Posts by tag: inline four

Bimota May 26, 2017 posted by

Gone Too Soon: 1997 Bimota SB6R for Sale

The SB6R could have been Bimota's biggest seller of all time. Certainly the earlier SB6 sold in quantities that nearly qualify as mass production, with nearly 1,200 built. Unfortunately, the utter failure of the overreaching two-stroke V-Due low-sided the company into a crash barrier and the GSX-R1100-powered SB6R was not part of the brand's renewal, killing it after just 600 were made. Sharp styling aside, the SB6's party piece is that absolutely massive-looking aluminum frame that uses Bimota's "Straight Connection Technology" concept to link the steering head stock and the swingarm pivot as directly as possible for optimized handling.

Great idea, but those big slabs of aluminum limit access to a number of important components, including the front sprocket and the alternator drive. This is a problem because the front sprocket will likely need regular replacement, considering the power and torque available, and the alternator drive needs cooling air to keep it from failing. So just what do I mean when I say that the frame "limits access"? Well both components require the engine to be at the very least unbolted from the frame and lowered, something that might deter owners just a bit...

Built during the same era as Ducati's original 916, the Bimota SB6R goes about being a fast motorcycle in almost the opposite way as its Bolognese rival: bulging and stout-looking where the 916 is impossibly slim at the waist, beam frame versus a trellis, and powered by an inline four versus a v-twin. But both featured stump-pulling torque over high horsepower: the GSX-R mill in the SB6R is backed by a five-speed gearbox and I've yet to hear anyone complain that it needs a sixth...

That engine is a bit like the small-block Chevy of the motorcycling world, and plenty of folks out there have tuned them to make fairly outrageous horsepower. Today's SB6R looks like it's gone that route: it isn't exactly stock, although the modifications are all under the skin and committed to the pursuit of absolute speed. A wise move, as the bike's aesthetics represent one of the bike's strong points. But is the seller's asking price just one toke over the line?

From the original eBay listing: 1997 Bimota SB6R for Sale

Exotic Italian red handmade superbike.

Bimota SpA (www.bimota.it) was started in 1973 in Rimini, Italy, by Valerio Bianchi, Giuseppe Morri, and Massimo Tamburini (Bi-Mo-Ta). They design and build their own line of exotics, and the company and its people have also been involved with designing/developing Ducati, MV Agusta, and Lamborghini motorcycles. Bimota would study the market to see which drive trains they believed to be best of breed, purchase their components directly from those manufacturers, remanufacture and enhance them to Bimota standards, and then design and build an exotic motorcycle based on the new drive train. Bimota model numbers indicate which drive trains they were based on - SB (Suzuki), DB (Ducati), YB (Yamaha), KB (Kawasaki). Bimota also collaborated with other major brands on special models, and both SB and YB models have won world superbike and other class championships. True to the exotic business model, the company would only build a limited number each year, with very few making it to the U.S. market.

This SB6R was originally purchased new from Bimota by owners of a professional U.S.-based race team in the late 1990's, intending it as one of their anchor bikes.

Prior to race homologation, the principal team owner suffered major injury and the team was closed. Approximately $70,000 had been invested in this SB6R up to that time, but it hadn't yet raced and still remains in street legal configuration. If memory serves correctly, the original owner's dynomometer certificate listed 182 horsepower. This SB6R still has its original Bimota uprated (150+ HP) GSXR 1100 drive train, which was further blueprinted/uprated (to 1200 CC)/race-configured by a professional Suzuki team in the US. This Bimota can essentially be serviced and tuned by a competent professional Suzuki technician.

The second owner of the SB6R was a friend of the original owners and purchased it when the team was closed. He was also a colleague in my area of business (telecom), and I purchased it from him as he was retiring and moving away. The SB6R has always remained in climate controlled indoor storage and is only ridden briefly at the beginning and end of each season to keep it in good operating condition. Both the second owner and I bought the SB6R as collectors, not racers.

