Posts by tag: Grey Market

Kawasaki July 29, 2016 posted by

Vivid Green Oddity: 1984 Kawasaki KR250 for Sale

1984 Kawasaki KR250 L Side Front

Well here’s a real curiosity, another bike from the era of experimental engine configurations. Prior to the introduction of the KR-1 featured earlier this week, Kawasaki’s quarter-liter two-stroke sportbike reputation was upheld by this bike, the KR250. Although it’s powered by what is technically a parallel twin, the Kawasaki KR250’s engine is configured more like half of a square four. It’s basically a pair of singles, one behind the other, with separate cranks, and the design is referred to as a “tandem-twin” to differentiate it from more conventional parallel-twins.

1984 Kawasaki KR250 R Side

Although it complicates construction a bit, it likely helps the bike remain very narrow and improves packaging, as exhaust routing and expansion chambers no longer have to run underneath the engine as they do on most parallel-twin engines. In this case, they both exit on the right side of the bike: one down low, the other partly through the tailpiece in flamboyant 1980s style. The round taillamp set into the kicked-up tail and those bolt-on-overfender-styled hand-fairings are a nice touch. And that stepped seat appears to be a factory part!

1984 Kawasaki KR250 Dash

That unusual engine was backed by a six-speed gearbox and put out 45hp, good for 112mph when pushing the sub-300lb machine. Like other two-strokes of the period, it was lightweight, reasonably quick, and handled well. Later versions added the KVSS “Kawasaki Exhaust Valve Sycronization System” to help with the typically flat two-stroke midrange. They apparently could be difficult to get started, even when new, but are otherwise no more difficult to own than any other smoker of the period. The KR250 isn’t worth all that much in other markets but is extremely rare here in the US, which counts for a lot if you’re a fan of the weird.

1984 Kawasaki KR250 R Rear

From the original eBay listing: 1984 Kawasaki KR250 for Sale

Very good running condition sharp response of 2-stroke engine is still well. Can shift all gears very smooth. Brakes are working fine. Electricals are all working. Has Kawasaki genuine fairings but repainted by previous owner. Has hairline cracks and chips on fairings, so look carefully all pictures and video. Fuel tank has some small dents. Used motorcycle with scratches and wear as this is 32 years old. Speedometer looks KAWASAKI genuine parts and shows 36,300km = about 22,600 miles, but actual mileage is unknown. Will needs new tires and fork seals.

The bike is just imported from Japan. Not registered yet in the U.S. This bike is sold without title, as is with NO warranty NO refunds NO return.

The seller also helpfully includes this short video of the bike sounding very fierce. This is another no-reserve auction and bidding is very active so far, but it apparently started at $0 and is creeping up by inches. Currently, it’s at around $1,200 with a couple days left. The seller mentions that the bike has been repainted by a previous owner and I can’t vouch for the originality of that color scheme, but I think that red and green paint looks terrific. Like Christmas on two wheels, if Christmas was a heavy smoker with a nasal voice who just showed up in a shipping container from Japan.

1984 Kawasaki KR250 R Side Front

Parts will obviously be challenging, getting it worked on difficult, and this definitely won’t provide the performance of a modern sportbike, but I bet it’d be hard to find something that will generate more discussion at your local bike night short of a Bimota Tesi.

-tad

1984 Kawasaki KR250 L Side

Vivid Green Oddity: 1984 Kawasaki KR250 for Sale
Kawasaki July 28, 2016 posted by

Rare Team Green Two-Stroke: 1988 Kawasaki KR-1 for Sale

1988 Kawasaki KR1 R Side Front

Well this one’s pretty exciting: the recent influx of two-stroke sportbikes has been notably lacking in Team Green Kawasakis like this KR-1, thought by some to be one of the best, or at least the craziest, of the breed. Considered by the press to be a significantly better performer than the RGV, the KR-1 was very fast, but flawed and somewhat fragile: reliability was pretty sub-par even compared to other highly-strung two-stroke whippets, and the bike was notoriously tank-slappy over uneven surfaces, something that affected road riders more than track users.

1988 Kawasaki KR1 L Side

Although it followed the very familiar “249cc, six-speed, liquid-cooled two cylinder” formula common to every bike in the class, that little motor was noticeably more oversquare than the Honda NSR250: bore and stroke of the parallel-twin were 56mm x 50.6mm and the bike put out a claimed 55hp which, in the KR-1, was good for a top speed of 131mph. The later KR-1S saw a slight bump in power and a max velocity of 139mph, making it the fastest 250 by a pretty wide margin, considering the virtually identical specs of the bikes in this class.

