Author Archives: Tad Diemer

Aprilia September 20, 2014 posted by Tad Diemer

Pint-Sized Sportbike: Aprilia RS125 for Sale

2009 Aprilia RS125 L Side

We’re on a roll here this week, with quasi-, barely, or not-even-remotely road-legal machinery. This Aprilia RS125 might, depending on your finesse with DMV chicanery, be made roadable: it does feature all the requisite equipment, including lights, and mounts for mirrors and signals, since it was originally intended to be a street-legal motorcycle.

The RS125 was built from 1992 until 2012, when production of the two-stroke, single-cylinder 125 was halted to make way for the new four-stroke RS4 125. This version of the bike features updated styling to match the RSV1000 that was all sharp angles, edges, and stealth-fighter shapes.

It’s a very muscular-looking bike for a 125, although they’re very small in person.

2009 Aprilia RS125 Screen

Overseas, bikes like this have long been the dream of 16-year-olds looking to impress their buddies: unlike here in the USA, where a 1300cc sportbike is just a credit application away from reality for anyone with a license, most European countries have a tiered licensing structure that prevents riders from buying larger-displacement bikes for the first couple years after obtaining their license, or before a certain age.

2009 Aprilia RS125 Cockpit

It also helps that motorcycle road racing is very popular across the pond, making 125 and 250 race-styled motorcycles somewhat aspirational machines for young riders looking to emulate their riding heroes. Here in the US, they occupy a sort of hazy area, since emissions laws basically killed off the breed years ago. They’re still beloved of petrol-heads and two-stroke junkies, largely forgotten by everyone else. But those fans are a rabid bunch, and two-strokes from the trackmaestros at Aprilia always generate interest when they come up for sale.

2009 Aprilia RS125 R Side Fairing

The bike appears to be for sale at a dealership in Portland, Oregon. The original eBay listing contains basically NO information about the bike, but does include a bunch of additional pictures that are well worth a look: 2009 Aprilia RS125 for Sale

2009 Aprilia RS125 Rear Wheel

Unfortunately, unlike the RS250 that came with top-shelf components all-around, the 125 really is more of a budget tool. Although you shouldn’t confuse it with something like a Ninja 300: de-restricted, these can make as much as 30hp, and with a weight under 300lbs, these are serious motorcycles.

2009 Aprilia RS125 Tail

The asking price is $5,000 which seems to be a very good deal, considering that it has 5 miles on the clock. It looks to be in great shape, although a history of modifications would be much appreciated: the tuning parts that have been fitted could conceivably have a significant effect on value.

-tad

2009 Aprilia RS125 R Side

Pint-Sized Sportbike: Aprilia RS125 for Sale
Yamaha September 18, 2014 posted by Tad Diemer

Track Day Mongrel: 2009 Yamaha TZ450 for Sale

2009 Yamaha TZ450 R Side

So you’ve been badly bitten by the track-day bug, and you want something that will really teach you to go faster, something you can beat the living hell out of and it will just ask, “Please sir, can I have some more?” Or maybe you’ve decided that track days just aren’t enough, and you want to go racing. But not being a 16 year old kid with delusions of immortality and a boatload of cash to build a competitive Supersport machine, you need something cheap to buy, simple to run, and easy to maintain. You may not impress your riding buddies, but you can’t beat something like this Yamaha TZ450 single for riding thrills.

Now right now, you’re probably thinking, “But Yamaha never built a TZ450.”

No they didn’t. But in the past few years, it’s become popular to use off-road engines and even whole motorcycles as the basis for lightweight track machines. The formula is simple: take a stock dirt bike engine, frame, and swingarm, add a modern sportbike front end or modify the existing forks, rear shock, add rearsets and bodywork. Companies like Roland Sands Design and GP Tech sell kits to help you along, or can even build you a complete machine.

