Posts by tag: gear-driven cams

MV Agusta December 1, 2018 posted by

Classic Italian Superbike: 1975 MV Agusta 750S America for Sale

I'm sure everyone who bought F4s, back when seemingly every version of that bike was a limited edition of one kind or another, was hoping to capture a bit of what  the MV Agusta 750S America offered: exclusivity, collectiblity, and ever-increasing values. It didn't necessarily offer class leading performance because, while MV was famous for its racetrack successes, their roadbike was relatively tame: power was average and the bike was fairly heavy, with performance-sapping shaft-drive.

Shaft-drive was a viable, and far more reliable alternative to chain-and-sprocket setups back in the 1970s, and both the Moto Guzzi LeMans and BMW R90S managed to be competitive machines in spite of the performance handicap of shaft drive. But MV supposedly included shaft-drive on their roadbike specifically to limit performance, so privateers couldn't simply buy a 750S and compete against MV's factory efforts. The new bike really embodied a shift in the motorcycle market, away from the practical, small-displacement machines MV was producing for road use in the 1950s and towards more powerful, expensive four-cylinder machines exemplified by the Honda CB750 and Kawasaki Z1.

The complete 750S was relatively heavy and engine was designed to be durable, to suit the bike's more grand touring mission statement. But its racing heritage shone through and the powerplant was pretty narrow, with gear-driven cams, exotic-looking sand-cast engine cases, and a complete lack of any filtration for the quartet of Dellorto carburetors. The original version displaced 742cc, made 69hp, and had drum brakes to haul the 560lbs wet machine down from the 130mph top speed. That sounds pretty unimpressive now, but was par for the course at the time among four-cylinder superbikes.

The 750S America that followed, known as the 800 Super America in parts of Europe, increased displacement to 787cc for a bump in horsepower and torque. It also moved the gearshift to the left-hand side in an effort to appeal to the US buyers, which makes sense considering it was marketed as the "America." This later version was still burdened with that heavy driveshaft, but Arturo Magni, who worked with MV Agusta's racing team during their heyday, manufactured a chain-drive conversion for the 750S. Magni is still in business, and maybe they can be persuaded to whip up another one for you, if you're so inclined.

From the original eBay listing: 1975 MV Agusta 750S America

Most of you know the history of MV Agusta, with their 37 world championships with the likes of Read, Surtees and Agostini. The story of this bike is that it was conceived by the U.S. importer, Chris Garville, as a limited-edition (200 for the 1975 model year) sport bike for the American market based on the existing 750 Sport; that bike became known as the 750S America.

This 1975 750S America was one of the earliest models imported into the US, with engine number 221012 and frame number 221009.

First of only two owners was the importer, Garville Corporation, where it was used in displays, shows and magazine tests: as featured in Cycle, Big Bike and Motor Cycle World to name a few. Ownership was then transferred to Peter Garville (brother of importer Chris) in where it stayed in his possession until 1990.

Included with the motorcycle is a large collection of: Factory correspondence to support its provenance, magazine articles specific to this particular motorcycle, period brochures, and spare parts.

For further information please see the recently featured May/June 2018 edition of the American magazine Motorcycle Classics -

https://www.motorcycleclassics.com/classic-italian-motorcycles/classic-mv-agusta-motorcycles/1975-mv-agusta-750s-america-zmwz18mjzhur

As second owner, I acquired the bike from Garville in 1990 by way of famed restorer Perry Bushong (one of the first MV Agusta dealers in the US). Perry and I have had a life long friendship and working relationship. When he heard that this bike was coming up for sale he knew that this bike was for me. When I heard the sound of the 4 into 4 exhaust I was hooked and that is when it became mine. In 1994 I had the opportunity to meet John Surtees at Daytona and he was kind enough to autograph the fuel tank. After that the bike was ridden sporadically, mostly at bike events, rallys and shows until 2014 when I took it back to Perry to ask him to do the restoration, which was completed in the Fall of 2016. We added the curved racing exhaust built by Dave Kay in England, something I had always wanted to do as it looks fantastic and sounds like no other motorcycle on the road!

Sadly in 2017 both Perry and Mr. Surtees passed away within one week of each other.

