Author Archives: Mike

Ducati June 4, 2021 posted by Mike

Sport of Kings: 1991 Ducati 900 Supersport

The Pantah-powered Ducati 900SS is a stalwart icon in the sport bike world. Devoid of the sewing machine, turbine-like windup of the Japanese inline four competition, the air-cooled, two valve L-twin grunts and booms to a relatively low RPM redline, riding a wave of torque. The trellis chassis is stiff, aiding in handling. Ducati took a page from the dominant 851 and used some of the same components on the Supersport, such as the massive Brembo brakes. The riding position is not too extreme, and the whole package looks timeless. That is a good thing, given that by appearances the 900SS remained relatively unchanged over the model run from 1988 – 2000, even though some tech did change under the covers.

1991 Ducati 900 Supersport for sale on eBay

By the 1990s the Supersport had been solidly supplanted by the mighty 851, however the SS remained true to its original form and intent, providing a lightweight, torquey and simplified (read: raw) riding experience. There is not much in the way of creature comforts on these machines, and while the 80-ish HP is plenty of motivation, it is the lower RPM torque that really shines when riding. Gear selection becomes much less critical than on a two stroke or even a high-strung inline four, and driving off the corners is the Supersport’s forte.

From the seller:
I am relisting this due to an error in the listing on my part. 1991 Ducati 900 SS. This is the first yr for this bodystyle 900, and only yr w/white frame and wheels. It has all the features of the later model 900ss SP model. (Aluminum swingarm, 5.5″ rear wheel and adjustable forks). I bought it 10 yrs ago from the original owner and have put about 500 miles on it only riding to bike nights and shows. In my opinion, this was almost too nice to ride so I bought another and started gathering parts for this one.

More from the seller:
Bike has never been down, painted on or damaged in any way. Upgrades include: Carbon fiber upswept exhaust, K&N air filter, Other Carbon Fiber parts include: Inner rear fender, Clutch cover, Belt covers, Dash surround and front fender. Also added preload adjusters for the forks, steering dampner and tinted windscreen. BIke has been rejetted for filter/pipes and runs perfectly. Also 41t rear sprocket. I also have a Corbin seat for it as well as a solo tail section that has been painted but never mounted and all removed stock bits. Valves adjusted <500 miles ago as well as replacing belts. They still look good but would recommend replacing them before riding much because of their age.

The seller claims a scant 4,960 miles on this beauty, which is a bit of shame. These are great bikes to ride, and as with most things mechanical regular usage helps to keep everything in working order. The seller does note some maintenance that has been completed, but readers should understand that cam belts on Ducatis are a time-based item just as much as miles. This bike does have some performance related farkles added on, which are all reasonably correct mods for the model. The rear sprocket is an especially beneficial upgrade; the factory gearing is way too tall to be useful on the street.

This listing was open for a period of time, and then it was pulled and relisted with the text noting corrections. There are double-digit bids already at the time of writing, and pricing is in the bargain basement territory. There is a reserve in place, so let’s see where this one takes us. The Ducati 900SS has the bones to be one of the all-time greats. It may not be as fast as later Superbikes, it may not be as exclusive as homologation machines, but it remains a fantastic platform and a capable dancing partner. This one looks great and needs a new home. Check out all of the details here, and Good Luck!!

MI

Ducati June 2, 2021 posted by Mike

Like a Weed: 1990 Ducati 851

The year 2021 has declared open season on the Ducati 851! I can remember few times when so many of these Bologna beasts have come to market – and all in such clean and low mileage condition. This is really a buyer’s market as we have seen a windfall of these liquid cooled, fuel injected, Desmoquattro Superbikes. Check it out yourself by searching the RSBFS archives on the model.