2009 Yamaha TZ450 L Side Engine

Finished machines have a dry-weight of about 250lbs. It’s a nearly perfect package for track junkies, with easy parts availability, a flexible powerband, and extreme light weight. All-in, if you build it yourself? Under $5,000, plus your time and effort.

Or you can just buy a bike someone else built. Maybe one that features the race-winning prowess of Yamaha’s GP-framed TZ250, stuffed full of thumper torque.

From the original eBay listing: 2009 Yamaha TZ450 for Sale

Motor: 2009 YZ 450 four stroke single with: bored cylinder,  Hot Cams camshaft, Vertex piston, ported and polished head, lightened and knife edged crank, oversized custom aluminum radiator, GTYR slipper clutch, revised internal gearing, and custom Graves motorsports exhaust.

Chassis:1994 Yamaha TZ 250 Grand Prix Race motorcycle chassis with: Brembo front calipers, Brembo 19mm radial master cylinder, Marvic magnesium wheels, Ohlins steering damper, Mychron4 digital dash, and good condition body work.

Spares: stock TZ 250 wheels, tail cowl, new vertex piston, clutch plates and springs, new gasket set, new base gasket, rear stand and external gearing.    Sprockets front steel: size 14 and 15.    Rear aluminum: 32,35,36,37,39,40,41, and 42.

Title and Mileage: This is a race bike and has never been titled.  It also has no device to indicate mileage. It will be sold with a bill of sale only.

The seller is asking $8,500 for his creation. You could certainly build your own for cheaper, but obviously this is a bit of a step up from a converted dirt bike and features some very trick bits, along with geometry honed in the crucible of racing. Also it’s pretty cool to have a TZ with a big single stuffed into it.

2009 Yamaha TZ450 R Side Engine

Earlier this summer, I spoke with a guy who ran a MZ Skorpion Sport in AHRMA’s Sound of Singles series who told me, “I’ve been riding for years, but the Skorpion is the bike that taught me to go fast.” Learning to ride something light that stresses handling over straight-line speed really is the best route to really fast riding. They don’t stick budding racers on Superbikes and hope for the best. Those kids have generally spent years on small, lightweight machines that teach them more than “get the bike upright, twist the throttle to the stop, and hang on.”

This bike sounds like just the ticket to faster, safer riding!

-tad

2009 Yamaha TZ450 Dash

Track Day Mongrel: 2009 Yamaha TZ450 for Sale
Aprilia September 17, 2014 posted by Tad Diemer

Thank You for Smoking: 1995 Aprilia RS250

1995 Aprilia RS250 R Side Front

The goal in filling my fantasy garage is to have as wide a range of engine configurations as possible: a thumpy Ducati v-twin, a shrieking four in a big-bore MV, an older KTM Duke single, a howling triple Laverda. But I’ll also need a two-stroke. Maybe an old Kawasaki H1 triple, or something like this very nice Aprilia RS250

The elemental RS250 used a heavily updated version of Suzuki’s RGV250 two-stroke v-twin engine, tuned to make 60hp, with sleek bodywork that has aged extremely well, unlike some of Aprilia’s more recent offerings.

The whole package is designed with handling in mind, and features plenty of very trick details, including the distinctive swingarm and triple disc brakes that would work just as well on a bike that weighs 100lbs more. It has a reputation for being a manic machine with light weight and two-stroke power delivery, it’s really most at home on the race track.

1995 Aprilia RS250 L Side

Tragically killed off by strict emissions standards that don’t look very favorably on bikes that leave clouds of blue smoke hanging in their wake, these bikes have a very enthusiastic following and always sell well.

This one also features almost enough spares to make a whole second bike!

