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Moto Guzzi February 20, 2017 posted by

Alternative Transport: 1983 Moto Guzzi LeMans III

In the world of big-bore bikes - man sized machines - Moto Guzzi has always stood out with a unique style of individualistic and rugged beauty. The oldest continually operational motorcycle manufacturer in Europe, Guzzi was formed in Italy in 1921 with the intent to build motorcycles after World War I. Comprised of the triumvirate of Giorgio Parodi (the money man), Giovanni Ravelli (the racer and promoter) and Carlo Guzzi (the guy who designed and built the bikes), Moto Guzzi began with a simple partnership agreement between the three. Sadly, Ravelli lost his life in a plane crash immediately following the end of the war, and would not take part in the venture. His spirit lives on, however, as the Guzzi logo incorporates wings meant to honor and commemorate the original, fallen partner.

1983 Moto Guzzi LeMans III for sale on eBay

The Le Mans series of machines drew from Moto Guzzi's great racing heritage and paid homage to the famous 24-hour race. These bikes were created during the De Tomaso era of Moto Guzzi (which lasted through the end of the 1990s). The first generation of 850 Le Mans bikes was introduced in 1976, utilizing the now familiar 90 degree V-twin that has been the Guzzi hallmark since the 1960s. Through the decades that were to follow, the Le Mans series was steadily updated, culminating in the 1000cc Le Mans Mark V in the 1990s. This bike, a Mk III edition, is the more spiritual successor to the original Le Mans model than the Mk II bike, which incorporated a larger fairing and other aerodynamic bits. Power from the longitudinally-mounted twin is modest (mid 70 HP range), but a flat torque curve aids the motoring experience. Novel features included shaft drive and an interlinked braking system whereby the rear brake pedal also activates one disk on the front.

From the seller:
Extremely nice 1983 Moto Guzzi LeMans III. 27,398 miles. Probably one of the nicest originals you'll find. Starts, runs, rides and stops exactly as it should. Fantastic example of the great bikes from this iconic Italian company. Prices for the LeMans I are out the roof, and the LeMans II have followed. Now the LeMans III has caught on and they are gaining in desirability and value daily. I have no real desire to sell this bike, but an opportunity has come along for which I could use the funds. That said, selling it is not a must so my reserve is firm. I love the bike and am aware of its value, both now and in the future, so have no problem keeping it if it doesn't meet the reserve. Bike needs nothing that I know of so is sold AS IS with no warranty. Clear title in hand.

When introduced, these Guzzi Le Mans models were every bit the performance bike as their Italian contemporaries from Ducati or Laverda. However the performance landscape was rapidly changing thanks to the Far East, and the likes of Guzzi would soon be overwhelmed by Japanese fours. The high-speed, gentlemanly cruiser fell to the crushing blow of high-RPM horsepower, stoplight drags and technical revolutions in GP racing. Today, Moto Guzzi still exists and produces motorcycles... but these are often viewed more as nostalgic novelties than outright competitors in the crowded motorcycle marketplace.

Based on the included description, this seller will be holding out for top dollar on this bike. The asking price of older Guzzis (think V7s and the like) are most definitely on the rise. We have seen a slight dip in the ascension of value lately, but there is no doubt that when it comes to the Le Mans model Gen I (often mistakenly referred to as Mark I) bikes command the highest prices. From there, it is much more the preference of the buyer that determines the value. Mark III machines with the bikini fairing and long, flat seat have the same theme as the original Le Mans, along with a host of upgrades - making them an excellent choice as a riding collector piece. I would expect values to continue to rise. This one is up just over $5k with reserve in place. Check it out here to watch the bidding, and then jump back to our Comments section and share your thoughts. Which generation of these magnificent machines is your favorite?

MI


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Ducati February 19, 2017 posted by

Ride it like Mike: 1980 Ducati 900 MHR

The history of Ducati racing is long and storied. And while many riders have tasted success on the booming twins from Bologna, perhaps none have matched the exploits of Mike "The Bike" Hailwood. In honor of their legendary rider and his comeback success in the 1978 TT (Tourist Trophy), Ducati created the 900 MHR (Mike Hailwood replica) in 1979 - and continued the model through the mid 1980s. Meant to replicate the racer, the 900 MHR edition had everything it needed to go fast, and nothing else. As a prime example of weight savings, Ducati omitted the electric starter and went with the lighter, old-school method of kick starting. Given the TT background, the occasional bump start would likely also be OK.

