Posts by tag: Grey Market

Honda December 20, 2016 posted by

Grey Market Rarity: 1988 Honda VFR400 NC24 for Sale

 

Built for 1987 and 1988, the NC24 version of Honda’s VFR400 was powered by a 399cc V4 with a lofty 14k redline, although it used a more conventional 180° crank instead of the later bike’s 360° “big bang” unit, which should give the bike more of an inline-four sound but with the added bonus of a distinctive whine from the gear-driven cams. The engine was surprisingly flexible, and handling was considered excellent. It was the very first VFR400 to use Honda’s Pro-Arm single-sided swingarm, although the rear wheel on the NC24 was secured by four bolts, instead of the later bike’s single large nut: the part you see in the photos is actually a plastic cover designed to mimic a trick racing part.

The VFR400 was originally intended for the Japanese market, although the later NC30 was officially imported to the UK and others found their way abroad through various grey market and “parallel import” channels so they do show up for sale pretty regularly, even here in the USA. This is actually the first NC24 I can remember seeing for sale. Most of the attention goes to the NC30, with its “baby RC30” looks. But this is still a very cool and unusual motorcycle, and perhaps the dowdy looks will keep costs down for folks more interested in performance and heritage than sexy style. With somewhere in the neighborhood of 60 hp and around 350 lbs dry to push around, performance is respectable and these have always been popular bikes among

From the original eBay listing: 1988 Honda VFR400 for Sale

Here we have a Honda NC24 VFR400. It has just been imported into the States from the UK. I test rode this bike when I collected it in Lancaster, England. It started with some difficulty but after warming up it idled well. I suspect that the carbs are restricted by washers. This is a common practice in the UK to satisfy licensing requirements for novice riders. If I were going to ride it regularly, I’d have the carbs cleaned and the washers removed. The bike comes with the V5 document (English equivalent of a title) , copies of import papers, and a bill of sale. I offer competitively priced delivery in the lower 48 States with a right of refusal guarantee. Upon delivery if you are unsatisfied with the motorcycle you will only be responsible for the delivery fee.

Bidding is very active, but just up to about $1,600 so I imagine it will go a good bit higher before the auction ends. The bike certainly isn’t perfect, with some flaking paint on the clutch lever, slight discoloration of the plastic “nut” that covers the rear hub, and the surface corrosion you’d expect on a bike that made it to the USA via the UK, where bikes see far more time being ridden in harsh weather and exposed to the elements. I’m also guessing that those aren’t the original fairings: looking online, that red stripe on the tank should continue onto the side panels. Maybe just repaint the whole thing as a Rothmans replica? As the seller mentions, these smaller-displacement bikes were often modified to limit power and allow them to be used by new riders on restricted licenses. Instead of buying a little 125, you could buy a bigger bike with restrictions in place to limit power. Once you’d graduated to a full license, you could convert the bike to full power. The seller obviously isn’t 100% sure they’ve been installed, but I’d expect anyone planning to buy a nearly 30 year old motorcycle would be prepared to do a bit of carburetor work if they plan to regularly ride their funky new purchase.

-tad

Grey Market Rarity: 1988 Honda VFR400 NC24 for Sale
Honda December 17, 2016 posted by

Quarter-Liter Screamer: 1990 Honda CBR250RR MC22 for Sale

Small-displacement, entry-level sportbikes are a tough sell here in the USA. With an emphasis on big bikes, no licensing limitations, and lots of cheap used machines available, there’s little incentive for new riders to pick up something like today’s Honda CBR250RR. Which explains why they were never sold here in the first place, although examples have recently been finding their way over here, mixed in with the other, formerly unobtainable two-stroke exotica that often features on this site.

Produced between 1986 and 1996, the CBR250RR was intended mainly for the Japanese market, although some found their way to other countries as grey market imports, obviously in places where someone might spend the premium required for such a relatively sophisticated machine.

The spec sheet reads like a much bigger bike, with four tiny pistons and sixteen valves operated by gear-driven cams, with a six-speed gearbox putting 40hp to the rear wheel. The wet weight of 350lbs isn’t quite as light as one of the better-known 250cc two-strokes, but you do get that sophisticated metallic shriek as the bike winds around to 19,000rpm and the bike has excellent handling.

