Author Archives: Mike

Honda January 24, 2021 posted by Mike

A Tale of Two Turbos: 1982 Honda CX500T (x2!)

With attribution (and apologies) to Charles Dickens, this was the best motorcycle, this was the worst motorcycle. This was an age where technology soared, yet this was an age where average triumphed. This was the time of lag, this was the time of boost. This was the Spring of hope, this was the Winter of despair. This was the early 1980s, and this was the Turbo era.

Forced induction has paved a long and storied road in the automotive world. For motorcycles, it represented more of a novelty cul-de-sac. And although started by Kawasaki farming out the Z1R TC model to a tuner and selling it in showroom without a warranty, the first fully-fledged, factory created and supported Turbo bike came from Honda: the 1982 CX500T. Utilizing the robust CX500 twin platform, Honda did some minor bottom end beef-up and some major electronics engineering on a computerized fuel injection and delivery control module to ensure engine longevity. The result is the space-ship resembling, very heavy, long turbo-lag inducing unicorn that you see here. Sadly, despite all of the technological innovations that Honda threw at the CX-T model, public interest in the beast never took off. And neither did values for these models, although that is definitely changing. Read on about these two bikes!


1982 Honda CX500T #1

From the seller:
CX500 Turbo Has Been On Display For 17 Years In My Climate Control Museum.
It’s Been Pulled Off The Display Floor And, Over Last Month, As Time Permitted I Have Had The Following Service Items Performed By My Master Mechanic –
-Storage Fuel removed and replaced with Non-Ethanol Premium Fuel.
-New AGM Battery Installed
-New Oil & Filter Change
-Both Front And Rear Brake Calipers Serviced – Disassembled Cleaned & Brake Fluids Flushed From The Long Time sitting Idle While On Display
-New front brake pads on both sides. The OEM ones were hard squeaked some and we have everything apart already.
-Both fuel Injectors Professionally cleaned by Mechanic
-Air filter check and was OK
-New OEM spark plugs installed

This bike looks absolutely awesome, and has been bid up to nearly $10k as of time of writing with the reserve still in place. There are a lot of bidders, and even more watchers. The activity is certainly pushing the envelope in terms of price point for these rare bikes (which should represent a *very* welcome trend for Turbo collectors), and this one may end up a new high-water mark for the model.


1982 Honda CX500T #2

From the seller:
1982 Honda. Condition is “Used”.
I’m Selling my CX500Turbo because I have to many bikes and someone needs to enjoy this one.
Bike is in immaculate condition for a 39 year old machine.
Only 3100 miles
All original paint
Original tires
Runs and drives perfect
Recent work completed includes all master cylinders and calipers rebuilt, injectors sent out and cleaned, new fuel pump, oil and filter changed.
I can take more photos if needed. Also have a video I can text of bike running with a walk around.
Chance to own a very rare motorcycle that has been climbing in value.

This particular example has very few miles for the age, and looks to be in good shape overall. There appears to be some paint cracking on the front fairing, and the original tires would make me nervous as a rider. This one has a bit longer to go at auction, with no reserve and the latest bid at over $7k at time of writing. Again, this is elevated territory for these techno-wonder machines, and we might see this one climb even higher before the auction ends.


Dickens closed out his famed novel (A Tale of Two Cities) with: “It is a far, far better thing I do than I have ever done…” Looking back at the monumental moment when Honda rolled out this amazing motorcycle, you can forgive the Engineers if they thought along the same lines. This was truly a remarkable undertaking, and endures as the most complex and technological effort of the Turbo era. To see not one but two great examples available at the same time – and being bid up to the current prices – bodes very well for these machines in the future. Check out the pics and videos for 1982 Honda CX500T example #1 here, and jump to 1982 Honda CX500T example #2 here. Enjoy, and Good Luck!


