Author Archives: Tad Diemer

Laverda February 3, 2015 posted by Tad Diemer

Pair of Zané Laverdas for Sale: 1999 750S and 1998 Laverda Ghost Strike

 

1999 Laverda 750S L Side

Laverda was one of the unfortunate casualties of the Japanese onslaught of the 1970's. Confronted by reliable, affordable multis from Suzuki, Kawasaki, Yamaha, and Honda, many Italian and British companies found themselves in dire straights, unable to compete in showrooms or on the street. And while many marques have seen short-term resurrections courtesy of well-heeled enthusiasts, most have quickly disappeared back beneath the waves after initial hype gave way to the reality of competing against the manufacturing might of the Japanese Big Four. Mondial, Norton, Excelsior-Henderson, Moto Morini have all seen revivals that met with various levels of success. But Italian firm Laverda, famous for their bright orange endurance racing twins and triples, actually met with some success during their 1990's reincarnation, creating funky alternatives to Ducati's established exotica.

1999 Laverda 750S Fairing

The early "Zané-era" Laverdas made in Zané, Italy used an evolution of the earlier air-cooled parallel twin displacing 668cc's. Later bikes added water-cooling and increased displacement to 750 in an attempt to maintain some semblance of parity with Ducati's 748. They were always down on power compared to Japanese 750's and even the Ducati, but handled with the best of the era: a beam frame by noted designer Nico Bakker was matched with Paoli suspension and the same quality Brembo brake package that graced the Ducati 748. Fuel goes into the tail, under the passenger pad, and into a central fuel cell, which should provide some amusement when filling up...

1999 Laverda 750S R Rear

Interestingly, there are two different Laverdas available this week. First up is this very nice, brilliantly yellow 1999 Laverda 750S. The original listing is extremely spare, but worth keeping an eye on for the bidding:

This is a very nice Laverda 750 S.  Motorcycle has new tires, runs well and has been tuned-up.  Too many motorcycles. 

With a Buy It Now price of just $5,500 a nice 750S should provide a lot of bang for the buck. The styling is vaguely Suzuki RF, with those Ferrari-looking side strakes, but I bet this will generate loads of attention at any gathering of bikers. While I definitely prefer the orange-and-black Formula, this looks to be in extremely nice condition.

1999 Laverda 750S Dash

The second machine is a 1998 Laverda Ghost Strike, a competitor for Ducati's Monster. Powered by the smaller, air-cooled 668cc engine, the styling hasn't aged as well as either the Monster or the fully-faired Laverda 750S, but should provide the same quality handling and extremely distinctive styling should make it a hit at local bike nights, since many people won't have seen one in the flesh. They're the very definition of "budget exotic."

1998 Laverda Ghost Strike L Side

From the original eBay listing: 1998 Laverda Ghost Strike for Sale

Less Than 20K Miles!!!
This is a 98 Laverda GhostStrike. The displacement is 668cc.
This is your chance to own a bike a little more rare and less common than the mass produced hyper-bikes!
Recently rebuilt topend on engine.
New rear brake pads.
Tires are in good condition, front is Michelin Pilot, rear is Dunlop Qualifier.
The bike runs and rides well, if you can push-start.
The electronic starter is worn out. And will need to be replaced.
There are some scratches on the left side of the bike from when it was dropped, but no mechanical issues other than the starter.
Actual mileage is 19071. 

1998 Laverda Ghost Strike Rear Wheel

The Ghost Strike isn't really in perfect condition, with some scuffs, scrapes, and the non-functional starter mentioned in the listing. But they're pretty much impossible to find in the States, and getting this one on the road shouldn't be all that difficult.

1998 Laverda Ghost Strike Front Wheel

So take your pick. Parts aren't too difficult to source for these, although they won't be sitting on the shelf at your local dealership. And Laverdas have always been famed for being durable and, while the Zane-era bikes aren't quite so overbuilt, they have a good reputation for reliability, and are straightforward to work on for shade-tree mechanics.

