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Author Archives: Tad Diemer

Honda October 14, 2014 posted by Tad Diemer

Fresh From the Crate: 1989 Honda RS250

1989 Honda RS250 R Side

Here in the good ol’ US of A, 250cc motorcycles are generally lumped in with scooters in terms of the respect they get. And while scooters may be fun to ride, no one wants to be seen doing it. And two-strokes? Emissions legislation killed those by the early 1980’s so most Americans’ experience with smokers involves knobby tires and Renthal bars.

But if you’re a racing fan, or grew up in Europe, bikes like this Honda RS250 would have you drooling like a squid over a turbocharged Hayabusa with a ghost flame paint job. At a recent track day, I came across a beautiful Rothman’s NSR250R that attracted plenty of attention, although everyone gawking at it seemed to be speaking with a funny accent…

1989 Honda RS250 Engine

1989 Honda RS250 for sale on eBay

Make no mistake, the RS250 is no joke. It’s no learner bike, or inexpensive track ride: it’s a pure racing motorcycle, and needs the upkeep you’d expect of a GP machine. Powered by a nearly square 54x54.5mm two-stroke v-twin that snarled out over 90hp and weighed 223lbs dry.

1989 Honda RS250 Dash

From the original eBay listing: 1989 Honda RS250 for Sale

A truly unique opportunity!

This is a brand new, never ridden Honda RS250 Grand Prix bike from 1989. It has been kept in one owners collection on display from new. As the photographs show it is in exceptional condition apart from some age-related deterioration (tyres cracked etc.) and fading at places on the fairing where at some point it had stickers. The build quality of these GP Honda's is stunning and as would be expected everything is totally original down to the original Japanese factory warning stickers!

This is sure to be a great investment as prices for GP 2-strokes continue to rise.

1989 Honda RS250 Clutch

While on paper it seems like this RS250 be comparable to more familiar RGV or TZ, the Honda is generally considered to be less privateer-friendly because of its very high state of tune, with a harder edge and a less-forgiving nature.

Of course, you may not be worried about riding this one, since riding it would basically ruin the fact that it’s basically a brand-new motorcycle from 1989…

1989 Honda RS250 Airbox

Bidding is up over $17,500 with a bit more time left on the auction. It’s located in the UK, but the seller is ready to ship the bike anywhere in the world.

-tad

1989 Honda RS250 L Side

Fresh From the Crate: 1989 Honda RS250
Moto Guzzi October 10, 2014 posted by Tad Diemer

Italian Thunder: 1997 Moto Guzzi Sport 1100

1997 Moto Guzzi Sport 1100 R Side

The story of Guzzi’s 1100 Sport is a bit like the story of Judas Priest and Tim “Ripper” Owens, but with motorcycles. It’s the story of an unlikely amateur being asked to join the big boys on stage, and in this case the "unlikely amateur" was former-dentist-turned-endurance-racing-guru Dr. John Wittner.

Wittner’s heavily-modified Guzzis were very successful in the mid-1980s, running endurance and ProTwins series events in the United States. Asked by Guzzi to develop a new top-of-the-range superbike that incorporated what he’d learned about engines and suspensions during his time in the trenches, Wittner’s Daytona featured the first use of Guzzi’s new-ish four-valve engine and spine-frame that proved a worthy successor to the Tonti-framed bikes that preceded it.

1997 Moto Guzzi Sport 1100 L Side Rear

By the mid-90’s the bike was followed by the lower-spec, lower-priced Sport 1100 powered by Guzzi’s 1064cc two-valve engine that I’m going to insist is longitudinal, not transverse, since the crankshaft runs longitudinally. I don’t care what Wikipedia or Guzzi’s own website says.

1997 Moto Guzzi Sport 1100 Dash

Often criticized for being "agricultural", Guzzis can be an acquired taste: if you're used to clinical precision, you might hate this bike. And while shaft drive is durable and low-maintenance, it contributes to an overall heavy bike. The motor makes a respectable 90hp but, more importantly, a mountain of torque. Which is a good thing, since the gearbox has only 5 speeds and isn’t exactly famed for being pleasant to use…

1997 Moto Guzzi Sport 1100 Front and Rear

Best to just stick it in third or fourth and worry about clipping apexes. Excellent suspension components lend confidence and stability, if not agility, and top-of-the line period Brembos give solid, predictable stopping, although weight hampers the overall performance. The shaft-drive torque reaction is a little weird at first if you're not expecting it, but you quickly get used to the slightly asymmetrical  feeling in corners.

