Posts by tag: cosworth

Suzuki August 28, 2017 posted by

Classic Racer in a Box: Ex-Doug Polen Suzuki GSX-R750 for Sale

Looking for a fun weekend project to keep you busy for a while? Well look no further than this ex-Doug Polen Suzuki GSX-R750 racebike. It’s not exactly finished, but all of the really important parts appear to be there to get you started… Strangely enough, it seems like the AMA racebikes used many of the stock Suzuki components, even switching from the more exotic dry clutch to the standard wet unit, according to the seller. So that should help, right?

The introduction of the Suzuki GSX-R750 in 1985 was a seminal event in the history of motorcycling. It may not have been the first or only bike to use fully-enclosed, endurance-racer styling wrapped around a bulletproof, large-displacement inline four and monoshock aluminum frame, but it made that formula affordable and available to the masses, and led directly to the sportbikes we know and love. Later sportbikes would add liquid-cooling to the equation to help generate maximum power, but the Gixxer eschewed such frippery as too heavy for their pure speed machine: in spite of the visible cooling fins, it’s oil that does most of the work. The oil-cooled powerplant utilized their SACS or “Suzuki Advanced Cooling System” that used a double-chambered pump and oil jets directed at the underside of the pistons to keep temperatures under control. Other than oil cooling, it followed modern designs and used dual overhead cams and four valves per cylinder.

Obviously, as a race-spec machine for the street, the GSX-R750 spent plenty of time competing in various classes both abroad and here in the US. This particular bike was used in AMA racing and was ridden by Doug Polen. Polen was a world-class rider who got his start in AMA racing but left to compete in the World Superbike Championship, where he won the title on the trot in 1991 and 1992. He continued to compete in both international and American roadracing with success, netted a win at the Suzuka 8 Hour endurance race, and even dabbled in MotoGP.

There’s additional information about the bike, its history, and the included photos over on eBay, so head over and take a look.

From the original eBay listing: Ex-Doug Polen Suzuki GSX-R750 AMA Superbike for Sale

I have researched the photo archives of Cycle World and Cycle magazines and obtained a number of unpublished photos from their records.  I’ve also bought photographs from freelance photographers that covered AMA racing in that year.  Special thanks to Larry Lawrence, of The Rider Files website.  I will provide these photos to the buyer with the proviso that they remain unpublished.

Each rider had two chassis.  The chassis and motors evolved constantly through the season and Doug probably got the good parts first, as he did better than Otter in the results, starting with the first race.  Their A bikes had all of the good parts at each race and the B bikes had more stock components.  You can clearly see in the photographs the progression of modifications during the season for all of the bikes and the lower spec of the B bikes.

The chassis is un-braced, with modified stock forks, Kosman Triple clamps, Kosman brake discs, AP calipers, a Fox shock and Marvic magnesium wheels.  The swingarm has been slotted, to allow for more variation in wheelbase.  Jim Lindemann worked with them on the shock valving, although he passed away a few years ago.  I have spoken to an ex-Fox engineer and he’d be happy to restore the shock but the records they had of those years were destroyed a few years ago.  Sandy Kosman now lives in Portland Oregon and the last time I talked to him, he was willing to get the discs reground on a Blanchard grinder, if desired.   One of the previous owners began the restoration years ago and the chassis, as pictured, is where he was when he sold the bike to the next owner.

The bodywork used was stock Suzuki plastic.  Early in the season it was raced in 1986 blue/white Suzuki colors; later in the season some of it was sporting the 1987 blue/white Suzuki stock colors.  A perforated metal filler panel was incorporated into the lower fairing V and the lower fairing panels had holes cut in them to allow for more ground clearance.

The motors were modified during the season and varied quite a bit.  They had Yoshimura (either kit Suzuki or Cosworth) pistons, different crank bearings, heads ported by Ron Scrima, Megacycle cams with Yosh retainers, a Tsubaki cam chain tensioner, and various carbs and exhausts.  At one point they obtained dry clutches and close ratio transmission gears but went back to running wet clutches and stock transmission ratios.  They may have run an ECU with a higher rev limit.  Ron Scrima passed away in 2011 but his company (Racing Engine Service) is still in business in Texas and the current owner was with Ron for about 25 years, so they might be my first choice for an engine refresh.  Another option would be Kelly Roberts, also in Texas.  I have never disassembled the motor, so I do not know what internal components are present.

I am interested in selling this project to someone that has the necessary resources and desire to restore it to an as-raced condition and to preserve it for the future.  It is a significant bike, as it was one of the highest placed privateer AMA superbike efforts of that era and was ridden by the rider that probably had more success in the USA racing the first generation Suzuki GSX-R than any other rider.  I would be willing to discuss this bike in more detail, via telephone, with any serious prospective buyers.  I am also willing to provide additional photos, a more complete listing of what components will come with the bike, and an approximate idea of what additional components will be needed to complete the restoration.

