Monthly Archives: June 2016

Moto Guzzi June 11, 2016 posted by

Big Twin: 1993 Moto Guzzi Daytona for Sale

1993 Moto Guzzi Daytona R Side Front

If pure speed, cutting-edge technology, or drive chains are your thing, then today’s Moto Guzzi Daytona 1000 probably isn’t the bike for you. But if race heritage, character, and v-twin torque are things you enjoy, you can’t go wrong with this big Guzzi. The Daytona is certainly not light weight, but it does handle: with quality suspension front and rear, and based around a frame developed by dentist and privateer-racer Jr. John Wittner that would be used for decades following its introduction, it was the first modern sportbike from Moto Guzzi.

1993 Moto Guzzi Daytona R Side Engine

The Daytona featured Guzzi’s traditional longitudinally-oriented v-twin, backed by a five-speed gearbox and shaft drive, but was updated with fuel injection and four-valve cylinder heads. Interestingly, the engine isn’t exactly “overhead cam.” It’s more “high cam,” as the belt-driven cams actuate short pushrods, which in turn operate a pair of rocker shafts that open and close the valves. The engine had a 992cc displacement to squeak in under the limit for racing, as unlikely as that might sound. Half-faired looks show off that huge lump of a powertrain and that bulbous tail section houses the bike’s electronics. A dual-seat version was available but, with the pillion pad basically stuck on top, it looks pretty ridiculous and is best avoided.

1993 Moto Guzzi Daytona Dash

Think of the Daytona as Moto Guzzi’s 851, a bike that attempted to thrust the marque back onto the podium by applying modern technology to a familiar formula. Not a bike for everyone, but if you’re a Guzzisti, this bike looks very tasty, and those Termignoni exhaust pipes should make this bike sound even better than it looks. Seriously: if you like the sound of a big v-twin sportbike, it doesn’t get much better than a big Moto Guzzi with a set of Termis…

1993 Moto Guzzi Daytona R Side Tail

From the original eBay listing: 1993 Moto Guzzi Daytona 1000 for Sale

These were imported that year to homologate them for battle of the twins racing. Only 50 bikes came to the US and sources state that only 250 bikes were made worldwide, and this one is #21. This bike runs as perfect as it looks and the sound is even better through the dual Termignoni’s. I bought this bike fifteen years ago for $10k and it has been worth every penny.

The original owner whom I purchased it from said it had the factory “A” kitted motor. I have no proof myself as I have never had the motor apart. I can say that it is fast, but it is no Gixxer thou.

The bike came with WP shock, Marzocchi forks and Brembo brakes witch were top shelf items in its day. I believe the Daytona and MGS-01 were the only models to ever come with the performance 4-valve heads.

Of all of the bikes I have owned, this one is the most fun to ride and has more charisma than a Ducati. I think the pictures speak for themselves as it is almost perfect and you would be hard pressed to find a nicer example. About the only flaw is the paint is bubbled around the gas cap. I tried to capture this on the picture but the paint still looks perfect but is slightly bubbled. In the fifteen years I have owned the bike it has not gotten any worse.

This does come with the factory center stand lift.

1993 Moto Guzzi Daytona Tank

This example appears to have a spin-on filter conversion clearly visible on the front of the engine: most of the time, you need to drop the sump on a Guzzi to change the filter element, so this is a very desirable update for anyone who plans to use their Daytona regularly. The “A kitted motor” the seller mention refers to the bike’s state of tune. The A kit was an updated chip and intake/exhaust, with an available C Kit that included different cams as well.

There are several days left on the auction, but no takers yet at the $10,000 starting bid. That’s probably a pretty fair price, considering the condition, updates, and low miles. Guzzis of the era are definitely on the rise, and this looks like a nice bike to ride or collect.

-tad

1993 Moto Guzzi Daytona R Side Detail

Big Twin: 1993 Moto Guzzi Daytona for Sale
Honda June 10, 2016 posted by

VFR=Very F’n Reliable: 1993 Honda VFR750 in white

The first generation VFR 750F was only offered with the uber-cool white bodywork in 1993 and it still looks quite good, especially in comparison to the other sportbike designs of the 1990’s (cough-cough-I’m-looking-at-you-1993 Suzuki GSX-750R).  Fairly cheap just a few years ago, trying to find a 1993 VFR with the OEM white bodywork in good condition is now getting to be quite hard. Values have been increasing recently, as shown by this under 10,000 mile edition we listed last year went that for about $5,500 USD, well above its book value.

