Author Archives: Tad Diemer

Bimota November 6, 2014 posted by Tad Diemer

Beautiful Dream: Bimota 500 Vdue for Sale

Bimota VDue R Side Front

The Bimota Vdue should have been epic: it was supposed to be the very first Bimota designed and built completely in-house, powered by a proprietary engine with cutting-edge technology. Bimota got their start building lightweight exotica around existing engines, but this would take their bikes to a whole new level and the spec sheet reads like a resume for the racetrack refugee that it was: a 500cc two-stroke v-twin pumping out 110hp. Cassette gearbox. Carbon-fiber bodywork and a dry weight just north of 300lbs. Top-of-the-line suspension front and rear.

Bimota VDue L Side Front

But not only would this machine offer a nearly GP-level experience, it would single-handedly save the roadgoing two-stroke. The all-new engine featured a state-of-the-art, electronic direct-injection system to keep emissions of the fundamentally dirty two-stroke engine within acceptable limits.

But the tiny Italian firm overreached themselves and what should have ushered in a new era for Bimota actually sank the company: the first batch of bikes was a disaster. While the bike was, of course, amazingly agile and fiendishly powerful, it was nearly impossible to ride smoothly. It delivered on the promise of a light-switch, two-stroke powerband, but amplified with hideously inconsistent fueling that made it nearly unrideable.

Bimota VDue Dash

Seized engines were common, and buyers soon began demanding their money back.

The problem was eventually blamed on manufacturing differences in port-height that was exacerbated when the parts were mixed and matched in production. Even worse, the problem was initially thought to be a mapping problem with the new ignition. But with inconsistencies between port-height in different engines, new maps that made one bike work fine didn't work on other bikes. It took a while to track down the actual problem.

Bimota VDue R Side Swingarm

Barrels were replaced under warranty, but the problem wasn’t really resolved. Eventually one of the engineers involved in the project bought the remaining unfinished machines after Bimota went bankrupt. He continued to refine the bike, dropping the troublesome injection and simply fitting a set of Dell'Orto carburetors for the Evoluzione Corsa version of the bike, and a few of these made it onto the road. Well, not really the road: the goal for the injected bikes was emissions legality, and carbs may have made the package work, but it wasn't generally legal.

Bimota VDue Tail

Ultimately, something like the full performance potential of the Vdue was realized, but the project sank the company, their envisioned triumph turned into disaster.

From the original eBay listing: Bimota 500 Vdue for sale

The only Bimota with a Bimota engine: 500cc v twin two stroke engine. Carby model with Jolly Moto pipes. This is a brand new bike never ridden with 2014 spec CDI and jetting set up. Bike has been tuned and runs perfect at a press of a button, ready to go. Parts are very cheap and easy to get no problem. There is a manual and spare keys that will come with the bike as well with the number plate mount.

Bimota VDue Exhaust

The performance potential is huge, but these are true exotics and require real dedication to own, in spite of the seller’s assertion that “parts are very cheap.” Just fueling the thing could put you in the poorhouse: mileage can dip as low as 15mpg when ridden hard. Less than 500 Vdues were made, including the carbureted "Corsa" and "Evolutzione" models. It is truly exotic, with ambitious goals and technology. It’s also one of the best looking bikes of this, or any era: purposeful and sleek, with no gimmicks.

In an era when the Japanese were committed to their garish neon slash paint jobs and names like “Ninja,” “Thundercat,” and “Thunderace, the Vdue made do with a loud, but classically patriotic paint scheme and a name that was about as simple as you can get: “Vdue” translates directly to “V-twin.” Everything sounds cooler in Italian. Who else could name a car the “Four-door” and make it sound cool?

Bimota VDue R Rear

$30,000 starting bid is pretty steep, but seems to be in the ballpark for these, although it's not really clear what year bike this is. There’s been virtually no interest in the bike so far, with no bids and just four days left on the auction. The bike is currently located in Sydney, Australia, but it’s unlikely to be road-legal wherever you are without some legal wrangling. But out on the track, this should be killer and you'd probably manage to pass people because they'd just want to watch you as you go by...

