Author Archives: Tad Diemer

Ducati January 31, 2015 posted by Tad Diemer

Winning Ways: 1974 Ducati 750SS Daytona Superbike

1977 Ducati 750SS Daytona R side2

Well here’s a one-of-a-kind opportunity, if ever there was one: for sale is the actual Ducati motorcycle that won at Daytona in 1977 and helped to cement Ducati’s reputation in America. These days, Ducati has their hand in virtually every style and at every level of motorcycle racing, although their Moto GP efforts have been only sporadically successful. With such a strong presence at the highest level of production-based and prototype competition, it’s easy to forget that, prior to the 750SS in the early 1970’s, Ducati’s racing efforts centered around smaller classes and, until the advent of the L-twin, they only produced single-cylinder models.

1977 Ducati 750SS Daytona L side Track

Even the famous win at Imola 1972 that launched generations of Super Sports was most notable for being so unlikely and untested. What would have been an amusing footnote for a company like Honda became the cornerstone of Ducati’s reputation, a sort of “remember the Alamo” rallying cry. And even this bike was almost a privateer, an under-funded effort that was basically a hot-rod 750 Sport.

1977 Ducati 750SS Daytona Track Front

The original 400 or so 750SS built are among the most valuable Ducatis of all time because of their obvious rarity and the fact that they embody the plucky spirit and love of racing that still shows through in the far more calculating corporate world of today. This bike is quite literally a piece of Ducati history, a continuation of the same spirit that led to the Imola win, transported across the pond to US roadracing.

1977 Ducati 750SS Daytona L Magazine

This is the actual motorcycle that won at Daytona in 1977 and helped to cement Ducati’s reputation in America. Based on a production 1974 750SS, and built without factory support by a couple of very talented motorcycle journalists, this bike represents one of the most important motorcycles in Ducati’s racing history. The original listing includes plenty of detailed history and is worth a read if you’re not familiar with this one-of-a-kind machine.

From the original eBay listing: 1977 Ducati 750SS Daytona-Winning California Hot-Rod

This important racing Ducati has been in a private collection for around twenty years and is located in New Jersey. It is still in perfect condition and comes with the Goodyear slicks from the 1977 Daytona Superbike race and Cook Neilson’s original California registration and license plate. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to secure a piece of American motorcycling history. I am happy to answer all questions and for more information here is an edited extract from my “Book of the Ducati 750 Super Sport 1974.”

The road-going 750SS was built to commemorate [or capitalize] on Ducati’s underdog victory at Imola and was the first street Ducati twin to feature their now ubiquitous desmodromic valve-actuation. Bidding is almost to $130,000 with several days left on the auction and active bidding. No surprise there: this is one for race fans, Ducati fans, and motorcycle fans of all types, a bike that’s sure to appreciate in years to come, a piece of living history.

-tad

1977 Ducati 750SS Daytona R side Rear

Winning Ways: 1974 Ducati 750SS Daytona Superbike
Track Bikes For Sale January 28, 2015 posted by Tad Diemer

Featured Listing: 2006 MetraKit Pre GP125

2006 MetraKit Pre GP125 L Side

Although they’re often overshadowed by bigger, badder, modern superbikes, or vintage racebikes with history and links to famous riders, bikes like this Metrakit PreGP 125 are where it all starts for riders of the future. A tool they’ll use to start writing their own stories.

2006 MetraKit Pre GP125 Engine

If you’re not familiar with MetraKit, they’re a Spanish company that’s been making scooter, moped, and mini-moto hop-up parts for road and track since 1976. More recently, they’ve branched out, building a variety of complete racing motorcycles with powerplants from established manufacturers.

The Pre GP125 was introduced in 2005 as a step up from smaller mini-moto machines like the YSR50. It features 17″ wheels and is motivated by a modified, two-stroke 124.8cc Husqvarna engine that puts 32bhp through a six-speed gearbox. That reliable powerplant is hung within a tubular steel frame and aluminum side-plates and the complete package weighs in at 176 lbs dry.