1982 Honda CX500T example #1 gallery

1982 Honda CX500T example #2 gallery

MI

A Tale of Two Turbos: 1982 Honda CX500T (x2!)
Laverda January 22, 2021 posted by Mike

A Winning Formula: 1979 Laverda Formula 500

Imagine you are a motorcycle manufacturer and need some publicity. What is the best way to make a splash? Racing is the traditional route to make some noise, but comes with the risk of being beaten (sometimes badly) by the very competition you wish to minimalize in the market. One make race series are a great way to drum up some business – regardless who wins, it will always be your bike. A few manufacturers have attempted this over the years, with the BMW Boxer Cup being the most recent on the big bore side, although the KTM RC390 series that ran with Moto America also applies. A lesser known (at least in the US) series existed in Europe, known as the Coppa Laverda (Laverda Cup).

1979 Laverda Formula 500 for sale on eBay

Formula 500 bikes were developed to drum up interest in Laverda’s smaller lineup of motorcycles – in this case the 350cc and 500cc models. These were air-cooled parallel twins that looked to capture a market outside of the big twins such as the 750 SFC and even bigger triples such as the 1000cc Jota & RGS. The bikes were marketed in the US as the Zeta platform. The race bike (track only, with no lights or other street legal accessories) was essentially a stripped down version of the 500cc street bike. Mild tuning netted about 53 ponies, and the whole shebang was wrapped in beautiful fiberglass bodywork. Laverda provided technical support to the racers, who were all privateers (no professionals allowed). And while the race series was a success in terms of participation and action, Laverda was purported to have lost money on every small bore bike sold.

From the seller:
Sold on Bill of sale. No title. Not for street. Mileage unknown, no odometer.

This is the motorcycle that was reviewed in Motorcycle Classics March/ April 2014.
I acquired it to race in AHRMA, but change of plans.

This bike was restored by the leading Laverda experts here in the U.S. and has not been ridden since it’s latest refresh 18 months ago. Besides the original exhaust that is installed, I have a custom made exhaust that will work with the Montjuic body kit (I do not have), or with the original body kit with a slight mod to the headers to fit under the original fairing.

New spare tires also included. No paperwork available as the collector I bought it from did not pass along any he had. I will pass the collector name to the buyer so he / she can try to get any available. Also the original restoration photo CD of the bike should be available from the expert who did it.

By modern standards these Formula 500 bikes are vestiges of the Stone Age. Air cooling, two four valves per cylinder, small-ish disk brakes and twin rear shocks – all very adequate but nothing that screams “cutting edge.” But the race bikes were successful and competent machines, and today they are quite rare (numbers are uncertain, but are likely in the low 200 range of total units).

I’ve been tracking this example for a bit as it makes its way through the usual relisting process. To be honest, I’m not really sure why the lack of interest by the market in general although the opening ask may scare off some bidders. This bike has gone through a relatively recent restoration, however it sounds like some recommissioning may be in order before running this bike in anger. Rear shocks look to have been replaced with more modern units, and the seller indicates some extra pieces are available. The bike looks clean, and the starting bid of $16,500 is market correct (even if the Buy It Now is rather high). This would make a fantastic collector, vintage racer, or track-day standout. Check out all of the details here, and Good Luck!!

MI

A Winning Formula: 1979 Laverda Formula 500
BMW January 5, 2021 posted by Mike

In This Corner: 2004 BMW R 1100 S Boxer Cup Replika #63/300

A short lived model (2003-2005), the BMW Boxer Cup Replika was a celebration of the one-make, VIP racer series that BMW ran with professional racers. Based on the R1100S, the Boxer Cup model can be distinguished primarily via graphics – although there were some subtle changes from the standard model, including an underseat Laser exhaust system, upgraded Ohlins suspension, and some carbon fiber farkles to spice up the image. To aid in cornering clearance, suspension geometry was modified and the rear of the bike was raised. This created some issues with inseam-challenged riders around town, but for track day enthusiasts it was just the ticket – as was the oil-catcher built into the belly pan.

