Author Archives: Tad Diemer

Laverda February 26, 2018 posted by Tad Diemer

Hot Rod Italian: 1983 Laverda Jota for Sale

By 1983, Laverda was on a slow, downward slide as the company made incremental improvements to their charismatic, but outdated machines to keep them marginally relevant: by that point, the Japanese offered bikes with handling, power, and reliability, all at a significantly lower cost. They couldn't match Italian bikes like the Laverda Jota for style, but styling is subjective anyway, and it is really irrelevant if the bikes in question are out of your financial reach in the first place.

But in 1976 when the original Jota was introduced, Laverda was doing just fine. Their new three cylinder 3C that had been introduced a few years prior was fast, powerful, and handsome, on the cutting edge of performance at the time. But British shop Slater Laverda thought the 981cc triple had more to offer, and with new camshafts, high-compression pistons, and an exhaust their "Jota," named for a Spanish dance, was good for 90hp and 146mph, big numbers for the day.

The original Laverda three cylinder bikes, including the Jota, used a 180° crankshaft with the outside pistons rising and falling at the same time. The result has been described as running like a "four cylinder with a miss" due to the ragged, uneven sound and feel. At lower rpm, it almost sounds like a twin, although the extra cylinder adds an additional layer to the sound as revs build and it's a very raw, raucous powerplant. Later machines switched to a smoother, more conventional 120° crankshaft, but all Jotas sound way wilder than any modern triple, so if you're expecting the "neutered" 120° bikes to feel like a modern Triumph Speed Triple, you'll be sadly disappointed or incredibly thrilled, depending on your point of view.

Today's example from 1983 likely has the 120° crankshaft that was introduced in 1982, but with low-volume Italian bikes it can be hard to predict. The earlier, raw-er bikes are generally more desirable, but pretty much all classic Laverda triples have become very valuable at this point, especially Jotas.

From the original eBay listing: 1983 Laverda Jota for Sale

1983 Laverda Jota. All original and unmolested. This bike runs and drives like a new motorcycle. Has been fully serviced, needs nothing. I won't go into a long tirade, because if you're looking at this, you know exactly what you were looking for. Absolutely and confidently NO disappointments!

Well I know what the seller means, buy I'd argue semantics and say that an old Laverda in no way runs or drives "like a new motorcycle," which I think is really the point here. Modern motorcycles are dead reliable and deadly fast, but they basically do exactly what they've been asked to do: they start, they run, they go around corners. That's a little boring, and a Laverda Jota is anything but boring, even in more refined 120° form. A modern bike is basically a tool, and an old bike and especially an old Italian bike is more like a living thing: a lover or a temperamental spouse. The asking price for this particular mail-order bride? $32,000.


Hot Rod Italian: 1983 Laverda Jota for Sale
Honda February 25, 2018 posted by Tad Diemer

Six-y Beast: 1980 Moto Martin CBX for Sale

You might initially be confused by what you're looking at here, but get past that riot of color and the swoopy bodywork, and the big aluminum brick of an engine could only be one thing: Honda's 1047cc, 24-valve straight-six CBX motor. But what about the rest of it? What exactly is a Moto Martin CBX?

Honda's original CBX was a bit of a missed opportunity. It seemed designed to capitalize on the six cylinder racing bikes of the late 1960s, but no real link between the two seems to have been made in advertising the bike. And certainly there was no obvious visual connection, either: the original machines were jewel-like, pure racing motorcycles, while the CBX was a sophisticated, premium machine clearly designed for the road. It was big, heavy, and pretty powerful for the day, but handling was poor due to a flexible frame and the bike's overall weight.

The main reason to own a CBX was always that huge brick of an engine with its cascade of exhaust pipes sweeping around and under it, the wild shriek of the engine, and its smooth power. But in its original iteration, that was pretty much the only reason to own one. They could be made to get around a race track: some great videos exist of them shaking a leg on track, but they weren't really suited to it. And styling was relatively bland as well, typically conservative 70s UJM, with just a small duck-tail spoiler at the rear t0 add a bit of zing.

