Posts by Category: Honda

Honda June 25, 2017 posted by

Ride or Restore: 1993 Honda NSR250R SP MC21 for Sale

Some motorcycle enthusiasts are looking for a perfect, time-capsule example of their favorite bikes. Me? I'm glad perfect examples are out there for collectors, but I want something I can ride and enjoy without being worried that a tip-over or low-side or just a few extra miles on the odometer will destroy the value of some pristine collectible. Today's Honda NSR250R SP is a little rough around the edges, with some scratches and scuffs, but it seems like an honest bike, and very solid mechanically.

The NSR250 featured Honda's familiar 90° liquid-cooled 249cc v-twin with a six-speed "cassette" gearbox that allowed owners [or pit crews] to rapidly swap out gearsets to suit different race tracks. Obviously not all that useful on a road bike, but still pretty slick. The NSR may have sucked fuel through a set of carburetors, but it used a very sophisticated PGM-III system that controlled the bike's ignition based on throttle-position, revs, and gear selection.

This particular NSR250R is the desirable MC21 version of Honda's agile two-stroke, as indicated by the asymmetrical "gull-arm" aluminum swing arm that curves on the left-hand side to clear the exhaust's expansion chambers to maximize cornering clearance. The swingarm looks very trick, but helps make the MC21 a little bit heavier than the MC18 that preceded it. Dry weight is still under 300lbs, so even the bike's artificially-limited 45hp will move the bike out smartly, although I'd definitely check with the seller to see if the bike has been de-restricted, as anyone outside Japan will want the bike's full-power available.

From the original eBay listing: 1993 Honda NSR250R SP MC21 for Sale

20,441 Miles (32,898 Kilometers) This is a Very Rare only 900 made Last Model MC21 SP. Mostly original and unrestored.  Perfect opportunity for a budget minded MC21 SP for restoration. All fluids are fresh.  Shifts and revs to redline perfectly.  Starts effortlessly every time. OEM Fairings have hairline scratches and cracks. upper fairing has a broken section near the mirrors and the lower fairing has a section cut out near the expansion chambers along with a couple dents on the fuel tank near the stay, included close up pictures featuring defects. The Red on the tail fairing doesn’t match each other exactly also. No respray or rattle can. Red Magtek wheels are in excellent condition. Otherwise straight from the factory.  Bike has Vin Matching State of Ohio Title as a 1992 model MC21-1070*** “Buyer is responsible for their own State Requirements.”  Imported into the States through all legal channels. EPA and Declaration papers provided.

Bidding is up to $6,500 with about 24 hours left on the auction. If it stays in that neighborhood, it's on the low side for an MC21, but that's in keeping with the less-than-perfect condition. This example is obviously not perfect as described by the seller, but is claimed to be mechanically in good working order. If you're buying one of these and worried about sourcing parts, that may be a weight lifted. Even if you end up on a quest for a perfect set of original bodywork, you can at least ride your machine in the meantime, and this looks like it'd be pretty nice from ten feet, certainly a good place to begin for a restoration. Personally, I'm okay with replacement bodywork, as long as the frame and everything else are clean and straight. Get a decent set of Rothmans replica bodywork from the internet, spend the weekend fitting it, and then ride your little smoker with no fear of destroying a priceless, pristine collectible.

-tad

Ride or Restore: 1993 Honda NSR250R SP MC21 for Sale
Honda June 16, 2017 posted by

Tariff Buster: 1984 Honda Nighthawk S

The 1980s were a crazy-good time for motorcycling. Every major manufacturer was exploring the boundaries of what was possible. Everyone was in search of the silver bullet for performance; be it at the racetrack or the showroom. This was a heady era for Honda, as they pumped out new motorcycle variants seemingly every year. From two strokes to turbos, singles to six-bangers, Honda tried nearly everything. One of the surprising successes during this time was the Nighthawk S. Intended as a sporty commuter (comfortable, reliable, low maintenance), the Nighthawk S impressed with it's power and handling prowess. Today, the Nighthawk S remains a beloved, bygone model.

1984 Honda Nighthawk S with 2,500 miles!

Between 1984 and 1986, the American motorcycle scene was a mess. Harley-Davidson, the only remaining American manufacturer at the time, was flirting with bankruptcy like it was a super model. Using patriotism as their platform, H-D convinced Congress (and then President, Ronald Reagan) to increase the tariff on imported motorcycles greater than 700cc. This 10x tariff increase ensured H-D - who only produced bikes above the 700cc threshold - could be price competitive. Enter the Nighthawk S: Originally designed as a 750, the Nighthawk's 700cc air-cooled, inline four cylinder featured 4-valves per pot and hydraulic valve lifters - a nod to reducing the maintenance interval. With a willing motor, a solid chassis, 16" GP-inspired front wheel, comfortable seating position with bikini fairing and shaft drive, the CB700SC (as it was formally known) became the do-it-all hot rod - equally home in the canyons as it was for commuting.

