Author Archives: Donn

Honda November 28, 2019 posted by Donn

Gym Buddy – 1992 Honda VFR400R NC30

Sport riders tend to head toward the lighter side when working on their skills or the racetrack beckons.  Now closer to thirty years of age than twenty, the NC30 is a perfect choice for a workout partner.  This grey import is even more unusual in the black / red livery.

1992 Honda VFR400R NC30 for sale on eBay

From across the four-lane it would be easy to confuse the NC30 with its 750cc sibling, but the general scale ( and 400R decals ) give it away.  The 59 hp are responsible for motivating only 364 lbs. dry, and it stays under 400 lbs. with full fuel.  Right wrist and gearbox will get exercise, since peak power is at just under 13,000 rpm.  Don’t miss shoulder day too often, since the compact package and 16-front / 18-rear wheel stagger will keep weight on the bars.  The last-gen NC30 had the 360-degree “big bang” crank, shows off the rear wheel courtesy of the left-hand muffler, and sports a 14,500 rpm redline.

A little light on pictures and description, this example calls for more information.  In the meantime we can enjoy the striking livery, new Battlaxes , and carbon muffler, and no evident damage.  From the eBay auction:

I have for sale a very rare color combination 1992 Honda VFR400R NC30, new tires , brakes, forks rebuilt, bike is in a good condition , has aftermarket exhaust , 18,000 kilometers (11,300 miles).

Comes with Vermont registration in my name which can be registered in any state.

Won’t need your headphones at this gym, just earplugs, as the gear driven cams will be music to your ears.  Reviewers advised that the NC30 had fallen off the sharp edge of the 399cc class, but the smooth power delivery, soft spring rates, and high build quality resulted in high overall ratings.  Even with its high ask, this one deserves further investigation.

-donn

Gym Buddy – 1992 Honda VFR400R NC30
Benelli November 27, 2019 posted by Donn

Featured Listing – 1976 Benelli Sei 750

Update 11.20.2019: Joe’s bikes are being sold at Bonhams 2020 Las Vegas Auction. The auction is scheduled to take place on Thursday, January 23rd 2020 at Caesar’s Entertainment Studios, beginning at 12 noon. For information about the bikes and the auction itself, please visit – https://www.bonhams.com/auctions/25835/ You can also contact Michael Caimano directly at 929-666-2243 or Michael.Caimano@Bonhams.com

Check out all Joe’s bikes that are being offered at Bonhams. Good luck to bidders and seller! -dc

Benelli and Honda exchanged flattery in the 1970’s, which began with Benelli creating a six cylinder look-alike of Honda’s CB500 Four in 1972.  Their flagship Sei began as a 750 and progressed to a 900 by 1979.  Honda returned the compliment in 1978 with their CBX.  Restored by a previous owner, this Sei is a magnificent labor of love.

Benelli made a careful study of the air-cooled Honda and made a few changes – the gear-driven alternator, located behind the cylinders, keeps the engine’s width manageable.  With three Dell’Orto carburettors, 76 hp was almost effortless and the Sei created usable torque from 2,000 rpm.  The chassis is a hefty downtube with right-side-up Marzocchi forks, and twin Sebac shocks.  Dual front disks make up for the tried-and-true rear drum.  Styling is dominated by the six-way calliope, with a few angular details on the instrument cluster, side covers, and cylinders.

A bottle of chrome polish might be on the new owner’s shopping list, since the Sei is all metal, with not even the side covers executed in plastic.  On display since shortly after the restoration was completed, it shows almost as a new machine, with sparkling finishes and new rubber parts, like the carburetor boots.  The owner shares these notes:

In general, I do believe super rare Italian motorcycle of the 1970s and 1980s are the future Ferrari of motorcycle collecting. We all know what has happened to Ferrari.

The 1976 Benelli SEI 750 six-cylinder is another one of those iconic Italian motorcycles. It was the first six-cylinder production motorcycle, and, yes, those six exhaust pipes not only sound great but look phenomenal. The bike was restored by a gentleman that spent what looks like half a lifetime to get it to such perfection. This bike starts and runs as it should and I don’t personally know of one important criticism that I could make on the bike for show or riding.

