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Author Archives: Tad Diemer

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
Suzuki January 14, 2015 posted by Tad Diemer

Setting the Standard for Performance: 1986 Suzuki GSX-R 750 Limited Edition

Update 1.14.2015: First posted in October last year, this LE is back on eBay. Previously a no sale with bids reaching $7,200, this time the bid is at $7,500 at current and reserve is not met. Links updated. -dc

1986 GSX-R750 LE L Front

Prior to 1985 and the introduction of the GSX-R 750, Japanese sport and race bikes were all about more. Even Suzuki’s own GS1000S was a huge lump of steel and aluminum to hustle around a track in Superbike racing. While watching riders wrestle these beasts around a track made for great entertainment, lighter is always going to be faster and, with few exceptions, lightweight speed at the time was owned by the two-stroke brigade: four-stroke refinement came burdened by additional weight and bulk.

1986 GSX-R750 LE R Rear

Other bikes like Kawasaki’s GPz’s stuck their toes into the water in an effort to give riders a complete package of power, agility, and handling, but it wasn’t until the Suzuki’s GSX-R750 that the rules for streetbikes were really rewritten.

Unleashed in 1985, the original “Slabby” GSX-R came with a 750cc, air and oil-cooled engine to save weight compared to water-cooling. An aluminum-alloy beam frame, four-piston calipers and a monoshock rear completed the package, setting the pattern that sportbikes would follow up until today. Despite being nearly thirty years old, only the 18” wheels really give the bike’s age away.

1986 GSX-R750 LE Dash

1986 saw a revised swingarm and other minor changes to the regular production model, but the LE featured here was a different beast altogether. An homologation special, it came with a very desirable dry clutch, lightweight aluminum tank, and a solo seat, along with Suzuki’s electronic anti-dive forks.

This particular bike that's been hiding up in the great white north of Canada isn’t perfect, but could be with just a little bit of work.

1986 GSX-R750 LE R Engine Dry Clutch

From the original eBay listing: 1986 Suzuki GSX-R 750 Limited Edition

Rare limited edition with the dry clutch, magnesium covers, electronic forks, rear shock with remote reservoir, hand laid fiberglass tail sections, no passenger seat on this bike, 1000 made worldwide, this bike is all original with only 22,000 kilometers runs good and sounds awesome, clutch works as it should.

This bike had a storage tipover and there is a dent on the tank, left side on the R note there is no scrapes shoing it wasn’t moving the front fender flexed and the paint flaked off in places.

Some scrapes on the bellypan sides.

1986 GSX-R750 LE R Front

This one currently sits at $5,600 with just a day left and the reserve not met. With just north of 13,000 miles on the clock, and just 200 of these imported to satisfy AMA Superbike requirements, they were rare even when new. Since many led a hard life on race tracks, it's especially hard to find one as nice as this. It’s not perfect, but that could just keep costs down. If you’re looking for a first-generation GSX-R, this could be your bike.

-tad

1986 GSX-R750 LE R Side

Setting the Standard for Performance: 1986 Suzuki GSX-R 750 Limited Edition
Honda January 13, 2015 posted by Tad Diemer

Exotic Heavyweight: 1985 Honda VF1000R Interceptor for Sale

1985 Honda VF1000R L Side

Some more 80's Honda action this week, only this time the bike is in much better condition and has all of its parts included! Modern sportbikes often obsessively address issues of weight while clawing at ever-higher horsepower numbers, worshiping at the temple founded by Lotus founder Colin Chapman and his philosophy that, “adding power makes you faster on the straights, subtracting weight makes you faster everywhere.” Today’s Honda VF1000R is a substantially-engineered motorcycle that lives by the first part of that axiom, but falls down a bit on the second…

1985 Honda VF1000R Nose

Looking much like a scaled-up GSX-R, the fully-faired, monoshock VF1000R was designed to homologate a number of features for Honda’s endurance-racing efforts, but was actually noticeably heavier than the sport-touring VF1000F at over 600lbs wet. The 998cc V4 replaced the F’s timing chains for the gear-driven cams that would eventually become an Interceptor calling-card, while anti-dive front suspension, quick-release axles, vented rear brake disc, and distinctive Comstar modular wheels fitted with radial tires rounded-out the exotic package.

