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MV Agusta April 14, 2018 posted by

Evolution: 2002 MV Agusta F4 750 SPR for Sale

The MV Agusta F4 750 is so often referred to as "one of the most beautiful motorcycles ever created" that it's easy to forget it's actually a pretty good motorcycle as well. Sure, it's brutally uncomfortable and a little bit heavier than the competition, but the engineering is sound and it's an impressively refined piece, considering this was the company's first modern superbike, built from the ground up to compete against the very best sportbikes in the world. It fell a bit short of the mark, but not so far short you could consider it an actual failure, considering the bike's longevity.

The orignal F4 750 was introduced in 1999 and the later 1000cc version that followed in 2005 was basically the 750 with more displacement and some refinements, and every four-cylinder machine produced by the company was based on the same engine and frame, up until the complete redesign of the F4 for 2010. So you're looking at a pretty long-serving package, considering the normally rapid pace of sportbike development, and that second generation F4 introduced in 2010 is still used as the foundation for a mid-pack WSBK contender!

So what was wrong with the F4? Well basically, in a class where power-to-weight ratios are critical, the bike had just average power and about 50lbs too much weight. In any other motorcycle category, that would be pretty meaningless, but in the hyper-competitive sportbike world, it meant everything, especially when you consider the somewhat shocking cost of the F4. Ultimately, the F4 was just a step behind the leaders in a class that was now obsolete, as literbikes were suddenly the top dogs of the sportbike world. MV Agusta solved the power problems with their updated F4 1000 but the damage to their rep was done, and the bikes never really offered any performance advantage over a ZX-10 or GSX-R1000, with less reliability and a whole lot more cost.

The seller claims this is an SPR, but I was under the impression the SPR was introduced in 2004, the ultimate evolution of the F4 750 and is most commonly seen in flat black colors. Whether or not this is an SPR or an S, it's a later version of the bike and should be more refined and reliable than the first-generation examples. The included Power Commander is a nice touch: fueling on stock F4s is pretty terrible from the factory, lean through most of the rev range and then artificially rich at the top. It's especially noticeable on the 1000 but both versions benefit hugely in terms of usability from a fueling module and some dyno time. I've ridden a stock 1000 and a properly tuned example nearly back-to-back, and the difference is pronounced. The stock bike seems to almost bog when you whack the throttle open in the midrange, where as the tuned version pulls as you'd expect: like a freight train.

From the original eBay listing: 2002 MV Agusta F4 750 SPR for Sale

Need garage space, so newer bikes must go! This 2002 MV F4 SPR was one of two California-legal MVs, purchased from Grand Prix Motors, San Diego. Original owner was importer for MV Agusta in 1970s, Commerce Overseas Corporation. Designer of the MV750S America: pictured in the foreground with this F4. The bike comes with a ton of MV Agusta history accumulated by Commerce Overseas, including racing photos from MV glory days! With only 8,000 miles, this F4 SPR is in "as-new" condition. Equipped with rare MV factory racing exhaust, bike is tuned with a Power Commander. New tires, recent service. Stunning example of the F4 that was produced in SPR form after initial hiccups with early models.

The bike has 8,250 miles on it and there are no takers yet at the $10,000 starting bid. For the most part, it's pretty commonly accepted that the later 1000 is a better bike overall and that the 750 is underpowered and slightly overweight. It is the original though, and rarer, and should prove to be the better investment over time. Plus, an MV is still an MV, and none of them are actually slow. Try to think of them more as... mature, with just a little bit of middle-aged paunch over an athlete's build. Put it this way: if you're riding an F4 and someone is faster than you are on track or down a given stretch of back road, the problem probably isn't the extra 50lbs the F4 carries over a GSX-R... The problem is probably you.

-tad


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Honda April 13, 2018 posted by

Featured Listing – 1969 Honda CB750

Even legends take a few baby steps - Honda’s landscape-changing big four was originally manufactured on low-production tooling, known as “sand-cast”.  The smooth 67 hp model sold over 50,000 units the first year, and went on to around 400,000 sales, a lifetime achievement for any other manufacturer.  This early production CB has had a white-glove  restoration using period correct parts and techniques.

