Author Archives: Tad Diemer

Suzuki November 5, 2018 posted by Tad Diemer

Featured Listing: 1991 Suzuki RGV250Γ VJ22 for Sale

Update 11.6.2018: This bike has SOLD! Congratulations to buyer and seller! -dc

Today's Featured Listing 1991 Suzuki RGV250Γ has styling cues very much like the four-stroke GSX-R of the period, and help the bike stand out as a Suzuki among the other bikes in the very competitive 250cc two-stroke class, even without their traditional blue-and-white graphics. Of course, if you're missing out on shouty graphics, there's still the RGVΓ, SAPC, and Made with the Grand Prix Spirit logos. This is actually a VJ22, the second generation of the little Gamma, and features a number of changes from the earlier VJ21.

The RGV250Γ followed the 250 two-stroke class template: a light and stiff aluminum beam frame, with an asymmetrical "banana" swingarm that allowed clearance on the right side for the twin "shotgun" expansion chambers in the case of the later VJ22 version seen here. The engine was a liquid-cooled, 90° two-stroke v-twin that eventually found its way into the Aprilia RS250 as well, along with Suzuki's six-speed gearbox. The Suzuki version used "SAPC" or "Suzuki Advanced Power Control," an electronic power valve and ignition timing system to boost the Japanese-market RGV's out put from 45hp all the way to... 45hp. Yeah, these were restricted in their home market. Export models got more like 55-ish horsepower from the 249cc twin.

Combined with the bike's sub-300lb dry weight, the bike offered plenty of performance for anyone willing to put in the effort to extract it. But straight-line power isn't the point with any quarter-liter two-stroke: the RGV is all about corner speed and eats twisty roads for breakfast. The earlier VJ21 used a 17" front and 18" rear wheel like other bikes of the era, but the VJ22 used matched 17" wheels front and rear, making it easier to fit modern rubber. Overseas, the RGV was a very popular little thrasher and fairly common, but these can be difficult to find. It's ironic that, here in the USA anyway, the Suzuki-engined Aprilia RS250 seems much easier to find than the RGV250Γ that donated its engine.

From the Seller: 1991 Suzuki RGV250 VJ22 for Sale

Very rare in North America the Suzuki RGV 250 is a close as you get to a street legal bike from the golden era of GP racing. This example was imported from Japan and has Utah street legal title. The bike is runs well and was recently serviced with all fluids changed. This bike is un-restored and has several scratches and scrapes but for a bike of its age its in good condition. All mechanical parts function well. The bike has 8,837 kilometers on the gauges. Comes with a set of brand new Bridgestone tires that have never been mounted. $6,500 + buyer pays shipping.

The bike seems honestly presented and is in good, if not perfectly original condition. The levers, grips, rearstand spools, and brake lines aren't stock and the color choices aren't particularly subtle, but that's fine, since you'd end up replacing them anyway if you're going to ride it, or if you're restoring it. The minor cosmetic flaws should be easily rectified without having to tear the bike down, and it would make a great, usable example.

-tad

Featured Listing: 1991 Suzuki RGV250Γ VJ22 for Sale
Honda November 3, 2018 posted by Tad Diemer

Collectible Classic: 1990 Honda VFR750R RC30 for Sale

For all the accolades it's received, the Honda VFR750 RC30 is a subtle machine. To the uninformed, it doesn't look all that special, especially now that single-sided swingarms have become fairly common. The proportions are good, it's very compact, and the colors are classy: it's a handsome bike, but doesn't appear to be much more than another Japanese sportbike, although one that just looks right. And the spec sheet doesn't really do much to give the game away either, although hints about that this is a very special machine...

The bike weighed in 458lbs with fuel, coolant, and oil, with power quoted at 118hp, good for a top speed just a shade north of 150mph.  It wasn't especially lightweight, even at the time, and the power-to-weight looks decidedly tame now. Of course, numbers don't tell the whole story. They never do. They're just a useful metric, a way to compare apples to apples. I'm not good enough to test an RC30 against its peers and come away with anything useful to say, other than "that was cool." And nearly thirty years later, I'm sure it'd be hard to understand the impact of a bike like this when it was introduced if you're used to riding modern motorcycles, bikes that all learned a trick or two [or ten] from this one.

