Author Archives: Tad Diemer

Bimota July 22, 2014 posted by Tad Diemer

Simplify, and Then Add Lightness: 1993 Bimota DB2

Until very recently, Bimota’s exotic, Ducati-powered offerings like this DB2 featured the air/oil-cooled two-valve engines, instead of the more powerful four-valve water-cooled engines from the 851/916 models. This meant that, although the bikes weren’t the fastest straight-line performers, they were light and lithe, enabling riders to make good use of every horse available.

1993 Bimota DB2 L Side Front

This was originally, and perhaps ironically given that we’re talking about Italian exotica, a financial decision. The DB bikes have always been intended to sell well, and helped to keep the company afloat at different points in their history: with over 600 made, the original DB1 was about as mass-market as Bimota ever got. A little more than 400 of the later DB2 models were made, with production split between half and full-fairing styles, although I very much prefer the full-fairing on this particular example.

1993 Bimota DB2 Dash

From the original eBay listing: 1993 Bimota DB2 for Sale

Perhaps Massimo Tamburini's finest design, the Bimota DB2 is the consumate combination of exotic componentry, exhilarating performance, exclusivity and style. Bimota made only 408 DB2's, of which 285 had complete fairing.

This motorcycle was completely restored in 2001 when it had approximately 3000 miles and donated to the Larz Anderson Transportation Museum in Boston, who elected to auction it to focus on their older collection of pre-war cars. The odometer currently shows 1003 miles, the amount ridden after the resoration and replacement of the speedo and tach.

Enhancements performed in 2001:

944cc Big bore kit; Stainless steel engine studs; Carburetor jet kit; New timing belts; Carbon fibre belt covers; Braided brake lines; Polished wheels, mufflers, intake manifolds; New chain and sprocket; Adjustable brake and clutch levers; Tinted windscreen, Euro headlight; New speedometer and tachometer; Painted frame.

Since I purchased the bike in 2002, it has lived in a heated, air conditioned garage, and has been ridden less than 20 miles. After sitting so long, I decided to "re-commission" it in 2010 to make it roadworhty again. This involved new tires, new battery, new timing belts, rebuilding the carbs with new floats and jets, all new fluids, etc. It has not been ridden since.

This bike is absolutely stunning, and is virtually new. It deserves to escape from my garage, and be ridden!!

Period reviews suggest that this bike does exactly as intended, putting the flexible, evocative, mid-range strong motor from a bike already well-known for stability into a chassis even lighter, with improved suspension front and rear. Given the relatively simple underpinnings, these are phenomenally responsive bikes, clearly benefiting from Colin Chapman’s “simplify and then add lightness” ideology.

This is a bike for people with enough skill to appreciate the qualities this bike embodies: lightness over power, finesse over brute strength. Or just people with an eye for striking Italian design.

1993 Bimota DB2 L Side Rear

One of the nice things about bikes like this is that, unlike Suzuki’s GSX-R models, these appealed to well-heeled collectors from the start, and many have been painstakingly maintained. This example has seen very few miles roll under the wheels, but was recently brought back to road-worthy condition after a lengthy spell sitting in a museum: no hideous paint jobs to undo, no extended swingarm to replace, or crash damage.

It does feature a big-bore 944 kit [up from 904cc], which is great for power but reputedly can run a bit hot in traffic. The listing doesn’t mention if cooling has been improved, but it’s unlikely to be used for commuting, so I’d imagine this should be great for the back-road sorties this bike was made for.


1993 Bimota DB2 R Side Front

Simplify, and Then Add Lightness: 1993 Bimota DB2
Ducati July 20, 2014 posted by Tad Diemer

Moving the Game Forward: 1988 Ducati 851 for Sale

Motorcycle Designer Pierre Terblanche is a somewhat controversial figure in the world of motorcycle design. Notably held responsible for Ducati’s controversial 749/999 bikes and Sport Classics, you’ll find a great deal of internet hate directed at him. I happen to be a fan of the 749/999 bikes but I acknowledge that they’re not especially pretty bikes. I expect that they’ll eventually be recognized as classics in their own right, and they are certainly more humane and useable bikes than the notoriously uncomfortable 916.