The purchaser should appreciate that it is essentially a race vehicle that remains street legal. Response can be startlingly quick and strong across even low RPM ranges due to Bimota's proprietary pressurized air box system. No tricks or gadgets, just simple, beautiful Italian race design on top of bulletproof horsepower.

Though not fully race homologated as intended, it will not ride and handle like a milder/more-comfortable/easier-to-ride street bike. It is designed for one rider of average racer size/weight and has no pillion or pegs for a second passenger. Riding posture and controls are designed for racing. Steering is designed to be more stable at high speeds, rather than more flexible at low speeds, and so is dampened and has less range of motion than normal street bikes. It is jetted for ~5000 feet altitude, and when cold will need to be warmed up patiently with graduated choke adjustments before being initially ridden (~15 minutes). Throttle control should be gentle and moderate, as response is fast and strong. Experienced riders (including me) have been caught by surprise when rolling in too much throttle in ordinary street riding conditions (especially from stops). The transmission is race configured (1-up, 4-down), which is the reverse of what is normal for street bikes (1-down, 4-up), and has a harsher sound and feel because it is heavier duty.

The buyer will arrange and pay for pickup. We've used a few different bike haulers over the years and they've always worked out fine. If the buyer happens to be in the Inland NW United States, I occasionally drive to Spokane or Bozeman for business and may be willing to deliver there or points between if serendipitous.

10% of sale proceeds go to the MARSOC Foundation.

Like many Bimotas of the era, the SB6R handles with aplomb, goes like stink, and looks the business, but the details let the side down: maintenance issues, including a gauge cluster prone to failure, and generally indifferent construction. It is one of my very favorite 1990s exotics, but that doesn't change the fact that the seller's asking price of $25,000 is extremely optimistic. It's very nice, but most SB6Rs are pretty well-preserved, and previous examples haven't gotten higher than around $15,000 before either selling outside eBay or going to the highest bidder. Is the extra attention lavished on the engine worth $10,000, or is it just gilding the lily? If you're a wealthy collector looking for a very nicely prepared, but decidedly non-stock SB6R, this might be just what you're looking for.

-tad

Gone Too Soon: 1997 Bimota SB6R for Sale
Yamaha May 18, 2017 posted by

Featured Listing: 1992 Yamaha FZR400RR 3TJ1 for Sale

We've spilled a lot of ink [pixels?] here on RSBFS about the Yamaha FZR400 so you're probably thinking if you've seen one, you've seen them all. But take a closer look at this little sportbike, especially the front: in place of the usual twin round lamps like you'd normally see on the FZR is a single, trapezoidal light that leaves the bike looking quite a bit like the two-stroke TZR. What we have here is a grey-market FZR400RR, a bike seldom seen outside its home market of Japan.

The RR was the slightly less extreme, less expensive, road-biased version of the very trick FZR400RR SP. It features a revised gearbox with a more street-oriented first gear compared to the SP, which means less clutch-slippage is required to get underway. It also has a dual seat on the off-chance your prospective passenger is proportioned like a 10 year old child, although it shares a committed riding position with its racy sibling. A 352lb dry weight and a lightweight aluminum frame mean confidence-inspiring handling and the RR has a 17" wheel at each end so modern rubber can be fitted, although the rear is a skinny-ish 160.

399cc might not sound like all that much, but a claimed 66hp, combined with exemplary handling, means plenty of thrills and fun to be had chasing the 14,000 rpm redline. Plenty of bigger machines rev just as high these days, but the FZR really only makes power near redline, so you'll need to keep the engine spinning to extract the available power. Or just find a nice FZR600 powerplant and slot that in: the FZR600 used a heavy steel frame and is generally much less desirable than the flyweight FZR400, but it's pretty simple to fit the bigger, punchier motor into the nimbler aluminum-framed FZR400 to create a bit of a canyon-carving hot rod.

