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Author Archives: Tad Diemer

Honda July 18, 2018 posted by Tad Diemer

Meeting Your Heroes: 1989 Honda VFR400R NC30 for Sale

With values of the VFR750R RC30 through the roof, the VFR400R NC30 has become the affordable go-to for fans of Honda's V4 homologation specials. Styled like a 4/5 scale model of the RC30, the NC30's dual headlamps, aluminum beam frame, and Pro-Arm single-sided swingarm ape the bigger bike's look and function. Significantly the engine shares its V4 configuration, gear-driven cams, and 360° "big bang" crankshaft with the RC30.

The big bang firing order helps give the later Honda V4s their characteristic flat droning exhaust note and supposedly improves corner exit grip, compared to a more traditional 180° firing order that evenly spaces the combustion events. Even if you're not pushing the limits of traction, the big bang engines offer a very wide, forgiving powerband.

On paper, the Honda VFR400R doesn't seem like it'd impress a modern rider. Just 400cc? Are you joking? Well no. First of all, it has a dry weight of around 300lbs, so the 59 horses don't have very much mass to haul around, which is reflected in the bike's surprising 130mph top speed. Most importantly, the NC30 was designed to offer some of the best handling available at any price, and is still considered to be one of the all-time greats.

I was lucky enough to ride one of these recently and it was an absolute pleasure: famously agile handling meant the bike was intuitive, east to ride, and plenty of fun, even though I wasn't pushing its cornering limits. If you're slightly terrified trying to use anything approaching maximum revs on a modern sportbike, you'll be happy to know that the NC30 is both flexible at low rpm and happy to spin to its 14,500rpm limit. In fact chasing the redline was pretty much required, since I was working to keep up with a friend who was riding an MV Agusta F4R...

From the original eBay listing: 1989 Honda VFR400R NC30 for Sale

Up for auction is a beautiful 1989 Honda VFR400 model NC30. Hands down the most desirable color scheme. Gas tank is mint condition with zero rust inside the tank. The bike was legally imported into the United States. The bike has a clear Arizona US title with the proper 11 digit VIN number (title and frame number match). Bike starts right up runs perfect with no oil leaks. The bike is all original and is a true pleasure to ride pulling through all gears very hard. With a 14,000k rpm red line the bike will leave you with a smile on your face for days. Please view all the images as there are few scratches and scuff's throughout the bike. Also please keep in mind that this is all OEM factory Honda fairings and not the cheaper aftermarket stuff.The bike is all sock minus the stainless steel brake lines. All the electronics including horn, turn signals, high / low beam, and Killswitch all work as they should. This bike is being sold locally and I encourage all bidders to come down and view the bike in person or send a local mechanic on your behalf to view for you. Rare vintage Japanese bikes don't come up often and this is a beautiful example with no disappointment.

These days, it isn't too hard to find an NC30 for sale: the spike in RC30 prices and the fact that these have hit the 25 year mark has seen an influx of Japanese market bikes. So the trick isn't so much finding one for sale, it's finding a nice one for the right price. This one looks very clean and original, with the usual wear and tear you'd expect on a bike of this age that's actually been ridden often enough to accumulate the 27,000 miles indicated. The stock exhaust is a little quiet for my taste, but it does mean you can hear the cool whine from the gear-driven camshafts... There are still several days left on this auction and bidding is a bit slow so far, possibly owing to the mileage. But this is a Honda, and the fact that it isn't museum-quality just means you might get to ride and enjoy this cool little machine for

-tad

Meeting Your Heroes: 1989 Honda VFR400R NC30 for Sale
Bimota July 17, 2018 posted by Tad Diemer

Nice Curves: Low-Mileage 1995 Bimota SB6 for Sale

Tad first posted this one in December when it had a buy-it-now of $25k. It was relisted and eBay showed a sale at just over $10k. It's back now from the same seller with a buy-it-now of $15k or best offer. Thanks for the heads up, Donn! Links updated. -dc

The SB6 and SB6R were some of Bimota's best-selling bikes of all time, and featured what must be the mother of all beam frames. That distinctive, very rigid aluminum unit used Bimota's "Straight Connection Technology," designed to link the steering head directly to the swingarm pivot. This improved chassis rigidity at the expense of servicing: you pretty much have to unbolt the engine and swing it forward to adjust the carburetors, change the spark plugs, replace the front sprocket, or access the alternator drive that tends to fail...

