Author Archives: Tad Diemer

Ducati March 14, 2017 posted by Tad Diemer

Odd Duck: 1982 Ducati Pantah 600TL for Sale

Pantah Week continues with this very rare, and very oddly-styled machine. When you say "Ducati" to pretty much anyone, it conjures up images of sleek, exotic, often uncomfortable machines designed to win at all costs on track and inflame the desires of motorcyclists all over the world. What you wouldn't normally imagine is something like this basically brand-new Ducati Pantah 600TL...

While the sport-touring oriented bodywork of the 600TL may not be to everyone's taste, there's nothing wrong with the components under the skin: it's motivated by the same 583cc, two-valve v-twin and five-speed gearbox as the 600SL sportbike. It uses the same as well, so handling should be excellent, although it is less stable at high speeds than its sportier brother and the top speed is lower. That funky black front fender looks like a replacement item, but period ads and photos suggest that this is in fact the original part.

 

Obviously there have been a few styling misfires from Ducati over the years: their Giorgetto Giugiaro-styled 860GT was certainly not well-liked when new, although time and a general love of all things bevel-drive have seen values of even that much-maligned machine steadily increasing in value. And sportier 600SLs languished in unloved obscurity until recently, when prices have begun to rise, along with bikes like yesterday's 750 F1. Will time be as kind to the the 600TL? It may be too soon to tell, but this particular bike has virtually no miles on it and is basically a museum-piece, so it might be a good place to start for weird Ducati speculators.

From the original eBay listing: 1982 Ducati Pantah 600TL for Sale

This is a brand new 1982 600TL.  It has 2.9 miles on it.  It comes with book, tools and parts manual.  I bought this bike from the stocking Ducati dealer in Ohio.  He told me that in 1982 30 600TL came to the US and that this is one of them.  The bike has never been driven, the battery has never had battery acid in it.  It has a Conti muffler, 36 Din Delorto carbs.  This bike has all custom papers and duty paid for Canada, but the US title is still on hand.  This bike is extremely rare, it may be the only new one in the world!

Normally rare, zero-mile bikes are a recipe for a static display. But in this case, all the parts you'd need to get it roadworthy should be readily available. You could probably even slot in a much larger, more powerful version of the venerable L-twin with a bit of work... The starting bid is set at $8,250 with no takers as yet although there is still plenty of time left on the auction. I've never seen one for sale before, and it's very rare here in the USA, but that doesn't necessarily mean that it'll ever really be worth all that much to collectors, except as an oddity.

-tad

Odd Duck: 1982 Ducati Pantah 600TL for Sale
Ducati March 13, 2017 posted by Tad Diemer

Middle Child: 1986 Ducati 750 F1 for Sale

Until pretty recently, Ducati's 750 F1 was the redheaded stepchild of the Ducati family: it wasn't a bevel-drive and so wasn't really considered worthy of being considered a "classic" Ducati, didn't have the reliability [cough, cough] of the modern two-valve twin, or the performance credentials of the liquid-cooled four-valve superbikes. But values have been rising rapidly in recent years, and the F1 represents an important bridge between two eras of Ducati sportbikes.

The 750 F1 was built around their proven trellis frame and a 749cc version of the Pantah two-valve L-twin, tuned to produce 76hp and was wrapped in bodywork designed to resemble the successful TT1 racing machines. Wheels were the height of 80s fashion, with a tiny 16" hoop up front and 18" at the rear. This was the very last Ducati produced before Cagiva took over and it uses a pair of carburetors configured like the older bevel-drive bikes instead of the later machines that nestled both units in the engine's vee. Not the most efficient from a packaging standpoint, with those air cleaners jutting out bodywork.

From the original eBay listing: 1986 Ducati 750 F1 for Sale

Original surviving example with 3850 original miles. Runs very well indeed. Its tight and everything works. Toolkit and owners manual included. Will need tires if ridden aggressively. An uncompromising street legal Italian thoroughbred.

Bidding is up above $10,000 with the Reserve Not Met and very little time left on the auction. These are the very last Ducatis before the modern era that was ushered in by Cagiva, and that gives them a special place in Ducati's history, and the uptick in values reflects that. This example looks very clean and is in excellent condition, with low miles and the seller even includes a short video of the bike roaring up the street!

