Monthly Archives: November 2018

Yamaha November 30, 2018 posted by

Buzz Buzz Buzz: 1984 Yamaha RZ 350

The last street-legal production two stroke sport bike officially imported into all 50 States of the US by a major manufacturer, the RZ350 holds a special place in the heart of motorcycle enthusiasts. It was Yamaha’s valiant move to bravely keep the two stroke spirit alive and kicking in the face of tightening emission and noise regulations. It was both a brilliant success and an ultimate failure; a short lived lifespan that stirred hearts as technology passed it by. Enthusiasts who reside outside of the US may wonder at the American fascination with this bike – after all it had been in-market outside of the US for years and would certainly not be considered rare. But unlike grey market imports, this was one model that we could truly call our own. And with bold Yamaha bumble bee graphics and American superstar Kenny Roberts signing the fairing of every one, this one was ours. The RZ350, for all its shortcomings, is a legend.

1984 Yamaha RZ 350 for sale on eBay

If you look at the bloodline, you can see the DNA that evokes the Yamaha RD models that came before. But designed as a modern approach to the “less is more” philosophy, the RZ added liquid cooling to the familiar parallel twin. The two-stroke powerband was (partially) tamed by the introduction of computer controlled power valves, varying the exhaust port height depending upon RPM and throttle settings. Oil injection was standard, eliminating messy mix ratio cups and associated refueling hassles. And there was a secret weapon: hidden in the smart looking exhaust pipes were a complex set of catalytic converters, just like you would find on your car. With the cats (and some air injection), the RZ could sneak into all 50 States of the Union, including the super-picky EPA stronghold of California. Sure, the cans were heavy, they were expensive to replace (i.e. crash damage) and they did not perform nearly as well as expansion chambers and stingers, but they made the bike possible in the US. They were also easily replaced, which is what most everybody did. Immediately.

The RZ350 was intended to compete with the current crop of middleweights; likes of the Kawasaki GPz550, the Suzuki GS550, or even Yamaha’s own Seca 550 and FJ600. In that space, the stock RZ was outgunned by the bigger four cylinder four strokes. But the little RZ had agility on its side, and once on the pipe could fare well. But it would never be a great all-’rounder, given the peaky nature of popcorn power. There were many aftermarket and tuner tricks to unleash the beast. Typical tricks of overbores, decking the head to increase compression, and porting were effective. The fact that the Banshee, a Yamaha ATV, utilized the same motor definitely helped with parts availability and knowledge base. But despite the potential, the little RZ was not to be long lived. After a scant two years (and only one in CA), the RZ was pulled from the dealer floors. The party was over, and the used party began. This is where we pick up the story on this bike.

From the seller:
Bought this bike in 2001. Have ridden this bike regularly for 17yrs. Always kept inside. Rebuilt engine because of mileage. I am over 60 yrs old AMI certified motorcycle mechanic for 41yrs. and ride like a grandpa and take care of my things the same way.

– Work Performance rear shock
– Engine Rebuilt 1500 miles ago
– .020 Pro-X pistons,windows cut to match intake
– TDR reeds
– stage 1 porting
– Toomey pipes
– stage 1 dyno jet kit w/2into 1 K&N air filter
– Wiseco Hot Rods crankshaft
– New clutch w/springs
– Full gasket and seal kit
– Race Tech front fork springs
– Chain and sprockets 1500 miles
– New seat cover and battery
– HID headlight
– Powder coated frame
– Bike Dynos out at 59.6 RWH on Dayton Dyno at my shop!
– Spec II Full race fairing
– Fuel tank has no rust, has small quarter size dent and touch up on right front side

Forty Thousand Miles. Let that sink in. Most RZs don’t get to that point, having been thrashed, abused, modified, seized and crashed. This particular bike has an amazing number of miles, but looks great. It is clearly no museum collector given the mods, but from a period correct standpoint – hell, from a fun to ride standpoint – this one piqued my interest. The .20 overbore either means the engine had been refreshed once before, or perhaps it was necessary to go that deep due to scratches in the bore. Regardless, that means for bigger pistons and more power. The K&N filter and Toomey pipes are perfect add ons, as is the full Spec II fairing. This bike has been stripped and rebuilt, as evidenced by the powder coated frame. But that just means you are potentially getting a nearly new bike out of the deal.

