Posts by tag: racebike

Bimota December 29, 2017 posted by

Race History: Ex-Anthony Gobert Bimota SB8K for Sale

Both a flamboyant racer and a cautionary tale, Anthony Gobert was a hugely talented rider who fell from grace after a failed drug test. Several times, actually. Racing today is obviously a far cry from the wild days of the 60s and 70s, where playboy racers partied with stewardesses well into the night before getting up the following morning to risk life and limb while nursing a hangover. Today's riders generally treat racing as the serious profession it has become, instead of as a way for daredevils to travel and booze it up on someone else's dime. I'm sure Gobert's missteps would have been laughed off in another era, but a failed test for marijuana, of all things, ended his MotoGP dreams in 1997, although he continued to race in Superbikes events in a variety of classes. Somewhere along Gobert's slow downward spiral, he got a ride on this Bimota SB8K and managed to make an underfunded machine from a tiny manufacturer briefly competitive, a testament to his talent.

Bimota's SB8 was really the TL1000R that Suzuki wasn't able to build, and one of their most successful models. There's no doubting the liquid-cooled, 996 v-twin engine's prowess: it's been used in various iterations by Suzuki since 1997 to power both sports and touring models. More importantly, both Cagiva and Bimota saw the potential for the engine to power some serious sporting hardware, and just needed to work around the layout challenges posed by the v-twin. As can be seen by the Ducati Panigale's side-mounted rear shock, a transverse 90° v-twin is very long, making it difficult to package efficiently in a compact sportbike while simultaneously maximizing swingarm length. Suzuki used an innovative rotary damper with roots in Formula 1 to support the rear of their TL1000S and TL1000R. Unfortunately, while the concept was sound in theory, it didn't work so well in practice, as the undersized unit tended to overheat and cause handling to go from "stable" to "exciting" without much warning.

Bimota took that throbbing, 138hp lump of an engine and put it into a machine that could much more fully exploit its obvious possibility. As with all Bimotas, the SB8's real party trick was a state-of-the-art frame. While I'm a sucker for Ducati's classic trellis unit, the SB8 used a wild composite design based around stiff, lightweight aluminum spars with carbon fiber side plates and a self-supporting carbon fiber tail section. You can see Bimota's solution to that rear suspension issue, peeking out on the right side of the bike from behind the main frame spar. Ultimately, the SB8 weighed in at nearly 50lbs less than the TL-R, although the bike is uncharacteristically broad and bulky for a v-twin, ironic considering the amazingly slim design of the Ducati 996. It's exotic for sure, but not especially pretty, and the carbon air tubes on the original SB8R also meant you'd better know where those hand controls are without looking, or you'd be craning your neck awkwardly trying to find the high-beam switch or cancel the turn signals. Best not to use them.

Of course, the locations of headlight and turn signal switches matter little in this particular case, since this is the updated SB8K version that did away with the massive carbon tubes in favor of a more conventional intake system. And this bike doesn't have signals or lights anyway, since it's the very World Superbike machine that Gobert used to win at Philip Island in 2000, reminding everyone of his talent, if not his self-control. Many who worked with him feel he could have been one of the all-time greats, and flashes of his brilliance can be seen in results he achieved on the SB8K.

From the original eBay listing: Ex-Anthony Gobert Bimota SB8K for Sale

ex-Anthony Gobert, winning in Philip Island April 2000.

VIN: 00071

This is a legendary bike in a WSBK history for who remembers the victory in april 2000 in Philip Island when Fogarty ended his career... also it is an ICON for the Italian racing motorcyles enthusiasts and the Bimota collectors. 

Only 2 FACTORY bikes were built for the 2000 WSBK, frame #71 and frame #73. This is the only of the 2 fully preserved, complete (with telemetry) and owned by BIMOTA FACTORY from year 2000 to 2017. Full history know, fully untouched since the 2000 season ended.

The bike is fitted with SUZUKI FACTORY TL1000R magnesium/dry clutch engine but tuned then for Bimota by one of the TOP mechanics in the Italian motorcycling history, Franco Farne'... yes the Ducati legend! The bike comes with some spares: engine cases, 2 heads, spare rear wheel, box with bits and pieces.

