Author Archives: Tad Diemer

Suzuki February 18, 2017 posted by Tad Diemer

Game-Changer: 1977 Suzuki RG500 Grand Prix Race Bike for Sale

Update 2.17.2017: Last posted in August of last year, this bike reached $34,101 reserve not met. Back on eBay and closes on Sunday. Links updated. -dc

1977 Suzuki RG500 Race Bike R Side

Prior to the RG500, two-strokes were found only in the smaller racing classes, and Suzuki was breaking new ground with this bike: no one had ever really built a two-stroke to challenge bikes in the premier class. Launched in 1974, Suzuki’s RG500 racing machine was impressively successful: with a Manufacturer's Title in 1976, the bike dominated Grand Prix racing for the next decade. That success drove the move to two-strokes for any manufacturer who wanted to remain relevant in Grand Prix racing, and two-strokes were the only game in town until rules changes for the 2002 season made four-strokes competitive again.

1977 Suzuki RG500 Race Bike L Side Tank

Power was no problem for the new, liquid-cooled engine, and the same lessons learned racing smaller bikes were scaled up for the square-four. But while four-strokes generally deliver their power in a smooth, progressive manner, two-strokes are notoriously on/off devices: a stumbling mess when “off the pipe” with an abrupt powerband like a jagged, lethal spike, characteristics only exacerbated by the dramatic displacement increase: early bikes ate chains, tires, and other consumables at an alarming rate, although development eventually cured these problems.

1977 Suzuki RG500 Race Bike R Side Engine

Early motors produced 110hp and used front and rear banks of cylinders that were the same height, but the later bikes saw the front bank a bit lower than the rear for the “stepped” motor that gave 124 hp for the 238lb machine. This 1977 machine is probably of the earlier type, although it's hard to tell for sure with the fairings in place. Either way, this is a very light, very fast motorcycle. And that's really always been the appeal of the two-stroke: simplicity, extreme light weight, and massive power for a given displacement.

1977 Suzuki RG500 Race Bike Dash

With the introduction of the new Suter MMX500, two-strokes have been heavily featured in the motorcycle press recently, and it's been interesting to read how many mechanics and riders loved preferred them to four-stroke machines: riders loved them for their light weight and challenging nature, mechanics for their simplicity and tunability.

From the original eBay listing: 1977 Suzuki RG500 Race Bike for Sale

Suzuki RG500 GP MK2 ex-Newbold, model year 1977, VIN 110077

An ICONIC RG500 version 1977 in the best paintwork scheme ever. It is an ex-John Newbold bike with all the correct standard original bits plus some works parts (tank etc). The bike was campaigned by Newbold in the Shell Sport 500 TT races beetween 1979/1981 and North West 200. It was completely restored by John Mossey who bought it in 1995 from a gentleman in Cardiff and sold then in 1997. It was just kept as showbike in collection since.

1977 Suzuki RG500 Race Bike Throttle

Bidding on the last couple of RG500 race bikes got up to between $26,000 and $44,000 although those were later bikes, and an individual bike's race history can make a huge difference in terms of value. Bidding for this one is up north of $22,000 with plenty of interest, but very little time left on the listing. Sitting in a collection means it's in amazing physical condition, although it will probably need extensive work if you plan to use it in anger...

-tad

1977 Suzuki RG500 Race Bike L Side

Game-Changer: 1977 Suzuki RG500 Grand Prix Race Bike for Sale
Aprilia February 17, 2017 posted by Tad Diemer

Tiny Titled Two-Stroke: 2009 Aprilia RS125 for Sale

Back when two-strokes ruled the entry-level sportbike class in Europe, Aprilia’s RS125 was designed to appeal to new riders who wanted something sporty, but were limited in terms of displacement and outright power by strict licensing laws that prevented the purchase of bikes that in the USA would be considered "learner bikes." Sponsor logos and race-replica paint jobs were the order of the day and, made between 1992 and 2012, the RS125 had a pretty long and successful run. Details and styling varied throughout production, according to tastes of the period, but spec was similar: a 124.8cc two-stroke, single cylinder and six-speed gearbox, aluminum beam frame, racy big-bike looks, and a sub-300lb dry weight.

