Author Archives: Donn

Muzzy October 22, 2015 posted by Donn

Uno – 1997 Muzzy Raptor SB850

By now the Formula USA / Xtreme race series of the late 1990’s is a distant memory, when factories and privateers brought pretty much their wildest dreams to the track and went head to head.  Rob Muzzy was merely a legendary race tuner and team manager back then, and after many year preparing Kawasakis for AMA Superbike icons like Scott Russell and Doug Chandler, Muzzy developed his own ZX-7R-based machine.  Expanding the displacement to 835cc and making substantial changes to the chassis, the Muzzy Raptor was made in homologation quantities only, instantly successful, and now almost unobtainable.

20151022 1997 Muzzy Raptor

1997 Muzzy Raptor SB850 for sale on eBay

20151022 muzzy raptor logo

A brand new ZX-7R disassembled at the Muzzy facility in Bend, Oregon, the bike would be treated to gear-driven cams, titanium connecting rods, and a lightened crank.  The bespoke engine made in the vicinity of 165 hp.  The Kawi swingarm was replaced with an adjustable single-sided magnesium casting, and Ohlins shock added.  Up front Muzzy’s own adjustable triple clamp held 48mm KYB forks, again tuned by Muzzy.  Brakes were updated to 320mm A-P disks with 6-piston calipers in front, 270mm rear.

Borrowing the reptilian expression of the ZX-7R, Muzzy’s design for the carbon bodywork improved the ram-air inlet and reduced drag.  The Marchesini magnesium wheels are wide, 3-1/2 inch in front and 6 inch rear.  Exhaust was replaced by a 4 into 2 titanium system into 1 carbon muffler.  Without fuel the bike weighed only 355 lbs.

The auction has only one photo, and states that this is chassis number 0001, and the bike has been on display since 1,200 miles.  From the eBay auction:

This is a great opportunity for a motorcycle collector. This machine is the first production MUZZY Raptor and was featured in many magazines and television shows. It has been kept in Rob Muzzy’s private collection and now available for the first time. This bike features the adjustable swing arm pivot and steering head pivot as the race bikes. It also features the Magnesium single sided swing arm. The engine is the full kitted 850cc. Don’t miss out on this opportunity.

20151022 rob muzzy

Not really for the road and certainly not for a less than expert rider, this is the real deal, requiring more of a team concept to set up and run seriously.  While better documentation would have been nice, the mechanical basis is well known, and this unicorn has been in so many of our bedtime stories that we have a good idea what to expect.  Hard to say how many of the possibly 50 bikes have survived, but the company is collecting information about a possible ZX-12 based Raptor here.  Rob Muzzy’s next project was drag racing, a no-nonsense arena brutal on the equipment, where his teams have won multiple championships.   An appreciable amount of information about the Raptor is available, but any collector seriously considering this bike will likely send his mechanic out to Bend to take a look.  And maybe come home with a trophy, numbered 0001…


Uno – 1997 Muzzy Raptor SB850
Ducati October 21, 2015 posted by Donn

Red Revival – 1990 Ducati Paso 906

On display for the past few years, this Ducati Paso 906 might be ready for revival.  With just about 5,000 miles, some rubber, belts, and maybe a seal or two should be all that’s required for some nice riding.

20151020 1990 ducati paso 906 right

1990 Ducati Paso 906 for sale on eBay

20151020 1990 ducati paso 906 left

20151020 1990 ducati paso 906 right rear

Penned by Massimo Tamburini for the 1985 show season, the Paso model was introduced as a 750, and a major upgrade came in 1989 with 906 engine ( peculiarly displacing 904 cc ), water cooling and 6-speed transmission.  A strong square-tube frame is beneath the bodywork which conceals all the mysteries.  Marocchi forks and Ohlins rear monoshock are accompanied by Brembo brakes.  In the GP fashion of the time, 16-inch Oscam wheels are fitted.

20151020 1990 ducati paso 906 left above

20151020 1990 ducati paso 906 cockpit

Looking excellent in the many good pictures, this Paso has only a couple of mods, a Corbin seat and Ferracci mufflers.  Pretty sure these came with a center stand but I’m not seeing it.  The tank is signed, but the auction doesn’t divulge by whom.  Loving those faired round mirrors.  From the eBay auction:

There is good chance that my Paso 906 may be the best one you’ll ever find in its original condition on eBay.  Only 100 Paso 906s were imported to the US back in the difficult days of Ducati.  This one has served me only for its good looks in my office as a Massimo Tamburini art-piece and later in our TV room along my other Tamburini Ducatis as a show-bike.  I have not driven it in 3.5 years.  I had it completely serviced before I put it up for display.  It needs a battery.  The tires are all original from 1989 when it left the Ducati factory. Drive it or show it.  No damage whatsoever.

