Posts by tag: 1997

Suzuki October 11, 2016 posted by

Get Lucky: 1997 Suzuki RGV250SP VJ23A for Sale in Japan


I once saw Penn & Teller perform and, after their last illusion was complete, the pair appeared onstage, illuminated by a single, overhead spot. They were both casually smoking cigarettes and Penn [obviously] talked a bit about how they both like to indulge in a cigarette after a show. However, he acknowledged that smoking is really bad for you and that kids should obviously not follow their example… Unless they want to look really, really cool. Which pretty much sums up this little smoker: tobacco use may be incredibly unhealthy, but years of tobacco sponsorship resulted in some of the most iconic race cars and bikes of all time. Rothmans, John Player, Marlboro, and today’s Lucky Strike Suzuki RGV250SP all have a terrific style, in spite of the product being advertised. Somehow, an RGV in garish period graphics will never look as sharp as one in red-and white with that logo on the side.


Built between 1997 and 1998, the last generation of RGV used an unusual 70° two-stroke v-twin that Suzuki claimed made 70hp in de-restricted, SP form. As an original Japanese-market machine, this bike likely makes the government-mandated 40hp, so there’s obviously plenty of untapped potential here if you know how to find it. In an era where 180hp road-missiles continue to proliferate, kept on the road and out of the trees only by virtue of their state-of-the-art electronics, 70hp doesn’t sound like much, but the highly-strung Gamma’s lightswitch power and nimble handling mean big rewards for committed riders.


As trick as they look, the asymmetrical “banana” swingarms of the later VJ22 and VJ23 versions add weight, so the later bikes are actually heavier than the earlier examples, but collectors don’t seem to care. Especially since you’re still looking at a dry weight in the neighborhood of 300lbs. Personally, I prefer the look of the earlier VJ21 bikes overall, but in Lucky Strike colors, this VJ23 still pretty striking.


From the original eBay listing: 1997 Suzuki RGV250SP VJ23A for Sale in Japan

Very rare 2 stroke bike from Japan to you!!
RGV250SP VJ23A  Japan domestic model
VIN: VJ23A-1010**
Year: 1997
Mileage: 29,624km
Condition: Running very well. Both side of side panels are aftermarket but another part is original.
Body work has some deep scratches.
Silencers are for TZR250R 3XV of original.

We’ll attach Japanese original title, Sales certificate in English, Bill of sale in English.
Shipping: Price is including the shipping cost from Japan to port near your place. We’ll put in the wooden crate and ship by sea.


Obviously, as a Japanese import, you’ll have to be prepared to put this on display or deal with the usual DMV chicanery. But this bike is basically the end of the line for two-stroke performance, and those Lucky Strike graphics really flatter the bike. It appears clean and well-maintained, but does have a few superficial scrapes, scuffs, and cracks, as described by the seller. The Buy It Now price is a pretty steep $7,000 but RGV250s are currently in demand, so I wouldn’t be too surprised if the seller gets that much.



Get Lucky: 1997 Suzuki RGV250SP VJ23A for Sale in Japan
Moto Guzzi September 20, 2016 posted by

Rolling Thunder: 1997 Moto Guzzi 1100 Sport for Sale


A sportbike powered by a 1064cc two-valve pushrod twin seems positively antediluvian in context and was absolutely outclassed by the competition even when new. But Moto Guzzi managed to take their rugged and very entertaining powertrain and fit it into their 1100 Sport that, while not cutting-edge, offered up charisma, handling, durability, and exclusivity. I’ve always been a huge fan of the looks and, unlike many of the earlier Tonti-framed bikes, prices on these have stayed pretty low so far, aside from the obviously collectible Daytona and RS models. If you’re into long sweepers and midrange grunt, these are pretty cool motorcycles.


These are miles from “light and flickable” but, thanks to quality suspension at both ends and fundamentally correct geometry, they do handle. You just need to plan things out a bit more ahead of time and be very smooth. Fortunately, the Guzzi engine makes that fairly easy: the longitudinal v-twin, especially the two-valve model, is torque-rich and flexible, which is a very good thing because the antiquated five-speed gearbox is notoriously poor and likely a huge factor in the bike’s “agricultural” reputation.