1990 Ducati 851 for sale on eBay

The 851 was Ducati’s entry into the true Superbike category. It was to cement the company as a full-fledged player in the sport bike game, and catapult them atop the rostrum in WSBK. It was really the trifecta of liquid cooling, fuel injection and the 4-valve heads – each a first for the company – that created the big bang event that was to become the 851. But often overlooked was the evolutionary aspect; the base motor was created on Pantah DNA, the trellis chassis has roots into the 1970s, and the bodywork and style was very iterative of the MH machines. All together, this was much more the sum of its parts. The 851 began a new era for Ducati that continues to this day.

From the seller:
I am selling a few bikes from my private collection. This is nearly showroom museum quality, Low mile, clean, and in perfect running order. All original all the way down to the took kit. I Drive this bike once a week about 10 miles for a leisurely cruise to keep things fresh. This bike remains at one of my studios and gets cleaned weekly. I have several Ducati’s and have enjoyed the visual beauty of this classic in my sight almost daily. This specific bike and year was a major turning point for the brand and a must have for any Ducati enthusiast.

More from the seller:
It does have a few minor imperfections shown. It does have the original tires on it , and work well for the driving i do with it. The only mod i have done is the exhaust , which i ordered from Italy 🇮🇹. Fluids and all maintenance has been performed. This bike is registered and insured with a clean CA title in my name. This bike will deliver with the original chrome exhaust that came with it in almost perfect condition if you prefer that it can easily be changed in 15 min. Please feel free to ask any questions as I love motorcycles and am happy to talk about them. Thank you and good luck:)

This particular bike is from a private seller in CA – and shows only 6125 miles on the clocks! That is pretty darn “near new” when it comes to a thirty-something hypercycle. And better yet, it is mostly stock and not heavily modified as some we have seen. There is some minor damage noted, but otherwise appears to be a well-loved and pampered example of the breed. The white frame and white wheels really pop on these earlier 851s, and this appears to be a good find for anyone in the market for one of these amazing machines. There are zero bids on an opening ask of $12k, so there is still all to play for here. The ask is not outrageous for the bike, but the higher starting price might be scaring off potential bidders. Check out all of the details here, and Good Luck!!

MI

Like a Weed: 1990 Ducati 851
Honda May 28, 2021 posted by Mike

TGIF: 1998 Honda CBR 600F3 Smokin Joes

How about a Friday quickie that isn’t closed yet? Check out this wonderful Honda CBR 600 F3 in full-blown Smokin’ Joe’s livery! Not terrifically rare in base model formats, the one year only yellow/purple livery celebrates Honda’s CBR dominance in AMA racing, and includes a thoughtful nod to hall of famer and multi-time AMA Superbike and Supersport champion, Miguel Duhamel. Instantly recognizable as a special edition, the Camel cigarettes sponsorship is not very PC today, but accurately represents the state of racing in the late 1990s.

1998 Honda CBR 600F3 Smokin Joes for sale on eBay

From the seller:
1998 Honda CBR 600F3. Smokin’ Joe’s Special Edition. Camel Racing. Includes owners manual, tool kit, and original exhaust pipe (and some replacement stickers). Purple, yellow, and white seat. Also included is a matching vintage HJC helmet. Great condition collector motorcycle. Some of the smaller vinyl graphic letters near the Dunlop sticker under the seat are missing. Also there are some very light scuffs in the purple on the lower right hand side just ahead of where your foot would go (see picture where I am pointing) and on the adjacent Honda Powered sticker. The battery probably should be replaced, otherwise this bike is ready to ride.

The Smokin’ Joe’s Replica – aside from the graphics – is essentially a stone stock CBR600. There were an estimated 1500 units produced in 1998, making this a reasonably rare motorcycle. Sadly there is little collector value over and above a clean and low mileage CBR of similar vintage. These are also easily faked with plastics and a sticker kit, so RSBFS readers are cautioned to always do your homework. I am told there is a VIN check for the SJR models related to the 6th, 7th and 8th digits (“253”) and the model listed on the VIN plate includes “SE,” but perhaps experts can chime in on the comments. This Buy It Now has a couple of days remaining, with an ask of $4,500. Check out all of the details here, and Good Luck!!

