Author Archives: Donn

Honda December 29, 2019 posted by Donn

What Could Be – 1986 Honda NS400R

With most riders expecting the best part of 200 hp per liter, later two-strokes of middling displacement are often treated like caged animals. This Honda V-3 doesn’t appear to have been babied, but does boast current California registration.

1986 Honda NS400R for sale on eBay

Honda acknowledged that the 500cc GP formula was not going to be won with the four stroke NR500, and returned to the podium with the NS500.  Wishing to capitalize on their success within Japanese regulations, they presented a 387cc race lookalike, which was brought stateside in a plain gray wrapper.  The surprisingly symmetrical triple had two forward cylinders and the third more vertical.  The bank of three 26mm Keihin carburetors are plumbed directly in from the top, with the outside exhausts riding underneath and the center taking a scenic underseat route to the license plate.  Even with Honda’s ATAC power valve, acceleration below 7,000 rpm is gradual, then a controlled explosion to the 9,500 rpm peak of 72 hp.

Thirty-plus years on, almost every bike will have some unknowable history.  This example has evidently received more attention on the mechanical side than to the out-front details that grab eyeballs.  Seems like doing about 10% of the required beautification would make a 90% improvement.  From the eBay auction:

Just serviced and ready to ride.  Has some cosmetic issues as can be seen in the pictures, but the previous owner installed a brand new engine which has less than 1,000 km or less than 600 miles on it, even though the odometer reads 26,296 km which is about 16,400 miles.  Odometer may change slightly as it is ridden occasionally to keep it in great running condition.  Starts easily and runs great, but needs new kill switch assembly.
Previous owner had installed a new engine, and we rode this bike a few times over the years, but with 60 bikes in the collection it did not get ridden very often. I had it completely serviced in August 2019 and new CDI units were installed (this bike uses two).  Just had the carbs cleaned last week so it is running fine.  The bike has a CA title and registration and I have it in hand.

The livery on this NS400R is similar to Honda’s GP works livery in the early 1980’s, when Freddie Spencer was quickly drafted from Honda’s AMA Superbike effort.  Spencer hit pay dirt in 1985, winning at Daytona as well as the 500cc and 250cc GP championships.  This NS400R has a lot of question marks – high mileage, engine change, and pictures that serve only to start a conversation.  But if some of those could be resolved, it might justify the owner’s reference to a high-dollar Mecum auction winner.

-donn

What Could Be – 1986 Honda NS400R
Rickman December 28, 2019 posted by Donn

Between Successes – 1974 Rickman Triumph 650 CR

Rickman-framed cafe racers have had a steady if not frequent presence on RSBFS, but mostly using Honda CB750 and Kawasaki Z-1 drivetrains.  Just before, they had produced but a few dozen Triumph powered CR’s.  This diamond in the rough has been in storage since just 3,000 miles, and is ready for a makeover.

1974 Rickman Triumph 650 CR for sale on eBay

Derek and Don Rickman made their name designing and fabricating beautiful and world-beating frames for the scramblers they loved, the lightweight and nickel-plated chromoly tubing being a usable showpiece.  They turned their attention toward the street starting in 1970, and provided the recently nationalized BSA-Triumph a market for their T120 twin of 46hp.  The twin carbs and factory 5-speed were good news, and Rickman added alloy rims and disk brakes, as well as large-diameter forks.  Careful fabrication was Rickman’s calling card, with lovely fiberglass work augmenting the frame.

Undeniably tired and ready for the next chapter, this CR appears substantially complete.  The pittance of miles will have to be swept away in a flurry of renovation, but the new owner will have a beautiful rarity when complete.  A thoughtful test rider or British specialist will be required with the right-side shifter, left foot brake.  Comments from the eBay auction:

RICKMAN CR TRIUMPH   1 0F 53 BUILT
BIKE HAS BEEN STORED FOR YEARS WITH LOW MILES
READY FOR RESTORATION
HIGHLY SOUGHT AFTER MODEL
ENGINE TURNS WITH GOOD COMPRESSION
ORIGINAL ALLOY CHAINGUARD IS INCLUDED
MISSING THE FRONT BRAKE MASTER CYLINDER (SAME AS TRIUMPH T140 SO EASY TO FIND)
TITLED AS A 1979 SPECIAL WHEN THE ORIGINAL TITLE WAS LOST IN 79

Rickman won the Queen’s Award to Industry for their exports in 1974, but had to change horses when Norton-Villiers-Triumph could not resolve their labor troubles and were forced into liquidation.  Before that the Bonnies had been a big success so basic mechanical parts for this CR should be easy to source.  With its long lost history it’s a soup-to-nuts project, but a worthwhile endeavor in this complete and seemingly undamaged example.