If you can get past the mileage (40k!) and the non-standard mods, what you are looking at is a great rider. This is a bike that deserves action rather than parking in a museum – although I must admit it looks pretty good. And with a long term owner and a capable wrench (just an assumption, but how many owners out there have their own dyno??), this bike could well be good enough to fill the two-stroke void in your stable. The best part is the price: compared to 90% of what we see on RSBFS, this chainsaw is a veritable bargain. The opening ask started at a reasonable $3k, and bids are flying fast and furious. The Buy It Now price is a mere $4,500, meaning that this bike will likely sell before the auction is over. Check it out here, but better be quick about it. It might already be gone. Good Luck!!

MI

Buzz Buzz Buzz: 1984 Yamaha RZ 350
Ducati November 30, 2018 posted by

Used Well: 1991 Ducati 851

The Ducati 851 is a long-standing icon in the sport bike world. Leading the charge to Ducati’s dominant run of WSBK titles, the 851 was as successful on the showroom/street as it was on the track. Simultaneously introducing liquid cooling, fuel injection and four valve desmo heads, the 851 was both the leading edge of where Ducati had been, as well as the foundation for the future. And the sound? All the booming twin noises you expect, with a very unexpected-for-a-twin high redline. Good looks never hurt either, and the 851 exhibits the classic lines of the 1990s sportbike. You gotta hand it to the Italians – they know how to build a supermodel that checks all the right boxes.

1991 Ducati 851 for sale on eBay

The development of “rubber band” Pantah motor was an evolutionary design in the 2-valve, air-cooled Ducati twin. The 851 motor took the Pantah guts and revolutionized the rest. Four valve heads were actually part of Massimo Bordi’s thesis at University; this project allowed him to make them a production reality with the assistance of famed engineering firm Cosworth. Liquid cooling was a no-brainer; better control of heat allowed for closer tolerances and ultimately more (and more reliable power). Fuel injection – a first for Ducati – heralded the future of electronics in motorcycles and in racing. This feature also allowed for tuning and tweaking, necessary to extract the maximum performance from the engine/exhaust combinations tested. Utilizing known techniques, the chassis was a birdcage affair of straight steel tubing. Original plans called for a 16″ front wheel (1987 and 1988 model years), which was all the rage for GP machines at the time. However stability issues cropped up, and the now standard 17 incher was fitted. Later 851s received Ohlins upgrades from the original design Marzocchi units, and Brembos adorned the hubs front and rear.

From the seller:
Up for sale is my 1991 Ducati 851. It’s original, it’s complete, it’s immaculate, well taken care of, always garaged and under cover.
All original with tons of work in last 7 years.

Work in 2011 at 15k miles. Motor refresh, new rings, hone, bearings checked, valves adjusted, belts, everything gone through. Upgraded clutch slave New SS brake lines front/rear New clutch with basket open cover New coolant hoses Rebuild rear Ohlins shock Fast by Ferracci stage 1 chip and high carbon pipes.

Work done in 2018 at 16k miles. New front upgraded 916 Brembo rotors/OE pads, Diablo Rossi III tires, OEM battery. The bike is wearing original seat, original pipes and rear pegs now.
You won’t find a cleaner original condition collectible worthy 851.

When introduced, the 851 was considered a bit of a high-strung, maintenance-intensive and potentially fragile offering – providing performance at the cost of reliability and/or longevity. History has clearly shown this not to be true, however. Yes, there are some unique service aspects to owning a Pantah-based Ducati, including frequent belt changes and valve adjustment intervals (when compared to your average sewing machine). However these are not the Fiat-related, oil leaking, rust buckets than many feared. These are actually quite robust and reliable steeds that continue to churn out the sound and performance expected, and readers should not hesitate to consider a higher mileage bike. We have, in fact, seen specimens with double the mileage listed here (16,000); provided belts have been changed and services rendered, this motor is well neigh bulletproof.

