Author Archives: Tad Diemer

Aprilia July 31, 2014 posted by Tad Diemer

Function over Form: 1999 Aprilia RSV1000 Mille SP for Sale

The first-generation Aprilia RSV Mille  is a pug-ugly bike. There, I said it. The styling is bulbous and overwrought, with weird, gimmicky details and bits that don't really hang together.

Look, owners and fans can spare me the outraged comments: I really like these, and I'd take one over almost any Japanese sportbike you could name. I’d take “ugly but distinctive” over “pleasing but bland” all week long and twice on Sunday.

1999 Aprilia RSV Mille SP R Fairing

And the disjointed stealth-fighter design is certainly distinctive: there’s nothing else like it on the road and, in an era where the easiest way to tell bike brands apart is by what paint jobs they’re wearing, a defining corporate style is no small thing. But who cares what it looks like anyway? These things just flat work.

1999 Aprilia RSV Mille SP R Rear

At first glance, it looks very much like Aprilia simply stuffed a big v-twin into their pretty RS250’s frame. The bike was designed to compete directly on road and track against Ducati's 916, but Aprilia definitely did its own thing: no perfect primary balance 90° twin here. They went with a very compact 998cc 60° motor from Rotax for packaging, fitted with twin balance shafts to smooth things out.

1999 Aprilia RSV Mille SP Engine Detail

Someday, the styling may be considered classic, but for now the dated looks just mean that prices for these very capable machines are relatively low, considering the performance on tap. This one, however, isn't quite so affordable, and for good reason...

From the original eBay listing: 1999 Aprilia RSV Mille SP

This is a 1999 Aprilia RSV 1000 Mille SP (sport production) number 147 of 150. The Mille SP is one of the rarest Aprilias made, a 1000cc 60 degree V-twin Superbike. Just 150 were built, which was the minimum requirement for Aprilia to enter the Superbike World Championship.  Even fewer made it Stateside.

It’s a true homologation bike, not just a body work replica. Nearly every meaningful part is different from the standard Mille. The engine, built with input from Cosworth, has sand cast cases and a different bore and strike. The frame has adjustable engine position, steering head angle and swingarm pivot. Tuning by way of a race chip and not an ECU. The fairing is carbon-fibre. The exhaust is true duels with twin cans. The fuel tank is aluminum and the Öhlins suspension are fully adjustable.   Dry weight is 407lbs (about the same as a Ducati 996R and nearly 70lbs lighter than its sister Mille R.) Horsepower said to be near 150 with a reported top speed of 173.36 mph (versus 167.7 mph for the Mille R and 167.8 for the Ducati 996R).  As far as Aprilia goes, this is the one to have, the first year homologation entry. In 1999, Aprilia finished 6th. (Ducati was 1).

This Aprilia came out of a collection from California and has just 984 original miles. It comes with factory-correct DOT lightweight street wheels (magnesium wheels were not approved by DOT back then). The bike was just serviced by a certified race-proven tech at Eurosports in Coopersburg PA (an Aprilia dealer) and needs nothing.

I love that the SP actually has adjustable engine mounting points. Keep in mind that the SP is not simply a chip-tune and exhaust job. It is in fact a heavily revised, shorter-stroke version with significant input from Cosworth, as mentioned above.

1999 Aprilia RSV Mille SP Dash

Reliability for the RSV is generally better than equivalent Ducatis and service intervals less frequent. They’re also a bit roomier for larger riders, with a slightly more humane riding position. All-in-all, a funky alternative to folks not sold on Ducati hype, or those who believe that appearances are secondary to function.

Or for those who just love bikes with jagged, stealth fighter looks.

-tad

1999 Aprilia RSV Mille SP R Side Rear

Function over Form: 1999 Aprilia RSV1000 Mille SP for Sale
Yamaha July 30, 2014 posted by Tad Diemer

Small Things In Small Packages: 1986 Yamaha FZR250

Looking to get into sportbikes, but thinking maybe a used GSX-R1000 is a bit much? And maybe a Ninja 250 looks and sounds a bit too cheap, and is maybe a bit too common? Well this rare little gem of a Yamaha FZR250 might just be the ticket!