Get a Guzzi into a fast road groove and it can keep up with much lighter, higher-strung machines. With plenty of cornering clearance, stability, and long legs, the Sport 1100 is really more of a GT and less of a race-replica.

1997 Moto Guzzi Sport 1100 Front Wheel

From the original eBay listing: 1997 Moto Guzzi 1100 Sport for Sale

Here is a very clean 1997 Moto Guzzi 1100 Sport. Comes with the original owner’s manual and a clean title ready to go.

The bike has just a little over 31000 miles on it, it is all checked over, and has a brand new battery, fuel pump and fluids. Very nice carbon fiber exhaust sounds excellent as well.

I was used to old Guzzi 850's before this one and man these 1100's are fun.  Very high performance oriented, this Guzzi even looks fast. A very good handling machine, tons of life left in her and the value will only increase. This bike is the fuel injected model and is very nice!

I am very busy with all of my vintage builds and have decided to let a pair of these modern 1100's go to someone who will enjoy them.

I love these bikes, and I love how the half-fairing shows off that hulking engine and transmission. Two-valve Guzzis are very tough bikes, and valve adjustments are a snap, with those cylinder heads sticking out in the breeze! As a bonus, those carbon cans should make a seriously stunning roar: Guzzi twins make a truly epic noise when uncorked. Unfortunately, this example does feature the US-spec headlight. I really love the 1100 Sport, but I’d be scrounging up a trapezoidal Euro unit as soon as possible if I had this in my garage.

Only problem I see here, aside from that headlight, is that Guzzi eagle on the tank: my buddy has a Guzzi, and people keep asking him "what kind of Harley is that?"

-tad

1997 Moto Guzzi Sport 1100 R Side Rear

Italian Thunder: 1997 Moto Guzzi Sport 1100
Suzuki October 9, 2014 posted by Tad Diemer

RK in the UK: 1989 Suzuki GSX-R750R

1989 Suzuki GSX-R 750 R Front Low

Beloved of squids, teenagers too young to hold a motorcycle license, stunters, track-day junkies, racers, and well basically everybody, it’s hard to get excited about a Gixxer up for sale. Their sporty good-looks and sheer competence mean that they’re basically everywhere, in every sort of condition, and certain generations were aesthetically challenged to say the least.

But none of that’s a problem for this particular example, a 1989 Suzuki GSX-R750R.

1989 Suzuki GSX-R 750 R Rear

1989 Suzuki GSX-R750R for sale on eBay UK

“Race replica” of course really describes all GSX-Rs, but this one’s a real race replica: only 500 were produced, with just 200 making their way to Europe, 50 to the UK, and basically none making it to the US, except as grey-market imports. On the surface the Double R might have looked like a standard GSX-R with a red solo tail section, but it featured many redesigned, strengthened, or adjustable parts intended to make the bike competitive in racing

These were homologation specials, and many were snapped up by race teams and collectors, making them exceedingly rare and collectible when they end up on the open market. This example is claimed to be “one of the finest examples left in the world”. Although I’d have liked more pictures to ogle, the couple the seller did include suggest that it’s every bit as good as that.

1989 Suzuki GSX-R 750 R Paperwork

From the original eBay listing: 1989 Suzuki GSX-R750R

Absolutely standard trim, with a mere 2,190 miles since new and still with its original tyres!

I am reluctantly selling my very rare, exceptionally low mileage Suzuki GSX-R750RR also known by its model prefix as the RK. One of only 500 units made in 1989 to homologate for World Superbike racing, there are reputedly less than 100 of these left in the world. Of those left, ones in this condition are in numbers of less than 10. ‘The Real Deal’ as she is aptly known is number 260/500 and was built at the Hamamatsu plant in Japan.