For years, even the sportiest Guzzis had very effective, but purist-offending linked brakes that saw the right hand lever operating one front caliper and the foot pedal operating the other front caliper and the rear, with a proportioning valve to control brake balance. The top-spec triple Brembos on the 1100 Sport were unlinked and had great feel and plenty of power, but braking performance is less than period rivals as those normally very effective stoppers had to haul the bike’s 487 pounds dry down from speed.


So the Sport is too heavy to be a real sportbike and not comfortable enough to really be a tourer, although plenty of folks fit a set of Helibars and some soft luggage and do it anyway. Certainly the sound from the carbon cans should have the next owner actively seeking out every tunnel on their tour route. Guzzis are famously durable, the shaft-drive very low-maintenance, and basic valve-adjustments on the two-valve twin should be a snap, since you don’t even have to remove any bodywork to get to the heads…

From the original eBay listing: 1997 Moto Guzzi 1100 Sport for Sale

1552 km/ 2136 mi

Clean and clear NC title! Runs and rides great, normal wear and tear, ready to ride now and is in an EXCELLENT condition! The 1100 Sport is one of the very best looking models ever built by Moto Guzzi and is a REAL collectible motorcycle. This MOTO GUZZI 1100 Sport is part of an extensive Italian motorcycle collection at the moment and the previous owner was The Wisconsin Motorcycle Museum.

This is a European model and speedometer is in kph. Very low miles for the year model, original unmolested condition. Original paint with very few small chips. No dents.

No mechanical problems. Clutch and transmission in excellent condition. Drive shaft joints are perfect. Forks are not leaking and rear White Power shock is working very well. No leaks or dents in exhaust system. Period correct aftermarket performance carbon fiber mufflers. Not too loud, sounds fantastic.

New rear tire, front is good. Few chip marks on wheel rims from changing tires, no accident damage. See pictures.

Original scratch less screen.

Original toolkit included.

Fairly new battery.

This bike is ready for a cross country trip.


Bidding is pretty slow so far, well below what I’ve seen these sell for, and mileage is very low for a Guzzi. The seller insists that, although it’s titled as a 1995, it is in fact a 1997 model. Guzzi was an early adopter of fuel injection on their roadbikes and the 1100 Sport had fuel-injection in 1996, so it looks like the seller is correct. An 18″ rear wheel would be a giveaway that it was the earlier, carbed bike as well.

The seller also believes it’s a European model, but I’d guess it’s more likely Canadian. Unfortunately, whatever its provenance, the bike has the US-friendly square headlamp that looks like it was shared with the Ducati 900SS of the period. That’s a shame since some Euro-spec models had the much slimmer trapezoidal unit that the designers obviously intended for the bike. If you didn’t know that different design existed, you’d probably never miss it. But once you’ve seen it, this headlight looks crude and awkward. If I bought one, I’d instantly begin a quest for the sleeker unit.



Rolling Thunder: 1997 Moto Guzzi 1100 Sport for Sale
MZ April 8, 2016 posted by

Budget Blaster: 1997 MZ Skorpion Sport Cup for Sale

1997 MZ Skorpion Sport Cup R Side

Not every exotic needs to try and tear your arms out as soon as you twist the throttle, and not every rare motorcycle needs to cost a packet to buy or run: sometimes our need to be just a little bit different clashes with life’s practical considerations. For riders in that particular situation, may I present the MZ Skorpion Sport Cup, a big, thumping single wrapped in sports bodywork and featuring a name virtually forgotten here in the Decadent West.

1997 MZ Skorpion Sport Cup R Side Front

MZ was originally an East German manufacturer of two-stroke motorcycles back when East Germany was actually a place. All you fans of sporting Japanese two-strokes should be familiar with them: they absolutely dominated two-stroke racing in the late 1950s until MuZ rider Ernst Degner defected and brought their Walter Kaaden-developed expansion-chamber tuning techniques to Suzuki where he helped develop their bikes and continued his racing career.

