Posts by tag: Grand Prix

Featured Listing November 17, 2018 posted by

Featured Listing: 2018 Honda NSF250R Moto 3 Race Bike For Sale

For many years, Grand Prix motorcycle racing was dominated by two-strokes: 125s, 250s, and the hairy 500s that carried the likes of Schwantz, Rainey, and Doohan to victory. But as the popularity of two-strokes waned on the road, the formula was changed to allow four-strokes to compete, and ultimately all Grand Prix motorcycle racing machines transitioned to four-stroke power. The entry-level class was dubbed "Moto3" once the formula switched from 125cc two-stroke to 250cc four-stroke power, and today's Honda NSF250R was designed to compete in this fiercely-contested category.

They might sound a bit agricultural, but two-strokes are perfect racing motors: light, extremely compact, and relatively simple. Four-strokes are generally larger and heavier for a given displacement or output, since they include things like "cams" and "valves" in the package. Honda had to work hard to approach the standards of lightness and elegant simplicity set by the outgoing RS125R, but the results speak for themselves.

Single-cylinder four-strokes are traditionally the format of dirt bikes and economical commuters, but Honda packed plenty of tech into the relatively tiny package for the NSF250R. The dual overhead cam engine features a reversed cylinder head with the intake at the front, and the unit is rotated backwards in the chassis to fit between the frame rails and maximize space for the airbox. A cassette-style gearbox helps for quick trackside gearing changes, and the bike's dry weight is an impressively svelte 180lbs, so the 48 claimed hp offers serious performance for aspiring GP stars.

From the Seller: 2018 Honda NSF250R for Sale

Up for your consideration is this Honda NSF250R four-stroke race motorcycle from HRC (Honda Racing Corporation) I personally ordered it from HRC last November. Production was August 2018. Brand New, Never started, No fluids. Imported thru all legal channels. Located Cleveland Ohio. Included is the Option Parts Package (PGM-FI SETTING TOOL, MODE SELECT SWITCH, PIT ROAD SPEED LIMIT SWITCH) Seat pad included (not pictured) $18,000 USD OBO. Suitable trades will be considered. Contact: Greg 440.214.0954 deftonecycles@gmail.com

This one is being offered by our friends over at Deftone Cycles for $18,000. A brand-new NSF250R probably doesn't present too much of an investment opportunity, at least short term. But it does offer an aspiring racer the perfect platform on which to hone their skills, a blank slate on which a rider can write the first chapter of their career.

-tad

Featured Listing: 2018 Honda NSF250R Moto 3 Race Bike For Sale
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
Suzuki May 31, 2018 posted by

Canadian Stroker: 1986 Suzuki RG500Γ for Sale

Suzuki's RG500Γ "Gamma" didn't actually use a detuned version of the racing RGB500's engine, but at least shared that machine's square four two-stroke configuration, so it looked and felt like it could have been developed from the real thing. The specifications were certainly unlike anything else on the road: twin cranks, disc valves, four cylinders and 498cc, surrounded by a lightweight aluminum frame.

A quartet of very compact Mikuni flat-slide carburetors tucked in on the sides of the engine and fed the liquid-cooled two-stroke, a six-speed cassette gearbox kept the engine on the boil, and Suzuki's "Full-Floater" suspension system and anti-dive forks helped put the power to the ground.

That square four turns fuel and air into a combination of power and heavy smoke that dribbles out of the four separate exhausts at idle. Once "on the pipe," it puts a claimed 95hp through the impossibly skinny 120-section tire, enough to easily motivate the 340lb dry weight. Handling and braking were both exemplary in 1986, but have obviously been far surpassed.

The feeling is still there though and, in spite of Suzuki' Automatic Exhaust Control power valve that helped give the lightweight machine a more manageable powerband, the bike was still a very raw experience. Which is exactly what makes it such a desirable bike today: it's a race-replica that does more than just look the part.

From the original eBay listing: 1986 Suzuki RG500Γ for Sale

The bike has never been plated or crashed.  Have owned it since 1990.  Very low mileage, very fast and reliable, 1 -2 kick starts (usually 1).  The only mar on the cosmetics is 4 small dimples , the result of a board sliding over and contacting the tank while in storage.  Can put the winning bidder in touch with the shop that did the engine work.  The shop owner races a gamma in vintage Class, he is the predominate specialist in Eastern Canada.  The entire engine, including the crankshafts and powertrain have been rebuilt and/or inspected, the invoices exceeded $6,000 US and can be emailed to the winning bidder.  My storage people can also do crating, export documents and shipping (Div. of Tippet Richardson Int.)  Shipping are dependent on destination, an advanced quote can be provided.

