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Laverda May 6, 2018 posted by

Alternative Twin: 1999 Laverda Formula 750 for Sale

It's a shame that the second incarnation of Laverda was gone by the end of the 1990s, before the recent interest in classic styles and older nameplates. I can imagine that a modern take on their big, burly triples would have gone over pretty well if they'd survived into the present. Apparently, a new triple was developed for Laverda, but it was ultimately used to power Benelli's Tornado and TNT instead. The new triple never happened for them, so Laverda's "Zane era" really culminated with this Laverda 750 Formula.

Saved from the ashes of their 1980s collapse, Laverda needed a new sportbike to draw attention to the reborn company. As always, the small Italian factory was working with a severely limited development budget, and that meant they couldn't design a brand new engine to compete against the class benchmark, Ducati's 748. The air-cooled, 668cc parallel-twin intially used in the new machines was actually an evolution of the old, 500cc unit from the 1970s Alpino, but Laverda injected new life by fitting... fuel injection, bigger pistons, and eventually a radiator, although you can still see the engine's cooling fins leftover from its earlier incarnation. Or you would be able to see them, if the seller had included any decent pics of the bike with the fairing off...

It may have been intended as a competitor for the Ducati 748 but the engine was less refined and the bike was not as fast in a straight line. Where it really excelled was in the handling department, and the Formula took the already superlative Nico Bakker-designed aluminum beam frame and added excellent Paioli suspension and lightweight wheels to the package. You'll notice that the "gas tank" is no such thing, as there's no fuel filler there. The fuel door is actually a hinged panel on top of the tail, and the cell itself is more centrally-mounted for better balance. The result was a bike period reviewers found frustrating, as the bike would have been truly world-class but for that agricultural powerplant.

I'm not really that big on the regular 750S in solid red, yellow, or black but somehow I love it in the Formula's garish, Halloween-looking combination. Yeah, that dual headlamp makes it look like an Italian take on a late 1980s GSX-R, but I'm a huge fan anyway. I'd prefer some higher-resolution images of this particular bike, since it's really hard to see what kind of cosmetic condition we're really dealing with, but it looks pretty good from what you can tell from the included photos.

From the original eBay listing: 1999 Laverda Formula 750 for Sale

Laverda built this bike as direct competition to Ducati. In doing so, it built it with the highest quality components it could find. For starters, it went to Nico Bakker to design the twin spar aluminum frame. Laverda increased the displacement of the 668cc engine to 750, added water cooling in addition to oil and tune it to develop 93HP. To handle all that power, Laverda added Paioli fully adjustable upside-down forks, rear shock, Marchesini wheels, and Brembo brakes. All wrapped in FRP bodywork to keep it as lightweight as possible. The result is a machine that can handle with the best of them.

Not many of these were imported into the US and fewer still are available for sale. Here is one with 1,668 kilometers (about 1000 miles). This bike is in an amazing condition and it is ready for it's new custodian. The motorcycle can be seen at our dealership in Bellevue, WA

As much as I like Laverda's 750 Formula, there's really no question that the Ducati 748 is a better-looking, more iconic machine. Of course, rarity counts in the collector bike world and, while you can still pick up a good 748 for relative peanuts, these have gotten steadily more expensive. Is the Formula a good bike? Well the handling is exceptional, power is adequate for the class, reliability is decent, and looks are... subjective. Is it a better bike than the 748 it was pitched against? No, but if you're a Laverda fan and want something reasonably modern to ride, or have an aversion to trellis frames, a 750S or Formula are basically your only choices! Or I guess you could buy one of those aforementioned Benellis and just stick some Laverda badges on it.

-tad


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Cagiva May 5, 2018 posted by

Have Blue – 1987 Cagiva Alazzurra 650SS

Cagiva re-badged the Pantah for 1985 and tried on their own badging and design features.  The Alazzurra had toned down its testosterone content a bit, but was improved in some good ways.  This 1987 example has been a labor of love for its present owner, who has made some long term investments in the bike's future.

