Author Archives: Marty

Full Name: Marty G Website:
Info: owner, zanemoto zane laverda nutter, currently owning more than I should bit of a collector too
Suzuki October 15, 2014 posted by Marty

Kiwi Classic: 1983 Suzuki McIntosh Bathurst edition


Here is another bit of history for RareSportBike fans, a 1983 Suzuki McIntosh Bathurst Replica that needs a few pieces to be complete.

For those of you unfamiliar with these bikes, its important to remember that for a long time motorcycle racing allowed anyone to try their hand with whatever they could put together, sometimes with amazing results (John Britten and John Wittner are two examples of success). During this “wild-west” period a lot of racing was also held on street circuits, with the difference between success and significant injury being insanely narrow.

NOTE: Most motorcycle racing has moved away from street circuits to purpose built racetracks that are much safer and can accommodate more spectators.  A few street circuits are still in use such as the TT/Mountain Road course on the Isle of Mann and the Bathurst circuit in Australia, although Bathurst only runs cars currently.


1983 Suzuki McIntosh Bathurst project for sale on Ebay (AUS)

Back in 1982, New Zealand brothers Ken and Rodger Freeth had amazing racing success at Bathurst with a custom-framed Suzuki GS1000. Using their backyard-built machine, equipped with just a few spares and almost none of the equipment/resources of the bigger factory and privateer teams, they entered the Bathurst 500 motorcycle race and came away with the win.  Their success was repeated in 1985, proving that the Freeth brothers design wasn’t a fluke.


Ken Freeth originally developed his triangular-styled chassis in the early ’80s because he found that while in-line four cylinder engines of that era were strong, the standard chassis the came with were holding them back in terms of handling. The first frames Freeth built were built for Kawasaki Z900 engines but he soon switched to using the Suzuki GSX engine. Freeth built approximately 40 McIntosh frames to suit the GSX engine which were then bundled into a Bathurst Replica package by a local dealer friend.

Ken’s ‘Bathurst replica’ streetbikes were on many people’s wish-lists but required a significant financial commitment since the cost of a Freeth Bathurst replica kit without an engine was almost equal to a standard/new GSX. Meanwhile the Japanese had started to introduce advanced aluminum chassis into their bikes and while the Freeth steel frames were lighter and offered more strength, the majority of buyers preferred buying a complete bike instead of one they had to build/”kit-up”. And so, after two Bathurst wins and several New Zealand championships, the McIntosh Bathurst replica development effort was retired.



So what’s this GSX Bathurst Replica worth? Well its definitely a rare sport bike with only 40-50 made and its definitely in good shape (take a look at the forks with the pristine anti-dive mounts!) The seller indicates it has been through a restoration but still needs a few things; it has a leaking fork seal, possibly a warped rotor, a non-standard exhaust, and installation/testing of a new wiring harness. Even with all these issues, bidding has been brisk. Current price at time of this post is almost 20,000 USD aleady without reserve being met.

Overall this is probably a bike for a collector who is somewhat mechanically inclined. It will probably be most appealing to someone from Australia or New Zealand who is familiar with bikes of the era.


Kiwi Classic:  1983 Suzuki McIntosh Bathurst edition
Laverda October 12, 2014 posted by Marty

Air or Water? 2 Zane-era Laverdas in the UK, same seller


The zane-era laverda bikes tick a lot of the Rare Sport Bike boxes; limited production numbers, discontinued marque, italian heritage, smexy looks in an age where eye-bleeding graphics packages were the norm, etc.  The final generation Zane bikes were even recently ranked as one of  the top 5 “future classics” by Bonhams.

Personally I am a huge fan of these bikes; I love their handling due to the Nico Baker frame and top shelf components.  Also the letterbox gas tank  that reduces the center of gravity is still pretty advanced after 14 years.  The only real knocks against the zane-era bikes is 1) owners of the bikes made when the factory was located in breganze don’t consider them “real” laverdas (which is just stupid imho), 2) a lot of people haven’t heard of the brand/marque, and 3) some claim that the air cooled 668 was underpowered and the 750 series was unreliable.  NOTE:  I have found that people who claim this seem to turn out to be the aforementioned breganze-era owners.