1980 Ducati 900 MHR for sale on eBay

The MHR series of bikes was the last major evolution of the bevel drive desmo twin before the introduction of the "rubber band" Pantah. It exudes all of the wonderful charismatic noises and idiosyncrasies of these early Ducatis, while offering up a rare and unique ownership experience. These bikes are not exactly plentiful as far as this era of Ducati goes, as Ducati were simply not moving many bikes period. Nor are they particularly powerful; Ducati rated the L-twin desmo at a mere 72 horsepower back in 1980. That is not a lot by today's standards, nor was it a lot by the Japanese four-cylinder standards of the early 1980s. What the Ducati did have to offer was torque - significant amounts of lower RPM grunt, fed through a dry clutch and 5-speed gearbox. Easier to ride fast through changing conditions than the hyper-strung Japanese multis, it's no wonder that Ducati dominated the TT (Mike Hailwood might have had something to do with that as well).

From the seller:
Ducati 900 SS MHR original 13700 KM (8600mile).
Motorcycle not Mint condition, Very good Running !.
Has crack original screen.
chips and scratch on original paint.
some surface rust.
Brake good working.
Electric works,
Please see more picture for detail.
Kick only Model.
Very rare to find Vintage Bevel Desmo Twin.

The seller has offered some good pictures on this bike, but not too much by way of information. One little bit of info that is definitely missing is the whereabouts of the factory lowers and side panels. The MHR model came with a full envelope of fiberglass, yet this bike is only listed with the upper fairing and windscreen. I do not believe the original lowers are still available from the factory, meaning that 3rd party lowers would need to be sourced to truly complete the bike. Otherwise, this Southern California-based machine looks to be in pretty good condition for a 37 year old import.

We have seen Ducati prices fluctuate wildly over the years on RSBFS. This bike has been bid to up over $13,000 USD and it looks like it will sell. It would be well-bought at the current figure, but I would expect it to go up as we get closer to the close of auction. We have seen these models listed for double this amount in years past - albeit in more complete condition. Fun Fact: These Mike Hailwood Replica machines are not exactly the Holy Grail of rarity when it comes to Ducatis; and estimated 7,000 MHRs were built between 1979 and 1986, making the MHR model the the most numerous of all the bevel-drive twin models made. Still, owning a Ducati from this period does place you in an exclusive group. It is a fantastic looking machine, and likely to fare well in the future. And it is eminently enjoyable today as something you can ride. What more can you ask for? Check it out here, and let us know what you think!

MI


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Aprilia February 19, 2017 posted by

Red and What ? – 2007 Aprilia RSV 1000 Bol D’or

Before returning to the MotoGP top class in 2012, Aprilia tested in the World Endurance Championship with their RSV Mille and 1000 models.  This commemorative is of their efforts at the legendary Bol D'or 24 Hours, held each September in France.  The limited edition color scheme is matched to a quick handling, 143-horse V-twin.

2007 Aprilia RSV 1000 Bol D'Or for sale on eBay

  

Based on the narrow-V Rotax 998 cc, the RSV 1000 has been at the gym and dieting since the Mille days, with superbike power and weight around 450 lbs ready to ride.  The formed and welded twin-spar frame is matched by the fabricated swingarm.  Premium components from Öhlins,  Sachs, and Brembo set the stage, with adjustable steering damper and pneumatic slipper clutch to complete the running gear.  Sculpted tank and full fairing artfully protect the rider.

  

Super clean for its nearly 22,000 miles, this RSV 1000 has a tempting buy-it-now.  The Dallas dealer took plenty of pictures, taking pains to show every bump and scrape, and says this in the eBay auction:

YOU ARE LOOKING AT A 2007 APRILIA RSV 1000 R WITH 21,604 MILES ON IT.  THE BIKE HAS A BOL D'OR PAINT SET AND POWERED BY A 998CC FUEL INJECTED ENGINE AND 6 SPEED TRANSMISSION.  THE BIKE COMES WITH 2 KEYS.  

