Posts by tag: homologation

Honda November 30, 2016 posted by

Little Brother: 1989 Honda VFR400R for Sale

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Looking very much like their very desirable VFR750R, the Honda VFR400R shares similar engine configuration, style, and that distinctive "PRO ARM" single-sided swingarm. The sophisticated V4 featured straight-cut gears in place of a chain or belt and drove twin overhead cams. Early VFR400s used a 180° crank, but the NC30 shared it's 360° "big bang" configuration with the VFR750, giving the bike a distinctive growl to go with the cultured whine of the gear-driven cams.

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A big-bang engine groups its combustion events close together, in stead of spreading them out evenly. In theory, this gives improved traction, as the tire has a chance to recover grip in between pulses, although that may not be a huge advantage in a bike with just 59hp and 30ft-lbs of torque... Power was modest, but had just 350lbs dry to push, and was spread across a very wide, forgiving powerband.

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These bikes didn't sell well when new, which wasn't really shocking: a period literbike could be had for similar cash and that huge increase in power could cover for a lot of sins on the road and on track. But that was hardly the point, and Honda only needed to produce a limited number to qualify them for racing. Originally intended for the Japanese market, a few made their way to the UK and mainland Europe as "parallel imports," these used to be very a very affordable way to pick up sophisticated Honda tech, but prices for these have been rapidly increasing of late, now that the RC30 is well out of reach for many collectors. Bidding on this example is north of $9,000 at this time, with the Reserve Not Met.

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From the original eBay listing: 1989 Honda VFR400R for Sale

The VFR400R(NC30) is known for its handling, turning quicker than most other 400s on the market. You don't have to ride the NC30 to know that it is right. Everything about it just looks right. The scaled-down version of the RC30 is perfect in it proportions and in its detail. The reduction in size makes it neater still.

The engine gives the impression of that of a larger machine. Peak torque is at 12,000rpm, but it doesn't drop off, giving a long, flexible spread of peak power. It will hold any top gear cruise speed up to 100mph, will pull wide open in top from 2,000rpm and runs without a hiccup to 15,000rpm.Asked whether the quality of engineering is worth owning, the answer would be yes. The build quality is nearly as good as the RC30.

This bike is in excellent un-restored condition with very low miles. I approach all my bikes with the idea of preservation over restoration. When purchasing a bike what I look for is low miles and all original, this bike fits those traits very nicely. Please examine the pictures very closely. You can see it has not been restored but it is an excellent original condition. There is some minor chips and patina showing that it is a 27 year old bike. The bike was recently cleaned from top to bottom. Everything was cleaned, all fluids changed, brakes bled and then put back together ready to ride. Here's a list of a few things that were done.

Wheels powder coated, forks rebuilt, new rotors and pads front and rear plus brakes bled, new tires Bridgestone T30's. All the plastics were cleaned and polished and the small cracks were welded on the back side so they won't crack any more than they already are. All the gauges and cockpit pieces were cleaned and polished. Brand new chain and sprockets

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The seller also includes this helpful startup video of the bike being offered, and the original listing includes plenty of additional photos if what we've included here doesn't satisfy your NC30 lust. Aside from a few minor cosmetic imperfections mentioned by the seller, this is a very nice motorcycle and 6,000 miles is barely broken-in for a Honda, so this one is ready to display or ride, whichever strikes your fancy.

-tad

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Little Brother: 1989 Honda VFR400R for Sale
Honda November 18, 2016 posted by

Out of the Winter Darkness: 1989 Honda RC30 in Canada

Before heading out for the holiday weekend, here is a bit of unobtanium: a 1989 Honda RC30 located in Canada.   Perhaps if you are heading towards Ontario for the holiday anyway, a short detour is in order?

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1989 Honda RC30 for sale on eBay in Canada

The RC30 is a bike that every serious collector wants to own at one point, and for good reason - it was about as true a homologation bike as was ever produced.  The RC30, also known as the VFR750R, came with what was at the time unheard of specs for a street bike; titanium and magnesium cast components, track-type "slipper" clutch, a first gear designed for track starts up to 80 mph, a single-sided swingarm, etc.

