Posts by tag: grey market import

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Kawasaki January 1, 2022 posted by

K-Battle – 1993 Kawasaki ZXR400 Ninja

It’s a long while between ZXR-400’s here in the U.S.A., so we took a trip to the U.K. to find this well-used but renovated small sport.  Today’s is an L3 from the middle of the model run, with a super spec sheet and weighing barely 400 lbs.

1993 Kawasaki ZXR400 Ninja ( England ) for sale on eBay

Since it was Kawasaki’s entré into national F3 racing, the ZXR400 was sold primarily on the island, with intermittent exports to England and other Pacific rim markets.  The inline four had 2-1/4 inch bores and revved to 14,500 rpm, with max power at 12,000.  Extrusions for the alloy chassis have chamfered corners and are welded to the cast headstock and sideplates.  USD forks, slipper clutch and fresh air intakes were there to help the race team, but paid off on the street.  Dual 300mm brakes could be found on a larger supersport, with 17-inch rubber at both ends.

Probably a lot that only a ZXR cognoscenti will see, but this one looks like a pretty good starting point.  Plenty of miles, but a bunch of work done recently.  The seller restricted power for its intended licensee, though it sounds easily reversed.  Requisite tail-ectomy, blue windscreen, and too small exhaust – paintwork isn’t mentioned but except for the mirrors, looks way better than the miles would allow.  Notes from the eBay auction:

  • Just had following work done at local bike shop
  • -full safety check after purchase
  • -All carbs fully stripped, cleaned and balanced
  • -A2 restrictor kit fitted to 47hp (plate inside carbs)
  • -restricted ecu limited to 10k rpm ( have got standard ecu aswell) 
  • -Brand new uprated chain and rear sprocket gold X link
  • -new spark plugs
  • -new oil and filter
  • -new air filter
  • -new fuel tap rebuild kit fitted
  • -coolant flushed and replaced
  • -new A16 titanium moto gp exhaust
  • -real carbon tank pad
  • -real carbon fuel filler cap cover
  • -real carbon top yoke cover
  • -real carbon clocks cover
  • -real carbon plastic fairing cover
  • -tail tidy fitted 
Bike, engine and gearbox run smooth
pulls strong in all gears always starts on the button 
Body work has some age related marks but otherwise in good condition
 
Comes with full service manual

Hopefully the new owner will have better weather than the seller, who had to wheel the ZXR out in a spritz to photograph.  The ask is at the lower end of the spectrum, though shipping and working through DMV will run into some money.  The ZXR reviewed as fairly comfortable and torquey for the segment, with just a few chassis adjustments needed.  Probably more things will need doing, but still find you ahead in the long run.

-d0nn

K-Battle – 1993 Kawasaki ZXR400 Ninja
Yamaha December 13, 2021 posted by

Featured Listing – 1989 Yamaha FZR400R

Update 12.14.2021: Deposit received, sale pending! Congratulations to buyer and seller! -dc

Yamaha didn’t pursue the late 80’s race replica phenomenon, but ended up on the slippery slope anyway, with outstanding results.  Borrowing as fast as they could from the TT-F3 developments, the FZR-400R was a test-bed for how close a showroom machine wanted to get.  RSBFS reader Kevin offers his pristine FZR-400R with just 5,584 miles.

1989 Yamaha FZR400R for sale asking $9,000

As much as Yamaha wanted to design the perfect middleweight for the street, looking like the OW01 generated excitement and the alloy Deltabox chassis could walk the walk.  With the EXUP exhaust valve to lengthen the torque band, riders found the 12,500 rpm peak power setting more of a suggestion than a requirement to horse-whip the 4-valve 399cc four.  Offset tire diameters were a period solution to tighten handling, but the wider rims and then-new low profile radial tires were a game changer.  The chassis solidarity and grip were such that suspension setting could be more compliant.  Twin headlights, full fairings, and big number plates on the seat fairing made it easier to think your back road was on the Isle of Man.