1987 Cagiva Alazzurra 650SS for sale on eBay

The belt driven cams of the desmodue help the Alazzurra push 55 hp and 36 ft.-lbs. torque.  Right side-up 35mm forks and dual Marzocchi shocks are appropriately light weight, as are the 260mm dual disk brakes.  The supersport fairing flows sweetly and it looks like there is beaucoup ground clearance.

 

The Virginia owner has  made several improvements to the Alazzurra, without indulging in any sort of bling - well, maybe the red brake lines.  Here is his rundown from the eBay auction:

Since I've owned it, I've done the following:

1- fixed a leaking base gasket ($100 + labor)
2- adjusted the valves to the perfect spec. ($150 + My Labor)
3- replaced the belts ($40 + My Labor)
4- new chain and custom rear sprocket ($80 + My Labor)
5- upgraded stainless steel brake & clutch lines and hardware with speed bleeders ($180 + My Labor)
6- rebuilt the ignition sensor wires ($30 + My Labor)
7- powder coated the exhaust ($100 + My Labor)
8- brand new battery ($65 + My Labor)
9- rebuilt the carbs ($60 + My Labor)
10- rebuilt the key ignition switch. ( + My Labor)
11- replaced the leaking petcock and fuel hoses. ($130 + My Labor)

I've REALLY enjoyed working on and riding a true Italian cult bike. I don't have to sell it, but it's time to move on. 

There is also a cold start video - here -.

Cagiva soon realized that tossing out a well-known name and competition history was folly, leaving the friendly Elefant in a tough position.  Luckily this Alazzurra has weathered that storm and looks ready for a long weekend on the Blue Ridge Parkway, perhaps as the new owner takes her north or south and home again...

-donn


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Gilera May 4, 2018 posted by

Days of Future Past: 1991 Gilera CX125 for Sale

It's always fun to see older cars and bikes that were meant at the time to embody the designs of tomorrow, even if that future never actually came to pass. Somehow, even though the world this wild Gilera CX125 embodied only exists in some sort of alternate reality, at least it doesn't rely on vaporware to actually function: radical styling aside, the underpinnings were the tried-and-true two-stroke engine and six-speed transmission from their existing Crono, and that single-sided front end is really just a conventional telescopic fork with one leg...

The single-sided front end matches the ELF-designed single-sided swingarm and makes it look like the bike is simply floating above its wheels when viewed from the right, like an artist's sketch made real. Developed by Paioli, it's not actually an alternative swingarm front end like Yamaha's RADD or the Bimota Tesi, but there's no downside to it in terms of function. In fact, that's really the biggest disappointment here: the radical styling that was clearly inspired by the ELF racing machines is just that, styling. There's no futuristic technology or exotic powerplant. It's just a sporty, economical two-stroke dressed up with stylish bodywork.

In fact, the most futuristic technology found on the CX125 was the engine counterbalancer that contributed to the bike's exceptionally smooth-running character and the electric starter. The simple bones underpinning the sleek body mean the CX125 works pretty well, taking into account the minuscule displacement of the tiny two-stroke. The 300lb wet weight meant the 125's 28 rear-wheel horses could push the little machine up to a top speed of around 100mph, but the question really is: at whom was this machine really aimed? 125 two-strokes are, even in Europe, learner bikes or commuters. And although the technology of the CX125 was decidedly modern, the futuristic styling wouldn't really have been a priority for practical types, and 16-year-olds looking for sportbikes were probably interested in something much more race-replica-y.

Although it wasn't priced much higher than its much more conventionally-styled stablemate, performance was slightly less and the bike didn't sell very well at the time. This particular example is complete and appears to be in decent condition, although some cracks in the bodywork are visible and there is some plastic discoloration, as well as a bit of rust and the usual cosmetic issues that arise when a bike sits for any length of time. The biggest issue is the lack of a title.

From the original eBay listing: 1991 Gilera CX125 for Sale

1991 Gilera CX125 located in Santa Ana, California. This bike is in very good condition for it's age. Gauge shows 3684 KM = 2210 miles. There are a few cracks in the plastic body parts, "see pictures". This is a very common problem with these bike. Engine runs great, no problems. The CX125 is a very rare bike here in the USA. More info is available on our website. Bike is sold with a bill of sale only. I don't have a title for the bike and can't get one here in California.

