Author Archives: Donn

Ducati June 25, 2020 posted by Donn

Silver Bird – 1998 Ducati 900SS/FE #287 of 300

In the 1990’s, Ducati’s SuperSport could be all things to some people – before the Monster and ST2 arrived, it could be an ok commuter and passable sport tourer.  This Final Edition has had some choice upgrades and considering the mileage looks very good.

1998 Ducati 900SS/FE for sale on eBay

The FE used the 904cc L-twin that had inhabited the SuperSports throughout the 90’s, air-cooled with 84 hp but peak torque at just 6,400 rpm.  The inverted forks and alloy swingarm were suspended by Showa, with Brembo supplying their gold-line 320mm brakes and cast iron rotors.  FE’s had a re-designed body with scoops to help cool the rear cylinder, and all were monoposto’s with a seat fairing courtesy of the earlier Superlight.  A new charging system brought 520 watts via a three phase alternator, and exhausts were swept high.  Carbon mudguards complimented the black alloys, and the dash was carbon as well.

Sounds like this owner is a knowledgeable SuperSport fan, and this FE has some key updates and neat NOS parts.  The Keihin flat-slide set-up appears to pre-date the seller and is tuned for Santa Fe (6,500 ft.) so chances are the carbs will have to be re-jetted for the new owner.  A few marks over the 17,000 miles, which is hard to confirm since the dash is new.  From the eBay auction:

The fork seals have just been replaced. 
It has a new Oberon clutch slave as the original was leaking. Works great.
It has brand new (NOS) front brake discs. These are unobtainium and super expensive when found – around $900!
It has a new factory windshield. $$
 
The gauge needles were faded as many vintage 900SS do over time. While hunting for less faded gauges I found another bit of unobtainium in the form of a complete NOS dash complete with gauges specifically for the FE with the carbon surround. It’s beautiful. Unfortunately, I can’t find my original speedo – I was going to include it in the sale for mileage history. I’m worried it got sold last year when I was clearing house of old used parts. It was in the mid 17000 mile range.
 
The bike is original except for the Keihin FCR41 carb set-up. This is a very popular upgrade that transforms the performance of the bike.  It runs great! There is no choke on these carbs – so the choke lever has been disconnected but is still there. I live at 7000 feet and the carbs are jetted for our high altitude. It may run a bit lean if you are close to sea level. No way to tell until the bike reaches it’s final destination. It has an open top airbox meaning it has a aftermarket frame that holds the K&N filter in place. It really helps the bike at our altitude as well.
 
The high mount Termignonis are beautiful. Sound great and the best period correct option for these. These are pricey if you can even find a set.
 
The Battlax tires have plenty of tread left front and rear. The belts were replaced by the prior owner about a year before I bought the bike. They are now around two years old.
 
It has a new fuel level sender ($250!). I have not put fuel back in the tank since replacing it, figuring if I sell the bike as planned, some shippers prefer empty tanks.

The 904 SuperSports were made from 1991-98 so you have to pick your spots for rarity, but the later SuperLights and FE’s fit the bill.  Not sure that seat is an all-day affair, but the riding position got high marks from reviewers.  Unusual to see such limited production with so many special parts on a no reserve auction, and it’ll be interesting to see where this FE winds up.

-donn

Silver Bird – 1998 Ducati 900SS/FE #287 of 300
Ducati June 22, 2020 posted by Donn

Blue Light Special – 2007 Ducati-NCR New Blue 1100

Ducati’s stateside managers saw an opportunity for celebration in 2007, and commissioned NCR to re-imagine the Ducati 750SS which won the Daytona Superbike round in 1977.  Number 4 in an edition of 50, this New Blue race bike is hand-built in a 21st century way, and shows just 45 miles.