The story of how the RC30 originated usually goes something like Soichiro Honda declaring he wanted to show the world what Honda could do if decided to put all its efforts towards producing a no-holds-barred sports bike and that the mandate was that there would be no compromise, no corners cut, and no bowing to the bean counters.  In short, the mandate was that the bike was to be the best and the result was the RC30, a bike built to win...and win it most certainly did.   The RC30 carried "Flying" Fred Merkel to consecutive WSB titles in 1988 and 1989, and powered Steve Hislop around the famous Isle of Man TT course at a then unheard of/first 120-mph lap.  How dominate was the RC30?  Think of it this way - in 1990 fifteen of the 25 finishers in the top F1 class were on the VFR750R/RC30.

A good review of the RC30 by visordown.com can be read here.

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Given its been over 25 years since this bike was introduced, the RC30 ought to look and sound dated, but its elegant lines and tiny size (more like a big 250cc 2-stroke than a full 750cc 4-stroke) produce a stunning reaction even today.  Perhaps what keeps the RC30 an object of lust is the way it puts everything together; incredible feel from the suspension, outstanding build quality, a stupendously wide and usable powerband and the lightest weight in its class allowed the the 750cc powered machine to pretty much make the competition look stupid.  The only downside was that that all this top shelf performance didn't come cheap. The RC30 was priced at an eye popping $21,000 in 1990 (about $39,000 USD in today's dollars).

To put it simply, the word masterpiece can be commonplace when describing a rare sportbike, but in the case of the RC30 it was and still is truly justified.

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This particular RC30 looks to be in good condition but I really wish the seller hadn't taken the pictures at night, had used a higher quality camera, and somehow changed the flash results.  Overall the bike looks to be OEM with the possible exception of a cut rear fender?  Also the tires look a bit off, perhaps the rear wheel is non stock?

Note:  The RC30 had different trim based on the destination country and while this particular model appears to be the dual headlight US version, it might actually be a bike produced specifically for the Canadian market (supposedly there was about 25 of these).  Unfortunately, the seller is not providing ownership history info and there is a somewhat ominous "rebuilt due to age" reference which could mean anything from a fluid change to a former track bike.

Here is what the seller has to say

  • Only 11000 km
  • All Original
  • Has been professionally rebuilt due to age to perfect spec
  • Bike rides perfect and needs nothing
  • Also has the race pkg includes race cams gives more power

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Current bid price on this is only about $14,000 USD but that given that we have seen recent posts range from $22,000 to over $28,000 USD, I expect price on this one to jump.  To be honest I not sure if this is a bike produced specifically for the Canadian market or if this is a US bike (only 300 of these were reported as coming into the USA) but regardless, this one will probably hold its value over time.

Here at RSBFS we have some regular readers who will be able to offer better insight on the current fair price for this RC30, so if its time for you to add one to your collection, I suggest you check out the the comments on this post or the previous RSBFS posts linked above.  But anyone who is seriously interested will want to be quick as eBay auctions of these bikes often end early.   I would also be curious to hear from anyone who has imported a bike from Canada to the USA, suggestions for shipping companies...no reason...nothing to see here...move along now...

-Marty/Dallaslavowner

Out of the Winter Darkness:  1989 Honda RC30 in Canada
Kawasaki October 26, 2016 posted by

Featured Listing – 1992 Kawasaki ZX-7R-K

Update 11.2.2016: Sold in just one week. Congratulations to buyer and seller! -dc

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In the early 1990's Kawasaki and Team Muzzy found the handle to AMA Superbike racing and won championships with Doug Chandler and Scott Russell.  And while the Sunday wins sold a lot of ZX-7R's later in the week, Kawi also brought in a few hundred homolagation specials for AMA approval of "production" techniques with racier components.  The -K and -M variants are mostly hidden away, occasionally popping up tired and worn, but the 1992 -K presented here is very clean with low miles, and appears the real deal.

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Kawasaki's 749cc straight four used 39mm Keihin carburettors, and made 123 horsepower.  The stamped and welded aluminum frame weighs 9 lbs. less than the 1991 model, and lightness has been achieved in the 41mm front and Uni-Track rear suspensions as well.  The swingarm is fabricated similarly to the frame, and though the rear spring rate reviewed as too stiff, the adjustable remote-reservoir monoshock and slipper clutch almost made up for it.  The endurance fairing has fresh air intakes, and the rear seat frame is a light and easy to repair hybrid.

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Recently returned to running condition, this ZX-7R looks great for its nearly 25 years, and has under 5,000 miles.  Modifications are very limited and tastefully done - no green windshields or Supertrapp exhausts here.  Paintwork is almost too good to be true, and has drawn comment on a ZX-7R owners site as missing an access hole, but there was some cross-compatibility between -J and -K models.  Here's what the Arizona owner says in the eBay auction:

Kawasaki Ninja ZX7R 1992.  Rare in this condition.  Super clean with only 4890 miles on it.  Been in my collection, and thinning out some bikes.  This is a limited run for the ZX7 in 91 and 92 as this is a homologation R model for the U.S. market.  I believe we only received 1000 units for both years.