The RC30 might represent peak Honda: everything is perfectly engineered, and reviewers have always gushed about just how easy it was to get the most out of. As Pirelli says, "Power is nothing without control" and the RC30 was, by all accounts, an easy bike to ride fast, a bike that flatters the rider. The proof is in the pudding, as it were, and the bike won innumerable victories in Superbike and endurance racing. For a racebike, it had a surprisingly long shelf life, and was popular with both factory teams and privateers.

From the original eBay listing: 1990 Honda VFR750 RC30 for Sale

  • VIN JH2RC3009LM200170, engine # RC30E-2200324 - matching numbers
  • only 642.8 street miles, never raced, one private owner from 1998
  • unmarked original paint, decals and finish
  • a 49-state ‘no smog’ L-model, one of approx. 316 to US-market spec.
  • climate controlled storage
  • clean, transferable Ohio title

118hp at 11,000rpm, red-line 12,500rpm, 51lbft torque at 7,600rpm, dry weight 400lb, over-square water cooled V4 DOHC, 6-speed, top speed quoted at 153mph

The RC30, a modern classic if ever there was one, was created solely to win the World Superbike Championship, a goal it met in the nascent series' first and second years, 1988 and 1989. And while American Fred Merkel aboard his Team Rumi-sponsored purple and black RC30 was bringing Honda its first two WSB crowns, Britain's Carl Fogarty used another RC30 to win the TT F1 World Championship in those same years, and the equivalent FIM Cup a year later in 1990. No mere short circuit scratcher or TT rocket ship, the RC30 proved strong lasting enough to win a bag-full of Endurance Classics, too. ‘That this latter requirement was also part of the design brief may be determined from the fact that a quick-release front fork and single-sided swinging arm - essential for speedy wheel changes - were part of an unrivaled specification that included a twin-spar alloy beam frame, 16-valve V4 engine with gear-driven cams, close-ratio six-speed gearbox and four-pot front brake calipers. All of which did not come cheap: at the time of its launch in 1988 an RC30 cost near double that of other super-sports 750s.’

Despite the passing of 30 years the RC30 remains a match for the following generation of superbikes but possesses an exclusivity that precious few of them can approach. ‘No other bike from the late-Eighties is lusted after like the RC30’, reckoned Bike. ‘And then there's the exhaust note – loud, of course, but soulful enough to bring a pit crew to tears.’

This RC30 is a beautiful street example that is in stunning, as new, un-raced condition, showing 600-odd miles on the odometer. The original dealer was Cycle Sport Center, Inc. of Cridersville, Ohio. They sold it to Steve Bennett of Domi Racer Distributors, Inc. of Cincinnati, Ohio who rode the 600+ miles gently on the street, and then sold it, with a new set of tires, in late 1998 to the current seller, the first private owner. The bike has been meticulously stored unridden and maintained from then on. It comes with the original owners manual, unused tool kit, and the factory key.

A likely never-to-be-repeated opportunity to acquire an ‘as new’ RC30.

This bike, hidden away for 20 years, is in superb condition, so it can justify the label "museum quality." It re-defines 'as new.' Its VIN tag, shown here, illustrates just how clean this bike is.

To maintain the RC30's original finish, complicated by the use of several colors and many stick-on decals and stripes, it behooves the caretaker to take great care when moving it for photography and preparing it for sale. Remarkably, this bike has had the kid glove treatment from day one.

Foreign sales are invited. The buyer must pickup the bike from the seller. The seller can help with arranging third-party domestic and/or international transportation upon request, at the buyer's expense. Pickup must take place within 21 days of the payment clearing the bank. Thereafter, storage will be charged at $10 per day.

Contact the seller via email in the first instant. Questions are invited.

Well, I think it's always a good sign when the seller invites questions and the bike appears to be extremely clean, as you'd expect from a bike with just 600 indicated miles. Experts should feel free to chime in with opinions in the comments, and I'd love someone to fill me in on the signature that is visible on the tail section. I'm guessing it's Bubba Shobert, who raced 500GP bikes for Honda, but the seller doesn't seem to mention that little bit of trivia.

-tad

Collectible Classic: 1990 Honda VFR750R RC30 for Sale
MV Agusta October 28, 2018 posted by Tad Diemer

Rare Colors: 2005 MV Agusta F4 1000 for Sale

Prices for the Massimo Tamburini-styled MV Agusta F4 are currently at a low point, so if you can put up with the bike's limitations and sometimes frustrating quirks, you can have what is arguably the best-looking sportbike of all time in your garage for the price of a used Suzuki. Most early F4 1000s you'll find are the classic MV Agusta red-and-silver, but occasionally, you'll see one of these silver-and-blue ones for sale.