Fortunately, this earlier SB6 at least features a set of Suzuki gauges, a good thing since the later Bimota units supposedly pack it in with unfortunate regularity. They may look fairly mundane, but least they work! The engine should be pretty reliable too, and powerful to boot: those gauges are matched to the inline four and five-speed gearbox from Suzuki's GSX-R1100.

I much prefer Bimota's follow up to this bike, the SB6R which pretty much embodies my favorite aspects of 1990s styling. Sure, the 916 might be the more iconic 90s design, but part of the reason is that it doesn't actually look like anything else from that era. The SB6R has the bulbous curves of the donor GSX-R, but with better colors, less weight, and more all-around Italian-ness.

But the strength of the original SB6 is that it looks like pretty much nothing from any era, unless you count Crea's weird, organic-nightmare bodywork kits from the era... Go ahead and Google that, and then promise me you'll never complain about Pierre Terblanche's 999 ever again. The SB6 is striking wrapper that contains all the analog performance you could ever want, along with a powerplant that should be at least easy to get parts for, even if it isn't actually all that convenient to work on.

From the original eBay listing: 1995 Bimota SB6 for Sale

This is a one owner bike that has been stored inside a house.

Only 670 Miles!

The bike fluids have been drained and cleaned for proper storage. The bike is all original and near perfect.

It has never been on the market until now. I have had the bike in my house for over a year and just moved it to my warehouse and decided to let someone else enjoy it. I got the bike from a friend that knew the original owner and connected us.

I am open to fair offers. I listed the bike at top market price because someone might pay that. However make a fair offer and you might own this very rare, one owner Bimota.

Also, it has the Suzuki 1100 motor... Dyno specs in pics from years ago.

Since the seller "got the bike from a friend that knew the original owner and connected us," wouldn't that technically make this a two-owner bike? Even though the second owner only had it a year? Unfortunately, 1990s Bimotas were a bit unfinished from the factory, and great concepts suffered from pretty poor execution. If you had the time or money to go through your expensive Italian exotic to correct electrical faults and set up the suspension properly, you were left with a serious weapon for road or track. Of course, most buyers wanted their money to buy an actual, functioning motorcycle, and Bimota's kit-bike quality certainly hasn't helped values.  The $24,900 asking price is very ambitious for an SB6 but, with those kind of miles, maybe a collector who wants a very clean, low-mileage example of a very cool machine will bite. However, I'd say the seller's negotiation technique could be... stronger.

-tad

Nice Curves: Low-Mileage 1995 Bimota SB6 for Sale
Moto Guzzi July 15, 2018 posted by Tad Diemer

Two for the Road: 2002 Moto Guzzi V11 Tenni for Sale

In spite of its shaft drive and pushrod valvetrain, the original Moto Guzzi Le Mans went head-to-head against bikes like the Ducati 900SS. Unlikely as it might seem, it held its own, but later generations gradually lost ground on the competition. A new platform and six-speed gearbox introduced in 2000 on the V11 Sport was a huge leap forward for Guzzi, but the fully-faired Le Mans that followed was still pretty far from a lightweight sportbike. No problem, this Moto Guzzi V11 Tenni embraces the bike's more sport-touring bent with a set of soft luggage, and this one comes with plenty of other extras as well.