20151020 1990 ducati paso 906 seat

20151020 1990 ducati paso 906 right rear wheel

While time in the gallery is not deducted from a bike’s life span, a comprehensive service would be required to return this Paso to the road.  It would be worth doing, though early Paso’s suffered rideability squawks due to their single carburetor, these were ironed out with the 906.  Underneath the bodywork are Ducati’s excellent frame design and handling, and top quality components.  If the soap-bar styling of the Paso speaks to you, this would be a great bike to bring home from the museum shop…

20151020 1990 ducati paso 906 rear


Red Revival – 1990 Ducati Paso 906
Honda October 17, 2015 posted by Donn

Winter Project – 1984 Honda NS250R

In the first year of a varied run that lasted until 1996, the Honda NS250R was a race replica 2-stroke that was related to a caped crusader over at Honda Racing Corp.  Capitalizing each year on developments made to the 250 Grand Prix racer, the NS250R improved each year and was presented in many different commemorative liveries.  With Rothman’s colors here is one of the first, and while it’s been hidden away for quite a while, it could be a perfect winter project.

20151015 1984 honda ns250r right

1984 Honda NS250R for sale in eBay

20151015 1984 honda ns250r cockpit

Housed in an aluminum cradle, the 249cc V-twin makes a surprising 45 hp at 9,500 rpm.  The 6-speed transmission is almost a requirement for the peaky engine.  The exhaust routes the front cylinder down by the left footpeg and the rear winds its way under the seat.  Front forks are air-adjusted, with TRAC anti-dive, and the rear has Pro-Link monoshock.  The triple-disk brakes are almost gratuitous on the 250.  Full fairing hides some of the works up front, and the dual seat has large side panels underneath.  The 17 inch wheels are assembled, star hubs riveted to the rims.

20151015 1984 honda ns250r left no fairing

20151015 1984 honda ns250r right engine no fairing

But the real story is the powerplant – this year’s model saw the electrically controlled exhaust chamber system ATAC employed on the front cylinder only, helping stretch out the torque band.  But from zero to 10,500 rpm there are a lot of different conditions, and the NS250R reviewed as a challenge to modulate, more fun to ride out where you could open it up than in traffic.  But if you could keep it in the power band, there was fun to be had in the light weight and crisp handling.

20151015 1984 honda ns250r right rear wheel

In storage for some years, this NS250R will require a thorough going over.  However, the owner verified a running engine, as he states in the eBay auction:

Up for bid is a NS250R Rothman’s edition Honda. It has a clear U.S. title, it has been in storage for several years, The mileage is 22639 kilometers {14,000 miles}   I put  a battery in it and bottle fed some gas to it and it fired on the 3rd. kick. I let it run a few minutes and shut it off. This bike should have all fluids checked and serviced as with any bike that has been in storage. All of the signals ,lights and horn work. The exhaust pipes have some scrapes on the covers, the gas tank has a few small dings, the plastics have some scuffs, and the upper fairing has a broke piece by the mirror.

20151015 1984 honda ns250r under seat

Looks like it’s all there, even the little triangular kickstand fairing.  Bravely showing the bike without its fairings, the photographs show the work to be done.  However, it doesn’t look insurmountable for even a skilled hobbyist with a friend at the Honda parts counter.  Maybe you have that kind of time and attention to detail.  Or might know someone who does, and who’d like to be attacking the corners next spring at just under 9,000 rpm…

20151015 1984 honda ns250r left engine no fairing


Winter Project – 1984 Honda NS250R
Ducati October 15, 2015 posted by Donn

Later than Late – 2007 Ducati 800 SuperSport

With its last major refreshening in 2003, the Ducati Supersport waited out the inevitable without much fanfare.  Concentrating on the 1000cc variant, even Ducati’s own model archive doesn’t show the 800 SuperSport after 2004.  Lightweight and simple compared to the SuperBikes, the SS models are great riders and the sculptural Pierre Terblanche design is still a head-turner, especially in red.

20151014 2007 ducati 800ss left

2007 Ducati 800 SuperSport for sale on eBay

20151014 2007 ducati 800ss right front

Built around a steel tubing trellis frame, this time also in red, the 800SS has 43mm Marzocchi forks and adjustable Sachs monoshock underneath.  The  air-cooled 2-valve V-twin generates 75 hp and a nice 50 ft-lbs. torque.  This generation was also fuel injected and had wet clutch and 6-speed transmission.  Upswept exhaust has been upgraded with Leo Vince carbon slip-ons.  Brembo brakes front and rear, 320mm and 245mm respectively.