Plastics are OEM and as close to perfect as possible for a 25 year old bike. No rash. Stored correctly.  Just changed the oil and fluids.  Cleaned the Flat slides and new battery again.  Starts right up.  Some period correct modifications with a full Muzzy Exhaust system, steel braided brake lines, fender eliminator.  Airbox has a New UNI High Flow air-filter in it, pictured.  Plus I am including another new OEM Kawasaki Air-Filter.  Clean and clear AZ title.  I do have more pics than what I have on ebay so let me know if you need more.  

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The 1990's were some great years for superbikes that were maintainable and affordable, and Kawasaki achieved the right combination with the ZX-7R.  The -K's were a significant upcharge from the base model and were largely spared the perils of multiple owners and boulevard racing.  Performance with the bigger carbs, alloy fuel tank, and fully adjustable suspension was not to be denied.  The owner gamely presents his bike unfaired, and it appears undamaged, maintained, and without shade-tree modifications.  Quite rare as while up to 1,000 units may have been required for homolagation, most sources indicate that just low hundreds actually made to a U.S. showroom.  Bidding is active but there are still a few days to go.  

-donn

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Featured Listing – 1992 Kawasaki ZX-7R-K
Suzuki September 27, 2016 posted by

Unobtanium Alert: 1986 Suzuki GSX-750R LE with only 6 Kilometers in Australia

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1986 Suzuki GSX-750R LE with 6k on ebay australia

Yes, you read that right: 6 kilometers, essentially 4 miles,...since new,...30 years ago!  And its the LE version, which means its a homologation bike. For anyone who doesn't know what that means, here is a bit of history:

Back in the mid 1980's the heads of professional motorcycling decreed that race bikes had to be based on something the public could actually buy.  The idea was that this would keep racefans interested and help drive both interest in the race series and sales for the manufacturers.   But this presented a dilemma for the manufacturers - their bikes would have to be able to be setup to be competitive on the track but also not end up killing any noobs who bought one and rode it on the street.  Many manufacturers quickly realized the best way to resolve the dilemma was not to try to make a "one-size-fits-all-bike" but instead offer two bikes; a standard bike that looked like the racer and had about 70% of the performance, and a"limited edition" bike that was pretty much an actual race bike except it came with lights and license plates.  While the limited editions would be sold through the same dealers, prices would be very high and production would be extremely limited.  The resulting series of homologation bikes included the Suzuki GSX-750R LE, Honda RC30, Yamaha OW01, and Kawasaki ZX7RR.  Even Harley Davidson got into the act, producing 50 street versions of their VR1000 racebike. While some of the homologation bikes were considered sales failures at the time of their introduction, the have all pretty much become highly desired items for most collectors and true sportbike fans.

Even though the GSX-750R had only been introduced the previous year and was already nearly 50 kilos lighter than the competition, in 1986 Suzuki produced 500 'limited edition' models.  The GSX-750R LE offered true race-bike technology, including different brakes, new/anti-dive forks, an upgraded shock, dry clutch, factory fiberglass solo seat, lightweight aluminum gas tank, and a revised swingarm.

Here is a link to a retrospective on the LE.

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Given the mileage, there isn't much to talk about regarding condition/service history.   Instead here are a few of the pics from the eBay listing but don't blame me if you end up suddenly realizing you are drooling!

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So what is it going to take to add this to your collection?  Short answer - a lot.   These were pricey to start with, cost about 50% more than the standard GSX-750 of the same year.  Also there just weren't that many produced and many that were ended up being raced and crashed.  From what I have been able to find, a handful went to Europe, Canada and Japan, so the location of this one in Australia means you probably won't find another one in this condition in the area anytime in the near future...if ever.

The few previous ones of these that we have had on RSBFS seem to have gone for $16,000-$19,000 USD and those had either higher mileage or weren't completely stock.   I would not be surprised to see this one require a price of over $25,000 USD to go to a new owner.  While that is a lot of  money, this is one that I feel confident saying that will continue to appreciate if its kept in the same condition it is now.