Imported and owned by my late father from its first owner in Japan and now owned by me, this family owned example was still shod on its original factory issue Michelin tyres from 1989, which bear testament to the mileage of just 2190 miles (actually in km’s). The original tyres are still with the bike but in order to pass an MOT which I thought essential for any would-be buyer, the bike has a brand new pair of tyres on it. She has also been fully serviced by the HRC technician who builds the official HRC engines for the UK and Suzuka 8 Hour racing effort. Again, I felt essential to ensure that whoever buys this beautiful machine, can be happy in the knowledge that she is mechanically superb. The service / recommison included all ancillaries, battery and lubricants along with a full carburettor service including cleaning, new gaskets and seals and then balanced to ensure absolute perfection.  

The bike is immaculate in every respect from the underside of the belly pan to front fairing to the tailpiece and is totally unmolested. It does bears age related patina such as small amounts of mottling on some of the aluminium components and the original Suzuki factory paint on the wheels has imperfections but this again demonstrates the absolute originality of this beautiful Suzuki. For the last 3 years she has resided in my walnut-floored garage, covered and only bought out for the odd show or to warm her through gently.

She has a personal registration plate ending in ‘RRK’, I have the parts catalogue in Japanese and English, an accessories catalogue in Japanese, magazine articles relating to the ‘RR’, GSXR books, the V5c, MOT certificates, two keys including the registration key (unheard of!) and a display board detailing all about this very special machine. She is SORN at present.

If rarity is your thing, then look past the RC30 or OW01, this GSX-R is the one to have. Of the few original units left in the world, this is undoubtedly the finest.

The Double R looks great in classic blue and white with that red tail section, with relatively simple graphics before the Japanese manufacturers went off the rails with lurid colors and graphics in the 90’s… With such low mileage, it’s a shame that this bike will probably be tucked away in a collection.

This is a classified ad, not an auction, and the asking price is £18,000 which is a ton of money for a Gixxer. But if you’re a fan of fast, rare Suzukis, it really doesn’t get any better than this.

-tad

1989 Suzuki GSX-R 750 R Front

RK in the UK: 1989 Suzuki GSX-R750R
Buell October 6, 2014 posted by Tad Diemer

Featured Listing: Ready to Race 2007 Buell XBRR

Update 4.22.2015: This bike is heading to a new home. Congratulations to buyer and seller! -dc

Update 10.6.2014: Now on eBay, links added. -dc

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Certainly not the handsomest machine, Buell’s XBRR was a factory racebike based on their XB12 streetbike that featured Buell’s customary obsession with mass-centralization and weight-reduction. Both very good ideas, considering the powerplant was based on Harley-Davidson’s antediluvian 1200cc, pushrod v-twin, but de-stroked and bored-out to 1339cc. With huge 62mm throttle bodies, the race-spec engine puts out 150hp and 100lb/ft of torque. It has no real powerband and pulls from just off idle until you run headlong into the 8,000rpm limiter.

2007 Buell XBRR for sale on eBay

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But while the engine is the motorcycling equivalent of a big-block Chevy, the rest of the package definitely goes its own way. In classic Buell style, fuel is stored in the frame and oil in the swingarm, allowing a low center of gravity and providing good surface-area to keep things cool. The bike also features Buell’s signature Zero Torsion Load perimeter front brake, with a Nissin 8-piston caliper!

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While I realize that Buell’s eventual move to a Rotax-based powerplant was necessary for the bike to compete on the world stage, there’s something cool about their use of a lumpy, torquey all-American v-twin, and the XBRR is probably the very last word in fast Harleys. And it’s likely to be the last word for some time. Instead of capitalizing on their rich racing history, Harley seems very content to rest on their “bad to the bone” image to sell bikes. Which makes sense as racing would require them to actually make bikes that can win races...

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Normally, I like to fill in some blanks with the history of a bike in question, but in this case is our old buddies over at AutoMania have already done a fantastic job detailing this history of this machine.

From the AutomaniaGP website: 2007 Buell XBRR for Sale

My love of riding what I term “Anvils” has carried me on the frames of many older and what some people would refer to as “antiquated” rides. Most have been air-cooled BMW’s, some of which have genuinely surprised riders, others reacting with phrases such as “There goes a garage sale looking for a place to crash”. There is an extremely satisfying feeling of using an outdated Engine as a basis to build a quick and sometimes surprisingly fast motorcycle. With that that explanation, please do not think me out of plumb for lusting after this particular bike, the 2007 Buell XBRR Production Race Motorcycle we have here at the shop.