It is a factory color combination, although you only rarely see them. I have a soft spot for this particular design, since the very first MV Agusta I had the opportunity to ride was in these colors. And, although everything you've heard about them is true, I was still smitten.

Issues with the first-generation F4 are well known: they're hideously uncomfortable and they run hot, especially in traffic, the rear hub is very sensitive to overtightening and can fail catastrophically if not properly adjusted. Or even if it is. The fuel injection is crude, and obviously parts can be a problem for a bike that's long been discontinued and was never produced in great numbers.

But if you're willing to take the plunge on an older MV, you can update the radiator and fans, a more robust hub kit is available, and when the injection is properly sorted with a Power Commander or stand-alone system, the 998cc inline four pulls like a freight train and the F4 handles like you'd expect of a thoroughbred Italian superbike. There's not a whole lot you can do to sort the cruel ergonomics, but adjustable rearsets and clipons might make it bearable, depending on your particular physique...

From the original eBay listing: 2005 MV Agusta F4 1000 for Sale

2005 Mv Agusta F4 1+1 well maintained super bike (recipients available) 

Unique and rare motorcycle for enthusiasts with great power and beautiful design.

Always garaged and adult owned, please let me know if you have any questions.

Thank you

*update please note a small dent on the tank (see last picture)

If you want an icon in your garage and have limited cash, or just want to convince strangers you've got more money and taste than you actually do, here's your ride. The seller is asking just $6,900 for this one. Honestly, that's a sharp price, assuming it's been well maintained and doesn't have any history of mechanical problems: the F4 is generally pretty robust, aside from the aforementioned issues, but the electrics can be fickle and a neglected MV will be a nightmare to put right. The seller doesn't include much information in the listing, but claims it's been well cared-for, and the photos suggest it's a clean bike. The fact that he points out the small dent in the tank suggest that he's probably pretty meticulous...

-tad

Rare Colors: 2005 MV Agusta F4 1000 for Sale
Bimota October 27, 2018 posted by Tad Diemer

Early-Production 2009 Bimota DB7 for Sale

Bimotas are unparalleled garage ornaments: blessed with exotic components, striking looks, and wild graphics, they're two-wheeled art and look every bit the barely-tamed racebikes they're purported to be. Unfortunately, they've also been pretty hit-or-miss when it came to the actual riding, often from bike to bike. Set up for any Bimota is key and, in spite of claimed advantages in terms of power, weight, and componentry, their bikes have sometimes struggled to even match the bikes they were built to supposedly outperform. But by the time of the company's rebirth in the early 2000s, they'd gotten their act together, and today's DB7 is one of the best bikes in the company's history.

Of course, improvements in performance and quality aside, we should still at least briefly touch on the elephant in the room: cost. The Ducati 1098-powered Bimota DB7's $35,000 asking price was in no way a good value. It definitely wasn't $10,000 better than the hot-rod Ducati 1098R of the same year, a bike that made significantly more power and even weighed a couple pounds less than the "lightweight" Bimota... But if you're fixated on something like that, you're missing the entire point: Bimotas of this period are for well-heeled connoisseurs with money to burn, and they're not intended to make financial sense.

I love 90s Bimotas, but some of the details are a bit crude and they're a complete pain to work on: those gorgeous aluminum beam frames significantly limit access to the bike's oily bits, and the overall "kit-bike" quality meant the brand's reputation suffered. It didn't help that the major manufacturers had been honing their craft. When two motorcycles with the same engine have a 150lb weight difference, the lighter machine can't help but be faster. But by the late 1990s, bikes like Yamaha's R1 and the Suzuki GSX-R1000 offered the same level of performance as Bimota's creations, but with much better reliability, and at a third of the price. So Bimota focused on creating bikes like the DB7 that offered an incredible level of craftsmanship and detailing, even if they weren't any faster.