20151014 2007 ducati 800ss left front fairing

20151014 2007 ducati 800ss rear

Controversial at introduction, the complex fairing design is interesting without getting overly busy, the lack of carbon details being almost refreshing.  The dual seat fairing has had the designer’s attention as has the NACA duct-looking windshield.  The fuel tank has a integral protective pad, something every Ducati could use.

20151014 2007 ducati 800ss front

20151014 2007 ducati 800ss right tank

Offered by a big retailer in New Hampshire, this 800SS has almost 4,000 miles and looks super, almost too many studio photos.  The only mods appear to be the mufflers and a battery charger cable, and the front tire is mentioned as being almost ready to replace.  Helpfully, they offer to take trades and provide a 90-day warranty, and a copy of a title / damage record search ( 3 owners, no reported damage ).  From the eBay auction:

This beautiful low mileage Ducati 800 Supersport has been upgraded with a Leo Vince Slip-on exhaust that makes fantastic sounds. This excellent handling bike is powered by a 800cc air cooled twin with 75 horsepower making it a great option for a mid weight sports bike.

20151014 2007 ducati 800ss left fairiing

20151014 2007 ducati 800ss right front wheel

Unfortunately, the design and engineering poured into the SuperSport couldn’t overcome the futuristic glare from the water-cooled side of the showroom, and a series of marque races never gained momentum.  The factory ceased production in 2006, and stocks were sold out in 2007.  The 1000DS engine lived on in the SportClassic and MultiStrada.  The last generation SuperSport tested well, a good handling torquey bike with better than expected reliability.

20151014 2007 ducati 800ss left seat

20151014 2007 ducati 800ss right rear tire

This SuperSport is a real looker with red over the red frame and appears unscuffed.  Pretty rare bike especially at this late year and low mileage.  Racey ergonomics make bar risers a possibility for longer trips.  Cam belt maintenance will have to be determined.  Slightly different than a private sale ( and maybe higher reserve ), this full service retailer has inspected the bike and offers a service contract.  This just might reduce the risks in buying an older Ducati…


Later than Late – 2007 Ducati 800 SuperSport
Moto Guzzi October 14, 2015 posted by Donn

Il Classico – 1985 Moto Guzzi Le Mans 1000

The Mark IV Le Mans increased displacement to 949 cc, and made few other updates to the venerable cafe racer that would take it into the 90’s and see the development of the 1100 cc engine.  A neat closing chapter to the long Le Mans history, the big twin was fast if not super quick, a strong stable platform for the golden eagle.

20151013 1985 moto guzzi le mans 1000 right

1985 Moto Guzzi Le Mans 1000 for sale on eBay

20151013 1985 moto guzzi le mans 1000 left

Capitalizing on the substantially redesigned engine for the 850 cc Mark III, the 1000 cc engine uses the square-fin cylinder head delivering 81 hp.  Updates include 40mm carburettors and a performance camshaft.  Plenty of torque available, the shaft-driven 5-speed being capable of 140 mph.  Never a lightweight, the Mk. IV crept over 500 lbs., making the three 270mm front disks seem just adequate.  Guzzi’s linked braking system is used, helping provide better control.  1985 brought a 16-inch front wheel to the Le Mans, which helped the big twin turn in.

20151013 1985 moto guzzi le mans 1000 cockpit

The bodywork is a delight on the 1000, a well-coordinated set of angular fairings and deflectors, including chin scoop.  Red is the message here, with some frame tubes, forks and wheels also in paint.  Sculpted side covers lead to the dual seat, with integral hand-holds for the passenger.  Great dash with giant Veglia rev counter.

20151013 1985 moto guzzi le mans 1000 front wheel

Not overly documented, this Mark IV looks very good, with just over 5,000 miles.  Chrome pipes appear to be an upgrade from the factory black exhaust.  Grips, levers, pegs and mirrors all look original.  From the eBay auction:

1985 Le mans 1000, very good condition, 5121 miles, runs well. These bikes will, or are, going up in value.

Obviously there’s a lot of rest time in a 30 year-old bike with 5,000 miles.  Rubber and a seal or two might want replacement, and the fuel system might want some attention.  Thankfully no cam belts in the Guzzi though.  More pictures, some maintenance history, and maybe a visit to St. Louis are in order…


Il Classico – 1985 Moto Guzzi Le Mans 1000
Honda October 13, 2015 posted by Donn

Investment Strategy – 1989 Honda CB-1

Occasionally we see a special bike re-appear after many years and just a few miles, and though it could be seen differently, this is one of those – an anyone-can-jump-on machine, special handling if not performance, with 26 years and 9 miles.