Today’s particular example appears to have been used well, as opposed to well used. It is a ’91 851 Strada (biposto). Yes, it has had some miles under the keel. But it has also had a decent amount of service, no doubt at the behest of an owner who keeps his machines healthy and in order. As part of the maintenance there have also been some upgrades. Like the factory, this owner has replaced components with newer available items, both maintaining and enhancing performance of the bike. Being a ’91 model, it wears the white frame and white wheels – a striking combination (’92 and onwards went to black hoops). Is it really the cleanest original condition 851 we have seen? I would chalk that up to a bit of poetic license as this bike is not strictly original from a purist standpoint. But it is very, very clean – and continues to evoke visceral, emotional responses you might not find in a more modern bike. Whether or not it is worth the premium asking price is another matter (seller is open to offers). Check out all of the details here, and then jump back to the Comments section and lets chat 851s and higher mileage Ducs. Good Luck!!

MI

Used Well: 1991 Ducati 851
Suzuki November 29, 2018 posted by

On Target: 1983 Suzuki Katana GS1100SX

It came from the 80s. And while that is an accurate tag line, the truth is it sort of oozed its way boldly out of the 1970s. Like the last of the front-engine Formula 1 racers, the Katana was visually stunning and stood at the pinnacle of old-school performance. Unfortunately, that pinnacle was really a precipice; the new world of liquid cooling, single shock swing arms, GP-inspired 16-inch front wheels, five valves per cylinder and aluminum perimeter chassis was just around the corner. By 1984 the Kawasaki Ninja made the Katana a hot-rod relic, and the remainder of the Big Four were close behind. Suzuki gamely fought back with the likes of the Gen I GSX-R, but the era of air-cooling was headed the way of the dinosaur. Yet for a brief period of time the Suzuki Katana was top dog – and remains an iconic model even today.

1983 Suzuki Katana 1100 for sale on eBay

The seller has provided an accurate account of how the design of the Katana came to be, but fails to note the pedigree of Muth (long time BMW designer responsible for the R90S, R100S, R100RS and R65LS to name a few), and the extent to which the Katana design language extended throughout the Suzuki model range. The Katana was the most visually extreme, but the XN85 Turbo and full range of GS models all retained key elements and lines of the Katana. But the Katana wasn’t just another pretty face. Stuffed full of a DOHC, 1100cc in-line monster of a motor, the Katana was claimed to be the fastest mass-production motorcycle of the day with 80+ HP (!). Beneath the styling, the rest of the bike was surprisingly pedestrian; a stock GS1000 chassis complete with twin shocks. Wheels are 19 inchers, likely chosen as much for style as performance. Ancillary components hang off the end of the crank, making this bike impossibly wide. While some technology peeked its way into the build (4-valve heads, anti-dive fork), the Katana was really a tarted up, big motor bike. Which is why we love it.

From the seller:
You are looking at a great condition 1983 Suzuki GS1100S Katana, one of the iconic bikes of the early 1980s.

The 1100cc model of 1983 replaced the 1982 1000cc model which was supposed to be part of a homologation program to make them eligible for Superbike racing.

The Katana project actually began in Germany with a company called Target Design in 1979 with Target Design to improve Suzuki’s GS1100. Ex-BMW designers Hans-Georg Kasten and Hans Muth partnered with Brit Jan Fellstrom to overhaul the Suzuki lineup. The Katana, named for the famous Japanese sword, first appeared at the Intermot show in Cologne in May 1980, and production examples appeared a year later with only a few changes from the show bike.

More from the seller:
This particular bike is part of a collection which is being sized down. It has been parked for quite a while and is NOT READY TO RIDE

It will require some attention to make it roadworthy if it is supposed to be ridden.

Please note that the title will show an odometer discrepancy according to the BMW regulations in Ohio. The mileage shown on the speedometer on the bike is 75, but the actual mileage is approx. 6060. The original speedometer showing 5984 miles will be included.

