Posts by tag: grey market import

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  The MC18 was superseded after just two years, but the model continued until 1996.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
Honda April 10, 2018 posted by

Featured Listing – 1989 Honda VFR400R / NC30

Update 4.26.2018: Greg informed me that the eBay buyer fell through on this one after it was shown as sold for $9,300. However another buyer stepped up and this bike is SOLD. Congratulations to buyer and seller! -dc

Our friend Greg at Deftone Cycles has made a good name for himself choosing clean sportbikes for import and making them ready for riding season. This V-4 399cc mini-superbike is a great example.

Built from 1986 to 1992, the VFR400R used gear-driven cams and had four valves per cylinder, generating the kind of performance that has helped keep the grey market alive after all these years.  The NC30 is the third generation of three, with updates like the left-side exhaust, Pro-Arm monoshock with 18-inch rear wheel, and 360-degree crank timing.  The styling is so reverential to the 750cc RC30 that riders will find themselves fielding questions about the bigger bike.

Deftone realizes the appeal of an  un-restored sportbike, and chooses their candidates carefully.  This one has complete factory fairings, undamaged though there is a little patina here and there.  The front brake calipers appear to have been refreshed, not a bad thing for a rider.  All new fluids and tune-up are part of the commissioning.  There is a dent in the left heel heatshield, but overall very few distractions on this machine.  From the eBay auction:

Completely original and unrestored.  Mechanically Sorted.  All fluids are fresh.  Shifts and revs to redline perfectly.  Starts effortlessly every time. Very Honest Bike. Very few scratches overall. Two blemishes to be aware of, Exhaust heat shield does have a dent. Fuel tank Dark Blue Stripe is showing some hairline cracks. This is very common with the Type 1’s original tanks. Dark blue stripe is a decal that over time has been known to deteriorate. Please see Images. Fuel tank is Rust Free. Has Vin Matching State of Ohio Title.

The VFR400R reviewed as a spot-on handler and was intended for the fan-base in progressive license markets.  It was offered intermittently in the Euro zone but often for more than competing 750’s and 900’s, insuring showroom failure.  But word got out, the legend grew, and there has been a steady demand for track-day machines and rare street-sports here and in the U.K.  The auction has just opened with a starting bid of $6,500, and you can send Greg questions via eBay’s “contact seller” link or email – here –.

-donn

Featured Listing – 1989 Honda VFR400R / NC30
Honda March 20, 2018 posted by

Featured Listing: 1990 Honda CBR 250RR MC22

Update 3.30.2018: Sold to an RSBFS reader. Congratulations to buyer and seller! -dc

This little Texas Tornado (with a nod to Colin Edwards) embodies the spirit of what RSBFS is all about. A high-revving, razor-sharp handling, tasty morsel of forbidden exotica, this grey bike was successfully imported, plated and titled in the United States. At the highest level, this is a story with a happy ending. Because even now as the current owner places it for sale, it becomes available to all who ride – not just those with the means and skills to import. And this is one bike that you need to ride.

Featured Listing: 1990 Honda CBR 250RR MC22 for sale in Texas!

As we learned from the two stroke lessons through the 1980s, Japanese home market restrictions placed a huge amount of emphasis on smaller classes. Long derided as beginner bikes in the cubic-inch hungry US, the Japanese cultivated a rich and amazingly technical cadre of sub 500cc machinery. Far from a beginner bike, this 250cc example sports a liquid-cooled, inline four cylinder powerplant with four valves per cylinder and a redline that extended into the 20,000 RPM range. Sophisticated suspension bolted to a light-but-stiff aluminum frame gives this 45 HP / 300 LB racer a fighting chance when facing down much larger competition.

From the seller:
I have an immaculate 1990 Honda CBR 250RR MC22, It is fully legal and was imported in full compliance with US laws. It is registered in my name with all paper work done and inspection through February 2019. Texas blue title in hand.

For those of you who don’t know, this bike was never sold in the US. It is a 250CC inline 4 cylinder 4 stroke motorcycle that revs up to ~20,000 RPM. It is a 1990 model so there was no limiter. Do a quick YouTube search on what the bike sounds like to give you an idea.

More from the seller:
This bike is practically flawless. Runs perfectly and strong and was imported via a popular JDM Motorcycle importer based in the east coast where the bike was inspected head-to-toe. Along with a cosmetic restoration, the bike went through a full mechanical inspection including the engine and carburetors, clutch and transmission, front and rear suspension, brakes and cables, all lights and electrics, and the fuel, oil, & coolant systems.