2007 Ducati-NCR New Blue Racebike for sale on eBay

Named for – Old Blue –, a 750SS racer campaigned by Cook Neilsen ( at the time editor of Cycle magazine ), the New Blue is also air-cooled, but that and the paint color might be all they share.  Based on Ducati’s Sport 1000S, the engine is massaged heavily by NCR to 1100cc displacement and 116 hp.  Typically excellent components are supplied by Öhlins and Brembo, with an Apt slipper clutch, full titanium Zard exhaust, and BST carbon wheels.  Since Poggipolini and NCR joined forces in 2002, the company has used projects like this to showcase their Ti and Al alloy fabrication skills, with rearsets, clutch cover, triple clamps and clip-ons shown here.  The goal of weight reduction has been met with the scales showing only 319 lbs., a feather for a liter-plus thunderbike.

Shown with replaceable race fairings, later pictures show the factory nose and seat fairings with fawn suede seat, either way it’s a magnificent kit.  Destined for show, but built for go.  From the eBay auction:

Exclusive handmade bike , number 4 of only 50 built.

Developed jointly between NCR and Ducati North America, the “ready to race” New Blue is made in limited number and exclusively for the track

116HP driving 319lbs (116hp/145kg) the New Blue has 40% more power than its street base Ducati Sport 1000S

The NCR One Shot 1100cc powerplant and gearbox, Brembo monoblock brakes, full NCR electronics, full racing titanium 2-1-2 exhaust weighing only 8.8lbs made by Zard, Ohlins front and back tuned by NCR
Frame: tubular trellis in steel Ducati
Clutch System: NCR Corse by Apt custom slipper clutch system
Gearbox: 6 speed
Front Brake: 2 x 300mm Breaking WAVE disc – 4 -piston 2 pad Brembo Racing caliper from billet
Front Suspension: Ohlins 43 mm upside-down fork with Tin surface treatment, adjustable off-set
Rear Suspension: progressive linkage with fully adjustable Ohlins monoshock with length adjustment
Exhaust System: new custom all NCR titanium exhaust system 2-1-2 produced by Zara
Wheel Set: BST carbon fiber wheels set for NCR
Dashboard: AIM MXL
Electronic: NCR Corse wiring system with automatic Remapping System (ARS) by on-board CPU
Front Tyre: Metzeler Racetec Slick 120/70 R 17
Rear Tyre: Metzeler Racetec Slick 190/55 R 17
Bolt & Fasteners: completely produced in Titanium by Poggipolini Titanium
Seat: Leather seat by Schedoni
Special parts: NCR al7075/Titanium footrest kit; NCR Al7075/Titanium fuel cap; NCR Titanium clutch cover; NCR Titanium Al7075 clip on set; NCR triple clamps kit in aluminum from billet; NCR Corse bottom bracket in aluminum from billet; NCR camshaft and Magnesium NCR clutch and alternator case Poggipolini Group production

Cycle World and Neilsen debuted the New Blue at AHMRA’s Daytona meet in early 2007, with shoe Larry Pegram and CW editor Nick Ienatch aboard, article still available from CW archives – here –.  The New Blue still appears on NCR’s website in road or racetrack form, which also states that whatever your wishes for your own Sport 1000S, NCR could help out.  If more current racing is your interest, NCR’s Millona racebike ( also based on the air cooled Ducati twin ) has racked up Supertwins podiums around the world.  But that would make this now-vintage New Blue look positively budget-conscious.

-donn

 

Blue Light Special – 2007 Ducati-NCR New Blue 1100
Honda June 20, 2020 posted by Donn

Cleaniac – 1996 Honda RVF400R / NC35

Honda’s lightweight RVF400R has had a bit of a resurgence here on RSBFS lately, suspension updates making it the ultimate small V-4.  Here’s a Houston edition that looks unfettered and super clean.

1996 Honda RBF400R for sale on eBay

Honda couldn’t do much to improve the 399cc’s power and stay within the law, and the chassis dimensions, remain the same as the VFR400R.  Still carburetted with four 30mm Keihin’s fed by the fresh air tubes from in front of the mirrors.  The tires got a little wider and are both 17’s, and forks are now upside down, with a hair less trail than the VFR.  Bodywork was modernized, with fox-eye headlights that were more Fireblade than RC45.

