Posts by tag: Italian

Laverda July 17, 2017 posted by

Italian Brute: 1982 Laverda Jota for Sale

 

A bit of a throwback, this brawny Laverda Jota was built in the 1980s but has its roots firmly in the 1970s. Big, powerful, and uncompromising, the Laverda Jota had plenty of speed available, but made you pay for it with heavy controls and vibration that could shake your fillings loose. With the 981cc triple putting out 90hp, the Jota was capable of 146mph, no small feat in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

The earlier examples used a 180° camshaft that had the outside pistons rising and falling together. Laverda used that configuration for better for power, and it was also good for noise: the triple was famously raw and basically ran like a four with a miss… In 1982, Laverda switched to a smoother 120° camshaft that wasn't lacking in character, but purists of course prefer the 180° bikes.

Interestingly, the Jota wasn't even designed in house. Slater Laverda in the UK proposed a higher-performance version of the bike, and the Jota featured high-compression pistons, different camshafts, and a free-flow exhaust. Specs varied by market, and it is generally believed that the US models were a bit less powerful than European machines.

Today's example is one of the later machines and features the Jota's famous adjustable bars. Mileage is very low, but higher-mile bikes shouldn't put prospective owners off: the triple wasn't quite as overbuilt as the earlier 750SF twins, but was still very durable.

From the original eBay listing: 1982 Laverda Jota for Sale

Absolutely beautiful 1982 Jota. Needs nothing. Mechanically great. Starts and drives perfectly. No rust or oxidation. Stored inside and driven very occasionally. Perfect addition to any collection. All original.

Well, that isn't very much detail, but what more is there really to say? There are just a couple days left on the auction, with no takers yet at the $20,000 opening bid. That isn't an outrageous number, considering what Jotas have been going for, but maybe buyers are thinking that should be the Buy It Now price, and not the opening bid?

-tad

Italian Brute: 1982 Laverda Jota for Sale
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
Aprilia March 20, 2017 posted by

Never Been Kissed: 2004 Aprilia RS250 Challenge with ZERO Miles!

Update 3.20.2017: Back on eBay after first being on RSBFS in August 2014 for $11k. Current bid is just under $7k reserve not met. Links updated. -dc

I’ve always loved the look of the Aprilia RS 250, but I’m only a recent convert to the stink and rattle of two-strokes. Well, technically, I’m a hypothetical convert, since I’ve yet to actually ride one. For many riders, their very first experiences on two wheels involved quasi-legal antics on dirt bikes, but I’m the only gear-head in the family, and bikes were strictly verboten growing up. I'm also biased against them: after spending years in LA working late-night jobs, there’s nothing I hate more than the tinny wail of a leaf blower at 8am so I sure didn’t want my motorcycles to sound related to those hateful things.

2004 Aprilia RS250 L Rear

But while I still don’t think they make a very pretty noise, the light weight and tinny, chainsaw shriek of bikes like the RGV and Gamma have become increasingly intriguing for me. There’s something strange and exotic about them, and I’m pretty sure the RS250 would be a great place to start.

2004 Aprilia RS250 Dash

Aprilia’s little road and track bike used a modified version of Suzuki’s RGV250 motor boosted to 60hp and featured classy, generally subdued race-replica paint schemes that have aged very well. Although those 60 ponies come on in a typical two-stroke rush that keeps you dancing on the shift lever, the bike’s very light weight and amazing handling make that a joy, rather than a chore.

2004 Aprilia RS250 Gearshift

From the original eBay listing: 2004 Aprilia RS250 Challenge for Sale

Brand new, zero miles, mint condition from the factory. I bought the bike for my collection. It has been properly stored and the engine has been fogged once a year with CRC Marine engine fog. It should be noted that this bike is not street legal. It has no turn signals, brake lights, or headlight. THIS IS A RACEBIKE THROUGH AND THROUGH. It would make a great addition for a serious collector, or perfect for your local track day. This bike may be the last of the great two stroke RS250s with zero miles. The bike comes with the very detailed factory manual and the factory spring tuning kit.

2004 Aprilia RS250 L Front

This bike presents a bit of a problem. The RS250 Challenge is a tool for going fast, a full-on track-rat race bike. So what do you do with this one? Seems a shame to abuse it on the track, but what else to do with such a focused motorcycle? Display it? They’re great-looking machines, but they’re meant to be ridden, and with no title, making it street-legal is not an option without some serious DMV shenanigans. And then there’s that whole “zero miles” thing again…

For collectors, it won’t get any better than this: a hermetically-sealed time capsule limited-edition bike that actually runs. For riders? Well, we’ll probably go sniffing around elsewhere for a bike we won't feel guilty about thrashing.