The solution was pretty simple if you had a bit of money and the ability to twirl some wrenches: find a nice, clean CBX, remove the motor and electrical system, and basically ditch the rest. By 1980, the Japanese manufacturers had gotten a handle on the art of making their motorcycles go around corners, but the small frame builders that had sprung up during the 60s and 70s were still around, and the CBX was a perfect candidate for a custom creation. Certainly Frenchman Georges Martin thought so, and his Moto Martin-framed CBXs are often considered the CBXs to have.

There's no getting around the width of the inline six, and any replacement frame is going to have to figure out how to go over or under, since there's just no going around... The Moto Martin part hugs the back of the engine pretty closely, making the stock airbox pretty much impossible, and replaces the original twin-shock arrangement with a monoshock setup, with thicker forks up front. Interestingly, it kept the original bike's geometry, which was basically fine. A finished Moto Martin CBX was both lighter and stiffer than the original bike, with new bodywork, including a one-piece tail, kept the ducktail spoiler but gave the finished bike a much sleeker, more purposeful look, while twin round lamps gave it a bit of endurance racing cred.

From the original eBay listing: 1980 Moto Martin CBX for Sale

This is an extremely rare and highly desirable Moto Martin CBX built from a complete Moto Martin rolling chassis with all of the best equipment of the day as fitted by Moto Martin including: Moto Martin aluminium 18inch wheels, Marzocchi forks, Brembo brakes front and rear with drilled cast iron rotors, braided hoses, De-Carbon under tank rear mono-shock. It has been customised with a different bikini fairing and single piece fibreglass tank and seat unit as in the pictures (and has received a FB like from Georges Martin himself) but the original Moto Martin aluminium tank, fairing, fairing bracket, headlight bracket, seat unit, screen with a spare as shown, are also included in the sale.

The motor is very strong as befitting the bike and is fitted with Carrillo Rods and Arias 1168cc big bore Arias forged piston kit and has done very little mileage since the big bore kit was fitted (hence my reason for sale), being ridden by me only in a few exhibitions for historic motorcycles at our local racetrack.

All in great condition with a few marks and slight damage to the side cover as shown in the photographs. I am the third owner, the previous owner and I each owning the bike for over 15 years.

Your opportunity to own the rarest and most desirable bike in the CBX world!

Seller can help with shipping - I live in a city with a major port.

Like a Spondon or a Rickman, there's really no "standard" Moto Martin: they were generally sold as kits and built to the customer's specifications. As few as 50 may exist that are actually titled as Moto Martins, but more kits were probably sold. The listing shows this as a 1980 model, but I believe the Martin kit wasn't introduced until a bit later, so this might be titled as a Honda CBX, per the donor engine and transmission. The starting bid is $10,000 with no bids as yet. Depending on the reserve, this might be a good opportunity to get a very rare machine for a pretty good price, but note that this bike currently resides in South Africa, so keep that in mind if you're suddenly having fantasies of wheeling this beast past your local bike hangout.


Six-y Beast: 1980 Moto Martin CBX for Sale
Honda February 23, 2018 posted by Tad Diemer

Very Clean, Very Sharp: 1991 Honda NSR250R MC21 for Sale

The flood of grey-market imports shows no sign of abating and prices, although they haven't been increasing at the same rate as they were, also show no signs of actually decreasing anytime soon. What's the appeal of little two-stroke sportbikes like this Honda NSR250R? Well, power may not be all that impressive on paper: just 45 claimed horses for the restricted versions available in the Japanese market, although they can be derestricted and easily tuned for more power, depending on your budget and willingness to get the thing rebuilt when it blows up...

But 50 or 60hp in a sub-300lb package means agility undreamed of by modern machines, and they're packed with all sorts of technology that was cutting edge at the time. And the peaky little powerplants require skill and involvement to use properly, and they make you work a bit for your speed. Sure, it's cool to run your favorite canyon road in one gear on a large-displacement four-stroke, but your left foot will never get bored riding one of these little things...