From the seller:
HONDA'S all-new "HOT-ROD", the title given in 1984 by the trade magazines and publications. The Honda CB700SC was produced specifically for the US market. It was during this period steep tariffs were levied by the US International Trade Commission on motorcycles with engines larger than 700cc, With this tariff Honda provided an America-style, shaft-drive sport-custom that honored another American custom, a hot-rodding machine. Take a look at the specifications provided by a Cycle Guide Magazine of February 1984, you will see then why it was Honda's Hot-Rod.

If you are a serious buyer looking for an exceptional-almost new condition, original no aftermarket modifications, with possibly the lowest mileage NIGHTHAWK S of less than 2500 miles, for sale by original owner, well then this is your bike.

Performs and runs like new, seeing is believing! Note: Original magazines as show in photos will be provided to buyer.

Although produced for only a handful of years, the Nighthawk S is not rare from a "limited edition" marketing perspective. In fact, it sold rather well during its years of availability; American riders loved the combo of sport and reliability (the opposite of what Harley was offering) and they voted with their wallets. However like many UJM machines, finding a loved and cared-for one some 33 years later is nearly impossible. These Hondas are as reliable as your average chunk of cement - and are about as prone to leaking (again, the opposite of H-D hardware from the time). They are also pretty economical as far as older bikes go, making them excellent "buy and hold" motorcycles.

The verdict is still out in terms of whether or not the NightHawk S will ever be a collector bike - but like all UJMs, anything 30+ years old with low mileage and this clean will always have a market. This auction starts at $4,999 with a reserve in place. The Buy It Now option is available for one buck shy of $7,500. That is a good bit more than the sub-$4k that this model went for new, but good luck finding another 2,500 mile example in this sort of condition. Check it out here, and then share your thoughts and experiences with the NightHawk S in our Comments section. Good luck!!

MI

Tariff Buster: 1984 Honda Nighthawk S
Honda June 13, 2017 posted by

Big Bike Spec in a Small Package: 1990 Honda CB-1 for Sale

Performance motorcycles have gotten so powerful and fast that they're only even rideable by normal humans because of sophisticated electronics. If 99% of riders need traction-control just to keep their 190hp superbike on the road, couldn't it be argued that they're too powerful? ABS and all the other safety systems are amazing, but should be there just in case the rider gets it wrong, not to keep the rampant power under control. Are riders of these bikes actually having more fun? Maybe, but doesn't something like today's Honda CB-1 make much more sense for most riders?

Plus, if you do get dusted on a canyon road, you can always blame the machinery: "Hey look, this is a 400cc motorcycle! What do you expect?" If you're on a new BMW S1000RR, you really have no excuse for being slow, other than self-control and sanity. The 1990 Honda CB1 doesn't have that same problem, however, with good handling and modest power. The displacement screams "learner bike" but the specifications argue otherwise:

399cc liquid-cooled inline four, sixteen valves actuated by gear-driven overhead cams. Six speed gearbox. The combo was slightly detuned from the CBR400 for street duty, but it put out a respectable 55hp and could push the machine to 118mph, certainly plenty for the street and even a bit of freeway cruising. It lacked the CBR400's twin-disc brakes up front and uses a steel unit instead of the CBR's aluminum beam frame, but the engine is still used as a stressed member, increasing rigidity and keeping weight reasonably low.

From the original eBay listing: 1990 Honda CB-1 for Sale

Overseas they have a tiered licensing system.  50cc, 125cc, 250cc, 400cc, 750cc, and above.  Most young men cannot afford above 400cc, so the 400cc market is full of hot rod bikes.  This is one such bike.  Water cooled DOHC 4 valves per cylinder, direct gear actuation of the cams, no cam chain, six speed transmission, red line at 13,500 rpm, power kicks in at 9000.  Top speed is over 100 mph.  The effect of the photography makes the paint look like it is robin's egg blue, but it doe not look like that in person.  The blue paint is a nice metallic finish.  Accessory windshield is quickly removable.  Heated grips have been added.  Accessory adjustable handlebars also.  All stock otherwise.  Very clean, except for some pollen on the gauges in the photo.  Was my wife's bike but she does not ride it enough to justify keeping it.

There are no takers yet at the $1,900 starting bid and there are just over 24 hours left on the auction. It looks like it's in good shape, although that windscreen needs to go. Like the Hawk 650GT, the CB-1 has developed quite a cult following and with very good reason: unlike the CBR400, the CB-1 was officially imported, but few were sold and they're hard to find now, although they still don't sell for all that much.  It's the Goldilocks of motorcycles: not too big, not too small. And the price is just right.

