Posts by tag: gray market


We have 15 years of archives. Please note that posts over a year old may have been updated to point to similar bikes available to bid on eBay.
Kawasaki January 1, 2023 posted by

Starting Off with a Bang ! – 1994 Kawasaki ZXR-400R

“Wouldn’t that be neat to try”, is all the response a bike that was never sold here could want of those with the motorbike affliction.  The ZXR-400R has that in buckets, and while the ask might be irrationally exuberant, at least this owner presents an excellent example.

1994 Kawasaki ZXR-400R for sale on eBay

Never seen down at your local Green dealer, the 400R was focused on the home market and a few progressive license countries.  Small bore but high tech, it used four valve heads, 12.0-to-1 compression and 30mm carbs to come up with 59 hp.  The carefully shaped twin spars hold things steady for 41mm USD forks and Uni-Trak monoshock.  300mm brakes are seen on much larger supersports, but 17-inch tires were sized for the 390 lb. full tank weight.

Bargains in the 400cc market are way off in the rear view mirror, but it’s hard to call this buy-it-now from an eBayer with no history anything more than a conversation starter.  The bike itself looks great, with just 3,564 miles, a largely stock appearance, super clean, and even an intact rear mudguard.  One photo shows a license plate, but title status isn’t mentioned in the eBay auction –

Super clean vintage classic Kawasaki.. extremely rare to be found in US for sale.
It’s never been down, it has Kilometers odometer, 
It has a steering dampener. 


The ZXR400R reviewed as fairly roomy for a smaller sport, and handled better than average, but the power was mostly in the upper half of the rev range.  Might be something to find a way to try and see if you’ll enjoy, before spending sports car money on one, even as nice as this.  Hopefully the seller is for real and the make offer button can talk them out of the stratosphere.

– donn

Starting Off with a Bang ! – 1994 Kawasaki ZXR-400R
Ducati December 22, 2022 posted by

Color Me Red – 2004 Ducati 749R

R-spec Ducati’s pay little mind to the street, meant to be wheeled directly to the race shop for a few mods and tuning, then right to the track.  This example didn’t quite make it here, but is shown on eBay UK beckoning fans.

2004 Ducati 749R for sale on eBay UK

Road machines can be a collection of compromises, but they are more limited on the 749R.  The engine is different from other 749’s, displacing the same cc’s but with a shorter stroke and bigger bore, plus a bevy of titanium internals.  121 hp are the result at 10,500 rpm.  Carbon fiber is used for all the fairings and mudguards, plus smaller bits like the cam belt covers.  Even the rider is not expected to conform to some percentile, but has seat, footpeg, and steering head adjustments.  Suspension-wise, the usual rising rate monoshock linkage was binned in favor of a track-oriented flat rate set-up.  Designers made the mirrors easy to remove, and take the turn signals with them.

This eBay dealer presents all their bikes in the same showroom, with bright lighting and a variety of angles, so not much has to be left to the imagination.  The front fairing has been updated to a monocle, and smaller carbon mirrors fitted.  Otherwise more original with open clutch cover, neatened tail, wavy rear rotor and what appear to be ceramic coated headers.  Notes from the eBay auction –

This bike is lovely and these are becoming highly collectable and this is no exception – it comes with a host of extras including open clutch cover, one-off carbon top fairing with single headlight, race front frame bracket, Termi exhaust system, the list goes on.  The bike is draped in carbon which comes stock on the original 749R, all fairing panels are carbon as this is the MK1, ASV levers and it comes with all original books, 3 keys and key card and will be leaving us with a fresh belt service and 12 months MOT and 1 months warranty.  Last serviced at 12,255 miles, Service history, Excellent bodywork, Tyre condition Excellent, Red, 5+ owners.

The Pierre Terblanche design may have been in contrast to the 916 series, but has weathered the storm and has fans worldwide.  749R’s don’t come up all that often, and while it’s not totally as delivered ( and doesn’t include import from York ), this one looks right in all the right places – and this year’s exchange rate might just make it a bargain.


Color Me Red – 2004 Ducati 749R
Honda December 11, 2022 posted by

Tropical Storm – 1987 Honda CBR750F Super Aero

Slightly less of a whirlwind than its Hurricane name calls for, but still off the charts rarity-wise, today’s CBR is a Japanese market full-bodied 750F.  With just over 4,000 miles, it’s over at Iconic Motorbike Auctions looking great with just minor cosmetic issues.

1987 Honda CBR750F for sale at Iconic Motorbikes

A short but aerodynamic chapter in motorbike history had all-enclosed fairings from several manufacturers, with great soap bar looks and less fussy hidden chassis.  We know the 1000cc model here, but a 750 was in the stable at home.  Plenty of power at the crank with 105 hp, but the frame geometry and 493 lbs. wet weight made for more of a sporty tourer.  More fuel on board than most supersports, and period tweaks like a smaller front wheel to help turn-in.  Music from the gear-driven cams has to compete with roar from the intakes which are a ways back in the sidecovers.

