Posts by tag: Comstar

Honda September 27, 2018 posted by

Cutting Edge: 1985 Rothmans Honda NS400R for Sale

Not too long ago, all kinds of weird and wonderful sportbikes from the mid-1980s were available for reasonable sums. Until recently, they weren’t really old enough to be considered classics in terms of styling, and they weren’t even close to modern machines in terms of outright performance or handling. It probably didn’t help much that they’re just plain weird to modern sensibilities: consider Honda’s NS400R, with its two-stroke V3, anti-dive forks, odd middle-of-the-road displacement, and the slightly awkward, upright styling common to bikes of the era.

The 80s saw the Japanese brands finally come into their own and race and showroom success, combined with a strong economy, saw experimentation across the industry. Not all of it worked, of course, but that’s beside the point. The bodywork of the NS400R seen here hid a liquid-cooled, 90° two-stroke V3 engine meant to evoke Honda’s Grand Prix racing machines that used a similar configuration. The bike featured a six-speed gearbox, Honda’s ATAC powervalve system, electronic ignition, TRAC anti-dive forks, a Pro-Link rear suspension, Comstar wheels, and radial tires that were considered very cutting-edge at the time.

Weight was very light, at just a shade over 400lbs wet and the bike’s claimed 72hp means performance is a match for the RG and RZ, in spite of the NS400R displacing just 387cc. Why the smaller displacement, when an NS500R would have made for a more authentic Grand Prix experience? Well, regulations in the bike’s home market meant significantly increased costs for 500cc machines: Suzuki actually sold an RG400 for Japanese two-stroke fans, and Yamaha detuned their RZ500 to meet power restrictions. Faced with the prospect of a detuned 500 or the need to sell two different models, Honda simply created one, very refined machine with their NS400R, but the perceived performance deficit hurt sales.

It’s a shame: handling was superlative and the bike is often mentioned as a forgotten gem of the era. Of course, prices for bikes like the Suzuki RG500Γ have been rising rapidly over the past few years, dragging Yamaha RZ500 prices along with it, and the NS400R has been sucked into their wake. Two strokes are long dead and gone, and fans of smoky, lightweight sportbikes have been snapping them up quickly, especially really nice, low-mileage examples like this one.

From the original eBay listing: 1985 Rothmans Honda NS400R for Sale

Very nice condition. Runs great. 1509 original miles [2429 kilometers]

This is not 100% OEM. The two main items that are not OEM include the:

  1. Bodywork: brand new aftermarket bodywork (OEM bodywork included)
  2. Brand new Jim Lomas expansion chambers (OEM exhaust included).

Carbs ultrasonically cleaned, rebuilt and jetted. Also synced with Motion Pro carb balancer.

When fitting the Lomas chambers I pulled the cylinders to inspect them. No issues and still see cross-hatching in the Nikasil.

  • New base and head gaskets and ATAC gaskets.
  • New clutch (metal and friction plates)
  • New chain/sprockets 
  • New air filter
  • Fresh antifreeze
  • New spark plugs
  • New rubber boots from air box to carbs
  • Rebuilt fuel petcock
  • New regulator rectifier
  • Tires are in great shape

Everything works like it should. No leaks at all.

I’d be curious about the condition of the original bodywork, if it’s not the stuff in the picture shown off the bike. If it was an original Rothmans, why the replica bodywork? I’m not implying anything shady on the part of the customer. Honestly, I’ve said forever that if I got something weird or rare, I’d personally source aftermarket panels and paint them up, then store the originals safely away, but it’s not clear that this is what the seller has done. Either way, it looks damn nice, and the seller helpfully includes a recent video of the bike. And, while the NS400R was sort of languishing, forgotten and a bit unloved compared to the Gammas and RZs for a while there, prices have begun to move steadily upward, and the seller is asking a $7,700 Buy It Now price for this one.

-tad

Cutting Edge: 1985 Rothmans Honda NS400R for Sale
Honda April 6, 2011 posted by

Let there be smoke! 1986 Honda NS400R

For Sale: 1986 Honda NS400R

Take a moment to ponder those lucky Canadians. Long recipients of bikes never considered for import into the US, the “neighbors to the north” continue to be the source of some great machinery. In this case, a rare ’86 NS400R V-3 two stroke. Today’s bike is a clean looking example of the breed, with stock pipes and recent service.