This bike was originally owned by Harley Davidson of Fredricksburg on the east coast of the US. They raced it during 2007 and it was the #2 bike for their racer Brian Bemisderfer. In 2010 it was bought by it’s present owner who was going to race it in the lightweight Twins class in Utah and also running it in Sounds of Thunder which is a AHMRA class. While on the Dyno at Harley Davidson in SLC the crankshaft let go. It had not even been to the track. Two sets of crankshaft parts were obtained and sent to John Hoban of Darkhorse Crankworks who built and balanced a new crank. The motor was then sent to Latus Harley Davidson in Portland Oregon and they rebuilt the engine.

Since then the bike has set in an office on static display. It is fully race prepped and starts immediately and runs nicely. It has not been to the track. It is modified with: Burns race muffler, STM Slipper clutch, Brembo master cylinder and a Penske rear shock. It was fitted with a starter motor and lightweight lithium battery but also comes with the hand held remote starter. Included are e 3 or 4 different rear sprockets and a 1 tooth smaller front sprocket, a new primary chain and one or two cylinder head temperature sensors. Included also is all of the data acquisition tools and CD’s, receipts for parts and labor for recent work and some minor spares. The bike has never been registered, having been issued an MSO by Buell when sold new originally. The MSO will be supplied to the new owner or an Oregon title created, which ever is desired.

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Just 50 were planned, although 56 were rumored to have been produced. The XBRR was almost $31,000 when new, and the bike competed in AMA racing in the Formula Xtreme class. Its inclusion in that class was very controversial at the time, since it was intended for “production-based machines” and some of the other teams argued that the XBRR was anything but.

This example features a very desirable slipper-clutch, something the bike desperately needs that was not originally included. And the traditional Harley black-and-orange paint definitely looks better than the stock yellow!

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At $20,000 this could be a great way to go racing for a reasonable price, and although bodywork might be a bit hard to come by, tuning parts for the engine should be obtainable. Plus, how hilarious would it be, passing riders on a bike with a non-unit gearbox? Not to mention the noise! The noise!

-tad

Featured Listing: Ready to Race 2007 Buell XBRR
Sport Bikes For Sale October 4, 2014 posted by Tad Diemer

The Real Thing: 2010 Moriwaki MD600 Moto2 Race Bike for Sale

2010 Moriwaki Moto2 L Side

I normally don’t choose bikes from outside the continental US to post, but this Moriwaki MD600 is cool enough I thought I’d make an exception. The listing doesn’t include much information, but if you’re seriously considering dropping 40-large on this, you probably already know what you’re looking at.

2010 Moriwaki Moto2 Front Rear

For the tourists:

This is a genuine race bike, used in anger during the 2010 Moto2 season, sponsored by Holiday Gym and ridden by Yannick Guerra. A stepping-stone to the premier class of bikes, Moto2 replaced the two-stroke 250 GP class when the series went to four-stroke engines: riders in Moto2 are looking to prove themselves worthy of a shot at the big leagues.

2010 Moriwaki Moto2 Front Wheel

All Moto2 bikes use the exact same, box-stock 600cc four-cylinder Honda engines, with no internal modifications allowed. The goal is to keep costs down and allow the riders, not the machines to shine. What this means is that competition is extremely fierce: with power a non-issue, winning and losing is down to rider and chassis performance.

If you’ve never bothered to watch a Moto2 race, the first lap is absolute mayhem, with the entire grid fighting for the same few feet of real estate in the first couple of corners.

2010 Moriwaki Moto2 Dash

From the original eBay listing: 2010 Moriwaki MD600 for Sale

This Motorbike was for a Racing Team from the World Championship Motorbike of Moto2 (Holiday Gym) that leaves the competition for a few years.The bike sells because don´t need it more. The pilot was Yannick Guerra. For more information don´t hesitate to contact me, THANKS!
Comes with easels Moriwaki Titanium
We have many parts, tyres, brakes, wheels... Could be included on the price.
Also have an aluminiun Box to the bike transit.
If you are really interested could be a great deal.