Just a little history on this RVF, though it evidently hasn’t been ridden on the road by the seller.  Very sharp for almost 11,000 miles and a quarter century.  From the eBay auction:

Excellent condition all stock original condition with few minor blemishes from normal use.  It have 17,520 Kilometers runs and shifts great with smooth and powerful V4 Honda race engine.  Those are rare superbikes and this bike was imported from Japan and I did not ride it much since it was part of my little Honda collection and it was never abused, red-lined, raced or tempered with.  I changed the battery (Yuasa) changed oil (fully synthetic) and new Honda filter.

Can’t take anything away from the current small-sport singles, some are even racier and lighter, but lack the symphony of gear-driven cams, 360-degree crank and 14,500 rpm redline.  No fairing mounted speakers required for these tunes, just a twist of the wrist.  Without the usual wear and dirt, the buy-it-now per pound is pretty high, but might be worth pursuing.

-donn

 

Cleaniac – 1996 Honda RVF400R / NC35
Honda June 17, 2020 posted by Donn

Featured Listing – 2002 Honda RC51 / VTR1000 SP2

Update 7.06.2020: This bike has SOLD! Congratulations to buyer and seller! -dcc

Honda’s reply to the WSBK rules change put Ducati on notice, at the very least. The RC51 was updated to SP2 spec in 2002, largely on revised chassis and suspension. RSBFS reader Mike’s RC51 is presented in alternate white livery (never offered in the U.S.) and looks very good.

2002 Honda RC51 / VTR1000 SP2

Honda did their homework on the RC51 and it was a winner right out of the box.  With 136 hp available, just evolutionary changes were made to intake and PGM-FI fuel injection systems, and the SP2 update focused on lightness and supple handling.  The frame, swingarm, dampers and wheels are all percentage points lighter, and re-designed for quicker turn-in but steadier acceleration.  Brakes feature 320mm disks with revised cylinders to increase system pressures by 10 percent.

From the seller:

2002 Honda RC51 VTR Japanese spec motorcycle directly imported from Japan with clean USA title.
7600 or best offer $6,000
Located in Orlando Florida
These are original fairings and paint

Mike’s VTR sports original fairings and just under 30K miles.  Very good considering, though he is up front about the bruises and scrapes.  Looks substantially as delivered to me, and Mike asks $7600 $6,000 or nearest offer.

Honda had the unusual fortune of winning the 2002 WSBK with Colin Edwards, and that year’s AMA Superbike under a certain Nicky Hayden.  Money inevitably moved toward other projects the next year, though Honda had made their point.  While Mike’s VTR is neither mile-less nor without a tipover, it is quite original, ROW livery, and priced realistically. 

-donn

Featured Listing – 2002 Honda RC51 / VTR1000 SP2
Ducati June 17, 2020 posted by Donn

On the Dotted Line – 2007 Ducati 999S Team USA Edition

For 2007, Ducati asked superbike riders Ben Bostrom and Neil Hodgeson to sign 150 copies of their 999S in Parts Unlimited race livery, with all the -S niceties.  This example comes out of Georgia flying U.S. and Italian flags, with under 8,000 miles and in outstanding shape.

2007 Ducati 999S Team USA Edition for sale on eBay

Despite the polarizing looks of the Pierre Terblanche design, the 999 was a superlative for the time, its 998 cc’s good for 143 hp.  Torque was the back story with 83 ft.-lbs. helping out through tricky sections.  The -S came with Öhlins all around, the latest 320mm Brembo offerings, and forged Marchesini alloys.  Always in red ( at least the S ), the taller fairing gave riders an “in” feeling rather than being perched “on”.