The 750S was $6,500 when new, the equivalent of around $40,000 in today's dollars. The starting bid for this one is $75,000 with no bids as yet, but plenty of time left on the auction. Fortunately, this machine has gracefully curved four-into-four exhaust pipes instead of the straight megaphones seen on earlier bikes that look good and sound better. There's a reason Yamaha's cross-plane crank has made such a big splash in recent years: traditional flat-plane crank inline fours are powerful, but can be a bit bland. But if you're expecting the sanitary rustle of a modern four here, you'll be shocked by the 750S America's shrieking exhaust note and the bike has thoroughbred handling to match, in spite of the weight.

-tad

Classic Italian Superbike: 1975 MV Agusta 750S America for Sale
Honda November 21, 2018 posted by

Sweet Spot – 1990 Honda VFR750R / RC30

Beside being a regular on RSBFS, Honda's VFR750R / RC30 has explored the high peaks of performance and auction prices, from its inaugural Superbike World Championship in 1988 to a never-started example at this year's Bonhams auction which returned $92,000 !  This Florida bike is more middle of the road, with some 7,000 miles and nice condition.

1990 Honda VFR750R / RC30 for sale on eBay

 

Honda got the balance just right on the RC30, reviewed as a superbike that was not difficult to get great performance from.  Not fire-breathing with 102 hp, but built strong with some titanium hard parts, and a 12,500 rpm redline.  Never the lightest at just over 500 lbs. wet, the center of gravity was fairly low and centralized, easing turn-in.  Honda wasn't looking to build a tech showcase, but equipped the RC30 with some endurance racing finery like the ELF single-sided swingarm and quick-release front axle.

 

About to acquire just its third owner, this RC30 looks excellent and has a nice spares collection.  Photos aren't exhaustive but the owner advises it has been displayed indoors for the past 15 years.  From the eBay auction:

Includes: 
  • factory stand
  • owner’s manual 
  • tool kit
  • brochures, 
  • extra factory exhaust (new) 
  • some spare bits
  • gaskets
  • bulbs
  • two keys
  • Florida vanity plate “Bol d’Or”
  • Joey Dunlop Arai helmet, limited edition (800) worn twice

 

Honda lavished even more of their excellent build quality on the VFR750R, and priced it accordingly, about double what most mid-sized sportbikes were at the time.  The starting bid here is somewhat north of what the model has fetched lately, but an eBay auction can be just the beginning of a longer discussion.  RC30 buyers, and more numerous non-buyers, have often been admiring the model for quite a while...

-donn

 

Sweet Spot – 1990 Honda VFR750R / RC30
Honda November 17, 2018 posted by

Grey and Gold – 1988 Honda CBR400RR

For a few years in the late 1980's - early 90's, Honda had double coverage in the 400cc segment with two 4-cylinder 4-strokes, the V-4 VFR and the straight four CBR400RR.  Marketed somewhat differently, the CBR400RR really only made it to the western hemisphere as a grey import, where it has recently shined.  This one comes out of a collection and despite some miles, has been nicely prepared for a future life.

1988 Honda CBR400RR for sale on eBay

Around mid-life for the 400cc model, the NC23 built on past successes and styling from its larger cc brothers.  The nicely oversquare 399cc four has gear driven cams, and a pre-ordained 59 hp are available.  Air-adjustable forks and dual 4-piston disk brakes are up front, with Honda's beefy Tri-Arm monoshock out back.  Tire sizes are staggered 17 and 18 inches, and exhaust goes 4-into-1.

This owner has brought several bikes forward recently, and has taken some flack for his optimistic assessments.  This CBR though, looks better than advertised with fresh cosmetics, and the long list of mechanical freshenings take some of the concern out of the mileage.  An in depth walk-around is available - here -.  From the eBay auction:

1-Entire new Stainless Steel Exhaust System back to the OEM Can with all new donuts & mounting hardware.

2-Installed new fuel petcock

3-Rebuilt BOTH Front Calipers and the Rear Caliper - Repainted Honda Gold

4-Installed new brake pads front & rear

5-Installed New Gold Chain and new sprockets

6-Rebuilt all 4 carbs using only Honda OEM parts

7-Carbs all Digitally Sync to perfection

8-Installed New Tapered Head Bearings both upper and Lower

9-Installed New OEM Air Filter

10-New Spark plugs

11-Valves adjusted (Shim under bucket) - see pics of valve train and condition of the cam shaft lobes.