From the seller:
Up for auction is a 1986 Honda NS400R. Honda’s biggest 2stroke street bike. The bike is take on Freddie Spencer’s 1983 world championship winning NS500 triple. It is a 387cc V3. I have a clean title in hand.

The bike will need new tires. There are a few paint chips that have been touched up. The carbs were serviced by Rocket Cycle here in Toronto, ( NOT CHEAP ). The coolant was changed in October and the bike went into storage in November. I didn’t ride the bike much this past summer only a handful of times, just to keep things moving. Its a fun little bike that does gets quite a bit of attention. It was a rare bike in 1986 because it was expensive when compared to what other bikes were being sold for. I believe they sold about 405 of these bikes in Canada. None were shipped to the US, but I did see one at the Barber Museum in October , when I was there for the RG gathering.

As there was a ban on tobacco ads back in the mid 80’s, the Rothman’s livery was not available in Canada. So the bike was only sold in the HRC scheme. It was a sweet looking bike back then and still looks good today. The comstar wheels really compliment the look of the bike.

The bike will be sold as seen. I will include the service manual which was hard enough for me to get. The infil part that sits behind the passenger seat will also be included, as will the chrome tie down hooks. They are not on the bike now because I don’t like the look of chrome on this bike.

I bought this bike because I liked the look and mystique of this unusual bike, but now its time to move on. It was respectfully ridden and never abused.

Winning bidder must arrange there own shipping. I can deliver the bike up to 100 kms free of charge.

There is NO warranty implied, expessed or otherwise. It is a 25 year old USED bike. The bike is being sold as is. Pickup from my home is welcome. ASK ALL QUESTIONS BEFORE YOU BID.

The seller, who also has a Yamaha RZV500 (now sold) and Suzuki RG500 Gamma (not for sale), has offered a few videos of the NS400. Enjoy the popcorn sound of two strokes!

This video does not have the greatest sound, but it sure is nice to see these bikes out on the road – and it would be even better if those roads (and bikes) were in the US….

The starting bid for this Japanese-Canadian beauty is a cool $5,000 US. With 22,000 miles on the odometer, this is not a new, low miles bike. On the other hand, it has been ridden and appears in reasonable condition. I suspect the lack of a US title will impact the sale, but perhaps some savvy RSBFS reader can clue us in on how hard it is to import one of these beauties.

The auction is on now, and waiting for you to .

MI

Honda April 2, 2010 posted by

1986 Honda VF1000R With 12,513 Original Miles

This is a fantastic looking VF1000R with low miles!  Located in Worcester, Massachusetts is a 1986 Honda VF1000R with 12,513 original miles.  The seller makes no mention of maintenance but this bike looks to be in fantastic, original, condition.  The only deviation from stock appears to be the Yoshimura exhaust system.

This bike was released during the height of Honda’s love affair with the V-4; it was released to win in production based racing classes worldwide.  The R featured carbon fiber reinforced fiberglass fairings, 41mm forks with air assistance and ant-dive, four-piston calipers on floating rotors up front on Comstar wheels and gear driven cams for better timing.  However well theses bikes were designed, the engineering did take it’s toll bringing the bike to 524lbs dry.  While they failed to dominate production based road racing, they still came out as trick as anything else production produced for the time.  Several of these have popped up on Craigslist recently and this one is the best example I’ve seen.  Thanks to Joe L. for forwarding us the link.  See this prime VF1000R on eBay .

AG

Honda September 12, 2009 posted by

1985 Honda RS250 ND5

Located in Montreal, Canada is a pristine, restored, 1985 Honda RS250.  Supposedly there are around forty examples of these ND5s.  This bike has period correct Comstar wheels.  This bike wouldn’t be a very good candidate for racing unless you have access to a good spares package (is this eligible for vintage yet?), it also wouldn’t be worth the chance of damaging it!  This bike speaks for itself in condition, see photos and attached link that shows the restoration process.  I followed the restoration thread never expecting to see this bike for sale.  This bike is very cool and would make a great addition to any museum.  The bike doesn’t have an asking price and I cannot imagine what this one would go for.  See the restoration thread here. See the thread on North American Two Strokes here.

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AG