-tad

2004 Aprilia RS250 R Rear

Never Been Kissed: 2004 Aprilia RS250 Challenge with ZERO Miles!
Bimota March 2, 2017 posted by

Sweet Air – 1991 Bimota YB9 Bellaria in Italy

Seen only a couple of other times at RSBFS, only a handful of the 145 total YB9 Bellarias ever made it to the states.  Bimota's only two-seater is based on the Yamaha FZR600 drivetrain, with a few extra horses from intake and exhaust work.  Re-painted as many were in reaction to the factory's ice blue color scheme, this Bellaria is offered in Italy, but would be worth a side trip from Venice if you are headed that way.

1991 Bimota YB9 Bellaria ( Italy ) for sale on eBay

Framed in Bimota's usual twin alloy spars with billet connectors, the YB9 was quite compact for a 600, even more so for a biposto.  Handling with the Marzocchi suspension front and rear reviewed better than the FZR, though the bikes were really for different markets, the Bimota being more of an exotic.  Oversize Brembo brakes and tires, plus 4-2-1 exhaust system insure function follows form.  Riding position is fairly relaxed with elevated clip-ons and roomy seat.  The air intakes make an outstanding visual statement crossing the frame and the lines are echoed in the seat console and belly stripe.  Early digital dash looks clean but was hard to read.

 

While the fairing on this Bellaria appears original, the usual stepped dual seat has been replaced with a sportier mono-plus, maybe a knowledgeable reader knows the origin of this mod.  Now in white with what seems to be the factory steel blue trim, shows low miles and looks good save the alternator cover.  The auction indicates a salvage title which would have to be investigated.  From the eBay auction:

BIMOTA BELLARIA YB9 RARE MODEL ONLY 142 EXEMPLARY PRODUCTS, THE MOTORCYCLE IN QUESTION HAS THE NUMBER OF CHASSIS 112.
THE MOTORCYCLE 'marching, COUPON HAS MADE ONLY 6350 KM (3900 MILES) PLEASE NOTE AS' WAS CHANGED BACK,
FOR ALL INFORMATION AND VIDEO OF THE MOTORCYCLE FUNCTIONING, CONTACT,
SHIPPING WORLDWIDE THROUGH COURIER SPECIALIZED.

 

Bimota claimed 95 hp from the 599 cc four, and weight was nicely under control at 385 lbs. dry.  Named for and built to cruise the coastal towns near the factory's home, the Bellaria was easy on the eyes if not the checkbook.  Impossibly rare here, winning the auction would just be the beginning of a story involving travel and paperwork, and with luck a sweet ride in the last chapter...

-donn

Sweet Air – 1991 Bimota YB9 Bellaria in Italy
Gilera August 25, 2015 posted by

Last gasp: 1992 Gilera CX125 in Australia

Here is one that ticks all the collector bells for me (and I think a lot of other people), a 1992 Gilera CX125.  Located in Queensland Australia, this is only the second Gilera CX125 to be posted on RSBFS.  The first appeared last September and was quite popular which was interestingly since the little CX125 wasn't a popular bike when it was produced.

gvbz

The little Gilera was part of a wave of bikes with fully enclosed bodywork such as the Honda CBR Hurricane.  However Gilera was also forced to comply with laws in Europe that limited the displacement of motorcycles that young riders/"learners" could get their hands on to no more than 15bhp.  Unlike the larger firms which could use existing designs as the basis of their learner bikes (ex:  Cagiva Mito based on the Ducati 748),  Gilera gambled on producing a totally unique 125 design.  The result was what was possibly the most outlandishly styled 125 sport bike of all time – the Gilera CX125.

gvbz1

1992 Gilera CX125 for sale on ebay australia

Unveiled at the 1989 Milan EICMA show the CX125 concept was a tiny sport machine with fully enveloping bodywork that looked like something straight out of a design studio, in large part due its having  single sided suspension on both ends. But unlike a lot of concept bikes, the CX  hit the market in 1991 as an honest-to-God working motorcycle that featured the same space-age styling and radical suspension as its prototype.

gvbz3

So what happened?  Well even though the CX had a unique look the design was actually pretty conventional.  Reviewers seemed to be disappointed in the bikes' being merely competent/"ordinary" on the road.  As one reviewer wrote, "It’s not that the CX was wasn't a good bike, but it felt far more conventional than the styling suggested.  It's essentially a bike that looks like something from the future but rides like something from the present."