-tad

Big Bike Spec in a Small Package: 1990 Honda CB-1 for Sale
Honda June 10, 2017 posted by

On the fence: 1990 Honda NSR250R SE

In the hardcore world of RSBFS, two strokes rule and four strokes drool (oil). The simple reason is power to weight: Take this 1990 NSR250R as an example: a 250cc v-twin producing approximately 45 HP in Japanese restricted configuration, has only only 290 lbs of bike to move. Similar four strokes have 10-15 less HP (even without home market restrictions) and are heavier by at least the same amount. An unrestricted 250cc smoker is a 60+ HP machine, tilting the numbers even more in favor of the two stroke. When it comes to ultimate performance, it is very hard to beat the sounds, smells and snot of a popcorn popper.

1990 Honda NSR250R SE MC21 for sale on eBay

The MC21 edition of the NSR was a considerable step forward for the NSR line. Featuring a 90° liquid-cooled 249cc v-twin with a trick, six-speed cassette gearbox (making ratio changes possible without pulling the motor and gearbox), asymmetrical "gull-arm" swingarm for maximum cornering clearance (tucks the right side pipe up in tighter) and adjustable suspension, the MC21 is a proper sporting motorcycle. The dry clutch with its "race rattle" is another nod to the intentions of this NSR. An estimated 16,000 were produced for Japanese home markets and as exports to the Pacific Rim and Europe, but sadly America was never a recipient.

From the seller:
1990 HONDA NSR250R SE MC21 DRY CLUTCH
The bike is imported from Japan.
Not registered yet in the U.S.
This bike is sold without title. (NO TITLE)
We don't know how to get a titile. Please ask DMV
Start engine.
Aftermarket Cowl but Tank is original.
Not original color
Race Foot pegs.
Some scratches So look carefully all pictures and video.
Turn signals don't work.
This motorcycle is 27years ago .Sold as is.
24150km (15006mile)
Engine Number MC16E-1222422
Sold as is with NO warranty NO refunds NO return.

This is one of those listings that gives a RSBFS staff writer pause for thought. One one hand, this is a freaking MC21 edition of Honda's acclaimed NSR250 series. The fact that it is an import, reasonably rare in the US, a two stroke and undoubtedly a sport bike ticks most of the right boxes on our checklist. On the other hand, the lack of seller knowledge with regards to title (i.e. it currently sits in CA where you cannot get one for this bike) and the overall condition (i.e. not stock, less than pristine with unknown history) make for a bike to avoid posting. In the end the candor from the seller and the rattle of the dry clutch in the video won me over. It may not be perfect, but throw in some elbow grease and you may have a winner (provided you don't live in CA).

Which brings us to the bottom line: the opening ask for this auction is a fairly unrealistic $4,200. I think that the initial bid is high enough to scare most bidders away, even though it may be in the pricing ballpark. While the bike is rare, there are certainly other NSRs available. A really good MC21 can fetch $7,500 - $9,000 (just check out some of our past Featured Listings), but I think this one will end up in more conservative territory. Check it out here, and then be sure and jump to the Comments section to share your thoughts. Does this bike belong on RSBFS, or should Mike be lashed with a wet noodle soaked in castor oil for the post? Good Luck!!

MI

On the fence: 1990 Honda NSR250R SE
Honda June 8, 2017 posted by

Super Low-Mileage Super Hawk: 1998 Honda VTR1000F For Sale

In the mid-1990s when Ducati was dominating World Superbike racing and the all-important bedroom-wall-fantasy-poster competition, it seemed like everybody wanted to get into the v-twin market and "beat Ducati at its own game." It shouldn't have been that hard, right? I mean, Ducati made fast bikes, but part of why they were so successful in WSB could be dismissed as them simply exploiting rules that gave an advantage to v-twin motorcycles: obviously, 750cc twins can't compete directly with 750cc inline fours in terms of outright power, and the rules allowed a displacement advantage to keep racing relatively equal. But it wasn't as easy as all that, and the short-lived competitors to the Bolognese twins like the Suzuki TL1000R/S and Honda VTR1000F Super Hawk are proof of that.

On paper, it looked like a recipe for success: the Super Hawk was powered by a 996cc 90° v-twin that featured liquid-cooling and four valves per cylinder, so it really was closer in spec to Ducati's 916 but priced closer to their air-cooled 900SS. The half-fairing resembled the Super Sport as well, although the slick side-mounted radiators made it clear this was an altogether more sophisticated machine and of course it used an aluminum beam frame instead of Ducati's signature trellis.