-tad

Bimota VDue L Side

Moriwaki November 3, 2014 posted by Tad Diemer

Pint-Sized Racer: 1992 Moriwaki MH80R

1992 Moriwaki MH80R L Side

If you watch Moto GP, particularly the Moto2 and Moto3 races that are an exercise in mayhem for the first couple laps, you may be familiar with the Name “Moriwaki.” With frames competitive at the highest levels of racing, you’d be hard-pressed to find something with this kind of heritage and performance at anywhere near an affordable price… Unless you’re okay starting small.

This Moriwaki MH80R is powered by Honda’s CR80 two-stroke dirt bike engine and was designed to provide an affordable, entry-level racing machine. It used as many Honda parts as possible to keep initial and running costs as low as possible. This particular example has been bored-out to 100cc’s and a dyno sheet included in the listing shows 24hp. In a bike that weighs less than many riders, that’s no joke, and should provide plenty of performance for anyone wanting to learn to race: outright power can cover up for a lot of sins and teach lazy habits as you’re learning the fast way around a racetrack.

You won’t have that problem with this little MH80R.

1992 Moriwaki MH80R R Side Rear

At this level, you need to carefully shepherd every horse, slipstreaming bikes in front to build up speed for a pass, willing yourself to be smaller to fit in behind the windscreen as you cling to the tank like a motorized lamprey, using the brakes as little as possible, and hanging on to every mph for dear life.

1992 Moriwaki MH80R Dash

From the original eBay listing: 1992 Moriwaki MH80R for Sale.

Selling my Moriwaki MH80R GP bike, setup for CMRA F4 Sprint competition. This bike is a gray market import from Japan, and I bought it from another racer at the end of 2012. The motor is from a Honda CR85, and has been built to 100cc displacement by local guru Billy Wiese using a stroker crank and the Wiseco 5050 piston kit. Brand new topend (zero hours) installed by AF1 Racing, where it was dyno tested and made within 1hp of a Aprilia RS125. The bike has magnesium wheels from a Honda RS125 and a front brake from a Honda CBR600 F3. The suspension consists of RaceTech emulators in the front and a custom RaceTech 3-way shock in the back, all built and tuned by Roger Albert of OnRoad OffRoad Cycles.

The bike easily outruns Ninja 250s, given that it weighs well under 200lbs and can top 100mph. Selling because I've moved up to larger bikes for sprinting, and am only doing endurance races on lightweights. The bike is untitled, and I will include a bill of sale.

Many spares are included: Second CR85 engine (needs new bottom end); full exhaust system; clutch plates; original Moriwaki wheels and brake system (good for a rain setup); a full complement of front and rear sprockets; a box full of various gaskets, rings, spare parts, etc.

1992 Moriwaki MH80R Spares

The seller helpfully includes a pair of videos of the bike in action here and here to whet your appetite. With just about 24 hours left and a $3,000 Buy It Now price, this could be your chance to get a little track day toy that will teach you the Art of Momentum Conservation that will hold you in good stead as you move up to 600’s and 1000’s.

-tad

1992 Moriwaki MH80R R Side Front

Pint-Sized Racer: 1992 Moriwaki MH80R
Ducati October 29, 2014 posted by Tad Diemer

Pared Down to Perfection: 2003 Ducati 999VX by Venier Customs

2003 Vernier 999 VX R Side

I saw this particular bike on BikeEXIF a while back and thought it was stunning, so I was very excited to see it up for sale. If you’re not familiar, Venier’s 999VX was basically a stripped-down Ducati 999 that turned the Italian firm’s ugly duckling into a swan.

From its introduction, Pierre Terblanche's follow up to the iconic 916 was controversial. The aggressive face was replaced by stacked projector-beam headlamps, the slick single-sided swingarm was replaced by a stiffer, lighter dual-sided unit. And the bodywork was very technical, almost futuristic, with aerodynamic winglets and vents. In spite of a forward-looking design that addressed its predecessor's many and well-documented shortcomings, there was something strangely un-sexy about it. Like Hajime Sorayama's “Gynoids”, [do not Google that if you’re at work] the shapes, while superfically sexy, are maybe too clinical, not organic enough...

