Author Archives: Tad Diemer

Honda November 1, 2019 posted by Tad Diemer

Featured Listing: Euro Spec 1994 Honda RVF750R RC45 for Sale

Certainly one of the most sought-after bikes of the 1990s, today’s Featured Listing RVF750R RC45 was the follow up to Honda’s extremely successful VFR750R or RC30. Ultimately, the RC45 didn’t have the same success in racing as their earlier RC30, but it wasn’t for lack of effort. The RC45 was every bit as polished and exotic, and used the same basic formula as the RC30: light and stiff aluminum beam frame, V4 with gear-driven cams, and a single-sided swingarm. The RC45 was powered by a 749cc, 90° V4 with gear-driven cams and the “big bang” firing order that gave the Honda V4s their characteristic sound and improved traction coming out of corners. The cam gears were moved from the center of the engine as is typically seen in motorcycles, including the RC30, to the side of the engine to improve packaging, while sophisticated PGM-FI fuel injection replaced carburetors.

Total displacement of the new V4 was almost identical to the earlier bike to squeeze under the limit for to meet World Superbike regulations, but the bore/stroke were changed significantly from 70 x 48.6mm to 72 x 46mm, making the engine more oversquare to reduce piston speed and increase revs. Titanium connecting rods helped reduce reciprocating mass and magnesium castings kept the overall weight of the engine down, while a slipper clutch helped keep the rear tire from locking up during downshifts.

Showa adjustable suspension components at both ends of the aluminum beam frame kept the odd-size 16″ front wheel and 17″ rear wheel in contact with the ground, with the rear hoop mounted to a distinctive, ELF-developed single-sided swingarm that helped ease wheel changes during endurance racing events. So why didn’t the RC45 match the RC30’s success, particularly in WSBK? Well, the RC30 was incredibly innovative when it was introduced, so perhaps the competition from the other manufacturers had just caught up to Honda. I’ve also heard rumor that the new engine was incredibly difficult for privateers to tune. Regardless, it was still an amazing piece of engineering from Honda, and one of the most desirable superbikes of the era.

From the Seller: Full-Power Euro Spec 1994 Honda RVF750RR RC45 for Sale

This is the very first RC45 model to be brought into South Africa (one of only 3), it was imported brand new. I bought it from a collector and since then have fitted new tyres, chain, battery and had all the fluids replaced. She rides beautifully and sounds eargasmic, note that this is the full power model as noted by the ED demarcation on the PGM-Fi. 34,000km (21,250 miles). All bodywork and the screen is OEM Honda, and the only aftermarket bits are the Yoshi exhaust, and the indicator deletion. (Which are readily available from Honda, and can be arranged). No rust or oxidation due to our favourable, dry climate, and careful storage by myself and the previous owner. Tool kit and paddock stand will be included in the sale.

A rare opportunity to own, ride and enjoy the ultimate 90s superbike. A reasonable asking price of $35,000 includes free shipping and crating to any location, worldwide. Please contact Justin via email justin@redladder.co.za

Just 200 were made worldwide, making this a very rare machine. The mileage isn’t barn-find-low, but Hondas are built to last and this still appears to be a very sharp machine. Keep in mind that these are incredibly rare, finding the parts and an experienced specialist to refresh your 0-mile RC45 could be a real headache. This one looks ready to ride and enjoy!

-tad

Featured Listing: Euro Spec 1994 Honda RVF750R RC45 for Sale
Suzuki October 29, 2019 posted by Tad Diemer

Tastefully Modified Smoker: 1993 Suzuki RGV250Γ VJ22 for Sale

Two-stroke sportbikes of the late 1980s and early 1990s followed a very similar format: aluminum beam frame, full fairing, racy ergonomics, and a small two-stroke powerplants packing cutting-edge technology and serious power per cubic inch. But the formula wasn’t really the result of a lack of imagination, it was convergent evolution: the class was ruthlessly competitive, and every component of bikes like the Suzuki RGV250Γ was maximized for performance and minimal weight.