But the problem was a distinct lack of focus: where the 916 was an uncompromising racing machine barely tamed for the road, the VT1000F was much more road-biased. Back when these were new, before Honda introduced the much more aggressive SP1 and SP2, folks did try to take the Super Hawk racing, but it was never really designed for that. The frame was designed to allow controlled flex for better roadholding while cranked over, but it was a bit too limp for racetrack use without significant modification.

Of course, the fact that the Honda Super Hawk wasn't a big sales success doesn't in any way mean it was a bad bike. In fact it was a pretty great bike, aside from the bland styling and stupidly small fuel tank that combined with mediocre mileage to limit range. Fit a set of aftermarket exhausts or run it dead stock, strap a jerrycan to the passenger seat, and just ride the wheels off it! Of course, the big selling point of today's machine is the incredible time-capsule condition, sporting a showroom-new 355 original miles, so this is either a great opportunity for a collector, or for someone who regrets not buying one new and wants to rectify that error now...

From the original eBay listing: 1998 Honda VTR1000F Super Hawk for Sale

Here is your chance to buy a new bike at a used bike price. I have for auction a 1998 Honda VTR1000F Super hawk, with only 355 total miles! Bike was ridden by the original owner for just a few hundred miles, then stored in his living room. Bike is in excellent condition, with only a few minor scratches (as pictured). New battery, with carbs and tank inspected and it runs great.

Part of the appeal of the Super Hawk is the famed Honda reliability and the Honda practicality, so it's a shame about that tiny tank, but considering the low prices these have been commanding for years, you're still looking at a lot of bike for the money. You might not get Ducati looks, but you get throaty v-twin sounds, excellent road-biased handling, decent comfort, and good reliability. This is a no reserve auction and bidding is pretty low so far, but active and creeping steadily upwards so I'll be curious to see where the bidding stops.

-tad

Super Low-Mileage Super Hawk: 1998 Honda VTR1000F For Sale
Honda June 7, 2017 posted by

Featured Listing: 1991 Honda VFR400R

Designed for racing, the Honda VFR400R was - in may ways - like its homologation big brother the RC30. Except in size. Based around the same format as the RC30, the NC30 brought all the goodness of the 750cc class scaled down to a mere 400cc. The smaller package included the same go-fast plan as the RC30 including the screaming V-4 motor with gear-driven cams, 6-speed close-ratio gearbox, the unique single-sided swingarm to facilitate tire changes and the dual-headlight racing bodywork that bore a strong Honda family resemblance (graphics included). All in all, the NC30 was the epitome of "smaller is better." With less mass and a lower center of gravity, the NC30 is a handling dream.

Here in the US, the problem with the 400cc class in general was rider expectation. Americans thrived on cubic inches, where there is no substitution for displacement. The middleweight class had grown from 500cc to 550cc and up to 600cc. Smaller bikes were just not interesting to American riders. With a tremendous supply of 600cc bikes, and easy access to liter machines the 400cc and below classes were considered fringe beginner bikes, and largely ignored. Pricing did not help, as the 400cc bikes were not significantly cheaper than the 600s. History tells us that this is a shame, given the interest these smaller bike draw today. Thankfully, with licensing regulations limiting smaller machines in other countries (especially Japan), the 400cc class thrived - which is why we can bring you this VFR400R Featured Listing.

From the seller:
1991 Honda VFR400R NC30
Small version of VFR750R RC30.
RVF replica.
Almost every year, Honda gave progress to VFR.
1987 Start selling VFR400R NC24.
in 1989 VFR became NC30 and has center nut for rear wheel.
30mm shorter wheelbase, skinny spark plugs, 17" front wheel.
Cross ratio transmission.
in 1990 adjustable rear suspension with reserve tank.
I bought this one because I couldn't afford when they were sold new.
Now I'm going to buy another 2stroke, so this one has to go.
Very light weight 164Kg=360lb

This bike is located in Torrance, California.
Price: $5,500
Contact:
motohikoo@gmail.com

This year has offered us a bumper crop of 400cc imported machinery. This is wonderful news as we engage in longer, warmer days, summertime riding and track days. Summer requires a special machine to enjoy, and there are few more enjoyable bikes on the planet than a VFR400R. Packed full of Honda technological goodness, reasonable performance (expect 59 HP or so), exceptional handling and a never-available-in-the-US type of rarity that many riders crave, this NC30 could be your ticket.

This 1991 Honda VFR400R NC30 is available in Torrance, CA. It is an import from Japan that now lives stateside, and inquiries should be directed to the seller at motohikoo@gmail.com. This is a bike that you can collect AND ride, so don't miss out on some riding fun this summer. Grab yourself some import exotica and hoon away!

Featured Listing:  1991 Honda VFR400R