From the Seller: 1992 Yamaha FZR400RR 3TJ1 for Sale

Up for auction is one of the best handling motorcycles ever made from Yamaha. The 1992 Yamaha FZR400RR 3TJ1 with only 3663 kilometers (2276 miles). This bike is in almost perfect condition. Still has the factory warning labels. I can only find a few flaws (for the boys in the cheap seats) The ignition switch decal has been carelessly rubbed off from extra keys on the key chain vibrating while the bike was being ridden. A little bit of sun fade on the left handlebar control switches. A couple of tiny paint dots (touch up) on the right side of the tank that don't show up in pictures but they are there. Original tires are soft but have cracks in them. This bike doesn't need much to be turned into a museum quality addition to any collection.

The bike is 100% OEM original Yamaha fairings and components. Original brake pads, chain and sprockets, tires, exhaust and components. This is a very nice unmolested collector quality FZR. This is a premium bike. A Utah state title will be presented to the lucky winner. This FZR400RR has been titled as a street motorcycle for road use.

Bidding on the auction is up to $2,370.00 at this point, with a few days left on the auction. This particular bike comes from a seller that's been unloading quite a few high-quality, quirky grey-market bikes in the past couple of weeks. This may not be the most valuable bike in his collection, but should be affordable and, like the other bikes that we've seen, is in very nice, if not absolutely perfect cosmetic condition: there is minor corrosion on some of the metal surfaces, but is generally very very sharp and the plastics look great considering the age. It also comes with a valid Utah title, which means you might just be able to ride it on the street if your local DMV is sympathetic.

-tad

Featured Listing: 1992 Yamaha FZR400RR 3TJ1 for Sale
Honda May 9, 2017 posted by

Tiny Four: 1988 Honda CBR250R MC19 for Sale

"When it rains, it pours" seems to apply to cool motorcycles. Haven't seen a GSX-R750LE in a long time? Suddenly, four or five examples come up for sale. I'm not sure why: maybe it's that folks hoarding them with an eye towards eventual sale suddenly see a demand for them and want to get in on the action? Or maybe individuals who've stashed them away from new are all of a certain age and are looking to liquidate their collections as they get older and less able to ride? Whatever the reason, we've seen a number of small displacement, grey-market sportbikes like this Honda CBR250R MC19 come up for sale recently in excellent condition, so if you've a hankering for tiny fours, take a look!

250s have long been associated here in the USA with learner bikes and hypermiling commuters. Generally powered by economical twins and singles, they offer low cost and high reliability, with racy styling, garish graphics, and names that link them to bigger, more capable sportbikes. But in countries where engines with greater displacement are disproportionately expensive to purchase heavily taxed, or limited by licensing laws, small inline fours like this one wrote a fascinating, if short, chapter in motorcycling history.

At a glance, the specifications look like they could come from a typical race-replica: liquid-cooled inline four, six-speed gearbox, 337lb dry weight... Then you get to that displacement: 48.5mm x 33.8mm for just 249cc. The claimed 40 horsepower is shockingly respectable although the 18,000rpm redline speaks to how hard you'll have to work to access it. This example has a bit of wear around the edges, but nothing you wouldn't expect from a well cared-for, but nearly 30 year old motorcycle.

From the original eBay listing: 1988 Honda CBR250R MC19 for Sale

For those of you that missed the Kawasaki ZXR250 sale, you get another chance for an exciting 250cc grey market Honda sport bike. This will be the last 18,000 RPM screaming 250cc inline four I will be selling. From the Honda room, comes a very special 1988 Honda CBR 250R MC19. This CBR has an inline four cylinder engine that revs to the moon and redlines at 18,000 RPM's. Its a blast to ride! This CBR is a one owner bike with only 310 kilometers (192 miles). Completely stock condition just like the day it rolled off the assembly line. Every fairing and component is 100% original stock Honda. Bike has never fallen over or been down. This CBR has a few scratches here and there from moving around the garage but shows like new. Bike is in very nice original condition and shows light patina throughout.   Bike has been serviced with new oil, coolant and filters have been serviced. Runs like the day it was new. Bike comes with Utah title in my company name and will be presented to the new owner.