However, many people who are highly critical of his designs forget that he was also penned the innovative Supermono and was also responsible for the 900SS redesign, along with the 851/888 bikes. The Ducati 851 is obviously not as iconic or as elegant as the later 916, it’s also far less common, and has a very simple, purposeful look that suits it.

1993 Ducati 888 SPO R Side

Setting the stage for Ducati’s modern superbikes, the liquid-cooled, fuel-injected, four-valve 851 displaced, perhaps surprisingly, 888cc’s and made just over 100bhp. Not all that much in today’s terms, but those 104 horses came with a flat wall of torque that shoots the bike out of corners with authority, accompanied by the characteristic musical booming that Ducati fans know so well.

1993 Ducati 888 SPO Dash

From the original eBay listing: 1988 Ducati 851 for Sale

Suitable for any museum or private collector or someone that just wants to ride but I recommend a full service and new tires first.
Dials, gauges and switch gear are nice and bright, not faded. Body paint quality nice and clean. No stress cracks in fibreglass bodywork, never dropped.

Some cosmetic improvements -

good quality front and rear carbon fibre mudguards

carbon fibre undertray

carbon fibre dash panel

rear brake slung beneath the swingarm

clear tank protector film fitted to prevent zipper scratches

upgraded brake hoses

rear brake micro-switch re-wired prior to my owner ship

1993 Ducati 888 SPO Tank

Overshadowed by the Tamburini design that followed, these are still largely unappreciated. From a historical point of view, the 851/888 represents a huge step forward for Ducati into the modern era with their use of liquid-cooling and four-valve heads. This particular example has a really nice carbon, dual-headlight fairing fitted by well-known California Laverda tuner Lance Weil. It may not be to everyone's taste, but the original parts are included, so it should be very easy to put right.

1993 Ducati 888 SPO Front Fairing R

Maybe it’s not the prettiest bike, but one that does the business and is rare to boot. Grab this for relative peanuts, then start scouring the internet for a 50mm Termignoni “spaghetti” full race exhaust for the full, window-shattering experience.


1993 Ducati 888 SPO Front Fairing


Moving the Game Forward: 1988 Ducati 851 for Sale
Benelli July 16, 2014 posted by Tad Diemer

Featured Listing: 2008 Benelli Tornado 1130 for sale in Georgia

I've been keeping my eyes open for a nice Benelli Tornado to write up for a while now. These represent a reasonably successful attempt to resurrect the storied Italian brand and they're supposedly still producing variations of this bike, although the company was bought by the Chinese Group Qianjiang and are currently being built there.

Modern Benellis were showing up with decent regularity as untitled holdovers or low-mileage speculator bikes until recently, but have since become scarce. Have sellers given up or have they been snapped up and squirreled away?

2008 Benelli Tornado Tre 1130 for sale on eBay

2008 Benelli Tornado 1130 R Side

Originally developed as a three cylinder, 900cc machine that was teased at the 1999 Milan motorcycle show, displacement for production bikes was upped when it became clear this would be a streetbike and displacement limits for racing could be safely ignored. Think of this as the big-displacement Daytona that Triumph never built.

Reviews at the time flattered the style [duh] and the bike featured some very interesting design features, including a radiator tucked up into the tail section that kept the weight of the engine as far forward as possible. A cool design feature emphasized by brightly-colored fans to help pull air across it, but I wonder what that’s like for riders and potential pillion passengers…

2008 Benelli Tornado 1130 Tail

Power, especially for the 900cc version, was not top-of-the-class, but it was very smooth and characterful. Although early models had somewhat iffy fueling at lower revs, this got better over time and is relatively easy to fix.