Complete and original (or period correct) Katanas are getting stronger on the money side. While time has tamed their brutal status as a monster – performance slower than that of a middleweight today – keep in mind that the chassis and suspension is pretty much 40 year old technology. While never a canyon carver in its day, Katanas today are best utilized for more genteel rides and for the show. Today’s bike is more on the show side of the fence, having traveled only 6,000 miles in its life and being the resident of a private collection. The seller notes that due to the time it has sat it will need to be serviced. That likely means carbs and tires, and any other pieces that have gone brittle with age.

This bike is currently at $4,500 with several days to go – and what appears to be NO Reserve. The current price is a bargain for a vintage Katana, although with over 100 watchers it will surely climb before auction end. We don’t see a lot of these, but looking at past pricing puts an average somewhere in the $8k arena. This bike appears cleaner than most, which may help elevate its value. Check it out here, and then jump back to the comments to share your thoughts. Is this a Love It or Hate It bike for you? Good luck!!

MI

On Target: 1983 Suzuki Katana GS1100SX
Honda November 28, 2018 posted by

Royal Crown: 2004 Honda RC51

In the soda wars of the 1980s, Coca-Cola was the big dog. But others were keen to move in on the success of Coke, including Pepsi and RC Cola. Each had a slightly different take on the same theme, and competed for the same set of customers. Fast forward to the late 1990s and you could see the same situation developing in World Superbike racing. Ducati had the dominant platform with their legendary 916 (and 851 before that), winning 8 championships and effectively shutting out the other manufacturers. Given the rules and concessions afforded to twins in WSBK (displacement and weight, for example), other factories jumped on the copycat bandwagon. Honda in particular put their four cylinder screamers aside for a roaring v-twin designed to take the fight to Bologna. The bike that was developed became the very successful RC51. Winning the 2000 WSBK title the first year out with Colin Edwards, the RC51 also found success Stateside in the AMA under the guidance of one Nicky Hayden.

2004 Honda RC51 for sale on eBay

Officially known as the RVT1000R in the US, the RC51 was the spiritual successor to the RC30 and RC45; it was built to go racing and win races. And while four cylinder WSBK machines were limited to 750cc, twins were allowed up to 999cc – providing more torque and HP over a lower RPM limit. Designing a new 90 degree twin displacing 999cc, the RC51 featured four valves per cylinder, gear-driven cams and a unique twin injector per cylinder for better fueling across the rev range. And speaking of revs, the RC51 was somewhat limited on the RPM front to the 10k range in favor of longevity due to the large bore / short stroke arrangement. The chassis was pure Honda – aluminum twin beam – with striking side-mounted radiators. While this made for a wider arrangement than the 916, the side-mounted rads were effective and aerodynamic.

From the seller:
Solo seat, Santo pipes, Penske shocks, GPR steering stabilizer, Power Commander.

Very clean, runs great, sounds great, excellent condition. Title in hand. Ready to go.

An overall competitive package, the RC51 was met with great rider enthusiasm; this was partly due to the price. While uber-limited RC30 and RC45s sold new for $25k+, the “lowly” RC51 was a veritable bargain with MSRP one buck below ten grand. There was even a Nicky Hayden edition sold, consisting of cosmetic changes such as brushed aluminum frame and swingarm, number plates and stickers. There were two generations of this model, the SP1 offered from 2000 to 2001, and all others are considered SP2 editions with minor suspension and fueling updates and some geometry changes. By 2006 the twin-cylinder party was over for Honda – as was factory WSBK racing for the time being. When they reemerged from their WSBK absence the new platform was back to the old in-line four ways of the FireBlade. Thus the RC51 is not exactly homologation rare, but relatively low numbers were produced over a short period of time.

Like the cola wars that preceded it, there were many interpretations of the same flavor. The RC51 remains a unique example of Honda taking the fight to Ducati on their turf and for a brief moment, winning the war. The resulting bike was massively capable, with Honda’s penchant for reliability and build quality. While a bit porky from some angles, the RC51 is a mean racing machine, and remains a desirable mount for practically any type of riding. This particular example shows few miles (less than 6k), and has some nice add-ons such as tasty Sato exhaust, suspension upgrades and a Power Commander to aid in fueling/tuning. More importantly, it has all the elements of a Nicky Hayden Edition, although not noted by the seller. With an opening ask of $6,000 this bike is starting out in the fair money range, if not the upper side of that neighborhood. No takers thus far, but there is still a long way to go. Check it out here if you are looking to pick up an under-appreciated superbike with real racetrack creds. It may not be the most coveted of the RC set, but this one still looks, sounds and goes like an RC should. Good Luck!!