Letter of verification by the FACTORY present.

Parade, race and collect!

Be sure to check out the photos in the gallery above. The shot of the injectors and one of the high-capacity radiator with the cutout for the front cylinder are especially cool. This is yet another ex-race machine being offered by the same seller as the YB4 racebike from a couple weeks back and, a bit of expected racing wear and tear and some significant discoloration on the swingarm, appears to be in very nice condition. There are several days left on the auction, and bidding is up to just under $9,000 with the Reserve Not Met.


Race History: Ex-Anthony Gobert Bimota SB8K for Sale
Suzuki August 28, 2017 posted by

Classic Racer in a Box: Ex-Doug Polen Suzuki GSX-R750 for Sale

Looking for a fun weekend project to keep you busy for a while? Well look no further than this ex-Doug Polen Suzuki GSX-R750 racebike. It's not exactly finished, but all of the really important parts appear to be there to get you started... Strangely enough, it seems like the AMA racebikes used many of the stock Suzuki components, even switching from the more exotic dry clutch to the standard wet unit, according to the seller. So that should help, right?

The introduction of the Suzuki GSX-R750 in 1985 was a seminal event in the history of motorcycling. It may not have been the first or only bike to use fully-enclosed, endurance-racer styling wrapped around a bulletproof, large-displacement inline four and monoshock aluminum frame, but it made that formula affordable and available to the masses, and led directly to the sportbikes we know and love. Later sportbikes would add liquid-cooling to the equation to help generate maximum power, but the Gixxer eschewed such frippery as too heavy for their pure speed machine: in spite of the visible cooling fins, it's oil that does most of the work. The oil-cooled powerplant utilized their SACS or "Suzuki Advanced Cooling System" that used a double-chambered pump and oil jets directed at the underside of the pistons to keep temperatures under control. Other than oil cooling, it followed modern designs and used dual overhead cams and four valves per cylinder.

Obviously, as a race-spec machine for the street, the GSX-R750 spent plenty of time competing in various classes both abroad and here in the US. This particular bike was used in AMA racing and was ridden by Doug Polen. Polen was a world-class rider who got his start in AMA racing but left to compete in the World Superbike Championship, where he won the title on the trot in 1991 and 1992. He continued to compete in both international and American roadracing with success, netted a win at the Suzuka 8 Hour endurance race, and even dabbled in MotoGP.

There's additional information about the bike, its history, and the included photos over on eBay, so head over and take a look.

From the original eBay listing: Ex-Doug Polen Suzuki GSX-R750 AMA Superbike for Sale

I have researched the photo archives of Cycle World and Cycle magazines and obtained a number of unpublished photos from their records.  I've also bought photographs from freelance photographers that covered AMA racing in that year.  Special thanks to Larry Lawrence, of The Rider Files website.  I will provide these photos to the buyer with the proviso that they remain unpublished.

Each rider had two chassis.  The chassis and motors evolved constantly through the season and Doug probably got the good parts first, as he did better than Otter in the results, starting with the first race.  Their A bikes had all of the good parts at each race and the B bikes had more stock components.  You can clearly see in the photographs the progression of modifications during the season for all of the bikes and the lower spec of the B bikes.

The chassis is un-braced, with modified stock forks, Kosman Triple clamps, Kosman brake discs, AP calipers, a Fox shock and Marvic magnesium wheels.  The swingarm has been slotted, to allow for more variation in wheelbase.  Jim Lindemann worked with them on the shock valving, although he passed away a few years ago.  I have spoken to an ex-Fox engineer and he'd be happy to restore the shock but the records they had of those years were destroyed a few years ago.  Sandy Kosman now lives in Portland Oregon and the last time I talked to him, he was willing to get the discs reground on a Blanchard grinder, if desired.   One of the previous owners began the restoration years ago and the chassis, as pictured, is where he was when he sold the bike to the next owner.

