Author Archives: Tad Diemer

Suzuki October 7, 2017 posted by Tad Diemer

Sweet Tooth: 1989 Suzuki RGV250Γ for Sale

Many of the most iconic race replicas are rolling billboards for tobacco products: Marlboro, John Player, Gauloises, Lucky Strike. Of course, that's no longer the case, with tobacco manufacturers largely banned from advertising on race bikes and cars, but it's hard to deny that those designs are memorable. But what if you're a racing fan, and want to own a bike from the glory days of two-stroke Grand Prix competition, but are morally opposed to the addictive, cancer-causing weed? Well, you can always look for a race replica a bike that advertises something less-lethal. Maybe something like this Suzuki RGV250Γ in Pepsi-Cola colors that just promotes... slightly less-lethal diabetes and obesity-causing sugar?

The pace of development for the 250cc two-stroke class was relentless, with multiple, distinctly different versions of each company's bike introduced during the short period between the mid 1980s and the early 1990s. This example of Suzuki's smoky two-stroke v-twin is actually a bit of a hybrid, combining the frame and bodywork of the earlier VJ21 with the swingarm and exhaust of the later VJ22. The VJ21 used a simple unit made of rectangular, box-section aluminum, while the later VJ22 used a curved, "banana" style swinger that was also made from aluminum, but distinctively curved on the right-hand side to allow the bulging expansion chambers to tuck in close to the bike's centerline and allow maximum lean angles.

The engine was Suzuki's liquid cooled, 90° two stroke v-twin with power valves and backed by a six-speed gearbox, a package that eventually found its way into Aprilia's entry into the class, the RS250. Power for de-restricted examples was in the neighborhood of 60hp, plenty to motivate the claimed dry weight of just 282lbs. The front wheel was 17" but the rear was 18" as was fashionable among two-stroke sportbikes of the period, but irritating if you're trying to shoe one today.

From the original eBay listing: 1989 Suzuki RGV250 VJ21 for Sale

Up for sale is this clean 1989 VJ21 with a fresh top end and paint job. The bike handles well, and pulls strongly. It has benefited from an upgraded VJ22 arched swing-arm and cool dual single sided exhaust. It also has a new battery installed. It was recently imported from the UK.

The bike will come with copies of all the US customs paperwork, European registration documents, and a Bill of Sale. This is a classic and can be registered in all 50 States. I ask that the winning bidder pay a $300 deposit within 24 hours. I offer shipping with a right of refusal guarantee. If you've paid the deposit and delivery fee you can opt out of the sale whatever your misgivings may be. My delivery rates are competitive among motorcycle shipping companies.  Thanks for looking at my auction. Please check out my other listings. I currently have a variety of Grey Market Japanese Imports from Europe/UK available. I welcome all inquires and bids. However, please, please, please only bid if you willing, and able, to dispense with this transaction in a reasonable about of time. Happy Bidding! 

This one is a runner for sure, not a collector: the paint looks sharp, but isn't original, and the bike has been updated with that stylish banana swingarm of the later VJ22, along with the matching "shotgun" exhaust set up. I like the swingarm, but I'd ditch those weird green-gold levers for a set of black ones immediately if it were my bike. The big draw here? The $5,750 Buy It Now price, making it one of the most affordable RGV250s we've seen in a while. The seller claims it "can be registered in all 50 states" but that's simplifying things a bit, from what I understand. Especially in California. As always, caveat emptor. 

-tad

Honda October 5, 2017 posted by Tad Diemer

Three to Get Ready: 1986 Honda NS400R for Sale

The 1980s were a very exciting time in the motorcycling world, especially for fans of Japanese bikes, and a huge variety of machines were available in a dizzying array of configurations: two-strokes and four-strokes, singles, twins, triples, fours, and even six-cylinder engines. And it wasn't just engines that saw the application of innovative new technologies: anti-dive forks, electronic ignitions, and radial tires all became common on sporting machines for the first time. Of course, race-replicas were very popular as always, and into the mix came the Honda NS400R that combined all of those elements into a potent little package.

At the center of this unusual machine was a liquid-cooled, 90° V3 meant to ape Honda's GP machine of the period. Although with the two flanking cylinders canted forward and the middle one pointing up, it was actually the reverse of the racing machine's configuration that had the single cylinder pointed towards the front. As you'd expect, the two-stroke had Honda's ATAC powervalve to give the bike some additional midrange grunt and the 387cc engine put out a claimed 72hp through a six-speed transmission to the rear wheel. Overall, the package was very refined, with a claimed weight of just 360lbs. Handling was a definite strong point, helped by TRAC anti-dive forks up front and a Pro-Link rear, with modular Comstar wheels and radial tires at both ends.

