Author Archives: Tad Diemer

Ducati January 11, 2019 posted by Tad Diemer

Sport Production Special: 1998 Ducati 916 SPS for Sale

Looking at the history of the 916/996/998, it’d be easy to think that you were just looking at regular bumps in displacement as allowed by homologation requirements, especially considering that the bike itself appeared mostly unchanged throughout its development, minor changes in graphics aside. Even this very exclusive Ducati 916 SPS really looks like a 996 with a solo seat and white numberplates on the tail section.

But while all three models of Ducati's 90s icon are similar, and do share some parts interchangeability, they represent a continual development of the model. It made little sense to “throw the baby out with the bathwater” when the original 916 was such an impressive piece to begin with, and Ducati couldn’t really afford to start from scratch anyway, so evolution made more sense than revolution.

Given that every ounce counts on a motorcycle, especially one intended to be raced, each component is designed with a minimum of excess material, and Ducati’s original liquid-cooled, four-valve v-twin was limited to 955cc before the cases started cracking under the extreme pressures of racing, and the engine needed a significant redesign in order to safely allow additional displacement increases. The regular production 996 that followed used the updated cases and the larger displacement, but didn’t get all the other goodies included in the homologation model.

This 916 SPS in fact displaced 996cc, and was Ducati’s first use of their new reinforced engine cases and other changes that allowed the bike to continue growing in response to rules changes that increased displacement limits for Superbike racing. Externally, it looked pretty similar but internally, there were new heads, barrels, pistons, injectors, and a lighter crank. It was mated to a close-ratio gearbox from the 748. Up front was a Showa fork and an Öhlins shock helps keep the rear wheel in contact with terra firma. This 1998 year model also had a lighter frame and titanium connecting rods.

Originally, the SPS wasn’t technically road-legal in the US, but you could buy them here, and there wasn’t really much stopping you from buying a “for off road use only” bike and then registering it, since it had a VIN, lights, and mirrors. And of course Ducati damn well knew people would do just that. Thank goodness.

From the original eBay listing: 1998 Ducati 916 SPS for Sale

For sale, 1998 Ducati 916 SPS Superbike. Like new condition. Second owner. Extremely rare bike. Number 401 of 1058 total manufactured, for both US and Europe. Homologated for racing, only 50 were officially imported into the US. This is a true collector bike. New timing belt and battery. Tires are in excellent shape. Meticulously maintained, this bike is ready to ride!

Introduced for 1994, the Massimo Tamburini-styled 916 superbike and its subsequent evolutions captured the motorcycle world’s imagination and finally established Ducati as a brand of note. Within a short time the original 916 Strada was superseded by the Biposto (two-seat) and the higher-specification SP. The engine remained at 916cc for both models but the SP came with twin fuel injectors and bigger valves for more performance, together with a single white panel seat and an Ohlins rear shock. Next came the ultra-exclusive homologation-special 916SPS or Sport Production Special for 1997 and 1998. The SPS enjoyed a 996cc engine – complete with reinforced crankcases, new heads and barrels with both bigger combustion chambers and valves, high lift cams, a 11.5:1 compression ratio, close-ratio gearbox and various lightweight parts – delivering a mighty rear wheel 132 horsepower.

Ducati made 1,058 SPS models for 1998, so it’s less rare than earlier SPS and SP bikes, but still very much a collectible. This example has just 2,150 miles on the odometer, and bidding is up to $11,000 with the reserve not met and very little time left on the auction. The 916 was always going to be collectible, and even the most ordinary models are beginning to appreciate in value. But for collectors, this one's at the top of the list with serious exclusivity for a "production" bike and historical significance, with serious racing links. It also helps that it has a reputation for being a pretty ferocious bike to ride, and feels far faster than the claimed power would suggest.