2008 Benelli Tornado 1130 Dash

Parts availability could be iffy moving forward, as the dealer network was never much to write home about and is likely much, much worse now. FastBikes magazine has been running one as a long-termer and back issues might make a great resource for tuning, parts, and substitutions that could be made to work. That end-can would be the first thing to go if I bought one, and I'll bet any number of other parts could be modified to fit: a stubby little low-mount can from Arrow would probably clean up the rear nicely.

2008 Benelli Tornado 1130 Tail Section

From the original eBay listing: 2008 Benelli Tornado for Sale

Light scratches, possibly dings or dents, might be missing a nut or bolt.
Comes from the factory loaded with all kinds of premium parts that beg to be ogled.
It would be prudent to have a fair amount of exotic experience to own this beast.
The riding design and eccentricities of the bike will demand a strong confident hand,
otherwise you will end up on the pavement along with a hefty repair bill.
Its design is something to behold. The ram air intakes run the entire inner length
of the bike to the rear section where it forces the air onto the radiator concealed within
the rear cowling.
To add to the impressive looks, there are two fully functioning fans in the rear that kick on to pull air over the radiator when it hits a certain temperature.
The bike comes with a cd copy of the service manual and a few spare parts.

2008 Benelli Tornado 1130 Tank

This is one of those bikes I'd love to have in my fantasy garage. There are faster bikes for less money, and parts may be a pain. But the styling is distinctive and very pretty, and the bike is fast enough to challenge all but the very fastest riders. Although with bodywork like that, this probably isn’t the best bike for hard-core track days…

When you can ride something as rare and elegant, I think the trade offs are worth it.


2008 Benelli Tornado 1130 Front


Featured Listing: 2008 Benelli Tornado 1130 for sale in Georgia
Kawasaki July 16, 2014 posted by Tad Diemer

Sweet Ride, Man: 1978 Kawasaki Z1R-TC for Sale

Here's one I'd normally post up over at our sister site, but it's rare and it's a sportbike, so I thought this crowd could use a formal introduction to the Kawasaki Z1R-TC. If you’re one of those folks who equate “sportbikes” with “handling”, you may not be familiar with this hulking brute of a machine with a hand grenade for an engine and power to severely overwhelm the limited frame and suspension technology of the day. What's more exciting than that? I mean, Russian Roulette counts as a sport, right?

In the car world of the 1980’s, turbos seemed like the perfect way to increase power and performance in a world suddenly obsessed with efficiency and air quality, and they were getting slapped onto just about everything, so it was only a matter of time before the obsession with boost spilled over into the two-wheeled scene, and Kawasaki was way ahead of the curve on this particular trend.

1978 Kawasaki Z1R TC L Side

The TC was conceived as a quick way to move some lame-duck stock out of showrooms and give Kawasaki a performance feather in their cap. Collaborating with the Turbo Cycle Company, Kawasaki simply converted complete bikes with a bolt-on kit running 8-10psi of boost. Upgraded internals were available for purchase separately but were generally not installed.

In what would be an almost comical nightmare of liability today, buyers simply signed off on powertrain warranty waivers before whooshing off into the nearest wall, or blew themselves up when they ignored the sticker clearly warning them not to tamper with the wastegate to increase boost. Now who'd wanna do something like that?

1978 Kawasaki Z1R TC L Side Low

And even if you didn’t detonate your engine or wheelie into a tree, the very crude turbocharging technology led to wild, on/off boost delivery and made riding this a bit more terrifying than exciting: bendy 1970’s frame and suspension technology combined with an engine that was already plenty powerful before you stuck a honking big turbo on it to give you the worst of both worlds, and a challenge fit for the manliest of motorcyclists…

This particular machine is technically not one of the original bikes and is, according to the seller, a "tribute" built up from a regular Z1R. But honestly this probably feels pretty authentic, since the original bikes were mostly cobbled-together from completed stock bikes.

1978 Kawasaki Z1R TC Dash

I really do wish these people would roll their bikes out of the garage to take some of these pictures, though. It will probably help if you imagine Matthew McConaughey reading this out loud as his character from Dazed and Confused.

