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Ducati June 15, 2017 posted by

Low-Mile Monster: 1999 Ducati M900 Cromo for Sale

Nice first-generation Ducati M900 Monsters are getting very hard to find: they've been very affordable machines for the past few years and get used accordingly, ridden hard instead of being squirreled away in garages as collector items. Certainly, that's what I've done with mine... But if you're looking for a pristine machine to ride or if you're a speculator expecting them to increase in value, you can't go wrong with this very nice, low-mileage Monster Cromo... Assuming you don't get blinded looking at it!

The 1999 Monster was the end of the line for the carbureted engine, as it was followed by the 900ie in 2000 that featured fuel injection. Whether that's a plus or a minus is up for debate: purists might prefer the carburetors, but the fuel injection system used was a good one, and certainly makes maintenance simpler. It also used the frame originally borrowed from the 888, whereas later Monsters switched to an ST2-derived item that increased stability, but was claimed by critics to be less agile.

Basically, the Monster was a parts-bin special: a superbike frame that had seen plenty of racetrack development, an existing air-cooled two-valve engine for modest performance and tons of character, along with off-the-shelf, budget suspension that worked great for point-and-squirt antics and posing. Basically, the only new parts were the dash, the tank, and the tail. It was relatively affordable, stylish, fun, and simple. The parts-bin quality actually makes the Monster great for customizers, as many bits from other Ducati models will fit. In fact, today's Monster Cromo was one of Ducati's first attempts at a limited-edition, custom-style machine.

From the original eBay listing: 1999 Ducati Monster Cromo for Sale

Pristine, 1300 mile Ducati M900 Monster Cromo. Carbureted, only 101 imported into the U.S.

In 1999, Ducati released a special edition of the Monster. They called it the Cromo, and it was obviously named due to the distinctive tank, which was complemented by a carbon fiber rear seat cover and rear fender. It also got adjustable front forks and the high-po 74 horsepower engine.

This Monster Cromo is as nice as you will find. I bought it as a rider, finding out later how rare this model is. Should go to a Ducati collector. Besides a little age related fading on the carbon fiber fenders, this bike is almost showroom quality. A professional or dedicated detailing would bring it to that standard. Tank is gorgeous and blinding with no dents. no corrosion on the bike, seat is like new.

Starts, runs, rides, stops, shifts out like a 1300 mile bike. Not even broken in yet. When I got it I aired up the tires, flushed the hydraulic fluid in the clutch, cleaned, tightened and lubed the chain and rode it one time. Fires instantly, all electrics work as they should. Did not want to do anymore riding until I replaced the original tires and timing belts.

NOTE: I PULLED THE HORIZONTAL CYLINDER TO CHECK THE BELT TODAY (6/8) LOOKS LIKE NEW. SOFT PLIABLE, NO CRACKS, FRAYING, ETC.

This is a stunning motorcycle. Always garage stored.

Clear title in my name. Owners manual, Ducati service manual, both keys, original selling dealer folder. Also a quick release tank bag that mounts to the gas filler bracket and does not touch the tank when mounted. Wired for 12 volt accessories.

I'm assuming he means that he pulled the belt cover for the horizontal cylinder, not the cylinder... With just 1,900 miles on the odometer, this is an extremely nice Ducati Monster and is completely stock, including that famously awful rear fender, and the faded front and rear carbon mudguards are available from the aftermarket if their condition offends. The $7,999 asking price is very high for a Ducati Monster, but seems reasonable considering the rarity and quality. If the tank is a bit too much for your subtle tastes, you can always remove the chromed part and store it or sell it and replace it with a less... bling-y item. Maybe a carbon-fiber tank?

-tad


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Suzuki June 14, 2017 posted by

Fresh Off the Boat: 1988 Suzuki RGV250 VJ21A for Sale

The quarter-liter sportbikes of the 1980s and 1990s might look virtually identical on paper and offer very similar performance, but they all managed to have their own individual character, although that may have been down more to marketing and brand loyalty than any distinct differences. In any event, the Suzuki RGV250Γ had a reputation as a bit of a wild man and may been less refined than the Honda NSR250, but these little machines were all about snarling and snapping and adrenaline anyway. The VJ21 version of the bike seen here didn't have any of the usual acronyms on the fairing, but it does offer "REAL SPRINTER SLINGSHOT" performance. "Slingshot" typically refers to the GSX-R that used Mikuni semi-flat slide carbs that look like a slingshot in cross-section, although I've yet to find a good pic that really shows anything that looks like a child's toy hiding in there... I'm assuming the RGV used similar carburetors to earn that text printed on the tailsection.