-tad

 

 

Pair of Zané Laverdas for Sale: 1999 750S and 1998 Laverda Ghost Strike
Ducati January 31, 2015 posted by Tad Diemer

Winning Ways: 1974 Ducati 750SS Daytona Superbike

1977 Ducati 750SS Daytona R side2

Well here's a one-of-a-kind opportunity, if ever there was one: for sale is the actual Ducati motorcycle that won at Daytona in 1977 and helped to cement Ducati's reputation in America. These days, Ducati has their hand in virtually every style and at every level of motorcycle racing, although their Moto GP efforts have been only sporadically successful. With such a strong presence at the highest level of production-based and prototype competition, it's easy to forget that, prior to the 750SS in the early 1970's, Ducati’s racing efforts centered around smaller classes and, until the advent of the L-twin, they only produced single-cylinder models.

1977 Ducati 750SS Daytona L side Track

Even the famous win at Imola 1972 that launched generations of Super Sports was most notable for being so unlikely and untested. What would have been an amusing footnote for a company like Honda became the cornerstone of Ducati's reputation, a sort of “remember the Alamo” rallying cry. And even this bike was almost a privateer, an under-funded effort that was basically a hot-rod 750 Sport.

1977 Ducati 750SS Daytona Track Front

The original 400 or so 750SS built are among the most valuable Ducatis of all time because of their obvious rarity and the fact that they embody the plucky spirit and love of racing that still shows through in the far more calculating corporate world of today. This bike is quite literally a piece of Ducati history, a continuation of the same spirit that led to the Imola win, transported across the pond to US roadracing.

1977 Ducati 750SS Daytona L Magazine

This is the actual motorcycle that won at Daytona in 1977 and helped to cement Ducati's reputation in America. Based on a production 1974 750SS, and built without factory support by a couple of very talented motorcycle journalists, this bike represents one of the most important motorcycles in Ducati's racing history. The original listing includes plenty of detailed history and is worth a read if you're not familiar with this one-of-a-kind machine.

From the original eBay listing: 1977 Ducati 750SS Daytona-Winning California Hot-Rod

This important racing Ducati has been in a private collection for around twenty years and is located in New Jersey. It is still in perfect condition and comes with the Goodyear slicks from the 1977 Daytona Superbike race and Cook Neilson's original California registration and license plate. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to secure a piece of American motorcycling history. I am happy to answer all questions and for more information here is an edited extract from my "Book of the Ducati 750 Super Sport 1974."

The road-going 750SS was built to commemorate [or capitalize] on Ducati's underdog victory at Imola and was the first street Ducati twin to feature their now ubiquitous desmodromic valve-actuation. Bidding is almost to $130,000 with several days left on the auction and active bidding. No surprise there: this is one for race fans, Ducati fans, and motorcycle fans of all types, a bike that's sure to appreciate in years to come, a piece of living history.

-tad

1977 Ducati 750SS Daytona R side Rear

Winning Ways: 1974 Ducati 750SS Daytona Superbike
Track Bikes For Sale January 28, 2015 posted by Tad Diemer

Featured Listing: 2006 MetraKit Pre GP125

2006 MetraKit Pre GP125 L Side

Although they're often overshadowed by bigger, badder, modern superbikes, or vintage racebikes with history and links to famous riders, bikes like this Metrakit PreGP 125 are where it all starts for riders of the future. A tool they'll use to start writing their own stories.

2006 MetraKit Pre GP125 Engine

If you're not familiar with MetraKit, they're a Spanish company that's been making scooter, moped, and mini-moto hop-up parts for road and track since 1976. More recently, they've branched out, building a variety of complete racing motorcycles with powerplants from established manufacturers.

The Pre GP125 was introduced in 2005 as a step up from smaller mini-moto machines like the YSR50. It features 17" wheels and is motivated by a modified, two-stroke 124.8cc Husqvarna engine that puts 32bhp through a six-speed gearbox. That reliable powerplant is hung within a tubular steel frame and aluminum side-plates and the complete package weighs in at 176 lbs dry.