1969 Honda CB750 for sale on eBay

Known as the original superbike, the big CB750 was designed with some simplicity in mind.  Low-friction plain bearings are used throughout the engine, and the cylinders are undersquare with a longer stroke than bore, partly in order to limit crankcase width.  The cam chain and intermediate drive share the middle of the one-piece crankshaft for strength.  The switch to disk brakes had just begun but Honda cast theirs in rust-resistant stainless to ensure the clean look stayed nice.  The twin tube steel frame might’ve been the most traditional and not-over-engineered part of the package.  Early on a kickstarter was included though electric start was standard.

Subject of a three-year restoration completed in 2014, this CB was built with NOS parts for the engine and cosmetics.  An NOS wiring harness and exhaust system were sourced for the build, as few survive at their age.  A crucial un-restored tank was found in Candy Blue Green, though it post-dates the sand-cast era.  With the pebble-surfaced cases that "sand cast" refers to, the engine was rebuilt by Honda specialist Mark McGrew in Minnesota.  The complete package is easy on the eyes, the chrome rear fender echoing the front, and the quartet of headers making their way down and back.  Looking head-on shows the lightness and surprising ground clearance available.  Moto Borgotaro is located in Brooklyn, NY - here is a short excerpt from their complete offering which you can view - here - :

“Sand cast” guru Andy Morris of Hampton Bays, New York built this bike. Morris has worked on 15 “sand cast” CB 750s and nearly 50 later versions – he is so good that he can correctly assemble one of these Hondas from a tub of parts without reference to any manual – and he remembers buying # 2659 from a shop in Pennsylvania in the late 1990s. Its restoration took him three years and he used only OEM NOS replacement “sand cast” parts except for the rear rim which he had to have re-plated. All the fasteners, the spokes, the wiring harness, the four exhaust pipes, and other components came out of Honda parts boxes.

www.motoborgotaro.com

For all intents a "new" 1969 motorcycle, this CB750 has turned only 756 miles since completion.  It just looks like fun waiting to happen, at least to riders of a certain age.  My intro to the model was my buddy's CB550 in 1974, and even that seemed endlessly powerful compared to the trail bikes and vertical twins that were more my speed.  Though the standard layout had a self-limiting effect on top speed, it could do almost anything and torque was  always available.  It was also another chapter in the Honda quality story, the single cam engine being eminently reliable.  Strangely enough, the introductory model was also the most powerful, as horsepower figures waned through the emissions legislation and gas crisis years.

Honda used the pre-production molds to cast around 7,000 engines, which would be a successful year for most manufacturers and a full lifespan for more exotic models.  But as usual Honda was looking over the horizon, to around 40,000 machines each year with total production over 400,000.  This museum quality CB750 could be the opener for a collection of Honda superbikes, or the capstone for a history of earlier Hondas.  Moto Borgotaro can be contacted - here -.

Ducati April 13, 2018 posted by

Little Brother: 2001 Ducati 748R for Sale

If you're a sportbike fan, bikes like the Ducati 748R might seem like the poor cousin to the 916/996/998, a bike you only bought because your funds wouldn't stretch to the more expensive, larger-displacement version. But no "R" model Ducati really takes a back seat to anything: they were homologation specials, and the 748R was designed to allow the smaller-engined v-twin to compete in World Supersport racing.

The higher-spec powerplant in the 748R used lightweight titanium valves and connecting rods, fed by shower-type fuel injectors made possible by a two-part carbon fiber airbox. Space for the larger airbox necessitated a lightweight version of the 996 World Superbike's frame, and the result was a real-world 106hp and midrange torque 600cc inline four rivals could only dream of, with additional power waiting to be unleashed by race teams unconcerned by trivialities like "longevity."

The carbon airbox served two purposes: in addition to providing more air and fuel at the higher revs made possible by the lightweight internals, it also helped stiffen the frame for improved handling. Adjustable triple clamps and Öhlins suspension front and rear refined the 748's already impressive handling: purists actually claim the 748 is a better handling machine than the 916, with less weight and increased agility, no doubt helped by the narrower 180-section rear tire.

From the original eBay listing: 2001 Ducati 748R for Sale

Time to make some room in my garage so I'm going to part with this rare beast. Its an original 2001 Ducati 748R.  No. 711. Not many of these around anymore and this one's good some nice goodies. it has 11k miles (I do ride it here and there so there may be some more)

I am the second owner and the previous owner did all of the upgrades. The bike is in very good shape, not mint there are a couple light scratches on the tank, a small scuff mark on the right fairing and the foam around the instrument panel is a bit melted from the sun. (I think this was due in party to the double bubble windscreen magnifying it). The paint is in amazing shape. It has much more power than a regular 748 and the R has a more unique sound due to the differences in the motors. Maintained at Munroe Motors Ducati in San Francisco. Head were checked at 10,000 miles and rockers/valves had no signs of issues.