The bodywork used was stock Suzuki plastic.  Early in the season it was raced in 1986 blue/white Suzuki colors; later in the season some of it was sporting the 1987 blue/white Suzuki stock colors.  A perforated metal filler panel was incorporated into the lower fairing V and the lower fairing panels had holes cut in them to allow for more ground clearance.

The motors were modified during the season and varied quite a bit.  They had Yoshimura (either kit Suzuki or Cosworth) pistons, different crank bearings, heads ported by Ron Scrima, Megacycle cams with Yosh retainers, a Tsubaki cam chain tensioner, and various carbs and exhausts.  At one point they obtained dry clutches and close ratio transmission gears but went back to running wet clutches and stock transmission ratios.  They may have run an ECU with a higher rev limit.  Ron Scrima passed away in 2011 but his company (Racing Engine Service) is still in business in Texas and the current owner was with Ron for about 25 years, so they might be my first choice for an engine refresh.  Another option would be Kelly Roberts, also in Texas.  I have never disassembled the motor, so I do not know what internal components are present.

I am interested in selling this project to someone that has the necessary resources and desire to restore it to an as-raced condition and to preserve it for the future.  It is a significant bike, as it was one of the highest placed privateer AMA superbike efforts of that era and was ridden by the rider that probably had more success in the USA racing the first generation Suzuki GSX-R than any other rider.  I would be willing to discuss this bike in more detail, via telephone, with any serious prospective buyers.  I am also willing to provide additional photos, a more complete listing of what components will come with the bike, and an approximate idea of what additional components will be needed to complete the restoration.

I have listed the mileage as 99999, as eBay requires that the mileage be listed for any vehicle sale.  The true mileage is unknown, as it was never recorded, which is not unusual for a race bike.

It also looks like the bike went through several iterations, giving you a bit of flexibility in terms of the color scheme you choose. If it were complete and in as-raced condition, this would probably be a very valuable motorcycle. As it stands, it's a valuable... basket case. How valuable? Well the But It Now price for this bit of American roadracing history is $4,950. This is going to need a lot of love, time, and money to finish, but I think this GSX-R deserves to be restored to its former functional glory.


Ducati August 14, 2017 posted by

Recovered Racer – 1998 Ducati 916

After an 18-month refurbishment, this 916 has a fresh carbon fairings and race engine.  While a detail here or there might need attention, it has a long list of mods resulting in a nicely presented and special 916.

1998 Ducati 916 for sale on eBay

Relieving the 888, the 916 started a new dynasty and made a lot of 1994 best bike lists.  Much of the machine was derived from Ducati racebikes - trellis frame, single-sided swingarm, dry clutch, underseat exhaust, and instantaneous access to the engine.  The folded headlight fairing was designed by Massimo Tamburini and became a sportbike icon.  In the five years from 1994-98, the torquey 916 won four Superbike World Championships.

This is an ex-privateer's racebike, and for all the fun of turning a road bike into a racer, bringing a race machine back to the street can be tougher.  The owner answered the challenge of integrating all the great mods and beautifying the lot.  This bike has had some updates for the track, and some on the way back to the street.  With a built race engine, 1098 front end and race dash, the owner added a full carbon fiber body, including the fuel tank.  Here's one paragraph from the long description in the eBay auction:

This build was year and a half effort; acquiring the right mix of parts to make a Duc that I’ve never seen. This bike’s been to many events, and it is an original.  It has carbon fiber Ducati performance bodywork, fuel tank, air intakes, airbox, front fender, rear fender, foot guards, chain guard and Arrow exhaust.  The only major part that isn’t carbon fiber is the wheels; they are Marchesini 10 spoke forged magnesium wheels (3.50" x 17" Front and 5.50" x 17" Rear).  The Marchesini 10 spoke wheel weights with bearings front 6.04lbs, and rear 7.76lbs, very light, so I stayed with the 10 spokes.  The inside of the fuel tank has been coated with Caswell epoxy gas tank sealer to prevent leaks and protect the carbon fiber.