I have listed the mileage as 99999, as eBay requires that the mileage be listed for any vehicle sale.  The true mileage is unknown, as it was never recorded, which is not unusual for a race bike.

It also looks like the bike went through several iterations, giving you a bit of flexibility in terms of the color scheme you choose. If it were complete and in as-raced condition, this would probably be a very valuable motorcycle. As it stands, it’s a valuable… basket case. How valuable? Well the But It Now price for this bit of American roadracing history is $4,950. This is going to need a lot of love, time, and money to finish, but I think this GSX-R deserves to be restored to its former functional glory.

-tad

Triumph January 10, 2017 posted by

British Beef: 1996 Triumph Daytona Super III for Sale

Faced with the onslaught of powerful, dead-reliable motorcycles from Japan, many of the storied British and European motorcycle brands folded and Triumph was among them, although the story of their eventual resurrection is suitably British. These days, they’re famous for their characterful performance machines, but it took them years to earn that enviable reputation. This Daytona Super III represents ground-zero for this new generation of Triumph motorcycles and was their sportiest bike at the time.

John Bloor was actually looking at the defunct Triumph factory as a residential building site when he decided instead to relaunch the brand, which is about as much a change of heart as it’s possible to have. Building a wide variety of bikes to suit different markets and niches with entirely different frames and engines would have been prohibitively expensive, so the new range of motorcycles was built around a modular frame, with either a 900cc triple or 1200cc inline four for motivation: the 900cc triple in the Daytona was the same basic engine that also powered the Thunderbird, Trident, Sprint, Tiger, Trophy, and Speed Triple. Pretty impressive, considering how different those bikes appear at first glance.

The standard Daytona 900 made 98hp, but Cosworth tuning took the Super III to 115hp, with a near 140mph top speed, with upgraded, six-piston brakes up front to bring the whole thing to a halt quickly. Those numbers were healthy for the time, although they didn’t really compete with the fastest bikes of the era. But as you can see from the displacement, Triumph wasn’t looking at competing in racing for the most part, and the displacements reflect this roadgoing mission, an area in which the bike excelled.

Handling was very stable, although the spine frame carried weight high and the bike was fairly heavy overall so it couldn’t really be considered nimble. But quality was a step up from the Japanese, comfort was good, and the look was much more classic and conservative to appeal to a different segment of the sportbike marketplace. These days, nice Daytonas and even Super IIIs can be had for relative peanuts, as you can see with today’s example, and offers up useable performance and distinctive looks.

From the original eBay listing: 1996 Triumph Daytona Super III for Sale

This is a good clean example of a rare 1996 Triumph Daytona Super 3.  The bike is in great shape with limited modifications and most of the original parts.  I do not have the original exhaust, but have seem them on e-bay for 100-$300.  This bike has just had a fresh tune-up, rebuilt carbs, plugs, all new rubber hoses, coolant flush, valve adjustment, and new Pilot 3 tires.  One of the side panels may have been repainted at some point, but I’m not sure, and one of the rear turn signals has a broken stalk.   Aftermarket parts  4 into 1 full race exhaust by Sebring K&N pod filters (original air box included) Available Parts 1 Brand new Penske fully adjustable remote resivore rear shock $1,000 (paid $1300).  If the bike buyer dose not want it, I’ll list it in a separate auction. Additional Super 3 info: The Triumph Daytona Super III was a limited edition of the under-appreciated Daytona 900. Just 805 were sold worldwide and they featured engine work by Cosworth. In addition to Cosworth’s touch, this bike got bigger cams, flat slide carbs, 6 piston front brakes, and a whole lot of carbon fiber. The results of the engine work yielded a healthy 115 horsepower, though the bike was too heavy to be a true sports bike. It instead ended up being a fantastic sport-tourer, and a bike you had to muscle around to have a lot of fun with.

That “repainted side panel” does look a bit off in a couple of the photos, but the seller is asking a very reasonable $3,500 for what appears to be a clean, well-maintained and upgraded bit of Triumph’s comeback story. The styling may be a bit dated, but the bike oozes class and while it may not be a “true sportbike” it has muscle where it counts: on the road. And let’s be honest, that’s where most motorcyclists spend their time. Track day junkies should probably look elsewhere,  although one of the coaches at the track-day organization I rode with on the East Coast had a Daytona like this one set up for track riding, so they can be made to handle if you’re willing to expend a bit of time, money and effort.