Also, because I'm into weird details, I have to point out the tiny triangle of fairing that folds out when the sidestand is extended. Does it serve any practical purpose? Of course not. Did it cost real money to develop and manufacture? For sure it did. But that's the kind of detail that defines bikes of this period.

So why a 400cc machine, when Suzuki and Yamaha were producing race-replicas closer to the actual racing displacement of 500cc? Well bikes intended for the Japanese market were limited in terms of power and displacement throughout the period, and Honda likely wanted to make sure a single version of the bike could easily be sold in all markets. Unfortunately at the time, a perceived power and performance deficit compared to the RG500 and RZ500 likely hurt sales, but I think that's far less of an issue now: none of these bikes are especially fast by today's standards and the handling of the NS400R is famously good.

From the original eBay listing: 1986 Honda NS400R Rothmans NC19 for Sale

NS400R a road going replica of the GP motorcycle. 2 stroke with a V3 engine.

The bike is imported from Japan. Not registered yet in the US. This bike is sold without title. (NO TITLE) Sold as is with NO warranty NO refunds NO return.

Start engine! Runs OK, new battery.

This bike is original, with 25,488 km (15,837 miles) This motorcycle is 31 years old. Some scratches so look carefully all pictures and video. Sold as is.

Buyer responsible for vehicle pick-up or shipping to your location. (Bike in Carson now.) If anyone wants to come see the motorcycle, please contact me.

These flew under the radar for a long time, compared to the 500cc Suzuki and Yamaha, but prices are on the rise now. This recently-imported example looks shiny, and the seller claims it is original. A few scrapes and scratches mar the bike, and the lower right-side pipe does have some damage, although maybe that'll buff out? There are no takers yet at the $5,800 starting bid with a couple days left on the auction. As always, the lack of a US title may be discouraging bidders, as that can be difficult to navigate, and many would rather not deal with the headache.

-tad

Three to Get Ready: 1986 Honda NS400R for Sale
Ducati October 3, 2017 posted by Tad Diemer

Featured Listing: 1987 Ducati 750 F1 Laguna Seca for Sale

Update 10.3.2017: Recently serviced at local Ducati specialist, including new timing belts, idler and tensioners, valve adjust,all fluids changed - including brake and forks, and carb rebuild with new accelerator pump. New price is $19,500 or best offer.
Contact Adam by email: adam_chovanak@yahoo.com

If you were looking to jump onto the Ducati 750 F1 bandwagon early with an eye towards making big money flipping one... That ship has sailed: these Pantah-powered race replicas now command some serious money. For years, these occupied the same place as the early Super Sport, in part because they straddle two generations of Ducatis, pre and post-Cagiva ownership, but don't seem to fully belong to either. They've got a slightly shed-built quality from the older era, combined with the "modern" Pantah L-twin and more 80s style. When new, build quality was criticized and suspension, as delivered, was a bit crude. But the potential was there from the beginning in bikes like today's featured 750 F1 Laguna Seca, it just needed a bit of development.

The 750 F1 used Ducati's characteristic trellis frame, designed in this case by Verlicchi and visibly wrapped around the lightweight aluminum tank. It was powered by a 749cc version of their air/oil-cooled, two-valve twin making a claimed 76hp and styled to look like the successful TT1 race bikes of the period. Dry weight was just 385lbs and the 16" front and 18" wheel gave nimble handling. The Montjuich, Santa Monica, and this Laguna Seca were all limited editions of the F1 that were priced higher when new and featured improved performance and a higher top speed.

For years, the F1 languished forgotten and relatively unloved, but the fact that it was conceived before the company's takeover by Cagiva and the perceived mass-production that followed seems to be the exact quality now driving the increase in prices. Looking closely, there's one obvious indicator that the F1 came before Cagiva's ownership: bikes that came later reversed the rear cylinder so that both carburetors could be fitted into the engine's vee for much more efficient packaging. Some F1s have awkward pod filters fitted that bulge out from behind the fairing, but this example doesn't bother with something as trivial as "air filtration" and just has mesh screens to keep out rocks, stray animals, and small children.

ZDM750LS-750139 / DM750L1-750238

Recently out of long-term collection in Japan - this Marco Lucchinelli Replica is a time capsule in beautiful shape with only ~2500km  / 1600 miles. Original paint and bodywork is excellent; red paint on the beautiful trellis frame very nice with some darkening on the upper surface of each tube. Clip-ons and muffler have visible surface corrosion. Runs great - bike starts right up, idles well and runs like it should. Original mirrors included in sale.

