Author Archives: Tad Diemer

BMW February 24, 2017 posted by Tad Diemer

Brains and Brawn: 2009 BMW HP2 Sport for Sale

Before the introduction of their conventional, but devastatingly effective S1000RR, BMW was known for their durable, quirky motorcycles and "old man in a Roadcrafter suit" image. But in the lead-up to the introduction of the RR, BMW attempted to revive their forgotten, but very legitimate sporting image with the limited-production HP2 Sport. BMW already had an inline-four engine that would, on the surface, have seemed like a more likely candidate for sportbike-ification, but BMW instead chose to base their sportbike on their iconic 180° flat-twin configuration. Did they choose the twin to clearly separate the planned inline-four superbike from their previous offerings? Or was the existing, longitudinally-mounted "brick" simply too heavy for sportbike duty? I'm not sure, but the resulting HP2 ended up being much more "nerd Ducati" and less "Teutonic Gixxer."

In terms of specification, the HP2 is surprisingly close to Ducati's L-twin-powered superbikes of the period: two cylinders, 128hp near the 9,500 rpm redline, and a claimed 392lbs dry weight is probably closer to the older 999 than the 1198, but the HP2 is still in the ballpark. That low weight looks especially impressive when you realize power reaches the rear wheel via a heavy driveshaft, and the BMW comes with a raft of high-performance parts to turn what might otherwise have been a bit of a sow's ear into the proverbial silk purse: dual overhead cam heads, radial valves, titanium connecting rods, adjustable ergonomics, and even a self-supporting carbon-fiber subframe. The lack of a slipper clutch is unfortunate, considering the rotational mass of the powertrain, but one is available if you have the time or money to drop the engine and install one.

The sometimes vague feeling often criticized by reviewers of BMW's "alternatively suspended" bikes is happily missing in the HP2, and handling is considered a high point, while Brembo monoblock calipers offer impressive stopping power well in excess of what might be required to rein in those 128 horses. The heads sticking out in the breeze do ultimately limit cornering clearance, but you'll need to be on a race track before it becomes anything more than an academic issue. Luckily, it comes fitted with plastic sliders... A bit of rear ride height helps, but dragging an elbow in corners might ultimately be impossible if you lack simian proportions.

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

Original adult owner purchased from Lone Star BMW in Austin Texas.  Carbon fiber body panels, forged aluminum rims, brembo antilock brakes, clutchless upshift, and ohlines suspension.  All warranty work done and service completed.  Replaced the fuel pump with a ethanol compatible unit. Never dropped, raced or crashed.  There is a blemish on the right lower fairing from a stone.  This is the ultimate boxer. With only approximately 115 ever imported to the US, you don't have to wait for this to become a rare classic - it already is!  Clear Texas title.  2016 miles.

Keep in mind that there's a price to be paid for all that exclusivity and high-performance technology: these weren't meant for casual owners and, when new, were priced north of $20,000. Maintenance costs are appropriate for a low-production exotic as well, and BMW recommends the titanium connecting rods get replaced at 30,000 miles, so start saving now. Hey, at least valve-adjustments should be a snap!

-tad

Brains and Brawn: 2009 BMW HP2 Sport for Sale
Yamaha February 21, 2017 posted by Tad Diemer

Going Solo: 1994 Yamaha YZF750R for Sale

A solo seat on a sportbike is a statement of intent that says, "I'm a very serious sports motorcycle rider, and a passenger will only slow me down when I'm out dragging a knee in the canyons." Or maybe it just says that your significant other has their own motorcycle for canyon-carving... Honestly, considering the utterly impractical nature of modern sportbike design, pillion seats and pegs are, for all intents and purposes, largely decorative. Sure, people can ride back there in a pinch, but it ain't much fun. The comfort situation might have been better back in the 1980s and 1990s, but the message broadcast by a solo tail like the one on this very clean Yamaha YZF750R is the same now as it was then.

The top-spec YZF750SP was never officially sold here in the USA, and the R lacked that bike's adjustable swingarm pivot, flatslide carbs, and bolt-on rear subframe/solo seat combo. Gearbox ratios were different as well and the bike featured hotter cams and higher-spec suspension. With a claimed 125hp from the 749cc engine and a dry weight of 432lbs, absolute performance is closer to a modern 600 than a genuine superbike, but with some upgrades to the suspension and modern tires, there's plenty of fun to be had.

