Posts by tag: grey market import

Honda October 17, 2019 posted by

Spitting Image: 1989 Honda VFR400R NC30 for Sale

Speaking of 400s… This grey market Honda VFR400R NC30 looks for all the world like it’s bigger, 750cc brother, the superbike homologation special VFR750R, also known as the RC30. The two machines can be pretty hard to tell apart, and just the smaller headlights and narrower real wheel give the game away without looking closely. Side-by-side, the NC30 is visibly smaller, but has the same sleek, 90s shape, beam frame, single-sided swingarm, and classic graphics.

Both bikes are powered by V4 engines with gear-driven overhead cams and a 360° “big bang” firing order that gives the bike its distinctive exhaust note, overlaid with the whine from the cam timing gears. That stunningly engineered Pro-Arm swingarm is heavier than a double-sided unit, but makes for quicker rear tire changes during endurance racing pit stops. The smaller engine also means much less weight, and the NC30 weighs just 400lbs wet, compared to the RC30’s nearly 490lbs.

Handling is brilliant and the bike is a popular track day mount overseas, although they’re a little too rare and a little too pricey to make much sense here in the US. Not that it would stop me from thinking seriously about it. It’s a very compact, lightweight machine, and the 60 or so horses feel stronger than you’d expect. I had the opportunity to take an extended spin on one, and it was plenty comfortable, although a guy my height does look a little like the proverbial “monkey humping a football.”

From the original eBay listing: 1989 Honda VFR400R NC30 for Sale

Pretty clean 1989 Honda VFR400 NC30 with only 8,021 original miles [12,909km]. The bike starts right up and runs and drives good. Everything works like they should, except for the missing seat lock and rear view mirrors. Got a Buy It Now price of $8,500 or will consider the nearest best offer. Got a clean and clear title in hand.

Please ask all questions and clear all doubts before bidding. It is the buyer’s responsibility to inspect the bike prior to bidding. Call 646 361 8452 to come inspect the bike. The bike is being sold “as is” with no warranties. All sales final with no refunds and no returns.

There are just hours left on the auction, and the Buy It Now price seems in line with the bike and its apparent condition. I’m generally much more interested in European exotica, but the NC30 is on my very short list of bikes to own.

-tad

Spitting Image: 1989 Honda VFR400R NC30 for Sale
Featured Listing June 25, 2019 posted by

Featured Listing – 2000 Honda RVF400 NC35

Honda’s second generation small V-4 took the successes of the VFR-400R / NC30 and modernized them for the late 1990’s.  Having never been sold new here, all are gray market imports with metric speedos.  RSBFS reader Jae has this super-clean example tuned for the high country.

Sticking with the winning formula, Honda made evolutionary changes for the NC35’s 1994 introduction.  Carburettors were updated to a 30mm semi-flatslide design, with velocity stacks aimed down the intake.  Rake and trail were unchanged but the frame was re-designed.  Inverted forks were installed, and the single-sided swingarm recieved a major update.  17″ wheels are found front and rear, easing tire choices for the future.  The styling templates the iconic RC45, and the riding position is more relaxed than some other small sports.

With just under 11,000 miles, Jae and the previous owner have been careful custodians of this NC35 if not long distance riders.  Most of the mods are deep under the fairings:

– Current and clean Colorado title and registration (registered & titled as a “2000 Honda NC35”.
– VIN is: NC351103563
– 17,400 km (10,800 miles)
– Motor has fresh oil, oem air filter, recent valve adjustment
– Bigger capacity upper radiator
– new Samco radiator hoses (fresh coolant last summer)
– Penske shock (emulsion version with ride height adjustment)
– 5.5″ Kosman widened rear wheel (fresh new tire)
– Dymag magnesium front wheel (new tire)
– JHA shotgun full exhaust system from Japan (with new exhaust gaskets)
– Tyga steering damper (sorry, stuck on a few Ohlins stickers but no real Ohlins parts…)
– Solo rear cowl (stock passenger seat included)
– new gold chain, rear sprocket (520)
– Titanium nuts/bolts sprinkled throughout (rear spindle pincher, rotor bolts)
– Braided steel brake lines front & back (newer RC51 gold Nissin front calipers w/HRC pads)
– Magura HC1 radial brake master cylinder
– Jetted for Colorado elevation
– As far as I know, I am the 2nd owner in the states. Previous owner (~2008) was a Porsche mechanic from Denver)
– misc small box of spares (passenger pegs, oem brake master, original rad, etc)
– I can throw in a spare set of oem wheels (powercoaded white) if full price is paid
– shipping (or pickup) will be have to be paid/arranged by buyer…

* Needs nothing to ride as is, perfect to start the summer!