Or maybe I'm just overthinking it, and the 999 was just plain weird-looking.

2003 Vernier 999 VX front

But that tank. That sexy, sexy tank. It’s a beautiful shape, easily my favorite part of Terblanche’s design, next to the trellis frame. And apparently, I'm not the only one to notice. I’ve seen a couple other custom 999/749’s that strip away the fairing to reveal that heavily-sculpted piece, and Venier’s VX takes the controversial 999 and pares it back to the basics: two wheels, a tank, and an engine.

2003 Vernier 999 VX Tank

From the original eBay listing: 2003 Ducati 999VX by Venier Customs

I have always admired the subtlety and thoughtfulness with which Stefano Venier approaches his custom builds. They are never flashy, almost always black, and have a purity of form to them that is often lost when builders try to hard to make a statement. He does not use over-the-top components to grab the eye, but instead focuses on making a design that feels unified and whole.

Over the last few years, he has become one of the most well known and respected custom bike builders in the industry. Very few builders have had more bikes featured on BikeExif and other popular sites.

With this 999, he has taken that concept and applied it to a 999 that was formerly the race machine of fashion photographer Riccardo Vimercati. The bike was upgraded in many ways (listed below) and also has a brand new motor with only a 10 or so test laps on it. As a race bike it saw action on some of Europe's most famous circuits, but Vimercati decided he wanted to create a street bike. We think the result is stunning. The bike is located at my shop in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

It's likely that almost any design to follow the iconic 916 would have failed, but the flack the 999 generated was pretty shocking, for a machine that was a definite step forward in terms of both performance and comfort. All I know is that I like the 999 as a motorcycle, but not as a Ducati. I really loved the concept bikes Terblanche did for Moto Guzzi, and I’m disappointed those ideas haven’t found an expression in their production motorcycles.

2003 Vernier 999 VX Detail

This particular custom addresses the problems most people have with the style of the bike: it’s simple and classic, and shows off the beautiful frame and sculpted tank, while retaining the high-spec suspension and engine, shaving weight off an already lightweight machine. This should be a pretty amazing bike to ride, assuming it’s been properly set up: removing the fairing can play a bit of havoc with weight distribution. Not that anyone’s likely to ride a gorgeous one-off like this very aggressively.

There are two days left on the auction, with bidding up over $11,000 and the Reserve Not Yet Met. No surprise, since the level of craftsmanship and taste on display here is pretty hard to beat at any price. One of the best, classiest customs I’ve ever seen.

-tad

2003 Vernier 999 VX L Side

Pared Down to Perfection: 2003 Ducati 999VX by Venier Customs
Sport Bikes For Sale October 25, 2014 posted by Tad Diemer

South African Smoker: 1996 Honda NSR 250 SE MC28

1996 Honda NSR250R R Side Front

The NSR250R was the road-legal version of Honda’s NSR250 race bike, and includes the requisite lighting, mirrors, and speedometer/warning lights generally required for use on the street. Detuned for road use, the 250 two-stroke v-twin produced about 45hp, but could easily be de-restricted for significantly improved power. With as much as 60hp pushing a sub 300lb, typically featherweight stroker sportbike, these are not learner bikes and pack razor’s-edge handling and power delivery no one weaned on sporty, small-displacement four-strokes is likely ready to handle, and include some very high-end features like that sexy single-sided swingarm and an aluminum beam frame.

1996 Honda NSR250R R Side Rear

With a crackling, popping exhaust that sounds evil and crude at idle and just plain evil at full-chat, two-stroke sportbikes like this require commitment to access their relatively narrow band of performance, especially on the road, and their addictive high-strung manners make them favorites of budding racers and wannabe track heroes the world over, and their motorsports legacy makes them the favorite of race fans and collectors.