1986 Yamaha FZ250 L Side

Made between 1986-1988 with a shrieking 250cc four-cylinder that redlined at 17,000 rpm and managed to punch out 45hp, this may have been small-displacement, but it offered very real performance. Later models were designated the FZR250R and got Yamaha’s EXUP valve. These were originally intended for the Japanese market only, but some of these have managed to find their way overseas.

1986 Yamaha FZ250 Clocks

From the original eBay listing: 1986 Yamaha FZR250 for Sale

This is a very rare 86 FZR250, probably only a handful in the states, and fewer with a CA title. Cosmetically it is not perfect, but mechanically is very solid, it has had a very thorough going through and it carburates beautifully and runs like a sewing machine. Recent oil change and coolant, and last week just did fork seals and fresh brake fluid front and rear.

Please look at the pictures closely and email or call with any questions. This is a rare Japanese model not imported in the states.

Major flaws are a poor paint job, small rip in pax seat, slightly faded switchgear and it is sporting older rubber. All of these things are easily sorted! You can buy cheap Chinese painted kits or spend a little time and money and make it very nice. This is an incredibly rare grey bike that needs a new home, and it is a bit out of place in my Honda collection.

Very original, will be an easy clean up and restore or even ride as is. Please check out the pics closely and let me know if you need more or of any other part of the bike not pictured.

This bike is not in perfect condition, but should clean up nicely. It's obviously been down on the left side at some point, but it looks like a decent new paint job on the fairings would get you close to where you'd want to be. The original listing does include some very clear, high-resolution images so you can get a good feel for what you’re getting into. And while you should always be careful with a grey-market bike, that CA title and registration goes a long way toward increasing buyer confidence concerning this machine.

1986 Yamaha FZ250 R Side Fairing

While 45hp may not sound like all that much, it’s also nothing to sneeze at and should allow for a rider to exploit all of the bike’s power with minimal fear of it biting back. It’s not a “starter bike” -- it’s a bike to learn about serious cornering, one you can grow into with time and experience, not simply use as a stepping stone to bigger bikes.

And experienced riders could keep this thing pinned basically all the time. As the saying goes: “It’s more fun to ride a slow bike fast than it is to ride a fast bike slow…”

1986 Yamaha FZ250 Dash

It is truly a shame that in the US, a 600cc supersport bike is considered a "learner". Sportbikes of any displacement are far from ideal bikes for beginners in the first place. Their tall silhouette allows for maximum lean on track, but makes it hard to put your feet down flat. They can be reasonably comfortable on the move, but you’re perched over the bars, feet tucked up under you, making them very awkward to maneuver at low speeds, and limited steering lock just makes things worse. And modern 600’s make well north of 100hp, power that no first-time rider should have access to, combined with handling far beyond what a new rider can exploit.

We're breeding generations of motorcyclists who have had the crutch of speed to hide very limited riding skills. Having been to a few bike nights frequented by the sportbike crowd, I can safely say the skill level of the Cephalopoda inexperius or Common Road Squid found all over the United States is very, very low. If they'd learned on something like this Yamaha FZR250 instead of Hayabusas, that might not be the case

-tad

1986 Yamaha FZ250 L Side Rear

Small Things In Small Packages: 1986 Yamaha FZR250
Ducati July 29, 2014 posted by Tad Diemer

Featured Listing: A True Race Replica – 2008 Ducati Desmosedici

Update 8.27.14: I've been alerted that this bike is now sold. Thanks again for choosing a Featured Listing Ted! -dc

Introduced in 2008, Ducati's Desmosedici RR is perhaps the most collectable of modern Ducatis. Much more than just another WSB homologation-special or a tape-and-paint Repsol Honda, it’s a true race-replica sporting a genuine Moto GP V4, detuned slightly for road use.