The Benelli winding through the gears sound like a Gran Prix rarer and the slick handling is something has to be experienced. These six cylinder Benelli bikes have a long way to go in terms of collector appreciation. When you buy a first series Benelli six cylinder you will find a crowd wherever you stop.

Then just wind up through the gears and it seems that the roar of those six exhaust pipes can be heard a mile away.

Check out the pictures of this Benelli it has to be one of the best, if not The Best, restored 1976 Benelli SEI 750’s ever!

All my bikes are kept in climate controlled storage and on trickle chargers when not in use so they are always ready to take a day’s ride at a moment’s notice.


Check out the pictures and be a little amazed – you are seeing the best!

As the 1970’s opened, industrialist Alejandro DeTomaso had high hopes for his new acquisition, and funded the development of the magnetic Sei.  The big-band sound of six individual 125cc cylinders is more like a fleet of motorcycles than just one.  Never destined to be in every garage, the bright light in the Benelli showroom was reflecting off the Sei’s six chrome mufflers.  The owner has curated and preserved this example to a high standard, and not insignificantly, kept it ready to ride. 

-donn

Featured Listing – 1976 Benelli Sei 750
BMW November 26, 2019 posted by Donn

Tiger ( but not ) Beat – 1999 BMW R1100S

As often happens, the early years of option paint designs for BMW’s R1100S were some of the best.  This striped example has been somebody’s baby, low miles and dealer serviced.

1999 BMW R1100S for sale on eBay

Largely adapted from the earlier R1100RS sport tourer, the R1100S was introduced for the 1998 model year with the 1085cc engine, which used a single overhead cam driving four valves on each side, resulting in 98 hp.  The innovative front Telelever transferred braking force more horizontally than a typical fork, reducing front end dive.  The Paralever rear combines maintenance-free power delivery with a parallelogram-ish linkage which checked a shaft driver’s tendency to push the bike up under acceleration.  Brakes are factory standard 320mm disks, and the optional ABS is present.  The upper-only fairing flows  over the tank and all the way to the seat, which offers a covered pillion.

Not sure this is the original owner, but all service records are apparently available.  Whoever ordered this R1100S went for the nicer paint, ABS, and heated grips.  Not seeing the bag racks but they are still available if you insist.  Looks very stock and undamaged, though I’d keep it on the concrete and out of the rose garden.  From the eBay auction:

RARE Yellow and Silver Combo BMW R1100S in mint condition!  Regularly serviced at Bloodworth BMW all records available!  Heated Grips ! Extremely low miles and pampered it’s entire life!  Absolutely beautiful and runs excellent , no issues!  Not a finer one available this year!  Normal wear on Grips and Pegs !

BMW had a good run with the R1100S and had a few race paint replicas and race-prep limited editions.  The model jumped the 1150 motor and went right to the 1200S, which soon gave way to a more conventional sportbike in the S1000R.  With a stable ride and enough chops for a once-a-week rider to have a blast, but still not be a maintenance hog.  Kind a high starting bid, this one might be for a rider who has to have this livery, or wants a perfect example.

-donn

 

Tiger ( but not ) Beat – 1999 BMW R1100S
Featured Listing November 24, 2019 posted by Donn

Featured Listing – 1990 Honda VFR750R / RC30

Update 12.23.2019: Joe’s bikes have been newly photographed by Bonhams in preparation for their upcoming auction at Bonhams 2020 Las Vegas Auction, and the photos are now in this listing and gallery.

The auction is scheduled to take place on Thursday, January 23rd 2020 at Caesar’s Entertainment Studios, beginning at 12 noon. For information about the bikes and the auction itself, please visit – https://www.bonhams.com/auctions/25835/ You can also contact Michael Caimano directly at 929-666-2243 or Michael.Caimano@Bonhams.com

Check out all Joe’s bikes that are being offered at Bonhams. Good luck to bidders and seller! -dc

Even if not fans, RSBFS readers will acknowledge Honda’s long history of success in motorcycle production and racing.  These days, Honda seems to have the engineering chops ( and resources ) to do almost whatever they put their minds to – witness their Formula 1 winning V6’s for Williams and McLaren, several years as CART’s engine of choice, and more recently the HondaJet aircraft ( with turbofans developed by Honda and GE ).