Otherwise, the RGV stuck close to the class formula, with an aluminum beam frame, a liquid cooled, 90° two stroke v-twin with power valves and backed by a six-speed gearbox. The later VJ22 had the very desirable banana swingarm, although that also increased weight over the VJ21 seen here. Front wheel is 17" and the rear 18" as was common for the class at the time.  With a sub 300lb dry weight, the 50-ish horses are plenty to move the RGV along at a good clip, assuming you beat the little bike mercilessly.

And that's really the point of the RGV: it was an angry little machine that required and rewarded abuse to make good progress. Tiring for sure, but plenty of fun of fun and, if you love to attack the back roads, bikes like the RGV are your willing accomplice. This example has been freshly imported and is in original, slightly worn condition. The seller includes a video walkaround of the bike here.

From the original eBay listing: 1988 Suzuki RGV250Γ VJ21A for Sale

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 title: please ask DMV

Start engine. Original Cowl. Switches and lights working. Oil leak on front fork. No battery. Some scratches and rust  So look carefully all pictures and video. Some touch-up painting. This motorcycle is 29 years old. Sold as is with NO warranty NO refunds NO return. 20,456 km (12,710 miles)

Buyer responsible for vehicle pick-up or shipping to your location. You can check Your Shipping Cost. (Item in Carson, CA now. Our Zip code 90745)

If anyone wants to come see the motorcycle. Please contact me.

I can pretty much tell you what the DMV will say, at least here in California: "Sorry bub. No title for you. Have you seen the great number of very nice race tracks we have where you can ride your for-off-road-use-only motor vehicle?" Obviously, this is not a pristine, collector-quality motorcycle in its current state, but it is straight, with relatively low miles. It'll obviously need some attention if you plan to actually ride it on the road, but that shouldn't surprise anyone shopping for a 1980s motorcycle. We've see plenty of Honda NSR250s up for sale over the past couple years, but the RGV is still pretty rare around here. Is this slightly worn example worth the $3,500 starting bid? There's not much time left on the auction, so it might be a good time to jump in if you've been looking for an RGV and have bags of cash lying around to bribe that guy you know down at the DMV...

-tad


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Suzuki June 13, 2017 posted by

Featured Listing: 1986 Suzuki RG500 Walter Wolf Edition

Born in Austria, Walter Wolf made his fortunes in oil drilling equipment in Canada, and proceeded to spend much of it on motorsports. He poured millions into Formula 1 teams (including Williams and his own eponymous Walter Wolf Racing), sponsored numerous classes of racing and even sponsored individual drivers and riders. It is through his involvement with motorsports - and Suzuki - that the Walter Wolf Edition of the famed RG500 Gamma was born. If the big Gamma is the rare unicorn of the sport bike world, consider a Walter Wolf Edition a unicorn of an even more rare color.

1986 Suzuki RG500 Walter Wolf for sale on eBay

With 95 HP on tap and a 340 pound (dry) package, the RG500 was the most potent sporting motorcycle available to hungry buyers. Of the big two strokes, the RG was the most like the GP bike that inspired it, and far sharper than the Yamaha or Honda offerings. The Walter Wolf Edition RG500 (there was also a 400 and 250 model) was introduced as a limited production special that was separated from ordinary RGs by the graphics package. Liveried in dark blue / purple with red and gold accents and highlighted by the Wolf insignia, this special edition was released to the home market (in power restricted format) as well as Canada (estimated 100 units) and Western Europe. There are slight differences between each of the market-specific models largely due to local regulations (i.e. headlights, turn signals, etc). Japanese market bikes utilize a specific WW gauge package, while Canadian bikes make due with stock RG units. Logo placement is also slightly different between the markets. Today's bike just so happens to be a Canadian market example.

From the seller:
Absolutely stunning and original 1986 RG 500 Walter Wolf Edition, one of 100 ever built. In truly nice condition, bodywork is outstanding with very few scratches and blemishes. The whole bike is corrosion free, never been dropped. This machine has been very well taken care of and doesn't show her 31 years of age at all. Great effort has been put into preserving it's beauty and originality. All consumables are well within specs and ready to go for the summer.

More from the seller:
Interesting fact about this machine is that is was originally purchased and used in Montreal Canada in the market it was originally destined to and sold in France. The machine was spotted by a Canadian visiting Normandy during the celebrations of the 100th anniversary of the Vimy Ridge, purchased from a reluctant seller and sent back "home" in Quebec city Canada. Four new spark plugs, air filter cleaned.

More from the seller:
This machine is for the serious collector. For the US buyer, shipping, export fees and paypal fees are the buyer's responsibility. I can gladly assist with all these processes, take over it, or totally leave it up to the buyer. Export process normally takes less than a week and is based on a % of the value of the machine. Can ship throughout North America.