With just 192 miles on the odometer, this one is certainly worthy of being put on display. Bidding is up to about $2,400 at the time of writing, with plenty of activity. The usual titling issues may apply if you're in a state with a strict DMV, so do your homework if you plan to do more than display this sweet little machine.

-tad

Tiny Four: 1988 Honda CBR250R MC19 for Sale
Kawasaki May 3, 2017 posted by

Tiny and Green: 1994 Kawasaki ZXR250 for Sale

Little sportbikes like this very nice Kawasaki ZXR250 were never imported to the USA for a very good reason: there was basically zero demand for them. In other countries, licensing limitations, high taxes on larger-displacement bikes, and much more expensive fuel mean that riders don't necessarily graduate from a 250 to a 600 to a full-on literbike. In places where you're incentivized to "think small" a bike like this makes perfect sense, since it has the big-bike styling, real sportbike handling, and mechanical sophistication an experienced rider might want, all in a fun-size package.

The bike was introduced in 1988 with a major mechanical and styling refresh in 1991. Displacing just 249cc, that little jewel of an engine produced a claimed 45 hp and just a sliver of torque at 18 ft.lbs and could push the 311 lb dry machine all the way to 124 mph. Obviously, the ZXR250 isn't going to offer up all that much more in the way of straight-line performance compared to something like a modern Ninja 300: you can't get blood from a stone. Or in this case, horsepower from just 15 cubic inches. And modern entry-level machines provide technology this little Kawasaki couldn't dream of. But with modern 250s mostly built around torquey singles or economical parallel twins, this inline four with its positively shrieking 19,000 rpm redline may offer more noise than actual power, but it also provides plenty of rider involvement to go with that spine-tingling sound.

Modern entry-level sportbikes have powerplants chosen for their simplicity, economy, ease-of-maintenance, and torquey power delivery so new riders can focus more on riding and less on shifting gears to chase insane redlines. So obviously, a carbureted inline four-cylinder will require much more effort to maintain and more skill to ride effectively, but I expect fans of small sportbikes know exactly what they're in for with a bike like this. Today's example has had a few miles roll under the wheels, but looks from photos to be in exceptionally good condition. I prefer the earlier style fairings with twin round headlamps, but that's simply a matter of taste. You certainly can't argue with the condition of what's on display here or those very 1990s HVAC hoses leading to the airbox...

From the original eBay listing: 1994 Kawasaki ZXR250 for Sale

Up for your consideration is a RARE MINT CONDITION low mileage 1994 Kawasaki ZXR250 with 19,518 Kilometers (12,127 miles). It is in mint condition and has new battery, Kawasaki filter & engine oil, new coolant flush, new brake fluid, new spark plugs and original air filter was serviced. This ZXR250 isn't your typical Ninja 250 that was sold here in the states. This ZXR has an inline four cylinder engine that revs to a 19,000 redline. In my opinion, its one of the best bikes you can ride on a twisty road. Even though this ZXR250 is completely stock, it comes with an extra carbon fiber aftermarket slip on muffler included in the sale.

When we received the bike, It was taken apart and cleaned and inspected along with the full service. We noticed that the bike has been very well taken care of over the years. You can tell it was loved as a child, lol. The bike runs and rides like the day it was new. Would make a great addition to any collection. This ZXR250 comes with a clean Utah title in my company name that will be presented to the new owner.

Bidding is up just past $3,000 with several days left on the auction. Interest in these little machines seems pretty high when they come up for auction, and several CBR250RRs have been featured on this site recently. They offer good handling and great looks, but very modest power, so I think you're mainly buying these for the novelty, that insane and very accessible redline, or as a Kawi completist. There are definitely more economical ways to sportbike, but fewer more stylish.