Early on, the quarter-liter two-stroke class saw a variety of configurations: longitudinal and transverse parallel-twins, v-twins… But as time went on, Honda, Yamaha, and Suzuki all moved to a v-twin. The original RG250 used a parallel-twin, but by the time of the RGV, the engine was a liquid-cooled, 90° two-stroke v-twin that displaced 249cc, along with a six-speed gearbox, a package that was also used to motivate Aprilia’s RS250.

Naturally, all of the bikes in the class used some form of expansion chamber to help increase the peaky little two-stroke’s flexibility. In the case of the Suzuki, it was their SAPC or “Suzuki Advanced Power Control,” an electronically-controlled power valve and ignition-timing system. An asymmetrical swingarm with a pronounced curve on the right side allowed for the bulging expansion chambers on that side, and the second generation VJ22 version of the RGV250 used 17″ wheels at both ends, meaning you should be able to find good, modern rubber to shoe your whippy little sportbike.

The SAPC graphics and bodywork are very 90s, but upper fairing on this example isn’t stock: normally, the VJ22 has a large, trapezoidal unit in the center of the bike, as opposed to the more cat-eyed style, asymmetrical design seen here. It’s probably meant to evoke an endurance-racing machine of the era, since they often swapped the stock twin-lamp setups for single lights.

From the original eBay listing: 1993 Suzuki RGV250 VJ22 for Sale

1993 Suzuki RGV250 custom with only 10,816 kilometers (6,720 miles). This RGV is gorgeous! Bike is in excellent condition with just a few scratches and blemishes you would expect to find on a used bike. There is a small rub mark on the left side frame down by the foot shift lever and scratches on the right side lower fairing towards the bottom. However there are no cracks in the fairings and no dents in the tank. Bike is really clean and has great curb appeal. All fairings are 100% genuine Suzuki factory OEM except for the custom upper cowling. I don’t normally buy custom bikes but this one is special. The custom single headlight look with the wide front fairing looks awesome! The previous owner changed the rear sprocket 4 teeth down for a higher top speed and added a Sugaya full exhaust system for a few more ponies and awesome racing sound. Original OEM sprocket and OEM exhaust chambers and silencers come with the bike so you can go back to stock if you like. The color looks black indoors but the true color comes out when you take the bike out into the sunlight. It is actually blue metallic and the paint really comes alive outside in the sun. Pictures don’t do it justice. Bike runs excellent and will arrive with new fluids. Bike comes with a Utah state title and is titled as a street bike for road use. $200 deposit due immediately after sale ends thru PayPal. Remaining balance due within 5 business days by bank wire, cash or check. Please text 801-358-6537 for more pictures or questions. 

We’ve featured bikes from this seller’s collection in the past and, as a group, they’ve been very nicely preserved examples of various rare Japanese sportbikes, and there’s no reason to expect this would be an exception. Purists might give the aftermarket headlight setup and exhaust the side-eye, but they’re pretty cool updates to what is, in most markets, a pretty commonly available machine. And the bike is priced well, with a $6,750 Buy It Now price!

-tad

Tastefully Modified Smoker: 1993 Suzuki RGV250Γ VJ22 for Sale
Moto Guzzi October 24, 2019 posted by Tad Diemer

Before It Was Cool: 1991 Moto Guzzi 1000S for Sale

In 1991, “retros” weren’t really a thing yet. Kawasaki was dipping a toe in with their Zephyr, and Honda’s GB500 had been around for a bit. Both bombed here in the USA, where chromed, raked-out cruisers or hard-core sportbikes represented both the impractical, polar extremes and the majority of the market. But it was pretty easy for Moto Guzzi to whip up a retro of their own in the 1000S with very minimal investment or risk, since they’d basically been making variations of the same bike since the 1970s…

The bike already had handling sewn up: Lino Tonti’s brilliant V7 Sport frame still worked just fine for anything other than a full-on sportbike, pretty high praise since the bike was introduced in the early 1970s. Decent suspension helped riders take full advantage of the new Guzzi’s capabilities, and a pair of 18″ wheels helped it look every inch the classic cafe racer. The triple disc brakes were strong, and had the benefit of the company’s simple and proven linked braking system. Some purists hate it, but the system works well.