The cam lobes show almost ZERO wear!!! Installed new OEM valve cover gasket

12-Installed New rubber cushions in the drive hub

13-Installed new radiator - water pump - thermostat - radiator cap and coolant hoses

14-Installed NEW Rear Shock - big upgrade over the stock one

15-Rebuilt Front forks - new seal - dust caps and used 15w fork oil

With its slightly higher CG and different frame geometry, the CBR didn't get the handling raves that the VFR did, but it's a couple of gallons lighter and lives for the twisty bits.  Owner-readers will be able to spot discrepancies, but no one can quibble about the sound of the cam train.  The owner has elected a no-reserve auction, which seems undervalued with two days to run.  Plan ahead for spring !

-donn

 

Honda November 3, 2018 posted by

Collectible Classic: 1990 Honda VFR750R RC30 for Sale

For all the accolades it's received, the Honda VFR750 RC30 is a subtle machine. To the uninformed, it doesn't look all that special, especially now that single-sided swingarms have become fairly common. The proportions are good, it's very compact, and the colors are classy: it's a handsome bike, but doesn't appear to be much more than another Japanese sportbike, although one that just looks right. And the spec sheet doesn't really do much to give the game away either, although hints about that this is a very special machine...

The bike weighed in 458lbs with fuel, coolant, and oil, with power quoted at 118hp, good for a top speed just a shade north of 150mph.  It wasn't especially lightweight, even at the time, and the power-to-weight looks decidedly tame now. Of course, numbers don't tell the whole story. They never do. They're just a useful metric, a way to compare apples to apples. I'm not good enough to test an RC30 against its peers and come away with anything useful to say, other than "that was cool." And nearly thirty years later, I'm sure it'd be hard to understand the impact of a bike like this when it was introduced if you're used to riding modern motorcycles, bikes that all learned a trick or two [or ten] from this one.

The RC30 might represent peak Honda: everything is perfectly engineered, and reviewers have always gushed about just how easy it was to get the most out of. As Pirelli says, "Power is nothing without control" and the RC30 was, by all accounts, an easy bike to ride fast, a bike that flatters the rider. The proof is in the pudding, as it were, and the bike won innumerable victories in Superbike and endurance racing. For a racebike, it had a surprisingly long shelf life, and was popular with both factory teams and privateers.

From the original eBay listing: 1990 Honda VFR750 RC30 for Sale

  • VIN JH2RC3009LM200170, engine # RC30E-2200324 - matching numbers
  • only 642.8 street miles, never raced, one private owner from 1998
  • unmarked original paint, decals and finish
  • a 49-state ‘no smog’ L-model, one of approx. 316 to US-market spec.
  • climate controlled storage
  • clean, transferable Ohio title

118hp at 11,000rpm, red-line 12,500rpm, 51lbft torque at 7,600rpm, dry weight 400lb, over-square water cooled V4 DOHC, 6-speed, top speed quoted at 153mph

The RC30, a modern classic if ever there was one, was created solely to win the World Superbike Championship, a goal it met in the nascent series' first and second years, 1988 and 1989. And while American Fred Merkel aboard his Team Rumi-sponsored purple and black RC30 was bringing Honda its first two WSB crowns, Britain's Carl Fogarty used another RC30 to win the TT F1 World Championship in those same years, and the equivalent FIM Cup a year later in 1990. No mere short circuit scratcher or TT rocket ship, the RC30 proved strong lasting enough to win a bag-full of Endurance Classics, too. ‘That this latter requirement was also part of the design brief may be determined from the fact that a quick-release front fork and single-sided swinging arm - essential for speedy wheel changes - were part of an unrivaled specification that included a twin-spar alloy beam frame, 16-valve V4 engine with gear-driven cams, close-ratio six-speed gearbox and four-pot front brake calipers. All of which did not come cheap: at the time of its launch in 1988 an RC30 cost near double that of other super-sports 750s.’