Even though these are now much more readily available here in the US, it can be tricky to find really nice examples. They aren't seen as particularly rare or exotic in their home market and were bought and used for their intended purpose: canyon and trackday hooning by aspiring racers emulating their GP heroes. They had cutting-edge technology, but were always relatively affordable, and 80s and 90s Japanese build quality meant that, even when well-maintained, they can get a little scruffy around the edges.

Many of these we've featured show signs of surface corrosion that often leads commenters to claim that the low miles must be a lie, but a bike stored outside, even under cover, in a salt-air environment leads to just that kind of deterioration, and many "original" bikes will need some cosmetic attention if you want their looks to match their mileage, now that these have graduated from "cheap thrasher" to "exotic, two-stroke collectible." Luckily, that doesn't seem to be the case here.

From the original eBay listing: 1991 Honda NSR250R MC21 for Sale

1991 Honda NSR250R MC21 that is a blast to ride with all the intoxicating noises and smells you only get with a 2-stroke. 22,467 kms (13,960 miles). All original except for the front fender, re-painted OEM fuel tank and rear-view mirrors. A great running bike (see YouTube vid) and very well sorted cosmetically considering its age. The bike does has some scratches and touch-up spots here and there as one can expect for being 27 years old and having traveled half-way around the world. The frame is in excellent condition with little to no pitting or corrosion marks. Fuel tank is also in excellent condition with fresh paint and is rust free inside.

All fluids are fresh and fork seals were replace in Jan 2017. Tires are Conti Sport Attack 2s were also replaced in Jan 2017 and have only 1,500 miles on them. Battery is new as of Jan. 2017 and was on a Battery Tender when bike was not in use.

This NSR250R was imported legally and comes with a VIN matching Maryland State title and 3 keys.

Sold as-is and buyer is responsible for shipping or pickup. I will assist as much as I can if shipping is needed and can recommend a couple shippers I have worked with.

Please email with any questions before bidding. While I am certain the buyer will be happy I want to make sure all questions and concerns are dealt with before hand.

This NSR250R has managed to avoid that particular problem and, aside from some pretty minor wear, looks to be in excellent condition. A couple bits are, as the seller mentioned, repainted, but there's no shame in that on a bike nearly 30 years old. The seller includes a nice video of the bike being started and running, which is always nice. With a clean title, the $7,250 asking price seems pretty fair, but there are no takers as yet and there is very little time left on the auction.


Very Clean, Very Sharp: 1991 Honda NSR250R MC21 for Sale
Suzuki February 20, 2018 posted by Tad Diemer

Better Than the Real Thing? 1980 Suzuki XR69 Replica for Sale

We don't normally like to post up bikes that stray too far from stock, but this very useable, purpose-built replica of Suzuki's XR69 seemed too well put together to pass up. And certainly, this isn’t just some GS1000 with an aftermarket fairing slapped into place with some stickers holding it together. It's gorgeous, painstakingly crafted, and fully-prepped to compete in vintage racing classes. In some ways, it's even better than a real XR69. Crash one of those, and you've destroyed a valuable investment, a living historical racing document. Crash this one, and it's just money, and significantly less money than an actual XR69.

The original XR69 was a late 70s/ early 80s four-stroke superbike, a bit like a WSBK and MotoGP hybrid. The engine was obviously based on Suzuki’s production GS1000, but power for the race engine quickly outstripped the ability of the stock platform to handle it, so Suzuki provided frames and suspension parts from their two-stroke GP bikes, and the bikes suddenly handled as well as they went. 1981 saw a switch from a dual shock setup to a Full Floater rear suspension and even better handling. Surprisingly, engines were developed by Pops Yoshimura instead of Suzuki’s in-house racing department, and the 997cc DOHC, 16-valve inline four put 134hp through the GS1000's five speed gearbox. The package was updated with a dry clutch in 1983 and top speed was 170mph, depending on gearing.

This one obviously has some minor differences. It uses a monoshock rear that would more likely have been found on the 1981 model and appears to use 17" wheels at both ends. But the frame looks pretty authentic to my inexpert eye and the overall effect is very impressive.