-tad

Sport Production Special: 1998 Ducati 916 SPS for Sale
Kawasaki January 8, 2019 posted by Tad Diemer

Kiwi Kawi: 2001 Kawasaki ZX-7RR for Sale

Slathered in Kawasaki’s traditional lime green, the ZX-7RR was the homologation version of their 750cc superbike. It wasn’t quite as trick as Honda’s RC45, but its more pedestrian underpinnings make it a bit of an underdog, and the bike had surprising success and longevity for a machine that was updated in 1996, as you can see from this 2001 example. It was obviously pretty long in the tooth by then, but still provided a solid foundation for production-based racing.

The parts you’d expect are there: an adjustable steering head and swingarm pivot, and suspension provided an even broader range of adjustment, compared to the regular bike and, up front, Nissin six-piston calipers replaced the stock Tokico units. The bike had a close-ratio gearbox, and the cases were reinforced, and the engine used a heavier flywheel in an effort to improve traction off corners.

Interestingly, the bike was homologated with both 39mm and 41mm flat-slide carburetors, up from the 38mm CV units on the regular R. Kawasaki was covering their bases by offering that choice to racers, but conventional wisdom is that the 41s are just too much carburetor, especially on the street and even some racers went with the smaller 39mm units.

At 441lbs dry, the bike is a bit of a porker, but these Kawasakis were always more than the sum of their parts. Track down an old magazine article, or read a more recent review of these now “classic” sportbikes, and the writers will wax poetic about the bike’s “sublime front-end feel” and stability.

As you’d expect, it was pretty expensive for what was really pretty close to the standard model, but didn't work as well on the street, or even on track for that matter, in the hands of ordinary riders. The RR was $11,999 compared to the R’s $8,999. $3,000 was a hefty chunk of change then and even now, but compared to the RC45’s $27,000, it was a screaming bargain, and one of my favorite Japanese superbikes.

From the original eBay listing: 2001 Kawasaki ZX-7RR for Sale

Kawasaki ZX-7RR Ninja (750NNA - 2001 Registered)

Genuine motorcycle, which has traveled just over 5,200km from new. I purchased this example about 5 years ago on a trip to Tokyo, Japan and shipped it to New Zealand where it has been in my private collection. It is an exceptional example, all original, and appears not to have ever been ridden in the rain! The spare key still has its factory protection on it. The motorcycle was featured in a newspaper article on the model a couple of years ago.

https://www.stuff.co.nz/motoring/bikes/74403132/null

The original Japanese registration documents show it was first registered in Japan in 2001, and may well be one of the last of these RR versions manufactured. I have not complied and registered it in New Zealand, but have the paperwork and can arrange this if this buyer so desires.

I own a classic motorcycle restoration business and have shipped many motorcycles worldwide. It will be securely wrapped, packed and shipped in a steel crate, clad in plywood for safety. Feel free to contact me for a shipping quote, we use a broker and CFR Rinkens for shipments to the USA.

This is a very rare opportunity to secure what I consider may well be amongst the best ZX-7RR examples in existence.

Excellent condition, has been part of a private collection for a number of years. Run up about every six months, but seldom ridden.

Well, this particular collectible Kawi looks to be in great shape, with low miles and a sharp Buy It Now price of $20,000, although bidding is only up to $15,000 with very little time left on the auction. The only downside? It's in New Zealand, and that makes shipping a bit of a pain if you're here in the US.

-tad

Kiwi Kawi: 2001 Kawasaki ZX-7RR for Sale
Honda January 6, 2019 posted by Tad Diemer

Terra Racing Replica: 1989 Honda NSR250R SP for Sale

When you mention "race replicas" the phrase tends to conjure up images of lurid colors and graphics freed from any need for subtlety or adherence to an aesthetically-pleasing color palette. Or is that just me? Maybe just me. Anyway, as much as I personally don't tend to be a huge fan of them, there are obviously exceptions: I love the Rothmans and Repsol designs, in spite of their unsubtle styles, and MV's Reparto Corse graphics are pretty cool as well. Of course, the vivid colors and striking graphics obviously serve an important purpose: to help draw attention to what are essentially rolling billboards for the sponsors who pay big money to have their names and logos slapped on these speedy machines. This Honda NSR250R SP Terra Racing Replica is surprisingly subtle, however.

