Author Archives: Tad Diemer

Ducati June 3, 2017 posted by Tad Diemer

What’s In a Name: 1993 Ducati 888 SPO for Sale

There was a time when the alphanumeric naming of a motor vehicle actually meant something, a time when a BMW 535 was obviously a 5-Series car sporting a 3.5 liter inline six, or when you could tell just from the name that a Ferrari 360 Modena was powered by a 3.6 liter version of their screaming flat-plane crank V8. There's also something elemental about a vehicle with a number for a name, something that connotes a competitive intent, and that's certainly the case with the Ducati 888 SPO, a machine that actually displaced the advertised 888cc.

Ducati sticking "SPO" on the end is a bit like the original intent of car-dom's "GTO" in that it indicates the "omologato" status of this version, which means that it was intended to homologate the bike to compete in AMA Superbike racing, as the European SP5 wasn't road-legal in the US. For the most part, the engine was pretty standard Strada spec, but the suspension used some higher-end components from the SP5.

That engine was Ducati's Desmoquattro four-valve, liquid-cooled v-twin making around 100hp and the stout midrange for which the Italian twins are famous. The 888 and its predecessor the 851 which, coincidentally, displaced 851cc, were hugely significant for Ducati, being their first modern sportbikes that could compete on road and track against their Japanese counterparts. Sure, in the showrooms they were produced in far smaller numbers and at a much higher price, but owning a Ducati has never really been the most affordable proposition.

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

Production #63 very clean, kept garaged, all services current

Well, that's not very much to go on, and I think the listing could use a few more pictures, but the pictures that are included suggest that the bike is in better shape than you'd expect, considering its 19,000 miles. Clearly, this has been owned by a conscientious enthusiast and, as with all Ducatis, condition is much more important than mileage: the basic L-twin engine is reliable when properly maintained and, aside from electrical gremlins, should provide years of booming Italian fun before needing more than routine attention. Bidding is up to just $7,600 but there are six days left on the listing and bidding is active, so it will certainly go much higher be for it expires.

 -tad

Yamaha June 1, 2017 posted by Tad Diemer

Featured Listing: 1988 Yamaha FZR750RU for Sale in California!

Update 6.2.2017: Sold in just 12 hours! Congratulations to buyer and seller!

If you have a rare sportbike for sale, model years 1980ish to 2004ish, consider our Featured Listing service for $59. Email me to see to get started: dan@motoringblogs.com

When you think of Yamaha's homologation specials, you probably picture their extremely exotic OW01, but this very nice FZR750RU fulfilled a similar purpose: to homologate the 750cc FZR for racing, in this case the American AMA Superbike series. Spec is far lower than the OW01, but so are current prices and if you're looking to get into a collectible Yamaha, this would be a far more affordable proposition, and one you could actually ride.

The FZR750RU weighed in at around 460lbs dry, had the typical 17" front and 18" rear wheels of the era, used a close-ratio six-speed gearbox, and was powered by a 749cc version of Yamaha's five-valve "Genesis" inline four. Interestingly, the very limited-production RU was the only 750cc Yamaha imported during this era: there was no "normal" version, at least here in the USA. Of course, if you wanted a Yamaha sportbike during the late 1980s, you had plenty of other options to choose from: the light and nimble FZR400, the everyman steel-framed FZR600, even the big-bore FZR1000.

Five-valve engines are pretty rare and, although Volkswagen and Ferrari have dabbled in the technology, it was Yamaha's calling card for years. Typically, you're looking at three intake and two exhaust valves, and although complexity is increased, there are multiple theoretical benefits. The three smaller valves flow fuel and air more effectively and fill the cylinder faster than two larger valves that would fit into the same space, and the configuration creates a compact combustion chamber so the mixture can burn more efficiently. In addition, the smaller, lighter intake valves have less inertia and put less stress on the springs that close them.