As a collector I have had a good opportunity to experience these bikes directly and let set the record straight; the 668 series more than holds it own compared to comparable bikes of the time and looks a hell of a lot better.  As for the 750 series, it is true the 1st run of the 750s had some charging issues and a reputation for blown cranks at high rpms after 25k miles but both of these issues were resolved by the time the final generation was issued in 1999 as the 2000 models.   Sadly, at this point the company fell apart as the relationship between Francisco Tognon and other major investors deteriorated.  The brand was bought by Aprilia which then went bankrupt itself a few years later and both were then bought by Italian scooter maker Piaggio and so far there has been no indication of a revival of Laverda anytime in the near future.

This particular post is for two auctions of zane-era bikes.  While normally these would be two separate posts, they are being combined because both are being offered by the same seller!


Air Cooled 1998 Laverda 668 in UK on ebay

The first is for a 668/air cooled sport that looks very pristine.  Just look at the area near the footpegs/exhausts/chain…looks brand new!   The seller doesn’t include enough pics in my opinion but from what I am seeing the bike looks to be in simply stunning condition, perfectly clean and has approx 10,000 k on it so its barely broken it.

The 668 sport was probably the most advanced model in the 668/air-cooled range and owners report almost no issues with them other than the occasionally flat battery (which can be resolved by upgrading the battery cables).  I know some people who are fans of the early generation air cooled GSX-R models that tried a 668 sport and was just blown away by how they handled, sounded and looked. This bike has essentially the same styling as the 750 sport/formula so if you like the 750 series but are still concerned about reliability, this would be an excellent choice.


2000 Laverda 750 formula in UK on ebay

The second is the real gem in my opinion, a 2000 series 750 formula with the ultra-rare silver and orange paint scheme.  The 2000 series had all the upgrades including a new crank design and this bike is a Formula edition. The Formula was the hot/race version of the 750 series with special cams, advanced FI chip and carbon exhausts standard.   This particular one looks like a 1999/2000 series that has the 1998-1999 3 spoke wheels instead of the 1999-2000 lighter  5 spoke wheels but is otherwise correct.   The bikes are already appreciating and regularly win awards, including a recent first place in class at the Goodwin Festival of Speed.

Personally I don’t think the pics in the auction clearly show how stunningly beautiful the 2000 series bike really are so I have also included a link to some additional pics on the web.

This looks like an amazing opportunity that some lucky collector in the UK is going to get.  I think a collector could pick up one of these if so inclined but the smart collector could pick up both of these as a package deal for about 4000-5000 GBP.  As stated previously, the 750 formula has already started to appreciate so perhaps the buyer could tuck it away and let it continue to appreciate while enjoying the hell out of the air cooled 668 sport.  All I know is that even though personally I already own both a 668 sport and 2000 series formula, if I was in the UK I would be bidding.



Post Script:  For any us interested buyers, neither the 668 Sport nor the Silver/Orange 2000 750 Formula were ever offered for sale in the states so if you bought it and imported it you would have an uber rare bike.

Air or Water? 2 Zane-era Laverdas in the UK, same seller
Bimota October 8, 2014 posted by Marty

Middle Child: 2006 Bimota Tesi 2-D in California

Update: This one sold before we could finish writing it. Congratulations to buyer and seller! -dc


Hub center steering bikes make the occasional appearance here on RSBFS.   Sometimes they are wild like the Gilera CX125, sometimes they are mild like the Yamaha GTS listed earlier this week…and then we have the Bimota Tesi/Thesis series.  The Bimota Tesi lineup originated with a fairly standard sport bike with an oddball front end with the 1-D, went to the other extreme with the 2-D and then came back to the middle with the 3-D.  While the 1-d and 3-d make occasional appearances on RSBFS, this is the much rarer middle child, the 2-D.

For those unfamiliar with the middle child Tesi, the 2-D began in 2002 when Ascanio Rodorigo, a former Bimota employee, founded his own motorcycle company ARP and decided to produce an updated version of the hub centered Tesi.  Less than 6 months later Rodorigo unveiled his creation, the Vyrus.  Given his close relationship with Bimota, its not surprising Bimota and Vyrus reached an agreement on how to sell his creation; Vyrus would build the bike and could sell it as a Vyrus, Bimota would be able to re-body/re-badge and sell it as the 2-D Bimota through its more established sales network.