From the original eBay listing: 1990 Honda CBR250RR for Sale

The 1992 Honda CBR250RR MC22 is from a golden era of sportbikes. With a water cooled 4 valve per cylinder inline 4 with dual overhead gear driven cams that redlines at 19,000rpms. I cannot think of any modern small displacement bike that comes with an engineering feet such as these bikes. Honda was at the top of their game in this era. Not only does the bike rev to 19,000rpms  but it is the linear progression and feel when you’re doing it that is truly unreal.  few bikes that share the sensation of riding this bike. I’m always amazed when I look down at the tach and see I have 10,000 more rpms before I hit redline. Haha. Weighing just above 300lbs and having 45hp it is actually lighter and has more power than a brand new CBR300. I have a few friends who claim they are only about 10 of these bikes in the states. I don’t know if that’s true but I only know of about 8 of them. Most in private collections. 

The bike in the auction was legally imported from Japan and is currently registered in my name. When I got this bike the fork tubes were pitted and the seals were shot. I purchased brand new fork tubes from GF Racing and the forks were completely rebuilt with all new seals and bushings. All the fluids were flushed and replaced…..brakes bled, oil and coolant changed and etc. New tires were installed and the carbs were cleaned. Brand new battery. Brand new chain and sprockets. 

The seller also includes a video of the bike being started and running. This particular CBR250RR looks to be very clean, with less than 4,000 miles on the odometer and just a few minor scuffs and bits of surface corrosion. The problem with the little CBR is one of value for the money: for all that sophistication and complexity, you’re still looking at a 250cc four-stroke so power is predictably modest, even given the bike’s light weight. Here in the US, it’s a very sweet little novelty bike that’s probably a lot of fun to thrash, with that stratospheric redline and cam-gear whine but, as asking prices have crept up, they make less and less sense. Obviously, not everyone agrees with me on this: bidding is very active on this bike, and up north of $6,000 with just about 24 hours left on the auction.

-tad

Quarter-Liter Screamer: 1990 Honda CBR250RR MC22 for Sale
Honda November 11, 2016 posted by

Rothmans Replica: 1988 Honda NSR250R SP for Sale

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All of the quarter-liter two-stroke sport bikes of the late 80s and early 90s are pretty desirable, but Honda’s v-twin NSR250R is both one of the best-known and most popular. Power was a modest 45hp, but the NSR could be de-restricted for additional power safely, if not always easily, since that factory output was mandated by government decree and not because of any sort of mechanical limitations. This earlier MC18 version of the bike lacks the later MC21’s cool asymmetric “gull arm” swing arm and the MC28’s heavy, but very trick-looking single-sided unit, but I really like the slightly chunkier lines and that solid-looking aluminum box-section swingarm. It could also be that MC18s are a bit more affordable than those later bikes, and much easier to import and register than a late-model MC28…

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We’ve featured bikes from this seller in the past, and they appear to be one of the companies that’s recently begun importing these little sportbikes on a regular basis, turning them from “rare sportbikes” into “uncommon sportbikes.” But even though these two-stroke sportbikes aren’t quite the unicorns they once were here in the USA, the NSR250 has a bit of cachet the TZR and RGV seem to lack, and that Rothmans design makes this one of the best-looking race replicas of all time.

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From the original eBay listing: 1988 Honda NSR250SP MC18 for Sale

Up for sale is 1988 HONDA NSR250SP MC18 rare 2-stroke sports! The bike is just imported from Japan. Not registered yet in the U.S. Very good running condition sharp response of 2-stroke engine is still well. Can shift all gears very smooth. Brakes are work fine. Electricals are all work but front brake switch is not working. Has an original key. According to frame# this bike is SP version.

Speedometer looks HONDA genuine parts and shows 24600km = about 15400miles, but actual mileage is unknown. Will needs new tires and fork seals. Has HONDA genuine fairings and MAGTECK wheel. But has hairline cracks and chips and scratches and under fairings are looks repaired by FRP and repainted. Have hairline cracks and chips on fairings, so look carefully all pictures and video. Used motorcycle with scratches and wear as 28 ages.

And then, feel free email me for more info on this bike!

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More pictures are available for your viewing pleasure here. The seller also includes a video of the bike being started here. It’s not in flawless condition, with some wear and a couple deep scratches on the fairings, so this one might be more of a rider than a display bike. Bidding is up just north of $3,000 with a few days left on the auction and active bidding so far.

