Author Archives: Donn

Kawasaki January 31, 2016 posted by Donn

Candidate – 1986 Kawasaki Ninja 600R

Back in the pre-interstate days of family car-trips, New England was peppered with small museums devoted to cars, trains, airplanes, trolleys, and occasionally motorcycles.  One such museum just east of Hartford, Conn. has an almost pre-historic Ninja up for sale, and while it’s not running, it looks substantially original and might be a good choice for restoration.

20160130 1986 kawasaki ninja 600r right

1986 Kawasaki Ninja 600R for sale on eBay

20160130 1986 kawasaki ninja 600r left

20160130 1986 kawasaki ninja 600r right rear

Updated in 1985 from the GPz-550, the Ninja 600R ( known as the GPz-600R in some markets ) employed a 16-valve head and had 75 ponies on tap.  Engineers at Kawasaki also re-oriented the alternator to slim the engine, and employed their first perimeter frame, though in steel tubing.  Suspension was air-assisted both ends, 37mm front forks with anti-dive and monoshock rear.  Triple disc brakes were good for the day, and 16-inch wheels helped handling.  The full fairing was primarily plastic which helped keep the weight under 400 lbs.

20160130 1986 kawasaki ninja 600r left grip

20160130 1986 kawasaki ninja 600r right rear wheel

Listed by a long-time repair and restoration shop also housing a museum, the bike looks complete but ready for some TLC.  Thankfully no major surgery has been done, just low-profile front turn signals, SuperTrapp mufflers, and tinted windscreen.  From the eBay auction:

·        Turn Signals Work
·         Starter Works engine turns over and has compression
·         Needs New Coil Pack
·         Rated for 12.7 Second Quarter Mile Time at 125mph
·         Slip-On SuperTrapp Exhausts installed
·         Tinted Wind Shield installed

20160130 1986 kawasaki ninja 600r binnacle

20160130 1986 kawasaki ninja 600r right front wheel

Evidently needing ignition help ( which might lead to a carburetor cleaning ) this Ninja might be a nice bargain.  With some fresh fluids, seals and brake pads, this Ninja could return to the road and display the performance and handling which launched a dynasty.  Or if those classic good looks strike you, a full restoration and back to the gallery or bike show…

-donn

20160130 1986 kawasaki ninja 600r rear

Candidate – 1986 Kawasaki Ninja 600R
Kawasaki January 28, 2016 posted by Donn

Gazelle – 1994 Kawasaki ZX-R250

What might’ve happened if progressive licensing had been adopted world-wide ?  Maybe herds of 4-cylinder DOHC 250’s would be roaming North America.  Or could the wide open spaces and 5-day coast-to-coast rides have eventually nudged us toward 1300cc water buffalo ?  This gray-market ZX-R250 makes one wonder.

20160128 1994 kawasaki zxr250 right front

1994 Kawasaki ZXR-250 for sale on eBay

20160128 1994 kawasaki zxr250 left rear

The ZX-R250 was built primarily for the Japanese market and was also know as the ZX-2R and ZX-RR.  Many found their way to Oz but they are quite rare here.  Rather than a commodity bike, the ZX-R250’s were a showcase for Kawasaki engineering, way ahead of their time for 1988, and had competition from Honda and Suzuki.

20160128 1994 kawasaki zxr250 cockpit

Just under two inches across, the pistons in a 250cc four have little mass to keep them from their nearly 20,000 rpm redline and 39-45 horsepower depending variant.  Seeming like a tabletop project, the diminutive double overhead cams and 4 Keihin carburetors fit across the aluminum perimeter frame.  Suspension was also state of the art with upside-down forks and Uni-Track monoshock rear.  Brakes were oversized at 300mm dual fronts and single rear.  The fairing is easy to confuse with a mid-size ZX-7R, with ram air tubes and dual seat.

20160128 1994 kawasaki zxr250 left front

Not very well documented, but not showing much in the way of damage or corrosion, looks like it’s been in storage for a while.  From the eBay auction:

This is not to be confused with the American spec zx250… these were serious little bikes. The motor is a 4 stroke, 4 cylinder that revs to nearly 20,000rpm. Power is listed as 45hp at 16,000rpm and wet weight is under 300lbs wet. These bikes are incredible. 

I also find it amazing that in the early 90’s this bike came stock with hollow-cast wheels, and inverted forks… we didn’t get that on most sport bikes till 10 years later(!) These 250c’s were built to be special, and the riding experience shows it.

Aftermarket mods are limited to the HID’s, carbon-can exhaust, and lithium-ion battery, all of which came on it. 