Despite the passing of 30 years the RC30 remains a match for the following generation of superbikes but possesses an exclusivity that precious few of them can approach. ‘No other bike from the late-Eighties is lusted after like the RC30’, reckoned Bike. ‘And then there's the exhaust note – loud, of course, but soulful enough to bring a pit crew to tears.’

This RC30 is a beautiful street example that is in stunning, as new, un-raced condition, showing 600-odd miles on the odometer. The original dealer was Cycle Sport Center, Inc. of Cridersville, Ohio. They sold it to Steve Bennett of Domi Racer Distributors, Inc. of Cincinnati, Ohio who rode the 600+ miles gently on the street, and then sold it, with a new set of tires, in late 1998 to the current seller, the first private owner. The bike has been meticulously stored unridden and maintained from then on. It comes with the original owners manual, unused tool kit, and the factory key.

A likely never-to-be-repeated opportunity to acquire an ‘as new’ RC30.

This bike, hidden away for 20 years, is in superb condition, so it can justify the label "museum quality." It re-defines 'as new.' Its VIN tag, shown here, illustrates just how clean this bike is.

To maintain the RC30's original finish, complicated by the use of several colors and many stick-on decals and stripes, it behooves the caretaker to take great care when moving it for photography and preparing it for sale. Remarkably, this bike has had the kid glove treatment from day one.

Foreign sales are invited. The buyer must pickup the bike from the seller. The seller can help with arranging third-party domestic and/or international transportation upon request, at the buyer's expense. Pickup must take place within 21 days of the payment clearing the bank. Thereafter, storage will be charged at $10 per day.

Contact the seller via email in the first instant. Questions are invited.

Well, I think it's always a good sign when the seller invites questions and the bike appears to be extremely clean, as you'd expect from a bike with just 600 indicated miles. Experts should feel free to chime in with opinions in the comments, and I'd love someone to fill me in on the signature that is visible on the tail section. I'm guessing it's Bubba Shobert, who raced 500GP bikes for Honda, but the seller doesn't seem to mention that little bit of trivia.

-tad

Collectible Classic: 1990 Honda VFR750R RC30 for Sale
Honda October 24, 2018 posted by

Uncommon: 1992 Honda VFR400 NC30

In the annals of grey-market antics, the NC30 is a much loved platform. With a high-reving, 24-valve 16 valve vee four, this is a smooth four stroke that makes us (temporarily) forget the smokers that came before. Light in weight but heavy in sound and presence, the baby RC30 is a gem to ride and surprisingly affordable when placed next to its bigger brother. Sought by avid collectors and riders alike, the VFR400 was never officially imported into the United States, adding to the allure (and complexity) of ownership.

1992 Honda VFR400 NC30 for sale on eBay

The resemblance to the RC30 does not end with the graphics. Offering an all aluminum chassis with that magnificent single-sided swingarm and adjustable suspension, the NC30 was built to handle. The size may be reduced, but every effort was made to make this stand out in the very competitive 400cc category. Bodywork is straight from the track, as are the endurance racing inspired dual headlights, the triple disk brakes and the tidy (and relatively tight) cockpit. Small movements result in significant changes, making this a scalpel on track days or canyon rides (*if so titled). You don't have all the power, but momentum is definitely your friend. Learn mid-corner velocities that would wipe you out on a larger machine and you will have a hard time wiping the grin off your mug.

From the seller:
1992 Honda VFR400 NC30
***No Title***
Bill of sale only. I never attempted to register it in CA.
Please do your research, as there are title services that can be used to obtain a title.
This bike is being sold as off road use only, in CA.
Local pick up only.
20298 KM = 12613 miles

Because the lack of official importation makes the NC30 more rare than your average streetbike, most of the ones that we see are in pristine - or close to pristine - condition. We have also seen bikes in the complete other direction, not so much part of a collection as a collection of parts. In these cases, buyers are interested in the project. Today's bike is definitely not the latter, but is not quite the former either. It looks to make a decent looking rider, but there is some uncertainty as to the amount of work necessary before you ride it.