1997 MZ Skorpion Sport Cup Dash

But then in the mid-1990s, seemingly out of nowhere, an entire range of new machines sprouted up, all badged as MZs. The modular design recalls Triumphs of the same era, and the line of bikes included the dual-purpose Baghira, the supermoto Mastiff, sport-touring Traveller, and the various Skorpion variants. All were built around Yamaha’s 660cc five-valve single backed by a five-speed gearbox. 48hp and a weight not much over 400lbs with a tank of fuel means that the lightweight Skorpion was capable 110mph with excellent handling and good reliability.

1997 MZ Skorpion Sport Cup R Side Front Wheel

From the original eBay listing: 1997 MZ Skorpion Sport Cup for Sale

Conceived by the acclaimed UK design firm SeymourPowell, the MZ Skorpion represents a motorcycle design perfect storm of sorts. The elegantly simple, yet rigid chassis inspired by (some might say stolen from) the work of Tigcraft’s Dave Pierce contains an ultra simple and reliable XT660cc engine as well as electrics from Yamaha. The world class Grimeca and Paoli suspension and braking components come from Italy. All of this was designed and assembled by the German engineers at MZ – one of the oldest, most venerable marques in the history of  motorcycling.

The Skorpion didn’t sell in large numbers, but had a solid following in the racer community. It’s exceptional handling and simplicity spawned single model MZ Cup series all over Europe and the United States in the 90s and the beginning of the 21st century. This particular variant – the Sport Cup – came with a full fairing, and was made to compete in the US and UK MZ cup series as stock, with no modifications allowed. Because of the popularity of the class, few unraced, clean Sport Cups exist today.

The Skorp also appeals to every day riders. It is refreshingly small in size, light weight and has the broad power and bulletproof reliability inherent in the Yamaha dirtbike inspired power plant that is still being built today. Simple and reliable, it is an easy bike to maintain and, unlike many exotics, most of the wearing components interchange with various Yamahas of the period and are therefore quite available. Motorcycle News calls it “light, lithe, generally reliable, and reassuringly practical” and “one of the best singles of modern time”.

This particular bike is in truly excellent condition. It was garaged all of its 3,500 mile life and has been kept clean and well maintained. The only non-stock component is a center stand from its sister model, the Traveller. While not the norm on the club racer, it makes for easy wheel and chain maintenance, and is easily removed. It also comes with the full original toolkit, the factory solo seat cover to replace the rear seat, and the original owners manual.

1997 MZ Skorpion Sport Cup L Side Rear

These bikes are virtually forgotten now, and can be had for very small sums on the rare occasion you can actually find one. This example has almost insanely low mileage, considering the bike’s nature, and appears to be in very good condition. The Buy It Now is just $3,000 with very little interest so far. A one-make racing series was available for the bikes at the time, and they are very popular for use in single-cylinder racing classes today, but it’d be a shame to see one this nice get chopped into a track bike.


1997 MZ Skorpion Sport Cup L Side

Budget Blaster: 1997 MZ Skorpion Sport Cup for Sale
Ducati January 26, 2016 posted by

A Bit of Sunshine for Your Garage: Low Mileage 1997 Ducati 900SS for Sale

1997 Ducati 900SS R Front

A little something to brighten your day, this very yellow Ducati 900SS is pretty hard to miss: sell it to your significant other as a “safety feature” when trying to justify a purchase. Very few bikes look good in this color but I think the early to mid-1990s 900SS is one of them. In fact, I actually prefer it in yellow to the more traditional red, especially with a half-fairing fitted.