1985 Honda VF1000R Rear Tire

All-in-all, the VF1000R was a bit of a disappointment as a roadbike, but that was never really the objective anyway: like most homologation machines, it was built to allow specific included parts to be used in much higher-performing, production-based racebikes. And it paved the way for Honda’s all-conquering RC30 and RC45, although I understand those were also fairly disappointing in road trim. Spare me your anger and flame in the comments section: I freely admit I’ve never ridden either of them, but I’ve read plenty of period reviews that were less than impressed, especially considering those bikes’ price tags then and now. Once again: road performance wasn’t really the point of those bikes, either.

1985 Honda VF1000R Tail

This particular example from ’85 has been upgraded with the dual-headlight setup from an ’86 model and looks to be in pretty spectacular shape, considering the bike’s age and the fact that it has seen a reasonable amount of road use, as opposed to a pampered life in a collection. For most of us, that just makes it sweeter, and means that it’s a runner, not a display bike. The included D&D pipes should make this bike a real howler: among Ducatisti, D&D is known for making pipes that exchange volume for anything resembling subtlety…

1985 Honda VF1000R Exhaust

From the original eBay listing: 1985 Honda VF1000R for Sale

Super Clean 1985 VF1000R, dual headlight upgrade over the original single one, clean paint, like new tires, smooth idle, it’s a Honda all the way!!! I hate to part with it, but I destroyed my left shoulder in Afghanistan and just can't take the lean forward any more 🙁 ... She is garage kept, and the pics don't do it justice... I will include a set of D&D pipes to the winning bidder as well! Any Questions just ask, I'm listing an Aprillia 1000R in a few more days as well.

Thanks for looking

The biggest challenge with many Japanese bikes from the 80’s and 90’s was their mass-produced affordability: people bought them, rode them hard, and exploited their famed reliability. That means in spite of higher production, tracking down nice examples of bikes like this can be just as difficult as finding a more exotic Ducati or Bimota that was produced in much smaller numbers, but has led a much more pampered life.

1985 Honda VF1000R Dash

There are still a few days left on the auction and bidding is active, although the reserve has still not been met at just north of $3,000. Much more a “GT” and less of a “back-road-burner” by today’s standards, this should make for a pretty cool road tool for Honda fans and that V4 soundtrack, complete with gear-whine, will make any bike fan smile.

-tad

1985 Honda VF1000R R Side

 

Exotic Heavyweight: 1985 Honda VF1000R Interceptor for Sale
Honda January 9, 2015 posted by Tad Diemer

Some Assembly Required: 1986 Honda NS400R

1986 Honda NS400R R Side

Honda’s NSR400R was a snarling, two-stroke middleweight from an era of unprecedented experimentation; a three-cylinder, triple-piped sportbike with cutting-edge specifications. The 1980’s must have been a very discouraging time for European and Italian manufacturers. While they were barely hanging on by their fingernails, Japanese manufacturers were in the throes of an era of funky, experimental technologies, trying out new formulas, and nothing was off-limits: unusual engine configurations, turbos, and active suspension were all tried, with varying degrees of success.

1986 Honda NS400R R Rear Suspension

The NSR400R wasn’t lacking performance or technology: the rattling heart of the little monster was a liquid-cooled, 90° V3 that put 72hp through a six-speed transmission. Power-valve technology beefed up the midrange power while water-cooling increased power and kept mechanical noise to a minimum, although the snarl from the pipes is undeniably that of a two-stroke. Anti-dive forks and modular wheels wrapped in radial tires completed the package.