This version of the RS125 is clearly meant to resemble Aprilia's range-topping RSV1000, with those angular, cat's-eye headlights and stealth-fighter angles, although it shares those traits with the RSV4 that followed as well. Ultimately, the RS125 was superseded by the RS4 that more closely matched the look of the bigger RSV4 and was powered by a four-stroke single to meet today’s more stringent emissions requirements. It’s a perfectly competent machine and looks very sharp, but it lacks the pop and fizz of a manic two-stroke, and is far less tunable to boot.

The RS125 were never officially imported to the USA for road use, but some made it here "for offroad use only" and they do come up for sale from time to time. Unfortunately, the sleek little RS125 has two problems: one, you can’t just call it an “RS125” or people might not be clear what bike you’re talking about. Did you mean the Aprilia or the Honda’s entry-level race bike? Two, and obviously more significantly, the same titling and registration issues that affect all grey-market two-strokes apply here. If you live in a state with a liberal DMV, you may be able to find a way to make one road-legal without too much trouble: titled examples like this one have shown up on this site before. If not, you’re stuck with a handsome display piece or a very slow track day bike. If I was looking for a display bike, I’d probably want a bit of genuine racing machinery or something truly historic...

Fortunately, this example is ready for road use, at least in Pennsylvania...

From the original eBay listing: 2009 Aprilia RS125 for Sale

For Sale-York, PA. 2009 Aprilia RS 125 2 stroke. Clean and clear title. 798 miles. 34mm DeLorto carb, V-Force 3 reeds, pinned TPS, pipercross OEM style air filter, Arrow exhaust, Tyga carbon fiber rear hugger, chain guard and engine cover, Rhinomoto front and rear axle sliders, Driven Racing swingarm spools, R&G tail tidy, Evotech exhaust hanger, Woodcraft rearsets w/ GP shift, Aprilia OEM European ECU and harness to allow lighting, factory signals, mirrors and TS relay, Ohlins front fork springs, many replaced OEM parts included, Dyno tuned by Eraldo Ferracci of Fast By Ferracci. It comes with the factory Aprilia parts book and service manual. This was $5499 new in 2009 when only 150 were imported for racing only. It came derestricted with no lighting. Considering the amount of kit put on this bike and the rarity of this bike I think it is a more than fair price. I reserve the right to end this auction as the bike is also for sale locally. Serious bidders can contact me for more pictures or information. I will not ship this motorcycle so it will have to be picked up. Bike will have to be picked up within two weeks of auction end or deposit will be forfeited. You must have at least a 95% positive feedback rating to bid and at least 20 positive feedbacks. Deposit can be made through PayPal but the balance must be paid in cash.***It is currently tagged, titled, inspected and insured in York County, PA. It is titled as a regular motorcycle.

So what’s it worth? Well this seller has set the starting bid at $6,000 and there are no takers yet so he may be aiming a bit high. Certainly this one has that road-legal status, very low miles, and has been thoughtfully modified using quality parts and tuned by the famous owner of Fast by Ferracci. Eraldo had his hands on my Ducati Monster when I had it in to be rejetted and I was pretty happy with the results, so that'd certainly be a selling point for me. If you're in the market for a little two-stroke sportbike you can thrash the living daylights out of without tripling the national speed limit and live somewhere it can be titled, this one might be worth a look.