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The Desmosedici [literally “Desmodromic Sixteen”] Racing Replica was based on Ducati’s moribund GP6 race bike and powered by a 989cc V4 making almost 200hp. Only 1500 were made and considering the price, it’s likely many of these have been cocooned in heated garages, displayed in living rooms, or packed away in unopened crates. Which is a real shame with top-shelf suspension, front and rear and a 200-section rear tire, this thing is the closest all but the very elite will ever get to riding a Moto GP motorcycle. A bike where you are the limiting factor.

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With a funky, catfish-like gaping air intake and bulbous fairings, it may not be the prettiest bike, but while Ducati could have designed a better-looking bike, that would be defeating the whole purpose of the exercise: a true replica of their GP machine, with some detuning for longevity and lights for road use. It was even fitted with an authentic 16.5” rear wheel. Make sure you budget for tires to fit that...

canvas

It does look purposeful, like nothing else on the road, and the thundering howl these make, especially with the new exhaust featured on this bike, will quickly erase any doubt about which bike just flashed past you down the main straight of whatever track you’re riding.

From the original listing on AutoMania: 2008 Ducati Desmosedici RR for Sale

The motorcycle was purchased new from Moto Corsa in Portland, Oregon by Michael Czysz of MotoCzysz fame. He returned the bike to MC when it had just over 1.600 miles and a local buyer brought it home. 300 miles later, moving has cost him the use of garage space and the bike has to be sold. While in his tenure, the accessory full on Race Exhaust System was installed, requiring the accessory Carbon Fiber Body work, for a mere extra $7,500. New tires were installed and an oil change completed. The $1000 rear stand, cover and books all come with the bike along with the stock exhaust system and body work.

canvass

These were originally $70k, with people paying more than that speculating on increasing prices. But this hasn’t happened yet, and may not for some time. These seem to trade in the upper $40k’s right where this is priced, and that exhaust and bodywork make it that much tastier: the original exhaust exited through the top of the tail section, which is just plain weird. It also makes me wonder how Jason Statham’s girlfriend rode on the back during filming of The Expendables…

Fairly priced with less than two-thousand miles on the clock and desirable upgrades. If you’ve been looking to jump into the Desmo market, this may be your chance.

-tad

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Featured Listing:  A True Race Replica – 2008 Ducati Desmosedici
Bimota July 22, 2014 posted by Tad Diemer

Simplify, and Then Add Lightness: 1993 Bimota DB2

Until very recently, Bimota’s exotic, Ducati-powered offerings like this DB2 featured the air/oil-cooled two-valve engines, instead of the more powerful four-valve water-cooled engines from the 851/916 models. This meant that, although the bikes weren’t the fastest straight-line performers, they were light and lithe, enabling riders to make good use of every horse available.

1993 Bimota DB2 L Side Front

This was originally, and perhaps ironically given that we’re talking about Italian exotica, a financial decision. The DB bikes have always been intended to sell well, and helped to keep the company afloat at different points in their history: with over 600 made, the original DB1 was about as mass-market as Bimota ever got. A little more than 400 of the later DB2 models were made, with production split between half and full-fairing styles, although I very much prefer the full-fairing on this particular example.

1993 Bimota DB2 Dash

From the original eBay listing: 1993 Bimota DB2 for Sale

Perhaps Massimo Tamburini's finest design, the Bimota DB2 is the consumate combination of exotic componentry, exhilarating performance, exclusivity and style. Bimota made only 408 DB2's, of which 285 had complete fairing.

This motorcycle was completely restored in 2001 when it had approximately 3000 miles and donated to the Larz Anderson Transportation Museum in Boston, who elected to auction it to focus on their older collection of pre-war cars. The odometer currently shows 1003 miles, the amount ridden after the resoration and replacement of the speedo and tach.

