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Low-Buck Fun: 1997 MZ Skorpion Cup

While I love the idea of owning a 200hp Italian exotic, the realistic side of me recognizes the limitations that come with that purchase. It’d be like owning a great white shark as a pet: the “wow” factor when people come to visit is definitely there.  It’s a beautiful animal, a stunning apex predator, and a great way to get rid of unwanted guests. But maintaining both could be a truly horrific problem in terms of cost and inconvenience.

Basically, a great white shark would make an impressive, if very impractical pet.

But what’s the motorcycling equivalent of a Labrador Retriever then? Something that won’t especially impress anyone, but makes for a great day-to-day companion. Probably something frisky and fun like this 1997 MZ Skorpion Cup.

1997 MZ Skorpion Cup R Side Front

For a while there in the late 1990’s, MZ had a whole range of bikes available in the USA, all based around Yamaha’s sturdy, 48hp 660cc single. There was the dual-sport Baghira, a bike with a name so evocative, you’d buy it for that alone. The supermoto-styled Mastiff, a twin-headlight machine with brutal looks right out of a Mad Max movie. There was the Skorpion Traveller, a vibe-y single with a fairing and hard bags… And today’s Skorpion Cup, the raciest of the bunch, not counting the Replica which was a hotted-up version of the Cup.

1997 MZ Skorpion Cup L Side Close

MZ [sometimes “MuZ” for “Motorrad und Zweiradwerk”] actually was famous for its pioneering role in the two-stroke revolution. Successful in racing for years due to their singular understanding of how to optimize two-stroke engines, their luck changed when racer Ernst Denger defected and took the proprietary technology with him. MZ is no longer with us: Wikipedia tells me that the former factory is now a nightclub called “MZWerk”.

1997 MZ Skorpion Cup Dash

From the original listing: 1997 MuZ Skorpion Cup for Sale

Immaculate 1997 MZ Skorpion. 7,751 careful miles. German made bike with a 660cc single cylinder Yamaha engine. Comes with solo cowl, owners manual and new front tire. (back tire still good) Not many of these were brought into the country, and few are left in this condition. Runs and rides great, no problems. 

The listing also includes a nice video of the bike starting up and chugging happily away during the walk-around. Pricing on these is generally very modest, parts for the engine are easy to come by, and the bike makes for a fun back-road-boogie partner or a great, low-buck racebike. It’s hard to find more fun for less money, with a price of $3,500. If you want a trackday single, and can’t pony up for a Ducati Supermono or a Bimota BB1, then this is your ride.

-tad

1997 MZ Skorpion Cup R Side Rear

4 Comments

  • lordy that’s rich! I almost bought one (bikini fairing version in orange) from an afficianado in Horsham PA back in ~2001 for under 3 grand. Had a few more miles, sure but had all the upgrades which this one doesn’t.

    Hey Yamaha, for pete’s sake buy the rights to this and instead of the ugly as sin FZ07 and the 250/300’s, revive this puppy. It’s a GAS of a bike.

  • My son and I both raced one of these with WERA a couple of years ago. What a fantastic machine it was! I want this bad.

  • What a cool bike! But I just bought a minty 1998 R1 with equivalent mileage for $1k more, and I know I overpaid 😉

    What does that make this one worth?

  • Good luck finding parts aside from the engine… MuZ NA (motorrad-na) has been gone for years, and the german main company closed as well. What’s left is a shell hocking certain parts.

    I almost got a Skorpion back in the mid 2000s, but was unsure of the brand, and I turned out correct. It was the traveller model, with the bags, in a nice red paint. It was a few years old, leftover unit, still 0 miles, and dry. Hadn’t even had prep yet.

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