Ironically, the most significant part of the YZF750's story might be three other letters: CBR. The CBR900RR was introduced in 1993 and basically rewrote the rules for the class, offering nearly literbike power in a 750cc package. It ignored established rules that saw roadbike displacements reflecting racing class limits to embody the "win on Sunday, sell on Monday" philosophy: until the introduction of the CBR, the 750cc class was hotly contested on the street as it was in World Superbike, the premier production-based racing class of the era, where it represented the class limit for four-cylinder displacement. But the CBR belonged to no racing class at all and its popularity helped signal the end of the 750 class dominance.

But that certainly doesn't mean the YZF750R is a bad motorcycle. In fact, the 750cc bikes represent the pinnacle of 1990s superbike development. I prefer the earlier round headlamps to these "cat's eye" peepers and the simpler, less garish "speedblock" graphics of the late 1980s, but there's no arguing that, if you want a 90's superbike, you'd be hard-pressed to find one nicer than this YZF750R.

From the original eBay listing: 1994 Yamaha YZF750R for Sale

For sale is my truly superb YZF750R. I was with intention to hold onto it forever but I am seriously short of good garage space following my son's moving here from overseas with his "toys" etc. This may be the best one in the country, no exaggeration!  It looks like it left the showroom this morning.

This model was only imported for about 2 years and most of them were just used for the race track. This bike has NEVER seen a race track!  It starts up instantly, idles smoothly, is very fast and I have never had it close to the red line of 13,000rpm.  It has only done 6,600  miles from new, no noises or smoke or any leaks. When tested by magazines at the time, this model attained a speed of 165mph, a deep sounding after market exhaust system lets a bit more power out! For those not familiar with this machine, it has the 5 valves per cylinder engine.

It will purr along at 40 mph in 6th gear and carburates perfectly. I use full synthetic Mobil motorcycle oil and non ethanol 93 octane gas. I will be 70 years old next year and take it out for a 20 mile ride every few weeks on the local back roads here in NC.   I have had many, many bikes over the years both on the road and on the track, and this one always gives me a grin when I dismount.

I am starting the bidding at $5000 with no reserve. NADA has it valued way above this with a lot more miles for the year. I paid more than this a few years ago.  Ride it home or I will assist with any shipping to be paid for by the high bidder.  Clear NC title.

I'm not sure the seller is correct that "most of them were just used for the race track," as that was the job of the higher-spec YZF750SP. But, since the SP was never officially sold in the USA, you certainly would have started with this bike if you wanted to race a 750cc Yamaha here in the 1990s. That being said, the later YZF750 is a pretty rare machine in any guise here in the USA, especially in such extremely clean, low-mileage condition. Starting bid for this very nice YZF is $5,000 with no takers yet and four days left on the auction. That's definitely on the high end for a YZF but, if you've got an eye towards collectibility, it doesn't seem outrageous, considering this one is so clean you could just about eat off it.

The YZF750R generally came with pillion accommodations but the solo tail seen here, possibly from an SP, should save some weight and allows the aftermarket pipe to tuck in higher and closer for improved cornering clearance. It certainly looks the part. The D&D exhaust and the fake-looking carbon dash, on the other hand, are much more questionable choices but are easily replaced with a bit of careful eBay shopping. I'm not exactly sure what that switch on the left fairing in-fill panel does, though. Last time I saw one of those on a bike, it was a switch to turn off the rear brake light in case you needed to, um... run from the cops.

-tad

Going Solo: 1994 Yamaha YZF750R for Sale
Suzuki February 18, 2017 posted by Tad Diemer

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

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

1977 Suzuki RG500 Race Bike R Side

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

1977 Suzuki RG500 Race Bike L Side Tank

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

1977 Suzuki RG500 Race Bike R Side Engine

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

1977 Suzuki RG500 Race Bike Dash

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

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

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

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

1977 Suzuki RG500 Race Bike Throttle

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

-tad

1977 Suzuki RG500 Race Bike L Side

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

Tiny Titled Two-Stroke: 2009 Aprilia RS125 for Sale

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

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

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

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

From the original eBay listing: 2009 Aprilia RS125 for Sale

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

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

-tad

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

Love, Italian Style: 1985 Laverda RGS1000 SFC for Sale

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-tad

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

Practical Italian: 2000 Aprilia RSV Mille R for Sale

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-tad

Practical Italian: 2000 Aprilia RSV Mille R for Sale