2006 Bimota Tesi 2D for sale on ebay

To put it simply, the 2-D not only looked miles better than the 1-D, it performed much better too. Handling was a quantum leap over the old bike due to the shocks on both front and rear plus the huge reduction in weight and bulk from the 1-D, with the new Tesi having no fairing and almost no bodywork leaving the aluminum omega frame exposed.


Like most limited edition models (only 30 were made each year), the Vyrus/Tesi 2-D wasn’t cheap.  Interestingly the Bimota Tesi 2-D was the more expensive option at  €46,000 while the Vyrus was only €38,000. The 2-D was removed from the Bimota lineup in 2007, after less than 50 units were built so as not to compete with the Tesi 3-D under development at the time.

Here is the info about the bike from the seller:

One of 10 brought to the US.  To my knowledge two have been exported, one is in the Barber Motor sports museum.

I know of one more private owner so at the most six are here.

One owner, part of a collection & it is just not getting used.

Southern Ca. Location , will assist with a trusted shipper.

FLAWLESS paint, ceramic coated exhaust & Kellerman signals.

Owners manual, & extra key.

So what’s it worth?  Well, the Tesi bikes are kind of like the Ducati Supermono – prized by collectors, rarely seen on the actual street.   Given that this one is one of the rare 2-D series the asking price of 39,000 USD actually seems about right.   Personally I would love to have this one tucked away in my collection…maybe a RSBFS reader will pull the trigger and let me come over and drool on it a bit?


Middle Child:  2006 Bimota Tesi 2-D in California
Buell October 7, 2014 posted by Marty

Beluga Buell: 1989 Buell 1200 Battletwin


I know a lot of RSBFS readers think that except for the new EBR bikes all Buells were kind of half-assed sportbikes that didn’t measure up to the competition.   What is interesting to me is that if you say the name “John Britton” to these same people they will claim that the Britten V-1000 was probably the greatest bike of the last century.  Yet both John Britton and Eric Buell started out with a set of unconventional ideas and then built their bikes out of their garage workshops, producing something weird and kind of wonderful.  So perhaps its time to give the early Buell bikes a bit more respect.

1989 Buell RR1200 for sale on eBay

This 1989 Buell RR1200 Battletwin is located near Philadelphia, PA USA and currently has only 3500 miles.  For those of you unfamiliar with the Battletwin RR1200, it was essentially an evolution of the Buell RR1100 which was one of the most aerodynamic bikes ever built (FYI: The late 80’s Buell 1000/1200 had lowerCdA than most modern bikes, including the wind tunnel designed Suzuki Hayabusa).  The major difference between the RR1000 and the RR1200 was the engine; while the RR1100 was powered by a vibration prone Harley Davidson XR1000 motor, in 1989 Buell adopted the new smoother HD 1200cc Evolution engine into the RR1200.

When it was introduced in 1989, the Buell Battletwin 1200 was an intriguing mix of old and new; a thoroughly modern chassis that was a Buell custom design, an exhaust positioned underneath the engine (to help with mass centralization), Marzocchi forks with anti-dive technology, and a horizontally mounted shock.  The looks were certainly different from what had appeared before;  as one reviewer wrote about it and the similarly oddball BMW K1 “they look like something built as a representation of what someone thought motorcycles would look like when we lived on the moon.”


NOTE:   The following pics with bodywork removed are from a source other than the auction and should not be taken to show condition of the listed bike.

buell7 buell 8

The bike’s wide seat was found to be quite comfortable and thanks to Buell’s patented Uniplanar engine mounting system, the already reduced HD 1200 engine vibrations were kept further in check. The bike rode on 16-inch Dymag wheels and brakes were floating discs with four-piston calipers.

Even though the BattleTwin weighed about 170 kilos the focus was on handling and was about as good as anything from Europe.

“It is a quick steering yet stable bike that is easy to ride at high speeds through flowing turns.  It likes to be taken through corners on power and can understeer if you backed off the throttle while leant over in a corner but power through with the engine driving hard and you’d be rewarded with positive and neutral handling that made it hard to believe you were on a Harley.  In comparison, the competing 1989 BMW K1 was overweight, top heavy, hot and slow.”