Heres a list of some of the upgrades (I'm probably leaving some things out)

  • Heads by Guy Martin (he makes some of the toughest and durable heads for Ducatis, they also increase power about 15-20%)  http://www.mbpducati.ca/
  • CycleCat fully adjustable rearsets
  • CycleCat fully adjustable clip ons
  • CRG adjustable brake and clutch lever
  • BrakeTech AXIS Cobra Stainless Steel Series Wave rotors
  • BrakeTech pads
  • STM Slipper Clutch
  • STM Clutch Slave
  • Gubellini Steering damper
  • Fast by Ferracci 54mm full exhaust (ceramic coated) sounds amazing!
  • Carbon Fiber exhaust shield
  • Marchesini forged wheels
  • Pirelli corsas
  • Carbon fiber intake cover (larger and smoother bore than the stock ones
  • Zero Gravity Windscreen
  • Sargent seat
  • Ohlins shock
  • Ohlins fork
  • Carbon keyless gas cap/filler

Tech Specs: The top of the range model was now the 748R, Ducati's racing homologation model produced only in very limited numbers. This engine was again a derivative of the SPS model but with more tuning. The main difference is that the R model has an overhead shower-injector arrangement compared to the 748E and S model's traditional throttle bodies, titanium connecting rods, titanium valves and more extreme valve timing.

As such, the 748R has a larger, two-part airbox and thus the frame was also different in order to accommodate this. The suspension choice was Ohlins for both the rear shock and front forks, although the very first models in 2000 used Showa titanium nitride (TiN) front forks and a Showa shock absorber. The engine included a very basic slipper clutch to ensure that this would then be homologated for use in racing, as well as an oil cooler.

The starting bid is $7,500 with no takers yet. That's a great deal for a 748R, but this one is no garage queen and collectors might turn up their noses at things like the aftermarket turn signals. The miles are still pretty low and the bike comes equipped with some choice components: the 748R was available from the factory with some nice parts, but it's a Ducati, so you can always find nicer ones to fit any budget, no matter how large. This one probably isn't for the collectors, given the clean, but well-used condition and highly-functional, but non-stock configuration. This is one for the riders, for folks looking for a bike they can take to the track and not worry too much about adding a few more scuffs and battle scars.

-tad


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Suzuki April 12, 2018 posted by

Featured Listing: 1986 Suzuki RG500Γ for Sale

Suzuki's RG500Γ "Gamma" is a modern classic, a bike from the tail end of the two-stroke sportbike era, at least here in the USA where lightweight, smoky strokers were gone by the mid-80s. At the time, it offered significant on-paper advantages over something like a GSX-R750: it was lighter and the 498cc engine made similar power and torque to the four-stroke 750. But the two-stroke engine was much more highly-strung, making it a more challenging bike to ride quickly, but that's exactly what two-stroke sportbike fans love about them. They relish the involvement required by the narrow powerband and the trail of heavy, oily smoke that drips from the four tiny exhaust pipes.

Why four pipes? Well the Gamma was powered by a square four engine that, although not actually based on the unit that powered Suzuki's Grand Prix machines, at least used the same format, with twin crankshafts and a pair of very compact Mikuni carburetors on either side. Of course, like all two-strokes of the period, it featured a power valve system, in this case Suzuki's AEC or "Automatic Exhaust Control" and a cassette-style six-speed transmission theoretically allowed quick changes to the gearing trackside. The aluminum frame resembled the GSX-R's, and the Gamma had hydraulic anti-dive forks at the front and a complex, rising-rate monoshock rear suspension that Suzuki dubbed their "Full-Floater" system. A 16" front and skinny 17" wheel out back seem odd today, but were fairly standard at the time.

This particular bike should be familiar to long-time readers, as it was posted up here a couple years back. The individual who purchased it has decided the time has come to pass the bike along and let a new owner appreciate the craftsmanship that has gone into it. Most Gammas look very much alike, as 99% of them originally were, or have been repainted, in the traditional blue-and-white Suzuki colors, with a few blue-and-red Walter Wolf examples thrown in for good measure. But this particular example was custom-painted and, lest you think the less traditional colors mask a bike that's been less than lovingly maintained, let's dissuade you of that notion right now: it was rebuilt a couple years back from the ground-up, and tuned by none other than Rick Lance. Basically, this bike has had a kitchen sink worth of upgrades thrown at it, as you can see from the seller's description, and the result may not be original, but is pretty spectacular.