2004 BMW R 1100 S Boxer Cup Replika for sale on eBay

From the seller:
2004 BMW R 1100 S Boxer Cup Replika
#63/300

BMW did not claim any additional power from the R1100S 4-valve motor – despite the exhaust and a dealer-installed fuel management chip. However the Replika did enjoy a full factory warranty, which was a plus. The fact that Randy Mamola’s signature was on the fairing practically threatened a high-side while still on the side stand, but star power never hurts when one is trying to make a name. Each Boxer Cup bike was bestowed with a unique number (just like Ducati limited edition machines), which should theoretically make them more rare and therefore more valuable than a more pedestrian 1100S counterpart.

Prices for Boxer Cup Replikas have been on the rise, but like everything else, condition and mileage will tell the story. The MSRP for these models was nearly $14k when new, but after a dip in the used bike market these have begun to rebound. We’ve seen asks at – and above – the ten grand mark for extremely low mileage examples. Today’s specimen wears a price tag of $7,500 or best offer, although there are not a lot of details from the seller. The pricing is not bad considering the mere 1,365 miles being shown on the clock in the photos. And speaking of photos, the pics show a pretty well-represented motorcycle, ready for the next BMW fan to hoon. Check out all of the details here, and Good Luck!!

MI

In This Corner: 2004 BMW R 1100 S Boxer Cup Replika #63/300
Moto Guzzi December 24, 2020 posted by Mike

Live From New York: 1978 Moto Guzzi Le Mans

‘Tis the season for Guzzi here on RSBFS, and I couldn’t be happier. In general these are nostalgic way-back machines, using large displacement and low RPM to provide motivation to a long-wheelbase platform. The whole package is a lot heavier and a lot less sporty than more contemporary motorcycles, but in the day these were relatively fearsome machines with true street and track creds. Today these are also eminently collectible.

1978 Moto Guzzi Le Mans for sale on eBay

The Le Mans came into existence during the DeTomaso years (of Pantera fame – the car not the band), and represented a new, sporty and stylish direction for the brand. All the classic Guzzi elements were already there, but they needed shaping to create one of the most iconic motorcycles in modern history. Retaining the traverse 90 degree V-twin cylinder arrangement bored out to 850cc and paired with a longitudinal crank plus shaft drive, Guzzi was taking it to the likes of BMW and their R90S – who just so happen to have won the 1976 AMA Superbike class in America with Reg Pridmore aboard. And while the Le Mans was a popular bike for racers, it was also a huge success in the showroom, spanning multiple variants and lasting through the latter half of the 1990s.

From the seller:
1978 Lemans 1 – excellent 22,615 miles.
original seat
original shocks
complete tool kit
original paint (except for fairing)
newer gel battery
complete service
everything works

In today’s world, there is very little here that represents a sport bike. Not the weight, not the long wheelbase, not the tiny disk brakes, not the paltry 71 HP, and not the skinny tires on 18″ wheels. But put in context of the cataclysmal technology revolution that was the 1980s, this simple and solid, hewn-from-solid-rock feeling motorcycle was confidence inspiring and reliable. By today’s dollars, these Mark I bikes appear to be a pretty good investment. And with 22k on the odometer, this is an investment that you can ride and enjoy without fear that a few extra miles will detract from future value.

This particular Moto Guzzi Le Mans is a Series II version of the Mark I bike. The original 1976 models can be identified by the round taillight, and represent only the first couple of thousand bikes. After that we see the square lights in the rear as shown by this 1978 model. These also had upgraded headlights to meet American standards, as well as the funky side reflectors. Today’s example can be found in New York, and is listed for $18,500. It has lots of original patina, and does not appear to be a rapidly-restored and flipped model. Of course you are looking at an unrestored 42 year old motorcycle, so expect some character lines. You can check it all out here. Happy Holidays, stay safe, and good luck!!