From the original eBay listing: 1978 Kawasaki Z1R-TC for Sale

Truly awesome looking Z1R turbo with custom Molly graphics and recently painted black bodywork updates,powdercoated frame, many chrome parts on engine,kickstand,etc...very nice Z1R mag wheels,1 of a kind custom seat,early ATP turbo kit with log header pipe + "F" flow high volume compressor complimenting the 1200cc big bore motor  This is not a bike for the timid or in-experienced pilot....even with only 8-10 lbs. boost ,its very VERY fast!(of course you can ride it all day long without getting on boost,its all in your right wrist you know) This is a one of a kind bike with many tasteful updates + cool are in great is very stable at high speed with  front steering dampner,fork brace and fully adjustable Marzocchi rear shocks keeping things under control...

Look, let's be clear here: I'm sure those rear shocks are an improvement, but there's no way they actually tamed this beast. You think you're all slick, using trail-braking out there, or using a bit of rear brake to settle the suspension? Try this for some fancy footwork: the power delivery for the TC was so laggy that fast passing on the road called for you to hold the throttle open to keep boost up, while dragging the brakes to keep the speed under control, waiting for an opening in traffic. Sort of like a rolling drag-strip launch...

1978 Kawasaki Z1R TC R Side Front

An exciting, hugely flawed stopgap before the much more modern GPz that followed, the Z1R-TC and the other turbo bikes of the era were an interesting footnote in motorcycling history. While not necessarily all that fast on a winding road, these are massively entertaining on the boost and could be a fun, point-and-hang-on-for-dear-life machine for scaring unsuspecting riders of modern bikes.

Ultimately, the turbo craze was a dead-end for motorcycles: they significantly increased complexity with no real upside: their power delivery was not really suitable bikes of the period and, in most cases, a simple displacement boost proved to be a more effective, reliable way of increasing performance. But whatever, man. Maybe people were just too square to get it.


1978 Kawasaki Z1R TC R Side

Sweet Ride, Man: 1978 Kawasaki Z1R-TC for Sale
Yamaha July 10, 2014 posted by Tad Diemer

Race Team Starter Kit: 1995 Yamaha TZ125 for Sale

Do you have a fourteen-year-old with a head full of gears and a heart that pumps premix? Are you a serious sport rider that’s built like a fourteen-year-old? Are you a normal-sized guy who doesn’t care if he looks like the proverbial “monkey humping a football” while riding a bike that’s a bit on the small side? Well have I got a deal for you.

1995 Yamaha TZ125 for sale on eBay

1995 Yamaha TZ125 R Side

What we have here is a complete package, a ready-to-ride bike with stands and a whole raft of spare parts, extra transmission gearsets, and even a complete spare engine! Win the auction, roll up with a van, and drive away with your brand new race team. Just add stickers.

1995 Yamaha TZ125 R Side Naked

The TZ125 is not a roadbike converted to track duty: it’s a two-stroke racing machine in miniature with no starter but 44hp and six forward gears.

1995 Yamaha TZ125 Dash

From the original eBay listing: 1995 Yamaha TZ125 for Sale

Here is a chance to own a Two Stroke GP Bike. The little 125 can make 50hp and is certainly no toy. Lot's of features on this bike, my favorite being the cassette transmission. These are getting to be quite rare and hard to find. The bike was purchased used and completely disassembled and rebuilt. We had a plan to begin racing the following spring, but unfortunately the rider failed to qualify with his school grade points and the project stalled. The bike has sat unused in my heated garage and is now going to be sold. As you can see, the bike has had thousands invested in it. It is a racing motorbike and has no title and can not be ridden on the street. The Front and Rear Stands are included, along with one brand new windscreen worth $100 alone. But Wait there's more! A huge package of spare parts is included, Parts Manual, Workshop Manual, Jetting, Gearing, Pistons, Gaskets, O'rings, Throttle, Clutch and Brake Levers, Clutch Plates, Tachometer, Complete wire harness, ECM, Power Valve Actuator, Exhaust Pipe and muffler. A brand new Battle shifter, never fitted. Also included, all the alternate gear ratios for the trans, that's like 18 gears! Along with three new Shift Forks. Just take a look at the pictures. Just when you think this can't get any better, IT DOES!!!!! Now for the most amazing part of this auction...............A complete spare ENGINE with Carb and Generator is also included in this auction. I'm not kidding, it all goes with one winning bid.