-tad

Tiny and Green: 1994 Kawasaki ZXR250 for Sale
Triumph April 29, 2017 posted by

Grand Touring: 1999 Triumph Daytona 1200SE for Sale

Motorcycling history is littered with storied nameplates undone by economic changes, and many have tried and failed to resurrect those brands, but one of the enduring success stories continues to be Triumph. Sunk by a changing economy, a changing market, and an inability to compete with the reliable, affordable, high-performance bikes from Japan, Triumph's long, slow slide into irrelevance was over by 1983. John Bloor originally purchased the defunct Triumph facility with an eye to razing it and building residences, but somewhere along the line, a bit of nationalistic inspiration struck him and he instead decided to revive the brand. Attempts to compete head-on with sportbikes from Japan a second time were always going to end in failure, so Triumph wisely chose to focus on quality and heritage instead of outright performance. That's not to say that bikes like today's Triumph Daytona 1200SE didn't have brawn to match their good looks, but that performance was never going be as focused or as inexpensive as it would be with something like a GSX-R1100. Instead, Triumph went for a different customer, one more concerned with quality and class than top-speed numbers or lap times.

The biggest limitation to ultimate performance was Triumph's decision to go with modular design based around a spine frame. That same basic frame and two engines, a triple or an inline four, could be wrapped in different bodywork to create an entire range of motorcycles and quickly add models to react to market changes, which gave versatility for a fairly low cost. Unfortunately, it meant a bit of a jack-of-all-trades quality, with too much weight carried too high for optimal handling. Nothing wrong in the engine room however: 147 horsepower may not sound all that impressive, considering the 1180cc engine, but it was one of the most powerful motorcycles available at the time and a claimed 85 lbs-ft of torque is BMW S1000RR territory. So the big Daytona can move out smartly and, most importantly, can sustain that 159mph top speed seemingly all day long, with plenty of wind protection from the big fairing and all-day ergonomics.

Styling is always subjective, but I think these look pretty cool, with that dual-round headlamp endurance racing style, but without the aggression or wild graphics of a 90s Japanese sportbike. The monochromatic color treatment, especially the black seen here, makes it look classy and elegant. I think they've aged well and prices mean you can have a classic road-burner with all-day comfort for relative peanuts. Personally, I'd prefer one of the hot-rod three-cylinder Super III models, but in either guise you're looking at a deceptively fast motorcycle.

From the original eBay listing: 1999 Triumph Daytona 1200SE for Sale

I purchased this bike three years ago to add it to the other two Daytona's I already have. The reason for the sale is that I have my hands full with my other D-12's and the other bikes we have. So... In the three years I have owned the bike I have put less than 400 miles on the it. I replaced the left and right fairings as well as the front fairing, windshield, with trim, clip-ons, fork seals, tires, and battery. I am the third owner, from what I was told. I have the bike stored in my climate controlled basement since I brought it home. The bike is completely stock. All parts used are Triumph parts. There is a very small ding on the tank. On the right side from previous owner. Also a small scratch/rub on the left side rear body work. The only thing missing is the Union Jack that gets mounted on the side fairing underneath "Special Edition". I have not located one yet. The last thing the bike needs is a carb tune. I have not done this because I wasn't riding it. I have a shop that has tuned my other D-12's that has the bikes producing 120hp and 80ft.lbs. at the rear wheel. I can have them do the work for around, $400.00, or we can discuss other options.

Full disclosure is something we all appreciate when shopping for a bike. When obvious stuff is wrong but not mentioned, we bike folks think, "Hmmm... if he's not being up front with that, what else isn't he telling us?" Being upfront about minor flaws suggests that, not only is the seller honest, but that they are a bit obsessive themselves. I'm not obsessive about minor flaws like the ones present here, but I sure want to buy a bike from someone who is. For a bike meant to cover big miles at big speeds, this one shows remarkably little wear and tear, although mileage is pretty low and the seller is asking $5,199.00 for what appears to be a very nice motorcycle. This is another bike like yesterday's VF1000R where most examples that show up for sale seem to have held up very well, considering the fact that they're 20 years old devices that go belting along highways and back roads at speed, which speaks not only to build quality, but to attentive ownership. But then again, that's exactly the kind of customer Triumph was shooting for in the first place.

