Author Archives: Tad Diemer

Benelli November 13, 2014 posted by Tad Diemer

Classic Sportbike Recap: Benelli, Moto Morini, and a Dunstall Norton

If your biking interests occasionally run to the historical, take a look at some recent entries over at our sister site: Classic Sport Bikes for Sale. This week featured a Benelli Tornado, the Italian alternative to big-bore British parallel-twins, a jewel-like Moto Morini 350, and a rare Dunstall Norton Commando

1974 Benelli Tornado 650S L Front

With a 642cc parallel twin and a top speed of 117mph, you could be forgiven for thinking you were reading about a classic British roadster. But this 1974 Benelli Tornado had a short-stroke engine that loved to rev and, even stranger, was actually oil-tight... Read more over at classicsportbikesforsale.com

1984 Moto Morini 350 K2 L Rear2

With a jewel-like 344cc v-twin, this Moto Morini 350 K2 emphasized brains over brawn, offering brilliant handling and a wealth of innovative technical details. Moto Morinis have long been bargains of the vintage Italian bike world, but prices are finally on the rise and this one is in amazing shape... Read the full article over at classicsportbikesforsale.com

1969 Norton Dunstall R Front

The 1960's were a golden age of motorcycling innovation, when ambitious and talented tuners could knock up machines in their backyard sheds and compete against the world's best. Some, like Paul Dunstall managed to turn their success into a thriving business, making go-fast parts for a whole range of British bikes... Read more about the Dunstall Norton over at classicsportbikesforsale.com

Classic Sportbike Recap: Benelli, Moto Morini, and a Dunstall Norton
BMW November 13, 2014 posted by Tad Diemer

Silk Purse: 2008 BMW HP2 Sport for Sale

2008 BMW HP2 R Side Front

The BMW HP2 Sport sounds slightly insane in concept: take an air-cooled 180° twin with shaft-drive and an innovative suspension designed more for touring than sport, then throw as many high-spec parts at it as you can in a serious effort to make it as fast as possible. It’s sort of the Porsche 911 story, a triumph of development over design: it shouldn’t work nearly as well as it does. But, like the venerable ass-engined car from Stuttgart, the HP2 does work.

2008 BMW HP2 L Side Rear

Reviews lauded the handling, stability, and the useable power. BMW’s Telelever suspension has been accused of providing reduced steering feedback and can be a bit heavy, but allows for amazing stability on the brakes which, in this case, were very fierce monoblock Brembos.

The bike featured fully adjustable ergonomics, an exotic, self-supporting carbon-fiber seat/subframe unit, a quickshifter and high-spec suspension. New DOHC heads with radial valves first featured here and would later be expanded to other bikes in the range helped the bike rev to 9500rpm, making 128hp along the way, all in a package that weighed a claimed 392lbs dry.

2008 BMW HP2 Dash

In spite of appearances [see: “180° twin”], the HP2 has all the cornering clearance you'll ever need on the road. On track, things can get scrape-y at race-pace as the heads touch down at extreme lean angles and the front wheel lifts... If you plan on racing yours, you may need to jack up the suspension slightly, or adjust your lines. Luckily, the bike’s extremely forgiving handling and grip should allow you to ride around this minor limitation.

Inertia in the shaft-drive means a slipper clutch is sorely missed as well. One is available through the aftermarket, but is a real pain to fit, since the transmission needs to be dropped.

2008 BMW HP2 Cockpit

In typical BMW style, the HP2 was expensive, but provided dead-reliable performance, although the bike’s racing legacy shines through in the titanium con-rod replacement suggested for the 30,000 mile service…

From the original eBay listing: 2008 BMW HP2 Sport for sale

Very clean 2008 HP2 Sport for sale. Non-ABS model with Ohlins suspension, lots of carbon fibre, and BMW OEM LED turn signals! Quickly becoming a collector bike. Not many of these were made. Very fun, sporty, responsive bike that sounds meaner than your average boxer. Don't miss this opportunity!

Options/Accessories include:
Titanium exhaust
Forged HP race wheels
Ohlins suspension
Carbon fiber bodywork
BMW LED Turn Signals

2008 BMW HP2 R Head

This is available from a dealer, so you aren't likely to get a screaming deal here. But it is rare, and these will likely be very collectible in years to come: only 2,260 were built and the list price new was over $25,000. With only 5,500 miles on the clock and only some minor cosmetic blemishes, this bike looks barely broken in. If you’re looking for an alternative to an “S” model Ducati superbike that you can actually ride without destroying your wrists and back, this would make an excellent choice.

-tad

2008 BMW HP2 L Side

Silk Purse: 2008 BMW HP2 Sport for Sale
Honda November 10, 2014 posted by Tad Diemer

Two-Stroke Triple: 1985 Honda NS400R for Sale

1985 Honda NS400R R Side

This Honda NSR400R was up for sale recently, but did not find a buyer. Hopefully, it will sell this time around! After years of relatively conservative technology, where overhead cams were considered pretty cutting-edge, motorcycle design went into overdrive during the 1980’s and the Japanese, fueled by their 1970’s domination of the market, were at the forefront. An exciting new era of electronics and a futuristic mentality that sought to redefine what a motorcycle could be led to all kind of striking experiments in technology.

1985 Honda NS400R R Side Front

Their looks and electronically-actuated suspensions were just the tip of the iceberg: engine configurations also varied wildly. All of the major manufacturers experimented with turbos, and you could find inline four-cylinder cruisers, straight-six standards, and two-stroke V3 sportbikes, like this Honda NSR400R.

The NSR400R was powered by a liquid-cooled, two-stroke 90° V3 that put 72hp through a six-speed transmission. Water jackets quieted the stroker racket, displacement made for more torque, and Honda’s power-valve fattened the power curve for very smooth delivery and made for a very polished package. Combined with light weight and excellent suspension, it was one of the best-handling bikes of the period.

1985 Honda NS400R Dash

From the original eBay listing: 1985 Honda NSR400R for Sale

Original owner, bought new in '85 in the crate, all oem with exception of a increased capacity all aluminum radiator. This bike is ready to ride. Needs nothing new bridgestone battleax tires with less than 20 miles on them. I have clear FL title. Never wrecked or dropped, has no dents nor scratches. Has 25,550 kilometers which is around 15,870 miles. Please feel free to contact me with any questions

1985 Honda NS400R Rear

This bike looks to be in particularly good shape and there are four days left on the auction, with bidding up to $5,000 and the reserve not met. A very cool example from an era that is only just starting to be recognized for the innovations it inspired.

-tad

1985 Honda NS400R L Side

Two-Stroke Triple: 1985 Honda NS400R for Sale
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