Enhancements performed in 2001:

944cc Big bore kit; Stainless steel engine studs; Carburetor jet kit; New timing belts; Carbon fibre belt covers; Braided brake lines; Polished wheels, mufflers, intake manifolds; New chain and sprocket; Adjustable brake and clutch levers; Tinted windscreen, Euro headlight; New speedometer and tachometer; Painted frame.

Since I purchased the bike in 2002, it has lived in a heated, air conditioned garage, and has been ridden less than 20 miles. After sitting so long, I decided to "re-commission" it in 2010 to make it roadworhty again. This involved new tires, new battery, new timing belts, rebuilding the carbs with new floats and jets, all new fluids, etc. It has not been ridden since.

This bike is absolutely stunning, and is virtually new. It deserves to escape from my garage, and be ridden!!

Period reviews suggest that this bike does exactly as intended, putting the flexible, evocative, mid-range strong motor from a bike already well-known for stability into a chassis even lighter, with improved suspension front and rear. Given the relatively simple underpinnings, these are phenomenally responsive bikes, clearly benefiting from Colin Chapman’s “simplify and then add lightness” ideology.

This is a bike for people with enough skill to appreciate the qualities this bike embodies: lightness over power, finesse over brute strength. Or just people with an eye for striking Italian design.

1993 Bimota DB2 L Side Rear

One of the nice things about bikes like this is that, unlike Suzuki’s GSX-R models, these appealed to well-heeled collectors from the start, and many have been painstakingly maintained. This example has seen very few miles roll under the wheels, but was recently brought back to road-worthy condition after a lengthy spell sitting in a museum: no hideous paint jobs to undo, no extended swingarm to replace, or crash damage.

It does feature a big-bore 944 kit [up from 904cc], which is great for power but reputedly can run a bit hot in traffic. The listing doesn’t mention if cooling has been improved, but it’s unlikely to be used for commuting, so I’d imagine this should be great for the back-road sorties this bike was made for.

-tad

1993 Bimota DB2 R Side Front

Simplify, and Then Add Lightness: 1993 Bimota DB2
Ducati July 20, 2014 posted by Tad Diemer

Moving the Game Forward: 1988 Ducati 851 for Sale

Motorcycle Designer Pierre Terblanche is a somewhat controversial figure in the world of motorcycle design. Notably held responsible for Ducati’s controversial 749/999 bikes and Sport Classics, you’ll find a great deal of internet hate directed at him. I happen to be a fan of the 749/999 bikes but I acknowledge that they’re not especially pretty bikes. I expect that they’ll eventually be recognized as classics in their own right, and they are certainly more humane and useable bikes than the notoriously uncomfortable 916.

However, many people who are highly critical of his designs forget that he was also penned the innovative Supermono and was also responsible for the 900SS redesign, along with the 851/888 bikes. The Ducati 851 is obviously not as iconic or as elegant as the later 916, it’s also far less common, and has a very simple, purposeful look that suits it.

1993 Ducati 888 SPO R Side

Setting the stage for Ducati’s modern superbikes, the liquid-cooled, fuel-injected, four-valve 851 displaced, perhaps surprisingly, 888cc’s and made just over 100bhp. Not all that much in today’s terms, but those 104 horses came with a flat wall of torque that shoots the bike out of corners with authority, accompanied by the characteristic musical booming that Ducati fans know so well.

1993 Ducati 888 SPO Dash

From the original eBay listing: 1988 Ducati 851 for Sale

Suitable for any museum or private collector or someone that just wants to ride but I recommend a full service and new tires first.
Dials, gauges and switch gear are nice and bright, not faded. Body paint quality nice and clean. No stress cracks in fibreglass bodywork, never dropped.

Some cosmetic improvements -

good quality front and rear carbon fibre mudguards

carbon fibre undertray

carbon fibre dash panel

rear brake slung beneath the swingarm

clear tank protector film fitted to prevent zipper scratches

upgraded brake hoses

rear brake micro-switch re-wired prior to my owner ship

1993 Ducati 888 SPO Tank

Overshadowed by the Tamburini design that followed, these are still largely unappreciated. From a historical point of view, the 851/888 represents a huge step forward for Ducati into the modern era with their use of liquid-cooling and four-valve heads. This particular example has a really nice carbon, dual-headlight fairing fitted by well-known California Laverda tuner Lance Weil. It may not be to everyone's taste, but the original parts are included, so it should be very easy to put right.