1988 Kawasaki KR1 Dash

The 271lb dry weight helped, of course, and the cassette-style 6-speed gearbox was an exotic piece of kit, if basically useless on the road. But on the track, the bike shined and it was very successful in British Supersport racing at the time.

Today’s example looks very sharp, except for a few minor cosmetic imperfections like that discolored pillion seat and those possibly non-standard rear indicators. Many recently-imported two-stroke sportbikes are selling for very reasonable sums, but the seller is jumping right in with a $6,500 starting bid on this one.

1988 Kawasaki KR1 L Side Rear

From the original eBay listing: 1988 Kawasaki KR-1 for Sale

Nice original KR-1 for sale.

Good for Collection or Track days.

Not recommend on street too fast! No title bill of sale only.

Bike runs well.

Will ship worldwide, export shipping papers available.

Ultimately, the KR-1 is missing some of the trickness found on the TZR and NSR. It doesn’t feature reverse-head wizardry and banana swingarms are also conspicuously absent, but these have that reputation for being unruly and wild, which made up for the more pedestrian components. And since two-strokes always require a bit more effort to run, the lack of reliability didn’t seem to negatively affect the bike’s image when new and doesn’t seem to affect it now.  The 18” rear wheel does limit tire choice somewhat, although manufacturers are starting to offer some grippy rubber in that size, owing to two-strokes’ popularity in vintage racing.

1988 Kawasaki KR1 Cockpit

The KR-1 lacked the later KR-1S’ nickel-plated cylinders, which might help when the time comes to source engine parts. It was also supposed to be a bit roomier than competition from Suzuki and Honda, something that might help it appeal to US riders, assuming they can get it titled. Just fit a steering damper and have at it. No seriously: you’ll be fine. I’m sure. Safe as houses.

More Kawasaki weirdness in the pipeline for tomorrow, so stay tuned!

-tad

1988 Kawasaki KR1 R Side

Rare Team Green Two-Stroke: 1988 Kawasaki KR-1 for Sale
Honda May 25, 2016 posted by

Grey Market Goodness: 1988 Honda CBR400 with California Title

1988 Honda CBR400 R Side

Anyone glancing at today’s Honda CBR400 would be forgiven for thinking it was a much more powerful machine: the looks are pure sportbike, and then you notice the decals that shout “CBR400.” But what the little Honda lacks in displacement, it makes up for in sophistication: four cylinders, six speeds, gear-driven cams, aluminum frame…

1988 Honda CBR400 L Side Rear

Produced between 1988 and 2000, the Honda CBR400 was the little brother to their popular 600cc and 900cc sportbikes. Intended for a market that had strict limits on displacement and power for new riders, these were never officially sold anywhere outside Japan, although a few managed to find their way to our shores over the years. There’s been a recent influx of grey market bikes like this, as enterprising individuals looking to slake our thirst for nimble sports motorcycles buy these up relatively cheap in Japan and ship them over by the container load. These were entry-level machines in their original market, and not difficult to come by there. But here, in the land of Harley-Davidson, they’re weird and kind of wonderful.

1988 Honda CBR400 R Side Front

Bikes like the CBR250RR we featured recently are very cool but, although that bike’s tiny four will positively scream to near 20,000rpm, outright performance is pretty feeble. This 400, while still no match for a modern supersport motorcycle in terms of straight-line speed, does offer a bit more midrange for everyday riding, but still loves to be thrashed. Gear-driven cams add to the noise and the 399cc four cylinder produces a claimed peak of 59hp, which should be plenty entertaining and there’s more on tap with basic tuning. Suspension wasn’t anything to write home about, but the light weight and stiff frame mean the bike is a terrific backroad companion and I’d imagine plenty of other CBR parts will fit, if you plan to track your little CBR…

1988 Honda CBR400 Clocks

From the original eBay listing: 1988 Honda CBR400 for Sale

Very rare to be registered in Cali. Runs great. Paint on tank original and clean inside. Small dent in rear of tank. Upper plastic thought to be original. Lower plastic re-painted before I got bike. Some tabs could stand to be repaired on that and rear tail center insert.

46k km on speedo calculated to 29k miles.

Has fold up passenger peg brackets (see pics, circled in yellow).

64 year old owner, former bike wrench and former shop owner. Have very large bike collection being thinned down to make more space. Bike always stored indoors, and run every couple of months to keep healthy.

Overall, a pretty well preserved bike.

The seller also helpfully includes a video of the bike starting and running. This example is in decent overall condition, with minor imperfections and wear-and-tear expected of an entry-level machine. These were designed for the Japanese market and, although they’re styled like big bikes, they’re physically pretty small. I’ve never seen a CBR400 in the flesh, but I’ve spent some time around the CB1 that shares the same basic engine and powertrain with similar weight and wheelbase. Those are very compact, like a 7/8 scale model of a regular motorcycle.