This one has a significantly higher number of miles than the one from last year but condition looks to be excellent and more importantly, mostly OEM.

nr7501

1993 Honda VFR 750 on ebay

Back in the early 1990’s the 600cc class really started to upset the previously dominant 750cc class both in terms of performance and in sales. New 600cc bikes like the Honda 600 F2 and Kawasaki ZX6R were suddenly close performance rivals to the previously dominant 750cc class and while some companies such as Kawasaki and Yamaha responded by making their 750cc offerings even more track tech oriented, Honda decided to go a different route.

Instead of a single pure track oriented 750cc offering like the Yamaha OW01 or Kawasaki ZX7RR, Honda instead took a two-pronged approach.  Honda put their considerable technological efforts towards what would become the mind bending oval piston equipped NR750 while at the same time allowing their 750 street effort to take a more balanced approach.  The result were two epic bikes; a technological tour de force in the NR750 and possibly the best all around sportbike of the 1990’s, the VFR750.

nr7502

When the VFR750 debuted Honda had just come through a debacle with the bikes predecessor, the VF700.  Flaws in the camshaft casting process had produced a reputation for “chocolate camshafts…they melt when they get hot!” and Honda was determined to restore their engineering reputation.  Rumor is that the focus on reliability was so intense that Honda lost money on the VFR750 for several years just to restore its reputation.

While reliability was a focus, the performance side of the VFR750 was nothing to sneeze at.  The VFR’s handling was on a par with the best superbikes of the day. A stock VFR finished eighth at the Suzuka 8-Hour race and another nearly stock version finished in 3rd place at the Donnington park Trophy race against competition that included the legenday Kevin Schwantz.    The Honda VFR 750 offerred bulletproof reliability and performance that measured up to all but the most performance-oriented bikes of the time.   It should come as no surprise that the VFR would in later years become a big sales success, win bike of year numerous times in the mid to late 1990’s and was even crowned sportbike of the decade by numerous motorcycling publications.

nr7503

This particular VFR has a good chunk of miles on it; the seller indicates over 45,000.  Even so condition of the bike looks to be truly excellent, with no blemishes on the triple tree or gauges.   The only items that seem of note are the tailpiece and exhaust which appear to be non stock, there seem to be extra/non-stock reflectors on the front forks and perhaps a bit of paint bubbling or road rash on the lower mid fairing.

Here is what the seller has to say:

  • New brakes, grips, oil & filter
  • Good tires
  • Good chain and sprockets
  • Perfect seat
  • No leaks or other issues, Everything works, starts on first push
  • Yoshimura Pipe – subtle but noticeable
  • Needs 1 fork seal, plastics not perfect.

nr7504

So now the question – what is this lovely VFR in the cool white worth?  Well let me put it this way…when I saw that the Buy-It-Now price was only $2,350 USD I almost bought it myself.  The condition of this one looks to be very good, its the rare white bodywork scheme, maintenance history looks reasonable and while the mileage is kind of high, given the VFR’s build quality reputation I don’t think there will be major issues once any initial issues are resolved.

This may be one of those rare occasions when a seller has underestimated the value of his bike.    I expect this one to sell pretty quickly so if you missed out on the one from last year you might want to act fast.

Marty/Dallaslavowner

VFR=Very F’n Reliable:  1993 Honda VFR750 in white
Ducati June 10, 2016 posted by

Piece of History: 1984 Ducati TT2/TT1 Race Bike for Sale

1984 Ducati TT1 Race Bike L Front2

Although the mid-1980s 750 F1 may not have represented the very best from Ducati, the TT2 and later TT1 race bikes that inspired them certainly did. Lightweight, perfectly formed, and highly effective, they epitomize Ducati’s racing ethos of the period. The original TT2 displaced 587cc and used the belt-drive Pantah motor, with the later TT1 punched out to something closer to 750cc. Both bikes did well in competition, although the earlier 600 was far more successful.

1984 Ducati TT1 Race Bike R Side

The beautiful and very lightweight [at a claimed 16lbs] frame by Verlicchi and the bodywork with perforations to allow airflow to a front-mounted oil-cooler are distinctive characteristics of the TT, and those huge headlights speak to the bike’s obvious endurance-racing intent. The front three-quarter view also highlights the 16” front and 18” rear wheel/tire combo that contributed to the bike’s agility.

