Author Archives: Tad Diemer

Laverda June 21, 2014 posted by Tad Diemer

Out With an (Orange) Bang:1988 Laverda SFC1000

Unable to compete with the ruthless, technological march of the Japanese manufacturers, Laverda’s SFC 1000 was an attempt to capitalize on their past endurance racing glories, a last gasp before they went under, prior to their relatively brief resurrection in the 1990’s. To be honest, I didn’t even realize that Laverda was still making bikes in 1988, so I’d imagine this was bike was built 1985 and sat untitled for a couple years.

1988 Laverda SFC 1000 L Side

1988 Laverda SFC1000 for sale on eBay

SFC originally stood for “Super Freni Competizione”, basically “super braking competition” a reference to the huge drum brake on the front of the very first SFC twins, later replaced by a pair of discs. Powered by a 750cc parallel-twin , the original SFC was produced in very limited numbers, the epitome of a “racer for the road” and many were quickly stripped of their street-legal lighting for track duty. This was probably for the best: the SFC was fast and very brutal, and probably didn’t make a good road tool for casual riders.

Not so with the SFC 1000, which was basically a renamed and slightly restyled version of the “executive express” RGS, the SFC1000 was a far more street-oriented bike built around Laverda’s charismatic three-cylinder engine. Earlier triples had a 180° configuration that ran like a four-cylinder with a miss, but later examples like this one used a smoother 120° engine that lost some character but was much more user-friendly.

1988 Laverda SFC 1000 Engine

And while the big triple had evolved into a more conservative machine in terms of its mission, don’t think it couldn’t hustle: on track, you could lean these over enough to grind the generator cover into dust.

From the original eBay listing: 1988 Laverda SFC1000 for Sale

Very clean, with upgrades–all easily reversible to full factory-original, if desired.
Imported by me from New Zealand in 2010.
Never dropped, raced, or mistreated.

I am the second owner since new.

New coils, wires, plugs, timing chain, electronic ignition, custom slanted intake manifolds, Mikuni carbs, lubricants, bar-end mirrors, battery, throttle cables, grips, windshield, air filters, tune-up, rear brake caliper rebuild, sprockets, X-ring D.I.D. chain.

Valves meticulously adjusted.
Custom Mikunis by Mike Nixon.
Custom manifolds by Red Cawte.

1988 Laverda SFC 1000 Dash

They may have been obsolete at the time they were sold new, but these Laverdas actually represent an opportunity to buy what amounts to a classic bike at the pinnacle of its development: in 1988, this may have looked like a dinosaur, but today it just screams “useable classic”!

Which might explain why this particular bike featured over on our sister site not too long ago: Classic Sport Bikes for Sale 1988 Laverda SFC1000.

1988 Laverda SFC 1000 Rear Suspension

Overall, this example looks to be in excellent, very orange condition. One caveat: the bike was originally imported from New Zealand, so make sure that you check with your local DMV to make sure there won’t be any issues with registration before you park this in your garage. Or living room.

-tad

1988 Laverda SFC 1000 Engine2

Out With an (Orange) Bang:1988 Laverda SFC1000
Moto Guzzi June 17, 2014 posted by Tad Diemer

Planet of Boom: 1996 Moto Guzzi 1100 Sport for Sale

In spite of their pedigree and style, these Guzzis are odd ducks. Or “geese,” I guess. They’re not really sportbikes: way too heavy, and a bit clunky. And they’re not really designed for comfort, so they’re not really touring, or even sport-touring machines, unless you start modifying them with HeliBars and Corbin seats.

Back when Guzzi’s line of sportbikes was conceived, their air-cooled, shaft drive configuration worked on both road and track, but the game has moved on, and Guzzi’s glacial technological development has relegated them to backmarkers in the sportbike game. Actually, since their absorption into the Piaggio Group, they’re sort of out of that game entirely.

1996 Moto Guzzi 1100 Sport for sale on eBay

1996 Moto Guzzi Sport 1100 L Side Front

Although the clinical wail of a water-cooled four may be the Sound of Power, they're all a bit same-y, and that’s where the Guzzi’s traditional mechanical specifications pay off in spades: the clanking, throbbing engine and that longitudinal crankshaft, causing the bike to twitch right on the throttle. If you think it’s odd on the sidestand, imagine it on the move! It’s a bit disconcerting, the first time you feel it. You definitely get used to it, but that first moment of the bike rolling right slightly on the throttle has you thinking, “what the…?”

1996 Moto Guzzi Sport 1100 R Side Rear

The thundering, shuddering v-twin is something you won’t soon forget: the bike that hooked me on Italian twins wasn’t actually a Ducati, it was a Moto Guzzi Sport 1100. I was walking in Burbank years ago when a bright, red beast thundered by and I thought, “Ah ha. Now I get it.”