2006 MetraKit Pre GP125 Front Wheel

But don’t assume this bike’s relatively tiny powerplant makes it a “learner bike,” unless you mean “learning to whip your buddies at the track.” They pack two-stroke punch into a featherweight package, providing racebike handling for riders looking to cut their teeth before moving on to bigger, faster machines. Keep in mind: these are racing motorcycles designed for teenagers moving up from mini-moto classes and aren’t really scaled for larger riders. So if you’re built like a jockey or don’t mind folding yourself up like a contortionist to fit on board, something like this should provide plenty of thrills for track day or race fun.

2006 MetraKit Pre GP125 Damper

From the original eBay listing: 2006 MetraKit Pre GP125 for Sale

2006 Metrakit Pre GP 125 Red Bull Rookie Cup Bike LIKE NEW LOW HOURS!!
***SOLD WITH BILL OF SALE*** AS IS WHERE IS
Any questions or to preview call David at 310.435.8968
Lots of spares bars, sprockets, levers, bar ends, 2 sets of spare fairing; 1 new unpainted 1 damaged in shipping and repaired, Rear stand,
Bitubo steering dampner
Paioli forks
radial master cylinder and front brake
WP suspension rear shock
TMX Mikuni Carb
VFORCE reeds
Engine is an 06 husquvarna 125 great reliable engine starts right up bike is REALLY FAST
Tires have about 10 or less laps on them
Bike has only a few hours total
Has great suspension (see pics)

2006 MetraKit Pre GP125 R Side

With a Buy It Now price of $5,500, this looks like a great way to pick up a ready-to-race GP bike for a relative song. As is often the case with genuine race bikes, this one comes with a wealth of spares and upgraded parts that should help keep the little two-stroke running, including several sets of bodywork in case you happen to subscribe to the philosophy that “rubbin’ is racin” or have more courage than talent. Although I understand that lightweight 125’s often fare better in crashes than larger bikes as they tend to skim along instead of tumbling…

-tad

2006 MetraKit Pre GP125 Front

Featured Listing:  2006 MetraKit Pre GP125
Yamaha January 26, 2015 posted by Tad Diemer

Purity of Purpose: 1981 Yamaha TZ250H

1981 Yamaha TZ250 R Front Naked

The 1981 Yamaha TZ250 more than just an evolution of their 250 GP machine, it was a complete reworking that shared almost no parts with the older bike. It included an entirely new engine designed around features from the proven TZ500 that were intended to increase both power and reliability.

1981 Yamaha TZ250 L Side

Keep in mind: the TZ250 is no production-based entry-level racer, and running one is not for the faint of heart or mechanically inept. “Improved durability” is a relative term: the TZ250 will still need rebuilds every few hundred miles, making it a very expensive hobby or a labor of love, depending on your level of mechanical aptitude… But the feeling you’ll get from riding a genuine race bike, combined with the emotional and historical link with famous riders who got their start on a TZ makes the cost and effort worthwhile.

1981 Yamaha TZ250 Dash

Racing motorcycles embody such an interesting duality to me, the contrast between the simplistic, almost primitive bodywork wrapped around beautiful mechanical bits. The sand-cast cases look very exotic if you know what you’re looking at, and that dry clutch adds another touch of race-tech bling. And those dull grey wheels? Magnesium.

1981 Yamaha TZ250 R Engine

The completely new 180° water-cooled two-stroke parallel-twin featured a shorter stroke than the earlier machine, reducing piston-speed and improving durability. Carburetors were generally Mikuni, although this bike features a set of period-correct Lectrons in their place.

1981 Yamaha TZ250 R Rear Naked

From the original eBay listing: 1981 Yamaha TZ250H for Sale

This TZ250 is a very good and complete survivor and is in a fantastic condition for a 34 year old race bike with corresponding frame and engine/motor numbers. The bike was in storage since 1990 and was started once a month and driven around the block by previous owner to circulate fluids. The bike has a new aftermarket fairing and the seat is a “New old stock (very old)” seat. Tank (original) and front mudguard (original) are in white primer ready for paint. The fairing and seat are in white gel coat finish. Tank has a few imperfections, but will take very little work to get it perfect. The tank does not leak!   This bike is fitted with a set of very rare lightweight Magnesium race wheels. The original full fairing and seat are included in the sale. The screen on the bike fits the original fairing, but is not a perfect fit for the new Airtech fairing and will have to be replaced by buyer for a better fit.