Kevin’s FZR has rather low miles and none of the typical grey market corrosion, but was running many original parts until he caught the show bike up on its maintenance.  His notes –

Bike has 5,854 original miles, odometer is in Km so as the one picture shows 9,443 km. Bike is in absolutely awesome condition. I took a ton of pictures to show as many angles as possible. There are close ups of the few very minor imperfections. The bike was imported a few years ago by White Knuckle Motor Sports in Utah, they sold the bike to a collector in northern Virginia where this bike sat along with 27 other classic bikes that were all in impeccable condition, he had a clean clear Virginia title. When I went to the DMV in NJ they issued a new title in my name just like any other bike. So there should be no apprehension on the title front. Bike is original unrestored condition.
 
When I bought it the bike was sitting as a show piece with the tank drained and carbs drained. The carbs were slightly varnished from what is assumed a little gas left in them. Inside of the tank was flawless like new. I had the carbs professionally gone through by Sun Cycle in Manasquan, NJ. Frank there said he used to race these bikes. Jersey Shore Power Sports my local Yamaha dealer referred me to Sun Cycle. While the carbs were being done I also had a new fuel pump put in and filters, and new rectifier along with a new Yuasa battery from Yamaha dealer. The tires that were on the bike had like new tread but you could see they were old. I replaced both tires with new Bridgestone Battlax. The factory chain was like new but I wanted a gold chain so I ordered a DID gold X ring chain from England. I wanted to be able to drive the bike occasionally and just make the bike as nice as possible. The condition of the bike warranted it.
 
I did not plan to sell the bike as soon as I am. I recently just sold my VFR750 here on RSBFS. I am not a dealer and I do not flip bikes. I was really hot on getting a 2-stroke grey market bike RGV250 or NSR250 but they are about $15k for real nice original ones. I came across this bike and bought it. I’m 6’4″ – 240 lbs and a bit big for this bike. I just bought a new Ducati Streetfighter. I am available to answer any questions you might have. Please call me. So the bike runs awesome, idles perfect. One thing I love is, the bike is so light it handles ridiculously. It turns in to a corner just thinking about turning. Factory exhaust is still in its original black paint only showing small amount of surface rust (barely) by the collector. Exhaust is very quiet until you get around 8,000 rpm and it gets real aggressive sounding. Bad ass actually. The wheels are in very clean original condition but not perfect. I didn’t want to do anything to take away from the originality of the bike. Spark plugs changed as well. They were the original plugs from the factory. Pictures really don’t capture the condition. Frame and swing arm are flawless zero imperfections. Paint has like new gloss. Please feel free to call me anytime.
 
Kevin asks $9,000.
Yamaha thought beyond the accurate race replica idea, and toned the FZR’s handling down a tad, so it handled more like the larger 750, and bred confidence into every possible rider.  The factory’s strategy was to make the bike a bit easier to ride, let the suspension soak up real-world roads and keep the FZR more stable – willing the rider to add speed.  Kevin’s FZR-400R could continue to show or get out and go, depending on the new owner. 
-donn
Featured Listing – 1989 Yamaha FZR400R
Honda August 5, 2021 posted by

Max Fun – 1992 Honda NSR250SE

From the sweet spot of a great 13-year model run, the NSR250SE is an epic lightweight – though only available here via the grey market.  Here’s a recent import with a great rider vibe.

1992 Honda NSR250SE for sale on eBay

Even though the NSR’s resembled the Moto2 machines, developments from the racing dept. were massaged by manufacturing engineers, and very few parts were shared.  Still, the basis was excellent, with the carbureted 249cc V-twin, alloy twin spar chassis, and MC21 developments like PGM-III engine controls and the asymmetrical swingarm.  The SE shared most of the rarer SP’s better components but saved yen with 17-inch Enkei wheels from the base model.