1996 Moto Guzzi Sport 1100 Dash

The original eBay listing can be seen here: 1996 Moto Guzzi Sport 1100 It's a dealer listing and there's not much information there, other than fine print in Legalese, but there are plenty of very pretty pictures.

Interestingly, Guzzi adopted fuel injection pretty early on for their bikes, but this Sport 1100 still has carburetors and looks very classy in silver. I actually hate the rectangular headlight on these US-spec models: some markets got a trapezoidal lens that compliments the sleek half-fairing and, once you’ve seen one with the proper headlight, it’s hard to look at the front of these without cringing a bit.

1996 Moto Guzzi Sport 1100 L Engine

Sport 1100s used quality suspension components and Brembo brakes, but they’re a bit on the heavy side, minimal spine frame and bodywork notwithstanding: that huge powertrain package is just kind of a heavy lump. But on a Sunday morning blast up the coast, riding at 7/10ths, grooving on the spread of torque, high on boom, this kind of bike makes plenty of sense: charisma over raw power, finesse over absolute limits.

-tad

1996 Moto Guzzi Sport 1100 L Side

Planet of Boom:  1996 Moto Guzzi 1100 Sport for Sale
Aprilia June 12, 2014 posted by Tad Diemer

Blowing Smoke: 2001 Aprilia RS250 for Sale

I started reading the British bike magazines back in the late-90’s, when Suzuki’s TL1000S was busy making headlines for its wayward behavior and monstrous 115whp. My girl at the time was working at Tower Records in the San Fernando Valley, and every month, unsold magazines had their covers ripped off and returned to the publisher, while the bulk of the pages were simply thrown out. I got to dig through and take my pick.

2001 Aprilia RS250 R Rear

2001 Aprilia RS250 for sale on eBay

I’ve got dozens of old, coverless Brit biking mags lying around, full of filthy, irreverent language, “Page Three” style photo spreads, and pages of phone-porn and dating service ads in the back: so different than the sterile American publications, much more fun. So what if one month they thought a bike was “the tits” and two months later, the same bike was “bollocks”? I loved the attitude and insanity.

If the British biking press extolled the Aprilia RS250, then that was enough for me.

2001 Aprilia RS250 Tail

The Aprilia was powered by a heavily-tuned Suzuki RGV250 motor pumping out 60hp and wrapped in sleek bodywork patterned after their dominant 1993 250GP bike. Aided by light weight and a well-developed suspension package, featuring a distinctive “Banana” swingarm designed to allow the exhaust’s expansion chambers to be tucked up close to the centerline for good cornering clearance, with brakes that would stop a much larger machine, the RS250 is a corner-carving animal.

From the original eBay listing: 2001 Aprilia RS250 for Sale

What a smokin’ blast this bike is to ride – sorry, had to do it. I bought it with 8,500 miles on the odometer in January 2011 and am now parting with it because I need to make room in the garage for other toys. It currently has 13,456 miles with new pistons installed at 7,500 miles.   All miles I put on the bike are street miles with the exception of 1 track day. Other than the Arrow exhaust, Pipercross air filter, and clip-on risers, the bike is stock with oil injection intact and working perfectly. It starts from cold in 1 or 2 kicks, idles glass smooth, and has never been crashed.

This has a valid NY title, and that’s a plus: a big draw for RS250 shoppers is a valid title, and bikes with these command significantly higher prices: many were imported as track bikes with no road equipment, and if I remember correctly, some years Aprilia was only able to sell them that way, since they didn’t meet emissions standards. The RS250 was one of the first bikes to feature an onboard lap timer but there is no electric start, so you modern bike guys will have to learn to “kick it”. Or bump it I guess.

2001 Aprilia RS250 Dash

Not long ago, all of the top-tier racing championships were ruled exclusively by two-stroke bikes and, until emissions standards killed them, they terrorized the streets as well: two-stroke bikes’ characteristic smoke is as dirty as it looks, and they tend not to have modern standards of durability in terms of engine internals… The RS250 ceased production in 2004, and these always generate interest when they come up for sale. They have an impeccable reputation for being able to do “what it says on the tin.” No false advertising here: this is a track bike, with the barest concessions to road use.

I’m generally not the biggest fan of “smoker” noise and clatter, but these are gorgeous, exotic, and two-stroke multis always sound like a gang of chainsaw-wielding maniacs has been let loose on the track, which has to count for something.

-tad

2001 Aprilia RS250 R Side

Blowing Smoke: 2001 Aprilia RS250 for Sale
Bimota June 9, 2014 posted by Tad Diemer

Racing Bimota Redux: 1986 DB1R for Sale

Well this is interesting: two Bimota DB1s in as many days, each very unusual, but in different ways. This DB1R is one of only four made purely for racing, a seriously exotic piece of kit, offered up by the same seller as the Ducati Supermono we featured yesterday. I’ve been told he’s a collector with very good taste and given what we’ve seen so far, I’ve got no reason to disagree!