-tad

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Rothmans Replica: 1988 Honda NSR250R SP for Sale
Honda November 9, 2016 posted by

Tiny Terror: 1990 Honda CBR250RR for Sale

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Displacement creep means that although a 750cc motorcycle was considered big in the 1970s, it’s barely a middleweight now. And while there used to be a variety of sophisticated, small-displacement motorcycles, these days anything under 600cc’s is considered “entry-level” and probably has just one or two cylinders. Surprisingly for a quarter-liter machine, the Honda CBR250RR is powered by an engine with four tiny pistons and sixteen jewel-like valves operated by gear-driven cams, with a six-speed gearbox putting a very reasonable 40hp to the rear wheel. The wet weight of 350lbs isn’t quite two-stroke territory, but the bike is still an excellent handler and the shriek of those little oily bits spinning at 18,000 rpm might make up for that somewhat.

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Produced between 1986 and 1996, the CBR250RR was sold mainly in Japan, although some found their way to other countries as grey market imports. Here in the USA, they are as rare as hen’s teeth, but will likely become a bit more common as importers scoop up these relatively common machines in Japan and ship them over here, alongside the usual NSRs, TZRs, and RGVs…

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From the original eBay listing: 1990 Honda CBR250RR MC22 for Sale

Red and white version very rare bike for the USA. Perfect, like-new fork tubes. 17,000km. The carbs were recently cleaned hand have new floats, gaskets, NGK plugs, air element, and runs perfect. The only defect is the trip meter knob was broken when shipped to me in crate with body set upper was off and has a spare speedo set with 22,000km to install later. New o-ring chain, new Pilot Power tires, near new F/R OEM discs, Motul oil and filter change. Valves were adjusted and checked for proper tolerance. The bike has a new aftermarket body set, the only difference is the white is not a a pearl white but is very high quality fit and finish. The tank is very clean except for two light scrapes and light indentation. It comes with the original body set that has a few scrapes but still very clean. Has an English service and parts manual. Imported last year, no title, bill of sale only. Import documents provided, not sure if it can be titled in California and is your responsibility.

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The Buy It Now price for this little beauty is $8,500 which is, I think, ambitious. It is a very cool motorcycle, but these seem to generally sell in the $5,000 range, on those rare occasions they come up for sale. Obviously, the usual “make sure you check with your local DMV” admonishments apply here. It’s in excellent condition and miles are relatively low though, so I’m curious to see if some quirky collector decides that this little bike is worth that big chunk of change…

-tad

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Tiny Terror: 1990 Honda CBR250RR for Sale
Honda November 5, 2016 posted by

Featured Listing: Clean, Recently-Imported MC21 1990 Honda NSR250R

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It’s a good time to be a two-stroke enthusiast here in the USA. Bikes like today’s Honda NSR250R that were long considered nearly unobtainable are being shipped over by enterprising individuals and companies, now that some of them are old enough to make that a viable option.

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The NSR250R featured a 90° liquid-cooled 249cc v-twin with a trick, six-speed cassette gearbox that made for rapid ratio changes trackside.This MC21 was a pretty serious ground-up redesign for the bike, compared to the previous MC18 version. That curved “gull-arm” swingarm is a distinctive feature, and was intended to allow the right-side expansion chamber to tuck in close and maximize cornering clearance. It was heavier than the older unit, but the advantages outweighed the increased heft. Dry weight was still a shade under 300lbs, so it’s still a very light machine and 17″ wheels at both ends make tire choice for modern riders a bit easier than the earlier 18″ rear.

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Fuel was delivered by carburetors, but the NSR250 used Honda’s sophisticated PGM-III that used throttle-position, revs, and gear-selection to control ignition. Power was limited to 45 by Japanese legislation, but the bike can be de-restricted to free up some additional horses, as has been done  with today’s bike.

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From the original eBay listing: 1990 Honda NSR250R for Sale

The Honda NSR250 stands at the pinnacle of two-stroke sport bike technology. Derived directly from Honda’s legendary NSR500 racebike, the NSR250 is the purest example of a MotoGP bike for the street. And now is your chance to own this stunning example. Immaculate inside and out!

Fully restored by Moto2 Imports, this NSR250 “R” model has been stripped down to the frame and completely re-built by professional mechanics. The engine has been de-restricted for a 10+hp increase over stock (see dyno picture). All gaskets have been inspected and engine compression & leak down tests were performed with no issues. Carburetors cleaned, rebuilt and re-jetted. Fuel, oil and coolant systems drained, flushed, & refilled. New Yuasa battery, EBC brake pads, NGK spark plugs & RK chain. New high performance Dunlop Alpha 13 tires. All other mechanical & electrical systems checked and operating properly. High quality, ABS injection molded fairing. Tinted windscreen; clear windscreen also available.