1984 Ducati TT1 Race Bike R Side Engine
Although this one may have racing provenance and should probably be on display somewhere in a collection or museum, but it’s battle-ready and scuffed appearance almost demand that it be put into track-ready condition and campaigned in vintage events.

From the original eBay listing: 1984 Ducati TT2/TT1 Race Bike for Sale

Ducati TT2/TT1 750, model year 1984, VIN 22

This is a GENUINE TT2 factory bike, VIN 22 upgraded to TT1 750cc specs to compete in that class in the Endurance series. Jean Moto Team was a small but very “aggressive” team competing in endurance racing and TT’s during the 1980’s

A real piece of mid 80’s Ducati history this bike finished 6th overall at the 1984 Bol d’Or, first of all Ducatis so in front of works Ducati machines! It’s totally preserved as it finished the last race but the engine was completely overhauled by factory ex-mechanic Giorgio Grimandi.

Forget stocks and shares invest in a true piece of motorcycling history! It comes with documentation (original period magazine etc). Race, parade and collect! Bulletproof investment.

1984 Ducati TT1 Race Bike L Side

Bidding is up to around $6,500 with the reserve not met and several days left on the auction. That’s no surprise, considering that real TT race bike should be at least a $30,000 machine. I’m not sure why there hasn’t been more interest. Perhaps the bike’s mongrel TT1/TT2 history? That seems very much in keeping with a racebike’s mission, and only bikes that have spent their lives on display would be lacking period upgrades to keep them competitive…

-tad

1984 Ducati TT1 Race Bike L Front

Piece of History: 1984 Ducati TT2/TT1 Race Bike for Sale
Suzuki June 9, 2016 posted by

2nd Generation – 1989 Suzuki GSX-R750

Coming off 1988’s major re-vamp, the GSX-R750 for 1989 had the new frame, upgraded engine with slingshot carbs, revised fairing from the previous year along with a couple of tweaks to improve cornering clearance.  Would that it were an R or RK, but the base K model was a great ride, and could be very quick if suspension set-up was done individually.

20160608 1989 suzuki gsx-r750 right

1989 Suzuki GSX-R750 for sale on eBay

20160608 1989 suzuki gsx-r750 left

20160608 1989 suzuki gsx-r750 front

Sporting the SACS ( Suzuki Advanced Cooling System ), the 748 cc motor uses a two-stage oil pump with oil routed past the combustion chambers and piston squirters to help maintain its composure as 13,000 rpm and 112 hp quickly approach.  36mm Mikuni flat-slide carburetors are helped by a shorter intake path, fed by ports beside the headlights.  The perimeter frame is welded up extrusions and forgings of aluminum, as is the swingarm.  Right side up cartridge forks are without anti-dive but adjustable for preload and rebound damping, as is the Full-Floater monoshock.  Stainless 4-1-2 exhaust is new for this year, though this bike has been fitted with a D&D 4-into-1 system.  Brakes are Nissin 310 mm fronts with four-piston calipers, with 230 mm rear.  Steering damper on the left frame is standard.  Though available set up for a passenger, this GSXR has the matching monoposto seat fairing.

20160608 1989 suzuki gsx-r750 left front

20160608 1989 suzuki gsx-r750 right rear

Offered by a New Jersey dealer, this GSX-R750 looks excellent or better and claims only 1,407 miles.  Sharper eyes may see mods but I’m not.  None of the body faux pas look like accident damage.  From the eBay auction:

Incredible find.  1989 GSXR 750K, its an ICONIC sport bike and becoming highly collectible.  Its not only incredible that this bike still exists but its in really great condition too.  

Bike is ready to ride with fresh oil/Filter, brake flush, New Tires.
 
Bike comes with factory (VERY RARE) solo seat cover with bump pad and also included is the stock seat cover/tailight surround.
 
I have tried to detail most of the defects in the paint but certainly can not get them all so i concentrated on the most obvious ones.  I have not noticed any cracks at all in the body, even all the small tabs seem to be intact.  The wind screen is a bit marked up and most of the scratches can be polished out but I opted to put an original windscreen on the bike verses a flimsy cheap aftermarket one.