So what’s it worth? Well it will probably appeal more to collector of oddball bikes than an investor, perhaps ending up parked alongside a HD VR1000 or Gilera CX125. Cost when new was about 12.5 k and this particular bike looks like it might need a new chain and probably some other items. Then again, according to a recent story done by, a good, well-maintained example could cost anywhere between US$25,000-50,000 today so this might be an opportunity for a collector/investor after all.


Beluga Buell:  1989 Buell 1200 Battletwin
Sport Bikes For Sale October 5, 2014 posted by Marty

World Traveler: 1990 GSXR400RR SP in the UK


Spanning the globe to blog the best rare sportbikes… the thrill of discovery!.. the agony of your bank balance!.. the drama of last minute bidding on ebay!…!

Okay, depending on your age you read the above and either heard Jim McCay or Gerald Butler in your head. The point is that this site is dedicated to blogging about rare sport bikes, whether they are rare due to technology, production, age and/or location. For this particular post I think we have found something that fits all 4 criteria, a Japanese market GSXR400RR SP that is located in the UK, not Japan.

For people who aren’t old enough to remember, during the late 80s/90s Japan motorcycle manufacturers had to deal with strict horsepower restriction laws.  Japanese buyers also expected top shelf tech in their bikes, including upside down forks and race replica design.  This resulted in Japanese manufacturers creating bikes solely for the Japan home market that were 400cc or less but had the top shelf tech included.  Meanwhile in the UK there was a similar great demand for smaller displacement bikes but demand far outstripped supply. This caused a wave of “grey market” imports, including huge numbers of top shelf used japanese model 400cc bikes coming into the UK.


1990 Suzuki GSX-R400 SP for sale on eBay UK

This particular 400cc bike is an uber rare 1990 GSXR SP, which was really a production racer with different suspension and gearing from the standard 400cc GSX-R.  To compete in production racing, the manufacturers produced SP (Sports Production) versions of their sports bikes. These usually had fully adjustable suspension, close ratio gearboxes and a single seat but interestingly, didn’t have more power due to Japanese motorcycle manufacturer’s power restriction code.

The GSX-R400 SP model had slingshot carburetors like the bigger 750, polished chrome silencers, a curved/race radiator and Tokico 4-cylinder front brake calipers.  While to the casual eye it looked almost identical with the standard GSX-R400, the front suspension was different from the standard model, it didn’t have passenger foot pegs and you could spot a rear suspension gas reservoir peeking out from under the seat.   Also the SP version had a single piece rear fairing cowl/tailpiece.


Now before you go and start checking your bank balance, there are some things to consider.   The GSX-R400 was probably the least popular of the 400cc machines for a good reason; the other manufacturers bikes were simply better. Consider the following review on VisorDown;

…The GSX-R was never the fastest 400…it was decidedly retro… Below 8,000rpm the little pistons are thrashing up and down the cylinder giving it all they have while the bike seems to be virtually crawling along but at 8000 RPM the whole bike’s character changes from a buzzing noise box to a fairly rapid machine. It’s an almost identical experience to riding a race rep two-stroke. At first amusing, then irritating and frustrating….

….It feels the lightest of the four. Flicking the Suzuki through the corners takes virtually no effort and even at a standstill the bike’s weight seems to disappear. But this doesn’t make it a pleasant bike to corner. The GSX-R lacks the balance in a bend of all of the other three – it’s a case of aim it at the exit and hope all goes well…this could be due to our tester having a tired rear suspension but I wouldn’t rule out the simple fact the chassis is a bit crap….


So whats this one worth?  To be honest, I don’t know.   Asking price is 2500 GBP which seems a bit high for a 1990 bike with fairly high mileage. Overall it looks reasonably clean but the pics aren’t exactly high res nor are there a lot of them.  Also, grey import bikes have a reputation for poor condition due to the limited parts availability which would also impact new owner costs. Lastly, if this really is an SP model (which should be verified before purchase), its reasonable to assume its been ridden aggressively at some point, either in Japan or in the UK.  So perhaps it would be best purchased by someone looking to ge a jump on their winter project effort or perhaps interested in getting a good first racebike for someone on a budget. Of course if it was me, I would do a full restoration on it and then just enjoy it 🙂