It also probably didn’t help that popular opinion of the CX varied between “incredibly cool” and “tragically ugly”.  Production of the CX125 was discontinued after a year with only 1000 examples being made and parent company Piaggio discontinued Gilera’s motorcycle production in 1993.  The CX is often referred to as the last gasp for Gilera as a true motorcycle producer.

Note:  The Gilera brand was continued by Piaggio but only as a scooter lineup.

gvbz2

 

Asking price is 8900 AUD/6500 USD.   Is it worth that? Honestly, I think it is.  The seller states it only has 5083 Km and condition certainly looks to be absolutely pristine.  While no service info is offered and the number of pictures is less than I would like, only 1000 were made for a single model year, the technology of both front and read single sided swingarms has yet to be reproduced except for perhaps the Bimota Tesi/Vyrus and perhaps most importantly, the CX125 pretty much marked the end of Gilera as a serious motorcycle manufacturer.

I think this one is a good pickup for a collector located in Australia.  To be honest,  if I could figure out a sure fire way to  get it into my living room I would be bidding.

-Marty

Last gasp:  1992 Gilera CX125 in Australia
Moto Guzzi August 9, 2015 posted by

Freight Train coming through – 1995 Moto Guzzi Sport 1100

1995 Moto Guzzi Sport 1100 on eBay

MotoGuzzi_profile

If you like being the guy on something different, here is a nice way to stand out.  Full of character, history and heritage, Moto Guzzi is the oldest European motorcycle manufacturer still in constant production.  Guzzi's are described as an "acquired taste" full of idiosyncrasies that set them apart for better or worse from other motorcycles.  The most obvious thing to jump out at you is the longitudinally mounted 1064cc v-twin engine which, in theory, should allow for a shorter wheelbase.  As you can see, this didn't exactly play out.  The Sport 1100 is big, it's long and it's heavy.  It is not quick to turn, but once it's cranked over, it holds a line extremely well.  Contributing to this stability is the outsourced WP forks which also hold Brembo brakes.

MotoGuzzi_rightside

This particular Sport 1100 is showing a very low 2300 miles and is in near flawless and original condition, down the to 20 year old OEM tires (you may want to address this if you plan on doing any actual riding).  It is striking to look at, and like many Italian bikes of the era, would make a great Sunday cruiser, but is probably not very practical for daily riding.  You can check out the eBay listing here:  1995 Moto Guzzi Sport 1100 on eBay.

1995 MOTO GUZZI SPORT 1100, TWO OWNER MOTORCYCLE, THE FIRST OWNER KEPT IT IN HIS COLLECTION IN CONNECTICUT AFTER BUYING IT NEW IN JUNE 10, 1996 FROM MARSH MOTORCYCLES IN EAST WINDSOR CT. AND PUT LESS THEN 1900 MILES ON THE BIKE, SECOND OWNER HAD A LOT OF MOTORCYCLES AND WAS VERY BUSY WITH HIS FLYING JOB AND HARDLY RODE IT.  TODAY IS HAS 2270 ORIGINAL MILES!
THAT IS NOT A MISPRINT, THE BIKE HAS LESS THEN 2270 ORIGINAL MILES!!!

THIS HAS TO BE THE FINEST, LOWEST MILE, MOST PERFECT 1995 MOTO GUZZI SPORT 1100 ON THE PLANET!!

IT IS MY UNDERSTANDING THAT ONLY 100 OF THESE WERE IMPORTED INTO THE UNITED STATES THAT YEAR!

I HAVE THE ORIGINAL OWNERS PAPERWORK, BILL OF SALE ($9752.00 IN 1996!) AND THE BROCHURE FROM THE DEALER THAT IS BEAUTIFUL WITH MANY COLOR PICTURES.  BIKE WAS ONLY AVAILABLE IN THREE COLORS, BLACK, RED AND SILVER AND THIS BIKE HAS THE SILVER PAINT, EXCEPT FOR ONE TINY SCRATCH ON THE TAILPIECE (PICTURED) THE PAINT AND DECALS ARE PERFECT DUE TO THE FACT THE BIKE WAS INSIDE STORED ALL OF THESE YEARS! IT LOOKS LIKE IT WAS NEVER OUTSIDE IN THE SUN, IT IS THAT PERFECT AS ARE THE DECALS AND HAS NEVER BEEN IN THE RAIN ACCORDING TO THE TWO PREVIOUS OWNERS!

MotoGuzzi_leftfront

MotoGuzzi_rightrear

Freight Train coming through – 1995 Moto Guzzi Sport 1100