20160608 1989 suzuki gsx-r750 left front

20160608 1989 suzuki gsx-r750 left fairing

Though a production machine and not a rarity at the time, a road registered original like this is not seen often.  Claiming a substantial horsepower advantage over its competition, the factory made some ride-height adjustments and re-shaped the exhaust collector for 1989, resulting in a sharp handling powerhouse.  Since summer is here, any number of aftermarket windshields would serve the purpose while you polish the original or search out a new-old-stock part…

-donn

20160608 1989 suzuki gsx-r750 right

 

2nd Generation – 1989 Suzuki GSX-R750
Suzuki June 8, 2016 posted by

Table for One: 1988 Suzuki RGV250Γ SP for Sale

1988 Suzuki RGV250 SP R Side
Fresh off the boat from Japan, this Suzuki RGV250 Γ “Gamma” is the higher-spec SP model that featured fully-adjustable suspension, along with a close-ratio gearbox and a dry clutch. 1988 was the first year of the RGV that replaced the parallel-twin of the RG250 with a new, 90° 249cc v-twin engine that also found its way into the Aprilia RS250. Designated the “VJ21” this first-generation RGV used Suzuki’s sophisticated aluminum beam frame, but lacked the later bike’s stacked exhaust and sexy banana swingarm that allowed space for that bike’s bulging expansion chambers.

1988 Suzuki RGV250 SP L Side Front

The complete package made around 50hp and weighed around 282lbs dry, so performance is deceptively good, considering the relatively small displacement. But more importantly, these machines are notoriously high-strung, requiring real effort to extract the modest power and skill to take advantage of that light weight and nimble handling. The result is performance that can embarrass more powerful machines on track and on the road when used properly. For Real Riders™ this kind of involvement is critical to the motorcycle experience and makes for epic David vs. Goliath stories shared over lunch.

1988 Suzuki RGV250 SP Clocks

This bike also features a solo tail section, which at first seems a shame. I mean, what rider doesn’t dream about taking some hot, young thing on the back for a midnight ride, the capstone of the typical motorcycle fantasy? But sexy as they may be, sportbikes are generally impractical for taking passengers and, considering the RGV250’s tiny, tiny size, maybe it’s best that this is a rider-only machine…

1988 Suzuki RGV250 SP L Side Rear
From the original eBay listing: 1988 Suzuki RGV250Γ Gamma SP for Sale
Up for auction is 1988 Suzuki RGV250 Gamma SP Model. SP Model has adjustable suspension, close ratio transmission, and this one has custom racing single seat. It just arrived from Japan. All electric works, engine, brake, suspension work too. Only needs tire: getting old so needs new one. Have a short movie on YouTube.
Got paper work you need to register but don’t know how much do you need. Please check your local DMV. Odometer shows 3124km (about 1952.5 miles) but seems like too low, I assume it has been replaced? Don’t know but it goes 1000 to 1100rpm. Right side plastic has crack but it has been fixed. 
The seller also helpfully includes a clip of the bike starting and running. The bike is in generally decent condition, although that solo tail is obviously not the original part, and the stock piece appears to be long-gone. Aesthetic choice or crash-repair? Many of these sat outside in their home market: garage space is at a premium in Japan. And build-quality was never all that high for these quarter-liter sportbikes, so most of these making their way here will need some cosmetic attention.

1988 Suzuki RGV250 SP R Side Rear

There’s still plenty of time left on the auction, with a $4,300.00 starting bid and no takers as yet.  Those two little letters “S” and “P” mean it should prove popular among collectors and folks who live in places where registration entails nothing more than a duly-appointed state representative looking at your ride and saying, “Yup. That’s a motorcycle.” It’s not a dead-stock museum-piece, but I expect that’ll be reflected in the final selling price, so someone may get a good deal on machine that’s very rare here in the US.

-tad

1988 Suzuki RGV250 SP L Side

Table for One: 1988 Suzuki RGV250Γ SP for Sale
Honda June 7, 2016 posted by

Under Pressure: 1983 Honda CX650 Turbo for Sale

1983 Honda CX650T R Front

With the other manufacturers building their exotic turbocharged 80s confections around more sophisticated four-cylinder designs, why did Honda base their CX650 Turbo on a bike that was so ugly, the British press dubbed it the “plastic maggot”? Well even though a simple, pushrod v-twin seems to go against the high-tech theme these motorcycles embodied, the reality is that to make big power with a turbo, it needs to be strong enough to handle the incredible pressures involved, especially in an era before electronics allowed high-boost engines to be more than just entertaining hand grenades. There’s a reason many turbocharged engines still use iron blocks instead of modern, all-aluminum construction…

1983 Honda CX650T L Side

The CX650’s engine specification may have seemed low-tech at a glance, but it was actually a very intelligent design, with thoughtful features like a transmission that rotated in the opposite direction compared to the crank to reduce the longitudinally-mounted engine’s torque-reaction, along with heads rotated to allow clearance for the rider’s knees, something Guzzi lovers would surely have appreciated. But most importantly for the Turbo, the 80° v-twin was built tough and the simple design left plenty of room for the complicated exhaust and intake plumbing required for a turbo, while liquid-cooling helped keep temperatures under control. The result was 19psi and 100hp from the 674cc engine, which was good enough for 140mph as tested, a pretty impressive number for a middleweight bike in the early 1980s.