1986 Honda NS400R Dash

From the original eBay listing: 1986 Honda NS400R for Sale

This is a rare Honda NS400R Rothman's edition 2-stroke. We got this jewel  from a retired motorcycle mechanic. Bike is not running and engine will need to be redone according to him. Honda appears to be complete with a couple of things missing like keys, exhaust, mirrors, gear shifter lever, kick start lever, and coil cover.  Paint and fairing is nice with some scratches. Mileage is really low at  4,741 Km. Bike has a small decal with Japanese writing and No. 301 If someone can tell me the year or more info please feel free to do so and I will update the auction.  BIKE IS SOLD WITH A BILL OF SALE BUT If winning bidder wants a title we can obtain it at additional cost  just contact us.

1986 Honda NS400R L Fairing

Just two days left on the auction, with bidding just over $3,000 and the reserve not met. While this bike isn't 100% complete, the bike is in cosmetically good shape, and the parts missing are fairly straightforward to replace. Those missing pipes might be difficult or possibly expensive to source... So why not go all-out and, since you're going to have to rebuild the engine anyway, just have someone whip up a set of pipes with custom expansion chambers, all out of titanium while you’re at it?

-tad

1986 Honda NS400R L Side

Some Assembly Required: 1986 Honda NS400R
Aprilia January 4, 2015 posted by Tad Diemer

Practical Exotic: 2004 Aprilia Tuono 1000R

2004 Aprilia Tuono R Side Front

The Aprilia Tuono is bike with a style only an engineer or a racer could love, someone who truly appreciates what something does, rather than how it looks. I'd like to call it "form-following-function," but Aprilia always manages to include plenty of random styling bits that seem to do neither, so I won't. But it looks wicked, in the same way a medieval warrior on a heavy metal album cover done up in impractical spiked armor looks wicked: we know it ain't practical, but the design is a sort of short-hand for "bad ass".

2004 Aprilia Tuono L Side Front

The Tuono is exactly the type of naked bike journalists and riders keep asking for, but Japanese manufacturers never seem to be able to deliver: a headbanging sportbike stripped of its fairing, with more humane ergonomics for street riding. The Tuono followed Triumph's recipe for success, matching an uncompromisingly sporty frame and quality suspension to a just slightly retuned and regeared powertrain to create a comfortable streetbike that can get a wiggle on when twisty roads beckon.

In Aprilia's case, the beating heart of the frisky beast was their liquid-cooled 998cc Rotax engine that featured a pair of balance shafts to cancel out the vibration the 60° v-twin might generate. It's generally considered to be extremely reliable and very strong, if slightly less refined than comparable machines from Ducati.

2004 Aprilia Tuono Radiator

From the original eBay listing: 2004 Aprilia Tuono 1000R for Sale

I bought this Italian bike at this same time of year in 2010 to add to my stable of bikes (9 at the time).  I wanted to round out my riding skills and learn to road race so a couple times a year I would put a set of clip-on bars on this bike and head to the track.  Over the past four years I have done about a dozen track days - six of those days while being a student in Jason Pridmore's STAR School.  Most everybody at the track knows what it is and yet is surprised just how much drive it has coming out of a corner, provided that you're not spinning the rear tire.  Having said that, I learned that if I am to get more serious, continue to do track days and hone my road racing skills I best do it on a bike that won't make me cry if I lay it down.  This bike is just too beautiful to go through that and have to rebuild it after an incident.  

This is an incredibly flexible motorcycle.  It can a beast, a bike perfectly suited for hooligan behavior.  It can also sport tour quite comfortably, I took it on a three day Baja trip last year and it ran beautifully.  The engine is very smooth and reliable.  The brakes stop with a vengeance.  These Italian Aprilia's have been dubbed "...the best Japanese bike to come out of Europe..." because of their Honda-like reliability and usability.

I changed out the original plastics for carbon fiber because (A) I love how it looks and (B) the carbon components are more readily available and less expensive than OEM Aprilia parts.  I included a photo of how the bike looks with the original plastics.  ALL of the original plastics are included in the auction - faring, front fender, coil covers, rear faring, fender, passenger seat pillion and factory belly pan.

I swapped out the original plastic gas tank for a metal black one (goes with the carbon fiber).  Stock tank is included.