The VFR750R/RC30 from 1987-1990 is just one more example, where engineers and designers pulled a winning concept together, and the manufacturing side of the company executed beautifully, about 3,000 times.  As testament, the factory team won the inaugural WSBK season in 1988.  This rare example has been in a collector’s display since new, and occasionally exercised, turning under 1,200 miles.

As their homologation special for the Superbike World Championship, the RC30 really was the mythical race bike with lights.  From the sharp-steering alloy chassis to the 296mm front disks to the single-sided Pro-Link swingarm, the RC30 provided the racers what they needed.  Shocks and forks on the single seater were only adjustable for preload, since the race teams would be putting their own special parts.  The compact V-4 looked similar to the preceding VFR750F, but shared almost no internal parts.  Even the exhaust note with the new 360-degree crank was specific to the RC30.

Resting in the motorcycle wing of a large auto collection, this RC30 has received excellent care and not even break-in miles.  The pictures show an apparently new machine, even though a generation has passed since it was built.  The owner tells of a mid-life cosmetic refurbishment:

In general, I do believe super rare Italian motorcycle of the 1970s and 1980s are the future Ferrari of motorcycle collecting. We all know what has happened to Ferrari.

An exception would have to be my super low (under 1,200) miles, almost perfectly like-new 1990 Honda RC30.

Yes, there are a few exceptions to what I call my Italian collecting rule and one of those would be the 1990 Honda RC30. This 1990 Honda RC30 needs no introduction or explanation by me as it is such a famous Honda, that the only thing you need to know about an RC30 is if you are getting a good one or a really great one or one of the very best.

The RC30 in this listing was purchased for the collection several years ago and is an extremely low mileage bike. It was absolutely 99% perfect, however, some of the detail parts that were white rubber or painted white had become slightly discolored. At that time, almost ten years ago, Honda was still had these parts in stock and we purchased each and every part to bring the cosmetic looks of the bike back to 99%. This 1990 Honda RC30 has not been raced or abused or messed with in any way. It currently looks like new, runs just as it should and is kept on a trickle charger and is exercised thoroughly during the spring, summer, and fall; and again it has never been raced or abused (most have been!).

As you may already know, there is nothing more exciting nor handles better than the Honda RC30. The looks, graphics, and colors of the bike need no apology either. They are absolutely a stand-out in any crowd of motorcycles. Most RC30s were extensively raced and it is very hard to find one that has not been modified or raced. You are looking at one that has not been abused in that way shape or form. This bike is always kept on a trickle charge and ready take a trip to any bike show at a moment’s notice. This is truly a bike for a serious collection and it would be a shame to abuse it. Oh yes, it comes with a new Honda rear wheel stand still in the box.

All my bikes are kept in climate controlled storage and on trickle chargers when not in use so they are always ready to take a day’s ride at a moment’s notice.

Honda might be accused of an obsession with the V-4, which brought it multiple WSBK titles along with TT and endurance racing wins.  After Superbike rulesmakers made a short dalliance with the V-twin an offer they couldn’t refuse, Honda returned to the four with the RC212V.  But for road riders, the RC30 was a moment when you could buy something very special from the local dealer, even though it cost twice as much as the nearest competitor.  That moment is reflected in recent asking prices even for fairly well-used examples.  But in this case, we have an RC30 that has been in a collector’s hands from day one, without damage history and in impeccable shape.

-donn

Featured Listing – 1990 Honda VFR750R / RC30
Suzuki November 22, 2019 posted by Donn

Real / Rough – 1986 Suzuki GSX-R750R Limited Edition

Not often seen but always appreciated, the GSX-R homologation special for 1986 had a single seat, alloy fuel tank, and dry clutch.  This SoCal example might have some questions better left unasked, but has great potential as a riding or racing restoration.