I’m assuming “easels Moriwaki Titanium” means “titanium Moriwaki front and rear stands”. Which is nice. As you can see from the photos, the package also includes the MoTeC electronics package, digital dash, and suspension potentiometers, all bagged up and ready to install.

2010 Moriwaki Moto2 Parts

By race-bike standards, the MD600 is very conventional: an aluminum beam frame with top-shelf, race-spec Öhlins suspension at both ends. But as the saying goes: "if it ain't broke..."

If you’re a well-heeled track-day enthusiast, this might be your ticket to nirvana. Or if you’re a collector, looking for a modern race bike to add to your collection, this one looks very clean. Or maybe you’re building your own race or track monster, just looking for a killer collection of top-flight components? I wonder what those suspenders, and all that electronics gear would go for new…

-tad

2010 Moriwaki Moto2 L Tank

The Real Thing: 2010 Moriwaki MD600 Moto2 Race Bike for Sale
Yamaha September 30, 2014 posted by Tad Diemer

The Whippet: 1986 Yamaha SDR200 for Sale

1986 Yamaha SDR200 R Side Front

There’s an interesting ongoing discussion in the comments section on this site regarding exactly what qualifies as a “rare sport bike.” Bikes seem to fall into three general categories: exotics like Bimota or limited-edition Ducatis. Bikes that weren’t rare when new, but have become rare simply because good examples have become scarce through attrition, like the early GSX-R models.

But my favorite are the quirky, unusual bikes that are rarely seen outside of their home markets, or failed to find an audience when new. This Yamaha SDR200 definitely falls into that third category.

1986 Yamaha SDR200 L Rear

It’s not glamorous, or especially powerful. There are no bits of carbon bodywork, or titanium fasteners, or magnesium engine cases. It does feature a delicate, gorgeous trellis frame and swingarm combo that looks more “Maserati Birdcage” than “Ducati Monster.”

1986 Yamaha SDR200 R Side

With its three-quarters scale proportions, this bike would probably not be the best choice for many “American-sized” riders. But if you’re petite, or don’t care that you look a bit ridiculous as a big man on a little bike, this might be a perfect, unusual ride. It certainly isn’t tame: with 34bhp on tap from the two-stroke single that featured Yamaha’s YPVS power-valve system, 6 gears to play with, and only 230 pounds [dry] to push, this thing should be an absolute laugh-riot. With those skinny tires, at or near its 100mph top speed, I’m sure people you’ve passed would be convinced they’d just been blown off by a jet-powered bicycle!

1986 Yamaha SDR200 R Side Engine

From the original eBay listing: 1986 Yamaha SDR200 for Sale

This bike has 13,700km on the clock (8200 miles) but has about 500 miles on the complete restoration. I had this bike taken down to the bare frame (see pics), everything was gone through. I doubt you will ever find one like this again, it was a fun project and somewhat taxing at times finding parts but they do exist, there is a large cult following in Japan and a company that specifically specializes in SDR200s. This bike is currently registered and plated here in California good until February of 2015.

I will try to recall the best I can the mechanical here. The motor was taken apart and installed a new piston ring set and piston, base gasket, head gasket, fork seals, clutch basket, alternator gasket, oil pump gasket, water pump gasket, water pump seal, needle and seat for the carburetor, float bowl o-ring, airbox to carb boot, new triple clamp bearings, new wheel bearings, new steering bearings, new swing arm and linkage bearings, new air filter, new battery with trickle charger, and new chain. These items were replaced not because they had to be, but I wanted it new.

1986 Yamaha SDR200 Rear

It’s pretty easy to see why this thing earned the nickname “Whippet”, and tt strangely reminds me of the Sachs MadAss: there's something playful about it. The design is fully-realized and mature, even if the bike's raison d'être is hooliganism.

The seller is asking $6,200 which seems like a whole lot of cash for a quirky little two-stroke with no racing history, regardless of how much money he’s sunk into the restoration. On the other hand, if you are a fan of these, I’d imagine you won’t see another one this nice in the US anytime soon, and the price is fully one-tenth the price of a Ducati Panigale Superleggera, which makes it seem a bit like a bargain…

-tad

1986 Yamaha SDR200 R Front

The Whippet: 1986 Yamaha SDR200 for Sale