1983 Honda CX650T R Rear

Wrapped in futuristic bodywork that disguised the bike’s plebeian origins pretty well. You’d never describe this or any of the other turbocharged motorcycles as “beautiful,” but they certainly look the part. Futuristic and sleek, they’re every bit the two-wheeled fantasy of young people who watched Battlestar Galactica and Buck Rodgers. The bike even included such forward-thinking elements as modular Comstar wheels and tubeless tires, an unusual thing to find on a street motorcycle at the time.

1983 Honda CX650T Headlight

Unfortunately, the dream of a middleweight bike with big-bike power was just that: a dream. The reality was that the turbo bikes added complexity and weight while offering power similar to big four-cylinder machines. And while the laggy boost of the era can be fun under the right circumstances, all of the Japanese turbo bikes make better quirky sport-touring bikes than they do back-road scratchers as a result of their unpredictable power delivery.

From the original eBay listing: 1983 Honda CX650 Turbo for Sale

ULTRA RARE!

…In 1983 only and back then only one thousend fifteen CX 650 TURBO-s found its way into USA… Even less went into private hands as many were designated for technical schools as an indication what future would bring. It was a very futuristic bike at the time.

This particular motorcycle of low, low mileage had only one owner before. It was stored indoors for many years. First titled in 1985 being sold as Honda dealership leftover since they were very expensive, costing more than a Civic hatchback! I have copy of original Title. It required a lot of attention, so after many hours of going thru details, we finally got this excellent engineering marvel back on the road. Having only 4,393 miles now, it is like barely broken in! Cosmetically, certainly not perfect (please see pictures), however for a 33 years old overall – presents itself as very nice and clean. Last thing I would like to point is that this CX650 T takes attention others even when is on the motion, not mention that every stop create people around.

The good: The engine runs smooth with no smoke, absolutely no issues or wrong sounds whatsoever (please see test drive You Tube Video) Clutch engages all 5 gears with no problem. Brakes are good, fuel pump, injectors are all in good working order as well as its electrical system. All plugs have factory white grease (no oxidation at all). Honda build quality back then was unbelievable and this shows three decades later. The turbo is nothing a like on the road today I had chance to ride on or to be able to compare to. Definitely very different experience. Lots of fun! Turbocharger starts whistling strong at approximately 4000 rpm, and will take off your front wheel up into the air if you open the throttle to hard…

The bad: This bike is not 100% complete. It is missing glove box door (we got the bike without it). RH side front turn directional blinker has broken lens (We rebuild it best we could, please see pictures).

Conclusion: A pure fun to drive, unique looks, quite rare now and therefore also likely to be valued as an investment and collectible. Depending on the local laws most likely eligible for low cost historic registration and insurance. It can be yours but for a realistic price only. Sorry I don’t have to sell it and low ball offers would not be considered as I rather keep it than give away at ¾ of an asking price!

We have not changed any parts on this motorcycle other than clutch cable and all fluids, filters, trying to keep it as original as possible. I do strongly recommend for the buyer to inspect this bike in person. Besides the bike we will include original Honda toolkit, owner’s manual, Honda tire pressure gauge, copy of original title and as the bonus: an official Honda Dealer Shop Manual for any future technical references. Tank bag seen on the picture NOT included.

1983 Honda CX650T Dash

The seller also includes a nice walk-around video of the bike running here. Turbo bikes are more complex and less reliable than their normally-aspirated counterparts, and the CX is no exception: starters and alternators can cause problems, although fixes are easily available and affordable if you can do the labor yourself, as both are engine-out jobs. But increased maintenance costs aside, the Turbo is still a pretty quick motorcycle, and can certainly surprise other riders out on a sweeping road. They’re also still pretty affordable considering how rare and exotic they are, although the seller is looking for pretty premium money: the Buy It Now is set at $10,200.00 for this particular bike. That’s on the high end for a CX650 Turbo, but the bike appears to be in good cosmetic condition and miles are very low, considering they make such interesting and relatively comfortable mounts.