World Traveler:  1990 GSXR400RR SP in the UK
Ducati October 1, 2014 posted by Marty

Rare Red Racer: 2003 Ducati 999r with only 125 miles


It doesn’t matter if you are a coach, CEO or motorcycle designer, following a highly successful predecessor is tough, especially if you are tasked with going in a new direction.  When the Ducati 999 was introduced most Ducati fans had one response;  WTF?   Where the predecessor 998 had kept the classic design of the 916, the 999 was a step in a new direction.  Penned by designer Pierre Terblance, the 999 was mechanically superior from its predecessor but its oddball/rounded front fairing and exposed rear seemed a bit disjointed.

But the point of the 999 wasnt just to go into a new look/design direction. Ducati wanted to win AMA superbike in the USA, which it hadn’t done sine Troy Corser in 1994.  While the 1st generation base 999 and 999s had the same engine as the predecessor 998, the 999R and 2nd generation 999 models came with a new engine with a completely new cylinder head design, with revised ports feeding larger valves made of lightweight titanium, larger intakes and exhausts, more aggressive cams, etc.  A detailed explanation of the differences in the engine can be found here.


2003 Ducati 999R with 125 miles

The 999R was a typical homologation bike; lots of stuff that was good for the track including the bonkers new engine and carbon fiber bodywork, not so great as a daily commuter and a high price tag with only 300 units. 

As the folks at motorcycle usa wrote

Hands will go numb after about 30 freeway minutes, but that’s a fault of the clip-ons forcing an awkward wrist angle more than from any sort of engine vibration. In fact, with the motor’s lighter reciprocating and rotating masses, this might be the smoothest Desmos we’ve ever sampled, and it positively loafs along at a lofty 85 mph (or higher). Our 999R might also have had the nicest shifting gearbox of any Ducati. Ergonomically, we appreciated the taller windscreen fitted to the 999R; not only does it offer a bit more protection from the elements, its upper edge no longer obscures a rider’s view of the gauges.


So whats it worth?  Well this particular 999r appears to be basically new with only 125 miles but it is almost 10 years old so some servicing could be required (including the infamous Ducati belts).   The 999R was originally offered for right around 30k but recent auctions/posts on RSBFS seem to have prices ranging from 13k to 18k but those were higher mileage bikes.  The opening bid price of 15k and Buy It Now price of 23k would seem to indicate an actual reserve somewhere in the middle, maybe around 18-19k which is right in line with previous auction prices.

NOTE: The seller is not showing a clear picture of the mileage so this should probably be verified before purchase


Rare Red Racer:  2003 Ducati 999r with only 125 miles
MV Agusta September 29, 2014 posted by Marty

Rebirth, Italian Style: 2000 MV Agusta 750 Carbon/PROTOTYPE

What is art?   For a long time the belief was that a motorcycle could not be art because “art can never have any other purpose than itself”.  But the folks at the Guggenheim museum in New York thought differently and their 1998 display the Art of the Motorcycle was the most popular event at the museum in decades.  Of course the fact that they had a Ducati 916 front and center probably helped.  The 916 was designed by Masimo Tamburini and probably did more to transform Ducati from little known Italian motorcycle manufacturer to high end luxury item than any other bike in their history.

While for a lot of people the 916 would have been a career defining moment, Cagiva design house chief Massimo Taburini went on to design yet another jaw dropping blend of art and function and thereby relaunch an epic manufacturer into the new century.  I am referring of course to the MV Agusta 750 F4.

mv agust 2

Its hard now to explain the impact the new MV Agusta 750 F4 had when it was introduced. Bike design had become focused on blending function and weight (or as Colin Chapman is known for saying, “simplify, then add lightness”).  The Honda Fireblade/CBR900 was the standard bearer of this philosophy and while bikes like the Fireblade were a technological tour-de-force, they inspired appreciation but not lust.

Into this setting came the rebirth of MV Agusta with the 750 F4, a drop dead, sexy red, narrow bodied bit of Italian exotica that didn’t have the eye gouging 90’s-style graphics packages. Plus it came with a rear end that was unlike anything else out there.

mv agust 3

2000 MV Agusta 750 ORO for sale on eBay

The first generation of the F4 model released to the public was the F4 750 Serie Oro and only 300 examples were produced, with only 60 being brought into the US.   A few seem to pop up on RSBFS repeatedly but this is not one of the previously listed bikes.