MI

TGIF: 1998 Honda CBR 600F3 Smokin Joes
Benelli May 28, 2021 posted by Mike

Six for the road – 1983 Benelli 900 Sei

Might have sold outside eBay since it went NLA overnight, but still worth a look see…  MI

There is always a surge of nostalgic excitement when a big Benelli crosses the block. These were the worlds first production six cylinder motorcycles, predating the Honda CBX and the Kawasaki Z1300 by five and six years respectively. And while the Japanese variants were arguably better known and more technologically advanced, the Sei was no slouch in its own right. And being Italian, it comes by its super model good looks honestly.

1983 Benelli 900 Sei for sale on eBay

The original 1973 Sei displaced 750cc, and was essentially two additional cylinders tacked onto a Honda CB500. And while imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, the De Tomaso company (which included Moto Guzzi as well) improved upon the packaging, relocating the end-of-the-crankshaft alternator behind the cylinders and narrowing the overall package. This is a move that was subsequently copied by both Honda and Kawasaki. Although the Kawasaki power unit was liquid cooled, Benelli stuck with air cooling for the duration of the bike’s model run. Models were produced from 1973 – 1989, but only a few thousand of the 900cc variants were ever produced, worldwide.

From the seller:
I bought this bike from the second owner in 2009. I soon changed the 22mm Dellortos (USA spec) for 24mm Dells (rest of the world) as part of a needed tune-up. I followed that with a rebuild of the rear Brembo F09 (pistons and seals). I was disappointed in the sound of the bike so I sourced the beautifully-made and incredible sounding six-into-six GP exhaust from Spain.  Expensive, but worth every penny!  I checked the valve clearances- all in spec.  Changed to Bridgestone BT45s. Two batteries and several oil and filter changes. That’s it for the 800 or so miles I have put on it. not many, but I have too many bikes and I am getting old!  This Benelli is an original bike in very nice condition.  It is not perfect.  Study the pictures. It starts, runs well through all the gears and rides well.  It is 38 years old though, so there is no warranty or guarantee expressed or implied.

Today we know the Sei as a Benelli, and represents the iconic form of the Benelli name. However during the design period of this bike, it was to be marketed as a Moto Guzzi. Imagine how different the brand histories would have been with that decision! Ultimately it was the sheer excess and cost that put the nail in the Sei coffin. These were big, exclusive European motorcycles in an era where the Japanese were winning the race to the bottom; for the $3995 MSRP of a Sei a savvy buyer could purchase 3 or more Japanese standards and sport bikes.

The seller has included a video of this bike, showing a cold start, idle and ride off. Those six-into-six pipes look and sound the part!

The Italian firm not only created a bombshell with the first ever production six cylinder motorcycle, but they also shook up the style game with a new angular design language which was very different than the flowing lines of the Japanese at the time. This helped the Benelli stand out even stronger against the competition, and the lines continue to stand out cleanly today. This example looks great for its age. The miles are low, the paint looks bright and serviceable, and the presentation is excellent. These 900cc Sei models are justifiably rare, and continue to be expensive – just like when new. No takers on the $12k opening ask as of time of writing. Check out all of the details here, and Good Luck!!

MI

Six for the road – 1983 Benelli 900 Sei
Yamaha May 27, 2021 posted by Mike

Get Your GP On: 1985 Yamaha RZ500

Hot on the heels of the big Gamma we posted earlier this week, it only seemed fair to post the other 500cc competition – the Yamaha RZ500. Seeming more readily available than the Gamma, the RZ500 is another of the GP replica two strokes that were never officially imported into the United States. Today these smokers bring big bucks when presented in decent condition, and it’s easy to see why: Rare, fast and very exclusive, the Yamaha RZ500 was the closest you could come to channeling your inner Roberts, Lawson or Rainey on the street. And who didn’t want to do that?? Today, 35+ years removed, the world of ever-tightening emission and noise restrictions make these screaming banshees icons of a past era, never to be seen again. But today’s example shows that these icons can live on in the used bike market.