-tad

1983 Honda CX650T R Side

Ducati June 6, 2016 posted by

Still Truckin’ – 1986 Ducati 750 F1

One of Ducati’s earliest racey replica’s the 1985-88 750 F1 was based on the engine from the Pantah.   Rather than retire and restore, this owner has continued to ride, update and repair the bike.  The result is a rider, not a museum piece, but one you could throw a leg over and enjoy today.

20160606 1986 ducati 750 f1 left

1986 Ducati 750 F1 for sale on eBay

20160606 1986 ducati 750 f1 right

20160606 1986 ducati 750 f1 dash

Presented as the factory was struggling with cash flow issues, the engineering done for the 750 F1 was limited, and the bikes lightweight, focused on sport.  The desmodue achieved 76 hp, routed through a dry clutch and 5-speed transmission.  Suspension was fairly basic with single-adjustable 40 mm forks and monoshock.  Stoppage provided by triple 280mm Brembo brakes, fronts semi-floating.   Now a classic Ducati look, the trellis frame peeks behind the tricolore endurance fairing.

20160606 1986 ducati 750 f1 right rear

20160606 1986 ducati 750 f1 tank detail

Showing a little over 27,000 miles, this 750 F1 looks great, as its age translates to less that 1,000 miles per year.  Beside only the normal patina of a road bike, the maintenance history is good news.  From the eBay auction:

1986 Ducati F1 (ZDM3AAALXGB751485) in excellent overall condition with very few minor cosmetic blemishes: two small dime sized dings on right top edge of tank, some spider crazing on fiberglass fairing, some minor paint scratches and touchups where needed. See pictures for some details. 3rd owner from new.

PHF 38mm carbs fitted. Two into one original Conti exhaust sounds great. Kill switch and switch gear from Bevel Heaven. Belts changed end of 2013; in 2014, less than 700 miles ago, new tires, new chain, replacement rear Hagon mono shock; overhauled front and rear brake calipers; new vacuum petcock. Has slight leak on front fork seals, need replacing sooner or later.

20160606 1986 ducati 750 f1 right fairing

20160606 1986 ducati 750 f1 left seat

In hindsight, Ducati’s laser focus on getting the F1’s out the door, while depriving them of the latest innovations, made for a lighter, more raw, and sportier build.  It also got them over the hump, and with Cagiva’s ( note Elephant decals ) help, they were on to bigger and better, as the belt-driven desmoquattros were just over the horizon.  Total production of the 1986 F1 was around 1,200 machines, now how many could say they were kept operational, ridden, maintained and updated over that 30 years ?

-donn

20160606 1986 ducati 750 f1 left tank

Still Truckin’ – 1986 Ducati 750 F1
Norton June 3, 2016 posted by

Classic Style, Modern Speed: 2015 Norton Commando 961 for Sale

2015 Norton Commando 961 R Side

While it could easily be mistaken for a vintage machine updated with modern wheels and suspension, this Norton Commando 961 is actually a brand-new motorcycle. This is a pricey, exclusive, retro-styled motorcycle for classic bike fans who want vintage charm and modern-ish performance, like a British SportClassic. With the sport v-twin configuration most closely associated with Ducati, the Norton instead uses a big parallel-twin unit for a similar character: thumping midrange and accessible, real-world performance.

2015 Norton Commando 961 L Side

Norton’s original Commando was a parallel-twin British sportbike from the late 1960s that offered up serious performance, good-looks, and charisma, and was a prime example of budget British ingenuity: as the Norton’s parallel-twin increased in size to keep pace with rivals, vibration became a real issue. A complete redesign of the engine wasn’t in the budget, so Norton isolated the engine from the frame with a set of rubber bushings they referred to as their “Isolastic” mounting system, which worked very well when properly maintained. But the package still used ancient non-unit construction, the overhead valves were still operated by pushrods, and the relative lack of reliability stood in stark contrast to the smooth, oil-tight Japanese machines that flooded the market in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Unable to compete, Norton hung on for a few years, chasing American sales with bikes like the Interstate and Hi-Rider, but had faded into history by 1980.