This particular example of the FZR750RU looks very clean and well cared-for, with original parts, owner's manuals, and lots of quality photographs. It's especially nice that the seller includes several pictures of the bike without its bodywork, showing off the aluminum Deltabox frame and other bits that can accumulate grime and significant wear. What is the price for this bit of Yamaha history? The seller is asking $7,500 and can be contacted here: Bike is SOLD

It should also be noted that Jay has been an RSBFS regular for years, buying and selling nearly 10 bikes through the site in that time.

From the Seller: 1988 Yamaha FZR750RU for Sale

One owner 1988 Yamaha FZR750RU limited edition homologation motorcycle.  One of 200 imported into the US, only  4420 original miles, a rare bike that will continually rise in value.  The single owner took great care of this bike, it was a weekend rider for the for the first few years then it was parked and stored, last registered in 1995.  I have most of the original paperwork and documentation, including the original owners manual, service manual, warranty manual and I have the original title.  The owner is a retired engineer, he documented and cared for the bike as you would expect.  I have a stack of index cards filled with notes about the care and service of the bike. The factory service manual has signs of use and a few hand written notes. 

I have serviced the bike and ridden it about 50 miles.  The service included replacing all fluids (brake/clutch fluid, coolant, fuel and oil), ultrasonically cleaned and rebuilt carbs, drained and replaced the fuel.  I put a lot of time into cleaning the brake caliper pistons and seals.  I also replaced the rear brake pads, a few pieces of factory hardware and re-installed the stock screen.  The bike includes a few oil filters, a NOS set of tires, a aftermarket screen, a rear stand and some other small bits.  This bike is ready to ride except for the potentially original tires currently fitted.  Everything felt good when I rode it around but I haven't pushed it very hard. 

Targeted for the American market, the FZR750RU is not especially valuable yet and may never achieve the desirability of the OW01 but, with just 200 examples of the 1988 model built to exactly meet AMA minimum production numbers, it certainly has the potential to appreciate significantly, and it's a very handsome example of 80s sportbike style.

-tad

Featured Listing: 1988 Yamaha FZR750RU for Sale in California!
Bimota May 26, 2017 posted by Tad Diemer

Gone Too Soon: 1997 Bimota SB6R for Sale

The SB6R could have been Bimota's biggest seller of all time. Certainly the earlier SB6 sold in quantities that nearly qualify as mass production, with nearly 1,200 built. Unfortunately, the utter failure of the overreaching two-stroke V-Due low-sided the company into a crash barrier and the GSX-R1100-powered SB6R was not part of the brand's renewal, killing it after just 600 were made. Sharp styling aside, the SB6's party piece is that absolutely massive-looking aluminum frame that uses Bimota's "Straight Connection Technology" concept to link the steering head stock and the swingarm pivot as directly as possible for optimized handling.

Great idea, but those big slabs of aluminum limit access to a number of important components, including the front sprocket and the alternator drive. This is a problem because the front sprocket will likely need regular replacement, considering the power and torque available, and the alternator drive needs cooling air to keep it from failing. So just what do I mean when I say that the frame "limits access"? Well both components require the engine to be at the very least unbolted from the frame and lowered, something that might deter owners just a bit...

Built during the same era as Ducati's original 916, the Bimota SB6R goes about being a fast motorcycle in almost the opposite way as its Bolognese rival: bulging and stout-looking where the 916 is impossibly slim at the waist, beam frame versus a trellis, and powered by an inline four versus a v-twin. But both featured stump-pulling torque over high horsepower: the GSX-R mill in the SB6R is backed by a five-speed gearbox and I've yet to hear anyone complain that it needs a sixth...

That engine is a bit like the small-block Chevy of the motorcycling world, and plenty of folks out there have tuned them to make fairly outrageous horsepower. Today's SB6R looks like it's gone that route: it isn't exactly stock, although the modifications are all under the skin and committed to the pursuit of absolute speed. A wise move, as the bike's aesthetics represent one of the bike's strong points. But is the seller's asking price just one toke over the line?

From the original eBay listing: 1997 Bimota SB6R for Sale

Exotic Italian red handmade superbike.