The frame was chemically stripped of all old paint and re-painted, see pictures. The wheels were also chemically stripped and now are in un-painted magnesium finish.

The bike is fitted with a set of racing LECTRON carburetors. The LECTRON manual is included with the sale.

1981 Yamaha TZ250 L Engine

Bidding is very active and is currently north of $6,800, with just 24 hours left on the auction. It could use some graphics to decorate those bare fairings. With so many cool parts on it, not the least of which those magnesium wheels and the Lectron carbs, this needs to be decked out in some vintage racing Yamaha racing colors, with maybe some period sponsor logos, then flogged mercilessly on track…

-tad

1981 Yamaha TZ250 R Side

Purity of Purpose: 1981 Yamaha TZ250H
Honda January 21, 2015 posted by Tad Diemer

Big-Bang Theory: 1996 Honda RVF400 for Sale

1996 Honda RVF400 R Front

Introduced in 1994 to replace the VFR400R, the RVF400 used a smaller, 399cc version of Honda’s gear-driven V4 powerplant with a 360° firing order. The updated model featured a revised fairing with cat-eye headlamps replacing the earlier bike’s round units, distinctive air tubes leading from the fairing to the front of the tank to feed the carburetors, although the airbox was not pressurized by any sort of ram-air system. Running gear saw a change to more modern upside-down forks and a 17” wheel replaced the earlier bike’s 18” item.

1996 Honda RVF400 Rear Suspension

Honda’s homologation V4 engines featured a “big-bang” firing order that has all of the combustion events taking place relatively close together, instead of spaced evenly. This naturally increases engine vibration, but creates distinctive pulses in the power delivery that allows the rear tire to momentarily regain traction in between during on-track moments at the edge of adhesion, aiding handling and increasing tire life.

There’s also the undeniably subjective benefit in terms of sound: the “big-bang” engines often have the rawer, more charismatic sound generally associated with V4 engines compared to more conventional “screamer” motors with evenly-spaced firing intervals.

1996 Honda RVF400 L Side

From the original eBay listing: 1996 Honda RVF400 for Sale

1996 Honda RVF400 NC35. This bike is in very good condition. Bike has 9589 km = 5753 miles. Engine runs fine, no problems. There is a crack in the seat “see pictures”. The passenger seat covers the crack so you don’t see it. You don’t see many RVF400 in this condition anymore. Bike is original, not restored. I have a clear California title for the bike.

1996 Honda RVF400 Dash

Sold officially only in Japan, all RFV400’s are grey-market imports. The seller is based in Japan, although this bike is supposedly in the US and has a clear California title. There is plenty of time left on the auction, with no takers yet at the $9,000 starting bid.

While these are obviously not as desirable as their bigger RC45 siblings, the RVF400 is prized by collectors for its motorsports heritage. And while the stock bike’s claimed 53hp is underwhelming on paper, the little RVF is reportedly a brilliant-handling bike, a “brains-over-brawn” bike for riders who like gear-whine that drowns out the stock exhaust.

-tad

1996 Honda RVF400 R Side

Big-Bang Theory: 1996 Honda RVF400 for Sale
Ducati January 20, 2015 posted by Tad Diemer

Never Been Kissed: Never-Titled 1985 Ducati 750F1A for Sale

1985 Ducati 750F1 L Front

The road-going Ducati 750F1 that was based on their 750cc-class racing machine was the very last bike developed before Ducati’s purchase by Cagiva, making it desirable for that reason alone. Earlier 600cc Pantahs were dominant in TT2 classes, winning championships from ‘81-’84, and although the larger 750 that followed in 1984 wasn’t nearly as successful in the larger F1 and TT classes, it was still a versatile competition machine and saw many victories in the hands of privateers.

Displacing 748cc’s that throbbed out a claimed 76hp, the Pantah-based F1 used a 16” up front and an 18” out back, making fitment of modern sticky rubber a bit problematic if you plan to use one in anger.

1985 Ducati 750F1 R Rear

Expensive to produce, the F1 was inevitably followed by the 750 Sport in 1988 that featured lower-spec suspension and changes to the frame to allow a change to the Paso’s troubled automotive-style Weber carburetor. The rear cylinder was also reversed to allow the intakes of both heads to be situated in the center of the vee, an arrangement that has been used on all subsequent Ducatis.