There hasn't been much activity so far, but the opening bid was set at $18,000 and the seller is in Canada, which may be limiting interest in the bike. While I think this color and graphics scheme is very flattering, it may also be that purists prefer the classic blue-and-white Suzuki scheme. Hopefully, we'll see some interest over the next couple of days!

-tad

Canadian Stroker: 1986 Suzuki RG500Γ for Sale
Suzuki March 28, 2018 posted by

Worth the Trip: 1983 Suzuki RGB500 for Sale

This time of year, really interesting sportbikes can be a little thin on the ground, so our online searches naturally take us farther afield. In this case, all the way to Japan for a 1983 Suzuki RGB500 that was the Grand Prix racing inspiration for the two-stroke RG500Γ. This Mk8 version was highly-developed, although the earliest iterations of the bike were notoriously brawn-over-brains machines, with plenty of power but sometimes terrifying high-speed handling...

Suzuki's initial foray back into Grand Prix competition in the early 1970s was built around a production-based, water-cooled parallel twin borrowed from their T500 Titan, which saw limited success. Something different was needed if Suzuki wanted to win, and that meant the development of a brand-new four cylinder engine that featured a pair of cranks, disc valves, and the now famous square-four architecture. The new four-cylinder machine was first competed in 1974 and won its first Manufacturer's Title in 1976, then went on to dominate Grand Prix racing for years, and actually drove the shift from four-stroke machines to smokers: if you wanted to compete, you made the switch. That change defined prototype motorcycle racing up until 2002, when rules changes specifically intended to allow four-strokes to compete on more equal footing were introduced.

The original design for Suzuki's new square-four used front and rear cylinder banks that were the same height and made 110hp, although later versions used the more familiar "stepped" arrangement familiar to fans of the Gamma and made even more power. Suspension and tire technology took a while to catch up with the engine's brutal performance: 120hp may not sound like much today, but two-strokes deliver that power in a famously abrupt manner, and the early machines ate tires and chains with startling regularity. By 1982, the bike weighed 238lbs and produced over 120hp, with top speeds of up to 170mph and the RGB500, helped along by talented riders like Barry Sheene and Randy Mamola, was a dominant force in top-level motorcycle racing throughout the 1980s.

From the original Yahoo! Japan listing: 1983 Suzuki RGB500 for Sale

Racer RGB 500 I-MK 8 Works specifications. (Marco Rukkinelli player in Japan has riding)

Frame engine · swing arm Other than Works parts · Exterior manufacturer original.

(Engine) Works Mechanic · Full Overhaul (Replacement of new parts such as expendable parts)

It is running for 2 hours including a mustard and test course.

Basically present car verification. On... examination can receive person hope, in any case present condition delivery no claim.

A bid please those who can understand old racers · those who can understand by image.

Since cancellation of a bid can not correspond, please bid carefully under self-responsibility.

Those who can withdraw to Saitasa city, or if you can arrange for land transportation by yourself as a guideline after about a week after a successful bid

If it is BAS, we will bring it to Kashiwa depot for 5000 yen.

BAS Please bear the shipping fee from Kashiwa Depot by the highest bidder

Please, no jokes about the listing: I ran this though Google Translate so the original seller isn't responsible for any atrocious syntactical mistakes. Although I'm really interested in "a mustard and test course." Obviously, potential buyers won't be worried about the need to register their purchase, since this isn't a street bike. You'd just need to figure out whether to to race or display this bit of history.

-tad

Worth the Trip: 1983 Suzuki RGB500 for Sale
Sport Bikes For Sale November 16, 2017 posted by

Even Readier to Race: 2015 Ariane Moto2 Race Bike for Sale

 

Racing at the highest levels is a game with very high stakes, and teams are willing to spend a fortune to eke out the smallest advantage over their competition. So if you've got a race series designed to showcase up-and-coming riders, how do you limit costs and make sure the playing field is relatively level to make sure it's talent that makes the difference between victory and defeat? Well, rules that require every machine be powered by the exact same engine is a good start, and that's the idea behind the current Moto2 series that replaced the 250cc two-stroke class in 2010. Today's Ariane-framed Moto2 machine is shown in Pramac colors with Andrea Iannone's #29, so I'm assuming it didn't compete looking like this, but the important parts seem to be there.

Not long ago, Grand Prix racing was divided into 125cc, 250cc, and 500cc classes, and all used two-stroke engines. But when rules were changed to allow four-strokes to compete against the two-strokes with a significant displacement advantage, the writing was on the wall. The rules should have made the two configurations approximately equal in theory, but in practice the four-strokes were much faster, although more expensive to run, and eventually both Moto2 and Moto3 switched over to four-strokes to match the premier class bikes.