2006 MetraKit Pre GP125 Front Wheel

But don't assume this bike's relatively tiny powerplant makes it a "learner bike," unless you mean "learning to whip your buddies at the track." They pack two-stroke punch into a featherweight package, providing racebike handling for riders looking to cut their teeth before moving on to bigger, faster machines. Keep in mind: these are racing motorcycles designed for teenagers moving up from mini-moto classes and aren't really scaled for larger riders. So if you're built like a jockey or don't mind folding yourself up like a contortionist to fit on board, something like this should provide plenty of thrills for track day or race fun.

2006 MetraKit Pre GP125 Damper

From the original eBay listing: 2006 MetraKit Pre GP125 for Sale

2006 Metrakit Pre GP 125 Red Bull Rookie Cup Bike LIKE NEW LOW HOURS!!
***SOLD WITH BILL OF SALE*** AS IS WHERE IS
Any questions or to preview call David at 310.435.8968
Lots of spares bars, sprockets, levers, bar ends, 2 sets of spare fairing; 1 new unpainted 1 damaged in shipping and repaired, Rear stand,
Bitubo steering dampner
Paioli forks
radial master cylinder and front brake
WP suspension rear shock
TMX Mikuni Carb
VFORCE reeds
Engine is an 06 husquvarna 125 great reliable engine starts right up bike is REALLY FAST
Tires have about 10 or less laps on them
Bike has only a few hours total
Has great suspension (see pics)

2006 MetraKit Pre GP125 R Side

With a Buy It Now price of $5,500, this looks like a great way to pick up a ready-to-race GP bike for a relative song. As is often the case with genuine race bikes, this one comes with a wealth of spares and upgraded parts that should help keep the little two-stroke running, including several sets of bodywork in case you happen to subscribe to the philosophy that "rubbin' is racin" or have more courage than talent. Although I understand that lightweight 125's often fare better in crashes than larger bikes as they tend to skim along instead of tumbling...

-tad

2006 MetraKit Pre GP125 Front

Featured Listing:  2006 MetraKit Pre GP125
Yamaha January 26, 2015 posted by Tad Diemer

Purity of Purpose: 1981 Yamaha TZ250H

1981 Yamaha TZ250 R Front Naked

The 1981 Yamaha TZ250 more than just an evolution of their 250 GP machine, it was a complete reworking that shared almost no parts with the older bike. It included an entirely new engine designed around features from the proven TZ500 that were intended to increase both power and reliability.

1981 Yamaha TZ250 L Side

Keep in mind: the TZ250 is no production-based entry-level racer, and running one is not for the faint of heart or mechanically inept. “Improved durability” is a relative term: the TZ250 will still need rebuilds every few hundred miles, making it a very expensive hobby or a labor of love, depending on your level of mechanical aptitude… But the feeling you’ll get from riding a genuine race bike, combined with the emotional and historical link with famous riders who got their start on a TZ makes the cost and effort worthwhile.

1981 Yamaha TZ250 Dash

Racing motorcycles embody such an interesting duality to me, the contrast between the simplistic, almost primitive bodywork wrapped around beautiful mechanical bits. The sand-cast cases look very exotic if you know what you’re looking at, and that dry clutch adds another touch of race-tech bling. And those dull grey wheels? Magnesium.

1981 Yamaha TZ250 R Engine

The completely new 180° water-cooled two-stroke parallel-twin featured a shorter stroke than the earlier machine, reducing piston-speed and improving durability. Carburetors were generally Mikuni, although this bike features a set of period-correct Lectrons in their place.

1981 Yamaha TZ250 R Rear Naked

From the original eBay listing: 1981 Yamaha TZ250H for Sale

This TZ250 is a very good and complete survivor and is in a fantastic condition for a 34 year old race bike with corresponding frame and engine/motor numbers. The bike was in storage since 1990 and was started once a month and driven around the block by previous owner to circulate fluids. The bike has a new aftermarket fairing and the seat is a "New old stock (very old)" seat. Tank (original) and front mudguard (original) are in white primer ready for paint. The fairing and seat are in white gel coat finish. Tank has a few imperfections, but will take very little work to get it perfect. The tank does not leak!   This bike is fitted with a set of very rare lightweight Magnesium race wheels. The original full fairing and seat are included in the sale. The screen on the bike fits the original fairing, but is not a perfect fit for the new Airtech fairing and will have to be replaced by buyer for a better fit.