I'm not a huge fan of the stacked projector-beam headlamps, but this is the kind of machine that gets more an more impressive, the closer you get. The detailing is incredible, especially the heart of the beast, or maybe the skeleton if we're staying with the anatomical metaphor... Bimota doesn't generally build their own engines, and the bikes' claim to fame has always been their frames. They started experimenting with hybrid frames that combined multiple materials with the SB8R, the idea being to obtain different performance characteristics for different areas of the frame. In the SB8's case, it was designed to shift weight forward for better weight-distribution and handling. In the DB7, the frame is an evolution of the earlier DB5/6 that used a combination of trellis structures for the frame and swingarm, connected to stiff machined aluminum sideplates, a design similar to MV Agusta's modern roadbikes and their upcoming Moto2 machine. In the Bimota DB7, the tubular trellis is replaced by oval-section tubing, and the overall effect is similar, and the bike looks light and agile, even at rest.

Of course, improvements in performance and quality aside, we should still at least briefly touch on the elephant in the room: cost. The DB7's $35,000 asking price was in no way a good value. It definitely wasn't $10,000 better than the Ducati 1098R of the same year, a bike that made significantly more power and even weighed a couple pounds less than the "lightweight" Bimota... But if you're fixated on something like that, you're missing the entire point: Bimotas of this period are for well-heeled connoisseurs with money to burn, and they're not intended to make financial sense.

From the original eBay listing: 2009 Bimota DB7 for Sale

The DB7 was Bimota's first superbike after their rebirth in 2003, and it featured Ducati’s 1098 Testastretta Evo engine. The engine isn’t the only impressive part–in addition to Bimota’s home-brew oval tube trellis frame, this bike is packed with top-shelf components like Marzocchi forks, Brembo Monobloc calipers, and the fully adjustable ExtremeTech rear shock. But what truly makes this bike stand out is the way this bike is made.

Ugh, I know what the seller means by "home-brew" but wow, is that the wrong phrase. Bimota literally made their name developing sophisticated frames that offered significant handling advantages, compared to machines from major manufacturers, and this one, while not necessarily better than the frame that forms the basis of the 1098, is a piece industrial art. The $21,000 starting bid is pretty steep, but these are some of the best bikes Bimota ever made. Sure, you could get a decent Panigale 1199S for that money, but those things are everywhere in Southern California...

-tad

Early-Production 2009 Bimota DB7 for Sale
Ducati October 21, 2018 posted by Tad Diemer

The Good Stuff: 1995 Ducati 916 for Sale

Well, it's finally starting to happen: the days of dirt cheap Tamburini Ducati superbikes are coming to an end. Yeah, 748s and 996s still offer some pretty great bang for your buck but, if you were planning to pick up a first-generation 916 like this nicely-upgraded bike for peanuts, you'd better get cracking. What, you thought it'd be possible to find low-mile examples of the most iconic motorcycle of the modern era would last forever?

Under the skin, it was just an evolution of Ducati's four-valve, liquid-cooled 851/888. But that skin... It made the bike a star whose appeal reached far beyond the hard-core biking community, and the 916 appeared as an aspirational object in film and print media, in music videos, and on posters that adorned the walls of a million teenagers who didn't own a bike, maybe never ended up owning a bike. Even if you're not into motorcycles at all, you'll probably recognize the 916.

The original 916's 114 claimed horses sounds pretty paltry, compared to today's superbikes, or even today's supersports. But while its performance has been surpassed by modern sportbikes, the 916 still handles beautifully, sounds amazing, and parts are still available to keep them on the road. There are also a wealth of parts to upgrade them, and there is pretty good parts-interchangeability between the different models. Make all the snarky comments you like about Latin reliability, but at least the 916 was designed to be serviced: every bike will need to come apart at some point, and those quarter-turn Dzus fasteners make removing the bodywork a five-minute affair.

From the original eBay listing: 1995 Ducati 916 for Sale

AP Racing full race 6-pot titanium brakes, titanium hardware, and master cylinder. These were race team-only in ‘95. Marchesini magnesium wheels, the race wheel (RARE). Carbon fiber air box, air tubes, in-box filer, under tray, swingarm cover, chain cover, chin lower, fender front with air vents. Nichols billet clutch basket. Ferracci stator/starter/ EPROM chip/Öhlins damper. Termignoni carbon ovals. Bike has been well cared for from the time I got it in ’98 bike still draws crowds. It’s a great ride: runs strong, starts every time. You won’t find a better ’95 916. Will meet shipper at the curb. Payment to be sent next day mail, you will have 3 days to pay in full by check. As soon as funds clear the bank, bike will ship. No BS.