1997 Ducati 900SS L Side Detail

The SS was Ducati’s bread and butter during this era, keeping the lights on while the 851 and 916 stole headlines. This particular iteration of the SuperSport was built from 1991 through 1998 and powered by the belt-drive Pantah engine, versions of which live on in today’s air-cooled Ducatis. And honestly, considering the number of parts that swap between the air-cooled and early liquid-cooled bikes, I wonder how much Pantah DNA lives on in the Panigale…

1997 Ducati 900SS Dash

The two-valve Desmo v-twin may be safe to an indicated 9,000rpm, but that redline is largely decorative unless the engine’s been breathed on: with a power peak of 80hp claimed at a car-like 6,400rpm, these tend to have a strong midrange, but quickly run out of breath on top. Ironic for sure, considering that the desmodromic valvetrain’s claim to fame is a lack of springs that prevents high rpm float…

1997 Ducati 900SS Tank

From the original eBay listing: 1997 Ducati 900SS for Sale

1997 Ducati 900 SS Low Miles only 9980 Miles
New head gasket, new lines, oil flush, battery.
Factory Standard Equipment Includes:
Aftermarket Racing Carburetor
Marzocchi Suspension
Brembo Brakes
Single Shock Absorber
Tubular Trellis Frame
Brambo Wheels

The seller also helpfully posted a cold start and walk-around video on YouTube, which features a good shot of the top yoke and the plaque that indicates this is a genuine “SP” version of the bike.

1997 Ducati 900SS Fairing

I’m really not sure if an “aftermarket racing carburetor” can also be classified as “factory standard equipment” or what that really means: when new, these were fitted with a pair of 38mm Mikuni carburetors. Generally thought to be jetted very lean to comply with emissions requirements, it’s very common to install a jet kit to richen things up a bit. Many folks also install a pair of 39 or 41mm FCR flat-slide carbs, depending on the bike’s state of tune. A pricey option for sure but, aside from the loss of a choke lever, the flat-slide carbs offer up a noticeable performance improvement. I’m not sure which option is in place but here, since the bike appears otherwise stock, I’d assume he’s simply referring to the original “high performance” items…

1997 Ducati 900SS Side Engine

This bike isn’t absolutely pristine, with some scuffing and dents on the exhaust and some grit and grime and a bit of faded carbon fiber. But these have been very affordable for a long time now and they offer humane ergonomics, good wind-protection, and can be very reliable when properly cared for, so it’s getting difficult to find them with such low mileage. This one has enough mileage on it to guarantee it’s not just been sitting in a shed its whole life, and those cosmetic issues should be easy to rectify with a quick trip to eBay. Or just put the old, worn bits in a box for the next guy, and slap on a set of Staintune pipes and some fresh carbon bits, then go riding! Honestly, for the prices these currently command, they really do represent a real bargain and an ideal way to affordable Ducati ownership.


1997 Ducati 900SS R Side

A Bit of Sunshine for Your Garage: Low Mileage 1997 Ducati 900SS for Sale
Bimota November 2, 2015 posted by

Rimini Blaster: 1997 Bimota YB11 Superleggera for Sale

1997 Bimota YB11 R Front

Introduced in 1994 and weighing in at just 403lbs dry, the Bimota YB11 was a claimed 35lbs lighter than the Yamaha “Thunderace” that donated its powertrain, which hardly seems worthy of the name “Superleggera” but the difference between the two bikes is pronounced: the Bimota is sharper, more agile, more aggressive. It also helps that the motor was retuned slightly to a claimed 145hp with a larger airbox and freer-flowing exhaust that was good for a 170mph top speed, while the riding position helped enhance the bike’s more committed feel: high pegs gave miles of clearance and the long reach over the tank to the bars meant maximum attack, while Paioli suspension front and rear gave serious feedback, at least over smooth pavement…

1997 Bimota YB11 L Rear

Early Bimotas often used trellis frames similar to Ducati’s when they, you know, actually had frames… By the 90’s, Bimota had switched to a very light and stiff aluminum beam frame as seen here, along with an aluminum swingarm. It’s an interesting combination: the YZF1000 was a bit old-school, with a big 1002cc engine and a five-speed gearbox instead of six. It did use Yamaha’s five-valve heads for deep breathing and a wide powerband that’s miles from today’s literbike screamers.