The F1 Laguna Seca, along with the Santa Monica and Montjuich, represented the pinnacle of the factory Pantah-based TT race-bikes. These hand-built race-replica bikes were closely based on the forks F1 racers with open-throat Dell'Orto carburetors, 10:1 compression pistons, bigger valves and less restrictive exhaust. Transmission uses straight-cut (like the works bikes) instead of helical primary drive gears. The Laguna Seca is fitted with Verlicchi aluminum swing-arm and solo seat.

Widely acclaimed when new - Cycle World stated, "They May Be Bargains. This last Ducati is a throwback in the spirit of the 750 SS of 1973, the F1's most famous predecessor. Like the 750 SS, the F1 is the Italian sportsbike of its era."

Mick Walker summarized in his 1989 Ducati Buyers Guide, "If you find, or already own, an F1 my advice is to hang on to it. If you are doubly lucky to have been able to afford one of the 'limited edition' models, then guard it with your life, for you have a real classic of the future. Any one of the Monjuich, Laguna Seca or Santamonica models is worth a full five stars, for they are both beautiful and rare."

This gem will make a fabulous addition to your collection. Offering with low reserve and reasonable buy-it-now. Currently on it's importation paperwork - Japanese de-registration certificate / English translation of certificate / NHTSA HS7 / EPA 3520-1 / CBP 7501 (stamped). Washington State title is available for $400 documentation fee approx. 5-week wait. WA state buyers responsible for Tax & License.

As the seller mentions, the bike isn't cosmetically perfect, but no bike that's thirty years old and in original condition is likely to be. Bodywork is very sharp, but some of the exposed metal parts have some surface corrosion but the paint on the bodywork looks very nice and mileage is extremely low at just 1,600. The seller is asking for $27,500 $19,500 which seems fair, considering what regular F1s have been going for of late. As you may have guessed, this Featured Listing is being offered by the same seller as yesterday's RG400Γ and it is also a Japanese import, with paperwork that should allow the bike to be legally titled, depending on your local DMV.

-tad

Featured Listing: 1987 Ducati 750 F1 Laguna Seca for Sale
Moto Guzzi October 3, 2017 posted by Tad Diemer

Flawed Masterpiece: 1955 Moto Guzzi 8C “Otto Cilindri” for Sale

Fans of modern machinery may not understand how Moto Guzzi, with their clunky driveshafts and pushrod v-twins, is allowed even a grudging membership to the sportbike club. Of course, a look back a bit further shows Guzzi was very successful in a variety of racing classes throughout the 40s and 50s. But they wanted to play in the premiere 500cc Grand Prix class with Gilera and MV Agusta, both of whom used inline fours as the basis for their race winning machines. Guzzi knew that, in order to compete without years of development, they needed to try something new that would increase power without increasing weight, and they did it with the "Otto Cilindri." Long and low, with a period "dustbin" fairing that made it look like a wheeled torpedo, the bike was as terrifying for riders as it was for the opposition.

The brand new 500cc Grand Prix machine was powered by a brand new V8 engine... Let's just stop there and let that sink in for a moment. A motorcycle. Powered by a 499cc V8. That's not a euphemism or a catchy name. That's "V8." As in "has eight cylinders." It also had four gear-driven overhead cams, eight Dell'Orto carburetors, liquid cooling, oil stored in the frame, and weighed in at 326 pounds with the full fairing in place. If this thing had actually finished a few more races, it'd be in the pantheon of all-time greats. Unfortunately, that's why this bike is a glorious footnote, instead of an unforgettable masterpiece.

The main issue was that the 78hp produced by the ferocious engine was too much for the tire and suspension technology of the period. The bike was capable of very nearly 180mph, but period testing and races were plagued by crashes, with riders eventually refusing to pilot it until it stopped trying to actively kill them. Which is saying something, since basically the entire sport of motorcycle racing was trying to kill riders during this period. Handling was likely compromised by the engine being set too far back in the frame. This was common practice at the time, ostensibly to increase traction at the rear, but put too little weight on the front for stability and handling. Mechanical failures didn't help: the bikes overheated and broke cranks with alarming regularity.

The Otto Cilindri was terrifyingly fast, even considering the mechanical and handling problems: it actually finished fourth and fifth at the 1957 Isle of Man TT, with the fourth-place bike running on 7 cylinders. Considering the ambition of the project, the reliability and handling challenges are no surprise and it is likely that, with time, the bike would have realized its full potential. Unfortunately, Moto Guzzi pulled out of Grand Prix racing in 1957, so this project will always be more of an interesting "what if."