From the seller: 1986 Suzuki RG500Γ for Sale

I have been blessed to own 3 of these legendary motorcycles. Out of the 3, this is the nicest and best out of my collection. I purchased this bike in October of 2016 from California. It was a recent build done by Rick Lance. I was talking to Rick at the time about doing a build with him in the exact format. However the cost was more and the timeframe was about 2 years wait. I came across this one on eBay and snatched it up. When it arrived it was nicer than the pictures detailed. Furthermore, it was listed as a 1985 and the California title reflected it as a 1986. The details are as follows:

This 1986 RG500 has ~1200 miles on it since being fully rebuilt in 2011 by Rick Lance from Lance Gamma lancegamma.com

It has the following features:

Motor: full motor rebuild including:
555 upgrade, GSX-R radiator, valve kit
Maranello transmission kit
Lance Gamma clutch upgrade
Lance Gamma TriPod air filter kit
Lance Gamma supplemental petcock
Lance Gamma pipes

Chassis, bodywork, etc:
Battery + oil tank conversion
Wheels ands rotors
Forks
Shock
Lance Gamma fiberglass bodywork with custom paint scheme

This bike is something special and unique

BTW– when Randy Mamola visited the previous owners home he autographed the bike on the gas tank, so that makes it even more unique!

The bike is the nicest you will come across. I have very much enjoyed it. I only put 200 miles on it since the purchase. It has spent more time sitting in the storefront window of my Indian dealership. My business circumstances have changed and I am looking to reinvest in my business.

I have a service manual and extra windshield that will go with the bike if desired.

I will ship worldwide on your dollar. Feel free to contact me for pictures, videos, or call me if you desire to discuss specifics.

As the seller states, this bike has covered just 200 miles since it was last seen on RSBFS. Frankly, I wasn't a huge fan of the looks when it was posted previously, but the photos that feature the bike indoors, in less glaring light, show just how classy and striking the paintwork is and it's sure to stand out in any crowd [?!] of Gammas... I generally prefer the Walter Wolf colors for the RG500, but there's no denying the quality on display here. It is posted on eBay, no reserve, so submit a bit and take a chance!

-tad

Ducati April 12, 2018 posted by

More Than the Sum – 1993 Ducati 900SS Custom

Ducati's iconic 900 SuperSport has everything you need and nothing you don't.  The early 90's edition inspired this retro-faired monoposto, where even more of everything is out in the open.  The custom frame, tank and fairing hang together very well, looking like a Friday afternoon ride into the hills waiting to happen.

1993 Ducati 900SS Custom for sale on eBay

The 900SS goes way back to 1975, but belt drive unburdened the engine in 1988 and the conversion to Mikuni carburetors in 1993 freed up 84 hp.  Big brakes from the 851 provided ample stoppage, and fully adjustable Showa suspension were a nice improvement.  Dry weight was under 400 lbs.

As built by Union Motorcycle Classics, this SuperSport might be under 400 lbs. with half a tank, though the trip odometer might want to be used as a gas gauge.  Perhaps the wafer-thin seat atop the revised subframe would remind the rider to take a break, though the aluminized Ferracci exhaust and Fox rear shock say go.  From the eBay auction:

Introducing a one-of-a-kind professionally built 900SS. Everything on this beautiful motorcycle shows attention to detail and mechanical craftsmanship. (search "custom 900SS" on google and this will be one of the top 5 motorcycles that appears in images.)

The one-off hand crafted tank is a merging of a 900SS tank and a late 80's 750 Sport. Beautifully done. You will see throughout the build are custom manufactured brackets and period race parts, with all work performed by Union Cycles.

Likely the builder didn't change the frame geometry, not messing with one of the best handling SuperSports of the day.  Union has beautifully reduced the 900SS to its cafe' racing denominator, as Hunter S. Thompson described in his original Cycle World review of the bike.  With the limited seating position, rider endurance might be even lower.  But cafe's aren't that far apart these days, and the new owner will likely be having extended Q&A at coffee stops, with spirited blasts in between...

-donn


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