More from the seller:
There are new fairings on the bike in perfect condition with no scratches, dents or blemishes. I have owned the bike for about 2 months and have never dropped it, but there are scratches on the engine case and exhaust can as the PO in Japan had a spill at low speeds. This damage is pretty insignificant considering the age of the bike and I still deemed it worthy to import here to the States. There is one LED out in the tachometer cluster (around 10k RPM) but you can still see your RPMs even at night from the other LEDs. I believe in full transparency when selling my vehicles and I am a motorcycle enthusiast through and through. This is the only issue (if you would even call it that) with the bike. In the sale I will include 1 extra Honda Key, an OEM Honda Regulator and cable ($150 not including shipping from Australia), and an OEM Honda air filter.

More from the seller:
Last but not least this bike was meant to be ridden. It would be great fun in and around the city, and even more fun on the track. Easily the most fun bike I’ve ever ridden in my life. It is a rider’s bike. I put a lot of money into getting this bike here and getting it fully legal. That being said since I’ve done all the leg work and the bike is now turn-key, I believe my price is pretty fair, but I have room for a little negotiation.

Price: $6,000

What you are looking at is a bone fide rare import that is also a rider. It has been legally and correctly brought into the US, and is looking for its next home. Bigger riders may find the cockpit a bit cozy, and forward motion will be affected by the additional gravity (physics, after all, does impose limitations), but few riders could step off of this bike without a gigantic grin. If you are a rider that aches for an apex, are up to the challenge of dealing with tens of thousands of revs, and want to distance yourself from the cookie-cutter crowd, your mad motor scooter has arrived. Serious shoppers should drop Kenny a line at ksl.hoang@gmail.com. Good Luck!!

Featured Listing: 1990 Honda CBR 250RR MC22
Honda January 25, 2018 posted by

Fun Size: 1991 Honda VFR400R NC30 for Sale

A recent influx of  Honda VFR400R NC30s means they’re in danger of not being nearly such rare sportbikes as they used to be… But relatively few were made for all markets, so there’s no real chance of them ever being a common sight, especially here in the US where they’ve only recently become legal to import. Basically, a smaller version of the Honda’s homologation superbike RC30, the NC30 used the same formula, only with less weight and displacement.

The NC30 used stiff, lightweight aluminum beam frame to suspend the heart of the bike, a 399cc V4 with gear-driven cams and a six-speed gearbox. Fully-faired, endurance-racing style bodywork with twin round headlamps helped support the family resemblance, as does the distinctive, single-sided ProArm swingarm out back, something that wasn’t all that much use in World Superbike competition, but was handy for endurance racing. Plus, it obviously looked cool enough that the nobody’s-idea-of-a-long-distance-anything Ducati 916 used a single-sided swinger just because.

So why build a smaller RC30? Well the NC30 was intended to form the basis for machines that would be used to compete in the hotly-contested 400cc class that was pretty popular everywhere but, you guessed it, here in the USA. With just 59hp, it’s obviously no powerhouse, but the bike’s 313lb dry weight means a respectable 130mph top speed, more than enough for a road bike or a shorter, tighter track. It’s a bike that obviously stressed handling over power, and the “big bang” V4 has a wide powerband, making it easy to be in the right gear, and makes a distinctive drone.

From the original eBay listing: 1991 Honda VFR400R NC30 for Sale

Honda VFR400R NC30. NO RESERVE 11,035 Miles (17,758 Kilometers) Completely original and unrestored. Mechanically Sorted. Cosmetically does have touchup paint and some cracks and scratches. Some pitting on the aluminum especially at the swingarm. Please see images. All fluids are fresh.  Shifts and revs to redline perfectly.  Starts effortlessly every time. Very Honest OEM Bike.  Fuel tank is Rust Free. Bike has Vin Matching State of Ohio Title.  NC30-1101*** Buyer is responsible for their own State Requirements. Imported into the States through all legal channels. Sold as is. Buyer responsible for shipping. Thanks for looking.

As with many of Deftone Cycle’s offerings, it isn’t museum quality, but is complete, clean, and mechanically sound, with fresh fluids. In addition, a short video of the bike starting and running is included. Bidding is up to $4,500 with a couple days left on the auction, although I’d expect it will go higher. How much higher? Well recent examples of this mini-endurance racing replica have sold for somewhere between $7,000 and $8,000 so we’ll see where this ends up.

-tad

Fun Size: 1991 Honda VFR400R NC30 for Sale