-Marty/Dallaslavowner

Unobtanium Alert:  1986 Suzuki GSX-750R LE with only 6 Kilometers in Australia
Honda September 15, 2016 posted by

Vee-Four: 1985 Honda VF1000R for Sale

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The popular conception of homologation specials is one of thinly-veiled racebikes, competition bodywork with a couple holes cut in it for headlights, close-ratio gearboxes, and racebike power just a remap/rejet away. The reality is sometimes far less exciting. Sure, the Honda VF1000R may look like an endurance-racing bike with lights, but at a portly 600lbs with fuel, plenty of other bikes of the period could show it a clean pair of heels. Ultimately, the bike was a bit of a misfire as a performance machine: it was just too heavy and offered no real advantage in terms of power or handling over the more common VF1000S. But that wasn’t really the point, since an homologation bike is mainly designed to include specific components so that those same bits can be utilized by production-based racing teams. And anyway, the same criticisms could be leveled at both the RC30 and RC45: out of the box, they were incredibly exotic, but some fast guy on a standard GSX-R750 could probably take your candy.

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The VF1000R's 998cc V4 ditched the S-version's cam chains and replaced them with a more precise gear arrangement, something that eventually became the V4's distinguishing characteristic. It made a claimed 117hp and the slippery fairings allowed a near 150mph top speed, while Honda's Torque-Reactive Anti-Dive Control meant cool acronyms and improved manners under heavy braking. Wheels are often overlooked and considered pretty unremarkable on a motorcycle: they're round and covered with sticky, black rubber things. But as the point of contact between the bike and road, they're critically important components.

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In the VF1000R's case, they were Honda's modular Comstar wheels and came with radial tires, something very new to motorcycles at that time. Axles were clamped in place with a quick-release system, the rear brake disc was vented, and the bike featured adjustable bars to help set the bike up for the rider's individual preferences. Obviously, many of those parts serve no real purpose on a road bike, except to admire for their innovation and craftsmanship, or to brag about at your local bike meet.

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Today's example has low miles, appears to be in excellent condition, and features the desirable dual-headlamp setup often missing from the 1985 bikes: worried that it wouldn't pass federal regulations, Honda developed a simpler, single rectangular unit often seen on these bikes.

From the original eBay listing: 1985 Honda VF1000R for Sale

Not perfect, but a very, very good original survivor condition 1985 Honda VF1000R of sufficient quality that that it won its division at a large AMA sanctioned/ judged show (see below). It was originally purchased new in Indiana.  The 2nd owner purchased it in 1990 with about 5000 miles and eventually moved it to Kansas City.  I purchased this VF1000R from the 2nd owner in 2012 with 10,077 miles.

In 2012, I rode to one of the largest motorcyle events in Kansas City - The 20th Annual (and final) "Ralph Wayne Backyard Nationals".  It is an insane confluence of two-wheeled wonder that includes thousands of bikes including Ariels, Aprilias, Vincents, Victories, Hodakas,  Ducatis, Gammas, RZs, BMWs, Harleys, R1s, CBRs - you get the picture.  There is a tent in Ralph's back yard that only holds about 30 of the most unusual and/ or outstanding bikes at his event.  When I got there, one of the marshals waved me to the tent and this VF1000R was the only Honda under the tent that year.

In 2013, I entered this bike in the Clymer Manual Sponsored, Heart of America Motorcycle Enthusiasts (HOAME) Vintage Midwest AMA sanctioned and judged show.  This a huge regional show and this VF1000R won the "Best Modern Superbike "Division.  Several of the AMA judges asked me if I still rode it (by looking at the tire wear patterns).  I responded "yes" and they expressed mild amazement that a bike this nice would still be ridden regularly.   Clymer posted a video they took of this bike at the show on Youtube.  It can be viewed with key words "Clymer VF1000R".

The bike is nearly 100% survivor excepting the following:

When I initially rode the bike home after the sale, the OEM fork springs were shot, causing the front end to dive and scratching the front fender and left/ clutch side fork tube with the left lower metal blinker mount.  The scatches were touched up with correct, color-matched Honda "Fighting Red" paint.  The worn OEM fork springs were upgraded with Race Tech 1.05 Kg/ mm single-rate springs with new seals and synthetic Motul fork oil.  This fork upgrade dramatically improved front end tracking and feel.