-tad

Tiny Titled Two-Stroke: 2009 Aprilia RS125 for Sale
Laverda February 14, 2017 posted by Tad Diemer

Love, Italian Style: 1985 Laverda RGS1000 SFC for Sale

Considering I can comb eBay for months on end and not see a single Laverda for sale, it's crazy that we've seen not just one but three worthy examples representing a couple different eras recently. From the 1990s Formula that might be more familiar to our readers, to the more vintage 1984 Jota and today's Laverda SFC1000, fans of the Breganze Bruisers have been spoiled for choice of late. The RGS1000 SFC was a bit of a last gasp for the original Laverdas before their death and subsequent resurrection during the Zane-era, a technological dinosaur that had been continually updated since the early 1970s to keep up with the ever increasing pace of sportbike development. Laverda knew they were falling behind the curve, as were all of the European brands, and they recast themselves as purveyors of elegant sportbike alternatives for distinguished gentlemen to help justify high prices, outdated technology, and "classic" styling. And even though the RGS wasn't a sportbike in the high-revving, light-weight idiom, it was still a blood-and-thunder brute with high-quality suspension, stability, and very real road-going performance.

Certainly, the "SFC" name of this very exclusive RGS variant was a bit of a cheat: produced in very limited quantities, the original SFC was based around Laverda's parallel-twin and was a barely-disguised racebike with lights stuck onto it to make it "street-legal" in the loosest sense of the phrase. Obviously, laws regarding that kind of thing were much simpler back then... SFC was an acronym for “Super Freni Competizione” which translates to “super braking competition”  and referred to the huge aluminum drum brake found on the original bikes. Later machines used a pair of discs as seen here, which provided less sexy but more reliable stopping power.

The engine was Laverda's long-serving and very charismatic three-cylinder 981cc engine, here with a 120° crankshaft that made for smoother running, along with high-performance cams and other assorted go-fast bits to raise the power from 85 to 95hp. Early examples of the Jota, Laverda's original, hairy-chested three-cylinder sportbike, used a 180° crankshaft that basically ran like a four-cylinder with a miss. It was good for power, but vibrated excessively and was eventually replaced with a smoother-running 120° crank. Even though the revised crank is considered a bit of an abomination by some Laverda purists, condemned of the sin of being "too civilized," if you've ever heard one of the 120° bikes, "civilized" isn't the first thing that springs to mind... It's raw and very Italian, and sounds like a Stradivarius violin crossed with a chainsaw being used to cut down a tree made of silk, dark chocolate, and truffles, or some other equally ludicrous simile. Basically, if you're expecting the soft whir and refined yowl of a modern Triumph triple, you'll be sexually aroused, pleasantly surprised, or horrified, depending on your feelings about earplugs.

So even though this was intended as a high-performance motorcycle, it was a bit behind the times when it was new. But if calling this an "SFC" is technically a bit of a stretch and merely a calculated dip into past glories to paint a moribund package a brighter shade of orange, this is still a very special motorcycle, as can be seen from the description below.

From the original eBay listing: 1985 Laverda RGS1000 SFC for Sale

This unique SFC 1000 – one of a tiny number made – is in great original shape. It is a perfect runner receiving all it needs in the past four years to operate as new. The serial number shown is correct...0001.  Here's the story behind it:

This bike was built for Alexander Claren, a Cologne architect who designed Ewe Witt’s dealership (the German importer of Laverdas).  Claren saw the prototype bike at the Cologne motorcycle show and had to have one. He persuaded Witt to order one – requesting number 0001 - from the factory for immediate delivery and thus it was built ahead of the production line. The first production bike was number 1001, following Laverda’s usual numbering protocol. There are a series of letters from Piero Laverda in the file that accompanies the bike confirming the numbering.

SFC 1000 production ran alongside the RGS, RGS Corsa and various RGAs from 1985 through 1989 but few were made. SFC 1000 specifications changed only in detail as tiny batches of bikes were constructed. The most important visual differences were the color – red or black – and the wheels – three-spoke Oscam cast wheels or Akront wire spoke rims. The engine in all SFC's starting with this bike was to Corsa specification – that is 95bhp at 8000rpm - 5-speed, Marzocchi forks and rear shocks, Brembo Gold Line brakes, and either Smiths or Veglia instruments. All top quality components.