Jae asks $10,000 USD and can be contacted – here –

Originally presented as a junior sportbike in markets with progressive licensing, the RVF-400R’s wide powerband, crisp handling, and distinctive engine sound gained the attention of cognoscenti worldwide, and it’s a sought after track day machine.  Thankfully Jae’s hasn’t been subjected to that, it’s been nicely updated and maintained.  Not to mention being an RC45 lookalike without the vacation-home pricetag !

-donn

Featured Listing – 2000 Honda RVF400 NC35
Honda May 4, 2019 posted by

Winter is Coming – 1988 Honda NSR250R

Almost never without a 250cc two-stroke, Honda kept updates coming at a good pace.  The MC18 was the 1988 revision ( after just one year of the MC16 ) and followed GP developments.  This South African example looks very good and shows just under 4,000 miles.

1988 Honda NSR250R ( South Africa ) for sale on eBay

The MC18 brought the PGM II card-controlled 32mm carburetors and 45 hp, serious for 249 cc’s.  The engine was mounted lower in the alloy twin spar chassis, with 41mm and revised swingarm.  Tires are a smidgen wider with six-spokes rims in 18″ rear and 17″ front stagger.  Not much external change, save the twin tail lights.

In the color saturated photos, this NSR looks very clean and complete, though not subject to a big restoration.  The owner has these comments in the eBay auction:

Partly restored
True 6,000km from new (4,000 miles)
All original including tool kit
Rides as well as it looks
Licensed and road tax up to date
Two-stroke heaven

1988 saw Honda in seven of the top ten 250cc MotoGP teams, with Spaniard Sito Pons taking the crown.  The MC18 was superseded after just two years, but the model continued until 1996.  Depending on your location, this NSR might be worth the expense of shipping and nuisance of importation.  Rather than a museum piece, this NSR could be enjoyed indoors and out.

-donn

Winter is Coming – 1988 Honda NSR250R
Yamaha March 31, 2019 posted by

Fall Clearance Sale – 1992 Yamaha TZR250R-SP

Pictured in a lush garden, this barely used TZR250R-SP is actually old enough to import without EPA scrutiny.  Up for sale at the end of summer in Cape Town means a close-up inspection might be a project, but this example is at least a great what if ? – conversation starter.

1992 Yamaha TZR250-SP for sale on eBay

TZR250 production started in 1986 with a parallel twin engine, and was upgraded to a V-twin when the model was re-designed for 1991.  Some sources says the -SP used a larger carburetor, and all models used Yamaha’s Power Valve System to stretch the torque band.  45 hp was mandated in Japan, but once released from its electronic bonds, the engine is capable of a reliable 60 hp.  It’s got a small copy of the DeltaBox alloy chassis, and an early adoption of upside-down forks.  A few different swingarms were used, this one the asymmetrical, allowing the rear exhaust to pass under the bike.

Good export histories from these years are hard to come by, but most TZR’s were for the JDM, with occasional exports around the Pacific.  Sport Production seems to be limited to 500 units.  No word on the history of this particular machine, but the mileage is seriously low and condition appears excellent.  Aftermarket exhaust and budget shipping are noted in the eBay auction:

Rare superb condition 1992 TZR250R-SP  (3XV-5).

One of only 500 produced.
Original factory body panels and paint. 
Low mileage 2554Km (1576 miles).
The buyer has a choice between the original exhaust silencers or the aftermarket Dog Fight R silencers which are depicted in the photos.
 
Worldwide shipping is available!
Shipping cost to any port of entry in:
North America : $950

Yamaha’s 1/4-liter machines are rarely seen, though the sunset of their emissions requirement has brought more recent imports of the later 3XV’s.  Never cheap, their quality and tech gave Big Red a run for their money.  The buyer will have to determine whether this example has been de-restricted, and if there are any long past secrets.  If yes and then no, this TZR will still be expensive but might be worth it.

-donn

Fall Clearance Sale – 1992 Yamaha TZR250R-SP
Honda March 27, 2019 posted by

Learning Curve – 1992 Honda CBR400RR

Most often Rothmans livery is seen on two-stroke race replicas, but this middleweight is a 399cc inline four.  It’s a grey market import from Japan, registered in Florida and looking excellent with just under 7,000 miles.