There are no takers yet at the starting bid of $7,995. These aren't exactly cheap for the performance they offer, but a CX125 would make a hilarious weekend ride in Southern California, where originality is at a premium. Honestly, I love these, so it's a shame that it wouldn't be easy to legally register one here.

-tad


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Triumph May 3, 2018 posted by

Better Late – 2006 Triumph Daytona 955i with 2,510 miles !

The owner of this 2006 Daytona bought it as a long-term leftover in 2014, from the unlikely sportbike haven of Denmark.  Since then his travel schedule has only allowed 2,510 miles, presenting the auction winner with a virtually new Triumph liter bike.  2006 was the last model year for the 955i, and it has some nice upgrades from earlier Daytonas.

2006 Triumph Daytona 955i for sale on eBay

An assault on the sportbike establishment in 1997, the later Daytona was a more mature GT, the fuel injected triple good for 149 hp.  The double-tube cradle frame is now black, but the same aluminum alloy.  Extra-large 45mm forks and 320mm brakes are Triumph's own design, and 2003 saw a return to the single-sided swingarm.  A nice re-design of the fairing and headlight was done in 2005, and black was introduced as a color choice.

Currently residing in Delaware, this Daytona had a bath for the occasion and looks excellent.  A carbon and polished exhaust has been added, but not much else in the way of personalization.  From the eBay auction:

Bike has straight papers, currently registered in Delaware.  Numbers are straight.  Bike had zero miles when I got it in 2014.  Only have 2510 miles ridden since and clearly looks the part.
Bike was manufactured at the end of the production run in 2006.  Has the gorgeous split headlamp, the preferable single sided swingarm and a number of other improvements made over the earlier years of the models.
Bike has the beautiful carbon factory high level exhaust which sounds heavenly.  Also has a rear seat cowl and a passenger seat as well.
Condition is 99% perfect.  Almost no flaws to speak of.  The clear coat on the carbon infills could be redone.
I installed a cell phone holder that holds my phone very well, that's included.
The legendary Triumph triple is a blast to ride and an absolutely unique machine.

Revitalized by John Bloor, Triumph proved itself a sportbike force with the Daytona.  It offered a different perspective for riders reacting to the vanill-ish offerings from the big four, and bonus points if one felt buying European was important.  The company soon made the 955i redundant to focus on the middleweight market, so the 2006 is the end of an era.  This example has spanned the globe to bring the new owner a smashing experience...

-donn


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Honda May 2, 2018 posted by

Featured Listing: 1996 Honda NSR250R SE for Sale

Update 5.2.2018: SOLD in just over 12 hours! Congratulations to buyer and seller! -dc

For the most part, we try to post up the very best, most unmolested examples of rare and interesting sportbikes for sale. But once in a while, we color outside the lines a bit and share something more personal, something customized to very specific taste. This Featured Listing Honda NSR250R SE obviously isn't completely original, a kind of Frankensteinian build that could have been a mess, but for the incredible attention to detail and quality componentry that's gone into it. This resto-mod starts with the basic bones of the last of the breed, the MC28, complete with a stylish single-sided swingarm and electronic ignition, then uses later suspension components and more modern bodywork to create a what if kind of machine.

Honda's NSR250R MC28 was one of the most technologically-advanced two-strokes ever built. Sure, it ran carburetors in an era where injection was the fueling method of choice for top-shelf sportbikes, but Honda didn't skimp on the gadgetry elsewhere: ignition was via the aforementioned PGM-IV ignition system that created different, three-dimensional maps for each individual cylinder based on the throttle position, engine rpm, and gear selection. The MC28 also used "smart cards" instead of a key to start the bike. These cards included preloaded ignition maps, and you could exchange the standard card for a race-only unit to bump the power up from the government-mandated 45hp. The downside? The HRC cards with the race maps are nearly impossible to come by now if you don't already have one.