1985 Yamaha RZ500 for sale on eBay

Unlike Suzuki’s square four arrangement, Yamaha lined up their GP replica in a 50 degree, V-4 formation. Both brands utilized a twin crank setup – more out of two-stroke necessity than anything else. That meant that this is actually two twin-cylinder engines powering the bike, rather than one bigger four banger. Power from the two engines is harnessed and consolidated in the clutch & gearbox areas, making the whole thing seamless to the rider. The rest is pure two stroke wizardry, with reed valves, exhaust power valves and four individual tuned-length pipes for maximum HP (approaching 90 HP when new and stock). The chassis is a rather pedestrian mild steel affair. The Japanese home market offered a power-restricted version with alloy frame – the RZV – which shaved about 20 pounds off the total dry weight – but those are even more rare than the rest of the world model we see here. The swing arm for both models is aluminum. As per the fad of the times, the front hoop is a mere 16″ to reduce the gyroscopic effect and speed up transitions.

From the seller:
Also known as the Race-Developed 500cc Liquid-Cooled motorcycle or RD500LC, the RZ500 was produced in limited numbers from 1984-85 as a road legal production version of the YZR500 2-stroke V-4 Grand Prix factory racer. This rarely seen replica racer was not sold in the United States, and the1985 RZ500 stands as one of the most collectible road-going motorcycles of its era.

Very rare V4
Light and powerful
2 stroke Sports Bike
Liquid cooled, 6 speed
High performance with speed of 148 mph
499 cc
Odometer: 26604 km (16530 miles)

Bike is all stock and original, with the exception of the upgraded exhaust system (stock exhaust system will be included with the bike purchase). Original paint; see picture for a few minor flaws.

Bike is in excellent running condition with everything working.

Given the rarity of these bikes in the US and considering the short life span they had in market when new (model years spanned 1984 – 1986), it should be no surprise that prices on these big smokers are wafting up like the blue smoke they create. Still, these are a pretty good bet for long-term value appreciation since they are popular, approachable, and in limited supply. I don’t see any of those factors changing in the foreseeable future, although the availability of spares might become an issue at some point.

Today’s bike looks pretty good for an older girl (even with low-res photos). There are some unfortunate nicks and cracks in the plastics, but everything appears to be in place. The JL exhaust out of the UK is a nice addition, and the seller notes that the stock pipes come with. Definitely a bonus for the collector. The red handgrips look to be aftermarket, but the rest comes across as an honest example of the breed. With 16,530 miles on the clock this is not a garage queen, so somebody please buy it and get out there and ride! Check out all of the details here, and Good Luck!!

MI

Get Your GP On: 1985 Yamaha RZ500
Suzuki May 26, 2021 posted by Mike

Canadian Delicacy: 1986 Suzuki RG500 Gamma

The mighty Suzuki RG500 is well known on the pages of RSBFS. Derived as an homage to the RG500 GP racers developed in the 1970s, the Gamma is probably as close to the GP bike as you can get when comparing it across the other big factory two strokes. Utilizing the same twin crank, square four configuration as the racer, the street going Gamma was big, powerful and menacing. It was also fast and quite exclusive – especially if you lived in one of the 50 states that did not officially import this smoker across their borders. Enter the Canadian connection. Our closest border to the north, most of the forbidden fruit known as grey-market bikes came this route. Today’s example is a step further removed, in that it still resides in its native Canada.

1986 Suzuki RG500 Gamma for sale on eBay

From the seller:
1986 RG 500 4 cylinders- THE MOST POWERFUL of the ORIGINAL 2 stroke Motorcycles! and 90lbs lighter than a std RZ 500.. Include current Canada, Quebec Clean title/ownership in my name with SAAQ/CarProof vehicle history and odometer reports from new. + r.d.p.r.m. no liens Certificate

And I can include a Quebec saaq inspection sticker to be road legal here (if sold in my province)…easy to pass the inspection because the bike is run &drive and everything work great

Immaculate condition and excellent example of a 35 years old collectable bike ( one similar in perfect condition like this one…just sold for $ 34000 in Canada!) .*** very good compression steady on all 4 cylinders!