From the original eBay listing: 1995 Aprilia RS250 for Sale

This is a low mileage, exotic motorcycle with lots of spare parts. I have a brand new spare engine for this bike, a spare windshield, spare front body work, and much more. There are two stands - one front and one back. It runs on Amsoil 2 stroke synthetic oil and there is new oil in the crank case. I have only ridden this bike for short jaunts, but I do start it up from time to time. I inherited it from a friend and he was the original owner. It has a clean tile and is a street legal bike which is ready to ride - and this price includes all the spare parts

This particular paint-scheme is much more striking than the later grey/black/silver design. For style, I like these earlier dashes with the easily-detached speedo/idiot lights. The later dash may have been perfectly useful and includes a handy lap-timer, but the super-modern design took all of about five minutes to look dated. All it really needs is a bit of script that reads “Turbo” and it would fit perfectly in a 1980’s sports coupe.

1995 Aprilia RS250 Speedo

I’m still not completely sold on the buzzy, nasal sound of two-srokes, but all the rabid stroker fans out there can’t be wrong. And I love the idea of a lightweight motorcycle that punches above its weight: nothing like passing a liter bike on a 250 to make you feel like a riding god! Hopefully, one of these days I’ll get the chance to try one of these out.

There are several days left on this auction, and bidding is up over $8,000. This seems a bit on the high-side [pun!] for RS250’s, but all those extra parts may be contributing to the interest in this bike, along with that desirable title. Although this isn’t exactly an ideal bike for the road, unless that road ends at a racetrack!

-tad

1995 Aprilia RS250 R Side

Thank You for Smoking: 1995 Aprilia RS250
Honda September 13, 2014 posted by Tad Diemer

Growing on Trees: 1990 Honda CBR400RR

1990 Honda CBR400RR L Side Front

These have been showing up for sale regularly of late, which is surprising, considering how rare they are! I’d imagine quite a few of these came down through Canada, where they always seem to get the good stuff…

Produced from 1988 through about 2000, the CBR400RR was a JDM “Japanese Domestic Market” product, never officially brought to the US and only available as a “grey” import. With four small cylinders and cams driven by a precise gears, instead of a belt or chain, twin discs up front and racy ergos, these do a very convincing approximation of the bigger 600 and 900cc machines.

1990 Honda CBR400RR R Side Rear

These were originally limited to 59hp due to licensing requirements in their home market, but these are very high-spec engines and can be tuned to produce more power. The phrase “learner bike” is usually applied to clapped-out 250 Ninjas and GS500E’s. But that simply reflects the level of “learning” required to pass the lax testing here in the USA. In countries where the standards are much more stringent, there’s somewhat less of a stigma attached, and the quality of machine rises significantly when you’re strictly limited as to what you're allowed to ride at first, regardless of age or what you believe your skill-level to be...

1990 Honda CBR400RR L Side

From the original eBay listing: 1990 Honda CBR400RR for Sale

1990 Honda CBR400RR,  12,400 miles. New chain, sprockets, brake pads, and Michelin pilot tires. All fluids flushed and replaced. All coolant hoses replaced. Carburetor's rebuilt and fuel lines replaced. Comes with new, replacement bodywork , still in the box. Titled, tagged and inspected. Can be ridden anywhere to its new home

As a bike designed for new riders, the suspension is fairly basic, but I’d imagine adjustable units from a CBR600 would fit with minimal modifications and a rear shock with more sophistication shouldn’t be too hard to source. Keep in mind that, while these are definitely real sportbikes, they are physically small, and a bit cramped for full-sized riders. I’ve got no experience with the CBR400, but I’ve spent some time around the CB1 that uses the same powertrain and can verify that you might feel a bit like the proverbial "monkey humping a football" on one of these if you're over 5'9"...

1990 Honda CBR400RR L Side Front

Bidding is active and headed north of $4,300 with several days left on the auction. There are a few scrapes and scratches, and the pipe appears to be a generic item, but this looks to be in otherwise very nicely-maintained condition, with relatively low miles for such a practical, reliable bike.

Plastics might be hard to come by, although this one comes with a spare set, just in case! This should otherwise be easy to maintain and very fun to ride.