-tad

British Beef: 1996 Triumph Daytona Super III for Sale
Triumph November 12, 2014 posted by

Cosworth: 1995 Triumph Daytona Super III 900

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Triumph Motorcycles Ltd. is the largest surviving British motorcycle manufacturer but it hasn’t been an easy path for the Uk-based manufacturer.  The entire British bike industry basically collapsed back in the early 1980’s and  Triumph went into receivership in 1983.  After a few years and a lot of legal wrangling, British businessman John Bloor ended up acquiring the name and manufacturing rights and his “new” Triumph motorcycle company re-started sportbike production in the early 1990’s.

Between 1992 and 1997 Triumph produced the much appreciated but ultimately underpowered 3 cylinder Daytona 900. This bike was a successor to the 0riginal Daytona 750 and boasted a more acceptable riding position designed to increase its sporting ability.  But the power to weight ratio was still a problem, especially when compared to other bikes at the time such as the GSX-R and the ultra-light Fireblade/CBR.  So for the 1994 model year Triumph produced the Daytona Super III, a very limited production run of 150 bikes designed to help re-balance the power/weight issue for the big Triple.

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1995 Daytona Super III for sale on ebay

The Daytona Super III had a host of changes from its predecessor, with the major one being a significantly more powerful engine. The power improvements were due to a collaboration with the tuning gurus at Cosworth and was accomplished by using higher compression pistons and a redesigned cylinder head. The end result was a power increase from 97 bhp to 115 bhp.  Overall the Super III was a more responsive and higher performance ride, and also had many parts switched to carbon fiber and improved brakes.

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While the new Daytona sill wasn’t as light and agile as the CBR/Fireblade, it was certainly a big step forward and it offered something the ultra-light hyperbikes did not; the ability to be used for both blazing speed runs and medium duty touring.    Almost immediately after being introduced, the Super III was identified as a speed touring monster; consider the following review from the August 1995 issue of Motorcyclist magazine.

 First thing you notice is it isn’t in the same mold as Japanese race replicas such as Suzuki’s GSX-Rs,  it feels long, tall and still a bit heavy.  It can’t flick through chicanes like a repli-GP machine and it doesn’t rev way into five figures. But the Daytona is deceptive; its point-to-point performance is superb, with most of the credit for this belonging to a new engine that ticks over with a slightly cantankerous rumble that tells you ‘I’m an engine’.  From the instant you press the button, the Triumph exudes the sort of engine character that Japan largely designed out years ago. 

There are no bottom-end flat spots, just a rising tide of willing revs. The Daytona Super III is content to potter at slow speeds but useful power begins to swell at 3000rpm, continues unabated until the 9500rpm red line and at no point does it ever feel remotely stressed.  Peak revs equates to 148mph in top gear which might not seem impressive in an age of 150mph 600s but it is how the new triple’s getting there that sets it apart.  While most engines of comparable range are either bland or plain slow, the 900 is a speed touring monster, an unburstable projectile from A to B. 

The rest of the package is of the same high quality.  The gear changes are positive, with no under-selection, the truck-sized clutch practically redundant once on the move. Six speeds is overkill, but allows relaxed top gear ratios. In almost every area, the bike seems over-engineered. 

The Super III does a superb job of filling a segment that seems to have been vacated except for the ZZR; charismatic sportbike that can also be used as a daily rider and medium distance touring machine.   No doubts that this bike will become an important piece of the reborn Triumphs legacy and a future classic.

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This particular Super III looks to be amazingly pristine.  The seller includes excellent hi-res photos on the ebay auction and also a link to a youtube video.

Here is some of what the seller has to say about this particular Super III.

If you have been looking for a collectable Triumph from the modern era, this is the one!   There were only 150 of these bikes worldwide.Bike only has 9767 original miles, has always been garaged and has never been in the rain. Special features include carbon fiber fender and sub-fender, carbon dash, 6 pot calipers, and seat cowling. Paint and carbon fiber look as new. All fluids are fresh and bike has been maintained perfectly.Tires are almost new with 95% tread remaining. Lots of extras (see auction for details)

super3carbon

So what’s this particular Super III worth?  The KBB website doesn’t have a price for these which is a common problem if the bike is produced in small numbers like this one was.  A few Super III’s previously posted here on RSBFS seemed to go for around 3-5k USD, which is pretty cheap for a bike that gives you this much performance and versatility and given the outstanding condition of this example, I would expect price expectations to be at the upper part of the range.   This bike seems like an excellent opportunity for a collector to acquire a pretty rare bike that they could also use on a regular basis without having to go to the chiropractor afterwards.

MG

Cosworth: 1995 Triumph Daytona Super III 900