So the Le Mans doesn't look like much on paper: it's more of a mature sportbike. The big 1064cc v-twin still uses pushrods in this version and puts out 80hp and 65ft-lbs of torque to motivate the 557lb machine. It's no screamer, but pulls nicely once you get past the usual v-twin grumbling at lower rpm, and the longitudinal crankshaft's torque effect is pretty mild. Don't worry: you'll get used to it very quickly.

The V11 is pretty heavy, but handles surprisingly well: upgraded Öhlins suspension at the front and rear of the Le Mans improve the handling further and offer up a bit of unexpected bling for such a retro machine. The six-speed isn't as slick as those found on most modern bikes, but was a noticeable improvement when compared to the earlier, much-maligned five-speed that worked just fine as long as you planned ahead, used the clutch, consulted an oracle, made the correct ablutions...

This particular example is done up in very 1930s racing colors to commemorate Omobono Tenni's success racing Guzzis during that period. It's a very limited edition, if collecting is something you're into. I just really like the colors and think Guzzis are cool.

From the original eBay listing: 2002 Moto Guzzi V11 Tenni for Sale

#122 of 170 - with numbered plate on top triple clamp.

This V11 Tenni is a rider, not a museum piece. They don't show up in the photos, but there are numerous small nicks / marks on the tank, rear, and lower sides (the front fairing is almost perfect). The imperfections never bothered me, as I purchased this V11 to ride - and it rides well. I've owned Aprilias, Ducatis, and Triumphs - all chain driven with transverse engines. This was my first Moto Guzzi, and it took some getting used to. Steering requires a little more effort, and at low speeds you have to be mindful of the rotational forces of the longitudinal engine and drive shaft - but once you've got it down, this bike rewards with amazing stability, a comfortable ride, and possibly the best fairing ever made - both in beauty and smooth airflow. The hydraulic clutch is light but not limp, and the 320mm dual 4 piston front Brembos with braided lines are a pleasure to use with great feel and predictable, progressive stopping power.

The separate function forks are adjustable for compression and rebound damping, while the rear shock (just rebuilt) is fully adjustable. It's also equipped with an adjustable Bitubo Steering Damper. The bike is currently wearing Pirelli Angel GT tires that I estimate are good for another 1000 miles - I am including a new set of Dunlop Roadsmart III tires with purchase of the bike.

Comes complete with both the black and the brown suede saddles, rear seat cowl, 3-piece OEM luggage kit, tool kit, owner's manual, shop manual, extra air and oil filters, and service stand.

Mileage may go up slightly before end of auction (test rides), but it will be kept below 10,000.

Additional photos and close-ups of cosmetic issues available on request (24 pic. eBay listing limit).

Expandable Moto Guzzi Branded Tank Bag

  • Clear map pocket
  • Numerous storage compartments.
  • Easily unzips from tank pad for refueling.
  • Converts into a comfortable back-pack.
  • Reflective piping.

Expandable Tekno (OEM) soft panniers/saddle bags:

  • Zip and buckle closure.
  • Expands to double size.
  • Internal water resistant draw-string liner.
  • Easily removed from bike.
  • Locks to bike with internal key.
  • Mounting hardware goes on/off bike quickly and easily (only 3 bolts per side).

Also included with bike:

  • Paddock/service stand
  • Brand new set of Dunlop Roadsmart III tires from Sport Bike Track Gear
  • Spare Air Filter
  • Spare Engine Oil Filter
  • Spare valve cover gaskets
  • Owner's manual & warranty book
  • Service / shop manual
  • Two sets of keys (4 total: 2 ignition and 2 luggage keys)

Recent services:

  • New Fuel Filter at 6300 miles
  • Cleaned internal fuel tank filter screen at 9800 miles
  • New Air Filter at 6300 miles
  • Revised transmission spring
  • Uprated under-seat relays
  • Additional rectifier grounds
  • Lubricated throttle cables
  • Lubricated drive shaft
  • New Choke / High Idle cable
  • Fully adjustable rear shock just serviced by Ken Hall / SB Suspension
  • Oil changed at 9800 miles with Maxima full synthetic, new filter and sump gasket, cleaned internal stainless mesh screen
  • Hydraulic fluid flushed at 9800 miles
  • No coolant to worry about - engine is air / oil cooled
  • Brake pads & discs are in great shape with plenty of life left

I am not interested in trades, thanks.