1986 Bimota DB1R for sale on eBay

1986 Bimota DB1R Front and Rear

Modern Bimota is famous for their super-exotic, carbon-origami confections and alternative front suspensions. Not to mention their eye-opening price tags. These days, it’s pretty hard to improve much upon the bikes being turned out by the major manufacturers, but Bimota got their start in an era when the handling of factory motorcycles often left more than a little bit to be desired and frame design was somewhat of a black art.

The name “Bimota” actually comes from the co-founders’ last names: Bianchi, Morri, Tamburini and the company was created in 1966 as a manufacturer of heating systems, of all things. But they branched out into motorcycles in the 70’s when they made their name cramming the refined and powerful engines of big-name Japanese manufacturers into aerodynamically-slippery machines that could go around corners without bending in the middle…

1986 Bimota DB1R Right Front Wheel

Aside from the disastrous but gorgeous two-stroke V-Due, all Bimotas have used engines from other manufacturers. Looking at a Bimota and wondering whose engine powers it? The clue is in the name: an SB is powered by Suzuki, an HB by Honda, and a DB by Ducati. The number represents how many bikes Bimota has built working with that manufacturer: so the DB1 was the first Ducati-engined Bimota.

The original eBay listings for these are always so spare. I’m guessing they just sort of assume “if you have to ask, you have no business buying…”

From the original eBay listing: 1986 Bimota DB1R for Sale

Bimota DB1R, 1 of 4 built, factory raced at Daytona by Malcolm Tunstall, new fluids, runs perfect

A couple years back, we featured one of these DB1R’s over on ClassicSportBikesforSale which looks to have been in more restored, less patina’d shape. That post is worth a look if you’re not familiar with the DB1, since that article has some good shots of the bike without the fairing: the frame is a serious work of art. And it probably doesn’t hurt that I have a bit of a fetish for big, white, Veglia tachometers with the smaller numbers conspicuously missing…

1986 Bimota DB1R Dash

Bidding’s very active, and has headed north of $35k with the reserve met. Not really a surprise considering how rare these are. A very different proposition than the recent DB1 track bike we featured. That one was one-of-one, but not especially original though perhaps more usable. This one is a piece of history.

-tad

1986 Bimota DB1R R Rear

Racing Bimota Redux: 1986 DB1R for Sale
Ducati June 8, 2014 posted by Tad Diemer

Zero-Mile 1994 Ducati Supermono for Sale

This Ducati Supermono is the bike I wish Ducati would try to build these days. Do we really need more bikes so lethal that they will literally crawl in through your window at night with a knife in between their teeth, like the 1199 Panigale that seems to scare even professional moto-journalists? Or a road-going V4 Moto GP bike with 240hp? I mean, Ducati has a rich tradition of 250, 350, and 450cc single-cylinder performance bikes they could tap into.

KTM’s RC 390 is headed in the right direction [please come to the US, please come to the US], a small-displacement bike for experienced riders, a high-spec bike that designed to provide real thrills, not overwhelm with power.

1994 Ducati Supermono for sale on eBay

1994 Ducati Supermono Dash

What’s interesting is how this trend is relatively recent. The horsepower wars have been raging since they were won and lost by actual horses, but it’s only recently that there’s been such a dearth of legitimate sporting machines with little engines. If you’re a fan of classic sport bikes, you’ll be aware that there was a whole raft of machines that handled and stopped and were built with top-shelf components, not designed as some starter-bike for a teenager who plans to buy a Hayabusa as soon as he can figure out what color Mohawk he wants to stick on his helmet.

The Supermono may only have one cylinder, but it is one of the most valuable and collectible Ducatis of the modern era. And while the Supermono may lack in displacement somewhat when compared to what we’re used to seeing these days, it’s a heart-attack serious machine. With a dry weight of only 267 pounds and suspended with the best kit money could buy, including brakes from the 888, a much heavier machine. And those funny, army-green top triple clamp and the engine cases? They're magnesium of course. And at the heart of it all, a 549cc single that started out making 65bhp at 10,500rpm.

1994 Ducati Supermono L Trans

Keep in mind that this was in the era before balance shafts, and a 10,000 rpm single this size was basically unheard-of. Big singles vibrate, and single-cylinder sportbikes like Bimota’s BB1 can be a numbing affair. But the Supermono had a trick up its four-valve Desmodromic sleeve: a dummy connecting rod that allowed the bike to rev as smoothly as a v-twin.