Centrally located in Nebraska, this CBR looks very good, apparently the subject of a Mecum auction in 2018, and then 2022 as Iconic states.  Quite stock with just a small dent in the tank and a scrape here and there, though fresh rubber would be a thought for any serious riding.  Idles commendably after a cold start in the – video – .  And the owners comments from the Iconic auction –

The previous owner said he had performed a full service and replaced the fork seals. We did a carb clean after I bought it.

A minor ding on the rear left corner of the fuel tank, a few minor chips in the paint such as in the leading edge of the left faring. The fuel tank must have shown some rust because someone has coated it. There don’t seem to be any problems from that repair (rust in the carbs, etc.).

Despite reviews singing its praises as an all-rounder, 1988 was the last model year for the CBR750F, rarity ensured.  For a fan of the brand wanting a CBR easy to ride quickly without ergonomic hassles, the Super Aero presented here might be just right.  Eminently showable since you likely won’t see another, and just a few touch-ups will have this example in the running for a trophy.  Bidding is open on this Iconic auction, and we’ll be watching.


Tropical Storm – 1987 Honda CBR750F Super Aero
Honda December 8, 2022 posted by

Victor / Victoria – 1990 Honda VFR400 NC30

I’ll start with the obvious: Having owned this bike for over 18 years, the seller is hardly a flipper. And those 18 years of ownership also help the two-faced images you see in the photos. This particular NC30 has enjoyed many years of riding adventure, and is likely not destined for a museum. Rather, this is a plated and proven gray market steed that can be enjoyed by the next rider without fear of mileage, a new scratch or worse. It even includes an outfit change, allowing you to express yourself depending upon your mood. Best of all, the NC30 is a jewel of a bike to ride, and is very likely to continue to be a collector classic well into the next couple of decades.

1990 Honda VFR400 NC30 for sale on eBay

Looking very much like a baby RC30, the VFR400 offers a similar gear-driven cam V4, but of smaller displacement. The bodywork is very much RC30, right down to the endurance racing inspired twin headlights. The single-sided swing arm is another nod to the big daddy of collectibles, and helps establish the NC30 as a road-based scalpel in its own right. Expect about 60 horsepower right up where the tach reaches 13,000 RPM, pushing the 370-ish pound package along smartly.

From the seller:
This is a 1990 VFR400 NC30 with 15826km (9835mi) with clear Colorado title.
I have owned it for 18yrs.with regular use other than 2022.
It has always been maintained by me with regular oil changes, carb tuning and recent reshiming of all valve clearances.

More from the seller:
It currently has the original body work installed which has some cracks and repairs.
Included is a complete as new aftermarket ROTHMANS body set with fuel tank. This is pictured on the bike before replacing with original body work.
Rear wheel is 17″ from NC35 to facilitate more tire choices.
Original 18″ wheel is included along with original front wheel with mounted discs.
Recent fork seals, Avon tires, new battery.
Various spares included, carbs, manuals, sprockets, cables, air filter, etc.

The NC30 was made available in a variety of liveries and colors in different markets. This bike was apparently the black/red scheme when originally shipped, but the seller is offering a mounted set of Rothmans bodywork along with the sale, in addition to the stock bodywork & wheels. Mileage is stated at just under 10k, which isn’t bad for the length of ownership. Keep in mind that these were never federalized in the US, and thus the clocks are in kilometers. This looks to be a pretty neat rider, with zero bids on a $6,500 opening ask and a $9,500 Buy It Now option. Located in Colorado, you can check out all of the details here. Good Luck!!


Victor / Victoria – 1990 Honda VFR400 NC30
Honda November 9, 2022 posted by

Recent Acquaintance – 1988 Honda CBR400RR / NC23

Evidently a new arrival from overseas, today’s NC23 looks nicely tended, appearing to have just one slip-and-fall in its past.

1988 Honda CBR400RR / NC23 for sale on eBay

The 399cc inline four has gear-driven cams and an early valve timing system, making the 59 hp sleepy below 9,000 rpm and a tiger the rest of the way to the 12,500 redline.  The other trademark printed on the fairing refers to the heavily triangulated swingarm, pre-dating the single-sided variety on the NC29.  The budget didn’t allow for multi-adjustable suspension, but it did review well, like the dual 275mm brakes.  Even though tire availability is better these days, the 17-inch front and 18-inch rear rubber might take some shopping.