Besides saying maintenance is caught up, the owner can’t offer much history with this 999S.  Miles are low, but higher than most limited edition superbikes.  Hard to quibble about the condition, at least until seeing it in person.  Comments from the eBay auction :

This 996S has 7,796 miles and is in excellent shape with only a few small rock chips that have been only been touched up (bike not repainted). It’s up to date on services, has never been tracked, and it’s ready for someone to enjoy it by riding it, or simply continuing its preservation. there are no known issues. I believe that I am the second owner, but I bought the bike from a divorcee, who won it in a settlement. As such, full documentation is not available. I have an extra ecu that will go with the bike.  This Ducati 999S Team USA race replica for sale locally, so I reserve the right to end the auction, if it sells. This is why I’ve included a buy it now option.

Bostrom and Hodgeson have been Ducati loyalists and were rewarded for consistent top top-tens and an occasional podium, though Suzuki was untouchable in 2006.  Ironically, Ducati turned AMA back over to privateers the next year, making this commemorative a single year.  Reviewed as very rideable for a superbike, this example seems like a good compromise between fun, condition, and collectability.

-donn

On the Dotted Line – 2007 Ducati 999S Team USA Edition
Featured Listing June 15, 2020 posted by Donn

Featured Listing – 1983 Suzuki XN85

Suzuki’s XN85 Turbo was built for 1983 only, and combined moderate boost with mid-size 673cc displacement, stuck with air-oil cooling, but was pretty sporty with 85 hp, 16-inch front wheel, and Full Floater rear end.  RSBFS reader Don’s example has just under 16,000 miles but looks better than excellent.

1983 Suzuki XN85 Featured Listing

Suzuki stayed conservative on the XN85’s internals, just SOHC and two valves per cylinder, 7.4:1 compression, and everything in the crankcase was toughened up.  One nod to the centrally mounted turbocharger was the adoption of electronic fuel injection, which allowed a programmable response to the complex relationship of rpm, manifold pressure, and temperature.  The chassis design added triangulation to the backbone, and though the wheelbase and rake were long, handling with the 16-inch front wheel got good reviews.  Brakes were good-sized with 296mm front disks and 265mm rear.  The cafe windshield and flowing side covers make reference to the 1981 Katana.

Don has kept his XN85 super nice, and the bike was subject of a magazine feature in 2002.  Since then it’s gotten a very correct re-paint and regular maintenance to keep it rideable, though it’s not ridden much.  Don’s comments about the XN85:

Extremely rare 1983 Suzuki XN85 (factory 650cc turbo). 1983 is the only year 300 units were imported into US and only 1,153 total worldwide. 15,876 original miles. Excellent condition, maybe 9 outta 10, and all original except repaint using original color and OEM stickers by previous owner. Paint is near perfect and original looking. I’ve owned it 3 years.
This same and exact motorcycle was featured in the September 2002 issue of Classic Bike Rider magazine by the previous owner. The magazine issue is included in the sale.

The bike starts, runs and rides like new. I cleaned the fuel injectors recently (ultrasonically) and it runs better than ever. Clean title notarized out of Ohio (previous owner), I never bothered to register it. This would make a great addition for the collector trying to assemble all 4 factory turbos from the Japanese. This is definitely the most difficult to find.

Don asks $7,500 for his XN85, and requests offers by email – here –.

Bike is located in Sacramento and Don can easily facilitate shipping.

Each of the big four stuck a toe in the turbo waters in the 1980’s, partly in response to gas lines and emissions standards enacted in the late 70’s.  At least a good engineering exercise, they checked out some smaller turbo concepts for a future that thankfully was delayed.  Suzuki’s entry was the sportiest and shortest-lived, and continues to be the rarest as well.  They only appear here once a season or so, and Don’s is one of the nicest and ready to ride, though more of its future will likely involve display.

-donn

Featured Listing – 1983 Suzuki XN85
Yamaha June 12, 2020 posted by Donn

Can’t Quit – 1977 Yamaha RD400

Most running, driving bikes with 40-plus years on have taken some kind of rebuild, and this 1977 RD400 is no exception.  This recent completion has had soup to nuts attention with some nice upgrades.