From the original eBay listing: 1955 Moto Guzzi 8C for Sale

Moto Guzzi 8C "Continuation"

Model year 1955

Rare opportunity to acquire one of only 7 "continuation" built in 2001 by Todaro/Frigerio from original Moto Guzzi Factory drawings.
This is the last built, fitted with ORIGINAL crankshaft, pistons and timing gear.

Fully working.

 

Parade race and collect.

Bike is currently located in Italy, 33080 Roveredo in Piano, but i can get them delivered all around World at cost, no problem.

Hat tip to Odd-Bike, where I originally saw this bike posted. Just a handful of the V8 race bikes were ever built, and only two of those remain. But in the early 2000 a small run of seven "continuation" models were built to the original's exact specifications, including the magnesium engine cases and brake drums, although the continuation bikes will likely benefit from improvements in metallurgy. Note that the seller claims this is "fully working" which means that, not only is this a historical artifact, it's also an actual, rideable motorcycle. I'd bet this is one of the rarest, most exotic and historic machines we've ever featured on this site, although it's a bit older than our usual focus. Just how incredible this engine was in concept and execution is beyond the scope of this post or my limited engineering knowledge, but if you've never heard of this thing, it's worth checking out additional sources.

-tad

Flawed Masterpiece: 1955 Moto Guzzi 8C “Otto Cilindri” for Sale
Moto Guzzi October 1, 2017 posted by Tad Diemer

Sunday Goose: 2000 Moto Guzzi V11 Sport for Sale

It's a shame we'll probably never see a modern Moto Guzzi sportbike, since they've been nominated official "heritage brand" for the Piaggio Group. Especially disappointing, since Guzzi was active and successful in a variety of racing classes up into the 1970s. Guzzi even had a modern superbike in the works intended to compete head-to-head with the 916. This new superbike engine kept the longitudinal v-twin, but used a narrower angle between the cylinder heads for more cornering clearance, liquid-cooling, four valves, and even chain drive. Now, we'll probably never see a modern Moto Guzzi sportbike, since they've been nominated official "heritage brand" for the Piaggio Group. Until things change, we're got  this roadster V11 Sport as the sportiest production Guzzi of the modern era.

Tractor jokes aside, bikes like this V11 Sport were a definite step in the right direction after the charming, but very agricultural Sport 1100 that dabbled in modernity after the very long-in-the-tooth Le Mans series and the retro 1000S. It still used the company's torquey, two-valve and air-cooled twin, here displacing 1064cc and producing a respectable 91hp. After years stuck with a clunky five-speed box, the V11 introduced a much more modern, smooth-shifting six-speed that, although hampered a bit by the intertia of the shaft drive, could even be upshifted clutchlessly.

Handling and balance were good, although obviously it wasn't as light as naked offerings from Ducati. Considering that it's nearly 550lbs ready-to-roll with a full tank of fuel on board, the V11 Sport isn't a hard core sportbike and wasn't pretending to be. It was a sporty roadster meant to evoke Guzzi's history while simultaneously hinting at a future that would unfortunately never arrive.

From the original eBay listing: 2000 Moto Guzzi V11 Sport for Sale

Very fine V11 Sport dressed in the stunning green with red frame. I am the second owner. I purchased the bike from a older gentleman who had put very few miles (1600) on the bike. I haven't done much better as my riding miles are spread between a number of bikes. Machine is in stock form except for the carbon fiber mufflers (beautiful music), CRG barend mirrors, headlight protector, and Ventura tail pack. Tail pack is simply removed by two screws as is very handy for day trips. 

Headlight rim and front brake lever have small rash spots due to tip-over.

A friend of mine bought one of these off eBay, without ever having actually seen one in person.

After winning the auction, he asked me, "It's not really that green right? That's just the photos?"

"No man," I said. "It really is that green..."

It's a shockingly vivid color, but it suits the bike. Certainly kids seem to love it, and they always wave when he passes cars, and point excitedly. He still has it, and loves it. The V11 Sport was also available in a subtle silver or a sleek black, but this color combination, meant to evoke the original, extremely rare "teliao rosso" version of the early 70s V7 Sport, is the one I'd have, hands down. Think of it a safety feature. With prices of the older Sport 1100 and Daytona variants on the rise, the V11 is the only game in town if you want an affordable, collectible Guzzi. It's definitely a quirky machine, but if you're looking for something odd and charismatic that can also cut a rug and comes with the trademark Guzzi boom, this is worth a look.