A little camera shy, this SE does look very good and sounds like it could be pressed into immediate service.  The owner does offer a cold-start video – here -.  The stainless exhaust is notable, and the windshield would seem like an easy R & R.  No word on any de-restriction, but worthwhile comments from the eBay auction:

Super Edition with 9,800 km on the clock. It has the adjustable suspension and the dry clutch, it might need clutch plates replaced soon if your planning to ride it a lot and or hard. Imported directly from Japan about 5 years ago and has a Florida title. Bike starts almost instantly even after sitting a bit, runs well. Everything works in terms of lights, horn, etc. It has a very nice Ethos exhaust system on it as seen in the pics. It has its wear and tear, scuffs, cracks, scratches, etc. from years in Japan, I repaired some areas on some of the fairing and touched up some areas decently, including the fairing mount and shifter linkage. It could be done better but I wanted to keep it original and I don’t mind minor blemishes. The windscreen seems to be original but has plenty of scratches. I put new tires on it when I got it but they were not top of the line, I knew it would spend most of its time sitting.

NSR250’s have been imported in all sorts of conditions and histories, since they were hot sellers domestically, and a low-mile creampuff is a rarity since production ended at the turn of the century.  But if the condition of this one checks out, and a reader on the lighter side wants a rider rather than a show bike, it might be worth the premium buy-it-now.

-donn

Max Fun – 1992 Honda NSR250SE
Honda June 15, 2021 posted by

Half a World Away – 1991 Honda NSR250R

A continent or two removed from the usual superbike competition, very lightweight two-strokes lessen the role of the right wrist in any performance riding.  Here’s a Honda MC21 ready for registration and rejuvenation.

1991 Honda NSR250R / MC21 for sale on eBay

The NSR250 went through four developments, with the MC21 being third.  All used the 249cc twin, just about square bore and stroke, legislated at 45hp in the home market, but closer to 60 ponies when de-restricted.  Though carburetted, the PGM-III underseat ECU controlled reed valves and ignition advance based on throttle and gear selector position.  Semi-adjustable forks and Pro-Link monoshock presumed a youthful touch on the seat, but triple disks were ready to haul you down from top speed.  Especially in replica livery, the light but full fairing channeled the RS250R racebike.

As presented, this NSR250R shows some 8,233 miles, but begs for more pictures and information.  The bodywork may be a replacement, but the red seat console seems to be an MC18 livery.  On a 1991 model the assymetrical swingarm would normally be seen, but this one is straight-legged.   The SP sticker might be just that, but might be worth pursuing.  Looks like a thorough going over will be required before and after bidding.  Comments from the eBay auction:

Early 90’s – complete bike – speedo shows 13.3k – imported from England a couple of years ago – went into my collection and been sitting ever since – I never rode it – bike is in good shape for age – but not perfect – no title – comes with import papers and bill of sale – if you know what your looking at – this is a rare bike that is getting harder to find.

Honda was in competition with the RGV250, TZR250, and KR1 for the home and limited export market, and the lead swapped around regularly.  Prices on restored or collector models justify interest in a semi-project like this, but it’s a slippery slope.  Add the importation/registration question to the list, though the racetrack is really the place for an NSR250R these days.  Unlike the road, nobody out there is on the phone.

-donn

 

Half a World Away – 1991 Honda NSR250R
Yamaha June 5, 2021 posted by

Long Term Relationship – 1984 Yamaha RZ500

After Kenny Robert’s 1978-80 MotoGP crowns, Yamaha worked for a few years to bring a two-stroke 500cc V-4 to the showroom.  Here’s a Colorado example with touring bike miles but a recent engine rebuild and excellent cosmetics.

1984 Yamaha RZ500 for sale on eBay

Yamaha couldn’t exactly present their dealers with a $1,000-per-pound MotoGP bike, and had to incorporate production two-stroke cylinder tech, much of which came from the off-road side of the house.  Still the RZ’s V-4 ( or more exactly, pair of parallel twins turning the clutch input ) was a marvel, with 88 hp at 9,500 rpm.  Carburetors fed in from the side after foam filters gave the air a lick and a promise.  The powertrain architecture stipulated a cassette gearbox, which was filled with a robust set of close ratios.   The small tube chassis was executed in steel, with 267mm brakes and staggered 16-inch front/18-inch rear tire sizes in style for the 1980’s.  Air-adjustable forks and monoshock had multiple adjustments.