THE BIKE HAS SMALL SCRATCHES ON THE FRONT FAIRING AND REAR FENDER.  THE CHROME AND ALUMINUM HAVE A MINOR IMPRESSION ON THE EXHAUST, SMALL SCRATCHES ON THE WHEELS, AND SMALL CRACK IN THE HEADLIGHT.  THE TIRES HAVE GOOD TREAD LEFT ON THEM.

  

Amazingly, the Bol D'Or was started in 1922 with a single rider receiving the golden bowl until 1953, then a team of two until 1977, and now requiring three riders.  Aprilia has come a similar route, relying on just two cylinders when most endurance racers want four.  Though an FIM title was not in the cards, the lessons learned have served them well in MotoGP.  Trade-offs made in endurance racing also transfer well to the road, and most riders will be challenged to find the RSV's limits.  Flying the race livery of their semi-privateer endurance racing team, this distinctive Aprilia superbike could be a flashy sleeper, and a nice bargain...

-donn

 


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Suzuki February 18, 2017 posted by

Unloved Kat: 1997 Suzuki Katana 750 with 1,300 miles

If we were to ask RSBFS readers what 750cc sportbike of the 1990's they would most like to own now, I would bet most would choose a Suzuki GSX-750R Limited Edition or maybe a Yamaha OW01 or perhaps a Kawasaki ZX7R/ ZX7RR.  A few intrepid souls might throw a Honda VFR750 or Ducati 748 into the mix but would anyone have the Suzuki Katana 750 on their list?

1997 Suzuki Katana 750 with 1300 miles

The 2nd generation Katana 750 (also known as the GSX-S) was produced at a time when Suzuki couldn't seem to figure out where to focus its efforts.  Suzuki's lineup included race oriented machines such as the 4 cylinder powered GSX-750R and a new V-Twin powered TL1000 series.  These were offered along with several more two other street-oriented models; the Katana 750 and the "dramatically styled!" RF900.  And to make matters more complex, new models such as the GSX-600R, TL1000R, RF600R and Katana 600 were already in the pipeline and would be introduced within the next year.  This wide variety of offerings was great for potential buyers who could find a bike exactly suited for their particular needs and price range but it also meant intense competition for development and marketing monies.  The result was the Katana lineup (and to a large extent, the RF lineup too) didn't received the attention/development monies to keep up with the competition and regularly came in last in model comparisons.

Even though it never got much development support from the Hamamatsu home office, the 2nd generation Katana wasn't a bad bike.  Based on the same long-stroke 750 engine as the GSX-R750 but tuned to focus more on lower and mid-range torque delivery than top speed, the Katana was perfectly adept as a street oriented sportbike with light touring aspirations.  While the competition were all moving towards pressed aluminum featherweight frames and fuel injection, the Katana frame was still steel and 36mm carbs were used to preserve low and mid-range torque while not sacrificing too much top end, and suspension/forks were standard for the time 41mm.  Styling was contemporary for the period and build quality was good (although not a match of Honda of the period).

Its important to note the Katana did have one "ace" over the competition; price.  The wide lineup meant all the major components were already available to Suzuki.  The result was that while many other 750 sport bikes were bumping the $8,000 USD price barrier, the Katana 750 was offered for barely over $7000.

Overall the 750cc Katana sold well but not spectacularly.  A revision in 1998 (the year after this bike)  with updated bodywork and improved mechanicals did help make the Katana a bit more popular but it seems like the entire model line was never a priority for Suzuki.   The 2nd gen Katana/GSX-S seems to fall into the same category as the Kawasaki ZX6/ZZR600 or maybe the Yamaha FZR's of the same period; a sportbike not really intended for track use, bikes with a focus more on price/value than pure performance.

This particular Katana 750cc has obviously been parked for quite a while and the seller freely admits it will need servicing.  Pictures are limited but everyone looks to be OEM and intact.  Mileage is only 1300 miles since new so its really not even been broken in.

Here is what the seller has to say

  • Only 1,300 miles.
  • Has been stored since 2004.
  • Has a small dent in the gas tank where I dropped my helmet on it and a broken mirror.
  • There are a couple minor scratches. Otherwise in excellent condition.
  • Will need a new battery.