The NSR250R was Honda's standard bearer in the two-stroke sportbike class that was hotly contested pretty much everywhere but the US, where vast distances, straight roads, emissions legislation, and licensing requirements [or lack thereof] meant that the class is virtually unknown to the mainstream biking community these days. The original MC16 version introduced in 1987 set the tone for the series, with a 90° v-twin, alloy twin-spar frame, RC powervalve, PGM electronic ignition, and giant-killing performance.

Of course, competition from Suzuki, Yamaha, and later Kawasaki were pretty killy as well, and the intense competition saw the bike quickly evolve into the MC18 in 1988 and the MC21 in late 1989, followed by the final MC28 that came along in 1993. This appears to be a late MC18 R6K, the middle-child version of the bike, since it lacks the larger headlight and distinctive "gull-arm" swingarm of the MC21, and the SP denotes the "Sport Production" version that came with a trick dry clutch and Magtek magnesium wheels, along with fully-adjustable suspension.

Power from the 249cc engine would have been rated at 45hp for Japanese-market bikes, but bikes intended for foreign markets and de-restricted versions can make much more. Even in restricted form, the NSR is pretty quick, with less than 320lbs wet to push around, although two-strokes require quite a bit of work to extract the available performance. If you're interested, top speed is around 130mph, but that's not the point of the bike. Find a tight racetrack or a set of canyon curves that would tie even a modern literbike in knots, make sure you eat a light breakfast to save a couple pounds, and spend a Sunday morning worshiping at the Temple of Lean.

From the original eBay listing: 1989 Honda NSR250R SP Terra Racing Replica for Sale

Up for your consideration is a 1989 Honda NSR250 SP TERRA RACING. This bike is all original minus the full Jha exhaust system, and stainless steel brake lines. From the factory the bike is equipped with a HRC dry clutch, magnesium wheels, and a fully adjustable suspension. The bike sounds amazing and starts first kick every time. The bike  has been fully deregulated and runs absolutely great and is extremely quick despite the cc size. All fluids have recently been serviced as well as two new spark plugs.  Please view all images as this is a 30-year-old original bike with minor imperfections.The bike was legally imported into the United States and I do have a clean and clear Arizona title as well as a full set of aftermarket stock plastics still in the bubble wrap. I do encourage all bidders to please come and view the bike in person, or send someone on your behalf to inspect and view the bike. Please don’t hesitate to email for more information as well as pictures videos of the bike running if needed. 

Bidding is currently up to $5,900 with the reserve not met and very little time left on the auction. There are some minor chips in the decals and paint, and some aftermarket farkles like the steering damper, brake lines, and the front brake rotor buttons are obviously not original and are of questionable taste, but simple enough to change or remove. Although they are surprising, considering the claimed [and indicated] miles. Regardless, it is a clean-looking bike and worth a look if the reserve is set at a reasonable point.

-tad

Terra Racing Replica: 1989 Honda NSR250R SP for Sale
Bimota January 3, 2019 posted by Tad Diemer

Sponsored Listing: 1991 Bimota YB10 Dieci for Sale

Update 3.11.2019: This bike has SOLD! Congratulations to buyer and seller! -dc

For the money, 1990s Bimotas offer some pretty incredible bang for your buck. Obviously, a more modern machine of equal value will be faster, as well as more reliable and practical, but if the goal is to own something different, something exotic, and something with real style, not much can compete. This Bimota YB10 Dieci being offered by Iconic Motorbikes has an asking price of $11,100 which is barely a third of what an RC30 is currently worth.

Of course, there are some compromises. An RC30 from the same period represents some of Honda's very best engineering, with an almost obsessive attention to detail and few mechanical quirks. The YB10 Dieci is a rolling monument to quirk: Bimota's motorcycles of the period were really racebikes first, with concessions to practicality an afterthought at best.