The surprising number of miles on this RZ differ with its spotless presentation and fresh-looking paint.  The  re-built engine at least partially offsets the high mileage, and the expansion chambers’ music will compete with any band.  Comments from the eBay auction:

These were never inported to the USA  by Yamaha  due to the EPA –
this bike was brought in from Canada  about 17 years ago. 
 
Blue printed motor by Wilson performance  a few years ago (world renowned RZ 500 performance).
 
GP stainless expansion chambers  and aftermarket bodywork last year!
 
This bike has 87,000 KM on it (Canada) which is roughly 54k miles.
 
The complete engine rebuild was done at 83,000 kilometers.
 
The bike runs flawlessly, we just put in a new battery.  Brakes work well , tires are fairly fresh with low miles.
 
Very rare Bike , imported properly to the USA one owner since its arrival.

Yamaha was never going to get their development costs back from the premium RZ, and retired the road machine after 1986.  The RZ continued to do well on the racetrack, but competition in the showroom was brutal.  Congratulations to the soon-to-be-previous owner for what seems to be an incident-free mileage record.

-donn 

Long Term Relationship – 1984 Yamaha RZ500
Suzuki March 29, 2021 posted by

Gammarosity – 1987 Suzuki RG500 Gamma

Prior to the turn of the century, 500cc bikes were the ultimate Grand Prix class and Suzuki were regularly on the podium and occasionally the top step.  Here’s an RG that has been more carefully tended than most bikes, and pushing 190hp per liter.

1987 Suzuki RG500 Gamma for sale on eBay

Suzuki had won back to back championships in 1981-82 with the RG500 racer, but didn’t introduce the replica until 1985.  It was worth waiting for, with a complex rotary-valve square four engine claiming 95 hp.  28mm Mikuni carbs look into the engine from the side, and there’s only a kickstarter.  Suzuki’s automatic exhaust control tailors the downpipe volume to rpm, widening the torque band.  Though the chassis tubes are small section, they’re beefy and connect up to a massive steering head, all alloy.  “Deca” brakes have ten pistons, per bike – eight on the 260mm front discs and two on the 210mm rear.  Solid looks are partly due to the wide powerplant and tall 90 series tires.

From the garage background, this gulf coast owner is a real Suzuki fan, with a passel of dirtbikes thrown in.  The RG500 is in exceptional condition, with only one short fairing crack in its original good looks.  Naturally a grey import, but no ownership or maintenance history is offered in the eBay auction:

7,906 miles all original. Runs great. Speedo is in Kilometers.
Tail fairing has 1 small crack above left exhaust pipe.

Suzuki bowed out of a factory effort in 1983, but still supplied RG500 developments to the H-B and Heron teams.  U.S. rider Randy Mamola had been on the podium in the last few races of 1982 with H-B, but factory riders Uncini and Reggiani went to H-B’s first string for ’83.  At this point in race replica, square four, or two-stroke road bike history, the time to watch and wait may be behind us.  Just three bidders are testing this auction for the reserve, and if you intend to make some history with an RG500 this looks like a great example. 

-donn

Gammarosity – 1987 Suzuki RG500 Gamma
Honda March 7, 2021 posted by

Late Comer – 1990 Honda CBR250RR

Hard to imagine Honda without a 250 in the line-up, and in any given year there might’ve been a four-stroke single, twin, inline four, plus two-stroke single and twin !  For the highest redline, go for the CBR250RR, here seen in the first year for the RR, with just 2,500-and-change miles and faithful cosmetics.

1990 Honda CBR250RR for sale on eBay

The CBR250RR was all new for 1990, though continued with the 250cc four-valve zinger, supplying 45 hp which was more determined by legislation than the 19K rpm redline.  You’d be hard pressed to fit your pinky and ring finger into one of the four Keihin carburetors, though the alloy perimeter frame looked just like the bigger CBR’s.  Suspension looked basic up front, with 37mm conventional forks, but out back the monoshock rode on an aluminum asymmetrical swingarm.  Even tire sizes increased a bit from 1989, and brakes were almost overdone for the mission, with triple cross-drilled disks – 275mm and two pistons up front.