The aluminum beam frame and 249cc liquid-cooled two-stroke v-twin were pretty much standard for the class, but the NSR added a cassette-style six-speed gearbox and their own variation of the class' de rigueur power valve, here called the RC Valve, for more user-friendly power delivery. The SE version used as the foundation of this bike featured a rattly dry clutch for additional racebike credibility. Per the description, the engine in this example been built to a very high standard using quality parts and the included dyno sheet backs up the seller's claim of 61hp at the rear wheel. The suspension is new, with an Öhlins shock out back and a revalved CBR600RR fork up front, complete with much more modern brakes. Those radial front calipers might even be overkill, considering this probably weighs more than 100lbs less than the donor bike, which would already have had superlative stopping power.

And then there's the styling. If you're a purist, you've probably already scrolled past this one, having noticed the comments section disabled. But for everyone else, the results are pretty stunning, a bit of the old and a bit of the new. I'm not generally a fan of rolling billboards, but it's hard not to love the Rothmans graphics seen here. I'm particularly glad that the builder was selective in terms of applying aftermarket bodywork to this build: I love the sleeker tail section, but Tyga's squinty headlight arrangement looks contrived, so the traditional single lamp seen here looks more NSR-y and a great bridge between the two styles.

From the Seller: 1996 Honda NSR250R SE Edition (Dry Clutch)

Bike is complete restoration with HRC 030 card derestriction tuned to 61HP, stock air box with oil injection still intact. Engine was completely rebuilt with dynamic balanced crankshaft from Falicon, new Koyo OEM crankshaft bearings. Engine has all new gaskets, bearings, and seals, top end is fresh with 140 PSI compression in both cylinders. Lower cylinder has upper cylinder head for centralized spark plug location for more efficient burn, similar to HRC style head. Jetting HRC style jet kit from T2 racing with carbon fiber reeds and HRC reed stuffers, Tyga air box lid for more air volume with new OEM air filter. Over 10 hours of dyno time, tuned perfect and runs amazing with 61HP, bike runs and drives flawlessly, no flat spots with crisp acceleration. Tyga stainless exhaust chambers with carbon fiber short silencers. Has new EBC clutch and heavy duty EBC clutch springs.

Has SPAL electric fan setup wired to toggle switch for additional cooling. Tyga carbon fiber Frame and Swingarm covers, frame and swingarm are in excellent shape with no damage. Has Tyga similar type of rear sets. New Dunlop 120/70/17 & 160/60/17 Q3 tires. Comes with all OEM original parts included in sale with OEM original fairings.  HRC 030 derestriction PGM IV with wire splice to run HRC 030 card. 

2009 Honda CBR 600RR front end, radial mount calipers, with Tyga Triple tees, steering geometry stays the same with this setup, front forks rebuilt with new valving and springs set up for NSR.  Rear shock is Ohlins, suspension is amazing, bike handles perfect, much better than stock configuration. Wheels are OEM NSR wheels powder coated white, front calipers are stock OEM 2009 Honda CBR 600RR with HH sintered pads with Galfer brake rotors, OEM 2009 Honda CBR 600RR radial pull front brake master cylinder. Rear brake is 84mm Brembo caliper, new Brembo matching pads with Tyga rear brake mount system with braided steel brake line. New DID gold chain and Tyga sprockets, 16/41 gearing. After market body work with Tyga rear tail section and subframe, all painted to match Rothman paint scheme. Has LED head/tail/turn signal lights included. 

Bike comes with Tennessee title with matching VIN number. I promise you will not find another better built NSR in the world,  I spared no expense on this build, I have already sold one on this site and customer loves it, you may contact him for reference, I will provide information if needed. $21,000 or best offer .

If you're searching for a museum-quality collectible NSR, you should look elsewhere. If you're in the market for an affordable daily rider, this isn't the bike for you. But if you want something that answers the question "what if Honda kept building the NSR into the next decade?" A bike that combines the best of the old and the new with optimized two-stroke character and performance, updated suspension, and a more modern style, you'd be hard-pressed to build something like this for the $21,000 being asked.

-tad

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