MI

Royal Crown:  2004 Honda RC51
Honda November 27, 2018 posted by

Last of the First: 1999 Honda CBR900RR

In the year 2000, Honda improved the CBR900RR, by then an aging living legend, to keep up with literbikes from the competition. The Yamaha had swept past Honda with the R1, and it was time for the CBR’s next evolution. But this 1999 Honda CBR900RR represents the last and most up-to-date version of the original CBR900RR, which lit path for late-century Japanese sportbikes.

1999 Honda CBR900RR for sale on eBay

By 1999, Honda had bored the engine out to 919cc, and re-thought the suspension, chassis and riding position to be slightly more relaxed than the cramped early bikes. Not only was the engine bigger, but it was blessed with lightened internals and Honda took measures to reduce friction in the rotating assembly. The bike clung to right-side-up forks and the funny 16-inch front wheel that helped make it a renowned handler.

This 1999 Honda CBR900RR appears to be in really good shape, save a couple marks on the chassis and some very light surface rust and dirt. It has a fair-enough 14,000 miles and wears stainless steel brake lines and a Yoshimura exhaust. The seller doesn’t say whether the stock set up is available, but then again, the ad is thin on the ground with detail.

From the eBay listing:

Ok…this is as clean as they come, all serviced including valves…runs beautiful…all stock but braided steel lines for braking, tires, and Yoshimura bolt on exhaust wich souds beautiful…not loud, at all, yet it has 2 inch baffle…well made.Has 14k miles and I am not using it so mileage will not go up , titled in my name…please note pics DO NOT serve this bike well it looks better in person.

This bike is as clean as can be…what a survivor…all serviced and all stock VIN and warning stickers even the very tiny fuel on and off …are intact….needs a good home…more info call 407-791-3584
If bike is paid for I could possibly deliver in the surrounding states for additional fee

The buy-it-now of $7,500 is a little optimistic for a bike that was built in its millions, though very clean examples that haven’t been crashed, stretched, had their wheels chromed or otherwise been stepped on are getting harder to find.

Last of the First: 1999 Honda CBR900RR
Ducati November 26, 2018 posted by

No Excuses – 2006 Ducati Paul Smart 1000LE

More 2006-era Paul Smarts have been pirated away to the dining room than the garage, a shame since they are sharp-edged tools.  This example is apparently a bona fide museum piece, lightly accessorized and almost un-ridden.

2006 Ducati Paul Smart 1000LE for sale on eBay

South African designer Pierre Terblanche presented the SportClassic lineup in 2003, and three variants were produced over the 2006-10 model years.  All used the 992cc dual-spark desmodue, but the Paul Smart styled its way back to Ducati’s 750 Imola race machine.  Modern appointments like Marelli electronic fuel injection, Öhlins dampers, and 320mm Brembo disk brakes bring the 1000LE into this century.  Faired like a 1970’s endurance racer, the low clip-ons limit utility to back roads rather than cross-town traffic.

The owner of this Paul Smart professes to have 150-plus bikes and a private race track, leaving a beloved Paul Smart short on attention.  Apart from a few quality farkles, the SE is as new, as detailed in the eBay auction:

I have all the original bits, of course.  Mirrors , directionals , mini-fairing pieces if for some reason you don’t love the full(ish) fairings as I do.  I made pretty clutch plate and cover and springs and keepers – but you can put the lame stock cover on if you are that fussy. I loved displaying it  as shown.  But everything about it is perfection. 
This is an absolutely-no-excuses bike that is going to continue to appreciate for SURE.

With only 2000 produced, the Paul Smart LE is only going to get rarer.  Look-alikes and conversions have already made their play.  This Ducati isn’t a race replica, but rather a commemorative of a few long-past seasons.  While the eventual re-sale value may be of interest, without the experience of riding the air-cooled dual spark engine it’s a paper exercise.