Overall it seems like it was a bike that was bought, ridden for maybe a season or two and then tucked away with "I'll get back into riding next year".  Obviously any new owner would need to plan for fresh fluids and rubber as well as a possible shock rebuild and maybe front fork fluids being done.  Also the seller indicates some pending registration fees in California so this one might be best suited to someone intending to take it out of state?

Okay so now the question - why should you consider this 750cc Katana? Given its lack of breakthrough technology and historical reputation against the competition of the time it seems highly unlikely that it will appreciate much in value.  I only found one other post on RSBFS for a 2nd generation Katana and that was back in 2011 for a 1990 edition so the market value of this one can't really be known.

Essentially this is a 20 years old bike that was never broken in.   Yes it needs a full refresh  so it will take some monies to enjoy it but the stupid low price of $1200 USD and ultra low mileage makes me think you really can't go wrong on this one - its probably worth that price in parts alone given Suzuki's interchangeable component philosophy of the times.  This really seems like a good opportunity for someone to pick up a 750cc sportbike that can easily be brought back into daily use, especially if they are looking for a daily driver with some light touring capabilities.

-Marty/Dallaslavowner


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Suzuki February 18, 2017 posted by

Game-Changer: 1977 Suzuki RG500 Grand Prix Race Bike for Sale

Update 2.17.2017: Last posted in August of last year, this bike reached $34,101 reserve not met. Back on eBay and closes on Sunday. Links updated. -dc

1977 Suzuki RG500 Race Bike R Side

Prior to the RG500, two-strokes were found only in the smaller racing classes, and Suzuki was breaking new ground with this bike: no one had ever really built a two-stroke to challenge bikes in the premier class. Launched in 1974, Suzuki’s RG500 racing machine was impressively successful: with a Manufacturer's Title in 1976, the bike dominated Grand Prix racing for the next decade. That success drove the move to two-strokes for any manufacturer who wanted to remain relevant in Grand Prix racing, and two-strokes were the only game in town until rules changes for the 2002 season made four-strokes competitive again.

1977 Suzuki RG500 Race Bike L Side Tank

Power was no problem for the new, liquid-cooled engine, and the same lessons learned racing smaller bikes were scaled up for the square-four. But while four-strokes generally deliver their power in a smooth, progressive manner, two-strokes are notoriously on/off devices: a stumbling mess when “off the pipe” with an abrupt powerband like a jagged, lethal spike, characteristics only exacerbated by the dramatic displacement increase: early bikes ate chains, tires, and other consumables at an alarming rate, although development eventually cured these problems.

1977 Suzuki RG500 Race Bike R Side Engine

Early motors produced 110hp and used front and rear banks of cylinders that were the same height, but the later bikes saw the front bank a bit lower than the rear for the “stepped” motor that gave 124 hp for the 238lb machine. This 1977 machine is probably of the earlier type, although it's hard to tell for sure with the fairings in place. Either way, this is a very light, very fast motorcycle. And that's really always been the appeal of the two-stroke: simplicity, extreme light weight, and massive power for a given displacement.

1977 Suzuki RG500 Race Bike Dash

With the introduction of the new Suter MMX500, two-strokes have been heavily featured in the motorcycle press recently, and it's been interesting to read how many mechanics and riders loved preferred them to four-stroke machines: riders loved them for their light weight and challenging nature, mechanics for their simplicity and tunability.

From the original eBay listing: 1977 Suzuki RG500 Race Bike for Sale

Suzuki RG500 GP MK2 ex-Newbold, model year 1977, VIN 110077

An ICONIC RG500 version 1977 in the best paintwork scheme ever. It is an ex-John Newbold bike with all the correct standard original bits plus some works parts (tank etc). The bike was campaigned by Newbold in the Shell Sport 500 TT races beetween 1979/1981 and North West 200. It was completely restored by John Mossey who bought it in 1995 from a gentleman in Cardiff and sold then in 1997. It was just kept as showbike in collection since.

1977 Suzuki RG500 Race Bike Throttle

Bidding on the last couple of RG500 race bikes got up to between $26,000 and $44,000 although those were later bikes, and an individual bike's race history can make a huge difference in terms of value. Bidding for this one is up north of $22,000 with plenty of interest, but very little time left on the listing. Sitting in a collection means it's in amazing physical condition, although it will probably need extensive work if you plan to use it in anger...

-tad

1977 Suzuki RG500 Race Bike L Side


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