Into that twin-shock frame, Guzzi fitted the latest 949cc iteration of their two-valve, pushrod v-twin and five-speed gearbox, and their typical shaft drive transferred power to the rear wheel. It’s not going to win races, but the twin’s 82hp at 8,000 and 76 ft-lbs of torque are enough to push the 475lb 1000S to just under 130mph. Bikes made in 1993 switched to smaller valves to improve midrange torque and provide better emissions, but reduced power to 71hp at 6,800rpm.

From the original eBay listing: 1991 Moto Guzzi 1000S for Sale

This one is the Big Valve model
It has a little over 35k miles,
It runs excellent, just needs a new home.
Tires are like brand new, looks amazing.
The bike still has its original paint.
There are some scratches in the paint on the side covers.

Only 1,360 were built and fewer than 200 made it to the U.S. between 1991 and 1993.

35,000 miles?! That’s barely broken in, when you’re talking about a Guzzi! The seller’s $17,800 asking price is a bit higher than examples we’ve seen in the past, but Guzzis have continued to creep up in value, and just a few hundred were imported to the US.

-tad

Before It Was Cool: 1991 Moto Guzzi 1000S for Sale
Honda October 17, 2019 posted by Tad Diemer

Spitting Image: 1989 Honda VFR400R NC30 for Sale

Speaking of 400s… This grey market Honda VFR400R NC30 looks for all the world like it’s bigger, 750cc brother, the superbike homologation special VFR750R, also known as the RC30. The two machines can be pretty hard to tell apart, and just the smaller headlights and narrower real wheel give the game away without looking closely. Side-by-side, the NC30 is visibly smaller, but has the same sleek, 90s shape, beam frame, single-sided swingarm, and classic graphics.

Both bikes are powered by V4 engines with gear-driven overhead cams and a 360° “big bang” firing order that gives the bike its distinctive exhaust note, overlaid with the whine from the cam timing gears. That stunningly engineered Pro-Arm swingarm is heavier than a double-sided unit, but makes for quicker rear tire changes during endurance racing pit stops. The smaller engine also means much less weight, and the NC30 weighs just 400lbs wet, compared to the RC30’s nearly 490lbs.

Handling is brilliant and the bike is a popular track day mount overseas, although they’re a little too rare and a little too pricey to make much sense here in the US. Not that it would stop me from thinking seriously about it. It’s a very compact, lightweight machine, and the 60 or so horses feel stronger than you’d expect. I had the opportunity to take an extended spin on one, and it was plenty comfortable, although a guy my height does look a little like the proverbial “monkey humping a football.”

From the original eBay listing: 1989 Honda VFR400R NC30 for Sale

Pretty clean 1989 Honda VFR400 NC30 with only 8,021 original miles [12,909km]. The bike starts right up and runs and drives good. Everything works like they should, except for the missing seat lock and rear view mirrors. Got a Buy It Now price of $8,500 or will consider the nearest best offer. Got a clean and clear title in hand.

Please ask all questions and clear all doubts before bidding. It is the buyer’s responsibility to inspect the bike prior to bidding. Call 646 361 8452 to come inspect the bike. The bike is being sold “as is” with no warranties. All sales final with no refunds and no returns.

There are just hours left on the auction, and the Buy It Now price seems in line with the bike and its apparent condition. I’m generally much more interested in European exotica, but the NC30 is on my very short list of bikes to own.

-tad

Spitting Image: 1989 Honda VFR400R NC30 for Sale
Yamaha October 15, 2019 posted by Tad Diemer

Cherry Fizzer: 1988 Yamaha FZR400 for Sale

Practical sportbikes like the Yamaha FZR400 generally weren’t babied and pampered, or cherished in the way that seems so common with Italian superbikes: for an FZR400 fan, “to cherish” means to flog mercilessly on a canyon road or tight track, passing bigger bikes around the outside on that skinny 140-section 18″ rear tire… But nice, clean examples still exist, and today’s example has low miles to boot.