MI

Live From New York:  1978 Moto Guzzi Le Mans
Yamaha December 23, 2020 posted by Mike

Almost Famous: 1985 Yamaha RZ350

How much does star power help with motorsport sales? It helps if the figure connected with the sale is related to the vehicle in question. And in the case of the RZ350, the connection is very, very good. Sporting the signature of “King” Kenny Roberts, the RZ350 came emblazoned with the bumble bee livery that made Yamaha famous on the race track. As the last factory two stroke to be imported into all 50 US States, the RZ350 is held near and dear as a truly special bike from a bygone era.

1985 Yamaha RZ350 for sale on eBay

For those that have been living in a cave without AOL dial-up, let’s go over the basics: Take the spiritual heart of a RD350/RD400 – namely the two stroke parallel twin – and throw go-fast technology at it in the form of liquid cooling and a computer-adjustable exhaust port that enhances the typically peaky two-stroke power curve (YPVS). For those that like to breathe, the RZ came with an exhaust system that incorporated catalytic converters and air injection to prevent mosquito fogging the street/canyon/track with bllue smoke where these bikes played. The rest of the gear was fairly conventional, including a mild-steel frame, a single shock rear suspension system and triple disk brakes.

From the seller:
1985 Yamaha RZ 350 Kenny Robert’s edition. The most desirable year of the most desirable color combination Yamaha RZ 350. Very low original 6809 miles. Runs well, idles perfectly, fires up first kick. Stock oil injection system remains intact. Stock carbs, rejeted for the Toomy pipes and 2 into 1 K&N air filter. It is stock bore with new high performance pistons. I pulled the top end just to inspect and check everything, replaced the pistons because I had an extra set.

This bike came from The American Pickers in LeClaire, Iowa and was on of their shows. It was purchased locally by a motorcycle collector, and I purchased it from them. I have the bill of sale from Iowa.

The bike is in over all in decent rider quality condition, it has the normal nicks and dings as it is a 35 year old motorcycle. This bike would be a great candidate for an easy restoration or enjoy as is.

Like most RZs, this particular example has shed it’s restrictive, heavy catalytic converters in favor of some old-school expansion chambers. That is one way to really wake up an RZ. The air filter mod – in conjunction with the exhaust swap – requires changes to jetting, since the motor is now able to flow more air. Racers usually disabled the oil injection system in favor of mixing oil right into the gas (again, old-school), but street riders will appreciate the ability to fill up the tank without the use of a mix-rite cup.

This particular bike was apparently featured on the TV show “American Pickers.” I’m not really sure if that adds any value, but does prove that many people think the RZ is cool. Pictures show a bike in pretty good condition. This is not a meticulously spotless museum piece by any means, but nor is it a thrashed, crashed and trashed example asking for an outrageous price. With no reserve and a single bid at time of writing, this RZ is in the $6,500 zone – which is close to where you might expect. There are a significant number of folks watching on, though, so you might see some last minute activity on this auction. Check out all of the details here, stay safe and good luck!!

MI

Almost Famous: 1985 Yamaha RZ350
Aprilia December 20, 2020 posted by Mike

Futurama: 2001 Aprilia RST Futura

One of the most underrated platforms of the sport touring set is the Aprilia RST Futura. Built only across the years 2001-2004, the Futura should really be considered a serious sport bike with hard bags – and a bargain. Today’s example is a mere $3,995 or best offer. That is a very short stack of cash for something motivated by essentially the same powerplant as the RSV Mille (with DNA from Troy Corser’s WSBK entry), and includes all you would expect of a sport bike plus comfort amenities you might not have known you needed. Poor sales and overall softening of the Aprilia business led to it’s (early) demise.