1996 Honda NSR250R Tools

Often, these show up on RSBFS in race-replica livery like the classic “Rothman’s” blue, white, red, and gold or the more familiar “Repsol” colors. This particular example is decked out in very period jagged and garish Honda paint that may make some feel nostalgic and others vaguely nauseous…

From the very sparse original eBay listing: 1996 Honda NSR 250SE MC28 for Sale in South Africa

Standard original condition. Collectors item.
Shipping can either be arranged by seller or buyer depending on the buyers preference. 

With three days left on the listing and no takers as yet at the $8,500 Buy-It-Now price, it might behoove the seller to include more information and some additional pictures if he/she decides to relist it. While this looks to be complete, it’s hard to tell from the description if it’s a runner or not. Depending on how this shakes out in terms of price, this might be a great, useable example of the breed

As it’s coming in from Cape Town, South Africa, make sure you check with local laws before bidding if you plan to register it for road use. Otherwise, put that road-equipment in a box in your garage and hit the track!

-tad

1996 Honda NSR250R R Side

South African Smoker: 1996 Honda NSR 250 SE MC28
BMW October 22, 2014 posted by Tad Diemer

Quirky, Low-Profile Fun: 2007 BMW R1200S for Sale

2007 BMW R1200S R Side

The term “sportbike” isn’t really one that has an absolute definition. It’s more of a loose set of parameters intended to capture an idea, and while most of us generally understand what we all mean when we use the word, there’s still plenty of room for interpretation. Ducati thinks a sportbike should be something ruthlessly dedicated to speed, a track and race machine with only the barest concessions to road use: if your Sunday morning canyon road is more than thirty miles from home, better invest in a gel seat and a good masseuse. Bikes like BMW’s R1200S take the idea of a sporting motorcycle in an entirely different direction.

2007 BMW R1200S R Side Rear

Until the S1000RR came along, BMW had a bit of a different philosophy for their sportbikes. Like Ducati, they wanted to keep their trademark powerplant, in this case a big, horizontally-opposed, air-cooled twin. Unlike Ducati, they felt that comfort should be a part of the equation. What they came up with was what seems at first like an oxymoron: a “practical sportbike”. While you can argue that a GSX-R750 is also extremely practical and reasonably comfortable, it wasn’t available with ABS, doesn’t quite have the character of a twin or the more mature, low-profile image. Let’s face it: “crotch-rockets” definitely attract more heat than less squidly rides. And when you’re out on the road, trying to avoid being hassled by The Man, keeping a bit of a low-profile can be a good thing.

And you really can’t get a whole lot more low-profile than a silver BMW.

2007 BMW R1200S L Side Head

I actually prefer the dash on the earlier model, but this restyle gives the bike a more butch, angular look. I remember when the first-generation R1200S was introduced, some artist or other whipped up a bunch of alternative paint schemes I saw posted in a bike magazine that incorporated some great WWII warplane motifs and iconography, which would have looked even more appropriate on this second-generation bodywork.

From the original eBay listing: 2007 BMW R1200S for Sale

For Sale is a rare, Fun BMW R1200S. Only brought into the US for one year! It's comfortable, Sporty and can keep up with most sportbikes. It has the Full Remus Exhaust, an MWR Racing High Efficiency Airfilter and a Bazzaz Z-fi Fueling controller (She dyno's at a nice 115 hp!!) Also installed a C2 Slipper clutch to keep the rearend under control along with R&G Racing Axle and Swingarm sliders along with Carbon/Kevlar Engine sliders and a nice tidy tail to slim up the rearend. Also has a Hyperpro RSC Steeering damper.  Has fresh brake pads and Dunlop Q2's on it with only about a sixth of thier life used. Odometer is sitting at about 17,000 miles. last service was at 12,000 miles (Due again at 18,000). Also included are all the Specific tools you need for general up keep and a GS-911 Diagnostic tool (Bluetooth!!! Works with your iPhone or Android phone!!). I also have a set of Drop in High Compression pistons I never installed that I will include for an additional Amount. This model has the Showa Suspension. It does not have ABS. (ALL THE BETTER TO DRIVE MY DEAR!!)  There are a couple small scratches in the Paint on the body work on the tail. The windscreen has spots on it from Brake fluid. The only other thing worth mentioning is the small chips in the finish of the rear wheel (pictured in the last photo).