Test rides available to serious buyers with an M endorsement and cash in hand. Tire kickers on a permit - please look elsewhere. Please show up with a helmet and riding gear. If you are local, I will gladly help you transport all the extras included with this bike (saddle, luggage, paddock stand, tires, books, etc.) back to your home. If you are from out of town, and looking to do a fly & ride, I can pick you up at O'Hare Airport and assist with shipping all the extras included with this bike (saddle, luggage, paddock stand, tires, books, etc.) Everything will be well packed in sturdy boxes with plenty of protection.

Clean & clear Illinois title in hand.

Thanks for looking!

There are not takers yet at the $7,500 starting bid and there is very little time left on the auction. With just 9,800 miles, this thing isn't even broken in, and the owner's soft luggage fitment is in the spirit of the bike. This is a sport-tourer with class and history, a bike that, when well-ridden could definitely embarrass much more sophisticated machines on a back-country road, but would get murdered at a track day. If you want a V11, the earlier Sports are cheaper, but this seems like a very nice price for a versatile bike like this, and it looks great in the Tenni colors.

-tad

Two for the Road: 2002 Moto Guzzi V11 Tenni for Sale
Ducati July 13, 2018 posted by Tad Diemer

Little SPO: 1993 Ducati 888 SPO for Sale

To me, the very names for cars and bikes are simple, to the point. Leganza? What the hell's a Leganza? Or a Spectra? But a GTO, or... a GTO? That just sounds cool. Thunderace sounds kind of silly, but R1M? That just exudes confidence. Even with a naturally cool-sounding language at their disposal, the Italians know that simpler is usually better, and that the sexiest motorcycles don't need silly, made-up names: simple, blunt, alpha-numeric designations suggest a no-need-to-brag confidence. It's like a special code, and Ducati 888 SPO is basically shorthand for speed.

An evolution of the earlier 851, the liquid-cooled, four-valve 888 was the epitome of "truth in advertising." Displacing 888cc, Ducati's big v-twin was meant to take the fight to the Japanese Big Four in production-based racing, move them into the modern era, and allow them to compete at top levels of the sport. Sure, the Pantah provided the foundation four the new liquid-cooled engine, but there's no way a two-valve, air-cooled v-twin was going to have a ghost of a chance against the inline fours in World Superbike and AMA racing, and Ducati's success in those series brought them back to prominence on the world stage.

Over in Europe, they got the standard 888 Strada and the higher-performance 888 SP5. But the SP5 wasn't road-legal here, so we got a sort of halfway step between the two that was dubbed the SPO or Sport Production Omologato. It was distinguished by the solo tail, high-mount exhaust, and an Öhlins shock with adjustable ride-height. Unlike the SP5, the SPO used a steel subframe instead of a lightweight aluminum one.

Look, if you've been waiting since my first paragraph to tell me how I'm wrong and that some cool bike names exist, go right ahead. It's not like I'm going to disagree that exceptions exist: Superleggera springs immediately to mind. But I still say that 888 SPO is a name that is aging better than Fireblade. On that note, it is kind of odd that here in the USA, land of the Vortec V6 and the Blue Flame Six, we got the CBR instead of the Fireblade and the YZF1000R instead of the Thunderace... So I guess we like our car-related names silly but our bike names [mostly] serious.

From the original eBay listing: 1993 Ducati 888 SPO for Sale

This is a near mint 888 SPO 1993 model. Needs nothing, belts and service were done, starts and rides wonderfully, new battery, just downsizing my collection. One flaw on the number one decal. Runs like new, good tires, needs nothing. It needs to go to a 888 lover. Pics say everything. About 13,000 miles which may change if I decide to take a hop. I reserve the right to cancel the auction the bike is for sale locally in the Fort Worth, TX area.