More from the seller:
Only imperfections I could see are inside the OEM front right middle fairing with 2 smalls cracks but PROFESSIONALLY repaired (please look these repairs at the 2 last pictures..the exterior fairing is PERFECT). And I can’t see any aftermarket parts(except top forks valves caps and fuel hoses..that are brand new …with new battery and new carbs kit). ***previously, gas tank always drained + a thin layer of oil inside for no rust spot…please see the picture

The (mostly low-res) photos show a clean and well sorted RG500 that appears to be stone stock. There was some minor bodywork repair that is evident from the back side of the panel, but the outward facing paintwork and graphics appear to be good. There is no service history noted beyond general condition, and it would be interesting to know if the crank seals have been replaced. Two strokes are notorious for seizing (usually at the worst possible moment), and the most common reason for that failure is a lean fuel mixture due to an air leak in the bottom end. The lean condition is doubly catastrophic as the air:fuel ration creates a tremendous amount of heat AND since two strokes mix oil in the fuel to lube bearings, etc, the high temp situation is exacerbated. That is why a leak-down test is paramount before wringing the neck of a 35 year old bike in anger.

Bidding has been pretty constant on this one, and while the bidding is in Canadian dollars, the US equivalent is sitting just below $20,000 USD with reserve still in place. There are still days left to go for this low-mileage wonder bike, which should give you plenty of time to arrange for transport over the border. Bikes this old can skate under DMV restrictions in some states, so best do your homework. Check out all of the details here, and Good Luck!!

MI

Canadian Delicacy: 1986 Suzuki RG500 Gamma
Moto Morini May 22, 2021 posted by Mike

Little Italian: 1986 Moto Morini 350 K2

While not exactly the fire breathing homologation dragons usually befitting the pages of RSBFS, there is something unique and irresistible about the Moto Morini brand. And while the company produced a number of models over the years, it is the little 350cc v-twin that we see the most. These are beautiful bikes that lack the total exclusivity of a Bimota, lack the displacement of a Moto Guzzi, lack the high speed touring prowess of a Laverda, and lack the race track creds of a Ducati. Yet they have a place in the collector world, and are suitably rare in the United States.

1986 Moto Morini 350 K2 for sale on eBay

The Morini 350 (previously known as the 3 1/2) is a very approachable motorcycle – both from a rider as well as a collector perspective. With both electric and backup kick start available, the 72 degree, overhead valve twin certainly won’t hurt you. The vee angle produces some buzz at certain RPM, but otherwise these bikes are smooth and gentle. And while that Ducati or MV Agusta looks like it wants to spit you off while still on the stand, the Moto Morini chugs away delightfully, while oozing out an estimated 35-ish HP. Wrapped in a style that can only be evoked by the Italians, the 350 is a bike to ride. The collector aspect of the little Morini that could is just as clear: with few examples imported into the United States these are rare yet not terribly expensive. They are not overly complicated to work on, and represent a good entry point into the rare and wonderful.

From the seller:
1986 Moto Morini 350 K2 v-twin. Heron heads. Very original. Rebuilt DellOrto carbs w/ OEM carb kits and sonically cleaned. Replaced CAM belt less than 100 miles ago. Adjusted valves. Replaced electrical starter clutch with OEM part from Europe. Replaced solenoid fuel tap w/ manual fuel tap as I prefer manual petcocks – but still wired for solenoid (just uncover labeled wire cap if you so desire).

Replaced original air cleaner with tasteful cone filters from European supplier that make adjustments/inspections easier and frankly look better too. Original air cleaner goes with the bike if you want to go back to original. Small crack in left front mud guard where it attaches to fork . Glued fiberglass and holds nicely. Not really stressed and non issue. You could sand and paint but left it as functional. I also replaced original tires with new Avon Road Riders w/ tubes (less than 200 miles on them) that are superb for cornering/riding. Telepathic steering is how I describe the K2 – with butter soft gear changes up and down 5 gears. Electric start or kick – both work nicely and starts easily.