-donn

Between Successes – 1974 Rickman Triumph 650 CR
Buell December 24, 2019 posted by Donn

Win-Win – 2008 Buell 1125R

The penultimate Buell came with Rotax power, and a typically edgy Buell design.  This owner would like to split the difference between the trade-in value and dealer retail, a righteous thought.  An afternoon of detailing might push this 1125R over the goal line.

2008 Buell 1125R for sale on eBay

Rotax supplied their turn-key twin, a masterful use of 1125cc’s to make 146 hp.  Buell’s signature innovations are all aboard, the fuel-in-frame chassis, single 375mm rim-mounted front brake, and mass-centralizing exhaust.  Showa contracted for 47mm front forks, and the piggyback-reservoir monoshock, both multi-adjustable.  The seemingly overstated side radiator scoops funnel air under the rider to exit beneath the seat.  Buell’s earlier experience with the quiet and maintenance-free drive belt led them to design it into the 1125R as well.

Despite the “storage wars” presentation, if the routine maintenance hasn’t been overlooked, this Pennsylvania 1125R might just need some elbow grease to be sharp.  The exhaust could be hi-temp painted, ceramic coated or there are any number of aftermarket specials available.  No accident damage is readily apparent.  From the eBay auction:

Miles are higher than posted in picture, it has over 8000 miles. I drive it to circulate fluids so it remains in good shape mechanically. it starts, runs and drives perfectly. I’m trying to sell it to buy my fiancé her own bike she could ride comfortably since she’s short it doesn’t fit her well. I know what it blue books for and what a dealer will give me on a trade in but I want to sell to someone who would get it for a better price from me than from a dealer.

Despite their recent agreement on the not-invented-here powerplant, Harley would shortly change their corporate mind and shutter the Buell brand altogether.  This shaky support has to be factored into the next owner’s offer.  It’s a lot of bike for the ask, but a good relationship with a knowledgeable indy would be a big help.  In the right situation, it could be a smashing resto-rider.

-donn

Win-Win – 2008 Buell 1125R
Ducati December 20, 2019 posted by Donn

By Any Other Name – 1992 Ducati 907 I.E. “Paso”

Massimo Taburrini penned the all-encompassing Paso in 1985, for the still-in-transition Cagiva and Ducati.  Not starting from a position of strength, the model fought the good fight for several years and culminated in a fuel injected 90 hp package.  Despite 35K miles and 27 years, it still looks great.

1992 Ducati 907 I.E. for sale on eBay

The 907 I.E. incorporated the best features from the Paso, revised some basics like the engine cases, and snuck in a few niceties from the 851, like the alloy swingarm.  With fuel injection, power was up to the 100 hp/liter benchmark and tractability wasn’t forgotten.  More standard 17-inch rims were a help as were 300mm front Brembo brakes.  The soap bar fairing was chockablock with inlets and vents, all in the name of flow.

The California seller appears to be an audiophile as well as sportbike enthusiast, and though not a long term owner, this 907 looks very tidy for 35K miles.  From the eBay auction:

This is a great running classic Ducati at very nice price. 

Purchased from the original owner last year. We did the following…
New tires front and rear
New drive belts
New plugs
Oil and Filter changed
New fork seals.
Coolant flush
New battery
She runs great and comes with the original seat as well as a Corbin seat.
The eastern juggernaut was not to be denied, but the decidedly classic 907 I.E. made a statement about a wide torque band and careful tuning.  Never exactly popular, the Paso gave way to Ducati’s ST series and resides in a fandom of backroad and sport-touring riders.  The generation gap between the 907’s introduction and today might be bridged by the sensible buy-it-now and very sharp condition.
-donn
By Any Other Name – 1992 Ducati 907 I.E. “Paso”
Yamaha December 14, 2019 posted by Donn

SRX and the Single Cylinder – 1987 Yamaha SRX250

Stateside fans would probably say Yamaha are generally at the forefront of technology and leading-edge fabrication, but bucking that trend was the little SRX250 and the SRX series in general.  The 250 wound up a single-year special for us, with an eye on fun and the bottom line, and that still might be case for this Ohio example.

1987 Yamaha SRX250 for sale on eBay

Yamaha introduced a line of four-stroke singles, with a 600, 400, and 250cc models, mostly for the domestic market.  A steel tubing frame loops smoothly around the upright air-cooled engine.  On the 250, a 22mm carburetor is on one side of the head, with seeming dual exhausts from the front.  The six-speed transmission is a relatively up-to-date concession to the 10,000 rpm required to make 32 hp.  A single front disk and rear drum suffice, along with 33mm forks and monoshock rear.  Tires are almost the same width but staggered diameters with 16-inch front and 18 rear.