1993 Ducati 888 SPO Front Fairing R

Maybe it’s not the prettiest bike, but one that does the business and is rare to boot. Grab this for relative peanuts, then start scouring the internet for a 50mm Termignoni “spaghetti” full race exhaust for the full, window-shattering experience.

-tad

1993 Ducati 888 SPO Front Fairing

 

Moving the Game Forward: 1988 Ducati 851 for Sale
Benelli July 16, 2014 posted by Tad Diemer

Featured Listing: 2008 Benelli Tornado 1130 for sale in Georgia

I've been keeping my eyes open for a nice Benelli Tornado to write up for a while now. These represent a reasonably successful attempt to resurrect the storied Italian brand and they're supposedly still producing variations of this bike, although the company was bought by the Chinese Group Qianjiang and are currently being built there.

Modern Benellis were showing up with decent regularity as untitled holdovers or low-mileage speculator bikes until recently, but have since become scarce. Have sellers given up or have they been snapped up and squirreled away?

2008 Benelli Tornado Tre 1130 for sale on eBay

2008 Benelli Tornado 1130 R Side

Originally developed as a three cylinder, 900cc machine that was teased at the 1999 Milan motorcycle show, displacement for production bikes was upped when it became clear this would be a streetbike and displacement limits for racing could be safely ignored. Think of this as the big-displacement Daytona that Triumph never built.

Reviews at the time flattered the style [duh] and the bike featured some very interesting design features, including a radiator tucked up into the tail section that kept the weight of the engine as far forward as possible. A cool design feature emphasized by brightly-colored fans to help pull air across it, but I wonder what that’s like for riders and potential pillion passengers…

2008 Benelli Tornado 1130 Tail

Power, especially for the 900cc version, was not top-of-the-class, but it was very smooth and characterful. Although early models had somewhat iffy fueling at lower revs, this got better over time and is relatively easy to fix.

2008 Benelli Tornado 1130 Dash

Parts availability could be iffy moving forward, as the dealer network was never much to write home about and is likely much, much worse now. FastBikes magazine has been running one as a long-termer and back issues might make a great resource for tuning, parts, and substitutions that could be made to work. That end-can would be the first thing to go if I bought one, and I'll bet any number of other parts could be modified to fit: a stubby little low-mount can from Arrow would probably clean up the rear nicely.

2008 Benelli Tornado 1130 Tail Section

From the original eBay listing: 2008 Benelli Tornado for Sale

Light scratches, possibly dings or dents, might be missing a nut or bolt.
Comes from the factory loaded with all kinds of premium parts that beg to be ogled.
It would be prudent to have a fair amount of exotic experience to own this beast.
The riding design and eccentricities of the bike will demand a strong confident hand,
otherwise you will end up on the pavement along with a hefty repair bill.
Its design is something to behold. The ram air intakes run the entire inner length
of the bike to the rear section where it forces the air onto the radiator concealed within
the rear cowling.
To add to the impressive looks, there are two fully functioning fans in the rear that kick on to pull air over the radiator when it hits a certain temperature.
The bike comes with a cd copy of the service manual and a few spare parts.

2008 Benelli Tornado 1130 Tank

This is one of those bikes I'd love to have in my fantasy garage. There are faster bikes for less money, and parts may be a pain. But the styling is distinctive and very pretty, and the bike is fast enough to challenge all but the very fastest riders. Although with bodywork like that, this probably isn’t the best bike for hard-core track days…

When you can ride something as rare and elegant, I think the trade offs are worth it.

-tad

2008 Benelli Tornado 1130 Front

 

Featured Listing: 2008 Benelli Tornado 1130 for sale in Georgia