2004 Aprilia Tuono Front

Some minor flaws, cracks and scuffs aside, this bike should offer a TON of bang-for-the-buck, with just a bit of Italian funk thrown into the bargain. It looks clean and well cared-for, with some minor scars and wounds earned in 20,000 road and track miles. That GPR exhaust ain't the prettiest choice, but neither is the bike, and it does look pretty cool, and is definitely visually slimmer and a whole lot lighter than the original part.

2004 Aprilia Tuono L Side Rear

The Tuono has long been the darling of motorcycle journalists, although they haven't exactly sold like hotcakes... Maybe something to do with the fact that Aprilias don't get snapped up by weekend warriors and collectors the way Ducatis do. Or maybe their styling is an acquired taste. Whatever the reason, Aprilias represent an amazing value on the used-bike market, combining Italian charisma with excellent reliability to create the perfect low-cost exotic.

-tad

2004 Aprilia Tuono R Side

Practical Exotic: 2004 Aprilia Tuono 1000R
Cagiva January 4, 2015 posted by Tad Diemer

2003 Cagiva V-Raptor 1000 for Sale in California!

Update 1.4.2015: The seller has alerted us that this bike is back on the market. There have been some updates since our first post in June 2014 and all new pictures as well. Links updated. Good luck to buyers and seller. -dc

Hey, speaking of British bike magazines, here’s one you’re probably not too familiar with unless you read those publications. Suzuki’s V-twin was intended to compete with Ducati, but the bikes they stuffed it into never really seemed to be able to cut the mustard. The TL1000S was brawn over brains, with a dangerous reputation and a compromised rear suspension, and the TL1000R wasn’t quite right either, a bit too fat, maybe too soft, maybe not twin-y enough?

But they sound amazing, and both make pretty cool road tools, if you want the sound of a twin without the headaches of Desmodromic valves and $120/hr labor charges. And other manufacturers clearly agreed, since it ended up powering Bimota’s SB8 and Cagiva’s V-Raptors.

2003 Cagiva V-Raptor 1000 for sale on eBay

2003 Cagiva VRaptor L Side Crop

The V-Raptor was pretty wild-looking and designed by Miguel Galluzzi of Ducati Monster fame, although I think the design is trying a bit too hard. Period reviews suggest that packaging for this powerplant continued to be an issue and comfort was severely compromised for style, but Ducati Monster owners should be familiar with that. But the bike was striking and provided Italian style and booming noise without the pain of 6000 mile valve-checks. Yes, unless you do them yourself, those are every bit as annoying as you’d imagine.

From the original eBay listing: 2003 Cagiva V-Raptor 1000

Missing Left Side Panel (Plastic, can order Carbon Fiber Replacements for About $100)- Bent Right Side Exhaust (Due to Slow Fall in Muddy Puddle)- Missing Right Side Chain Tension Adjuster (Easy to Fix with Bolt/Washers from Home Depot)- Will Need New Chain, Sprocket Set, Valve Adjustment, & Front Tire within Next 2k-5k Miles Jet Black Paint with Metallic Clear Coat (Professionally Done), Seat Re-Upholstered to Black Carbon Fiber, Dual Zorstec Exhaust Pipes

Look, I hate to once again be the resident Cheap Weird Bike Guy, and this bike has all the hallmarks of being ridden hard, lightly crashed, and put away wet. But it's a Cagiva V-Raptor! You can take it to a Suzuki dealer and get it worked on!

2003 Cagiva VRaptor Title

To be honest, I had no idea these were ever available in the US and is registered in CA, a notoriously strict place relatively intolerant of DMV shenanigans. Maybe a quick email to the seller to ask the bike’s provenance? He does include a photo of the title, which is nice. And a list of things that have been done or need to be done suggest that at least the seller is representing the bike fairly.

The photos aren’t great, and the bike needs a bit of work to make it presentable, but might be worth it for the great, grunty motor and all the very confused looks you’ll get at local bike nights.

-tad

2003 Cagiva VRaptor R Side AMERIKUH

2003 Cagiva V-Raptor 1000 for Sale in California!