Two additional sets of factory exhausts and silencers come with the bike.  These are: a set of three into two in chrome (some SFC's had black, some had chrome) and a rare set of three into one.  The ignition currently on the bike is a modern Sachse electronic with selectable advance curves, but the factory original unit also comes with the bike. Note:  mileage shown is in km.

These bikes are rare. Don't miss an opportunity to own this one.

They were making these things, or titling them anyway, as late as 1988 by which point this machine would have been horribly outclassed by the latest generation of four-cylinder sportbikes from Japan. But while that might have mattered when the bike was new, it's pretty irrelevant now: it has classic looks you'd never confuse with a GSX-R or ZX or FZR or even FJ that would have mopped the floor with the RGS. And the bike's lardy 500lb dry weight was motivated by a stout 95hp so it's not exactly slow, even now.

So what's it worth? Well not much, unless you're an aficionado, so the $14,500 starting bid might seem outrageous if this is your first time clapping eyes on an SFC1000. But if you're a Laverda fan, that seems like a very reasonable place to start, considering what other rare Laverdas like the original Jota and even the standard RGS are going for these days.

-tad

Love, Italian Style: 1985 Laverda RGS1000 SFC for Sale
Aprilia February 10, 2017 posted by Tad Diemer

Practical Italian: 2000 Aprilia RSV Mille R for Sale

The engine of any motorcycle is its living, beating heart and the powerplant of Aprilia’s funky RSV Mille R was, at the time, as unconventional as the bike’s styling. A 90° v-twin is generally considered ideal for sporting applications, as the angle between the cylinders provides “perfect primary balance” where the unpleasant vibrations caused by the pistons punching in different directions, crankshaft counterweights, and other whirly bits generally cancel each other out. This provides smooth power and character for which Italian sportbikes are generally known. You can always get around a lack perfect primary balance by using a heavy flywheel or limiting revs, but neither choices are ideal for a sportbike. Unfortunately, the ideal 90° angle between the cylinders makes for an engine that’s difficult to package. In Ducati’s original v-twin powered bikes, a long wheelbase necessitated by the nearly horizontal front cylinder wasn’t really a problem as bikes of the period typically long wheelbases that aided stability. But modern sportbikes use shorter wheelbases to provide agility and a longer swingarm to increase traction.

That’s easy to do with an inline four, but very difficult with a transverse v-twin. You could go the route Guzzi chose and turn the thing sideways to give the bike a longitudinal crankshaft orientation, but then aerodynamics and ergonomics suffer, and you’re also stuck with the effects of the crankshaft’s rotation on the bike’s handling. Or you could try, as Suzuki did, to attack the problem by using an alternative rear suspension design, but their rotary damper created its own set of issues with handling. Aprilia and Rotax attacked the problem with its usual lack of ties to tradition and applied technology: a pair of balance shafts allowed them to use a 60° configuration for the 998cc twin that kept the engine’s dimensions compact but gave it a character that was still smooth enough for a sportbike. It’s generally considered a bit more “agricultural” than Ducati’s L-twin, but Aprilia’s engine is far more economical to run and the resulting bike handles better than any of Suzuki’s v-twin machines.

As with the oily, whirly bits, Aprilia had no tradition to cling to when styling the bike and created something that looked entirely new. The RSV Mille offers up the best of both worlds in terms of performance and character, if you can get past the design which is… “striking” if you’re being kind “functional” if you could care less about aesthetics. But you can't argue that it works, and that bulbous fairing with its Mickey Mouse headlight offers up better wind protection and comfort than many other sportbikes and it certainly looks like nothing else on the road.