Bimota SpA (www.bimota.it) was started in 1973 in Rimini, Italy, by Valerio Bianchi, Giuseppe Morri, and Massimo Tamburini (Bi-Mo-Ta). They design and build their own line of exotics, and the company and its people have also been involved with designing/developing Ducati, MV Agusta, and Lamborghini motorcycles. Bimota would study the market to see which drive trains they believed to be best of breed, purchase their components directly from those manufacturers, remanufacture and enhance them to Bimota standards, and then design and build an exotic motorcycle based on the new drive train. Bimota model numbers indicate which drive trains they were based on - SB (Suzuki), DB (Ducati), YB (Yamaha), KB (Kawasaki). Bimota also collaborated with other major brands on special models, and both SB and YB models have won world superbike and other class championships. True to the exotic business model, the company would only build a limited number each year, with very few making it to the U.S. market.

This SB6R was originally purchased new from Bimota by owners of a professional U.S.-based race team in the late 1990's, intending it as one of their anchor bikes.

Prior to race homologation, the principal team owner suffered major injury and the team was closed. Approximately $70,000 had been invested in this SB6R up to that time, but it hadn't yet raced and still remains in street legal configuration. If memory serves correctly, the original owner's dynomometer certificate listed 182 horsepower. This SB6R still has its original Bimota uprated (150+ HP) GSXR 1100 drive train, which was further blueprinted/uprated (to 1200 CC)/race-configured by a professional Suzuki team in the US. This Bimota can essentially be serviced and tuned by a competent professional Suzuki technician.

The second owner of the SB6R was a friend of the original owners and purchased it when the team was closed. He was also a colleague in my area of business (telecom), and I purchased it from him as he was retiring and moving away. The SB6R has always remained in climate controlled indoor storage and is only ridden briefly at the beginning and end of each season to keep it in good operating condition. Both the second owner and I bought the SB6R as collectors, not racers.

The purchaser should appreciate that it is essentially a race vehicle that remains street legal. Response can be startlingly quick and strong across even low RPM ranges due to Bimota's proprietary pressurized air box system. No tricks or gadgets, just simple, beautiful Italian race design on top of bulletproof horsepower.

Though not fully race homologated as intended, it will not ride and handle like a milder/more-comfortable/easier-to-ride street bike. It is designed for one rider of average racer size/weight and has no pillion or pegs for a second passenger. Riding posture and controls are designed for racing. Steering is designed to be more stable at high speeds, rather than more flexible at low speeds, and so is dampened and has less range of motion than normal street bikes. It is jetted for ~5000 feet altitude, and when cold will need to be warmed up patiently with graduated choke adjustments before being initially ridden (~15 minutes). Throttle control should be gentle and moderate, as response is fast and strong. Experienced riders (including me) have been caught by surprise when rolling in too much throttle in ordinary street riding conditions (especially from stops). The transmission is race configured (1-up, 4-down), which is the reverse of what is normal for street bikes (1-down, 4-up), and has a harsher sound and feel because it is heavier duty.

The buyer will arrange and pay for pickup. We've used a few different bike haulers over the years and they've always worked out fine. If the buyer happens to be in the Inland NW United States, I occasionally drive to Spokane or Bozeman for business and may be willing to deliver there or points between if serendipitous.

10% of sale proceeds go to the MARSOC Foundation.

Like many Bimotas of the era, the SB6R handles with aplomb, goes like stink, and looks the business, but the details let the side down: maintenance issues, including a gauge cluster prone to failure, and generally indifferent construction. It is one of my very favorite 1990s exotics, but that doesn't change the fact that the seller's asking price of $25,000 is extremely optimistic. It's very nice, but most SB6Rs are pretty well-preserved, and previous examples haven't gotten higher than around $15,000 before either selling outside eBay or going to the highest bidder. Is the extra attention lavished on the engine worth $10,000, or is it just gilding the lily? If you're a wealthy collector looking for a very nicely prepared, but decidedly non-stock SB6R, this might be just what you're looking for.