-tad

Middle Child: 1986 Ducati 750 F1 for Sale
Ducati March 11, 2017 posted by Tad Diemer

Rebuilt Racer: 1999 Ducati 748RS for Sale

The Ducati 916/748 was the poster child for performance motorcycles throughout its production, with the same sort of ubiquity the Lamborghini Countach enjoyed in its heyday. With so many of them made over such a long timeframe, it’s easy to forget how huge an impact the bike had when it was new: Tamburini's creation may have been uncomfortable, temperamental, and expensive, but Ducati sold streetbikes so they could go racing, not the other way around. Which makes today’s 748RS one of the purest Ducatis you can buy, aside from a used World Superbike machine.

The 748 was the baby-brother to the 916 and came in standard, S, R, and RS flavors. Naturally, the RS was the trickest of the bunch, a pure factory racebike with plenty of trick parts and a highly-strung engine with maintenance requirements to match. The 748cc v-twin was pitched against 600cc inline fours and the displacement bump allowed by World Supersport rules helped the Ducati compete, but heavily-revised internals were also required to keep them on relatively equal footing. Wild cams opened RS-specific valves to make the 124hp needed, while a 54mm Termignoni exhaust ferried exhaust gasses to the undertail “mufflers.”

As you’d expect, the bike features a close-ratio gearbox, high-end suspension, and extensive use of lightweight materials, including bodywork and a simplified wiring loom, as this was never intended to be used on the road and obviously didn’t need connections for lights and other legal requirements.

From the original eBay listing: 1999 Ducati 748RS for Sale

A motorcycle like this only comes up for sale once in a blue moon. This is a completely rebuilt 1999 Ducati 748RS (Corsa) factory race bike. This particular machine was used in the AMA Pro Thunder Championship which was won by Shawn Conrad. The machine as it sits, is effectively new. It has been rebuilt from the ground up and any part not 100% has been replaced. The engine was rebuilt by Chris Boy's team at Motocorse Ducati in Fort Lauderdale and has zero miles, zero time on it. Everything has been refurbished except the side panels which are original and "as raced". This is again, a factory race bike and ready for your living room or to take racing or for track days. There is no title as this is a factory race bike.  The Ducati factory can confirm it is as stated. I can assist with shipping but the costs are all to the buyers account.

Those of you without deep pockets, beware: this is no tarted-up roadbike converted to track duty, and parts can be very expensive, even if you're used to Ducati's regular belt changes and valve-adjustment: rumor has it, you'll be swapping out those valves [and rockers!] out every 750 km or so. The bike is listed with a $13,499 starting bid, no takers and several days left on the auction. That’s big money for a 748 but seems pretty reasonable for an RS, especially one with legitimate race history, a complete rebuild, and a bit of as-raced patina. From the seller’s description, this one’s basically ready to race or display!

-tad

Rebuilt Racer: 1999 Ducati 748RS for Sale
Ducati March 4, 2017 posted by Tad Diemer

Rare Homologation Special: 1988 Ducati 851 Tricolore for Sale

If you're looking to get close to your racing heroes, style yourself a Very Serious Motorcyclist™, or just like the idea of riding something with genuine links to legitimate race bikes, homologation specials offer their owners a taste of the trick parts and lightweight performance available to professional racers, all in a streetable package. This 851 Tricolore wears its Italian heritage proudly, and takes things a bit beyond what you'd normally expect in terms of road-legal performance: its about as close to a road-legal race bike as you're likely to find.

The 916 gets most of the fame and is more instantly recognizable, but it's really the earlier 851, introduced in 1987, that paved the way for Ducati's World Superbike success and the company's return to racing glory. The older Pantah-derived air-cooled L-twin engines were certainly high-performance motors in their day, but had been long-since eclipsed by the inline fours from Japan, and Ducati needed something new if they wanted to compete on relatively equal footing with 750cc inline fours in the brand-new World Superbike Championship.