The seller is asking $16,000 for this bike and that's pretty high for a 916, but we all know they're headed that way. Miles aren't especially low, but the bike has, as the seller indicates, had some very nice parts thrown at it, especially those trick front brakes. And with Ducatis, a bit of mileage is a good thing: it means the bike's been used and likely maintained. Which is great if you plan to ride, instead of display it. I'd normally consider a claim like "you won't find a better '95 916" to be hyperbole but, unless you're looking for a display bike with single-digit miles, I don't think he's wrong.

-tad

The Good Stuff: 1995 Ducati 916 for Sale
Suzuki October 20, 2018 posted by Tad Diemer

Clean, Low-Mileage Slingshot: 1989 Suzuki GSX-R750 for Sale

Suzuki’s GSX-R750 revolutionized the sportbike game by bringing racebike handling and technology to the masses. There were obviously plenty of other sportbikes available at the time, like Honda’s VF1000F and Kawasaki’s GPz900R, but none seemed to capture the style of the era quite as well the Suzuki, with its endurance-racing bodywork and striking blue-and-white graphics. It didn’t hurt that it had the performance to back up the race-bred style.

Interestingly for a cutting-edge sportbike, the original "oil-boiler" GSX-R's engine almost seems like it was a step backwards, as it was not water-cooled. Instead, the GSX-R’s designers took a page out of Colin Chapman’s book, and used an oil and air-cooling system to save both weight and complexity. Luckily, they left out Lotus’ factory-installed mechanical and electrical gremlins… Suzuki’s Advanced Cooling System or “SACS” used a high-capacity oil pump and a large oil-cooler to do the same job as a radiator, and the package made 112hp in the second-generation version seen here.

The second-generation of the GSX-R was introduced in 1988 and affectionately known as the “Slingshot,” owing to the unusual design of the semi-flat slide Mikuni BST36SS carburetors. The Slingshot actually had one less cc than the original bike, because of a more oversquare bore and stroke that resulted in 748cc. The updated engine could rev higher and made more power, but naturally less torque, and increased weight meant some customers weren’t especially happy about the change: the extremely rare homologation GSX-R750RK actually switched back to the original bore and stroke dimensions to restore some of the lost torque at the request of race teams.

The new version kept the oil-cooling though, and the perimeter aluminum frame, along with revised styling, suspension, and 17” wheels that make it look and perform more like a modern motorcycle. I’m not generally a huge fan of Japanese sportbikes, but the second-generation GSX-R750 and 1100 are on my short list of favorite motorcycles. Okay, it’s technically a pretty long list, but this is still a really cool bike.

I don't especially like the heavy four-into-two exhaust system seen here, but it is original and should add to the value for collectors. "Showroom condition" is an overused term and  is often applied to bikes that are very nice, but far from the way they rolled off the dealer floor. It shouldn't be subjective: aftermarket turn signals, exhausts, and even period-correct performance-upgrades technically disqualify a bike. But as a non-expert on Gixxers, this one looks like it might fit the description, or at least come pretty close.

From the original eBay listing: 1989 Suzuki GSX-R750 for Sale

Rare opportunity to obtain an original 89 GSX-R750 in mint condition with original exhausts and components. 

8880 miles from new, runs perfectly and needs nothing

Originally Purchased from local Suzuki Service Manager and collector, maintained in a climate-controlled garage. 

 One small scratch on the rear left tailpiece otherwise in excellent condition throughout.  

Recent tires and battery

No oil or gas leaks whatsoever, no stains, engine is smooth

Buyer responsible for shipping arrangements and costs. 

Please do not bid if you do not intend to purchase.

The curse of the "everyman sportbike" was the very reliability and affordability that made them so ubiquitous: most owners didn't bother to cherish them as they would a more exotic, or maybe more fragile machine, and they were ridden, flogged mercilessly, and discarded when they were worn out or when a new generation was introduced, then "customized" horribly by their second or third owners as the obsolete version became more affordable. These days, clean examples of Suzuki's oil-cooled GSX-Rs are quickly snapped up by collectors. Just a few years ago, you could get one of these for a few grand, but prices are shooting up quickly, especially for nice, low-mileage bikes like this one. Don't scoff too loudly at the $9,500 Buy It Now price, since bidding is already up above $7,000 with plenty of time left on the auction.

-tad

Clean, Low-Mileage Slingshot: 1989 Suzuki GSX-R750 for Sale