With 10,700 around-town miles, it would be unfair to expect a creampuff and this SRX shows average wear.  The red frame and mostly white bodywork hasn’t aged badly, but could use a little sprucing up.  The wheels look very light and are in good shape.  Mechanically, there’s just not that much to go wrong.  From the eBay auction:

Rare 1987 Yamaha SRX 250.  These bikes were only made for one year.  Great collector bike but also a cool daily driver.  Runs great and right down the road.  It does idle a little ruff.  Just needs rode.  All the plastic is solid – no cracks.  Tank is in good shape it’s for age.  As you can see in pictures it’s not perfect.  No tears in seat.  All lights work.  Have a clear title.

Better suited to an occasional errand than a commute, the SRX250 could still make a massive pit bike or learner’s permit birthday gift.  The red and white livery echoes larger Yammers from the -80’s, though it wasn’t a long-term success here.  The sensible starting bid and what looks like an easy restoration might sway a fan of the brand.

-donn

SRX and the Single Cylinder – 1987 Yamaha SRX250
Yamaha December 11, 2019 posted by Donn

1/2 Liter Superbike – 1987 Yamaha RZV500

While the roadgoing two-stroke era ended here in 1979, it continued for several more years around the globe, a few makers templating their Grand Prix bikes for the showroom.  This example looks under used and has a super-clean stock appearance.

1987 Yamaha RZV500 for sale on eBay

The RZV was destined only for Japan, and differed from the rest-of-world RZ500LC mainly in its alloy chassis.  The compact V4 is actually two upright twins which are geared directly to the clutch, and the lack of a central jackshaft left room for a smoothing counter-balancer.  Two pairs of 26mm Mikuni carburetors look to the sides, and expansion chambers leave from the front and rear of the V.  Forks are air-adjusted, have anti-dive and hold dual 267mm brakes and a 16-inch front wheel, while the 18-inch rear is mounted to an alloy monoshock.

The Seattle dealer showing this RZV500 has had a few other classic sportbikes on eBay ( and RSBFS ) along with a boatload of parts.  The RZV has just under 6,000 miles and looks excellent in several high-resolution photos.  Not sure exactly what to expect in the sticker department on a JDM machine, so expert readers will have to weigh in.  Comments from the eBay auction:

The body work is all original and is in very good condition. The paint work is in nice good condition with no major scratches anywhere, and wheels are in great shape with no major rock chips or corrosion. The frame does not have any corrosion and is nice and clean. The original exhaust is in nice condition with the exception of one dent on the right side muffler as can be seen in the pictures. But overall cosmetically this bike is in very nice condition.

The bike runs and rides perfect, and shifts smoothly through all gears. The carburetor was recently ultrasonically cleaned and adjusted, and a full service tune-up was performed which included new spark plugs, chain, brake pads, oil change, new tires, and all fluids flushed. All of the lighting, switches and electrical components work as they should.

With almost 200 hp per liter ( when de-restricted ), the RZV was too fast to live and production ended in 1988.  Several anachronisms flying in formation, it’s a two stroke, kick start, and weighs just over 400 lbs. dry.  Likewise, maybe you are more comfortable in your helmet and knee sliders than business casual, and would like to get in on the bidding.  It’s just eclipsed $13K but hasn’t yet met the reserve.

-donn

1/2 Liter Superbike – 1987 Yamaha RZV500
Ducati December 9, 2019 posted by Donn

Touchstone – 1995 Ducati 900 SS/SP

In a rare marketing maneuver, Ducati brought the 900 SS/SP to our shores only, a limited edition with adjustable suspension and carbon eye candy.  This example has been been maintained internally and externally, and looks ready to rumble.

1995 Ducati 900 SS/SP #412 for sale on eBay

The trellis frame which was light and economical to manufacture back then is now a classic Ducati feature, in some years gold or white, but silver for 1995 which goes well with the SP’s aluminum swingarm.  Ditto the air-cooled desmodue, a good air-cooled performer with 84 carbureted ponies, and though the future brought fuel injection and dual plugs, it’s a classically flexible powerplant.  Showa suspension was the big upgrade for the SP, along with carbon mudguards.  The cockpit has occasionally been described as “everything you need, and nothing you don’t”, and it’s the perfect layout for an afternoon on the back roads.