The bike followed Yamaha’s formula at the time: an Deltabox frame housing a liquid-cooled inline four, with a six-speed gearbox. It was actually more sophisticated than its bigger 600cc brother, with a frame made from lightweight aluminum, instead of cheaper steel. The engine revved happily to 14,000rpm which isn’t all that unusual today, in a world of 1100cc V4s that can reach similar engine speeds.But the 399cc engine lacked any appreciable power below 5,000rpm and made a claimed 64hp, so extensive use of the shift lever was required to make quick progress. Luckily, that aluminum frame meant claimed weight was just 346lbs dry, so the FZR400 probably still came in under 400lbs with a full tank of gas.

At the time, it was overshadowed a bit by the very exotic V4 Honda NC30, but the FZR400 offered a practical and affordable package, with exemplary handling: many are still used as race and track bikes for riders that believe less is more. In addition to the lower cost, they were actually sold here in the USA new for a while at least, making registration much easier than for some of the other bikes in the 400cc class like the ZXR400, GSX-R400, and aforementioned NC30.

From the original eBay Listing: 1988 Yamaha FZR400 for Sale

1988 FZR400 in excellent running condition with VERY low miles.  I imported about 2 years ago from Japan and rebuilt the carbs with a high quality carb kit about 5 months ago and synced them with the Morgan Carbtune, runs great.  New battery, everything works.  Will need new tires and most likely chain.  Has minor oxidation from the Japan climate but much of it will clean off, some will need repaint.  The body, tank, plastics, seat are excellent original cond.  I prefer to sell it to someone that will actual come see it in person so they know exactly what it is.  I can assist with shipping and know a few shippers.  It has a clear Florida title.  I have it for sale locally and reserve the right to cancel this ad and sell it.  Thank you

With just 2,600 miles on the odometer, this bike is probably one of the lowest-mileage examples on the planet, if that’s your thing. Of course, with an asking price of $6,500 it really should be… It did come from Japan recently, so probably worth it to make sure there will be no problems registering it, if you live someplace with a strict DMV, and as the seller mentions: there is some surface corrosion on some of the metal components, a common issue with bikes stored near large bodies of salt water. Ask me how I know…

-tad

Cherry Fizzer: 1988 Yamaha FZR400 for Sale
Aprilia October 11, 2019 posted by Tad Diemer

V-Twins for EVERYONE: 2001 Aprilia RSV Mille R for Sale

Everything was coming up twins in the early 2000s. Ducati’s continued success on track and in showrooms inspired other manufacturers to throw their hats into the ring: Honda and Suzuki decided that, “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” and built v-twin superbikes to compete against the 998. Obviously that’s oversimplifying things a bit, since Honda was apparently fed up with bias towards the Bolognese v-twins in WSBK and wanted to make a point by beating Ducati at their own game, which isn’t exactly the same thing. For Aprilia though, it just made sense to use a v-twin for their first superbike, and they managed to knock it out of the park with the RSV Mille R.

The bike was well-reviewed, had some success in World Superbike, and made for a real Italian alternative to Ducati, with wildly different looks but the same kind of v-twin grunt matched with better reliability. With their brand-new bike, Aprilia opted to avoid the kinds of mechanical nightmares experienced by Bimota, outsourcing powertrain development to Rotax in Austria. The resulting twin’s unusual 60° configuration meant a more compact design that allowed a longer swingarm for increased traction in a shorter wheelbase than is usual for a v-twin. Ergonomics and handling were closer to the Japanese inline fours than Ducati’s famously uncomfortable machines, and the R model seen here features plenty of go-fast goodies, including lightweight carbon bits, Öhlins suspension, an Öhlins steering damper, and forged aluminum wheels. The vacuum actuated “Pneumatic Power Clutch” mimicked the function of a slipper clutch to keep the rear wheel from skipping across the pavement during downshifts.