1988 Honda CBR400 R Side Rear
There are no bids as yet, but there are lots of “Watchers” and there is still plenty of time left on the auction. The Buy It Now price of $5,000 seems reasonable, considering the rarity and condition, but potential buyers will obviously have to be serious fans of odd, grey-market bikes because that same money would also buy lots of other, faster toys.

-tad

1988 Honda CBR400 L Side

Grey Market Goodness: 1988 Honda CBR400 with California Title
Suzuki May 17, 2016 posted by

Gamma From Down Under: 1985 Suzuki RG500Γ for Sale

1985 Suzuki RG500 R Side

Today’s very clean Suzuki RG500Γ “Gamma” hails from power-mad Australia, where it seems like there are a disproportionate number of these two-stroke terrors stashed away. With fewer than 10,000 produced for all markets during three years of production, the bike was a true race-replica and shared its wild liquid-cooled square-four engine with no other model in Suzuki’s lineup. Styling was distinctive as well, with a pair of low-mount pipes for the front cylinders and an additional pair of pipes running under the seat and exiting on either side of the tail-section.

1985 Suzuki RG500 Front Wheel

The approximately 100hp produced by that very compact powerplant obviously looks pretty limp by today’s sportbike standards, since even the weakest 600 makes well north of that figure with far less effort. But that’s exactly the point of the Gamma: the skill needed to get the most out of the bike and the lightswitch power delivery made the bike both feel faster than it was on paper and made handling that much more exciting. Hey, anyone can jump on a liter bike and go fast, but it takes talent and nerve to extract every last one of those two-stroke horses.

1985 Suzuki RG500 Cockpit

Both the RG500 and its rival, the Yamaha RZ500 are both surprisingly small in the flesh: that slab-sided 80s styling and bulky tail-section suggest that they’ll be huge, in spite of the design brief and claimed 340lb dry weight. This example is helped by a very handsome white-and-blue Suzuki color scheme.

1985 Suzuki RG500 R Side Front

From the original eBay listing: 1985 Suzuki RG500Γ “Gamma” for Sale

FOR SALE – #00069 1985 SUZUKI RG500, 18,849 Kilometres VIN – JA1HM31A7G2100069

A rare find today – they’re not making any more of these!

This RG is damn near mint condition – nearly ! Showing 18,849 KMS – that’s about 9,000 miles – she presents very, very well. Tastefully upgraded with 17” wheels from a 1988 GSXR750 – 3.50 x 17” front and 4.50 x 17” rear, the STOCK wheels and discs are INCLUDED in the sale. In the sought after factory blue and white colour scheme.

Bike is currently located in Australia – we are a reputable Classic Bike Dealer and have USA references available if required. Price includes crating, Australian export charges and sea freight to the West Coast of the USA.

1985 Suzuki RG500 R Side Detail

Miles are low but, according to our readers, it has been common practice to disconnect the odometer cables on these increasingly valuable machines… With a $20,000 starting bid and no takers as yet, I’m curious as to why there’s been so little interest in the bike so far. Gammas have been blue-chip collectibles for a while now, with established demand and ever-increasing values. Have those values plateaued? Or is it just the Australian provenance that’s putting off buyers? The 17″ wheels might offend some purists but should, at the very least, improve handling by allowing the fitment of modern, sticky rubber in widths the original designers could only dream of. And the seller includes the original wheels and brakes, if that’s how you prefer to roll.

If it were my money, I’d keep the modern wheels and tires: I like the updated looks and having a bit more grip at the rear when that manic powerplant is “on the pipe” sounds like a good idea to me…

-tad

 

1985 Suzuki RG500 L Side

Gamma From Down Under: 1985 Suzuki RG500Γ for Sale
Honda May 4, 2016 posted by

Tiny Screamer: 1989 Honda CBR250RR for Sale

 

1989 Honda CBR250RR R Side

Grey Market Week continues with another weird and wonderful small-displacement sportbike from Honda, the CBR250RR. At a glance, it might be easy to dismiss this little 250 as a primitive commuter like the current CBR300, since these days, that’s exactly what you’ll get. The CBR, Ninja 300, R3 are all clearly built as budget-friendly options and even KTM’s RC390 is a simple, economical thumper. But this 1989 CBR250RR features a gear-driven inline four with an absolutely shrieking 19,000rpm redline and a 115mph top speed.

1989 Honda CBR250RR L Side Front

The non-adjustable front forks speak to the fact that the bike is intended more for learners than professional road-racers, but the triple disc brakes, six-speed gearbox, lightweight aluminum construction, and the aforementioned powerplant speak to a much more sophisticated package than entry-level machines generally offer. 40hp isn’t going to set the world on fire compared to most modern machines but, when it’s pushing just 350lbs wet, there’s plenty of performance on tap to entertain.

