bike’s light 345lb weight and the primitive frame, suspension, and tire technology of the time, it was a true test of a rider’s skill to keep the beast pointed in a straight line, to say nothing of the curves…

1977 Yamaha TZ750 R Side Lower Fairing

The first bikes actually displaced 700cc and were reportedly built up from a pair of Yamaha’s racing 350s, a rumor borne out by the fact that some of the early TZ700s appear to have “347” stamped into the cases. But the later machines that debuted in 1975 shared no parts at all with the parallel twins. Apparently based around a bored-out 500cc Grand Prix engine, the TZ750 eventually moved from a twin-shock to a monoshock rear suspension for vastly improved handling. In any case, they were the bikes to beat throughout the 1970s, with both power and reliability. They just needed brave and skilled riders able to exploit them.

1977 Yamaha TZ750 R Side Engine

From the original eBay listing: 1977 Yamaha TZ750 for Sale

This is the 1977 Vesco/Romero/Busch Beer TZ750. Lots of history.

The engine cases in the bike now are an early spare. The original cases have just had a repair to the shift fork rod support boss and are ready to go back in the bike.

The original engine was also used as the rear engine in the Vesco land speed record streamliner.

Bike is sold as is and with Bill of Sale.

Some spares will also be included in the sale.

1977 Yamaha TZ750 L Side Engine

With a Buy It Now price of $95,000 I’d hope that “all the spares” would be included in the sale. Or that the seller would include a few more details regarding exactly what spares: when you’re trying to keep a forty year old racing machine running, every bit helps. That’s obviously a lot to pay for any motorcycle, but I’ve no doubt this thing is worth some serious cash, given its rarity and racing history.

-tad

1977 Yamaha TZ750 R Side Rear

Historic Stroker: 1977 Yamaha TZ750 for Sale
Kawasaki October 21, 2017 posted by Tad Diemer

Little Kwaker: 1989 Kawasaki ZXR250A for Sale

A small-displacement motorcycle with a four-cylinder powerplant like this Kawasaki ZXR250 really makes no practical sense: singles and parallel-twins are simple to manufacture, inexpensive to maintain, easier to package, torquey, and fun to ride. Up to a certain size, where the weight of a single piston and connecting rod create unacceptable vibrations that irritate the rider and tear the engine apart from within, they really just make sense, which helps to explain the popularity of single cylinder powerplants for smaller, or entry-level machines.

But the ZXR250, introduced in 1988, wasn't really an entry-level machine. It was intended for markets where experienced riders were limited by laws and heavy taxes on larger displacement machines. Riders that might want a more sophisticated machine, and were willing to pay additional costs in terms of purchase price, maintenance, and reduced fuel economy. What they got in return was a big bike experience, just without all that pesky horsepower...

The tiny, Swiss-watch marvel of an engine in the ZXR250 displaced just 249cc, but still had four cylinders, dual overhead-cams, and sixteen tiny valves. The bike produced a claimed 45hp, with a paltry 18 ft-lbs of torque from just 15 cubic inches, enough to push the 311lb machine to 124mph. Notably, the bike could scream along happily up to 19,000rpm, a big selling-point for fans of rev-happy engines. The rest of the spec was up to big-bike standards as well: a aluminum beam frame and a set of upside-down forks, something that was pretty uncommon for sportbikes, especially smaller machines, prior to the 1990s.

From the original eBay listing: 1989 Kawasaki ZXR250A for Sale

1989 Kawasaki ZXR250A Japanese Import Rare
42hp Inline 4 250cc 4 Stroke 19000rpm Red line
53000kms Runs and Drives great.
Forks have been rebuilt, brakes have been serviced, carbs have been cleaned and serviced with bigger jets, spark plugs and wires have been replaced, speedometer cable is new, has clear turn signal covers, has a rare rear seat cover but still has rear seat underneath, has a smoked windscreen, adjustable brake and clutch levers, and a Vega Sports muffler, comes with a Daishin Racing full aluminum pipe very light. Left side has some scrapes on fairing but doesnt affect anything. Registered and clean titled in Florida.
Motorcycle is pickup only. Sold as is.

Photos show the bike fitted with Japanese plates, which I'm assuming is in lieu of blocking the Florida plates with tape or a thumb or something. It's a bit dirty [see wheels] and there is damage to the left side of the bike as described by the seller, but looks complete and is otherwise very sharp for a nearly 30 year old machine. Obviously, a 250cc four cylinder sportbike is more a novelty than anything else, especially here in the USA where cheap speed is the order of the day. But as long as the price is right, I can completely see the appeal: being able to just pin the throttle everywhere, all the time, without tripling the national speed limit or riding with suicidal abandon is pretty cool. I'm a big fan of the "slow bike fast" thing and with a $5,000 Buy It Now price, I think this will likely find a buyer.

-tad

Little Kwaker: 1989 Kawasaki ZXR250A for Sale