1985 Ducati 750F1 Tank

Ducati’s belt-driven Pantah engine has proven to be one of the most enduring and durable designs of all time. Although one could blame its longevity on Ducati’s perpetual financial trouble, the fact that this motor has ended up on so many “Best Of” lists, even in recent years, attests to its intrinsic goodness: it’s mechanically reliable, flexible, can be tuned to make good power, and is relatively easy to work on. It’s also one of the best-sounding engines of all time, with charisma to spare: even 600cc versions make that classic Ducati thunder and sound like much larger bikes.

1985 Ducati 750F1 Dash

While it’s cool to be a bike’s very nearly first owner, you’re going to pay a very high price for that privilege: collectors may prize extremely low-mileage examples, they often look much better than they run, as the seller points out.

From the original eBay listing: 1985 Ducati 750F1 for Sale

The 1985 750F1A was also the last motorcycle Taglioni designed and what is considered the last ‘hand built’ Ducati produced prior to Cagiva purchasing the company in 1985.  Built prior to the Cagiva take over the ‘A’ is the important note, (593) were built and this is #499.  (In 1986/87 approximately 1,200 750F1B’s were built by Cagiva).

I believe #499 to be the most original Ducati 750F1A in the country (maybe the world) and only that has not been titled.  I’ve owned many F1’s and #499 will be the jewel of any collection and truly an appreciating asset.

#499 was originally delivered in Santa Monica California, the gentleman had ties to the motorcycle industry and was able to take delivery without first titling or registering it. After riding it 570 Kilometers, 361 miles he rode to his mother’s house who made him promise he would never again ride the bike.  Convincing, the bike was pushed into the rear of her garage on that day and where I learned of it parked in 2006 twenty years later.

With the motorcycle comes the original Ducati document – the Manufactures Statement of Origin – Photo included – This bike is most likely the only 1985 750F1A in the United States with this document and has never been titled.

It was my dream to put this bike into the rear of my garage and forget about it for the next twenty years.  When received the motor turned, the signage lights were dried and cracking as all do and removed.  There was still fuel in the aluminum tank that had clogged the petcock and some of the black coated items such as the exhaust and clip-ons had oxidation. A good service, minor refinishing and a good detailing would accomplish what I have in mind to make this the wonderful original example this is.

Selling a motorcycle that has not been run in 30 years did not sound good, so in the past weeks I lubricated the cylinders, removed the rotting K&N Filters, fueled the carburetors and got the motor to sputter to a start. The motor runs but the bike will require full serving, cleaning of the fuel system, tires, fluids, etc.

The reason for selling the bike, in the past three years I’ve had two children and the volume of bikes I have far exceed the time I have.

Although the hard parts are obviously all in good shape, this bike will require a complete teardown to get it into the condition the buyer is likely to want from something with a Buy It Now of $32,900: all those gaskets, seals, hoses will have deteriorated, brake calipers and master cylinders will be stuck, fork-sliders will be pitted…

1985 Ducati 750F1 R Rear2

The seller does quote a number of very glowing reviews of the 750F1 in his listing, but Ducati’s of the period were a bit unrefined when compared to the competition: potent in race trim, they were a bit “unfinished” as-delivered. For a long time, these were fairly cheap and unloved on the used market, although their rarity and racing history has seen a pretty large spike in their values in recent years. Later bikes were much improved, although obviously collectors often value early examples like this highly. All-in-all, this looks like one to restore and park up for display by someone who really, really loves 1980’s Ducatis or someone for whom money is no object.

-tad

1985 Ducati 750F1 R Side

Never Been Kissed: Never-Titled 1985 Ducati 750F1A for Sale
Suzuki January 14, 2015 posted by Tad Diemer

Setting the Standard for Performance: 1986 Suzuki GSX-R 750 Limited Edition

Update 1.14.2015: First posted in October last year, this LE is back on eBay. Previously a no sale with bids reaching $7,200, this time the bid is at $7,500 at current and reserve is not met. Links updated. -dc

1986 GSX-R750 LE L Front

Prior to 1985 and the introduction of the GSX-R 750, Japanese sport and race bikes were all about more. Even Suzuki’s own GS1000S was a huge lump of steel and aluminum to hustle around a track in Superbike racing. While watching riders wrestle these beasts around a track made for great entertainment, lighter is always going to be faster and, with few exceptions, lightweight speed at the time was owned by the two-stroke brigade: four-stroke refinement came burdened by additional weight and bulk.