1986 Suzuki GSX-R750R Limited Edition for sale on eBay

Suzuki had only just introduced the GSX-R750 in 1985 when its light weight and rugged reliability made it a natural for the race course.  To homologate for Superbike racing, the -R was built, not changing the alloy chassis or oil-cooled engine, but adding a few special parts.  To help cope with a 106 hp race machine, brakes and anti-dive were borrowed from the 1100cc model, along with 18-inch wheels front and rear.  The oil-cooled four was coated in a dark gray, and the steering damper is needed more on a 1985 short swingarm model.

The first owner must’ve been hard on a bike, since this auction pictures a past salvage title and damage to lowers on both sides.  It’s a study in contrasts, with the good-looking frame and swingarm but a massive gash in the tank.  Luckily the VIN can be researched and the dry clutch is undeniable.  Many comments in the eBay auction, here are just a few:

When I bought it the fairing was scraped up. the lowers were missing as well as the turn signals along with a few other small bits.
Fluids have been regularly checked and replaced
The carbs have been removed and cleaned
Brake fluid change
Clean fuel added
New battery
Tires have plenty of tread and no cracking
Electrical works as it should
The exhaust is a first gen Yoshimura from R &D America, USA.
It’s loud even with fresh packing
The drive-chain is near new but marks show in the middle of the adjustment of the swing-arm

The scratches on the gas tank and wind screen are compliments of the original owner. I was having the upper fairing repainted by guy that didn’t know what the heck he was doing, the color was wrong and the paint was super thin so I stopped and just left it as you see it.

I have an extra set of the NLA OEM stickers for the gas tank and for the upper fairing.
The lowers and middle side covers are livable.
The ask seems out of line for such a project until you look at some recent listings, these very rare -R’s arrived in just the hundreds, and are likely down to only dozens.  This R750R might return to trackday duty while the restoration is planned, perhaps never to begin.
-donn
Real / Rough – 1986 Suzuki GSX-R750R Limited Edition
Honda November 19, 2019 posted by Donn

Your Lying Eyes – 1984 Honda VT-500FT Ascot

Honda’s middleweight Ascot shared the legendary dirt track’s name with a basic fun-looking design. Marketing knew better than to play up the innovative engine and low-maintenance shaft drive.  This low-mile example has been lightly customized as an HRC lookalike.

1984 Honda VT-500FT Ascot for sale on eBay

Never just sticking a toe in, Honda had carefully considered the VT engine, and used a traditional-looking 52-degree angle, but offset the crank throws to reduce vibration.  Engineers had also been at the heads, and specified a three valve arrangement with twin spark plugs, grabbing 50hp from the 491cc’s.  Water cooling kept the rear cylinder cool and made the fins a styling element.  Brakes were on a budget with a single front disk and drum rear, and the shaft drive had just the right geometry to not over-react.  High pegs, small tank ( and seat ) and low bars kept the emphasis on sport.

This California owner has done a masterful tribute with a paint scheme evoking HRC’s RS750 racer, and incorporated Ascot Park’s logo on the side covers.  35 year-old mechanicals have been freshened up with a dual exhaust, carb cleaning, and new rubber.  The round headlight is a nice touch.  From the eBay auction:

The bike has some nice new or newer accessories on it including:
* Beautiful new HRC paint scheme professionally done with period decals.
* A nice two into two chrome exhaust system getting rid of that boat anchor, restrictive OEM system..
* New Dunlop K180 rear tire. Front tire is almost new.
* Control Cables.
* New battery.
* Carburetors were cleaned.
* New turn signals and round headlight (replaces the ugly square one).
* Starts right up and runs, shifts and stops as it should.
Lightweight and peppy little shaft drive bike.  Really cool around town or even for medium distance freeway rides.  Sounds nice with this new exhaust system.  Slick 6 speed transmission with a cute little light that says OD when you shift into 6th.  Be the only one in the pits with a “one off” RS500 Honda!  All electronics work.  Headlight, hi/low beams, turn signals, horn, etc.

Leave it to Honda to have a sportily camouflaged bike with a bunch of the latest technology aboard, almost maintenance free to boot.  Precious little in common with the fire breathing four-valve RS750 which took the Grand National Championship 1984-87, but the VT engine went on to power a gazillion Shadows.  The factory exited the flat track arena after intake restrictors were introduced, but had certainly proved their point.  This knowing homage looks to be a lot of fun with a low starting bid.