My bike was imported through a broker in Tampa and still carries the 12 digit Japanese VIN on a clean Florida title.

A neat full-featured sportbike, the ZX-R250 might take some getting used to, not many riders are ready to run 10,000 rpm or above regularly, and it’ll be a requirement for the little four.  Maintenance and repair parts, because these bike were never here, could require attention to some .au websites, unless you have a friend in green.  But as most manufacturers are going with twins and singles for their smaller displacement bikes, a 250-four will be an exotic and fun thing…

-donn

 

Gazelle – 1994 Kawasaki ZX-R250
Ducati January 25, 2016 posted by Donn

Rare Duc – 1988 Ducati 750 Paso Limited

Shortly after Cagiva’s agreement to use Ducati engines, they bought controlling interest in the company in 1985, and breathed some design and engineering funding into the company.  Responding to competition from the east, the Castiglionis hired Bimota founder Massimo Tamburini to design the new 750 cc model.  The result was the Paso, with full fairing concealing the 750F1 engine and 5-speed, named for Ducati racer Renzo Pasolini, who died in an accident at Monza in 1973.

20160125 1988 ducati paso limited left

1988 Ducati 750 Paso Limited for sale on eBay

20160125 1988 ducati paso limited right

20160125 1988 ducati paso limited left front

Cam drive now by timing belt instead of bevel gears, the air-cooled 748 cc desmodue developed 73 hp.  Use of a two-barrel Weber carburetor required the  rear cylinder to be reversed.  Doubly odd for a Ducati, a square-tube frame, none of it visible, hidden beneath the curves of the all-encompassing tupperware.  Marzocchi air adjustable forks are 42mm, and at the back is an Öhlins monoshock.  Three similar-sized brake disks, dual 280mm fronts with 270mm rear.

20160125 1988 ducati paso limited right front

20160125 1988 ducati paso limited left unfaired

Not quite sure what makes this particular Paso a Limited, exhaust system, livery perhaps ?  There were only 50 Limiteds, but any Paso constitutes a limited edition as sales never took off and production over the five years was just a few thousand.  A ground-breaking design, very well resolved, and this one in super nice shape, collector quality.  The owner shows off the lovingly detailed mechanicals without the bodywork.  From the eBay auction:

Rare Duc!  Excellent Condition.  In storage since 2006 (ridden occasionally) when it was completely serviced by dealer and any and all updates and repairs were done.  Runs strong, despite original Weber carb’s reputation. Barnett Clutch Pack. New battery. New Michelin tires. Comes with Corbin Seat and original seat. Standard U.S. exhaust in black chrome (never used), (has Euro exhaust on since new). Euro tail light. RKA Tank Bag. Ducati Red powder coated wheels to match belly of fairings.  All original parts plus Ducati and Clymer Repair Manuals. Some spares. Certified by Ducati Museum to be 1 of only 50 produced. Owner is former dealer.

20160125 1988 ducati paso limited right unfaired

20160125 1988 ducati paso limited left seat unfaired

Not without its faults, the 750 Pasos suffered rideability issues with a flat spot in the torque curve, and while 16-inch wheels helped turn-in, tire selection has been lacking and occasionally impossible.  Still it reviewed as a  supple handler, hiding its weight well and cradling the rider.  Tests from the day poke fun at Cagiva for using the fairing to save money by not having to design and finish the drivetrain for display, just what Tamburini would have had you believe as he was pulling the plastic over your eyes…

-donn

20160125 1988 ducati paso limited rear

Rare Duc – 1988 Ducati 750 Paso Limited
Honda January 23, 2016 posted by Donn

Snowmageddon Special – 2013 Honda CRF 450 Timbersled SX 120

Maybe it’s the current snow depths from Arkansas to Maryland measuring in feet, not inches ( and still mounting on the eastern seaboard ), but this offbeat machine is looking perfect for the northern Mississippi valley and northeast.

20160123 2013 honda crf450 timbersled sx120 right

2013 Honda CRF 450 Timbersled SX 120 for sale on eBay

20160123 2013 honda crf450 timbersled sx120 left

Based on the Honda CRF450R, the owner has added the Timbersled Snowcross kit, which is revertable for three-season wheeled use.  The CRF450 was comprehensively revised for 2013, and is a great base for this multipurpose machine.  A four stroke thumper with titanium intake valves, the 449 cc engine is fuel injected.  No claims for power output from Honda, though a 450 is a big offroad bike.  Suspension is from KYB, massive 48mm forks and monoshock rear, both ends have travel of more than a foot.

