Posts by tag: 660

MZ December 8, 2018 posted by

Sporty Single – 1999 MZ Skorpion 660 Sport Cup

A rare sight in-person but almost a regular for RSBFS readers, the MZ Skorpion was a post-East German single 660 with a Yamaha-derived 5-valve head.  This example in Kawi-esque livery may have been owned by a dealer, who has offered other MZ’s and allowed this one only 7,000 miles.

1999 MZ Skorpion 660 Sport Cup for sale on eBay

 

Actually drafted by Norton designers Seymour-Powell, the Skorp had a tubular perimeter frame with Italian brakes and suspension.  Licensed from Yamaha, the thumper nearly made the magic 100 hp per liter, and the smaller engine block kept weight under control at just over 400 lbs. fully fueled.  Clip-ons are sensibly above the triple tree.  The straightforward handling made believers out of may skeptics.

 

Presented by a Rhody-based vintage Jaguar parts house, this Skorpion has what might be the factory’s only two-tone paint.  Cosmetics are excellent and it has been nicely prepared for the next owner.  Comments from the eBay auction:

This bike has under 7K miles on it, has recently been serviced, new oil, filter, plug, carburetor and filter cleaned, new battery, new Michelin tires, aftermarket exhaust.
The bike has not been crashed or damaged and needs nothing. Have title, owner’s manual, original tool kit and some maintenance records.

 

Often seen as the base for a singles track bike, this MZ might be too nice to put the knife to.  Maybe it can be the “before” picture for the racer.  Or could be the most unusual cheap sportbike, maybe the most economical rare sports machine…

-donn

 

Sporty Single – 1999 MZ Skorpion 660 Sport Cup
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.

-tad

1997 MZ Skorpion Sport Cup L Side

Budget Blaster: 1997 MZ Skorpion Sport Cup for Sale
MZ June 25, 2014 posted by

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

Low-Buck Fun: 1997 MZ Skorpion Cup