-tad

Sunday Goose: 2000 Moto Guzzi V11 Sport for Sale
KTM September 29, 2017 posted by Tad Diemer

Superbike Alternative: Low Mileage 2014 KTM RC8R for Sale

KTM's booming orange RC8 was a bit flawed when it was introduced, but still represented a hugely impressive effort by the first-time superbike maker. They'd worked out some of bugs of the new 75° v-twin using their earlier 990 Superduke that was a bit of a half-step between the supermoto Duke and the superbike RC8. KTM had plenty of experience winning races, but developing a new, large-displacement v-twin and gearbox is always tricky business, especially when you're used to building offroad singles. Getting Honda-levels of polish, a must in this market, was always going to be a challenge. Unfortunately, the RC8 launched with a crunchy, relatively unrefined gearbox and a slight power deficit. It was expensive as well, and it seemed that few buyers were willing to give an untested product from the upstart Austrians a real chance.


The design was striking and angular, with typically KTM styling touches like the bright orange frame, available orange-and-white color scheme, a weird, orange-tinted LCD gauge cluster and, wonder-of-wonders, humane ergonomics, even for riders over six feet tall! And if you didn't like the set up, you could always move things around to suit: the bars and pegs and even the seat were adjustable. Performance was on par with the Ducati superbikes of the period, but it lacked their hard edge and sophisticated [for the period] electronics. The high cost of the RC8, combined with a perceived lack of prestige, kept sales disappointingly slow. It's a shame, as the potential was clearly there, and the problems with the original RC8 were largely ironed out by the time the RC8R was introduced in 2009, with more power from the larger, dual-plug version of the engine that gave a claimed 175hp and an updated gearbox.

Unfortunately, KTM's management has declaimed superbikes as "having no place on public roads," ironic considering their wild Superduke R and its attendant "Ready to Race" tag line and promotional videos... They have publicly stated that the company will not produce a successor to the RC8R, which is disappointing, considering the performance and handling of their Superduke R. A modern RC8R based around that platform would be an impressive machine. It is possible to retrofit the 1290 engine into an RC8, but not an easy job for a do-it-yourselfer...

This particular example is basically brand new. Somewhere out there, I'm sure someone has a new-in-crate RC8R, but I very much doubt there are too many of these running around with miles as low, and in such nice condition: many period reviews praised the RC8's balance of comfort and superbike performance, so it's easy to see them being used as intended, instead of as garage ornaments.

From the original eBay listing: 2014 KTM RC8R for Sale

You are bidding on what may be the lowest mileage 2014 RC8R in the world. Loaded with upgrades and standard factory performance of the "R" model this is an exceptional sport bike you just don't see at every show, track day or cycle cruise. With only a little over 500 miles I found this brand new less than a year ago, however it was damaged in the shipping crate but never started, in fact it still had the factory shipping wax on the chain. I purchased this from the dealer and all it needed was replacement bodywork, I registered it in my name as the first owner and now its still under factory warranty! I also had the bike dealer prepped and fully serviced this year for its maiden voyage however Ive found that I have too many bikes to ride and although I love to walk by and look at it, maybe its better you ride it and enjoy. Its never been raced, been to the track, dropped and is just finished the break in mileage so its good to go whenever your'e ready, in fact the miles are so low you can still read the continental tire stamp in the tread.

 Original MSRP was $16,499 and this model year came with the slipper clutch plus 173 hp!

UPGRADES
Carbon fiber bodywork
Carbon fiber wrap
Pazzo levers
Billet quick action gas cap
Puig smoke wind screen
Competition Werkes fender eliminator
Jester 68 stainless exhaust (sounds great)
Luimoto custom seat
Etc, etc, etc. 
 
Bottom line, I purchased it with no mechanical issues, Zero (0) miles and only having cosmetic damage from inside the crate so Im passing the great deal I got on to you. I encourage you to come check it out as its near flawless to show or just ride. I like my toys super clean, they come with 3 keys, owners manual and service manual.With the upgrades there would be about $20K in this spectacular sport bike but I'm offering it for much less. If you need help shipping I can help facilitate that with your shipper, payment is your responsibility.
The seller obviously isn't revealing an actual asking price since the auction is still active, but the bidding is up to almost $8,000 at this time. The RC8 may have lagged slightly behind sportbike rivals at the time in terms of outright performance, but not by much, and the humane ergonomics made it a sensible alternative to bikes like Ducati's 1198. KTM doesn't quite have the superbike racing success or sex appeal of an MV or Ducati, but I think we're looking at a future classic and, as the seller indicates, this is one of the nicest, lowest-mileage examples available anywhere.
-tad
Superbike Alternative: Low Mileage 2014 KTM RC8R for Sale