-tad

1990 Honda CBR400RR R Side

Growing on Trees: 1990 Honda CBR400RR
Ducati September 11, 2014 posted by Tad Diemer

Gilding the Lily: 1999 Ducati 996SPS

1999 Ducati 996SPS R Side

Look, they made a lot of Ducati 916/996/998’s over the years, and while they're truly iconic machines, they’re also kind of cliché, especially in stock form. Not that I don’t love them to pieces. I have every intention of owning one at some point.

Part of the reason for their ubiquity is the fact that they adorned the walls of every adolescent petrol-head and had a spot in the fantasy garage of every adult biker, so images of them are pretty much everywhere, often with naked models draped over them in suggestive poses. But as many as they made, the entire production of Tamburini’s masterpiece is still just a drop in the bucket, compared to all the GSX-R’s and Ninjas that were built. So while the 916/996/998 may seem cliché, they’re still quite rare in actual fact.

1999 Ducati 996SPS L Rear

Unleashed onto a completely stunned world in 1994, the 916 redefined sex on wheels for a generation of bike-enthusiasts. With an uncompromising ass-up, head-down riding position that made absolutely zero sense unless you were hanging off at more than 50° lean, nearly graphics-free flanks not quite hiding the signature trellis frame that flew in the face of beam-framed homogeny, and tucked-under-the-tail exhausts that roasted your ass, but provided nearly infinite cornering clearance, the blood-red 916 looked like nothing else on the road.

It was, in fact, so iconic, that it completely doomed the 749/999 bikes that followed, in spite of their being completely excellent motorcycles, and far more comfortable than their predecessors. The follow up 1098 took a step backwards in terms of design, looking like a softened and modernized 916. Basically, it was Ducati ripping itself off.

1999 Ducati 996SPS Front

While standard 996’s are currently the bargain of the 916 range, this is much more than a standard bike. Short of the homologation “R”, the SPS was the highest-spec bike in Ducati’s stable at the time, with lightweight wheels, an uprated engine, improved suspension, and an adjustable steering head. The 996 featured the same engine as the earlier 916SPS that actually displaced 996cc’s [are you still with me?] but with less weight, it generally feels [and is] much faster than the listed power would suggest. In typical Italian style, power quotes vary a bit, but let’s say “more than 120hp with a fat wedge of torque.”

1999 Ducati 996SPS Front and Dash

This particular example is probably making even more than that…

From the original eBay listing that reads like a Ducatisti Christmas wish-list: 1999 Ducati 996 SPS for Sale

Up for sale is a super clean and un abused 996 with only 45 original miles most of which are from dyno tuning. However, this is no ordinary 996, this bike has been fully modified with all of the best parts money could buy. Bike was purchased and immediately transported to Fast by Ferracci to have the engine blueprinted and all of the best parts installed. below is a list of what is done to the bike (take note there will be a different auction resembling this one for its sister bike, do not confuse when bidding)

Engine was blueprinted and below parts were installed
Ducati performance RS camshafts
custom head gaskets to set squish
5angle valve job with ported and polished heads
Ducati performance Titanium valves
titanium connecting rods
Pistal racing high compression piston kit with matched nicosil coated cylinders
lightweight flywheel
micro polished lightened and balanced crankshaft
custom tuned chip for ECU/ignition advancer and retarder and performance plugs and wires
fast by ferracci full stainless exhaust
STM EVOLUZIONE slipper clutch
titanium bolt kit

carbon fiber parts include,
full airbox and intake velocity stacks (ducati performance MS Productions) very expensive.
intake runners
dash cover
key guard
air dam
undertail and plate hanger
swingarm cover
rear extended hugger/chainguard
front vented RS type fender
bike also has Ducati Performance Marchesini Magnesium wheels

title is free and clear and fuel pump and filter were just replaced with new belts and oil change.

this bike screams and is built by the best to run for a long time, engine build was the best mixture of performance and long life that could be bought.