2015 Norton Commando 961 L Tank

Kenny Dreer brought some attention back to the marque with his VR880, which was basically a vintage 850 Commando rebuilt from the ground-up using as much modern technology as possible to create a bike that combined the best of the old and new, a vintage bike that didn’t leak, started without fail, and offered up performance more in keeping with modern machines. They were well-reviewed, but proved to be a headache for a small shop to produce and production was very limited. The Norton 961 took Dreer’s idea of a new/old Norton and ran with it. The gestation of the “new” Norton 961 has been difficult, but these machines have been trickling their way to the US.

2015 Norton Commando 961 Clocks

The new Norton uses big parallel-twin with pushrod-operated valves and a balance shaft as a nod to modern technology and produces 80hp with effortless acceleration at any rpm. Top-shelf Öhlins suspension components are used front and rear, and although the bike looks old-school with a twin-shock rear, the handling is reportedly excellent. I even saw one configured as a highly unlikely track bike at a recent AHRMA event!

2015 Norton Commando 961 R Engine

From the original eBay listing: 2015 Norton Commando 961 for Sale

There are few certainties in life. Death, taxes – and now a brand new absolute: if you like retro bikes you will lust after a Norton 961. The reason is simple. The Commando is quite simply the best retro bike in the world – and by a handsome margin.

At the heart of the bike is a surprisingly clever engine. The 961cc – hence the 961 name – Twin is no technical tour de force, but captures the spirit of British big Twins and improves on the feeling in a way which is as special as a cross plane Yamaha R1.

The power output belies the performance. Despite making only 80 horsepower, the Commando zips up to an indicated 110 mph – maybe a shade over 100 mph in actuality – with the merest flick of the wrist. In this respect, it is far more willing than the Ducati Sport Classic, which is its direct competitor, and the Norton simply slaughters the Triumph Bonneville.

The engine runs at 270 degree firing intervals and this, combined with a gear driven balancer shaft, makes the 961 smoother than the Ducati – and vastly better than any original British Twin.

The chassis is a typical British design, but modernized. Because the engine is dry sump, the oil lives in the top spine of the frame. This is simple, effective engineering and has worked perfectly on many British designs.

The suspension is one of the few things not made in Britain. Both the front fork and rear shocks come from Ohlin and they are quality items. I just loved the twin shock swinging swingarm, and the 961 handling is a treat.

In summary, this is a bike which you need to sell one, or maybe both, of your kidneys to own. It looks stunning, handles impeccably and has a motor which is so much better than the retro opposition that it deserves to be in a separate class.

To be honest, I think the look of the Norton 961 is a little too vintage, and the shape of the tail section seems gratuitously curvy to my eye. But having seen a couple in the flesh recently, the level of detailing is impressive: check out the shift rod that curves under a bulge in the transmission case. And those side panels are set inboard of the frame rails, a very nice touch that’s easily missed at first glance.

2015 Norton Commando 961 R Tail

The seller has set the Buy It Now price at $19,995.00 and there are just ten miles on the odometer, so the bike is virtually new. It’s obviously not a very good dollar-per-horsepower proposition, but if you’re a British bike fan looking for the ultimate Norton, that might seem like a bargain…

-tad

2015 Norton Commando 961 L Side 2

Classic Style, Modern Speed: 2015 Norton Commando 961 for Sale

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  • 2010 Wiesmann GT MF4-S Roadster
    I guess lightning does strike twice. Last November I took a look at a 2008 Wiesmann GT MF4 which ended up being one of the… The post 2010 Wiesmann GT MF4-S Roadster appeared first on German Cars For Sale Blog.
  • 2006 Porsche 911 Carrera Coupe
    Bringing $35,000 to a Porsche 911 party isn’t going to buy you much unless you want a 996 generation. Anything earlier you might be able… The post 2006 Porsche 911 Carrera Coupe appeared first on German Cars For Sale Blog.
  • 1 of 4: Acid Green 2015 Porsche 918 Spyder
    Back in 2020, Andrew looked at the Porsche 911 Turbo S Edition 918 Spyder. What was it? Well, it was run of 918 special 911… The post 1 of 4: Acid Green 2015 Porsche 918 Spyder appeared first on German Cars For Sale Blog.
  • 2019 BMW Alpina B7 xDrive Individual
    If you know me at all or even remotely follow these posts, you’ll know we’re here for two reasons. The lesser here, amazingly, is that… The post 2019 BMW Alpina B7 xDrive Individual appeared first on German Cars For Sale Blog.

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