The frame was chemically stripped of all old paint and re-painted, see pictures. The wheels were also chemically stripped and now are in un-painted magnesium finish.

The bike is fitted with a set of racing LECTRON carburetors. The LECTRON manual is included with the sale.

1981 Yamaha TZ250 L Engine

Bidding is very active and is currently north of $6,800, with just 24 hours left on the auction. It could use some graphics to decorate those bare fairings. With so many cool parts on it, not the least of which those magnesium wheels and the Lectron carbs, this needs to be decked out in some vintage racing Yamaha racing colors, with maybe some period sponsor logos, then flogged mercilessly on track...

-tad

1981 Yamaha TZ250 R Side

Purity of Purpose: 1981 Yamaha TZ250H
Honda January 21, 2015 posted by Tad Diemer

Big-Bang Theory: 1996 Honda RVF400 for Sale

1996 Honda RVF400 R Front

Introduced in 1994 to replace the VFR400R, the RVF400 used a smaller, 399cc version of Honda’s gear-driven V4 powerplant with a 360° firing order. The updated model featured a revised fairing with cat-eye headlamps replacing the earlier bike’s round units, distinctive air tubes leading from the fairing to the front of the tank to feed the carburetors, although the airbox was not pressurized by any sort of ram-air system. Running gear saw a change to more modern upside-down forks and a 17” wheel replaced the earlier bike’s 18” item.

1996 Honda RVF400 Rear Suspension

Honda's homologation V4 engines featured a “big-bang” firing order that has all of the combustion events taking place relatively close together, instead of spaced evenly. This naturally increases engine vibration, but creates distinctive pulses in the power delivery that allows the rear tire to momentarily regain traction in between during on-track moments at the edge of adhesion, aiding handling and increasing tire life.

There’s also the undeniably subjective benefit in terms of sound: the “big-bang” engines often have the rawer, more charismatic sound generally associated with V4 engines compared to more conventional “screamer” motors with evenly-spaced firing intervals.

1996 Honda RVF400 L Side

From the original eBay listing: 1996 Honda RVF400 for Sale

1996 Honda RVF400 NC35. This bike is in very good condition. Bike has 9589 km = 5753 miles. Engine runs fine, no problems. There is a crack in the seat "see pictures". The passenger seat covers the crack so you don't see it. You don't see many RVF400 in this condition anymore. Bike is original, not restored. I have a clear California title for the bike.

1996 Honda RVF400 Dash

Sold officially only in Japan, all RFV400’s are grey-market imports. The seller is based in Japan, although this bike is supposedly in the US and has a clear California title. There is plenty of time left on the auction, with no takers yet at the $9,000 starting bid.

While these are obviously not as desirable as their bigger RC45 siblings, the RVF400 is prized by collectors for its motorsports heritage. And while the stock bike’s claimed 53hp is underwhelming on paper, the little RVF is reportedly a brilliant-handling bike, a “brains-over-brawn” bike for riders who like gear-whine that drowns out the stock exhaust.

-tad

1996 Honda RVF400 R Side

Big-Bang Theory: 1996 Honda RVF400 for Sale
Ducati January 20, 2015 posted by Tad Diemer

Never Been Kissed: Never-Titled 1985 Ducati 750F1A for Sale

1985 Ducati 750F1 L Front

The road-going Ducati 750F1 that was based on their 750cc-class racing machine was the very last bike developed before Ducati’s purchase by Cagiva, making it desirable for that reason alone. Earlier 600cc Pantahs were dominant in TT2 classes, winning championships from ‘81-’84, and although the larger 750 that followed in 1984 wasn’t nearly as successful in the larger F1 and TT classes, it was still a versatile competition machine and saw many victories in the hands of privateers.

Displacing 748cc’s that throbbed out a claimed 76hp, the Pantah-based F1 used a 16” up front and an 18” out back, making fitment of modern sticky rubber a bit problematic if you plan to use one in anger.