-donn

 

Your Lying Eyes – 1984 Honda VT-500FT Ascot
Benelli November 17, 2019 posted by Donn

Almost Ostentatious – 1979 Benelli 250 Quattro

When most manufacturers were making 250cc singles do, Benelli – with help from new leader DeTomaso – showed their engineering chops with a super-smooth 250 inline four.  This rarity comes to you from northern Italy and shows nicely with just under 1,900 miles.

1979 Benelli 250 Quattro for sale on eBay

To accompany their newer and bigger offerings to the showroom, Benelli engineers shrunk the SOHC engine so that cylinder bores are just under two inches, but still makes 27hp ( at 10,500 rpm ! ) with 26mm carburetors.  Chassis and suspension are standard for the day, though the tank/seat fairing is quite innovative with integral tank pad and gauges built into the folded-looking tank.   Kick-starting is all that was required, and a single 260mm disk suffices with a drum rear.  The chrome and alloy interplay is completed by the 2-into-1 exhaust and alloy wheels.

Photographed on the road with a license plate, this 250/4 seems a very good survivor, with paint and chrome that fib about the many years since new.  The comments offer worldwide delivery and show their last crating job as evidence.  Notes are spare in the eBay auction:

Excellent unrestored bike, ultra rare first series, frame number 10008. 2 owners. 100% original. Sold by Benelli Bari dealer in southern Italy. 

Obviously for a Benelli fan or collector, a 250 Quattro would be a special purchase.  This one could be ridden to sample a cavallo di battaglia from the late 70’s, without worry of damaging a true museum piece.  We saw such an example go over $15K at Mecum in January, this one is about ninety percent of the value at slightly over half the ask.

-donn

Almost Ostentatious – 1979 Benelli 250 Quattro
Ducati November 14, 2019 posted by Donn

Dark Matter – 2006 Ducati 749 Dark Edition

In the fun-per-euro sweepstakes, some riders think the 749 Dark has it all over a 999R, at least on the road.  Sharing many attributes of the big brother, the Dark edition still has 108hp, a dry clutch, and admits only to being underdressed in its semi-gloss black paint.  This Palm Beach example has been nicely personalized with carbon, and has low miles to boot.

2006 Ducati 749 Dark Edition for sale on eBay

Ducati introduced the successor to the 998 in 2003, along with the supersport 748cc model.  The “little”  testastretta was missing only a few mm of bore, and makes nice torque for a middleweight at 59 ft.-lbs.  43mm Showa forks handle the front end, and the adjustable Sachs monoshock takes care of the fabricated double-sided swingarm.  Brembo brakes are suitably oversize at 320mm, and the fairing design offered more protection to the rider’s upper body.

Not sure that this is a one-owner 749, but the low miles and careful choice of add-ons makes me think so.  The carbon accents go well with the basic black presentation, right down to the Remus mufflers which replaced the factory canister.  Not sure the white area on the nose is stock but it looks good.  From the eBay auction:

You are looking at a 2006 749 Dark in absolutely perfect condition.  All services have been completed. Mechanically, cosmetically, this bike is perfect.  Adult owned, garage kept and meticulously maintained.  6,500 miles on the odometer.  

  • Carbon fiber front fender
  • Carbon fiber rear fender & chain guard
  • Carbon fiber exhaust shield
  • Carbon fiber key guard
  • Carbon fiber heel guards
  • Carbon fiber REMUS slip-on exhaust
Never in the rain or wet, never been on the track.  I have all three keys (2 black and 1 master red).  Rear stand is included.  Tinted windscreen also included.  This is a biposto model, passenger foot rests have been removed, but will be provided to the new owner.  

Not the rarest but not so many 749’s have been accessorized and babied like this example.  The details of Terblanche’s design have acquired a certain appreciation, and the 749 engine revs willingly before speeds involving risk of arrest.  The last year of production isn’t a bad choice, and hopefully the opening bid is the reserve or not much less.

-donn

Dark Matter – 2006 Ducati 749 Dark Edition