Cash sale, no endless emails or pen pal questions... This is the real deal and a great bike!

Thanks for looking

Aside from that first image, the photos are uniformly terrible, and the usual top triple shot showing the Limited Edition plaque is missing, as is any verification of the mileage. But that doesn't seem to be deterring bidders. Previous SPOs we've featured have sold for right around $10,000 but it appears values have risen in the past year: bidding on this example is up to $12,000 with several days left on the auction. That's not really a surprise: the 851 and 888 were pretty undervalued for a while, but collectors have definitely started to notice them and recognize their significance as the original modern Ducati superbike.

-tad

Little SPO: 1993 Ducati 888 SPO for Sale
Featured Listing July 12, 2018 posted by Tad Diemer

Featured Listing: 1991 Suzuki RGV250Γ VJ22 for Sale

Today's Featured Listing 1991 Suzuki RGV250Γ has styling cues very much like the four-stroke GSX-R of the period, and help the bike stand out as a Suzuki among the other bikes in the very competitive 250cc two-stroke class, even without their traditional blue-and-white graphics. Of course, if you're missing out on shouty graphics, there's still the RGVΓ, SAPC, and Made with the Grand Prix Spirit logos. This is actually a VJ22, the second generation of the little Gamma, and features a number of changes from the earlier VJ21.

The RGV250Γ followed the 250 two-stroke class template: a light and stiff aluminum beam frame, with an asymmetrical "banana" swingarm that allowed clearance on the right side for the twin "shotgun" expansion chambers in the case of the later VJ22 version seen here. The engine was a liquid-cooled, 90° two-stroke v-twin that eventually found its way into the Aprilia RS250 as well, along with Suzuki's six-speed gearbox. The Suzuki version used "SAPC" or "Suzuki Advanced Power Control," an electronic power valve and ignition timing system to boost the Japanese-market RGV's out put from 45hp all the way to... 45hp. Yeah, these were restricted in their home market. Export models got more like 55-ish horsepower from the 249cc twin.

Combined with the bike's sub-300lb dry weight, the bike offered plenty of performance for anyone willing to put in the effort to extract it. But straight-line power isn't the point with any quarter-liter two-stroke: the RGV is all about corner speed and eats twisty roads for breakfast. The earlier VJ21 used a 17" front and 18" rear wheel like other bikes of the era, but the VJ22 used matched 17" wheels front and rear, making it easier to fit modern rubber. Overseas, the RGV was a very popular little thrasher and fairly common, but these can be difficult to find. It's ironic that, here in the USA anyway, the Suzuki-engined Aprilia RS250 seems much easier to find than the RGV250Γ that donated its engine.

From the Seller: 1991 Suzuki RGV250 VJ22 for Sale

Very rare in North America the Suzuki RGV 250 is a close as you get to a street legal bike from the golden era of GP racing. This example was imported from Japan and has Utah street legal title. The bike is runs well and was recently serviced with all fluids changed. This bike is un-restored and has several scratches and scrapes but for a bike of its age its in good condition. All mechanical parts function well. The bike has 8837 miles on the gauges. Comes with a set of brand new Bridgestone tires that have never been mounted. $7,000 + buyer pays shipping.

Contact Stephen with your interest: stephen@stephenwclark.com

The bike seems honestly presented and is in good, if not perfectly original condition. The seller mentions the 8,837 miles on the odometer, but I think that's actually kilometers being displayed, so we're looking at about 5,491 miles. The levers, grips, rearstand spools, and brake lines aren't stock and the color choices aren't particularly subtle, but that's fine, since you'd end up replacing them anyway if you're going to ride it, or if you're restoring it. The minor cosmetic flaws should be easily rectified without having to tear the bike down, and it would make a great, usable example.