From the original eBay listing: 1980 Suzuki XR69 Replica for Sale

For Sale: Suzuki XR69 - A replica of the factory Yoshimura 1980 Suzuki XR69 raced for endurance racing in Europe ridden by Wes Cooley. This bike was built for the sole purpose of racing the International Challenge at Phillip Island in Australia. I have raced this bike last year and is extremely fast and performs like a modern bike. The suspension has been transformed by Dave Moss out of California and is flawless for me.

Pro mod built crank with 493 Katana rods. displacement: 1280cc. 39mm CR Keihin carbs. 31mm titanium intake valves. Stainless steel 27mm exhaust valves... extensive porting, new springs, ti retainers, hard faced cams and rocker arms. $6k in the head. No expense spared in building this engine as well as bike! All work performed by Larry Cook Racing in Portland OR.  Undercut transmission. Billet clutch hub with brand new Barnett clutch plates. Sigma Slipper clutch. Dynatek 2000 ignition with grey coils. Wego A/F gauge. Chromoly outstanding CMR custom built frame out of Canada. Custom 4:2:1 exhaust by Hindle. Brand new Ohlins rear shock with different springs. EBC front rotors and pads with unbelievable stopping power. Able to be started on the end of crank with hand starter. All making 171.5 hp. at the rear wheel with 110 fuel. There is more power to be found with different fuels!!Has tremendous power down low as well.

An extremely comfortable ride as well! Recently completely rebuilt because of top end oiling issue with new sleeves and custom pistons and tested at Utah. Perfect and Ready to go for Phillip Island with Dunlop newer slicks (1 practice session and 1 break-in session on Dyno) For all you professionals wanting to race a bike for Team USA at Phillip Island 2019 this is the one that will get you in the pointy end of the race.

What's this really worth? Well, it obviously has very minimal historic value, not being an actual historic racing motorcycle. But it is a fully-built racing machine built to compete on the vintage circuit and that $26,000 asking price seems pretty fair, considering the parts and labor that have gone into this one. The market for a replica historic racing motorcycle may be small, but this one will hopefully find the right buyer.


Better Than the Real Thing? 1980 Suzuki XR69 Replica for Sale
Honda February 19, 2018 posted by Tad Diemer

Silver Streak: 1980 Honda CB750F Super Sport for Sale

Although the term "sportbike" evokes images of sleek, fully-faired two-wheeled plastic darts, the term has been steadily evolving and originally would have been used to describe bikes like this, the Honda CB750F Super Sport.  Strangely practical-looking for a sportbike, the CB750F was the logical evolution of Honda's revolutionary, but long-in-the-tooth CB750. That bike set the motorcycling world on its ear in 1969, but ten years is a long time, and the bike was in serious need of an update.


Introduced in 1979, the CB750F took the earlier machine and moved the game on a bit: SOHC became DOHC, and two valves per cylinder became four. It was still air-cooled, but the changes led to a claimed 72hp from the 748cc engine. Bore and stroke were perfectly square: 62mm x 62mm. Why not more oversquare per typical, high-revving motorcycle convention? Well Honda felt that the narrower bore meant a narrower, more aerodynamic engine and less surface area meant better combustion. It wasn't particularly light, although the 503lb dry weight was pretty standard for the period, as were the 19" front 18" rear wheels, now cast instead of spoked.

The bike was updated slightly for the 1980 model year seen here with improved rear Showa shocks, a reinforced swingarm, a frame revised to increase rigidity, and heavier, but stronger wheels that replaced the 1979's Comstar hoops. Overall, weight was increased, but so was handling. The package might seem underwhelming for riders used to modern hardware, but period reviews were very positive, praising the bike's agility, stability, and the powerful engine.

From the original eBay listing: 1980 Honda CB750F Super Sport for Sale

Amazing pristine collector Super Sport bike in rare "seldom seen" condition

  • 750cc inline DOHC engine
  • 78HP 5 speed
  • 12 Second 1/4 mile sport bike
  • Timeless design
  • Super Sport racing handle bars
  • New tires 
  • Two owner bike

Silver Metallic paint that appears brand new. Bike has had recent service. Meticulous detail work done and looks and runs like brand new motorcycle. Garaged kept by collector and still looks new 38 years later - She's ready to ride! Beautiful bike with a style that will keep on pleasing. I get compliments on this bike every time it goes out. Rare condition and there will be absolutely no disappointments. I'll be here to assist your shippers any way I can. 