The Dieci obviously has the design cues common during the 90s, with a pair of round headlamps up front, an aluminum beam frame, and sleek, fully-enclosed bodywork. If that looks overly familiar, as if Bimota was just following a trend, you've got it all backwards: Bimota basically started the trend with the race-only YB4 that debuted back in 1987, a bike that only appeared in roadgoing trim after World Superbike rules required a run of street-legal machines be sold to the public. They're mostly forgotten by everyone but us motorcycle geeks now, but Bimota was one of the original competitors in World Superbike and nearly won the inaugural event. The YB10 is an evolution of that bike, with a larger engine.

Invariably, Bimota tuned its borrowed powerplants for increased performance, although the results were often dubious and the claimed power gains generally minimal anyway. Bimota's real claim to fame was chassis design that resulted in light weight and incredible agility. In an era when Suzuki's GSX-R was using an antiquated double-cradle frame, Bimota's gorgeous aluminum beam design pointed the way forward, and a close look at the craftsmanship on display is impressive. Racy styling is easy to do, and the term "sportbike" gets thrown around pretty liberally, but the YB10 was the real deal. If you've never seen one of these without the bodywork, it's amazing how spare and minimalist it is: there's almost nothing there that isn't dedicated to speed.

Bodywork consists of just four major pieces, plus a couple inserts for the radiator vents. The tail and tank cover is one piece, there are two side panels, and the upper fairing, all held on by quarter-turn fasteners, so the bike can be naked in minutes. Which is good, since working on the bike is frustrating at best, with that gorgeous frame wrapping so closely around Yamaha's 1002cc five-valve Genesis engine and five-speed box that access can be difficult, depending on what you're trying to do.

Also guys, it's pronounced "bee-mo-tuh" not "by-mo-tuh." Just as Italian cars with two turbos like the old Maserati Biturbo are actually "bee-turbos" not "by-turbos." Just had to get that off my chest.

From the Seller: 1991 Bimota YB10 Dieci for Sale

1991 Bimota YB10 Dieci – Rare 1 of only 224 – Fully Serviced!

Bimotas are well known for their Italian style, class and over the top engineering.  This YB10 is no exception to the rule with its billet machined frame, its one piece (and seamless) upper fairing, billet triple, classic style wheels… so cool!

The YB10 wasn’t just eye candy either, it was tested my a few magazines and came back with a top speed of 172.9 mph which is quite respectable for 1993!

Only 224 of these were every made!

Not only do you get Italian style but you get the reliability of a Japanese motorbike with the YB10.  The power is supplied by a FZR1000 which means motor parts are never a problem to source!

This Bimota was serviced by Bob Steinberger, a very well known Bimota expert about 2 years ago with very few miles after the tune.  Service included new tires, new chain and sprockets, new battery, fresh oil, new jets, etc.

She’s in fantastic condition with only 12,885 miles and ready for a new home.

Want to see her in person, fly into LAX, we’re only 15 minutes away and ride out!  We’re right on the border of Venice beach and only a few miles from Santa Monica.

Nice to see this one's been ridden a bit, so you can actually put some time in on your new exotic without "ruining" a zero-mile museum-piece. As indicated, parts for the powertrain shouldn't be a problem, although the aforementioned tight packaging within the frame means servicing will be more time consuming and expensive than it would be on the donor Yamaha. Bodywork, on the other hand, could be a real issue, although Airtech does have Dieci panels available. I've long said that if I ever bought one of these, I'd buy a set from them, have it painted to match, and display the OEM bodywork so I could ride the bike without worrying that a patch of gravel would ruin one of the 224 ever made!

-tad

Sponsored Listing: 1991 Bimota YB10 Dieci for Sale
Suzuki December 30, 2018 posted by Tad Diemer

Last of Its Kind: 1996 Suzuki RGV250 SP VJ23 for Sale

For the most part, the RGV250 was a gradual evolution of the original beam-framed, two-stroke 90° v-twin machine introduced in 1987. But the VJ23 version introduced in 1995 was a significant leap forward, with an entirely new frame and engine to go with the swoopy bodywork. Unfortunately, with interest in the class waning, this final, and some feel best version of the RGV250 was never officially available outside Japan, making this little bit of forbidden fruit especially rare here in the USA.