20151012 1989 honda cb-1 left

1989 Honda CB-1 for sale on eBay

20151012 1989 honda cb-1 right

Harkening back to the CB-400F ( and marketed in some countries that way ), the CB-1 is peculiarly recognizable as a motorcycle, and while not a race-replica, you might not throw your daughter’s date off the porch if he rode up on one of these.  Sharing but slightly detuning the liquid-cooled 399cc in-line four from the CBR400RR, the CB-1 makes do with 55 hp, geared down a bit so it gets away punctually if not with great speed.  Using a steel tube perimeter frame instead of hydro-formed thin-wall aluminum, it’s a neutral handling if not lightweight package.  Built to satisfy progressive license requirements in Japan and Europe, it was value-engineered to appeal to junior riders, carburetted instead of injected, but did come with nice 41mm front forks, Pro-Link style rear suspension, and 310mm front / 240mm rear disk brakes.

20151012 1989 honda cb-1 left grip

20151012 1989 honda cb-1 right front detail

Spiriting away a plain vanilla model and storing it without fluids will eventually pay off big, all a question of patience.  With only 9 pre-delivery miles, this might be the time for this gem.  About the only usual upgrade that would be welcome would be a polished stainless exhaust.  From the eBay auction:

We are proud to offer for sale a Museum Quality Collector example of the rare 1989 Honda CB-1 also known as the CB400F or NC27 in some countries. This bike was developed for the Japanese market and also sold in the USA and Canada. Only offered for sale in models years 1989 and 1990 this is a very rare and desirable bike. The only owner of this spectacular motorcycle purchased it new on March 23, 1991. The bike was intentionally never started  or ridden and has the original Pre Delivery miles on it performed by the selling Honda Dealership. This CB-1 was purposely preserved in As-New condition and stored indoors in a climate controlled environment. The motorcycle has a charged battery in it and spins over quickly on the starter button. We have made the decision to not fill the carburetors or tank with fuel, fire up and run as many potential buyers would prefer to keep the bike in its present condition to be part of a motorcycle collection.

20151012 1989 honda cb-1 right front wheel

20151012 1989 honda cb-1 left rear wheel

Not a legislative requirement and not much of a bargain in the states, the CB-1 was withdrawn after 1990.  It needed the 400-4’s cool factor, but over 15 years the game had changed, even for a fun machine with a 13,500 rpm redline.  In the 25 years since the CB-1, it has changed again, with singles and twins in the first-bike market with counter-balancers replacing the multiple cylinders.  Especially in the U.S., the CB-1 is a snapshot, when there were still a few bikes with not much plastic and no room for graphics.  With 7 days to run, the auction has more than 20 bids, showing that there are still some riders out there that want a motorcycle that looks like well, a motorcycle…

20151012 1989 honda cb-1 left engine


Investment Strategy – 1989 Honda CB-1
Aprilia October 7, 2015 posted by Donn

Release Your Inner Lion – 2008 Aprilia Tuono 1000R Factory

Aprilia’s winning entry into the super-naked / streetfighter sweepstakes was the 2003 RSV Tuono, and many updates and editions later, the 2008 Tuono ( thunder to some ) 1000R Factory was more than an unfaired sportbike with raised handlebars.  With its own frame design and bodywork, the Tuono makes excellent use of the Rotax 60-degree V-twin and provides a flexible platform for around town, cafe circuits, and track days.

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2008 Aprilia Tuono 1000R Factory

20151006 2008 aprilia tuono 1000r factory right

Capitalizing on larger intakes, exhaust valves and exhaust tubes developed for the RSV Mille, the 997 cc engine boasts 139 hp, and has a countershaft vibration damping system.  The big twin is equipped with Aprilia’s Pneumatic Power Clutch, a system to relieve clutch plate pressure on overrun, with resulting stability similar to a slipper clutch.  Two-into-two exhaust has upswept mufflers and stays away from the rider.  The gorgeous gold-anodized aluminum frame matches well with the forks, 43mm fully adjustable Ohlins.  Aprilia’s Progressive System rear suspension also uses a 3-way adjustable Ohlins monoshock.  Brakes are Brembo Gold Line, 320mm front and 220mm rear, with braided stainless lines.