1977 Yamaha RD400 for sale on eBay

Though regulators in the western hemisphere were already thinking of two strokes in the past tense, Yamaha had a world-wide market to consider, and put a lot of new engineering into the 1976 RD400.  New crankcases were required for the 44 hp twin, and without the counter-balancer required in a four-stroke, resulted in a lightweight power unit.  CDI ignition and rubber engine mounts civilized the new 400.  Chassis and suspension were pretty UJM, but disk brakes and cast wheels were a peek into the future for a small-bore.  Stylists used black mechanicals and chrome exhaust to highlight the tank color.

Offered by a southern Conn. restoration shop, this RD shows just 15,843 miles and recent rebuild of the engine and pretty much everything else.  The blacked-out fenders and yellow wheels update the looks quite a bit, and performance improvements from the DG expansion chambers, K&N filters and remote reservoir shocks can be anticipated.  Nice list of new or rebuilt components from the eBay auction:

This is a very clean custom eye catching RD400 The engine was rebuilt 2 years ago .50 over.  It has very little mileage since the build. Very Sharp. Very clean. It has some desirable mods for the street.  Tuned and timed. Very quick response, nice power band. 

New:  Custom paint & decals w/Matching rims. Very clear gauges. OEM style mirrors. Replacement controls. Grips. Cables. Tires & tubes. Clutch. Fork tubes, seals, dust boots and polished lower fork housings.

Polished heads. Chain and sprockets. Performance master cylinder and clutch levers. New calipers. Rebuilt rear master cylinder. Braided brake lines. Rear sets from HVC. OEM signals & rear tail light. Rebuilt carbs w/pod filters, new jets. Custom seat. RFY rear Nitrogen charged  gas shocks.

Very nice DG chambers – No road rash.  Note: Chain Guard will be installed after modification. 

Lighter than everything comparable, the RD400’s non-linear powerband made friends with reviewers at Cycle World, who called it one of the ten best in 1976 and covered it as recently as 1993.  Yamaha kept honing the two-stroke twin, going back down to a 350, adding catalysts and liquid cooling.  After the two-wheeler was retired in 1995, the powertrain lived on in the Banshee quad, and helped parts availability for RD owners.  This example has a few days to run and hasn’t met the reserve, but the sensible restoration looks good enough to get there.

-donn

Can’t Quit – 1977 Yamaha RD400
Honda June 10, 2020 posted by Donn

Dust Bunny – 1992 Honda VFR400R / NC30

Not born on a construction site, but this vintage VFR400R may have acquired permanent resident status.  Propose to this beauty and whisk her away to the country ( roads ) of your choice.

1992 Honda VFR400R / NC30

A staple in the domestic market, the 400 cc VFR got great attention from Honda and the model was produced from 1986-1993.  For the third generation NC30, a 360-degree crank was introduced, and the redline raised slightly to 14,500 rpm.  Unrestricted power is closer to 68 hp, more inkeeping with the Nissin brakes and staggered 16 and 18-inch wheels.  The alloy twin-spar chassis accepts the right-side-up forks and the race-derived single sided swingarm.  Twin headlights in the RC30 lookalike fairing fool many a fan until they’re close-in.

Looks like this owner has carved out a spot in a larger garage to work on his VFR, and while not without some miles, it looks very good.  Just a couple of comments accompany the eBay auction:

1992 Honda VFR400R NC30, 18,000km or 11,000 miles, new tires, new brake pads, new fork seals all original fairings, de-restricted. Vermont registration, can be registered in any state in USA 

Bike runs very well

The VFR400R wasn’t sold far and wide, but along with its track manners and geared cam soundtrack, has a loyal following.  The ask is up in superbike territory, but a V-4 400 is rare and getting more so.  This Honda red example looks worth pushing the Make Offer button, at least to start a conversation.

-donn

Dust Bunny – 1992 Honda VFR400R / NC30