2001 Aprilia RST Futura for sale on eBay

To build a Futura you start with the same 60-degree, fuel injected, liquid cooled Rotax v-twin displacing a nominal 1000cc. Different throttle bodies provide a flatter torque curve for the touring side of the sport tourer, but with 113 reported ponies on tap, little has been given away on the top end. The high-mounted, under seat exhaust both makes the bag mounting easier as much as highlighting the sporting intent. A stout Showa upside down fork takes care of the nose, while rear single-sided suspension – like with nearly all the Aprilia models – is provided by Sachs. This is bolted to an aluminum twin-spar frame, and halted by excellent Brembo 320mm disks up front (255mm in the rear). Wrap it all up in bodywork that mimics the future Tesla Cyber Truck, and you pretty much have the complete package.

From the seller:
Stock #:U000100
Exterior Color:GREY
Interior Color:GREY
Mileage:17,541
Title Condition:Clear

Dry weight on this beast is a relatively svelte 465-ish pounds. That made it competitive with the Honda, BMW and Triumph peers of the day – and none of them looked like this! The Futura design can be very polarizing (much like the Ducati 999), which likely did not help with sales. Today this bike continues to stand out, and it is difficult to imagine that this bike is 19 years old already!

The seller (a dealer located in Las Vegas, NV) provides very little information about this particular example, but does provide a number of decent pictures. I think that this bike look awesome in silver, and from the photos it looks reasonably unscathed. With only 17k on the clock there are a lot of miles remaining in this future-retro beast, so if you are looking for something different that also has a bit more protection from the elements, you might what to check this out. View all of the details here, stay safe and good luck!!

MI

Futurama: 2001 Aprilia RST Futura
Aprilia December 17, 2020 posted by Mike

50 Shades of Smoke: 2000 Aprilia RS50

This time of year it is common for RSBFS to refer to little scooters as stocking stuffers. But this particular tiddler – an Aprilia RS50 – has already been stuffed full of 77cc goodness. That should certainly up the power ante beyond the estimated 8 ponies of the stocker, and allow this 216 lbs (dry) chainsaw on two wheels to reach a speeding violation in no time flat. Note that the dyno sheet does not appear to be this bike, but rather the output from a motor with the 77cc conversion (along with many other accessories which may not be on this bike).

2000 Aprilia RS50 for sale on eBay

Based around a 49.7cc aluminum single cylinder featuring liquid cooling and reed valve induction, the Aprilia RS50 mill is actually produced by Italian firm Motori-Minarelli (2006 and later models are powered by Derbi units). And unlike some of the more pedestrian scooter-peds available, the RS50 was quite adult sized and had decent components. From full fairing that mimics the RS250 bike, the RS50 included 17 inch wheels (110 front, 130 rear), and a 300 mm single disc up front. Aprilia even included a passenger pillion and pegs – although I don’t know many that would two-up something of this size.

From the seller:
Stage 6 bore kit 77cc ,installed at 3k miles,d.i.d. chain sprocket conversion,full exhaust,upgraded rear adjustable shock.New tires Have all receipts paper work. Bike has amazing power band. Very reliable, exotic sound. I have all the old parts in box ,very fun ride.

I don’t know why nearly every RS50 I have seen includes custom rash on one side or the other (or both). Perhaps it is a testament to how confidence inspiring the handling is, suckering you deeper and deeper into corners until traction cries uncle. Perhaps it is simply the nature of small-bore, two stroke power than demands high corner entry speeds. Maybe it is simply because these smaller bikes have been hooned by youngsters who simply don’t know better. Regardless this bike has been artfully enhanced by a horizontal cornering move that likely left similar scars on the rider. Small bikes are a blast to ride, and they are also cheap to buy and own. This one has some decent upgrades in addition to the graphical customization, and is listed for a pretty strong $2,900 USD with zero bids thus far. That might be a bit high to open the auction, and thus the lack of response. There are several days remaining, so check out all of the detail here, stay safe and good luck!!