From the original eBay listing: 2000 Aprilia RSV Mille R for Sale

2000 Aprilia Mille R.  Shes a beauty.  Really good shape. No missing parts pretty much all OEM.

V-Twin powered machine so she's torquey.  Fun bike, feels really balanced.  Moto runs really strong.  Trans shifts flawlessly in every way.  The Rotax engine is bullet proof, honest, and not needy at all.  She has the correct exhaust which in my opinion is the piece de resistance.  There have been other Mille R's posted on ebay that seem to always be missing the correct exhaust setup.  This exhaust is particular to the R model as are the below listed items:

  • Carbon Fiber Front Fender, Rear Hugger and Dash Cover.
  • Ohlins Adjustable Suspension Front and Rear
  • Ohlins Steering Stabilizer
  • Comes to a stop with Brembo Equipment
  • Light Weight OZ Wheels Front and Rear
  • Over Under Exhaust
  • Shorai Battery

Michelin Tires are good usable condition still have many miles of use left.  New Rear sprocket and Chain.  All 5 Cush drive rubber pieces of the rear OZ Wheel were replaced at time of sprocket replacement.  New black levers to match the color scheme, the OEM felt clunky and a lil too plain jane.  Shorai battery

17 Year old bike folks so there are tiny nicks scratches here and there which is to be expected for a moto of this vintage, however that being said it is a fine example of 17yo moto.  really good shape just look at pics.

This isn’t a garage queen, but 8,900 miles over nearly 17 years means the bike has seen sparing use and, although it’s not perfect, appears to have been very well cared-for. Taste may be subjective, but the RSV Mille is fast, handles well, is reliable, and offers up humane ergonomics compared to the sexy but uncompromising bikes from Ducati. Aprilia has become the maker of “the best motorcycles nobody buys” and while that's not great news for them, it is for sportbikers looking for bargain exotica that emphasize function over style. Prices for the first-generation RSVs are about as rock-bottom as you’re ever likely to get for such a competent machine, and bidding on this one is up to just $1,550 with the Reserve Not Met and very little time left on the auction.

-tad

Practical Italian: 2000 Aprilia RSV Mille R for Sale
Moto Morini February 8, 2017 posted by Tad Diemer

Something Different: Low-Mileage 1986 Moto Morini K2 for Sale

Like rock and roll bands, manufacturers of premium motorcycle brands always have their eyes on the US market: a land of seemingly endless wealth to buy expensive, high-end motorcycles and wide-open spaces where big-bore motorcycles can roam free. In Europe, smaller motorcycles were very popular, owing to taxes that punished larger machines, expensive gas, and the fact that motorcycles were often used as economical transportation instead of as toys or lifestyle accessories. But while brands like Triumph and Laverda introduced larger-displacement machines with America specifically in mind, Moto Morini stuck with their "light and nimble" philosophy on both sides of the Atlantic, and bikes like their 350cc K2 languished in relative obscurity here as a result.

It may sound low-tech on paper, but the air-cooled 344cc pushrod v-twin that powered the K2 was actually very sophisticated: those pushrods were driven by a toothed rubber belt and the bike featured "Heron" heads that helped provide excellent fuel economy and simplified manufacturing. Heron heads move the combustion chamber from the heads themselves to the dished top of the piston, while the surface of the head is nearly flat, with small recesses for the intake and exhaust valves and the spark plug. The 72º v-twin produced a modest 35hp but a six-speed gearbox, a relative rarity in 1986 and absolutely exotic when it was introduced on the 3½ in the early 70s, allowed the rider to make full use of the limited power available.

Although this is a model year 1986 machine, it's hardly in the same class as something like a GSX-R. European bikes of the period could rarely afford to be revolutionary and often had to settle for being evolutionary, but the original Morini package was so advanced when it was new that it could still hold its head up high in terms of handling, if not in straight-line performance. This particular K2 has just 1,200 miles from new and appears to be in very nice condition.