To me it appears to have been completely restored, but I'm not certain. This just my opinion. I've restored a lot of cars in my time but not a bike. This bike is absolutely gorgeous and looks freshly done. I purchased it from a fellow car collector. Again, it looks like a complete restoration had been performed but I can't be certain. Bike has never been dropped or laid down. You can't restore a bike for what I'm asking. Please look closely at the photos as they are a true representation of the immaculate condition of this Super Sport bike.

Here's a beautiful sport bike being offered here in exceptional condition!  You will not find another motorcycle like this one in this condition for this price! It's cheaper than a dirt bike! I've put a very reasonable price of only $5,800 on the bike. For the money that has been spent on this bike, it can't be duplicated for anywhere close to what I'm asking. Jump on this deal… she needs a new home, admirer and a rider that wants to show her off! Again… you will not be disappointed! You're buying the "BEST"

Thank you for your consideration. Drew - Arizona

Wow. Well this CB750F is very nice, but $5,800 is a pretty big jump over the last time I eyeballed values. Of course, in a couple years' time, that might start to look like a bargain... Certainly, these aren't modern sportbikes in any sense of the word, with an air-cooled engine, dual shock rear suspension, spindly forks, and huge wheels. And the weight is pretty shocking as well. But unlike the potentially crippling ergonomics of something like an MV Agusta F4, this old school superbike offers a pretty relaxed riding position and a wide, flat seat that probably works well for two, so you can share your vintage sportbike with your vintage back, and maybe a vintage companion.


Silver Streak: 1980 Honda CB750F Super Sport for Sale
Kawasaki February 15, 2018 posted by Tad Diemer

Boosted: 1978 Kawasaki KZ 1000 Z1-R TC Turbo for Sale

Turbochargers are pretty ubiquitous these days, allowing for insane levels of reliable performance and fuel economy, especially when coupled with modern electronics permitting compression ratios that early adopters of boost could only dream of. Modern cars offer flat torque curves and seamless power, but older turbocharged set ups were notorious for lag that felt like you were towing a piano, right up until the turbo finally spooled up and launched you at the horizon. For a brief, glorious period in the 1980s, the Japanese motorcycle manufacturers, all flush with cash from their domination of the world motorcycle market and caught up in the rush towards an exciting, digital future, introduced turbocharging to the motorcycling world. Slapping TURBO badges onto cars was already the cool new thing, so why not bikes? Unfortunately, it wasn't that simple, and the trend died out after a few short years. But it all started here, with Kawasaki's Z1-R TC.

When the Z1-R TC was introduced, turbocharging was considered pretty exotic technology for the most part, and only rarely seen even on production cars. At the time, the Z1-R was at the end of its life cycle, and newer, better, faster things were being offered by other manufacturers, so Kawasaki needed to drum up some interest in their lame-duck model before the introduction of the GPz. What better way to do that than by creating something that would likely kill inexperienced riders? Hey, it worked for their famously lethal two-stroke triples... The new turbocharged version of the bike quickly developed a widowmaker reputation like its predecessors, and for similar reasons: an on/off powerband coupled with primitive handling and marginal brakes. Even passing slower cars and trucks required a bit of precognition, and riders learned to build boost while waiting for a gap in traffic, dragging the rear brake to control speed while holding the throttle open to keep the turbo spooled...

Ultimately, the bike was a hoot, but if TCs didn't kill their riders with their unpredictable power delivery and sketchy handling, they had a tendency to blow up: the Z1-R TC Turbo was basically a stock bike with the addition of an aftermarket turbo package from the Turbo Cycle Company that included a log-style or 4-into-1 header and a boost gauge. Oh sure, you could specify a fully built engine to handle the boost if you wanted to, but how many buyers do you think opted for that when the bike was new? Not too many. And how many new owners do you think ignored the safety sticker instructing them to not, under any circumstances, adjust the wastegate to allow more boost and sweet, sweet performance, basically for free? The answer again? Not too many.