With this 916 coming up on 20 years old, a reliability comparison between stock and modified would be more of a pain management exercise.  This build might suit a tinkerer or an owner with access to a good repair shop, as when service is required, it won't quite be covered by the maintenance manual.  In return, the new owner will have a one-of-a-kind 916, race-engined with classic looks but many more modern components.  Located in a north Dallas suburb, arranging an in-person inspection by a friend or a shop might be a way to start...

- donn


Recovered Racer – 1998 Ducati 916
Yamaha May 22, 2017 posted by

Vintage Racer: 1970 Yamaha TR2 350 for Sale

Introduced in the late 1960s as an over-the-counter racebike, Yamaha's TR2 was based on the road-going R3, and was extremely popular among privateer racers of the period. At just 253lbs dry, the bike was lightweight and, with a nearly square 61mm x 59.6mm bore and stroke that worked out to 348cc, the little air-cooled, two-stroke parallel-twin put a claimed 55hp through a five-speed gearbox.

The huge drum brakes at both ends seen here were difficult to adjust correctly and are obviously not as effective as discs that would have likely been fitted to period racers as soon as they could get their hands on a set, but look very shiny!

From the original eBay listing: 1970 Yamaha TR2 350 for Sale

Restored to an excellent condition. Matching numbers. This very rare racebike have been completely overhauled with a lot of brand new parts as new cylinder barrels and pistons and an overhauled crankshaft, new Koni shock dampers, tires etc.

Transport can be arranged to most EU countries as I can deliver it by myself for actual costs for petrol and ferry tickets and, depending of distance, overnight costs at a cheap hotel. Transport outside Europe must be arranged by the buyer himself. I will make it ready for shipping with a crate and good wrapping.

Currently located in Sweden, this bike is in extremely nice condition, considering the age and the hard life most racebikes have endured, and appears ready to run or for display. Starting bid is $9,900 with no takers and very little time left on the auction, so move fast if you're living room needs redecorating!


Vintage Racer: 1970 Yamaha TR2 350 for Sale
Suzuki May 11, 2017 posted by

Featured Listing: Suzuki TL1000R Racer/Track Day Special for Sale

In the 90s, Ducati captured the imagination of race fans and road riders alike with their exotic, race-winning v-twins, and the Japanese were forced to play catch up on track in in the showrooms, as they'd largely been relying on highly-developed, but less emotional inline fours in World Superbike and endurance racing. The rules of World Superbike certainly favored v-twins at the time, and the Japanese seemed to believe that was all there was to their success, "If a tiny little company like Ducati can do it, we can too!" Unfortunately, both Honda and Suzuki missed their opportunity to cash in, producing "Ducati-killers" that failed to understand exactly why people bought Ducatis in the first place. The Honda SuperHawk was a very good motorcycle cursed with a tiny gas tank and handling that was never really intended to measure up to the track-focused 916, with handsome but fairly bland looks. And Suzuki's TL1000R was a massive failure in terms of its Ducati-slaying ability as well. They'd already built their road-focused TL1000S, so the TL1000R should have been a no-brainer. But while the 916 was narrow, sleek, and very focused on speed, the TL-R was bulbous and heavy, with handling limited by the controversial rotary rear damper carried over from the TL-S. The rotary damper worked fine in theory, but overheated in practice, resulting in sometimes scary at-the-limit handling. Luckily, today's Featured Listing, a track-ready TL1000R goes a long way towards rectifying those shortcomings.

Why use a rotary damper in the first place? Well a bike with a 90° v-twin is generally very narrow [unless you're on a Moto Guzzi], light, smooth and torquey, but presents packaging challenges. Ducati's front cylinder lies nearly horizontal, making for a very long engine and a correspondingly long wheelbase. Suzuki rotated their engine back in the chassis, but that left little room for a traditional rear shock, and they used a compact rotary damper in its place. It was a proven concept, but the execution left a bit to be desired...