1997 Bimota YB11 Tank

From the original eBay listing: 1997 Bimota YB11 Superleggera for Sale

This beautiful machine is part of a wonderful collection of Italian Superbikes.  These bikes are owned by a friend who is 70 years young, and he has reluctantly decided to sell off some of them.  He’s not computer savvy, so he asked if I would list the bikes for him as a favor, and we decided to list them individually rather than listing all the bikes at one time.

This Bimota was recently serviced and a new battery installed.  It starts immediately and runs strong, with a wonderful exhaust note.  While not an absolutely show bike perfect, the cosmetics look extremely nice overall – it is evident that this bike has led a very pampered life.  I could not find any issues to note.

Since this bike has been on static display for some time, the tires should be replaced for safety if it will be ridden regularly.

1997 Bimota YB11 L Lower Fairing

Bimota made its name by taking powerful and reliable engines from Japan and fitting them into sophisticated frames with top-quality suspension at both ends, all wrapped up in lightweight bodywork that was generally very simply to remove and held on with just a handful of fasteners. They were racebikes for the road. But after the Japanese Big Four had mastered engines, they turned their relentless engineering might on the next big challenge: handling.

1997 Bimota YB11 Clocks

By the late 1980s, they’d caught up and Bimota increasingly had to rely on the exotic and exclusive nature of their bikes to sell, as their performance advantages evaporated and their Italian-ness became more pronounced. Out of the box, Bimotas were often overly-stiff, temperamental, and flawed. But the formula remained: use the best engines Japan has to offer and use them to power the most exotic bikes on the planet.

1997 Bimota YB11 L Rear Suspension

Bidding is very active on this bike and, with just two days left on the auction, is up to $7,300 with the Reserve Not Met. This should be a good bike to ride, with that flexible, proven YZF engine and gearbox. As a bonus, it even comes fitted with passenger pegs. Although considering it’s a Bimota, I wouldn’t assume there’s actually a pillion pad under that tail section…


1997 Bimota YB11 R Rear

Rimini Blaster: 1997 Bimota YB11 Superleggera for Sale
Bimota September 21, 2015 posted by

Affordable Exotic: 1997 Bimota SB6R in South Africa

1997 Bimota SB6R R Side Front

The idea behind the SB6 is classic Bimota: take a dead-reliable, honking big Japanese engine and wrap it in a sexy, lightweight frame, drape with carbon bodywork, and fit top-shelf suspension at both ends. Unfortunately, by the mid-1990’s, Japan had well caught up to the Europeans in terms of handling and, although their bikes sometimes had a bit of a “mass-produced” air about them, they certainly performed.

1997 Bimota SB6R R SideSo Bimota started down the path of making their bikes “more exotic” rather than actually faster. Luckily, the SB6 was based around Suzuki’s slightly lardy GSX-R1100 so the resulting machine was almost 90lbs lighter. Certainly it followed the Bimota template in every other area, with a gorgeous frame, sleek bodywork, fully adjustable Öhlins shock, huge Paioli forks, and a self-supporting carbon-fibre seat unit.

1997 Bimota SB6R L Side Rear

With 150 or so horsepower from the 1074cc engine and light weight, the bike was a scorching performer and a big seller for Bimota, with 1,700 made, including the 600 “R” models like the one shown here. This one is available in South Africa and includes the desirable Corse exhausts that look pretty sharp and should make the bike sound a bit more exotic to match the wild looks.

1997 Bimota SB6R Tail

From the original eBay listing: 1997 Bimota SB6R for Sale

Italian design flair combined with Japanese reliability makes this one of the most desirable motorcycles in the world. Powered by the legendary Suzuki GSX-R 1100 engine and weighing in at almost 40 Kg lighter the Bimota ticks all the right boxes. This exotic bike a great investment as there were only 600 built with the “R” designation.

