Author Archives: Donn

Honda December 13, 2018 posted by Donn

Island Hopper – 1996 Honda CBR900RR

Pretty much the gold standard for '90-s Superbikes, the CBR900RR ( aka FireBlade ) was a power-to-weight champion.  This one has the makings of a great value with excellent cosmetics, just over 4,000 miles, and reasonable starting bid.

1996 Honda CBR900RR for sale on eBay

 

Revolutionary in 1992, Revision 2.0 of the 900RR came in '96, with a slight bore increase for the carburetted straight four resulting in 919 cc's.  Improvements to the shifting internals got great reviews, and extrusions for the alloy twin-spar chassis were thinner and larger.  The riding position was incremented toward the street, and a change to the fuel tank shape helped the compact feel.  A race-derived front fender gave a little downforce to the front end and directed air up and into the fairing.

 

Hemmed in by Brooklyn and North Jersey, it's easy to see how a superbike could wind up with low miles.  This CBR presents very nicely, substantially stock and showing just a typical rub on the fairing near the (left) grip.  Not sure what an easy touch-up that would be, but just replace the levers with your favorite and at least they'll match, and you're off.  From the eBay auction:

Bike has a little over 4000 miles and runs like new. This bike is in showroom condition. I purchased this bike a few years ago from the original owner. All scheduled maintenance has been performed religiously and on time. You will never find another bike of this vintage in this great of shape. Awesome bike to add to your stable and to really enjoy. You can feel as if you’ve just stepped back into the 90’s! Any questions don’t hesitate to ask. This bike is not a restoration! It is all original and perfect.

 

As Honda's flagship, the FireBlade was gifted with outstanding build quality and attention to detail by their engineers. The owner seems realistic even though his claims of "perfect" and "showroom" might require an asterisk.  With its low miles and apparently limited damage history, bidding on a twenty year-old superbike might not be a leap of faith in this case.

-donn

Island Hopper – 1996 Honda CBR900RR
Kawasaki December 11, 2018 posted by Donn

P.C. (Preposterously Clean) – 1973 Kawasaki H1 500 Mach III

It would have been almost impossible to find an H1 in this condition in the mid-1970's, Mach III's generally obscured by dirt accumulated in the oily mist coating the bike.  This one has had a nice restoration and the auction still has a couple of days to run.

1973 Kawasaki H1 500 Mach III for sale on eBay

Back in the day, the only way to approach 100 hp per liter was with a two stroke, and while Honda had moved on, Suzuki still had a competing 500.  The basically square cylinders ( 60 x 58.8 mm ) resulted in 60 hp at 7,500 rpm.  The chassis was unfortunately not up to the task, put in a lot of over-exuberant situations.  Brakes were the usual, that is to say wholly inadequate, but this owner has added a second front disk.

A sparkling restoration and though the owner doesn't divulge who did the work, the carefully detailed engine and wheels look great.  From the eBay auction:

The following services have been performed:
* Rebuilt Crankshaft, bearings, seals and gaskets 
* Pistons & rings (.50 over)
* Rebuilt Carburetors rejetted w/pods
* Fork tubes, seals & dust boots
* Stock rear shocks
* Triple tree bearings
* Controls, grips and mirrors
* Super bike bars
* New cables
* New signals & stems
* Polished: Engine covers, outer head fins, forks, rear hub
* Rebuilt calipers - Dual brake system with refinished rotors
* 5/8 master cylinder
* Stock brake lines
* original grab rail, brake pedal, shifter, front fender
* re-chromed fork ears, chain guard
* New Paint, decals
* Re-laced rims
* New tires & tubes
* Chain & sprockets 
* replacement clutch
* Original seat 
* Bill Wirges chambers

Reviews raved about the big triple, while things like mileage and changing spark plugs every other oil change were easily forgotten.  But no one's proposing the H1 as a daily rider in this day and age, especially looking like this.  Wish the owner had attached a video with the sound of those triple expansion chambers...

-donn

P.C. (Preposterously Clean) – 1973 Kawasaki H1 500 Mach III
MZ December 8, 2018 posted by Donn

Sporty Single – 1999 MZ Skorpion 660 Sport Cup

A rare sight in-person but almost a regular for RSBFS readers, the MZ Skorpion was a post-East German single 660 with a Yamaha-derived 5-valve head.  This example in Kawi-esque livery may have been owned by a dealer, who has offered other MZ's and allowed this one only 7,000 miles.

1999 MZ Skorpion 660 Sport Cup for sale on eBay

 

Actually drafted by Norton designers Seymour-Powell, the Skorp had a tubular perimeter frame with Italian brakes and suspension.  Licensed from Yamaha, the thumper nearly made the magic 100 hp per liter, and the smaller engine block kept weight under control at just over 400 lbs. fully fueled.  Clip-ons are sensibly above the triple tree.  The straightforward handling made believers out of may skeptics.