Although the TL1000R was considered a sales flop at the time, low prices and that absolute peach of a v-twin have made it a very appealing roadbike. Keep in mind that Suzuki used this engine to power a whole range of their own bikes, and it was used by plenty of other manufacturers as well. It is reliable, reasonably powerful, and sounds great with a set of aftermarket cans. The TL1000R was a fundamentally sound bike, with all of the elements to be the everyman v-twin Suzuki advertised, but the execution was flawed. Power is never going to rival modern Ducatis, unless you throw a ton of money at the engine. But pounds can be shed, and handling improved with a swap to a more traditional rear shock and good suspension set up.

Today's Featured Listing goes back to the TL-R's original stated intent and systematically fixes problems: a complete modern GSX-R1000 front end with a Brembo master cylinder, lightweight bodywork, updated rear shock by Penske, and an Aprilia RS250 solo tail that lightens the bike visually as well, making it the sleek machine it always should have been.

From the seller: TLR1000R Race Bike for Sale

TL1000R for sale, bill of sale, no title, was built frame up piece by piece. Specs follow:

Engine - stock internally, Sharkskinz airbox, M4 full exhaust - rear sections have been modified to pull the exhaust closer to the swingarm for cornering ground clearance, Power Commander III. Yes, I know it's not really a superbike with the stock motor, but the rest of the modifications mean it's not SS legal.

Chassis - LE rear link and Penske shock, 04 GSXR 1000 forke/triples - LE valved and lengthened, Woodcraft clipons, Vortex upper triple clamp, Ohlins steering damper, Sato rearsets

Brakes - Brembo radial m/c, 04 GSXR 1000 calipers with spacers to run 320mm TLR rotors, rear caliper is a Wilwood PS-1 in a captured spacer setup (Pro Fab did the swingarm modification and all the machined parts), Goodridge stainless lines

Body - Sharkskinz body with Honda RS250 tailsection. Rear subframe is all fabricated aluminum.

Misc - Wire harness has been thrifted and ECU has been relocated to the front in fabricated aluminum holder. Clutch m/c is a brembo radial. Throttle is from Yoyodyne, probably more little stuff that I'm forgetting.

$6500, located in Indianapolis

Email is best for me: at

I love the Aprilia RS250 tail section, and the Gulf Racing colors work for me too: I'd love to do a track Ducati 916 up like that! Honestly, $5,600 seems like a heck of a deal for such a fully-developed bike. I've no idea if it'd make a competitive racebike, but if you like twins but don't want to risk your precious 998R in the fast group at a track day, this might be just the ticket. I fully understand why folks would choose something like a GSX-R or R6 as a trackday ride, but it's the funky stuff like this that interests me.


Yamaha January 12, 2017 posted by

Tiny Two-Stroke Terror: 1994 Yamaha TZ125 for Sale

A tiny racebike with big performance, the Yamaha TZ125 was a pure racebike and should not be confused with the TZR series of sportbikes. Handling was thought to be on par with the Honda RS125 but the Yamaha was down slightly on power compared to its rival. At 56mm x 50.7mm bore and stroke, it was oversquare, compared to the slightly underquare Honda, and featured Yamaha's "YPVS" to boost power. That little two-stroke single was backed by a six-speed gearbox with a dry clutch for extra lightness and improved rattle-osity. The owner's manual claims 180lb with oil and a full tank of fuel which means you may not need a ramp to unload your bike at the track if you work out regularly...

The listing for this particular bike is very... um brief and doesn't mention any spares, but several photos of parts are included, so I guess you can always email the seller if you want to know exactly what is included... Even if you're very familiar with the TZ125, some idea of what you're getting here would be a very good idea for the seller, especially since these are racebikes that need regular maintenance to keep them running and gearing/jetting changes to perform at their peak.

From the original eBay listing: 1994 Yamaha TZ125 for Sale

No title, no bill of sale, GP 125 for track, spares for a couple of seasons, ready to race. If you don't know what you're looking at. Don't waste our time. This is not a TZR our some sort of race rep. See pics.

The price seems reasonable at $6,000 considering what folks have been asking for other TZ125s but, perhaps as a result of the lack of details, interest in this machine has been pretty limited up until now, with just about 24 hours left on the auction.


Tiny Two-Stroke Terror: 1994 Yamaha TZ125 for Sale