1986 GSX-R750 LE R Rear

Other bikes like Kawasaki’s GPz’s stuck their toes into the water in an effort to give riders a complete package of power, agility, and handling, but it wasn’t until the Suzuki’s GSX-R750 that the rules for streetbikes were really rewritten.

Unleashed in 1985, the original “Slabby” GSX-R came with a 750cc, air and oil-cooled engine to save weight compared to water-cooling. An aluminum-alloy beam frame, four-piston calipers and a monoshock rear completed the package, setting the pattern that sportbikes would follow up until today. Despite being nearly thirty years old, only the 18” wheels really give the bike’s age away.

1986 GSX-R750 LE Dash

1986 saw a revised swingarm and other minor changes to the regular production model, but the LE featured here was a different beast altogether. An homologation special, it came with a very desirable dry clutch, lightweight aluminum tank, and a solo seat, along with Suzuki’s electronic anti-dive forks.

This particular bike that’s been hiding up in the great white north of Canada isn’t perfect, but could be with just a little bit of work.

1986 GSX-R750 LE R Engine Dry Clutch

From the original eBay listing: 1986 Suzuki GSX-R 750 Limited Edition

Rare limited edition with the dry clutch, magnesium covers, electronic forks, rear shock with remote reservoir, hand laid fiberglass tail sections, no passenger seat on this bike, 1000 made worldwide, this bike is all original with only 22,000 kilometers runs good and sounds awesome, clutch works as it should.

This bike had a storage tipover and there is a dent on the tank, left side on the R note there is no scrapes shoing it wasn’t moving the front fender flexed and the paint flaked off in places.

Some scrapes on the bellypan sides.

1986 GSX-R750 LE R Front

This one currently sits at $5,600 with just a day left and the reserve not met. With just north of 13,000 miles on the clock, and just 200 of these imported to satisfy AMA Superbike requirements, they were rare even when new. Since many led a hard life on race tracks, it’s especially hard to find one as nice as this. It’s not perfect, but that could just keep costs down. If you’re looking for a first-generation GSX-R, this could be your bike.

-tad

1986 GSX-R750 LE R Side

Setting the Standard for Performance: 1986 Suzuki GSX-R 750 Limited Edition
Honda January 13, 2015 posted by Tad Diemer

Exotic Heavyweight: 1985 Honda VF1000R Interceptor for Sale

1985 Honda VF1000R L Side

Some more 80’s Honda action this week, only this time the bike is in much better condition and has all of its parts included! Modern sportbikes often obsessively address issues of weight while clawing at ever-higher horsepower numbers, worshiping at the temple founded by Lotus founder Colin Chapman and his philosophy that, “adding power makes you faster on the straights, subtracting weight makes you faster everywhere.” Today’s Honda VF1000R is a substantially-engineered motorcycle that lives by the first part of that axiom, but falls down a bit on the second…

1985 Honda VF1000R Nose

Looking much like a scaled-up GSX-R, the fully-faired, monoshock VF1000R was designed to homologate a number of features for Honda’s endurance-racing efforts, but was actually noticeably heavier than the sport-touring VF1000F at over 600lbs wet. The 998cc V4 replaced the F’s timing chains for the gear-driven cams that would eventually become an Interceptor calling-card, while anti-dive front suspension, quick-release axles, vented rear brake disc, and distinctive Comstar modular wheels fitted with radial tires rounded-out the exotic package.

1985 Honda VF1000R Rear Tire

All-in-all, the VF1000R was a bit of a disappointment as a roadbike, but that was never really the objective anyway: like most homologation machines, it was built to allow specific included parts to be used in much higher-performing, production-based racebikes. And it paved the way for Honda’s all-conquering RC30 and RC45, although I understand those were also fairly disappointing in road trim. Spare me your anger and flame in the comments section: I freely admit I’ve never ridden either of them, but I’ve read plenty of period reviews that were less than impressed, especially considering those bikes’ price tags then and now. Once again: road performance wasn’t really the point of those bikes, either.