MI

50 Shades of Smoke: 2000 Aprilia RS50
Ducati December 16, 2020 posted by Mike

Social Media Star: 2001 Ducati MH900e

The Ducati MH900e was an internet sensation when it dropped on the Google-Tube in the magical year 2000. Designed as a futuristic homage to the Mike Hailwood replicas of the past – but devoid of the Hailwood name in order to avoid royalty payments (later paid to the family retroactively) – the Evoluzion is perhaps Pierre Terblance’s best known design. Today this bike still looks amazing and modern, despite a couple of decades having passed. This bike continues to make a statement to the riding public. Sadly, many of these bikes were not ridden, but instead hoarded away as collector machines. And while museum pieces allow future generations to adore old-new motorcycles, it subsequently robs the current generation of the pleasure of riding. It also tends to drive the prices up, which we are seeing here.

2001 Ducati MH900e for sale on eBay

In many ways, the MHe accomplishes a fine steak dinner outcome starting with cheeseburger basics. At the end of the day you might just see a plain-Jane air cooled Supersport under all of that fancy dress. But oh, such a fancy dress it is! From the gorgeous asymmetrical swingarm that is art in and of itself, to the high-rise shotgun exhaust sticking out the tail section, to the totally-unique-to-this-model bodywork that is both cutting edge and retro, the MHe screams style. And thanks to evolutionary updates to the redoubtable desmodue twin, torque is abundant and outright power is adequate. In all, you take what has already worked for the past 20 years, and make it look newer and edgier. And it works astoundingly well, even today.

From the seller:
The Ducati MH900e was produced between 2001 and 2002 as an homage to Mark Hailwood’s race at the Island of Man TT in 1978. The MH900e was designed by none other than Pierre Terblanche who made a special visit to the Larz Anderson Auto Museum shortly after the creation of this now rare, limited production motorcycle, for the landmark Art and Design of an Italian Motorcycle talk. Powered by a Supersport 904cc air-cooled L-Twin engine. Only 2,000 units were ever made and the sale of these motorcycles defied norms, selling directly to the consumer from the Ducati website, with 1,000 selling out in only 31 minutes. This particular one owner motorcycle has led a pampered existence. Clean as a whistle and in pristine condition because the bike has never ever been registered! In fact, it has only been exhibited as a fine piece of Italian sculpture in the original owner’s residence. This is not a garage queen! No, this one is essentially, for all practical purposes, new! With less than 10 miles on the odometer and showing no flaws whatsoever in the Ducati Rosso paintwork, as expected with a machine of this caliber, it is remarkable to take in.This MH900e is highly suitable for the discerning collector. Original shipping crate, with corresponding shipping markings included, as well as race stands and full documentation. A must see! All proceeds benefit the Larz Anderson Auto Museum. Accepting bids beginning at $25,000. This is listed on multiple platforms and the listing may end at any time. This is a rare opportunity – don’t wait!

There is a time in nearly every collector bike’s lifetime when it can be had for sticker. Often, a few years from new, it can be had for less than sticker. Then – if the bike is desirable enough and rare enough and in demand – prices will rise. I can already hear the “I remember when you could buy one of these for $10-12k” comments in the making. Sadly those days are gone, and prices have been steadily climbing. This seller is asking for a very steep $25k minimum for this almost new (10 miles claimed, never registered) beauty. And look at the pics – it has been well taken care of in a “I’ll never ride it but just look at it” sort of way. I congratulate people that can do that. I am simply not that strong.

The collector market continues to be strong for MH900e models; these are all individually numbered, and the production run was limited to just 2000 bikes across 3 or so years. A fun fact is that Bimota was tagged to build these bikes, but thanks to the vDue implosion and subsequent Bimota bankruptcy, Ducati was forced to build it themselves. Hand-built in Bologna, the MHe was announced in late 1999 as a 2000 model, while actual production started in 2001. These are interesting, if not uncomfortable, sport bikes that have a pretty stout following and a strong based of demand. We do see them for sale from time to time, but it is rare to find such a low mileage, one owner example. If you are looking to add to your stable of bikes, this could be the blue chip investment you seek. Check out all of the details and images here. Stay safe, and good luck!!

MI

Social Media Star: 2001 Ducati  MH900e