This is a seller of few words, but the bike speaks for itself: 1994 Ducati Supermono for Sale

Never used Ducati Supermono motorcycle. New fluids, radiator now dry, #33,1 of 67 built, stored in heated/air conditioned garage, perfect condition, one private owner, flawless, probably the most perfect supermono. 

1994 Ducati Supermono R Front Wheel

Styled by the controversial Pierre Terblanche, you can see echoes of his later 900SS in the jutting lower fairing. In spite of customer requests for a roadgoing example, the Ducati Supermono was a pure racebike and only 65 were ever made over the course of two years, with production ending in 1995. Designed to compete in the “Sound of Singles” race series, they epitomize what people love best about Ducati. It's light, innovative, simple, and exotic.

And this one has exactly 0 miles.

Maybe there’s another out there that hasn’t turned a wheel, but I’d bet not as the Supermono was built to race. This would represent the most awful temptation for me. It's a perfect machine. A giant, candy-like red button just begging to be pressed...

Hey, what’s that in the background of some of those shots? Besides the dog. Huh, looks like a Bimota DB1. I wonder if it’s for sale too…

-tad

1994 Ducati Supermono R Rear

Zero-Mile 1994 Ducati Supermono for Sale
Laverda June 8, 2014 posted by Tad Diemer

1999 Laverda Formula 750S

Many of the machines featured on this site are pristine, beautiful examples, the best available anywhere. This is not one of those bikes. But it is rare, and it is a sportbike. And it’s worth looking at because it’s pretty hard to find Laverdas like this in any condition here in the USA.

1999 Laverda Formula R Rear

If you thought Laverda disappeared after the slab-sided RGS of the 1980’s, you’d be wrong. In the early 1990’s, a legitimate attempt to revitalize the brand was attempted and, following Laverda tradition, these “Zane era” Laverdas [produced in Zanè, Italy] utilized the best available components: the bikes featured a traditional beam frame, although beautifully detailed, with fully-adjustable Paioli suspension and hollow-spoked Marchesini wheels.

Powered by a parallel-twin engine that displaced first 668, then added water-cooling and a boost 750cc’s [747cc's], the bike never really made the power to compete with the bike it was pitched against, Ducati’s 748. Interestingly, the Italian manufacturers were some of the first to adopt fuel injection for their motorcycles, and this Laverda features a surprisingly well-sorted system.

1999 Laverda Formula Front Crop

Period tests often criticized the lack of power, but they all had plenty of superlatives handy to describe the way it went around corners. Those Paolis were more than just window-dressing, and the Brembos up front provided some of the best stopping power available.

Unfortunately, by 2000 the new Laverda was sunk and sold to Aprilia, who seem happy to let the brand languish in obscurity for now.

1999 Laverda Formula Clocks

This particular example is obviously a bit… damaged, which is a real shame as these are very striking in black and orange. D&D pipes are evocatively loud, but Formulas generally came from the factory with a pair of carbon Termignonis, and I’m wondering where those got to…

From the original eBay listing: 1999 Laverda Formula 750S

Laverda 750s 1999 This is a very unique bike, it can be considered the alternative to the Ducati 748. Bike is a head turner not mention the sound. It has a very deep lope as it is a parallel twin and fires 180 from each other. The power comes best on the top end rather then a low end. If I have to say my favorite part of the bike besides its performance is the sound, the D&D pipes literally make the ground shake, and when the throttle is cracked your heart jumps.The bike feels very planted in the corners, front brakes feel awesome and the best ive feel ive felt compared to all the newer Japanese bikes. The power is comes in midrange and pulls hard to redline. This if defiantly a bike to take to the twisys. It has a lot of character, very raw and a sense of pride when riding the bike. Has a new pilot power 2CT and a new rear sprocket, tire has maybe 500 miles and is broken in. its been laid down on the left and the only physical damage you can se

these black plastic was installed by my friend, as this was my friends bike and then I purchased it for my collection,

Has new battery, just started yesterday sounds so cool and run very strong.

1999 Laverda Formula L Rear

Looking for all the world like a Latin-ized ZX7, the styling of the bike was a bit dated even when new, but I think has aged really well. Oh, and notice the smooth surface of the tank? It's actually the airbox: the fuel-filler door is under that little, hinged pillion pad. While these certainly are hard to find, they really don’t command all that much in terms of dollars yet. They’re sort of lost in between eras: a forgotten marque, unless you’re a classic enthusiast, with late 80’s style, mediocre power, and questionable parts availability.

With a clear title and a Buy-It-Now price of $4,500, this could be a great chance for someone to pick up an Italian exotic at a bargain price. Probably not a great choice if it’s your only bike, but cheap enough to make a fun weekend blaster or occasional track day bike.

-tad

1999 Laverda Formula L Side

1999 Laverda Formula 750S