The frame and swingarm of the RSV Mille are utterly gorgeous, although they do get overshadowed by the rest of the package. The flat-black paint looks brutally functional and follows Aprilia’s habit of making unusual stylistic choices, as with the silver foil lettering on the RS250 or the purple and red Reggiani graphics. Small wings on the fairing predate the aero trend seen in WSBK and MotoGP, although the mesh vents on the flanks never really caught on… The “Mickey Mouse” headlamp may be a questionable choice, but should provide good illumination for evening rides and a Mille won’t ever be mistaken for anything else.

I hate to harp on the looks when I post these, because I really do like them. They’re a bit like the old Alfa Romeo Milano: not pretty by any means, but very striking. They’re especially appealing in flat, stealth-fighter black with red and white graphics seen here. The huge silencer looks very 2001, but somehow less dorky than the ones you find on Japanese bikes of the period. Maybe it’s the twin outlets? I’m sure it works fine, unless you want more noise. Because who doesn’t want more noise from their Italian sportbike?

From the original eBay listing: 2001 Aprilia RSV Mille R for Sale

For sale a 2001 Aprilia RSV Mille R with very low mileage and in almost new condition. I purchased the bike from the original and it was in a garage in the past 8 years. I changed all the fluids and the fuel pump. The bike runs and drives like a new bike. The bike has two small dent/scratches on the fuel tank (see attached picture).

With just 1,197 miles, this thing is tragically unused: the looks may be an acquired taste, but there’s no denying these RSVs are great to ride and very reliable, especially considering their Latin origins. If you’re looking for Italian v-twin music on a limited budget and don’t have time for mechanical drama, grab this one and ride it!

-tad

V-Twins for EVERYONE: 2001 Aprilia RSV Mille R for Sale
Suzuki October 2, 2019 posted by Tad Diemer

Lucky Strike Replica: 1996 Suzuki RGV250 VJ23A for Sale

The 1996 Suzuki RGV250 VJ23 was basically the last gasp for road-legal two-stroke sport bikes, and one of the most technologically advanced. Sure, Aprilia made the RS250 for a few years beyond that, but it was actually powered by the previous generation of Suzuki’s RGV250 engine, and the final examples weren’t even road legal in many markets. Earlier versions of the RGV250 were powered by the expected 90° v-twin, but the VJ23 was pretty much new from the ground-up, and was powered by a more compact 70° unit with slightly undersquare internal dimensions and a dry clutch for the six-speed transmission. Interestingly the new engine’s bore and stroke of 54 x 54.5mm match the Honda NSR250R’s specs exactly, and I’m assuming the increased torque contributed to the new RGV’s improved rideability.

Bodywork was completely new for the bike as well, and resembles the SRAD GSX-R of the period, all curves and bulges, with a functional ram-air duct in the fairing. The new VJ23 also featured an electric starter, a very unusual feature for a flyweight two-stroke, but very civilized and refined. Other revisions meant weight stayed basically the same as the outgoing VJ22, in spite of the starter. Frame was the expected twin-spar aluminum unit, along with the usual asymmetrical banana swingarm.

The biggest concern buying one of these desirable Lucky Strike race-replicas is… whether or not it’s a replica replica. It’s obviously pretty easy to buy new, pre-painted bodywork of varying degrees of quality from overseas, or even have a good-quality paint-job applied to standard bodywork yourself. How can you tell if it’s the real thing? As always, caveat emptor. Consult with an expert before parting with your money to avoid disappointments, especially at the $14,500 asking price.

From the original eBay listing: 1996 Suzuki RGV250 VJ23A Lucky Strike Replica for Sale

Up for sale is a genuine 1996 Suzuki RGV250SP VJ23A Lucky Strike with only 1,444 kilometers (897 miles). Just imported from Japan. Bike is in mint condition showing very little patina. Tank is perfect, upper and lowers are mint no scratches, no dings, no dents, no handling marks. Rear fairing has a few very light surface scratches or boot marks that don’t show up in pictures. All fairings are 100% genuine OEM Suzuki factory. Frame number confirms genuine factory Lucky Strike model. (Number 133 of 200 manufactured) Bike is completely stock. It’s in gorgeous collector quality condition. Runs like new. Comes with new fluids, carb cleaning and new Dunlop Sportmax tires. Comes with two keys and Utah state title. It is titled as a street bike for road use. This Lucky Strike will be the Crown Jewel of any collection! Please text 801-358-6537 for questions and pictures.