20151006 2008 aprilia tuono 1000r factory cockpit

20151006 2008 aprilia tuono 1000r factory front  20151006 2008 aprilia tuono 1000r factory left front wheel

The Tuono bikini, tank and seat complement each other well, though they stay busy.  Super-naked design can be a bit of a head scratcher for sportbike fans.  Little fairings and guards help the air into the radiator and protect the rider from hot stuff, and the bikini fairing has sculpted ram-air inlets, but things like hoses and fillers are out in the breeze.  There’s quite a bit of carbon in the belly pan, fenders, and side panels, each with graphics in the clearcoat.  The contrasting blue on the forged alloy wheels is anodizing instead of paint, careful when cleaning.

20151006 2008 aprilia tuono 1000r factory left front

20151006 2008 aprilia tuono 1000r factory right detail  20151006 2008 aprilia tuono 1000r factory left muffler

Offered by an Austin, Texas dealer, this Tuono has a little over 13,000 miles and looks very good.  Showing just a Leo Vince exhaust and Puig windshield as modifications, it’s also pretty stock.  From the eBay auction:




20151006 2008 aprilia tuono 1000r factory binnacle

Maybe the second big twin in your garage, a change up bike when your shoulders get tired, this Tuono looks like a handful of fun.  Early models reviewed as wheelie monsters, geared a little bit higher since then.  It has a plastic tank so you’ll need a strap-on or filler-mount tankbag, maybe a small tailbag, a backpack if you’re out overnight.  Don’t forget a can of chain lube, maybe every third tank, and hey, let’s be careful out there…


Release Your Inner Lion – 2008 Aprilia Tuono 1000R Factory
Ducati October 6, 2015 posted by Donn

Colorful Commemorative – 2002 Ducati 998S Bostrom

Following Ben Bostrom’s very successful 2000 World SuperBike season, Ducati commissioned a boldly painted first-year 998S special edition in his honor.  Building only 155 ( his race number ) units for the USA and another 155 for Europe ensured their rarity, and using the 916-derived design and the new Testastretta engine ensured legendary performance.  Often a collector bike, a low or no-mile example occasionally sneaks out into the light – thrilling Ducatisti at the possibility and sometimes leaving them to ask why.

20151005 2002 ducati 998s bostrom right

2002 Ducati 998S Bostrom for sale on eBay

20151005 2002 ducati 998s bostrom left

The ’02 998S was the final revision to the trellis-framed platform that gave us the 916 and 996, next year’s narrow-head engine adding 123 hp to the equation.  Termignoni aluminum mufflers end the stainless 2-into-2 underseat exhaust.  A good deal of carbon bodywork is used on the Bostrom, the side fairings, bellypan, front and rear fenders, airbox, chain and exhaust guards are all carbon.  Neat that the flames masked onto the side fairings expose the unpainted carbon fiber.  Of course there are Ducati norms like dry clutch ( with hydraulic control ) and outstanding brakes – the 320 mm dual front disks are 0.5 mm thinner than non-S bikes to cut unsprung weight.  Suspension is top of the line, fully adjustable Ohlins front and rear, as well as an Ohlins steering damper.

20151005 2002 ducati 998s bostrom right grip

20151005 2002 ducati 998s bostrom right fairing detail

Number 45 of 155, this Bostrom was packed away after 250 miles.  An unearthed gem or a shameful waste, depending on your point of view.  No damage or modifications except for a polished exhaust system, though the owner notes headlights are clouded.  From the eBay auction:

Bike is in mint condition. Original owner and stored under a cover in a heated and cooled garage all its life. Bike has Termignoni exhaust that was put on professionally. This Ducati would be great for any Ducati enthusiast or any Ben Bostrom fan. The bike is so new it still has stickers on the mirrors. This bike deserves to be in a museum! This is a chance to own one of the best most collectable Ducatis ever made.

20151005 2002 ducati 998s bostrom right front

20151005 2002 ducati 998s bostrom tank

Bostrom was unable to continue his 2001 success in 2002 and returned to AMA SuperBike racing in 2003, making the Bostrom 998S a particularly rare special edition.  Not universally acclaimed, the splashy graphics are appreciated by those who enjoyed seeing an American rider abroad.  While I would rather the 998S returned  to its deserved spot in a museum after 50,000 or so beautiful miles, the owner does have a point.  Possibly added to your collection, or tuned up for the fall riding season, the 998S is a gem, the pinnacle of 916 development and super commemorative, for way less than it cost many years ago…


Colorful Commemorative – 2002 Ducati 998S Bostrom