-donn

No Excuses – 2006 Ducati Paul Smart 1000LE
Kawasaki November 24, 2018 posted by

Green Machine: 1991 Kawasaki ZX7R-K

Kawasaki built the ZX7 line for what seems like the last third of the last millennium, ending its run with a reputation for being smooth, comfortable and reliable, but behind its 750cc-class competitors as a track bike. The reputation gained by the later bikes belies the roots laid by the 1991 Kawasaki ZX-7RK. An out-of-the-box racer, the K bikes had 39mm Keihin flatslides, a single seat subframe and adjustable suspension and were a little more than 10 pounds lighter than the standard bikes.

1991 Kawasaki ZX7-RK for sale on eBay

This example looks very well kept, and the odometer shows fewer than 6,000 miles. The pictures leave some detail to be desired, but the fairings appear to be blemish free and the running gear is used, but not filthy. It has an aftermarket Muzzy pipe, but the ad doesn’t mention whether the stock piece is available.

From the eBay listing:

1992 zx7r-k model for sale. Very low miles, very nice condition!! Have not seen another one in as nice of condition ever! No scratches, no seat wear, never dropped, abused or raced since owned by me. Bought bike in 06 with 3,500 miles and been in heated garage ever since. Just had carbs rebuilt and tuned…..bike runs amazing! Will not disappoint! $500.00 non-refundable deposit.

The buy-it-now is set at $9,000, steep for a used sportbike, but the K bikes are rare as hen’s teeth, and a cool alternative to the more numerous GSXRs and CBRs.

Green Machine: 1991 Kawasaki ZX7R-K
Aprilia November 23, 2018 posted by

When Black Friday Comes – 2002 Aprilia RS250 Challenge Cup

Almost always in black, Aprilia’s pint-size race machine had its own series in the early 2000’s.  With only 550 miles, this one has been spared too much track abuse and looks like a great way to start preparations for the 2019 club racing season.

2002 Aprilia RS250 Challenge Cup for sale on eBay

 

Aprilia developed the RS250 for 1995 model year and the 249cc race replica was immediately successful.  With Aprilia’s own intake and exhaust, the Suzuki-built engine returns 62 hp.  Built like a much larger machine, its pressed and welded twin-spar frame is all alloy, as is the banana swingarm.  40mm upside-down forks and 298mm front disks could cope with more than the reported 130 mph.  Sheared of all its lights, mirrors and accompanying electrics, weight is just 309 lbs. dry.

 

We’ve seen several RS250’s that were put on display from new, and this one is close with just a few tanks of gas in its past.  The owner comments on a few rubs and scratches, but the photos show very nice condition.  Some return-to-duty maintenance has been done, as listed in the eBay auction:

Very limited numbers of Cup Challenge Bikes were produced, and this is one of the lowest mileage examples offered for sale at this time
Cup Challenge Bikes come from Aprilia with 15 digit VIN’s, to prevent them from being licensed as a street legal vehicle (which have 17 digit VIN’s)
884 Original Kilometers on the Odometer (550 miles)
Beautiful Condition
Perfect bike to sit in your living room or man cave so you and your friends can stare at it like a piece of artwork
Bike has slight rubbings, scratches, and road debris indicative of being ridden for 550 miles.
Recently pulled out of long term storage
Carbs were recently gone through by a local 2 Stroke Mechanic to clean them out and to make them ready for some fresh race gas
I installed a new battery, added some race gas, checked the fluids, and the bike fired up on the 1st kick

 

Aprilia brought their single-make series stateside for a few years to gin up interest, and went on to provide sponsorship and contingency prizes as the series matured.  The two-stroke formula was waning however, and in a final comment on the strength of the 250’s, FIM changed Moto2 to a 600cc four-stroke class for 2010.  Maybe you’re thinking of a robust track season next year, and are way ahead on your holiday shopping ?  If so this RS250 looks ready and could make your holidays a lot brighter…

-donn

 

When Black Friday Comes – 2002 Aprilia RS250 Challenge Cup

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