20160123 2013 honda crf450 timbersled sx120 left tank

The Timbersled kit replaces the swingarm and has a 10-1/2″ wide rear track and its own twin Fox shocks.  The track is driven by a covered chain and gear from what would’ve been the rear sprocket.  The ski attaches to the forks with Front Flex Arm technology, supporting the front end in deep snow but steering like a narrow tire.

20160123 2013 honda crf450 timbersled sx120 left rear

The owner started with a 10-hour CRF450 and made some nice updates before adding the Snowcross kit.  From the eBay auction:

Bike Additions
Pro Taper bars
MSR bark busters
Black Excel Rims
Red Talon Hubs
FMF Slip on Muffler
MSR Rear set footpegs

20160123 2013 honda crf450 timbersled sx120 track

Appearing to be the just-for-fun project at a northern Michigan Harley dealer, this CRF / Timbersled combo is spotless.  Low hours and control updates complement the bold graphics.  If the upper peninsula was a short drive and Wisconsin an overnight ferry ride away, this bike would be a great way to keep your trail riding going year round.  For the rest of us in the eastern U.S., it almost makes sense this week…

-donn

20160123 2013 honda crf450 timbersled sx120 right rear

Snowmageddon Special – 2013 Honda CRF 450 Timbersled SX 120
Ducati January 22, 2016 posted by Donn

Addition by Subtraction – 2007 Ducati 1098

Beside the displacement increase, Ducati’s 2007 re-design focused on lightening the bike and improving performance.  The 1098, even the base model, has many updates and features, it’s a great superbike alternative.

20160121 2007 ducati 1098 right

2007 Ducati 1098 for sale on eBay

20160121 2007 ducati 1098 left front

20160121 2007 ducati 1098 front

Capitalizing on the successful Testastretta ( narrowhead ) engine, the EVOluzione engine is 5kg lighter  than the 999’s mill, and incorporates innovations like elliptical throttle bodies to improve response of the 1099 cc, 160 hp motor.  Exhaust was also lightened using thinner material in a 2-1-2 configuration, and dispensing with the canister muffler.

20160121 2007 ducati 1098 right muffler

The traditional trellis frame was re-engineered using larger diameter, thinner walled alloy steel tubing, saving weight and increasing rigidity.  43mm Showa forks are fully adjustable, as is the Showa rear monoshock on new single sided swingarm.  Brakes are radial-mounted Brembos of 330mm diameter in front, and 245 mm rear.

20160121 2007 ducati 1098 right front wheel

Most noticeable however, is the new fairing design, returning to a more 916 look, with dual high and low beams and turn signals in the mirrors.  The full-featured digital dash is also used on the -S and -R models.

20160121 2007 ducati 1098 right front

The 1098 on offer has been updated with Ohlins front and rear, and Termignoni exhaust, which brings it up to -S spec, only missing the forged Marchesini wheels.  Looks great with only 4,300 miles, new battery and fresh oil.  Including the front and rear stands is a niice touch.  From the eBay auction:

You are bidding on a wonderful Ducati 1098 with low mileage on.

Main additions were the front forks Ohlins FGRT 803
Rear Ohlins DU788 TTX rear shock
Full Termignoni exhaust
Slick tires with only one track day in intermediate group.
The bike comes with the stands – Pitbull front and Ducati rear and has the original forks and exhaust in a box that can be shipped as well.
Low mileage, only 4333 miles.
Never fell, not even laid down on the side while not in motion.
The bike is almost perfect, some small scratches more than normal in a bike that is 2007.
Great power and torque, new oil and battery, no directs to report.

20160121 2007 ducati 1098 left shock

The 1098 went on to win the 2008 Superbike World Championships with Troy Bayliss aboard, and had many more victories.  The bike regularly reviewed as more at home on the track, too much for the street.  But a veteran or expert rider would be a requirement, which is how I think this 1098 with its slick tires and -S updates finds its way to market.  Experience is a great teacher, but usually starts out with a hard quiz before the first lesson.  The owner is wise to relinquish his undamaged 1098 and trade for a bike with more accessible performance.  Bidding is healthy and has just a couple of days to go…

20160121 2007 ducati 1098 right headlight

-donn

Addition by Subtraction – 2007 Ducati 1098
Ducati January 19, 2016 posted by Donn

Make It Take It – 1999 Ducati 996 SPS #388

Hot on the heels of the 996 introduction, Ducati unveiled the Superbike homologation special SPS – Sport Production Special.  The big gorilla at least until the -R was introduced two seasons later, they are quite rare with total production just in the hundreds.  Often limited to the track or gallery, this SPS has Cali title and registration.