Ducati kept the proven foundation of their v-twin, but added liquid cooling and brand new four-valve heads to create their "Desmoquattro" that pumped out 93hp along with plenty of fat midrange torque and gave the newly introduced 851 the performance to compete, factoring in a bit of a displacement bump that allowed the twins approximate parity with the smaller, revvier inline fours. Wrapped around that heavily updated engine was Ducati's distinctive trellis frame and chunky bodywork, along with ergonomics that were considered extreme at the time, but seem positively luxurious compared to the masochistic 916 that came later... For a while there, the 851 and the 888 that followed were less desirable than the gorgeous 916. But as they say, "familiarity breeds contempt" and with so many of Tamburini's masterpiece running around, it's hard not to be a bit blasé about them now. But the 916 would never have existed without the success of the 851 and that functional bodywork has a style all its own.

From the original eBay listing: 1988 Ducati 851 Tricolore for Sale

One of 207 homologation "kit bikes"!
Frame Number: ZDM3HB6T6JB850034
Engine Number: HB6J850032

It was the Ducati 851 that first served notice that high-performance sportbikes and World Superbike racing would no longer be Japanese-only affairs. Where before Ducatis made do with simple air-cooled motors, the 851 had liquid-cooling, four-valve desmodromic cylinder heads and electronic fuel-injection. In 1990 Raymond Roche rode a factory 851 to the World Superbike championship, the first of 13 titles to date for Ducati.

World Superbike racers were required to be based on production streetbikes. One way to get the highest-specification base model possible was to build homologation specials – expensive, limited-edition versions that needed relatively minor modification to be track-ready. Ducati took this so-called "kit bike" approach with the 851 Superbike. Just 207 of these nominally street-legal machines were hand-built, enough to satisfy World Superbike rules, with an estimated 20 examples coming to the U.S.

 Differences from showroom stock include a braced swingarm, close-ratio gearbox, ventilated dry clutch and lightweight magnesium Marvic wheels. No speedometer, just a tachometer and temperature gauge. The motor was upgraded with race-grind camshafts, a hot-rodded electronic control unit, ram-air duct and free-breathing reverse-cone mufflers. It was good for about 120 horsepower.

One of the other differences is a round ring on the seat, which is explained by an amusing folk tale: the claim is that some Ducati employee placed a hot espresso maker on the mold before production, causing a slight deformation in the seat.

The Tri-Colore 851 kit bike on offer has been made fully street-legal, and is titled and registered. Globe-type turn signals mounted in the handlebar ends satisfy the DMV. The original owner was a local Southern California collector of some very interesting and important bikes, particularly Italian, low production machines. He mounted a bicycle speedometer with magnet on the front hub to further satisfy the DMV and clocked 2600 miles. The second owner kept the bike in his private museum of very exclusive Italian machinery and removed the speedo for display.

Mechanically, the bike is in excellent condition. The engine starts easily, idles smoothly and runs well. The bike shifts easily though all gears with a nice clutch action. Brakes, suspension and all electrical systems work perfectly. The new owner should be mindful of tire-pressure as the scuff-free magnesium wheels are notoriously porous. And it sounds fantastic!

Cosmetically, the bike is exquisite, showing light patina conducive with age and mileage. This is truly a Superbike for the street, with impeccable ownership history and is accompanied by a substantial document file, keys, and a clean, clear California title. A great opportunity to own a truly rare and exotic Italian icon.

So what does this piece of Ducati history cost? Well the asking price is $31,900 which is obviously very steep for an 851, but a bit of a bargain compared to the last one of these that was up for sale. This appears to be a different bike, considering that one had never had gas in it or been started, whereas this one has had a bit of use and a couple of concessions to road use added. The small bar-end mirrors are a modern addition, but aren't obtrusive and suit the bike's minimal-road-equipment style compared to the big, chunky, fairing-mounted original road-equipment parts or a more 80s set of "Napoleon" bar-end mirrors. The seller claims that just 207 of these homologation 851s were built in 1988 to meet World Superbike requirements and it looks to be in excellent shape, with just enough wear to suggest that it's in original, well-preserved condition. This is, as the seller says, literally a superbike for the street, with just enough road equipment to keep things legal-ish but not distract from your World Superbike fantasies. Hopefully, anyone that buys this will continue to put a few weekend miles on it from time-to-time!