1985 Honda VF1000R Tail

This particular example from ’85 has been upgraded with the dual-headlight setup from an ’86 model and looks to be in pretty spectacular shape, considering the bike’s age and the fact that it has seen a reasonable amount of road use, as opposed to a pampered life in a collection. For most of us, that just makes it sweeter, and means that it’s a runner, not a display bike. The included D&D pipes should make this bike a real howler: among Ducatisti, D&D is known for making pipes that exchange volume for anything resembling subtlety…

1985 Honda VF1000R Exhaust

From the original eBay listing: 1985 Honda VF1000R for Sale

Super Clean 1985 VF1000R, dual headlight upgrade over the original single one, clean paint, like new tires, smooth idle, it’s a Honda all the way!!! I hate to part with it, but I destroyed my left shoulder in Afghanistan and just can’t take the lean forward any more 🙁 … She is garage kept, and the pics don’t do it justice… I will include a set of D&D pipes to the winning bidder as well! Any Questions just ask, I’m listing an Aprillia 1000R in a few more days as well.

Thanks for looking

The biggest challenge with many Japanese bikes from the 80’s and 90’s was their mass-produced affordability: people bought them, rode them hard, and exploited their famed reliability. That means in spite of higher production, tracking down nice examples of bikes like this can be just as difficult as finding a more exotic Ducati or Bimota that was produced in much smaller numbers, but has led a much more pampered life.

1985 Honda VF1000R Dash

There are still a few days left on the auction and bidding is active, although the reserve has still not been met at just north of $3,000. Much more a “GT” and less of a “back-road-burner” by today’s standards, this should make for a pretty cool road tool for Honda fans and that V4 soundtrack, complete with gear-whine, will make any bike fan smile.

-tad

1985 Honda VF1000R R Side

 

Exotic Heavyweight: 1985 Honda VF1000R Interceptor for Sale
Honda January 9, 2015 posted by Tad Diemer

Some Assembly Required: 1986 Honda NS400R

1986 Honda NS400R R Side

Honda’s NSR400R was a snarling, two-stroke middleweight from an era of unprecedented experimentation; a three-cylinder, triple-piped sportbike with cutting-edge specifications. The 1980’s must have been a very discouraging time for European and Italian manufacturers. While they were barely hanging on by their fingernails, Japanese manufacturers were in the throes of an era of funky, experimental technologies, trying out new formulas, and nothing was off-limits: unusual engine configurations, turbos, and active suspension were all tried, with varying degrees of success.

1986 Honda NS400R R Rear Suspension

The NSR400R wasn’t lacking performance or technology: the rattling heart of the little monster was a liquid-cooled, 90° V3 that put 72hp through a six-speed transmission. Power-valve technology beefed up the midrange power while water-cooling increased power and kept mechanical noise to a minimum, although the snarl from the pipes is undeniably that of a two-stroke. Anti-dive forks and modular wheels wrapped in radial tires completed the package.

1986 Honda NS400R Dash

From the original eBay listing: 1986 Honda NS400R for Sale

This is a rare Honda NS400R Rothman’s edition 2-stroke. We got this jewel  from a retired motorcycle mechanic. Bike is not running and engine will need to be redone according to him. Honda appears to be complete with a couple of things missing like keys, exhaust, mirrors, gear shifter lever, kick start lever, and coil cover.  Paint and fairing is nice with some scratches. Mileage is really low at  4,741 Km. Bike has a small decal with Japanese writing and No. 301 If someone can tell me the year or more info please feel free to do so and I will update the auction.  BIKE IS SOLD WITH A BILL OF SALE BUT If winning bidder wants a title we can obtain it at additional cost  just contact us.

1986 Honda NS400R L Fairing

Just two days left on the auction, with bidding just over $3,000 and the reserve not met. While this bike isn’t 100% complete, the bike is in cosmetically good shape, and the parts missing are fairly straightforward to replace. Those missing pipes might be difficult or possibly expensive to source… So why not go all-out and, since you’re going to have to rebuild the engine anyway, just have someone whip up a set of pipes with custom expansion chambers, all out of titanium while you’re at it?

-tad

1986 Honda NS400R L Side

Some Assembly Required: 1986 Honda NS400R