The OEM/ survivor carbon fiber backed bodywork was touched-up with correct, color-coded paint prior to above shows and apparently looked good enough to the judges to win. It has the optional (for 1985 models) endurance racing dual headlamp fixture that came standard on the 1986-later models. It was shown with the F1S aluminum mufflers as seen in the photos, but the bike also comes with very good condition original/ OEM mufflers that could easily be cleaned up and reused if you want to sport that "Big 80s Big Muffler" look.  The F1S pipes on it now sound great. The OEM chain was replaced with RK X-Ring chain on the original/ OEM sprockets.

Prior to my ownership, some brake fluid leaked onto the external clutch cover and damaged some of the paint on the lower edge.  The damaged clutch cover paint has been colored with black marker.  See photos. There are a few scratches on top of the original aluminum/ OEM/ survivor fuel tank.  Otherwise the original paint looks deep and glossy except for minor/ normal mars on this 31 year-old survivor sportbike.

CONDITION:

The original 998 cc, V-4, 16-valve motor runs as well as any VF1000R.  It starts without issue and idles smoothly, does not smoke, shifts smoothly and accelerates linear and hard all the way to redline. No oil or hydraulic leaks.  The gear drive sound is marvelous.  There is no undue mechanical noise.  It purrs. The pictures closely demonstrate the overall, excellent condition of this 1985 VF1000R. Comes with (most of) the original Honda VF1000R tool kit which is otherwise unobtainium

I've enjoyed absolutely gawking at this very low mileage amazing condition VF1000R in my garage for the past 4 years and putting a few miles on it, but now it's time to pass it on to somebody who will hopefully enjoy it as much as I have.

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The seller includes a ton of information at the original listing and includes his personal history with the bike, a few minor cosmetic issues, and a listing of everything that was changed or updated, along with reasons why. It’s pretty clear that the owner is an enthusiast, although the price is on the high end for these: the starting bid is just south of $7,500 with no bids yet, but plenty of time left on the auction.

If you’re looking for a Honda homologation special and can’t spring for an RC30 or RC45, these are rare, feature exotic specification, and can still be had for relative peanuts. It's not, and probably never was a cutting-edge sportbike, but that just makes it more practical as an affordable bit of HRC history: something you can ride and enjoy, not something that needs to be stored away for alternate, sunny Wednesdays in June.

-tad

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Vee-Four: 1985 Honda VF1000R for Sale
Honda August 8, 2016 posted by

They seem to come in waves:
Another 1994 Honda RC45, this one with under 900 miles

We just had a nice RC45 here on RSBFS last week and given the rarity of these it's a bit of a surprise that another one has popped up for sale so soon.  While the previous bike was a gray import bike offered by a dealer in Florida, this one looks to be a US bike currently owned by a collector.

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1994 Honda RVF750R/RC45 in Texas USA

As noted in the post from last week, the RVF750R (also known as the RC45) was introduced in 1994 as the successor to the epic RC30 and was a true homologation bike.  The RC45 came with a 749cc V4 engine containing titanium rods, ceramic-lined cylinder walls and gear driven cams, as well as a new fuel injection system and a race-ready single-sided rear swingarm.

The RC45 was a good bike on the track, being ridden to championships in 1997 and 1998.  But reviewers/riders found the bike a bit of a letdown on the street, mostly due to it being tuned to only produce around 110bhp for the U.S. version and the race gearbox having a very tall 1st gear. Consider the following review from motorcyclenews:

"Like the race version, Honda's road-going RC45 doesn't quite hit the spot, but it's still an impressive piece of exquisite engineering. As the ultimate ‘90s Superbike, the Honda RC45 lacks the pure focus of a Yamaha R1, the visceral punch of a Ducati 916 or the exotic edginess of a Bimota SB6R. Also, people might think your Honda RC45 is a Honda RVF400 NC35 from a distance..."

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Mileage on this one is a low 877 according to the seller.  Unfortunately no other maintenance info is provided.  Based on the dust and color of the clutch reservoir fluid, I would bet that the bike has been standing for quite a few years and would require a thorough refresh including tires.

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By the pics provided the bike looks to have been part of a serious collection.  Initial bid price is $40,000 USD with reserve not met. That price seems to be inline with what we have seen these go for in the past, even with the expected additional cost of a freshening.  Also given the rarity of these bikes, I wouldn't expect the price to drop below the opening bid.

It seems like the RC45 doesn't ring the emotional bells for a lot of collectors in the same way the RC30 did.  This one is certainly in excellent condition and is probably a good investment for a serious collector, but I wish there were a few more pics and comments by the seller.

-Marty/Dallaslavowner

They seem to come in waves:</br>Another 1994 Honda RC45, this one with under 900 miles