From the original eBay listing: 1986 Moto Morini K2 for Sale    

1,200 original miles   
Stored properly
Lafranconi mufflers mint condition
Awesome original paint

Everything works
None nicer
Original tires
Tool kit

A real show piece   One minute scratch near gas cap that's it
You can see the 3 keys in pictures, seat, tank, ignition
I'm 67 now time to thin the herd

Moto Morinis have long been the undiscovered bargains of Italian motorcycling: with little to no modern presence and limited performance, they were never all that popular here in the USA. The original 350cc "3½" and 500 are classic bikes in every sense, and have been increasing in value significantly over the past few years. But the K2 is from that slightly awkward and very angular period of Italian biking that spawned the origami-styled Moto Guzzi LeMans Mark III. What are these really worth? It's hard to say, since they're rare as hen's teeth, and this is the first I've seen for sale in a very long time. However, bidding is very active and up north of $3,500 with very little time left on the auction and the Reserve Not Met, so it looks like there are some Italian bike fans out there looking for a quirky bargain.

-tad

Something Different: Low-Mileage 1986 Moto Morini K2 for Sale
Yamaha February 6, 2017 posted by Tad Diemer

Restored Replica: 1984 Yamaha RZ350 for Sale

If you live here in the US and have a hankering for a two-stroke sportbike the choices, assuming you don't want to monkey about with a grey-market import, are few and far between. 70's two-strokes were relatively light and nimble, but still limited by the suspension and frame technology of the time, and by the mid-1980s, they'd been legislated out of existence, leaving this Yamaha RZ350 to make a final stand against the inexorable tide of four-stroke motorcycles. With blacked-out engine and frame, that striking black and yellow "bumblebee" paint, bikini fairing, and the "Kenny Roberts" signature, the RZ350 represents the very last of the old guard before "sportbikes" were codified into the narrow, very focused form we see in today's motorcycles.

Produced for a very short period between 1984 and 1985, the RZ350 was a follow up to Yamaha's RD bikes. It was powered by a 347cc two-stroke parallel-twin that added liquid-cooling to the successful formula, along with the "Yamaha Power Valve System" or "YPVS." Powerband is typically two-stroke-y, even with the benefit of the YPVS power-valve, but the additional displacement helps some, compared to the all-or-nothing 250s. Weighing in at just 370 pounds or so with gas in the tank, it will still shake a leg on spirited backroad rides and can surprise modern machines, although tire choices for the skinny 18" wheels will limit ultimate grip...

The seller claims that the bike has been restored from top to bottom, including a full engine rebuild, and it also includes a full-fairing that appears to have been a popular period accessory, considering the number of RZ350s fitted with them that come up for sale.

From the original eBay listing: 1984 Yamaha RZ350 Kenny Roberts Replica for Sale

Here is a beautiful restored 1984 RZ350 Kenny Roberts. The numbers are matching with a clear title in my name. This bike has a low production number of 223.  I have owned this bike for 6 years and have hardly rode it. It sat getting looks more than riding so its time to turn it loose. This bike has been completely restored. The engine has been professionally rebuilt from top to bottom. It runs and rides beautiful. There is less than 500 miles on this bike since it has been redone. As you can see it has a full fairing kit. The engine is stock with DG pipes and mild carb jetting. This bike is a real head turner where ever I have taken it. Probably the nicest RZ350 you will come across. Take a look at the pictures.

Bidding is very active on this one, and up to just over $7,000 with about 24 hours left on the auction. It's certainly possible to find an RZ350 for less but, unless you stumble across some pristine, low-mileage museum-piece that will probably need a full restoration if you plan to ride it regularly, you're unlikely to find one nicer. Well-reviewed when new and very popular now, the RZ350 neatly straddles the modern and classic eras, with clearly vintage sportbike style, light weight, and a liquid-cooled two-stroke punch. If you're looking for US-legal two-stroke performance, this is just about the only game in town, and this example looks to be one of the nicest around.

-tad

Restored Replica: 1984 Yamaha RZ350 for Sale