Seeming to be in much better shape than nearly 33K miles would allow, I’d presume a refinishing if not restoration.  The pictures are not super high fidelity, but show no apparent trauma.  A lot of carefully chosen niceties such as factory open airbox, Remus carbon mufflers, new lithium-iron battery – even new footpeg and shift rubbers !  Heads and cylinders were overhauled a few years back making this SP more ready for the long term.  Just a snippet of the comments from the eBay auction:

This motorcycle has been preserved exactly as one would want. Period. I have gone to great lengths to minimize any unnecessary changes that would otherwise compromise what Ducati intended this bike to be. Obviously a blood-red Italian work of art needs nothing in the way of cosmetics, so let well enough alone.

I felt the best use of any improvements would be more of personal expressions such as un- restricting the exhaust to allow the bike to actually sound like a Ducati should with a set of Remus canisters. These match the factory equipped carbon fiber components much better than any others in my opinion. To facilitate the most from the exhaust, I perfectly jetted the carburetors. No flat spots, nor burning eyes, and of course the results are impressive for the torque curve of an already excellent engine.

To welcome more fresh air into the carburetors, I added the Genuine Ducati air-box cover. I’m sure others with hole saws and hack-saw blades get the same results, but I chose OEM whenever possible. As far as the Slave Cylinder, the stock one seemed to lack feel and a clean return. Off it went and was promptly replaced by the excellent unit from Pro Italia. Regarding the braking system, it is what it is. Nobody was impressed when new, the same remains today. I added Ferodo pads at both ends and have felt these are aggressive enough for a spirited run through the curves.

The Supersports served as Ducati’s all-rounder before the Monster came along, and went to work, touring, and to the track without complaint.  This seminal Duc has done some miles but carefully, and been maintained as though it would be in the stable forever.  The ask for a high-mileage machine can always be debated, but at least the “make offer” button is available.

-donn

Touchstone – 1995 Ducati 900 SS/SP
Triumph December 6, 2019 posted by Donn

Featured Listing – 1998 Triumph T595 with just 2,518 miles !

Triumph entered the battle for sport riders’ hearts and minds in 1997 with their clean-sheet design T595.  The marketing blunder that left casual shoppers thinking it’s a 600 is far in the rear-view and just adds another point of interest for fans.  Seattle Used Bikes presents this slightly used and carefully updated Triumph T595.

1998 Triumph T595 with 2,518 miles!

Triumph built on their success with the T300 engine and produced another triple in the T5, a little torquier and with a scruffier sound than the usual inline four.  High compression (11.2:1) and electronic fuel injection conspired to deliver 130hp and 74 ft.-lbs. torque.  The twin double-tube chassis was all new and inspired confidence with adjustable suspension and excellent Nissin brakes.  The fairing design carved out its own character with dual headlights and Euro parking light, and hard covered pillion.

Seemingly set up for the long run, ten times the mileage would be expected on this T595.  But after Dymag carbon wheels, carbon muffler and ECU update, HeliBar risers, and bar-end mirrors were installed it was ridden only sparingly and looks better than excellent.  Seattle Used Bikes has added all new expendables ( fluids, battery, and tires ) for the next owner, and asks $7,999.  From their – website – :

This beautiful black 1998 Triumph Daytona T595 just arrived on our doorstep last month.  This is another one out of a friends private collection.  As you can see it just has a bit over 2,500 original miles, it was really set up properly when new by Scott Zollars at the Cycle Barn. Check out the carbon fiber Dymag wheels!!  It also has a hard to find, Triumph factory carbon slip on, a remapped ECU, raised HeliBars for added comfort, with CRG bar-end mirrors and upgraded rear suspension link from Attack performance.  We just gave it a fresh service, new fluids, new Dunlop Q3’s tires and battery.  If you are a fan of the early Daytona 955i’s this is probably the nicest one available for sale at this time. Can go back to stock wheels and save $1200.

Despite coming up on 100 years of Triumph cycles, John Bloor’s re-imagined company didn’t have a generation of superbike racing to lean on, and their 955cc family was never going to challenge those makers on the track.  But the T595 and renamed 955i caught quite a following, filling a European-designed niche in the sport market.  This example is practically unused and certainly better than new, and ready for next season.  Contact Seattle Used Bikes on (206) 535-6812 or by email – here -.

-donn

Check out the other Triumph SUB has Featured on RSBFS: 1998 Triumph Daytona Ex Formula Thunder Race Bike! Dave notes that a deal is possible on the pair! -dc

Featured Listing – 1998 Triumph T595 with just 2,518 miles !