More from the seller:
This bike is a part of collection. It is not perfect, but in excellent condition for a 26 year old bike.
Frame VIN and engine number appear to be matching.
Bike is currently not running. Just pulled out of storage, in a temperature controlled garage. Will need a battery and carb cleaning.
All bodywork is OEM and have been repainted.
Tank has a light dent on the LT side and paint is slightly faded.
Ethos Design Carbon full exhaust
Aftermarket aluminum rear sets
Race clip ons
Oil breather kit
Showa rear shock

I have several OEM spare parts, including a spare motor, tank, fairings, MPH gauge cluster, and various manuals. Buyer will have first opportunity to purchase. I will not sell the spare parts until the bike is sold. I will consider a package deal. The list is too long to post here.

With the RC30 in the $25k+ range, the look-alike NC30 is a veritable bargain. While exemplary specimens will crack double digits, most examples are sub $10k in today's dollars. This particular bike with 20 KMs on the clock (12,000 and change in miles) hasn't run for a while, but looks like it was not spared the rod, biblically speaking. The ad states no title (after all, it is located in California), but the eBay section until "title" also shows salvage. Although we have seen a couple of NC30s in the past weeks these are not that common - so more questions and some investigation might be order for serious buyers. Provided that a carb cleaning and a new battery and tires makes for all the right noises, this could be a fun project and great rider. Check it out here, and review the pictures carefully. This is not a stocker nor a museum dust collector and deserves to get back out on the road. Mad genius or mad gamble? Let us know your thoughts!

MI

Uncommon: 1992 Honda VFR400 NC30
Buell October 6, 2018 posted by

Imminent Departure – 2009 Buell 1125CR

Buell's last model under the H-D umbrella was the 1125CR, a space-age café racer with a high-tech Austrian V-twin.  Despite the prominent scoops to cool the radiators, the 1125CR makes room for Buell's many innovations.  This two-owner example seems cared-for and maintained.

2009 Buell 1125CR for sale on eBay

With its up-to-date gear-driven double overhead cams and fuel injection, Buell's choice of Rotax-based power got them to the 150hp doorstep.  Water cooling also brought the engine under current noise regulations.  Buell fans will recognize the frame with 5-plus gallons of fuel tankage, zero-torsion-load front brake, mass-centralized underslung muffler, and maintenance-free belt drive.  High-end Showa suspension was specified, with fully adjustable 47mm forks and monoshock.  A vacuum-actuated slipper clutch helped keep things organized when downshifting.

 

No apparent damage on this Long Island native, with an on-the-low-side 13,500 miles.  An upgraded charging system is a mod with value, and the carbon headlight fairing adds some more visible interest.  Otherwise stock with recent battery and tires.  From the eBay auction:

Second owner and owned for the past 4 years, meticulously maintained, with tasteful aftermarket additions, garage kept its whole life. 135xx miles. Dunlop Q3's installed last fall with 500 miles on them. Have spare key and buyer is welcome to whatever parts/accessories I have specific for this bike including: Castrol 4T 20W-50 synthetic oil (6 qts?), oil filters, o-rings, washers, and anything else I find around.  Bike is in excellent used condition.

Aftermarket parts include:
- Ricks Motorsport Stator
- EBR Oiling Rotor
- Factory ECM with race map programmed
- Clubman handlebars
- HID low beam
- Fender eliminator
- New Deka battery this year
- Carbon fiber front cowl which adds an obvious 57whp

I have taken the bike on 250 mile trips to upstate NY and it has never missed a beat.  Any charging issues the 2009 1125's were known for are resolved with the installed stator and rotor.  I have receipts for the stator, rotor and new rotor nut purchase, I did the installation.   Passenger sets are not installed, but are included.  Only selling as I am getting a new bike and I have learned from past experience to keep the seat to arse ratio at 1:1.

 

Reviewers found the -CR's fuel injection much better than the introductory 1125R's, and despite its light weight and tight dimensions, handling with the top-shelf Showa dampers was composed.  The design might take a little getting used to, but not the performance.  A more modern V-twin was a change-up for Buell, but the experience no doubt helped EBR after Harley retired the Buell brand late in 2009.  A serious Buell statement, and the buy-it-now attempts to address long term concerns with Buell and EBR both retired...

-donn

 

Imminent Departure – 2009 Buell 1125CR