Seeming to be privately owned, this CBR looks to be exemplary, though they come up so infrequently we’ll have to rely on our local experts on the type.  At this ask there are hardly enough pictures to justify a response, except to request more information.  Also ask about the two different odometers pictured.  Comments from the eBay auction:

If you’re looking at this you obviously know how rare these are in the US – let alone one with around 3k miles. 

This is the famous JDM CBR250RR with the 250cc inline-4 with a 19k redline. It screams like an F1 car and you’re still well within the speed limit. Great bike for learners and or advanced riders. Runs great like all Hondas.

Serious offers only as these are not being imported very often and not in this condition, let alone low mileage examples. The bike is all stock other than the rear seat (which I have for the bike) and the tank pad which is rare on these bikes. No one has molested this one!  Comes with Tyga cover.

Never offered outside the Pacific rim, the CBR250RR didn’t generate many english-language reviews, though Aussie reviewers liked what they saw in their 1996 import.  Motorcyclist looked into the subject in 2019, and came away amazed that an almost 30 year-old bike could keep pace with current small sports.  The stature of the 250RR might not suit everyone, and sometimes just learning to ride where the powerband starts at around 13,000 rpm can be a project.  Probably not any reader’s first or only Honda, this CBR is still a piece of work in its own right.

-donn

Late Comer – 1990 Honda CBR250RR
Honda October 18, 2020 posted by

Rim Shot – 1989 Honda CBR250R

This mini-FireBlade has been a grey-market import twice, but still has just over 9,000 miles and looks very good.  Tipping the scales at 350 lbs. with half a tank of fuel, its 40hp are plenty to have a ball.

1989 Honda CBR250R for sale on eBay

Made since 1986, the four-cylinder had bores of around 2 inches and peak power was at 14,500 rpm.  The twin spars of the frame and swingarm were aluminum alloy, and single muffler and front disk kept the mass down.  Home-market rules stipulated the horsepower limitation, but the little CBR handled with abandon.  Set up for a pillion, but probably not two 90th-percentile adults.

This third owner is Chicago-based, and says it’s a long-term relationship.  It looks quite stock, with the natural exception of the rear fender-ectomy.  No particular damage, but corrosion never sleeps and is evident on many fasteners, maybe due to its western Pacific origins.  The flickering livery is pretty unusual and striking in red metallic.  Comments from the eBay auction:

The cosmetic condition of this machine is just as it looks in the photos. The running condition of the machine is flawless, starting immediately.

This bike has been part of my collection for many years, is actually ridden once in a while, and is a LOT of fun to ride. It runs and rides with absolutely no issues. And the 4 valve, 4-stroke, dual overhead cam engine revs up to 19,000 rpm, so you can imagine how much fun it is when it’s really wound up. I am the third owner from new. It was originally imported from Japan into Australia, then to the U.S. in the late 2000’s. It has a clear, valid title, so there will be no issues plating it in any state.  

 Everything on this motorcycle is original. Every one of the finishes are totally original, as is the seat. As you can see from the photos in the photo section, the machine has had absolutely no restoration performed to any part of it. The condition is exactly what it looks like in the photos. I looked at a quite a few of these bikes before I finally bought this one, and I’ve never seen a better original one before or since.

 The Honda runs and rides the way you expect a machine with this type of mileage to run. All of the mechanical components have been checked over to ensure they work properly including the clutch and brakes. 

 Oil has been recently changed, a new battery was installed, and the carbs completely gone through this season. Everything works. There is absolutely nothing you will have to do to this motorcycle to ride and enjoy it for the rest of this season and many more to come.  

The CBR250R not only had to compete against other domestic manufacturers, but in-house competition from the NSR250R, and wasn’t exported until 1996, then just to Oceana.  Yearly changes were incremental until 1990, when a new chassis was introduced.  Hopefully the reserve will leave a stainless fastener allowance for this rider, and bidding is active just one day in.  The next owner will have a rarity in the U.S., and in quite nice original shape.

-donn

Rim Shot – 1989 Honda CBR250R