20160118 1999 ducati 996 sps right

1999 Ducati 996 SPS for sale on eBay

20160118 1999 ducati 996 sps left

20160118 1999 ducati 996 sps right rear

Sporting an additional 4mm cylinder bore, the 996 SPS carried 123 hp to the fray.  Though there was an update to allow a larger airbox, chassis updates were mostly in the damper department, with fully adjustable Showa forks and Ohlins monoshock and steering damper.  Brakes are Brembo 320mm up front with 4-piston calipers, just a 220mm rear brake is required.  Lightweight forged alloy wheels from Marchesini help handling.  The archetypal styling is by Massimo Tamburini, a superbike masterwork Ducati would refer to for the 1098.

20160118 1999 ducati 996 sps cockpit

20160118 1999 ducati 996 sps left rear

A rider with 17,000 miles, this SPS looks very good with just a couple of modifications, sprocket cover and levers.  Having the brand’s easiest-to-remove bodywork, the owner gamely shows what’s under the fairing, and states there are scuffs on the left lowers and tail fairing, but they aren’t apparent.  From the eBay auction:

This is the rare and highly desirable SPS model, built for racing class homologation, and one of only 50 imported into the US in 1999, homologated for Superbike racing. A masterpiece from legendary designer Massimo Tamburini, considered by many as one of the most beautiful motorcycle ever made, along with Tamburini’s MV Augusta. Up for auction is number 388, street legal with current, California registration. It has been stone cold reliable for me despite its Ducati exotic supermodel reputation, and always well maintained and ridden regularly, keeping the fluids circulated and the engine exercised. Recent service includes new timing belts, spark plugs, air filters.

20160118 1999 ducati 996 sps top front

20160118 1999 ducati 996 sps left unfaired

When properly set up, the 996 would turn in with the best and the oversquare desmoquattro revved willingly.  Charging system woes had been solved but the cooling system made city riding a risk, and rocker arms needed looking after.  The focus on lightweight materials paid dividends every ride.  Carl Fogarty took the 996-engined 916 to the WSBK banquet in 1998 and would take the 996 in 1999, crowning the 916’s many titles.  Though the starting bid is up there, it looks like this SPS has had the consistent usage and maintenance which is really the best thing for any motorcycle…

20160118 1999 ducati 996 sps top rear

-donn

 

Make It Take It – 1999 Ducati 996 SPS #388
Moto Guzzi January 15, 2016 posted by Donn

Cafe Traditionale – 1984 Moto Guzzi 850 Le mans Mk III

Moto Guzzi went back to the drawing board to meet emissions ( noise mostly ) constraints, and heavily revised the 850 Le Mans, keeping the air-cooled V-twin, but quieting some of the noise and critics.

20150115 1984 moto guzzi 850 le mans mk 3 right

1984 Moto Guzzi Le Mans Mk III for sale on eBay

20150115 1984 moto guzzi 850 le mans mk 3 left

20150115 1984 moto guzzi 850 le mans mk 3 left front

Revisions to the engine and bodywork led the way for the Mark 3, the angular headed 2-valve twin generating 81 hp.  Angles dominate the fairing design as well, the bikini doing a nice job protecting the rider, and connecting the angular design to the fuel tank and seat fairing.  Guzzi traditions like Dell’Orto carburetors, linked brake system, and shaft drive are retained.  New ideas are there, like air-adjustable suspension and the crankcase vent routed through the frame tube to reduce noise.

20150115 1984 moto guzzi 850 le mans mk 3 binnacle

20150115 1984 moto guzzi 850 le mans mk 3 right front

Under new ownership, the Le Mans offered here has had a little freshening up, and looks good for its 29,000 miles.  Substantially stock, I’m liking those head guards.  From the eBay auction:

The bike is very unmolested, all the cables, grommets, fasteners, clips etc are as from the factory (except the valve cover fasteners which I replaced with stainless and the odd nut here and there). The bike hasn’t been apart or messed with. All switches, idiot lights, horn and turn signals work. The mileage is correct. The bike was owned by a lady for 20 years who really looked after it and just rode it. The bike sat for 5 years before I bought it.