With its dash indicating just about 13K miles, this CBR looks very good with bright finishes and just isolated  corrosion.  Rather new muffler.  Seems like the right hand scrapes could be corrected by a good painter, and if it runs well as claimed then maybe the four 26mm carbs won’t need cleaning.  “Best livery” and “never imported until now” are the only eyebrow raisers in the the eBay auction comments, the last item about documents indicating that the new owner will be shepherding it through customs and DMV –

Super low miles (odometer in KM)
Just imported JDM original in really nice shape.

Runs & rides beautifully. Looks incredible.
This is a very unique model and never imported to the USA until now.

Needs – touch up on right upper, mirror, and front fender. Prior owner did not properly repair scratches. Nothing else needed.

All import and clearance documents are provided.
Bill of Sale provided.

Since it brings riders to the brand, Honda’s 400cc home market is intensely competitive, and engineers jammed as much tech into this young person’s ride as the bottom line would allow.  The model had a nice run but was only ever a gray import here, few and far between.  Quite a few more hp are in the engine, just waiting for a competent shop to let them out.  Whether straight to the racetrack or a visit to RSBFS friends at Deftone Cycles for some restoration, this one looks like a great starting point whichever way it goes.


Recent Acquaintance – 1988 Honda CBR400RR / NC23
Honda October 3, 2022 posted by

Prequel – 1991 Honda CBR400RR / NC29

Today’s Repsol replica is a CBR400RR underneath and more appropriately sized for Dr. House than the often seen 1000cc superbike.  Starting with a clean example makes this re-body a very worthwhile endeavor.

1991 Honda CBR400RR / NC29 for sale on eBay

With some major revisions from the NC17 and NC23 specs, the NC29 echoes the CBR900’s styling.  An alloy box-section frame has a welded support to start the seat console, and an asymmetrical swingarm allows the four-into-one exhaust to start upward.  59 hp are pretty good out of 400cc’s with four thumb-sized flat slide carburetors metering the fuel.  Components nod to budgetary realities, with single-adjustable Showa forks and monoshock, though the dual 275mm brakes use four-piston calipers.

Must’ve been a labor of love fitting all new fairings and having the tank painted, and comes off as extra sharp if not original.  The unusual factory blinkers accompany just a few updates, as detailed in the eBay auction –

The bike only has 8,843 miles on the odometer (14,231 kilometers) and is in absolutely fantastic shape for its 31 year age. The bike runs great and needs nothing. I changed all the fluids and cleaned and lubed the chain in May of 2022 and I had the carbs cleaned and adjusted by TFOG (Denver CO) in 2021. Below are some additional details regarding the bike:

  • I have a clear Colorado title in my name and the bike is currently registered in Denver, CO
  • I have all the original U.S. import documentation, the original owners manuals (in Japanese), the original sales brochure and a Haynes Repair and Service Manual for the NC29 (Please see the pictures of these items) that will come with the bike
  • Since I have owned the bike it has been stored in a climate controlled garage and the bike has never been ridden in the rain
  • I have only used non-ethanol gas and I always used gas stabilizer
  • Please note that the bike came originally in a silver, teal and black color scheme (please see the picture) and it has been converted to the orange, black and red Repsol livery with the gas tank painted to match. I do have all the original body panels safely stored in boxes, but please note that there is a small crack in the nose cone
  • I have put a 3M Clear Bra on all forward facing body panels and on the sides of the gas tank
  • The stock clutch and brake levers have been replaced with CRG Roll-a-Click levers along with after market foot pegs to match
  • I have installed a carbon fiber wrapped SP Engineering exhaust unit as well as a carbon fiber rear fender
  • There are some minor blemishes on the forks and some paint is starting to peel on the right side engine cover along its leading edge. I am hopeful that with the high resolution pictures I uploaded people can zoom in and see the blemishes. Other than those minor blemishes, the bike is cosmetically in fantastic shape

Hard to pick which Honda you would’ve brought home from Japan at that time, with the CBR and VFR both available in medium and large sizes.  Largely a budget question these days, with early Fireblades and of course RC30’s requiring a serious commitment.  CBR400RR’s are perhaps more rare, and we’ll get a data point on the market in a couple of days.


Prequel – 1991 Honda CBR400RR / NC29
Kawasaki September 28, 2022 posted by

20,000 Reasons – 1990 Kawasaki ZX-R250

Today’s find is an absolute gem that is overlooked and likely relatively unknown in the United States. American riders tend to dismiss smaller capacity motorcycles as starter bikes or scooters. But in many markets the quarter liter sport bike was the real competitive ground zero, and the machinery on offer was as technologically advanced as any other capacity, and in some cases even more so. As proof, I offer you this beautiful 1990 Kawasaki ZX-R250.