That new engine featured a switch to a 70° v-twin that replaced the earlier 90° unit. Traditionally, sports v-twins have 90° v-angle because they've got perfect primary balance, but the advent of balance shafts and more precise engineering seems to have shifted things, and sport v-twins like the Aprilia RSV Mille used a very compact 60° engine.

Obviously, given the tiny pistons involved in a 250cc two-stroke and the relatively modest revs involved, I'd expect the additional vibrations of a 70° v-twin could easily be chalked up to "character," and the more compact configuration should offer improved packaging and additional flexibility in placing the engine in the frame for better weight distribution.

In addition, the bore and stroke of the new engine measured 54 x 54.5mm, compared to the racier and more oversquare 56 x 50.6mm of the earlier bike so, although power was still limited to 40hp per Japanese laws and made similar power in de-restricted form, the package was much more flexible at lower revs and easier to ride. A functional ram-air duct added power at speed, and for the first time, an electric start made the bike easier to fire up, while the SP added a trick dry clutch to the mix.

The brakes on these little rippers would have been enough to stop a much bigger machine, weight was under 300lbs with fuel and oil, and there was real performance on tap, with 125mph top speed. But you still had to work for that speed, and that was pretty much the whole point of the quarter-liter class anyway.

From the original eBay listing: 1996 Suzuki RGV250 SP VJ23 for Sale

1996 Suzuki RGV250 SP VJ23. 9900 miles (15,934 kilometers), very original and unrestored. Mechanically sorted. All fluids are fresh. Shifts and revs to redline perfectly. Starts effortlessly every time. Very honest bike. Small paint chip on fuel tank, left silencer has a dent, some touchup paint on lower nose fairing. Please see images. Fuel tank is rust free. Aftermarket lower controls (COECRE) and exhaust (SUGAYA). Has VIN matching State of Ohio title.  All bidders make NOTE: Vehicle is titled as a 1993. If this is of concern please don't bid. “Buyer is responsible for their own State Requirements.” California and Hawaii sold with Bill of Sale only. Please email all questions. Thank you for looking.

Some of the images are relatively low-resolution here and leave a bit of detail to the imagination, but the seller does indicate some cosmetic imperfections that are visible in the detail shots. It's rough around the edges, but it claimed to be mechanically solid, so maybe the perfect bike for someone who wants a rider or a bit of a project. For the right price, this could be a really cool bike, if lurid neon graphics, stinky smoke, and knee-down corner-carving are your thing.

-tad

 

Last of Its Kind: 1996 Suzuki RGV250 SP VJ23 for Sale
Laverda December 28, 2018 posted by Tad Diemer

Bet on Black: 1998 Laverda Black Strike Cafe Racer for Sale

As Laverda rose from the ashes of the 1970s, they saw Ducati as a natural rival, inspiration, and target. Yes, I know that Laverda continued to produce new motorcycles into the 1980s, but those were just 1970s engines wrapped in new clothes, a pattern that would continue when the company was reborn in the 1990s... So as the 750S was intended to target the Ducati 748, the Boys from Breganze needed something to compete with, and hopefully sell as well as, Ducati's parts-bin success story, the fabled Monster. Enter, the Laverda Ghost Strike.

The original Ghost used a trellis-style frame apparently intended to mirror the Ducati Monster, although the restyled Strike version seen here used a beam frame designed by the famed Nico Bakker, along with restyled bodywork and a twin-headlamp setup in a handlebar-mounted bikini fairing. Interestingly, the Ghost was available with both trellis and aluminum beam frames concurrently to suit different stylistic tastes. Fortunately, geometry and weight are identical, so the bike's excellent handling was unaffected.

High-quality components like Paioli suspension and Brembo brakes spoke to Laverda's serious intent, and the bike was one of the first production motorcycles with a centrally-located fuel cell. In this case, the aluminum cell is fitted behind the engine, leaving the "gas tank" to be an airbox, possibly to the confusion on new riders and onlookers since there is no gas cap, just a blank expanse of plastic. The actual filler cap is in the tail, under a plastic panel or a pillion pad, depending on what mood you're in that day.