1995 Yamaha TZ125 R Engine

This is obviously no collector’s item, no jewel-like classic to adorn your office or living room. This is a tool, a device for going fast. Or a device for learning to go fast. Given everything that’s included, the price so far is looking very fair.

Your teenage son or daughter is going to be so excited this Christmas, they probably won’t even notice that you’ve been “breaking it in for them”! Who needs a pony, anyway?


1995 Yamaha TZ125 L Side

Race Team Starter Kit: 1995 Yamaha TZ125 for Sale
Bimota July 9, 2014 posted by Tad Diemer

Tasty Origami: 2008 Bimota DB5R for Sale

I really wanted to post up yet another wonderfully weird and definitely non-sucky Buell but, unfortunately for fans of that misunderstood marque, I stumbled across this sharp-edged Bimota DB5R first, so all you lovers of perimeter brakes and double-duty components will have to wait for another day to get your fix.

And, in a way, Bimota really is sort of like the Italian Buell: other than the fantastically flawed V Due that almost bankrupted the company, all of their bikes featured engines from other manufacturers, wrapped in lighter, stronger frames, with aerodynamic bodywork and high-end suspension. Kawasakis, Hondas, Suzukis, BMWs, Yamahas, and Ducatis have all powered various Bimotas.

2008 Bimota DB5R Fairings2

Early Bimotas often featured dramatic improvements in terms of handling or performance compared to the bikes that donated their engines. But as technology progressed and the handling of factory machines improved, the company has evolved into a manufacturer of boutique origami confections of carbon and titanium that could be ridden in anger, but probably aren’t. Some innovative ideas still manage to work their way into their designs, but with only incremental advantages over the factory bikes, Bimota’s primary selling point these days seems to be their exotic style and top-shelf components. Dripping with exotic materials and high-end names, they take the very best and make it just that little bit better in the way that only lots of money can.

2008 Bimota DB5R Fairings

With the Italian mystique multiplied by their collaboration with Ducati, the DB bikes have always been good sellers for Bimota. Interestingly, the DB5 uses the air/oil-cooled, two-valve motor, instead of the much more powerful liquid-cooled, four-valve motor, although the DS version used here does feature twin plugs per cylinder.

From the original eBay listing: 2008 Bimota DB5R for Sale

This is a 2008 Bimota DB5R with only 750 miles on it, I have had it since it was new in 2008.
This model was one of two build for Shane Turpin.
The bike was serviced back in January 2014 with new battery and fluids and it has not been ridden since then.
It has come to the time where I have to many toy's and I will have to let go of this amazing bike.
It has some scratches on the right side due to it falling in my garage last year, I have taken pictures for you to review the scratches.
Please do some research on the bike if you do not know about this model.

There are certainly faster bikes for the money. You’re paying a whole lot of cash for a machine that only marginally outperforms the donor bike, which wasn’t all that fast to begin with: Ducati’s characterful air-cooled L-twin offers plenty of flexible midrange poke and the suspension components should offer sublime handling, but you’ll get killed on the straights at the track by guys who bought salvage-title GSX-R600s with unpainted race fairings. But that’s really not the point here: these days, Bimotas are really cost-no-object bits of road and track jewelry, bikes for folks who can afford the best.

2008 Bimota DB5R Dash Front

So who cares if this DB5 isn’t actually much faster than the Ducati Monster that donated its engine? It’s still plenty fast and exotic, although Bimota’s current obsession with stealth-fighter angularity could use a few curves thrown in. Straight lines are nice, and very decisive design elements, but these bikes tend to look a bit too busy to be truly beautiful.


2008 Bimota DB5R Rear


Tasty Origami: 2008 Bimota DB5R for Sale