This bike was purchased in Japan earlier this year and imported in full compliance with all US Customs, DOT & EPA laws. The bike was properly titled by the Washington, DC DMV with the correct frame VIN on the title. The buyer will receive copies of all international shipping, Customs, DOT/EPA, and DMV paperwork, as well as a copy of the original Japanese title. Buy it Now $8,499. We accept cash, credit card & PayPal.

Additional modifications, upgrades, & spare parts available upon customer request.

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The seller also helpfully includes a brief video of bike on their dyno. The listing does specifically mention that the bike cannot be titled in California so, unless you “know a guy,” plan to track the bike, or just want to display it, you’d should probably steer clear if you live there. The Buy It Now price is $8,499 which seems pretty on-the-money for a nice NSR250 these days, and this one has been gone through mechanically, de-restricted, and has had import paperwork taken care of. If you live in a state where this can be legally registered, this one is worth a look.

-tad

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Featured Listing:  Clean, Recently-Imported MC21 1990 Honda NSR250R
Yamaha October 14, 2016 posted by

Fresh Off the Boat: 1989 Yamaha TZR250 3MA for Sale

1989-yamaha-tzr250-black-l-frontToday’s Yamaha TZR250 has a couple interesting things going for it. In addition to the unusual, reversed-cylinder configuration of this Japanese market 3MA, it’s also available in this interesting black/grey/red color scheme: almost all the 3MAs we’ve featured on this site have been white with red speed-block graphics.

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Earlier TZR250s from 1986-1988 used a conventional liquid-cooled parallel-twin engine. The 3MA version available between 1989-1990 had the cylinders spun around 180° with the carburetors on the front of the engine, and the exhausts facing the rear of the bike, tucked up under the seat and exiting through the tail, Desmosedici-style. This helped significantly with packaging issues common to two-strokes: those bulky expansion chambers need to go somewhere, and most other manufacturers needed to introduce “gull-arm” curved swingarms to allow the exhausts to tuck in close for maximum cornering clearance.

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As with the other 250cc two-strokes of the era, the engine was backed by a six-speed gearbox and the frame was lightweight aluminum, Yamaha’s “Deltabox” design here. Power was restricted by government mandate to 45hp and weight was in line with the class as well, at just over 300lbs wet.

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From the original eBay listing: 1989 Yamaha TZR250 3MA for Sale

The bike is just imported from Japan. Not registered yet in the U.S. Overall clean bike. Very good running condition sharp response of the 2-stroke engine is still well. Can shift all gears very smooth. Brakes are work fine. Electricals are all working, aside from right side direction indicator. Has Yamaha genuine fairings. But has hairline cracks and chips and scratches on fairings. Fuel tank has some dents. Used motorcycle with wear more than 25 years old, so look carefully all pictures and video.

Speedometer looks like a Yamaha genuine part and shows 18,900 km = about 11,800 miles, but actual mileage is unknown.

Will needs new tires and fork seals too.

Again, this bike is sold without title.

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The seller also helpfully includes a link to a video of the bike being started, along with a link to plenty of additional photos. Obviously, the usual issues apply here regarding that lack of a title. But if you live in a state where getting paperwork for a bike like this isn’t impossible, that just means you’ll pay less for the privilege: in spite of the handling and performance on par with its contemporaries, 3MA TZRs currently cost far less than an equivalent NSR or RGV. Parts will prove to be more difficult to obtain, but you probably won’t be finding parts for any of these 25-year-old, Japanese-market two-stroke sport bikes your local dealer…

-tad

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Suzuki October 11, 2016 posted by

Get Lucky: 1997 Suzuki RGV250SP VJ23A for Sale in Japan

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I once saw Penn & Teller perform and, after their last illusion was complete, the pair appeared onstage, illuminated by a single, overhead spot. They were both casually smoking cigarettes and Penn [obviously] talked a bit about how they both like to indulge in a cigarette after a show. However, he acknowledged that smoking is really bad for you and that kids should obviously not follow their example… Unless they want to look really, really cool. Which pretty much sums up this little smoker: tobacco use may be incredibly unhealthy, but years of tobacco sponsorship resulted in some of the most iconic race cars and bikes of all time. Rothmans, John Player, Marlboro, and today’s Lucky Strike Suzuki RGV250SP all have a terrific style, in spite of the product being advertised. Somehow, an RGV in garish period graphics will never look as sharp as one in red-and white with that logo on the side.