1999 Ducati 996SPS Pipes

Starting bid for this is $15,000, with no takers as yet. Given the level of investment, this bike is probably worth it, although that price is more in line with the far rarer and more exotic “R”. This should be more than a mere “parts hanger” because, while Fast by Ferracci may have a somewhat spotty reputation as a dealer, their ability to build a race bike is unquestioned: it’s right there in the name! They’ve been racing Ducatis in various levels of competition for many years with quite a bit of success.

1999 Ducati 996SPS Airbox

What’s just a shame is the 45 miles the bike has covered since being built. Why spend the money to put something like this together, then let it sit and collect dust? But while the current owner may be missing out, you can throw a bid out there and get a seriously trick Italian superbike for the price of a new R1.

-tad

1999 Ducati 996SPS L Side

Gilding the Lily: 1999 Ducati 996SPS
Cagiva September 6, 2014 posted by Tad Diemer

Unicorn Sighting: 1995 Cagiva Mito with Cali Title for Sale

Introduced in 1989, the Cagiva Mito was restyled in 1994 by… Well you get three guesses. If, after a quick look at that front fairing and headlight arrangement, you guessed “Massimo Tamburini”, you win a cookie! Either that or you’re quick with a Google search…

1995 Cagiva Mito R Front Rear

Looking for all the world like a miniature, aluminum beam-framed Ducati 916, the Cagiva Mito was powered by a water-cooled 125cc two-stroke single that put 34hp through a 7-speed transmission. So it was a genuine miniature sportbike, not some feeble learner’s tool: this baby 916 actually gave Valentino Rossi his very first title, in the Italian 125cc championship.

1995 Cagiva Mito R Side Bar

With no power to mention below 8,000 rpm and a redline at 11,400, it needs all seven gears to keep the power flowing. The bike is extremely narrow and your knees can nearly touch. Like riding a very angry mountain bike…

With the typical American aversion to anything two-stroke or under 1000cc’s, these are exceedingly rare on these shores. In fact, the seller claims that only 25 were imported to the US, although I assume he’s referring to this specific model year.

1995 Cagiva Mito Front Wheel

From the original eBay listing: 1995 Cagiva Mito for Sale

Designed by the late Massimo Tamburini is a pearl white 125 Cagiva Mito with an Evo1 motor (7 speed). It's powered by a 2 stroke racing engine that makes it a light, fast and a extremely nimble bike with a California pink slip and registered with custom CA plates. The mito was rebuilt from the ground up, every bolt, nut, and part is either brand new or professionally refurbished to better than new.

1 of 25 imported to America!
CA plated and current registration
Italian made using the best European race parts available.
Digital dash
Aluminium frame
Steering damper or dampener
Upside-down Marzocchi forks
Four-piston Brembo front brake caliper
Super light race fiber glass bodywork
updated Evo 2 wheels
De-restricted from Europe
Engine has been tuned and serviced by CN racing

As the seller mentions, he’s updated this bike with Evo II wheels. This is a very cool little motorcycle, although why a bike from 1995 needed a “ground up” rebuild is something to ponder. These aren’t the sort of bikes one does big miles on... The pearl-white bodywork with minimal graphics looks great: the original featured a good bit more badging and racy sponsor-decals. And that Vapor digital dash is very slick-looking.

1995 Cagiva Mito Brake

But it does beg the question: why? Was it crashed? The title is listed as being “Clear” so that increases confidence somewhat, and the bike does feature a California title and registration, also big marks in the “Plus” column.

There's a nice start-up video as well:

Bidding is active, although remains a bit low, and the Reserve Has Not Yet Been Met. There’s a couple days left on this, so jump in if you’ve had a hankering to wind through seven gears and aren’t put off bit a bit of cosmetic updates to your miniature masterpiece!

-tad

1995 Cagiva Mito R Side

Unicorn Sighting: 1995 Cagiva Mito with Cali Title for Sale