1997 Bimota SB6R Front Wheel

Although the seller references the “reliable exotic” trope, the reality isn’t quite so simple. The SB6 is certainly easier to maintain than a Ducati or MV Agusta, but Bimotas of the period are notorious for those annoying little “Italian bike foibles:” bits vibrating loose, electrics failing, a fairing that can push back into the headlight unit and crack at speeds over 140mph. You know: little things.

1997 Bimota SB6R Dash

Earlier SB6 bodywork used a pair of round lamps and I do like that look, but this later design with a VeeDue-style headlight and “speed holes” reminiscent of a CBR900RR is very distinctive. I appreciate Bimota’s desire to use their bespoke dash, but they are far from reliable. I think I’d just rip it out anyway and fit some kind of cool race-style dash or Motogadget unit.

1997 Bimota SB6R Rear Wheel

When new, these things were stupidly expensive. Now, like the MV Agusta F4, a nice SB6 can be had for basically peanuts. Of course you can buy a modern bike that will eat an SB6 for lunch, but you won’t look nearly as good doing it, and there’s something to be said for pride of ownership. These certainly aren’t perfect bikes, but if you don’t mind dealing with a few quirks, the SB6 represents a pretty serious bargain right now.


1997 Bimota SB6R L Side

Affordable Exotic: 1997 Bimota SB6R in South Africa
Yamaha September 5, 2015 posted by

Thunder, Thunder, Thunderace! Sharp 1997 Yamaha YZF1000 for Sale

1997 Yamaha YZF1000 R Front

Yamaha’s YZF1000 wasn’t a big seller, and was available in the US for only one year, making this an extremely rare bike here. Five valves, five gears, and 1003cc’s should tell you pretty much all you need to know about this bike. Known as the “Thunderace” in many markets, the big YZF was a strange mix of high and low tech: it used Yamaha’s sophisticated five-valve inline four mated to a five-speed transmission. But the engine’s wide powerband means you really don’t need that sixth cog anyway.

1997 Yamaha YZF1000 L Front

This was really more a bike in the spirit of Kawasaki’s ZX-11 than one of today’s highly-strung, just barely under 1000cc machines. 147hp is still nothing to sneeze at today, especially when combined with a claimed 435lbs dry weight, and older literbikes like this were built for fast, two-up traveling, with midrange power undreamed of by today’s screaming twins and fours.

1997 Yamaha YZF1000 L Rear

And if those brakes look like they’ve been fitted fitted from a later R1, you’d be partly correct: the Thunderace was famous for its excellent brakes and was the first model to feature the one-piece, four-piston “blue spot” calipers that were later used on the R1.

This bike looks to be in excellent, well-maintained shape, considering its age. From the original eBay listing: 1997 Yamaha YZF1000 for Sale

This model, Yamaha YZF1000R  in USA for one year only, 1997.  Last all purpose supersport  (not RR) with carbs.  198 kg (437 lbs) dry. Genesis 5-valve motor145 hp (133rw hp), forged (not cast) pistons, drag coefficient .29, forged aluminum rims, steering damper.  Frame is 5kg less than YZF 750R, hence equivalent dry weight w/20+hp advantage and more robust 5spd transmission carried on from FZR 1000.  Runs, shifts, handles as new.  New tires, brake pads, battery, chain, filters, all fluids.  Billet aluminum swingarm, smoked windshield.  Always kept in dry garage under cover. 

Extremely well kept overall, but for one repairable chip on upper left fairing, and one very small (1.25″) stress crack on right lower fairing. Chip shows on photo, crack too small to easily show here. Small chip at rear of white fiberglass cowling cap also too small to easily show. D&D carbon fiber exhaust as new with original aluminum exhaust nearly mint condition. Flush mounted front signals with originals included and shown.

From MC Review (see blog):  “The last breed of the classic old school superbikes that Yamaha aimed to produce on an international level … it’s just overall a brilliant bike.”

In a December 1996 Car & Driver Magazine comparison test of Yamaha YZF1000R with Dodge Viper the bike won all acceleration tests, top gear roll on, etc., but greasy dusty track at Willow Springs  favored Viper until its motor blew and it DNF.