-tad

Grand Touring: 1999 Triumph Daytona 1200SE for Sale
Yamaha April 27, 2017 posted by

Collector Alert: 1988 Yamaha FZR400 with 94 Original Miles for Sale

Sometimes, the amazingly low-mileage bikes that we stumble across surprise me. I mean, who at the time it was new would think to ferret away a pristine Yamaha FZR400? Of course it was always a cool bike, but the kind of thing you'd buy and preserve as a collectible? Seems strange, but the upside is that someone gets to bid on this example that has the classic white-and-blue "speedblock" graphics and just 94 miles from new.

Modern vehicle technology is incredible, offering up reliability, safety, and efficiency at an affordable cost. New motorcyclists are almost spoiled for choice these days, with slick, utilitarian offerings from Honda, Kawasaki, Yamaha, Suzuki, and even KTM that look good and perform well. They don't offer much in the way of inspirational engine notes or cutting-edge handling, however: all are powered by parallel twins or singles and sound a bit agricultural or slightly obnoxious, depending on whether you have a Two Bros exhaust fitted or not.

The middleweight sportbike class is fast disappearing as well, with just the GSX-R600 and R6 left as Honda and Triumph discontinue their 600cc sportbikes. But in the late 1980s, you were spoiled for choice, and the FZR400 offered a stepping-stone up in terms of refinement from something fast but a bit crude like a TZR250. Most of the 400cc sportbikes never made it to the USA officially, as demand for what would be considered "small" sportbikes has always been pretty non-existent. We got a few bikes with their genes like the Honda CB1, but those never sold well either, making all bikes in the class pretty rare and desirable these days.

The FZR400's 399cc four-cylinder produced a claimed 64hp, still plenty of power for a bike that weighed 410lbs wet, but, with little power below 5,000 rpm, the rev-happy motor meant you had to work it like a two-stroke to make fast progress for maximum rider involvement. Interestingly, the FZR400 was a much more serious weapon than the bigger 600 although they look nearly identical at a glance. The 400 made less power but handled better due to the lighter, stiffer aluminum frame used by the smaller bike, versus the 600's steel part. Yes, the 600 fits into the 400's frame, so if you come across a 400 with a blown or high-mileage motor, you might want to consider finding a 600 to rebuild and slot in instead.

From the original eBay listing: 1988 Yamaha FZR400 for Sale

Up for your consideration is a very RARE, very nice low mileage almost new 1988 Yamaha FZR 400 3EN1 with only 152 Kilometers (94 miles). It is in mint condition and has new battery, Yamaha filter & engine oil, new coolant flush, new fork seals and fork oil,  new brake fluid, new spark plugs and original air filter was serviced. Runs like the day it was new. Carburetor jets and needles are original and still comes with the factory jetting set from the factory. This FZR in mint condition and near museum quality. It still has the original factory tires, however there are age cracks in the sidewalls. There is patina here and there as you would expect from a 29 year old motorcycle. This FZR still has its original chain & sprockets, original brake pads and all original fairings and factory components. There is a small crack in the windscreen, however I have a new windscreen that will come with the bike. I haven't installed it to preserve the originality of the bike.

When we received the bike, It was taken apart and cleaned and inspected along with the full service. The muffler was chromed and re-finished to look new again. This FZR would make a excellent candidate for restoration, making it a true museum piece for your living room or just keep it and ride the hell out of it and make your friends jealous, lol. This FZR comes with a clean Utah title in my company name that will be presented to the new owner.

Okay, so the $8,999 asking price is pretty stupid money for a 400cc Japanese sportbike. Or at least is is right now: scoff all you like but I bet in a few years, Yamaha fans will be wishing they'd jumped in when these were so cheap... Especially at this mileage, although part of what's so cool about the FZR400 is the light weight and agile handling, so it's kind of a waste as a museum piece. I'm also not sure even very many of your motorcycling buddies will be very jealous if you have this in your garage or living room, let alone your more normal friends. Bidding's already up to $7,600 with plenty of interest, so I'll be interested to see if it makes it to that Buy It Now price.

-tad

Collector Alert: 1988 Yamaha FZR400 with 94 Original Miles for Sale