-tad

Rare Homologation Special: 1988 Ducati 851 Tricolore for Sale
Ducati February 28, 2017 posted by Tad Diemer

Pantah-stic: 1981 NCR Ducati 600TT for Sale

Ducati's first motorcycle was the Cucciolo [or "puppy" in Italian], which was basically a simple engine strapped to a bicycle, an affordable tool to get the Italian population mobile and back to work after the end of World War II. Certainly a far cry from the frameless, race-inspired exotica they're famous for today. This NCR 600TT hails from the middle period of Ducati's history, and is powered by the grandfather of all their modern v-twin engines, the single overhead cam, two-valve Pantah.

They're famous for the format today, but Ducati didn't start out making v-twin sportbikes. Instead, once they graduated from producing simple, efficient people-movers, they built and raced single-cylinder motorcycles of various displacements, before eventually building their first v-twin. The hottest versions of those earliest v-twins featured Ducati's trademark Desmodromic valve-actuation that has become their engineering trademark. But they also used a complex and expensive-to-manufacture system of tower shafts and bevel gears to operate the overhead cams, and Ducati needed to increase profitability to stay afloat, so introduced a parallel twin that was much more compact and affordable to produce and assemble, much to the horror of famous engineer Fabio Taglioni.

That parallel-twin engine proved to be a massive flop, but Taglioni continued to develop the v-twin on his own, and the Pantah was the result. The revised v-twin swapped the tower-shaft and bevel-drive cam-drive of the earlier engine for a much simpler rubber belt arrangement. This meant the engine was less expensive to manufacture, but also meant owners needed to religiously maintain their bikes, as failure of the toothed rubber belt led to catastrophic engine damage. Today's Ducati engines are direct descendants of that original two-valve v-twin.

This particular Pantah-powered machine is literally a racebike with lights, and includes frame, bodywork, and preparation by NCR. If you're not familiar, NCR are best known today for their high-performance and obsessively lightweight Ducati parts, as well as for converting already expensive exotica into completely un-affordable, even more exotic exotica. But before that, they were originally a race team. The race team, in fact, responsible for Ducati's many racing successes until the creation of their in-house racing division, including Mike Hailwood's famous TT-winning bike, so they've been around the track a few times. Although the bike does include a headlight, a tail light, and turn signals, it appears that wasn't enough to get past rigorous TÜV certification and the bike couldn't be registered for road use in Germany where it was stored for many years. Maybe a new American owner will have more luck?

From the original eBay listing: 1981 NCR Ducati 600TT for Sale

The 1981 Ducati Scuderia N.C.R was one of the preeminent motorcycle racing teams of all time. They were the de-facto Ducati factory race team from the early 1970s until Ducati took it in-house with Ducati Corsa in 2000. They continued as privateers and had success with rider Ben Bostrom. The company was then sold and continues as a specialist builder of very high end motorcycles.

NCRs wins on the world stage are almost too numerous to mention. But Imola 200 winners Paul Smart, Isle of Man TT winners Mike Hailwood were all on the bevel drive NCRs. The string of wins by Tony Rutter on the belt drive TT2 were all Nepoti and Caracchi machines that made NCR a household name with their distinctive logo of a speeding helmet clad dog.

Nepoti and Caracchi Racing designed their own frame for the belt drive Pantah based series. This was the 600TT. It differs from the more common TT2, which was more of a Ducati design. A total of nine frames were made by Verlicchi and a further two by DM. All but two were racing frames. Of these two street bikes produced, this is the only one built with an alloy gas tank. Imagine a genuine NCR with a steering lock.

This bike has spent most of its life unused in Germany. The owner tried to convert his Pantah to a NCR framed machine, but the TUV would not allow it, due to their ultra-strict type certification. Throughout 1980s, 90s and 2000s it was in hiding. It re-surfaced in 2006 and was recommissioned. However the German owner was still not able to use it.

It came to America several years ago and has been in a private collection museum ever since. It has a US tile as the original donor Ducati Pantah.

Gas has been drained and battery removed for storage and display. We are selling this incredible machine for a client of ours and all technical questions will be answered as quickly as possible but may take time to get as he has limited access. Sold on a clean, mileage exempt US title.