Moto2 machines used the familiar 599cc inline four from the CBR600 up until this year and no internal modifications are allowed, which keeps costs under control and help to keep performance between the different bikes relatively equal. Teams use different frames and suspensions and obviously bodywork, but power at least should be very, very close. In addition to the light, stiff aluminum beam frame, the bike comes with with OZ wheels, Öhlins suspension front and rear, and Brembo brakes. Moto2 is a prototype racing series: aside from the engine, these bikes are pure racing machines, with nothing, other than that Honda engine, in common with any roadgoing bike. So don't go thinking you'll be able to slap on some lights and a plate and take this down to the local bike night.

 

From the original Craigslist post: 2015 Ariane Moto2 Race Bike for Sale

2015 MotoGP moto2 bike for sale. Racing only.
Extra Faring x1.
Extra engine.
Extra Akrapovic Moto2 exhaust.
Extra OZ wheels.

There's not a ton of detail included, although I'm sure interested parties can probably get more information from the seller. I'm not sure if this bike actually competed in the 2015 Moto2 series, or if it's just built to Moto2 specifications. I've looked through the lists of competitors and I don't seen anyone running an Ariane frame so I'd love a bit more history for this bike. As far as I can tell, Ariane has had some success in European and Spanish Championships, but hasn't competed internationally. The $25,000 asking price would generally be considered a lot of money for a 600cc, Honda-powered machine, but that doesn't sound outrageous for such a purpose-built race bike.

-tad

Even Readier to Race: 2015 Ariane Moto2 Race Bike for Sale
Honda November 4, 2017 posted by

Size Doesn’t Matter: 1991 Honda RS125 for Sale

For some people, a race replica just isn’t enough. And if you want the real thing, a genuine racebike can be very pricey to run, and parts might be literally, not just figuratively, impossible to find. Sure, you can occasionally buy an NSR500V, but can you find parts to rebuild the engine? No, you cannot. Sometimes not at any price. But unlike the NSR500V or even the much more widely-produced RS250, Honda’s RS125 is an over-the-counter, full-on racebike that manages to be affordable, at least in the world of zero-percent-bodyfat racing machines.

Why are they so much less expensive? Well, they were always meant as entry-level racers, so costs were lower to begin with, and they made more of them. There are fewer parts involved as well, and those parts are less likely to be made of unobtanium. Ultimately, part of the reason the RS125 is so light is that there’s really not much there: the tiny, 124.4cc two-stroke single and six-speed gearbox are dwarfed by the aluminum frame that appears to be welded up from cast and extruded sections like a bit of industrial art. Hell, the engine is basically dwarfed by the airbox on later models. The whole thing is draped in raw, lightweight bodywork, and a primitive electrical system complete the package for an all-in dry weight of under 160lbs.

Basically, an RS125 weighs about 40lbs less than an average adult male. Which means that, if you’ve ever half-carried, half-dragged a drunk buddy into his apartment, you should have no problem whatsoever loading an RS125 into a van or truck, ramp or no ramp.

Keep in mind that, while the RS125 might spec out like some sort of dinky learner bike or a hopped-up moped, it’s serious stuff: that incredibly low weight and highly-strung engine producing 40hp mean the power-to-weight ratio on it is fairly shocking. The heritage is there as well, since both Loris Capirossi and Dani Pedrosa both won 125 championships on RS125s. From what I've read, it’s so light it even crashes differently than larger machines: once they go down, they tend to skim along instead of tumbling, minimizing damage. Which is nice because whether you’re using this for track days or actual competition, you’re going to need to wring its goddamn neck, everywhere, all the time.

From the original eBay listing: 1991 Honda RS125 for Sale

Honda RS125. Very nice very original bike in excellent condition. The bike was stored for many years so it has very low hours. Small but mighty she will hit 130mph and will lap a GSX-R1000 on a tight track. Most track bikes have a hard life but this one is in fantastic shape with no damage at all other than a scrape on the clutch cover and that is about it . All the brakes work well and the motor starts straight up and runs like a banshee. The motor picks up on the throttle so fast it’s frightening. I actually have a pair of RS125s and will be selling the other one after this one to save confusion. The  opportunity to buy a real factory race bike doesn’t come along often so make the most of it now. There is  obviously no tile with this bike as it’s a race bike. No title. 

I can ship all over the world at good rates.

So the downside is you need to pretty much be an wiry teenager or a waifish supermodel to ride an RS125 in the first place. The upside is that, if you are a wiry teenager or a waifish supermodel, or are just built like one, parts aren’t impossible to find. And many bikes come with huge spares collections, since actively raced two-stroke 125s tend to accumulate those things, and spare parts don’t make much sense to keep when you’re selling on the bike they fit. The Buy It Now price for this example is $5,999 although it doesn't indicate if any spares are included, or are even available.

-tad

Size Doesn’t Matter: 1991 Honda RS125 for Sale