I’ve owned it for a year and a half and in that time done the following work: repainted the original bodywork. Fairing decal set from MG Cycle. Tank has no dents and has the original factory paint. New crossover and fuel lines. Carb rebuild and set up. Full service and oil change with filter and FAC front dampers in the last week. I’ve put approximately 3K miles on the bike and it runs flawlessly.
Prior upgrades were stainless brake lines, Koni shocks and a Dyna ignition.
20150115 1984 moto guzzi 850 le mans mk 3 left rear
20150115 1984 moto guzzi 850 le mans mk 3 right rear wheel
Moto Guzzi ignored the arrival of the Interceptors, GS’s and GPz’s, and stuck by their sport bike principles and their fans.  The heavyweight tested as a fun, stable ride, and once the air suspension was set up, a good handler.  The formula has brought Guzzi into the water-cooled, fuel injected era, if not WSBK.  The owner is really into it and has his own Guzzi fan site.  This nicely updated classic will get plenty of attention on the next coffee run…
20150115 1984 moto guzzi 850 le mans mk 3 left shop
-donn
Cafe Traditionale – 1984 Moto Guzzi 850 Le mans Mk III
Ducati January 13, 2016 posted by Donn

Flak Bait – 2002 Ducati 748

Probably going to light up the switchboard with this pick, an older, junior Ducati – non-S ( let alone -R ), PITA to ride in town.  But this last-year base model, lightly ridden with a lot of nice updates, and – wait for it – cam belt maintenance ! – has a lot of good attributes and is kind of pushing my buttons.

20160112 2002 ducati 748 right

2002 Ducati 748 for sale on eBay

20160112 2002 ducati 748 front left

20160112 2002 ducati 748 left rear

Accompanying the 916 to the showrooms from 1994-2002, the 748 used the chassis and crankcase from the 916 and smaller heads.  The resulting 97 hp came at a higher 11,000 rpm, and the bike used lower overall gearing, increasing it’s street fun factor.  The 748 has close ratio transmission and of course a dry clutch.  43mm front forks are from Showa, with a Boge monoshock on the progressively linked single-sided swingarm.  Two-into-two exhaust snakes around the swingarm and up under the seat.  A picture of the now-classic fairing is next to the word Ducati in the encyclopedia, this one with monoposto seat fairing and number plate.

20160112 2002 ducati 748 cockpit

20160112 2002 ducati 748 right front

Offered by the original owner with just 3,400 miles, this 748 was obviously somebody’s baby.  Beside the Arrow titanium exhaust and Power Commander, there has been attention to the clutch, rear sprocket, and chain.  The body updates include seat fairing, body-color mirrors, Dzus fasteners for the side fairings, and carbon here and there.  As listed in the eBay auction:

  • Arrow Titanium Exhaust
  • Power Commander Fuel Injection Module with Custom Dyno Mapping
  • Ducati OEM Mono-Tail Body & Seat Conversion
  • Ducati OEM Red Mirror Conversion
  • OEM Quick Release Fairing Fastener Conversion
  • Billet Aluminum Brake Reservoir Covers
  • Hardened Aluminum Rear Sprocket
  • Titanium Sprocket Bolts
  • Billet Aluminum Sprocket Carrier Conversion
  • RK 520 Gold Chain
  • Ducati Performance Carbon Fiber Chainguard
  • Pauli Moto Billet Aluminum Clutch Cover
  • Pauli Moto Billet Aluminum Clutch Pressure plate
  • Pauli Moto Billet Clutch Pressure Plate Spyder
  • Ducati Performance Carbon Mid-Pipe Heat Shield
  • Ducati Performance Carbon Sprocket Cover
  • Ducati Performance Carbon Heel Guards
  • New Pirelli Diablo Tires
  • Carbon Fiber License Plate Frame
  • Ducati Performance Soft Cover

20160112 2002 ducati 748 front

20160112 2002 ducati 748 right peg

Not super high-res photos, but the bike looks excellent.  Maintenance on the easy-revving engine shouldn’t be deferred because of rocker arm concerns, and the bike has recent cam belts and tires.  A little easier on the cooling system, the 748 is friendlier to road use, as long as you can handle the racey ergonomics.

20160112 2002 ducati 748 right rear

20160112 2002 ducati 748 left peg

Because of their long model run it’d be hard to call a 748 rare, but as always really nice ones are never around when you’re looking.  Many found their way to the track and the slippery slope of modification and the generation’s very successful competition history.  The similar way the two sizes of superbike are built you’d have to think Ducati either lost money on the lower priced 748, or made a bunch on each 916 or 996.  Though an -R or -S would be nice, the 748, especially cared for as this one, is a lot of bike for the money…

20160112 2002 ducati 748 rear

-donn

Flak Bait – 2002 Ducati 748