Keep in mind also that, if you plan to keep your collectible GP-replica bone stock, that these were intended for the Japanese home market and limited to just 40hp from the factory. This example was imported directly from Japan, according to to the seller, so I’d assume it is the limited power version of the bike. A few “export models” were made, just 360 or so of the 2218 VJ23s that were built. Either way, this was one of the most highly-developed two-stroke sportbikes ever made for use on public roads, and represents the very end of development for the breed.

-tad

Lucky Strike Replica: 1996 Suzuki RGV250 VJ23A for Sale
Kawasaki September 28, 2019 posted by Tad Diemer

Survivor: 1994 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-7 for Sale

It came up recently in the comments section, but I got into motorcycles relatively late in life. I mean, I always thought they were cool, but they just seemed so dangerous, and I knew I’d never hear the end of it from my family and friends. They’re also of limited practical value in the northeastern US as primary transportation, unless you’re a masochist or have Yeti DNA. When I finally got one here in California, I used economics to justify it: just $500 got me a runner. And that still holds true: if you’re into motorsports and have a limited budget, just what kind of worthwhile car can you get for five to ten grand? And if you live in Southern California, where would you keep a fun hobby car anyway? But you can fit a small collection of bikes into a single parking spot. And a nice, classic superbike like this 1994 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-7 can be had for that kind of money.

The late 1980s and 1990s were a golden period of superbike development. The basic formula was set, and the Japanese manufacturers were hard at work perfecting their creations. Only Ducati really went their own way with a v-twin: Suzuki, Kawasaki, Yamaha, and Honda all stuck with inline fours for their mass production machines, with the very limited-production RC30 and RC45 homologation machines from Honda being notable exceptions. Kawasaki’s ZX-7, known in other markets as the ZXR750, used a 748cc four that squeaked in under the 750cc limit for four-cylinder superbikes, a move that allowed the machine to be used in production-based racing series.

That engine was hung in a stiff aluminum frame, and backed by a six-speed gearbox. Power was rated at 105hp and the bike wasn’t especially lightweight at 450lbs dry, but there was the potential for more in the hands of skilled tuners, and the ZX-7 was famously terrific under braking and had excellent mid-corner stability. It might not have been the best bike on paper, but the Kawasaki found plenty of success in a variety of racing here in the US and abroad. This example isn’t perfect, or even stock, but looks like a sharp rider or a rolling restoration project. It’s not flawless, but has low miles and appears to have been sympathetically maintained.

From the original eBay listing: 1994 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-7 for Sale

1994 ZX-7 (ZX750L) with 9,812 original miles.

Original plastics – All VIN tags in place.

Engine/Frame/etc. all very clean.  No leaks.

New tires, fresh oil change (Mobil 1), new sprockets all this year.

Runs and Rides great (see video).

Light damage on left side from falling off lift while stationary.

Muzzy full system with correct jetting.

Original turn signals etc. will be included.

CLEAN NC TITLE IN HAND.

The seller has also helpfully included a nice, high-res video of the bike. So what’s to like here? The low miles, the likely reasonable final price, compared to a more exotic ZX-7RR, the period Muzzy pipe, and classic superbike looks. What’s not to like? The fact that it’s just a standard ZX-7 and the minor damage the seller mentions. The front and rear turn signals are also missing, along with the rear fender, although those shouldn’t be too hard to source if you want to switch things closer to stock. I doubt these will ever be worth crazy money, but it’s certainly a bike that should go up in value and you’ll be able to ride it in the meantime without worrying too much about either damaging an ultra-rare exotic or devaluing it by adding too many miles.

-tad

Survivor: 1994 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-7 for Sale