This particular example does not have ABS which, to my mind is probably a mark against it: most riders can benefit from that additional safety margin everywhere except the track [where it can be switched off], an environment for which this bike isn’t particularly suited anyway. It’s a bit too heavy, and BMW’s Telelever front suspension has been lauded for its stability under braking but often criticized for a lack of front-end feel. I’ve only ever ridden one BMW with this suspension, a big K1300S, and the movement of the bars was weirdly light, like a sports car with overboosted power steering.

2007 BMW R1200S Exhaust

This R1200S does have a steering-damper, an aftermarket slipper-clutch, and a single-outlet Remus exhaust that looks very cool and should give the bike some much-needed aggression. BMW’s twins have more of a flat drone than other sporty twins, but it’s distinctive and should sound very authoritative as it goes past. 115hp is nothing to sneeze at, since it should be backed up by plenty of midrange as well.

$10,000 does sound pretty steep for one of these, but I haven’t been pricing them lately. There are still a few days left on this listing, so make an offer! All-in-all, a pretty cool, unusual sportbike with all-day comfort for people who plan to do most of their riding on the road.

-tad

2007 BMW R1200S L Side

Quirky, Low-Profile Fun: 2007 BMW R1200S for Sale
Yamaha October 20, 2014 posted by Tad Diemer

Smoking Smoker: 1980 Yamaha TZ350 with Nico Bakker Frame for Sale

1980 Yamaha TZ350 R Side

I seem to be headed backwards in time with my recent posts… This Yamaha TZ350 is a little bit older than I’d normally write about here, but was too cool to pass up.

Yamaha’s water-cooled TZ bikes were pure production roadrace motorcycles with no direct street versions. Weighing in at about 250 pounds [dry] with about 65hp, they were produced between 1973 and 1981. The TZ350 went through a number of iterations, coded “A” through “H,” with constant improvements to keep them competitive.

In 1976, the first major revisions to the frame appeared, and used a monoshock rear suspension that replaced the early dual-shock version. This particular bike, however, does away with the factory frame and substitutes a very cool piece from Danish specialist Nicco Bakker.

1980 Yamaha TZ350 R Side Unfaired

Interesting, while the Nico Bakker frame is a rare, high-performance accessory, it may also have been necessary: the “F” and “G” model TZ350’s apparently had a tendency to fail around the headstock, due to the thinner-gauge tubing used, requiring reinforcement or replacement.

In either case, Nico Bakker is well-known for his racing efforts, although he had a hand in developing the Zane-era Laverda roadbike frames as well, and while those bikes do have their flaws, the frame is definitely not one of them.

1980 Yamaha TZ350 L Side Unfaired

From the original eBay listing: 1980 Yamaha TZ350 with Nico Bakker Frame for Sale

This bike won the Latino American Championship 1980 Rider Eduardo Aleman
Special frame “Nico Bakker” Holland-made, the best aftermarket complete frame for TZ250/350 in this years.
Special Yamaha TZ350 engine, very fast, 6 transfers [a reference to the 6-port cylinders that were introduced on the 1979 model? -td]
Special Krober ignition and Krober electronic tachometer
Special Yamaha big radiator for better cooling and more power
Special 18” magnesium wheels “Campagnolo and 3 aluminum Zanzani floating disc brakes with Yamaha magnesium calipers and Brembo front radial pump.
Special pipes.
Very light bike: 75% Poggipolini titanium and ergal bolts.
This bike was rebuilt with new seals, bearings, rings, etc. Ready to race.
We also have other same bike and frame, no speical parts $13,999USD+ shipping worldwide

I normally try to reprint the original eBay listing as posted, but the editor in me couldn’t keep from making some updates/translation to make it readable...

There are a few days left on the listing, and the bike is being offered at $15,999. If you’re looking for a classic racer to actually ride, this might be the ticket: with just enough racing history to be cool, and lots of cool go-fast bits.

-tad

1980 Yamaha TZ350 L Side

Smoking Smoker: 1980 Yamaha TZ350 with Nico Bakker Frame for Sale