The Oro was significantly different from the standard 750 F4 models which followed it.   Many parts such as the swingarm, frame side plates and wheels were made from magnesium and were anodized gold for consistency with the name ‘Oro’ (which is Italian for gold).   All painted parts, such as fairings, seat cover, front mud guard and even the fuel tank and air box are made of carbon.  Also the Showa fork has fast detach axle clamps and according to the seller, the engine casing is different as well.

mv agust 3

So what’s it worth?   Well on the plus side it has ultra low mileage, looks pristine and is 1 of the 60 series Oro bikes in the US with all the upgrades listed above.  But on the minus side MV Agusta went down the same road Ducati did, offering multiple “limited editions” of the bike which kind of diluted the appeal (I’m referring to you, Nieman Marcus edition) so it won’t blow them away at bike night.  Also, the 1000cc engined bike introduced in 2005 is a more popular option with a lot of riders.  Lastly, a standard MV Agusta 750 seems to go for around 9k, so the asking price of 32k on this one seems a bit high but perhaps this bike will appeal to a collectors of 1st edition and zero mile bikes.  One thing is for sure, Tamburini knew how to “artfully” blend form and function.


Rebirth, Italian Style: 2000 MV Agusta 750 Carbon/PROTOTYPE
Ducati September 25, 2014 posted by Marty

2.5 Supermono’s: Two Ducati Supermono’s and an Extra Engine

3supermonosThe Ducati Supermono is usually pure unobtainium, with only 65 units built between 1993 and 1995.  They seem to be mostly garage queens that get swapped between collectors and have appeared on RSBFS less than 10 times since the inception of the site.

As Tad D wrote back in June of this year,

“The Supermono may only have one cylinder, but it is one of the most valuable and collectible Ducatis of the modern era. And while the Supermono may lack in displacement somewhat when compared to what we’re used to seeing these days, it’s a heart-attack serious machine. With a dry weight of only 267 pounds and suspended with the best kit money could buy, including brakes from the 888, a much heavier machine. And those funny, army-green top triple clamp and the engine cases? They’re magnesium of course. And at the heart of it all, a 549cc single that started out making 65bhp at 10,500rpm.”

Supermonos usually trade around 100-150k and are more commonly seen at auction sites like Bonhams than on ebay or craigslist.  So the odds of two being for sale at the same time on the same website (Ebay) are pretty high.  Now add to that the odds of  a supermono engine also being up for sale at the same time on the same website and I think we should be looking for a Zamboni driven by a guy named Beezelbub to make an appearance sometime soon.  In any case, here they are in all their glory for us to enjoy and who knows, maybe be bought by a RSBFS reader!

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SUPERMONO #14 – Location, Italy


The first supermono is listed as a 1995 model with the 570 engine and is a very recent relist here on RSBFS.  It is located in Italy and the seller indicates it is number 14 and has never been started.  Interestingly, there do appear to be some small cracks around the bodywork.  It last sold for 145k USD but apparently the seller fell through.

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SUPERMONO#22 – Location, Dallas TX, USA



The second supermono is listed as a 1993 model but has a higher serial number (22) than the one in Italy which is a bit odd.  It is located in Dallas Texas and the seller indicates it has gone through a recent rebuild and includes numerous extra parts.     Price will probably be slightly less than the 145,000 for the one in Italy given that its had a rebuild but it I expect it still be north of 110k.

NOTE:  I am currently working up in DFW and will be going to see this bike this weekend.  This will be the 2nd Supermono I have had the opportunity to see in person, the other being out at FayMeyers in Colorado.   Gotta get my drool backet back out of storage I guess – Marty/Dallaslavowner

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supermon3 supermon31

Interesting, the same seller in Dallas TX USA of number 22 is also offering a supermono engine, most likely the original from the supermono being sold.  Seller indicates rebuild is complete but asking price is 55k (yikes!).  Then again if you are spending 100k+ on a motorcycle anyways, money probably isn’t a big factor in your life and it might be good to have some stock parts tucked away.


2.5 Supermono’s:  Two Ducati Supermono’s and an Extra Engine