1990 Kawasaki ZX-R250 for sale on eBay

Unlike the more recent crop of twin cylinder 250 Ninjas (or even the more recent Yamaha YZF-R3), and far removed from the Honda 300cc thumper fighting for the same class of rider, the ZX-R250R looks like a hypersport 600 that has been shrunk in the laundry. Let’s look at some of the specs that set it apart. For starters, we are talking about a full four cylinders in this bad boy, complete with four valves per cylinder. Redline starts at 19,000 (!) but the party doesn’t stop until well over that. Liquid cooling is an obvious performance boost, and the wrappings are straight up Ninja; fully enclosed plastics with dual headlamps. So, too is the frame – a double beam affair in aluminum, just like it’s racier siblings. Upside down front forks, an adjustable Uni-Trak rear suspension arrangement and triple disk brakes complete the impressive package. Estimate 45 HP pushing 311 pounds (dry), and you get the idea.

From the seller:
1990 Kawasaki ZXR250 R Old School ZX-25R…
Originally from Japan (grey market import) with Japanese VIN. ZX250A001421

Clear title CALIFORNIA Registered Current tags.
(“Miles” Are KM on the ODO)

Judging by the Black and Gold and De-Restricted Motor it’s the R, BUT SHOCK DOES NOT HAVE EXTERNAL RESERVOIR.
Rides Well with adult-sized pilots.

Some Scratches/Cracks in OEM bodywork. Ding in front of fuel tank But no interior rust.

Factory Original. Exceptions:
Purple (painted) Tail Light (Paint Removable)
Polished the sides of the wheels and re-painted head pipes.
Carbon Exhaust. Excellent Condition. Sounds absurdly happy anywhere above 5 K (It’s always above 5k)

The seller has included two different videos for this bike, both showing the idling and quick revving nature of the tiny motor:

These little ZX-R250 models are quite rare in the United States – as they were only ever a gray market import here. To find one alive and well and living in sunny California is pretty incredible. The bike looks to be in pretty serviceable condition, although scouring through the included photos is encouraged as I would not put this one into the “mint” category due to some bodywork blemishes that are pointed out by the seller. But this is a bike that would be worth the effort to put some time into. This could be an awesome track day bike, or interesting weekend canyon screamer just for fun – and you’d be unlikely to ever see another like it on the road. The only real reasons to not look at this magnificent little screamer are those of larger build and stature, or those living in an emissions choked state such as California. BUT WAIT! This rare little overachiever is actually titled in the great State of CA – meaning there are even fewer excuses! The Buy It Now price for this rare little morsel of forbidden fruit is $6,758 USD. That is not as much cash as a 20,000 RPM foreign exotic might suggest. Check out all of the details here, and Good Luck!!


20,000 Reasons – 1990 Kawasaki ZX-R250
Honda July 25, 2022 posted by

Never Simple – 1986 Honda NS400R

The story of Honda’s two-stroke GP championships is almost as complicated as their two stroke road bikes’ history.  This example looks to have been spared too many previous owner’s antics, with just over 7,000 miles and very good looks.

1986 Honda NS400R for sale on eBay

While some manufacturers developed “square” four-cylinder engines for Moto GP, Honda kept things to a single crankshaft and passed a lot of the NS500 developments to the NS400.  The littler V-3 was easier to license and still packed 72hp into a tidy package.   Like the racer, an automatic exhaust valve extended the torque spread and light alloy chassis put a sharp edge on the handling.  Drilled 256mm disk brakes get you down to corner entry speed, and the staggered 16-inch front and 17-inch rear Comstar wheels help keep the dry weight to 359 lbs.

The shorter riding season in western Mass. has helped keep the mileage on this NS400R low, with the Freddie Spencer era livery and except for conformal signals, stock appearance.  No word on how many links in the chain of custody, but a low speed low-side looks to have educated one of the previous owners.  Comments from the eBay auction:

The holy grail of Honda motorcycles. If you don’t know what you are looking at, this is a two-stroke race bike built for the street. This bike is the highest displacement road going two-stroke Honda ever produced. Also this bike has many firsts for Honda including a very potent W-3 400cc two stroke water cooled engine and also the first all aluminum lightweight box section frame.

This bike still has its original stock pistons and the fuel tank has no rust inside it whatsoever. To make this bike even more collectable this particular bike is the HRC version that was designed for North American markets only, but none of these were ever sold in United States. The EPA determined at the last minute that these bikes were polluters and violated the Clean Air Act, so none of these were sold as new in the US.

This bike has title originating in Canada and I have the clear title in my name transferred to Massachusetts.

The GP rule book favored two-strokes and as much as Honda wanted to race what they sold, the NS500 and NSR500 V-4 kept Honda in the championship running until the formula changed to a liter four stroke.  The CR500 single was on the other side of the showroom and had more power, but only on dirt.  Bidding is active on this no-reserve auction – take a look – !


Never Simple – 1986 Honda NS400R