More from the seller:
I acquired this Moto Morini K2 from original owner in New York who bought it from US distributor Herdan. He chose to pick up at factory in Italy and rode it around Europe with Herdan group before Herdan imported it o US. During the Morini tour of a life time – he met his wife to be in France. Bike shows original mileage which now is 13714 miles – which is very low for Morini’s. They are just broken in at this point. I have only put on additional 200 miles or less during garaged and cosseted ownership.

If you know Morinis you might know this is the final iteration of the 350. Supurb balance and handling. A tasteful modern design with comfortable riding position and adjustable handle bars. Nice integrated fairing circa 1980s’s and originally supplied Italian rear rack I have never seen before. It is of light alloy and solidly constructed. Very cool.

Two sets of original keys. Manuals. Original tool kit. K2’s are rare. Probably most original K2 in U.S. Ride it. Enjoy it. Solid bike and feels much like my Moto Guzzi 850 LMIII but light and nimble.

The K2 is the final series of the model line, and as such is the most polished and evolved. This particular example looks to have been well cared for, and even has a cute story to tell (read the seller’s text). True, this is no homologation model, no two stroke, and probably left of center for what the core RSBFS audience mainlines, but RSBFS is all about the rare the the different and this one definitely fits in there somewhere. Would you want one in your garage? Check out all of the details here, and then let us know in the comments. Good Luck!!

MI

Little Italian: 1986 Moto Morini 350 K2
Kawasaki May 20, 2021 posted by Mike

Racetrack Weapon: 1996 Kawasaki ZX-7RR

Homologation machines exist to go racing. Sometimes it is the street bike that makes the race bike possible. Sometimes the street bike is the actual privateer race bike. In almost all cases, homologation machines are collector items because by nature they are limited in numbers. And of those numbers, many of the supply have been lost to the racing circuit (as might have been originally intended from the manufacturer). In almost all cases homologation machines exist to prove that certain features or components were included as stock with production motorcycles, thus providing factories an edge at the race track.

1996 Kawasaki ZX-7RR for sale on eBay

The Kawasaki ZX-7RR is no exception to the homologation game. Fully $3 grand more than the next highest spec ZX-7R, the RR sports the type of components that one needs in order to win a Superbike title. Or many, as the case may be. From a stronger bottom end bearing caps to better and more adjustable suspension front and rear, the adjustable steering head rake and swing arm pivot, to the tall-gearing of the close ratio six speed box to the oversized flatslide carbs (the latter two which incidentally don’t do very well on the street), the RR is really a starting point for teams to begin their tuning. From a “right off the showroom floor” perspective the lower spec Ninjas were better around town – and possibly all around – riders. But the RR was faster, meaner, sharper and far more exclusive.

From the seller:
Absolutely beautiful 1996 Kawasaki ZX-7RR. Stock pipe and not modified. Runs as good as it looks. Only 8000 miles.

For bikes that were meant to be raced – or at least to allow manufacturers to race – homologation machines in low mileage, clean condition are coveted. And rare. All told this is a serious motorcycle. The brand won 12 AMA Superbike championships, thanks to a few names you might have heard about: Eric Bostrom, Doug Chandler and Scott Russell for example. To find a bike this clean and cared for after all these years, to find one in stock, unmodified condition is really too much to ask for sometimes. But if you’re in the market – or in North Carolina where this bike is located – this one might be worth checking out.

This example is being listed as a Buy It Now classified – with pricing a cool $19,500. Looking through the RSBFS archives we find similar examples offered for more, and some for less. We don’t see these every day, and therefore the pricing spread is over a couple of years. That tells me that at least this one is priced in the ballpark. And given the rate at which collector values have been inflated in 2021, this may well be right on the money or even a bit low! Check out all of the details here, and Good Luck!!

MI

Racetrack Weapon: 1996 Kawasaki ZX-7RR