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Built between 1997 and 1998, the last generation of RGV used an unusual 70° two-stroke v-twin that Suzuki claimed made 70hp in de-restricted, SP form. As an original Japanese-market machine, this bike likely makes the government-mandated 40hp, so there’s obviously plenty of untapped potential here if you know how to find it. In an era where 180hp road-missiles continue to proliferate, kept on the road and out of the trees only by virtue of their state-of-the-art electronics, 70hp doesn’t sound like much, but the highly-strung Gamma’s lightswitch power and nimble handling mean big rewards for committed riders.

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As trick as they look, the asymmetrical “banana” swingarms of the later VJ22 and VJ23 versions add weight, so the later bikes are actually heavier than the earlier examples, but collectors don’t seem to care. Especially since you’re still looking at a dry weight in the neighborhood of 300lbs. Personally, I prefer the look of the earlier VJ21 bikes overall, but in Lucky Strike colors, this VJ23 still pretty striking.

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From the original eBay listing: 1997 Suzuki RGV250SP VJ23A for Sale in Japan

Very rare 2 stroke bike from Japan to you!!
RGV250SP VJ23A  Japan domestic model
VIN: VJ23A-1010**
Year: 1997
Mileage: 29,624km
Condition: Running very well. Both side of side panels are aftermarket but another part is original.
Body work has some deep scratches.
Silencers are for TZR250R 3XV of original.

We’ll attach Japanese original title, Sales certificate in English, Bill of sale in English.
Shipping: Price is including the shipping cost from Japan to port near your place. We’ll put in the wooden crate and ship by sea.

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Obviously, as a Japanese import, you’ll have to be prepared to put this on display or deal with the usual DMV chicanery. But this bike is basically the end of the line for two-stroke performance, and those Lucky Strike graphics really flatter the bike. It appears clean and well-maintained, but does have a few superficial scrapes, scuffs, and cracks, as described by the seller. The Buy It Now price is a pretty steep $7,000 but RGV250s are currently in demand, so I wouldn’t be too surprised if the seller gets that much.

-tad

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Get Lucky: 1997 Suzuki RGV250SP VJ23A for Sale in Japan
Honda October 7, 2016 posted by

Tiny Terror: 1991 Honda NSR250R MC21 for Sale

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With a dry weight of under 300lbs and a responsive engine that rewards the skilled rider, Honda’s NSR250R MC21 is especially desirable here in the USA where two-stroke sportbikes died with the Yamaha RZ350 in the mid-1980s. They’ve cropped up pretty regularly recently, but are still difficult to find in good condition, as they were often ridden “enthusiastically” by their owners when new…

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At a glance, the MC21 continues the overall style of the earlier MC18 built from ’88-’89, but a closer look reveals that it was a nearly ground-up redesign of the earlier bike, and intended to keep pace with the rapid evolution of the class. The asymmetrical Gull Arm swingarm looks trick, and was intended to clear the bulging expansion chambers and allow maximum clearance for a bike that excelled at cornering. 17″ wheels at the front and rear means modern day riders have decent choice of rubber.

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Under the skin, the NSR250R was powered by a a 90° liquid-cooled 249cc v-twin backed up with a six-speed cassette gearbox, and the pair of carburetors used Honda’s electronic PGM-III to maximize performance although the bike was limited from the factory to 45hp, per Japanese government restrictions. As the seller mentions, the actual intended performance is easily found by de-restricting the bike.

From the original eBay listing: 1991 Honda NSR250R MC21 for Sale

The best racer replica in its class! Even in Japan, It is hard to get this condition these days. Rare Japanese domestic model. NSR250 has not exported to any country officially. In 1988 Japanese government restrict power of 250cc motorcycle to 45HP. So Honda made this motorcycle to produce lower rpm torque than MC18 (previous model that I just sold last week). You can de-restrict MC21 easily, then it can output 65 to 70HP.
No title, bill of sale only. If you need title, additional $500 required. I do like this because in some states, it’s easy to register and in California it is hard.
This is used 25 years old motorcycle, so please check photos carefully. No warranty, as is. No return. Full payment in 7 days. cash or wire preferred.
 
Selling local also, so I may quit auction anytime. local pick up preferred but I can help to ship if the buyer arranged. Like bring to Forward Air terminal or other tracking company’s location in LA.
Bidding is up to just over $1,500 with a couple days left on the auction, but I expect this will end up somewhere well north of that: recent NSR250Rs have gone for between $6,500 and $8,500. The usual issues with titling and registration obviously apply here, but I’m sure there are plenty of enthusiasts out there that have the will and will find a way.
-tad
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Tiny Terror: 1991 Honda NSR250R MC21 for Sale