-tad

Featured Listing: 1991 Suzuki RGV250Γ VJ22 for Sale
BMW July 11, 2018 posted by Tad Diemer

One for the Road: 2009 BMW HP2 Sport for Sale

These days, when someone says "BMW sportbike," two things happen. First, the squinty, asymmetrical S1000RR immediately springs to mind. Second, you don't immediately burst into a fit of laughing: not long ago, "BMW sportbike" would have been something of an oxymoron. But people forget that, sandwiched in between the sporty-toury R1100S and the game-changing S1000RR, BMW introduced the very trick, limited-production HP2 Sport.

It was really intended to set the stage for the S1000RR, to show that BMW could be taken seriously as a sportbike manufacturer, that they had the technological chops to make a world-class machine. Of course, in the case of the HP2 Sport, they were applying that technology to a platform that would seem to be the anti-sportbike at first. It uses the same basic layout as the R1100S: horizontally-opposed twin with a longitudinal crankshaft, shaft drive, and BMW's Telelever front end that used a traditional shock and A-arm set up, along with some fork tubes that aren't actually fork tubes.

That setup has some advantages over a conventional fork, but is generally heavier and more complicated. It also makes the location of a radiator difficult, something that's not such an issue here, since the flat-twin is oil and air-cooled. Speaking of that classic BMW engine: in the HP2, a whole catalog of exotic parts have been thrown at it to increase performance. New dual overhead cam heads, radial valves, and titanium connecting rods all add up to a claimed 128hp, and a 9,500rpm redline you could chase with the very first-ever, factory-equipped quickshifter.

In an R1100S, that power might not be much to shout about, but the HP2 has added lightness: carbon-fiber panels, a self-supporting carbon-fiber subframe, and a generally Lotus-like attention to detail meant a claimed dry weight of 392lbs. Not especially impressive in the sportbike world, but the package was sufficiently light to legitimately compete in terms of handling. And that was another surprise: the BMW Telelever system doesn't always "feel like it should" and is sometimes criticized for offering vague front-end feedback, but a sportier front shock from Öhlins seems to have cured that. Unlikely layout aside, the HP2 was an excellent handler, and the Brembo monoblock calipers provide ferocious retardation for the lightweight machine.

From the original eBay listing: 2009 BMW HP2 Sport for Sale

For auction is my 2009 BMW HP2 Sport. It is in very good condition with 20,532 miles on the clock. It is a great running machine and has been maintained well. It has no known mechanical defects and needs nothing. It has been ridden as it was meant to be, but never abused or track ridden, but has not been stored in a living room. If you want a museum piece with zero mileage then this particular bike isn’t likely for you. If you do however wish to own and ride the ultimate BMW boxer sport bike then this bike is for you and at about half the price of new or some recently posted here on eBay. This machine is serial number 79 as seen in the photos. No one really seems to know for sure how many HP2 sports were produced for the world market, much less the USA market, but it seems about 250 or so. This is the last of my collection of seven BMW motorcycles that I have decided to sell. I have accepted a new job in another state and so all but one of my bikes and cars are going to be sold in the next two months. I work a lot of hours and weekends as well so I don’t have time to ride any of them. These bikes need to be ridden, as opposed to sitting here on a trickle charger gathering dust. I have been on eBay for many years and have great feedback and represent things as they are. Thanks for the interest and I will try to respond to questions as quickly as possible.

There are actually several HP2s up for sale at the moment, but while most are treated like museum pieces, this one has been ridden extensively, although mileage is still low for a BMW twin. Keep in mind that the service schedule calls for those titanium connecting rods to be replaced at 30,000 miles, but at least engine access is easy and you're only looking at a pair of them... There isn't much time left on the auction, and bidding is up to about half what HP2s usually go for. It looks like it's in excellent condition and would be a great choice for a BMW fan looking to ride the ultimate twin in the way it was really intended.

-tad

One for the Road: 2009 BMW HP2 Sport for Sale