It was the engine, a development of the 500cc parallel twin first seen in the Alpino and introduced way back in 1977, was always the Zanè-era Laverda's Achilles' heel. It wasn't a bad starting point, as it already had dual overhead-cams, four valves per cylinder, and a six-speed gearbox. For this more modern application, the air and oil-cooled parallel twin was punched out to 668cc and fitted with Weber-Marelli fuel injection for a claimed 70hp.

Viewed in isolation, the engine did a fine job: it was naturally compact, liked to rev, and made decent power. Unfortunately, it was up against the torquier, two-valve Pantah in the Monster and needed to be worked harder for the same result. The engine later gained a few cubes and liquid-cooling for the Sport models like the Formula, but that bike was pitched against the Ducati 748 and, while handling as as good or better, the Laverda's 1970s roots were unfortunately showing by then.

Overall, the Ghost's styling is... distinctive. It's not a pretty bike, but looks aggressive and purposeful, a worthy competitor to the Monster. However, while both are designed to provide an Italian bike experience for the proles, the Monster looks like its own thing, but the Ghost hasn't aged quite as gracefully and doesn't hide it's parts-bin origins as well.

From the original eBay listing: 1998 Laverda Black Strike Cafe Racer

If you are looking at this auction, you probably know what this is. This is a Zane Laverda Black Strike Café Racer 650/668. This is an extremely rare motorcycle. Only 50 total were built and only a few made it to the United States. Of these, this one has only 1 true mile on the odometer.

The black strike edition was a kind of a one-off within the Zanè-era lineup and incorporated all the top shelf goodness of the Laverda marque at the time; a Nico Bakker designed frame, 3 sets of Brembo brake calipers, Marchesini wheels and a letterbox gas tank that reduces the center of gravity (which is still pretty advanced after 14 years). And the fact that you can still get a Zanè-era Laverda for reasonable money whereas a lot of Breganze-era bikes have begun to appreciate beyond the reach of us mere mortals is another plus.

The air-cooled 668 engine and Nico Bakker designed frame were from the 668 Sport model, while the seating and gauge clusters where from the the 668 Ghost.The 668 Black Strike was also the first model with the lighter plastic gas tank, straight exhausts without the restricted collector box and also offered a few bits of optional carbon fiber such as exhausts and optional front fender/mudguard.

The Black Strike model was produced in 1997/98 at the number of 50 units and since Laverda is now a mothballed marque within Aprilia Piaggio this is definitely a rare bike.

The story behind this bike supposedly is, that Laverda brought a handful of bikes to Laguna Seca in 1997 to have them tested and rideen by the press. After a couple bikes were crashed by journalists, Laverda pulled the remaining bikes, but instead of sending them back to Italy, they passed them on to selected dealers. This is one of these bikes. 

Original owner. Bike purchased from Space Coast Cycle in Coco Beach. It was started by the dealership when bought and never started  again.  

Other Zanè Laverdas for sale: 1999 Formula and 1998 Legend. Inquiries welcome.

Some specs: 

  • Air/Oil cooled parallel twin, four stroke, DOHC, 4 valves per cylinder, Electronic Fuel Injection
  • 6-speed
  • 668cc Bore x Stroke 78.5x 68.8mm 
  • Compression 9.0:1 
  • 70HP @8,000 rpm  - 61Nm@ 7250 rpm

Buyer to make arrangements for shipping/pick-up

Bike is located south of Cleveland, Ohio.

I'd never actually heard of the Black Strike Café Racer before seeing this, which makes sense since they only made 50 of them, according to the seller. A good Monster offers Italian looks, sound, and performance potential with much better parts availability, but the big appeal of any Zanè-era Laverda is rarity: I ran into a nice, yellow Ghost Strike here in SoCal and my riding buddies had absolutely never heard of the damn thing. All "murdered out," this Black Strike does have a very sinister 90s vibe that I like and, if being different is your thing, you sure as hell won't see another one at your next bike night. If anyone knows a good Laverda mechanic, feel free to share in the comments...

-tad

Bet on Black: 1998 Laverda Black Strike Cafe Racer for Sale