 

Presented by a Rhody-based vintage Jaguar parts house, this Skorpion has what might be the factory's only two-tone paint.  Cosmetics are excellent and it has been nicely prepared for the next owner.  Comments from the eBay auction:

This bike has under 7K miles on it, has recently been serviced, new oil, filter, plug, carburetor and filter cleaned, new battery, new Michelin tires, aftermarket exhaust.
The bike has not been crashed or damaged and needs nothing. Have title, owner’s manual, original tool kit and some maintenance records.

 

Often seen as the base for a singles track bike, this MZ might be too nice to put the knife to.  Maybe it can be the "before" picture for the racer.  Or could be the most unusual cheap sportbike, maybe the most economical rare sports machine...

-donn

 

Sporty Single – 1999 MZ Skorpion 660 Sport Cup
Sport Bikes For Sale December 3, 2018 posted by Donn

Nostalgia Rains – 2018 Intl Motorcycle Show NYC

Even among new bike announcements, manufacturers at the New York edition of the IMS looked longingly over their shoulders.  Better late than never, we made it in for the last day of the show, and enjoyed with the crowd, happy to be out of the weather.

Suzuki showed a nice 1982 GSX-1100S with their new Katana 3.0

Suzuki also had Alex Rins' Moto GP machine.

MV Agusta showed their final F4, but will continue with the F3, with 675 and 800cc triples like this Reparto Corse.

BMW's R Nine T Racer was one of several in their Heritage line-up.  They even had retro riding gear but were afraid to put price tags on.

Ducati's narrow-V Supersport revisits their matte gray bodywork.

While the V-4 Panigale gives one matte carbon dive plane envy.

Having built a brand on retro, Royal Enfield shined up their 650cc single with an Ed Hardy-esque helmet.

Not immune to the siren call, Kawasaki displayed their Z900RS in 1972 colors.

Big Red showed little red with Grom mechanicals.

The show also has a nice variety of custom and race bikes, like this 1970 BSA Triple, similar to one recently featured in Cycle World.

The show might be on the rebound after a few years of shrinkage, and we were glad to see Ducati back after last year's absence.  The big displays each had a 300cc single sportbike which looked completely adequate, but didn't have the camera magnetism of the liters.  From a different sportbike universe, Yamaha's three-wheeled Niken might be the urban solution of the year, not requiring a kick stand.  Along with a very Chinese restaurant on Ninth Avenue at 24th St., the show was a great way to spend a rainy afternoon...

-donn

Nostalgia Rains – 2018 Intl Motorcycle Show NYC
BMW December 2, 2018 posted by Donn

Fan Fave – 2003 BMW R1100S Boxer Cup Replika

While BMW's wide-ranging catalogue didn't justify a MotoGP campaign, their sport division had a proper bike and its own support race series.  With the brand ambassador Randy Mamola's signature in paint on the fairing, this R1100S BCR has 20K miles and a spotless presentation.

2003 BMW R1100S Boxer Cup Replika for sale on eBay

 

BMW put its then most powerful engine in the R1100S as early as 1998, with a single cam for each cylinder actuating four valves, resulting in 98 hp at just 7,500 rpm.  The engine was a stressed chassis member, with front and rear subframes attached top and bottom.  The Telelever front uses a compact monoshock, as does the Paralever shaft-drive rear.  The staggered 17 and 18-inch wheels help the heavyweight turn in sharply.  Special parts for the later BCR include dual-spark heads, longer fork tubes for greater lean angles, Laser exhaust, and carbon head covers and mudguards.

 

Despite some miles, this Replika is in outstanding shape, and offered by a Bay Area dealer.  Pictures are mostly overall views but indicate none of the usual brushes with reality.  From the eBay auction:

This is a track version of the R1100S, (albeit this track machine is shaft drive and comes with heated grips) and is the mostly unadulterated BCR version of the R1100S and retains everything that makes it a fantastic sport tourer including an upright riding position that allows for the ample leverage needed to wrestle the heavy machine from side to side.

Aside from the blatant difference in livery, rear-solo cowl, and carbon fiber valve covers – complete with sliders – there aren’t many differences between the regular R1100S and BCR-spec models.  The Boxer Cup Replika (BCR) bikes were equipped with Ohlins suspension, a Laser exhaust, and a special paint livery with Randy Mamola’s signature. The BCR’s 1085cc twin makes 98hp at 7,500RPM and 71.5 ft-lbs of torque at 5,750RPM. A top speed of 140 mph is nothing too special, granted it does weigh in at just over 500lbs. A 31.5-inch seat height allows for surprisingly sporty riding (when you’re not scraping that ridiculously wide engine) and it’s 4.75 gallon fuel capacity is said to be good for a cool 150 miles.

 

Randy Mamola might be the winningest Moto-GP rider without a championship, having placed 2nd four times in the series and 3rd twice, all in the 500cc two-stroke formula.  He went on to test-riding and race broadcast commentary, and hosted BMW fans in the Grand Prix paddock for Boxer Cup races.  This Replika is a highlight, at least among fans of the marque, and is a nice example for the miles...

-donn

Fan Fave – 2003 BMW R1100S Boxer Cup Replika
Ducati November 26, 2018 posted by Donn

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