Scarcity and and content quality make this one a collectible low cost supersport ride.  Bike is beautiful, fast and comfortable, but not for beginner.

It’s not in perfectly original condition, although the seller does have the original exhaust can and turn signals if you’d prefer a dead-stock look. That clutch lever does look a bit bent, but that could be the result of a simple tip-over, something to be expected in a bike of this age.

1997 Yamaha YZF1000 L Fairing

The simple white-and-red panels on this bike have aged extremely well and give it a more sophisticated style that stand out in a sea of wild, paint-splash neon zebra designs that were popular during the 1990’s. All-in-all, with just 17,000 miles on the clock and $3,400 Buy It Now price, this represents a killer deal for sportbike fans on a budget.


1997 Yamaha YZF1000 R Side

Thunder, Thunder, Thunderace! Sharp 1997 Yamaha YZF1000 for Sale
Ducati July 28, 2015 posted by

This Is Not a Road Bike: 1997 Ducati 916SPS for Sale

1997 Ducati 916SPS R Side

This is not a road bike, that much is obvious at a glace: slick-shod, missing lights and signals, with just that big, redline-less tach and smaller temp gauge to distract the rider from the really important things like speed, speed, and more speed. Which is good, because this Ducati 916SPS was designed with speed foremost in mind. Although it was originally a roadbike, this particular bike has been turned into a dedicated track weapon.

1997 Ducati 916SPS Dash

While 916 variants are generally dime-a-dozen on eBay, that’s a function of how long the body style was in production, the number of variants available, and the fact that people buy these just to have, for a time, that pinup-quality machine in their garage, all the while putting very little mileage on. It takes skill and dedication to extract the real potential of a 916: they’re uncomfortable and don’t suffer fools gladly.

1997 Ducati 916SPS R Clip On

But while garden-variety 916’s aren’t all that hard to find, this SPS is a rare bird indeed. One rung down from the homologation “R” machines, the SPS featured lightweight wheels, better suspension, an adjustable head, carbon bodywork, and an uprated 996cc engine that later became the standard model in the Ducati 996.

1997 Ducati 916SPS R Side Detail

If you’ve never noticed, many serious sportbikes of the era have these sort of simple, modular dashes that have the tach and temp gauge on a separate pod from the speedo and idiot lights so those superfluous bits can be easily removed for dedicated track use, as can be seen here.

From the original eBay listing: 1997 Ducati 916SPS for Sale

From my personal collection, this 1997 Ducati 916SPS motorcycle was prepared for race track in category Superbike. Just performed with coupon distribution transmission belts. It has many parts of the model racing Ducati 916RS racing. Wheels Marvic magnesium from 16.5, suspension Öhlins, tank and many parts carbon, slipper clutch, brake back even handlebar, change racing, racing valves, cams racing, electronic unit, SBK, etc. Bike is in Italy.

1997 Ducati 916SPS L Clip On

While there are some translation errors, I think you get the gist of what’s being offered here. Obviously: “brake back even handlebar” refers to the billet rear brake lever mounted on the left handlebar, which is a pretty cool update. Interestingly, this SPS also looks like it has a 16.5″ rear wheel, something I thought was exclusive to Moto GP bikes and not found WSBK machines. I’m also not sure what’s up with the “Rebuilt, Rebuildable & Reconstructed” title status. Is this a former road bike that’s been crashed and turned into a track bike? Considering that the seller is looking for $16,500 Buy It Now price, I’d hope not.

1997 Ducati 916SPS Rear

Obviously, this bike isn’t in perfect, collectible condition, and I personally don’t like those curved Marvic wheels, but this bike looks ready to hit the track. So, do you buy it for historic racing? Track days? Without any race history and in non-original condition, it’s collectibility may be limited. On the other hand, there are plenty of folks watching this listing, so I’ll be curious to see if the seller gets their asking price for this well-used bit of Ducati history.


1997 Ducati 916SPS L Side

This Is Not a Road Bike: 1997 Ducati 916SPS for Sale