Luckily, this example avoids the whole "four-cylinder grenade between your legs" issue with a built motor that should provide years of trouble-free, if not lag-free, hooliganism. Which just means you're that much more likely to wheelie into a hedge, but at least you'll have a better idea which of the bike's lethal characteristics will most likely kill you.

From the original eBay listing: 1978 Kawasaki Z1-R TC for Sale

Here we have a beautiful '78 Z1R-TC Turbo. It has been completely rebuilt and gone through. Engine has a welded crank, fresh MTC turbo piston set with Teflon buttons, valves have been reseated with new seals, all engine seals have been replaced, new clutch, cam chain and guides are new as well, copper head gasket, carb rebuilt, as well as petcock, new o-ring chain and sprockets all brakes rebuilt, new pads, turbo spins freely, opened and inspected, new gaskets, you get the point. tires are Dunlops, tank replaced with a rust free one, no bondo fresh paint with lots of clear, one defect on decal on left front, (if it really bothers you, my painter will fix it, I just wanted to get the bike up for sale now rather than waiting for that, original bike had about 18k on speedo, was growling so it got replaced, boost gauge was cracked, so it got replaced with a Mr. Turbo new old stock.

I did my best to keep it as original as possible, tail pipe is dent free and freshly triple chrome plated. all chrome on engine is brand new triple chromed, (if you hate the chrome, I have a very clean non turbo '78 Z1R that I will swap out the chrome for stock) but it looks incredible with the black engine, exhaust head pipes were badly blued so I chose to paint them with header paint (no sanding, just painted) new owner can choose to rechrome head pipes, but they will blue again. I built this bike to be ridden (welded crank and forged turbo pistons). Without those mods these bikes twisted cranks and melted pistons.

That being said, still has original Bendix/Zenith carb, and stock ignition and advancer for originality, but Nice coils were added. I put some break-in miles on bike, waste gate is set to just seat as for break in I didn't want to boost it, but the sweet sound of the turbo is evident while riding, hoping to put some miles on it before end of auction as well as a little more fine tuning. I was a certified motorcycle mechanic and worked on the big 4 Jap brands through the eighties and nineties, have changed careers since then, so now I truly enjoy working on these old bikes for a hobby, but can't keep them all. I'm sure I forgot something, but be assured, engine is built correctly and bike is really nice. 

I was assured by previous owner it is the real deal, My buddy had it at his shop for a while getting title sorted out and gathering parts for me. He also contacted a Z1R turbo Guru who claimed he could tell you if it was a true Z1R turbo, and he was unable to tell us it wasn't. For what that is worth, wish I had original bill of sale etc. but I don't. Bike does have the correct ATP stuff that only came on true TC Z1-R's, Nice bike, contact me with questions, I have a slight reserve on bike which I may lift if we get close, good luck... Thanks for looking, will try to add more pics,  and update listing as needed, also new battery, and Amsoil, engine cranked over with plugs out to ensure full prime with oil, and oil return from turbo verified before initial fire up of course.

If you're concerned about the bike's authenticity, I know it can be a challenge with TC: if you can source a nice, clean Z1-R and the original parts for the turbo kit, you can build one of your own, since that's pretty much what Kawasaki did with the original. It's nice to see that kind of transparency from a seller, and the fact that the engine has been fully built to survive actual use should go a long way towards helping the bike find a buyer. So a bit of a question mark surrounding the bike's originality might keep the value down slightly, but you can't argue with the build quality so maybe this one will actually get ridden, instead of tucked away in a corner somewhere. Ultimately, the same things that made the TC a lousy motorcycle are the qualities that endear them to collectors today: they're wild, wooly, and savage, a rite of passage more than a practical mode of transportation.


Boosted: 1978 Kawasaki KZ 1000 Z1-R TC Turbo for Sale