-tad

Gone Too Soon: 1997 Bimota SB6R for Sale
Suzuki May 25, 2017 posted by Tad Diemer

Featured Listing: 1991 Suzuki RGV250 VJ22A for Sale

 

Today's Featured Listing Suzuki RGV250 is part of the rare and weird collection that the seller has been liquidating over the past few weeks. It may not be museum-quality, but it has obviously been well cared-for and would make a great weekend rider, assuming you live somewhere it can be titled. Rare and desirable here in the USA, Suzuki's RGV250Γ was basically the GSX-R of two-stroke sportbikes: it was fast, a bit wild, and ubiquitous in markets where it was sold new.

But here in the USA, these little Gammas are extremely difficult to find. Go looking for a Honda NSR250 at any given time, and you'll likely come up with at least something. But RGVs are pretty few and far between, in any condition. In fact, here in the US, the closest many of us may have come to the RGV is the Aprilia RS250 that is much more common and uses the same engine, with some minor tuning and cosmetic differences. 

The 250cc two-stroke sportbikes of the period seemed cut from the same cloth, although each managed to have its own character: light and stiff aluminum beam frame, liquid-cooled two-stroke parallel or v-twin engine, some form of power valve technology, a six-speed gearbox, sub-300lb dry weight, and lots of proprietary acronyms plastered across the fairings. In this VJ22's case you'll note "SAPC" or "Suzuki Advanced Power Control," an electronic power valve and ignition timing system to boost the 55-ish horsepower 90° twin's meager midrange. Earlier VJ21s had 17" front and 18" wheels, updated here in the VJ22 to a pair of 17" hoops that should give a wider choice of modern rubber. Weight for the VJ22 was up a bit over previous models, largely owing to that beautiful but complex and heavy asymmetrical "banana" swingarm that left space on the right-hand side of the bike for the bulging expansion chambers that fed those sexy shotgun exhausts.

From the seller: 1991 Suzuki RGV250 VJ22A for Sale

Saved the best for last! This will be the last Suzuki RGV250 up for auction. The honey hole is drying up quickly.

Up for auction to the highest bidder with NO RESERVE is a 1991 Suzuki RGV250 VJ22A with only 8,780 kilometers (5,455 miles) on the odometer. This RGV runs like the day it was new. I don't know the service history but it sure pulls like its been de restricted. Speedometer has been changed to a 300KPH clock so actual mileage is unknown. We see lots of these 250's with speedo's changed from the stock 180kph clocks to 300kph. This RGV has scratches throughout the bike. Tank looks like new. Mirrors and front fender show sun fade. The lower center V-fairing behind the front wheel has a broken tab and has a crack that needs to be fixed. Bike has great curb appeal and looks very nice. Bike comes tastefully upgraded with after market pipes and stingers, aftermarket levers and grips and steel braided brake lines. All fairings are 100% OEM Suzuki factory.

Bike comes with Utah state title and is titled as a Bstreet motorcycle for road use.

Scratches and scrapes throughout. Now there's an honest assessment from the seller, and should give potential buyers a good idea of what to expect here: it's clean, but definitely a used motorcycle. Those Brembo front brakes don't look original but should be a worthwhile upgrade. The levers and grips maybe not so much, but those are easily changed to suit your taste. It isn't perfect but, as stated earlier, might make a great weekend rider or a rolling restoration. You'll have to source parts from overseas, but the internet is a wonderful thing and most of what you need should be available to keep an RGV running.

-tad

Featured Listing: 1991 Suzuki RGV250 VJ22A for Sale
Yamaha May 22, 2017 posted by Tad Diemer

Vintage Racer: 1970 Yamaha TR2 350 for Sale

Introduced in the late 1960s as an over-the-counter racebike, Yamaha's TR2 was based on the road-going R3, and was extremely popular among privateer racers of the period. At just 253lbs dry, the bike was lightweight and, with a nearly square 61mm x 59.6mm bore and stroke that worked out to 348cc, the little air-cooled, two-stroke parallel-twin put a claimed 55hp through a five-speed gearbox.

The huge drum brakes at both ends seen here were difficult to adjust correctly and are obviously not as effective as discs that would have likely been fitted to period racers as soon as they could get their hands on a set, but look very shiny!