   

1992 Honda CBR400RR for sale on eBay

 

Sometimes referred to as the “baby ‘Blade”, the CBR400RR was developed several years earlier, but restyled in 1992 to accompany the Fireblade to the showroom.  It was also built like a larger bike, alloy twin spars of the chassis and swingarm ready for much more than the factory 59 hp.  Faired scoops deliver fresh air to the engine, by way of four 26mm flat slide carbs.  Showa suspension all around, preload-only adjustable, leaving room for enhancements.  Grown-up dual discs are 276mm, and dry weight is just 360 lbs.

 

This CBR has low miles and is nicely presented.  Some corrosion is almost to be expected but is not readily apparent.  Expert readers will have to comment on the correctness of the fairings and livery, but it’s at least complete.  No word on the reason for the sale, but from an island on Florida’s west coast, this owner has an hour’s slog through Fort Myers to get to some open riding.  Just a couple of comments from the eBay auction:

Beautiful NC29 1992 CBR400RR in Rothmans paint.  Low miles, runs great, very clean, new battery and chain. Florida title ready to go.  Direct Japanese grey market import.

Designer Masanori Aoki was a youngish pro when he led the CBR400RR effort, staying with Honda through the 1800cc Gold Wing, and more recently the Rune factory-custom.  Designed as junior machine for learning riders, the CBR gained a great following in the sporty grey market.  Though committee-designed and conforming to Honda’s value-engineering principles, it’s still a high-revving, lightweight, and beautiful package.

-donn

Learning Curve – 1992 Honda CBR400RR
Yamaha March 3, 2019 posted by

Engine Contract – 1985 Yamaha RZ500

Sold before we went to press, still worth a look –  Donn

Like buyers of a Gulfstream business jet refer to their Pratt & Whitney engine maintenance agreement that just happened to come with an airplane, the Yamaha RZ500 was built around their smashing V-4 two-stroke.  This one has some miles but looks to be in special condition.

1985 Yamaha RZ500 for sale on eBay

Yamaha had some very good years in the 500cc MotoGP days, and the RZ500 ( known elsewhere as the RD500LC ) used a lot of race-derived ideas.  The engine is a masterpiece with the clutch gear-driven from twin crankshafts.  The Yamaha Power Valve System tailors exhaust port position electronically, helping widen the power band and lower emissions on the way to 88 hp.  The airbox surrounds the engine feeding four side-draft Mikunis, and water cooling is used to stabilize temperatures and limit noise.

The race bikes had gone to an aluminum DeltaBox frame, but the RZ kept the steel chassis, with semi-adjustable suspension on both ends, even anti-dive forks.  Strong tire stagger of 16-inch front and 18-inch rear should make turning in just a thought exercise.  A pillion is offered, but likely the painted cover doesn’t get removed often.  Starting is kick only, engaging the rider right off the bat.

Appearing pretty stock, there’s no readily apparent damage, but with the 1999 registration sticker inactivity might be an issue.  The ask is up there but in the middle of recent sales.  The senior rider from Michigan gives a few thoughts in the eBay auction:

All original. Never messed with. Been in my collection, stored inside with all fuel drained. Miles are 22,691, odometer as you know reads kilometers as these were never imported into the U.S. due to the EPA. She’s a great ride and gets lots of attention. Time to let her go as I am turning 70 soon and have been letting a few of my prized bikes go. Tires are great.

After being built for only a few years and selectively marketed, the RZ has an outsized reputation and a has had nice amount of import activity.  Yamaha stayed with the 500 two-stroke racer until 2002 when the FIM made them an offer they couldn’t refuse.  It would’ve been nice to see more years of development in the street machine as well.

-donn

Engine Contract – 1985 Yamaha RZ500
Suzuki August 13, 2018 posted by

Summer Fling – 1987 Suzuki GSX-R400

For 1987 Suzuki left the GSX-R400 substantially unchanged from ’86, but thankfully returned to the twin headlight fairing.  In a catchy single-year iteration of Suzuki blue and white, Deftone Cycles has brought this GK-71F with low km’s and Ohio title.