1985 Ducati 750F1 R Rear

Expensive to produce, the F1 was inevitably followed by the 750 Sport in 1988 that featured lower-spec suspension and changes to the frame to allow a change to the Paso’s troubled automotive-style Weber carburetor. The rear cylinder was also reversed to allow the intakes of both heads to be situated in the center of the vee, an arrangement that has been used on all subsequent Ducatis.

1985 Ducati 750F1 Tank

Ducati’s belt-driven Pantah engine has proven to be one of the most enduring and durable designs of all time. Although one could blame its longevity on Ducati’s perpetual financial trouble, the fact that this motor has ended up on so many “Best Of” lists, even in recent years, attests to its intrinsic goodness: it’s mechanically reliable, flexible, can be tuned to make good power, and is relatively easy to work on. It’s also one of the best-sounding engines of all time, with charisma to spare: even 600cc versions make that classic Ducati thunder and sound like much larger bikes.

1985 Ducati 750F1 Dash

While it’s cool to be a bike’s very nearly first owner, you’re going to pay a very high price for that privilege: collectors may prize extremely low-mileage examples, they often look much better than they run, as the seller points out.

From the original eBay listing: 1985 Ducati 750F1 for Sale

The 1985 750F1A was also the last motorcycle Taglioni designed and what is considered the last 'hand built' Ducati produced prior to Cagiva purchasing the company in 1985.  Built prior to the Cagiva take over the ‘A’ is the important note, (593) were built and this is #499.  (In 1986/87 approximately 1,200 750F1B's were built by Cagiva).

I believe #499 to be the most original Ducati 750F1A in the country (maybe the world) and only that has not been titled.  I've owned many F1's and #499 will be the jewel of any collection and truly an appreciating asset.

#499 was originally delivered in Santa Monica California, the gentleman had ties to the motorcycle industry and was able to take delivery without first titling or registering it. After riding it 570 Kilometers, 361 miles he rode to his mother's house who made him promise he would never again ride the bike.  Convincing, the bike was pushed into the rear of her garage on that day and where I learned of it parked in 2006 twenty years later.

With the motorcycle comes the original Ducati document - the Manufactures Statement of Origin - Photo included - This bike is most likely the only 1985 750F1A in the United States with this document and has never been titled.

It was my dream to put this bike into the rear of my garage and forget about it for the next twenty years.  When received the motor turned, the signage lights were dried and cracking as all do and removed.  There was still fuel in the aluminum tank that had clogged the petcock and some of the black coated items such as the exhaust and clip-ons had oxidation. A good service, minor refinishing and a good detailing would accomplish what I have in mind to make this the wonderful original example this is.

Selling a motorcycle that has not been run in 30 years did not sound good, so in the past weeks I lubricated the cylinders, removed the rotting K&N Filters, fueled the carburetors and got the motor to sputter to a start. The motor runs but the bike will require full serving, cleaning of the fuel system, tires, fluids, etc.

The reason for selling the bike, in the past three years I’ve had two children and the volume of bikes I have far exceed the time I have.

Although the hard parts are obviously all in good shape, this bike will require a complete teardown to get it into the condition the buyer is likely to want from something with a Buy It Now of $32,900: all those gaskets, seals, hoses will have deteriorated, brake calipers and master cylinders will be stuck, fork-sliders will be pitted…

1985 Ducati 750F1 R Rear2

The seller does quote a number of very glowing reviews of the 750F1 in his listing, but Ducati’s of the period were a bit unrefined when compared to the competition: potent in race trim, they were a bit “unfinished” as-delivered. For a long time, these were fairly cheap and unloved on the used market, although their rarity and racing history has seen a pretty large spike in their values in recent years. Later bikes were much improved, although obviously collectors often value early examples like this highly. All-in-all, this looks like one to restore and park up for display by someone who really, really loves 1980’s Ducatis or someone for whom money is no object.

-tad

1985 Ducati 750F1 R Side

Never Been Kissed: Never-Titled 1985 Ducati 750F1A for Sale