From the original eBay listing: 1970 Yamaha TR2 350 for Sale

Restored to an excellent condition. Matching numbers. This very rare racebike have been completely overhauled with a lot of brand new parts as new cylinder barrels and pistons and an overhauled crankshaft, new Koni shock dampers, tires etc.

Transport can be arranged to most EU countries as I can deliver it by myself for actual costs for petrol and ferry tickets and, depending of distance, overnight costs at a cheap hotel. Transport outside Europe must be arranged by the buyer himself. I will make it ready for shipping with a crate and good wrapping.

Currently located in Sweden, this bike is in extremely nice condition, considering the age and the hard life most racebikes have endured, and appears ready to run or for display. Starting bid is $9,900 with no takers and very little time left on the auction, so move fast if you're living room needs redecorating!

-tad

Vintage Racer: 1970 Yamaha TR2 350 for Sale
Yamaha May 18, 2017 posted by Tad Diemer

Featured Listing: 1992 Yamaha FZR400RR 3TJ1 for Sale

We've spilled a lot of ink [pixels?] here on RSBFS about the Yamaha FZR400 so you're probably thinking if you've seen one, you've seen them all. But take a closer look at this little sportbike, especially the front: in place of the usual twin round lamps like you'd normally see on the FZR is a single, trapezoidal light that leaves the bike looking quite a bit like the two-stroke TZR. What we have here is a grey-market FZR400RR, a bike seldom seen outside its home market of Japan.

The RR was the slightly less extreme, less expensive, road-biased version of the very trick FZR400RR SP. It features a revised gearbox with a more street-oriented first gear compared to the SP, which means less clutch-slippage is required to get underway. It also has a dual seat on the off-chance your prospective passenger is proportioned like a 10 year old child, although it shares a committed riding position with its racy sibling. A 352lb dry weight and a lightweight aluminum frame mean confidence-inspiring handling and the RR has a 17" wheel at each end so modern rubber can be fitted, although the rear is a skinny-ish 160.

399cc might not sound like all that much, but a claimed 66hp, combined with exemplary handling, means plenty of thrills and fun to be had chasing the 14,000 rpm redline. Plenty of bigger machines rev just as high these days, but the FZR really only makes power near redline, so you'll need to keep the engine spinning to extract the available power. Or just find a nice FZR600 powerplant and slot that in: the FZR600 used a heavy steel frame and is generally much less desirable than the flyweight FZR400, but it's pretty simple to fit the bigger, punchier motor into the nimbler aluminum-framed FZR400 to create a bit of a canyon-carving hot rod.

From the Seller: 1992 Yamaha FZR400RR 3TJ1 for Sale

Up for auction is one of the best handling motorcycles ever made from Yamaha. The 1992 Yamaha FZR400RR 3TJ1 with only 3663 kilometers (2276 miles). This bike is in almost perfect condition. Still has the factory warning labels. I can only find a few flaws (for the boys in the cheap seats) The ignition switch decal has been carelessly rubbed off from extra keys on the key chain vibrating while the bike was being ridden. A little bit of sun fade on the left handlebar control switches. A couple of tiny paint dots (touch up) on the right side of the tank that don't show up in pictures but they are there. Original tires are soft but have cracks in them. This bike doesn't need much to be turned into a museum quality addition to any collection.

The bike is 100% OEM original Yamaha fairings and components. Original brake pads, chain and sprockets, tires, exhaust and components. This is a very nice unmolested collector quality FZR. This is a premium bike. A Utah state title will be presented to the lucky winner. This FZR400RR has been titled as a street motorcycle for road use.

Bidding on the auction is up to $2,370.00 at this point, with a few days left on the auction. This particular bike comes from a seller that's been unloading quite a few high-quality, quirky grey-market bikes in the past couple of weeks. This may not be the most valuable bike in his collection, but should be affordable and, like the other bikes that we've seen, is in very nice, if not absolutely perfect cosmetic condition: there is minor corrosion on some of the metal surfaces, but is generally very very sharp and the plastics look great considering the age. It also comes with a valid Utah title, which means you might just be able to ride it on the street if your local DMV is sympathetic.

-tad

Featured Listing: 1992 Yamaha FZR400RR 3TJ1 for Sale