1987 Suzuki GSX-R400 for sale on eBay

Suzuki had introduced the 400 Gixxer in 1984 and made steady improvements over the years, the ’86-87 models using water, oil, and air cooling to keep temps down.  Since it was a JDM progressive license machine, horsepower was stuck at 59 by statute.  Still the topped-off weight of just 365 lbs. made the most of the available ponies.  An interesting concept was the Deca Brake system, with a separate brake pad for each caliper piston, ten in all, hoping to work around some unhelpful disk brake dynamics.  New vents on the endurance fairing help draw heat out of the fairing and away from the rider.

As very few GSX-R400’s were exported by Suzuki, most recent arrivals have some cosmetic issues from long storage.  Deftone has gone over the bike to insure trouble free running, but doesn’t try to gloss over the truth.  A short cold start video is available – here –.  This is a low-mile fighter that could easily be a lover with some TLC.  Greg’s comments from the eBay auction:

8,484 Miles (13,653 Kilometers) Completely original and unrestored.  Four stroke, transverse four cylinder, DOHC 4 valves per cylinder. One-year color scheme. Mechanically Sorted.  All fluids are fresh.  Shifts and revs to redline perfectly.  Starts effortlessly every time. Very Honest Bike. Very few scratches overall. Left lower fairing is where most of the issues are. Please see Images. Fuel tank is Rust Free.

Having stayed mostly in the home market, Suzuki’s 400 gave ground in the period shoot-outs, but had their usual simpler, stronger, lighter cards to play.  Now rarer, they often don’t have their original price advantage.  But this one is more affordable, if there was ever a 400 to doll-up as you learn to ride a lightweight, this might be it…

-donn

Summer Fling – 1987 Suzuki GSX-R400
Honda August 5, 2018 posted by

Fast Forward – 1995 Honda RVF400 / NC35

On the coattails of the VFR400R,  Honda updated the long-lived welterweight and extended the success 1994-1996.  Feigning to be an RC45, the fox-eyed NC35 had the tasty build quality to live up to its MSRP.  This one has Cali title and looks great for its 20,000 miles.

1995 Honda RVF400 / NC35 for sale on eBay

Honda’s 399cc V-4 is the basis for the RVF400, familiar though the cam timing has changed and it is mounted differently in the twin spar aluminum frame.  Ducts now bring fresh air from the front of the fairing to the airbox.  Forks are 41mm Showa, but now inverted for lower unsprung weight.  Styling is of course updated to echo the RC45, with graphics to match.  Wheels are the same 17-inch for the RVF, easing tire choices in the long run.

SoCal friend of RSBFS Glenn has gone over this NC35 from A to Z, and as the model was never offered in the U.S., they are rare and more so with California documents.  A nice cosmetic freshening up was done, as well as renewing any expendables for  the next owner.  From the eBay auction:

Of all the classic 1990 Honda’s the RVF400 is one the best, and like the NSR250 the prices seem to be going up every year…finding a CA titled one, that also becomes harder each year. This bike is registered as a 1995 Honda with a 17 digit vin, currently non op with DMV, no back fees.  You can register this bike in any state.

This is a very nice nearly stock and very original unmolested NC35.  Far nicer than most of the NC35’s left in Japan that suffer from lots of neglect over the years.  This bike has been in the states for a number of years.

All OEM original Honda bodywork that has been recently re-painted in stock original colors.

Freshly painted wheels front and back.

All stock except for the slip on exhaust and braided front lines.

In the last few months the bike has had the following:

Complete service front to back

Carbs cleaned

Front forks refreshed with new seals and fluid

New NGK Plugs

New Honda 10w-40 semi-synthetic fluid and filter

New Synthetic DOT4 brake fluid and flush front and back

New Battery

Brand New Michelin Pilot Powers ( nearly no miles on these!)

Deep detail and cleaning on every part of the bike and complete going over.

Bike has seen less than 25 miles from all this work. It is turn key and ready to go. Bike runs great and everything works as it should.

Very nice as seen in the photos. Hairline crack on the right upper mid panel, hard to see. Some fogging on right side headlight lens, very small ding in tank (will try to add photos of this) some light corrosion on frame, and some scratches in a few spots on the frame spars.

Even allowing for the cramped quarters, the RVF400 delivers fun at a low per-mile price, especially when insurance is factored in.  The light weight, balance and nice equipment make the RVF arguably the ultimate 400cc V-4 ( well, four stroke at least ).  This owner has assigned a boundary-stretching Buy-It-Now but the recent work might be worth it.  Or if you’re almost there, the Make Offer button is available…

-donn

Fast Forward – 1995 Honda RVF400 / NC35