Walter Wolf Editions are striking machines - especially in person. The colors make the bike pop in sunlight, imparting an ageless beauty to an already beautiful machine. Since such a small percentage of Gammas were shipped in this unique livery, Walter Wolf Editions are among the rarest of the two strokes that we are likely to see on RSBFS; they certainly do not come around every day, and we can expect a long drought before the next good example emerges. This being a Canadian market bike means that it is a full-power RG in Wolf's clothing! If a Wolf is on your shopping list, an all-original bike with reasonable miles such as this should really get the blood pumping. This beast appears to be very clean, and very well cared for.

This RG500 Walter Wolf is currently on eBay. There is not much time on the current auction, so if you desire this Suzuki unicorn, you better act quickly. Click here to check it out before it's gone! Today's seller is an RSBFS fan, and a collector; there are hints at more bikes to come (check out the pictures). The summer is looking better and better - but its going to be hard to beat this Wolf Gamma. Time to ride into the sunset. Good Luck!!

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


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Yamaha June 12, 2017 posted by

80% of an OW01?: 1996 Yamaha YZF-750R

1996 Yamaha YZF-750R on ebay

Back in the mid-1990's the main way most sporbike fans learned about the latest and greatest developments was through a subscription to a motorcycling magazine.   For me, the magazine was Cycle and I can clearly remember reading discussions about the different development philosophies of each major Japanese manufacturer.   These philosophies are reprinted below (or at least as best I can remember them) and I think most people who are fans of sportbikes from this period will agree these are still accurate for the Japanese mid -1990's machines.

  • The Honda Philosophy-  Strong in engineering and build quality but would sometimes over-engineer or develop something without a proven market.  The model line was refreshed in a phased approach over time instead of all at once.  Styling could be bland/conservative.
  • The Kawasaki Philosophy-  Great engines but suspect braking.  Not really an innovator but decent build quality.  Not as extensive a model line as Honda or Suzuki.  As for styling...well I hope you like green.
  • The Suzuki Philosophy-   Seemed to have a "try-everything-and-see-what-works" mentality resulting in a confusing model lineup.  The lower part of the lineup would sometimes have bikes with lower component quality in order to meet a price point.  Styling varied widely based on the model.
  • The Yamaha Philosophy-  Similar to Honda with great engineers but build quality not quite as strong.   Timeframe for innovation was longer than Honda and seemed more along the lines of trying to improve on a proven/existing concept rather than being a true innovator.  Model lineups were mid-sized but fortunately major components were common across the model line.  Styling choices were hit-or-miss and could sometimes be eye bending (cough-Vance-and-Hines-edition-cough-Marty).

 

The philosophy review above is relevant to today's post, a 1996 Yamaha YZF-750R. While the YZF-750R was the base version of Yamaha's YZF 750 lineup and wasn't as exotic as it's lineup siblings, it still had the same basic design. Yamaha tuned the R to be good for both street riding and canyon carving and the R actually won the 1996 Sport Rider magazine bike of the year.. While it didn't sell in the same numbers as the Suzuki or Kawasaki 750cc machines, he R version still has a very active fan base as evidenced by the EXUP Worldwide forum.

Here is what the seller has to say about this particular 1996 Yamaha YZF-750R.

  • 12,202 miles
  • all original plastics & graphics
  • spotless stainless exhaust with functioning EXUP valve
  • original windshield, blinkers,rear plastic fender
  • No aluminum ever polished or chromed
  • Some new parts  include battery, rear rotor, all brake pads, chain & sprockets, oil & filter.
  • few tiny paint chips on bottom edge of tank & one crack in top of right mid fairing 


In case you are wondering what the YZF would be like to live with today, there's some good buying advice available on VisorDown here.  I also found a previous post on the RSBFS archives which a nice video of a test of a few older bikes with the Yamaha being one of them (embedded below)

So now we come to the question of the value of this mid-90's middleweight.  Well a close inspection of the pics show some wear and tear and the spelling errors in the ebay listing are a bit of a concern.  Also given its level of components and condition, its not really a bike that will be likely to appreciate over time.  

That being said, the current bid price is below $1600 which seems stupid low (although reserve has not been met). And even though the 1996 Yamaha YZF-750R is the lowest spec model of the 1996 Yamaha 750cc sportbike line, the Yamaha philosophy means that this is probably an opportunity to experience 75-80% of the performance of the legendary OW01 at a fraction of the cost. Perhaps this one is best suited for our more senior RSBFS readers to experience or relive a bit of the 1990's 750cc sportbike experience, someone who wants to finally experience a EXUP machine without a huge outlay of monies. And I would be willing to bet you won't see another one anytime soon at your next bike night.

Marty/Dallaslavowner


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