VIN#DM500SL661261

Bidding is up to just north of $9,100 with plenty of interest and plenty of time left on the auction. In general, the earlier bevel-drive bikes are considered the most desirable and collectible Ducatis, but this is an exceptionally rare and cool motorcycle, considering the direct links to NCR and the fact that it's theoretically a roadgoing racebike. Obviously you should be careful to consult with your local DMV if you plan to register this machine for road use, but this one might be best used as the crown jewel in a collection anyway, considering it's status as just one of two ever built.

-tad

Pantah-stic: 1981 NCR Ducati 600TT for Sale
Honda February 27, 2017 posted by Tad Diemer

Rothmans Replica: 1991 Honda NSR250 SP for Sale

Racing fans naturally gravitate towards sportbikes that feature graphics and colors associated with their favorite racing teams. Since those designs are often chosen for their visibility over any concerns about taste, it's rare that a design stands out for being both striking and classic. It's a shame that some of the most memorable and iconic color schemes in racing history were those designed for tobacco products, but it's hard to argue with the good looks of today's Rothmans Replica Honda NSR250R.

This MC21 NSR250R was powered by Honda's familiar 90° liquid-cooled 249cc two-stroke v-twin with a six-speed "cassette" style gearbox that allowed for quick gearing changes at the track. Obviously not something that's all that useful on a roadbike, but still very trick and cool. The updated MC21 version of the NSR250 wasn't just a restyled MC18, it was an extensively redesigned machine. It used a distinctive gull-arm swingarm to allow the expansion chamber on the right side of the bike to tuck in close for maximum cornering clearance, while the carburetors were controlled by Honda's very sophisticated PGM-III system that used a three-dimensional map based on throttle-position, revs, and gear selection to adjust the RC valves and ignition timing for excellent flexibility compared to rivals.

Power output was bang-on the government-mandated 45hp, but that still gave the sub-300 pound [dry] machine plenty of pep and more is available with de-restriction. How much is available? Well, how much do you want to spend, and how long do you want it to last between rebuilds? This SP version added a dry clutch and an uprated rear shock to the mix for even more performance, exotic, rattling noises, and exclusivity: just 1,500 NSR250R SPs were sold during 1991, making this a rare machine in any market, let alone North America, and this one is in superlative shape.

From the original eBay listing: 1991 Honda NSR250 SP for Sale

Immaculate 1991 Honda NSR250 SP w/ 5,000 miles from Moto2 Imports

Available only from Moto2 Imports, this fully restored 1991 NSR250 SP two-stroke is our nicest machine to date! Beyond a standard R model, this SP features fully-adjustable front and rear suspension, trick dry clutch, and a close-ratio gearbox. A complete service and safety check has been performed by our partner Speedwerks. The electronics have been de-restricted and the engine makes full power. All gaskets have been inspected and engine compression & leak down tests were performed with no issues. New tires, chain, battery, brake pads & spark plugs. Carburetors cleaned, rebuilt and re-jetted. Fuel, oil and coolant systems drained, flushed, & refilled. All other mechanical & electrical systems checked and operating properly. Fairing and tank were just resprayed and are of the highest quality - see Hi Res images. Expansion chambers have been ceramically coated and aluminum wheels freshly powdercoated (Magteks available). Bike starts/runs/operates flawlessly. Additional pics and video available upon request. You will not find a nicer NSR. With just 5,000 original miles, you can bid with confidence on this amazing machine.

All Moto2 bikes are legally imported and come with a clear US title with the proper 11 digit VIN (frame number and title match). Buyer will receive the US title, Bill of Sale, Customs and importation paperwork, and a copy of the original Japanese title. Feel free to ask any questions about this bike. Moto2 Imports provides post-sales support including spare parts for our bikes now and in the future. We sell and ship globally. Visit our website for more information.

The asking price of $9,299 seems very reasonable, considering the ever-upwards trend of prices for these grey-market two-strokes in general and the fact that is is both the coveted Rothmans Replica SP model and in exceptional condition. Sure, the paint isn't original but, considering the apparent quality of the work, that might not be a bad thing, and the bike has obviously been extensively reconditioned. If you've been waiting to add one of these to your collection, you won't find one nicer outside of a museum.

-tad

Rothmans Replica: 1991 Honda NSR250 SP for Sale