1989 Honda CBR250RR Dash

The CBR250 was produced between 1986 and 1996 primarily for the Japanese market and other countries that featured tiered licensing systems, where riders are often “stuck” riding smaller-engined machines until they reach a certain age or have had their motorcycle endorsement for a set period of time.

1989 Honda CBR250RR R Side Tank

From the original eBay listing: 1989 Honda CBR250RR for Sale

Just imported through U.S. Customs this Spring, this 1989 CBR250RR comes with a title ready to be transferred into your name in your state.

Your new CBR250 is showing just 9,776 original miles (15,732 kilometers) on the odometer so it is a clean, lower mileage bike that runs well. The fairing bodywork is original with only a few cracks and I can’t find any evidence of crash damage or tip-over damage anywhere except those cracks. The foot pegs and bar ends and lever ends and even the original Honda muffler are in good shape with no scuffs or road rash, the original seat is in good condition too and the mirror stems are vibration cracked but the mirror ends are scuff free so no accidents. Triple drilled discs and a dual seat option make for nice features on this bike, the tires have ok tread but they should be replaced next riding season. The cracks are pointed out here; 1 barely visible on the left side corner of the front fairing by the headlight and one on the rear taillight panel. The largest of the three cracks is on the left fairing under the seat. You can see it in the pics and the video before it was shipped to the United States. All in all a very clean used 250R.

I can get great shipping rates (anywhere in California for $300 as an example) so don’t let the cost of shipping keep you from owning this collectible Japanese four-stroke streetbike. This motorcycle is already titled in the United States and ready to be transferred into your name just like any other vehicle purchase so the US Customs documents and EPA documents are not needed but I will include them in the sale of this bike so you have documentation your new CBR was legally imported.

1989 Honda CBR250RR L Side Fairing

The seller also includes a clip of the bike running before it was loaded up for transport to the US. This bike clearly isn’t pristine, with some discoloration on both plastic and metal surfaces, but with bidding is up to just $3,500 or thereabouts, this still looks like a pretty cool machine for the price. Bidding is very active on this one, with several days left on the auction, so apparently I’m not alone in feeling that way. Obviously, a CBR250RR is a bit more of a novelty than a serious sportbike here in the USA, but it’s probably worth it just for the soundtrack and, unlike bigger 1000cc or even 600cc counterparts, you’ll actually have to rev the nuts off it to actually make any progress on the road, meaning you can fully experience that tiny mechanical symphony!

-tad

1989 Honda CBR250RR L Side

Tiny Screamer: 1989 Honda CBR250RR for Sale
Honda May 2, 2016 posted by

US Titled Two-Stroke: 1986 Honda NSR250R for Sale

1986 Honda NSR250R L Side Front

Although small-displacement two-stroke sportbikes like this Honda NSR250R have been finding their way over to the US in shipping containers and across the border from Canada for a while now, they’re still relatively rare here and can be difficult to register for road use. This one is titled in Washington State, so that should help ease the transition to wherever you happen to be, but buyers in states where the DMV has no sense of humor should obviously tread carefully. Unless you “know a guy…”

1986 Honda NSR250R R Side

The NSR250R used a 54mm x 54.5mm two-stroke v-twin with liquid-cooling and Honda’s Automatic Torque Amplification Chamber that varied exhaust system volume to increase low-end torque, a major benefit for a small-displacement two-stroke intended for use on the street. The bike also featured a trick cassette-style six-speed gearbox for quick changes at the track. Obviously not of much use on the street unless you’re really hard on the machinery, but still cool when bragging to your friends.

1986 Honda NSR250R Dash

The cast aluminum frame and aluminum swingarm were designed to keep weight low and the bike weighs in at under 300lbs dry, which means that, although power is modest, performance really isn’t, and well-ridden NSRs can hang with much bigger machines in the canyons and on tracks that stress handling over straight-line speed.

From the original eBay listing: 1986 Honda NSR250R for Sale

Legally imported from Canada with valid Washington State title in hand.  This bike has always been stored inside and does NOT show normal sun damage like other vehicles of this age.  The engine was completely rebuilt about 1000 miles ago after sitting in storage for about 15 years.  I have close to $1000 in receipts from the rebuild and the engine looks and runs like new.  The rebuild included all new gaskets, soda blasting of all cast parts, boiled out and re-painted radiator, new set of silicon coolant hoses, rebuilt carb., etc.  the bike has newer Avon tires that were installed after the rebuild and are still nice and soft with lots of tread.  The only issues with the bike are more or less isolated to the fuel tank and can be seen in the photos, I am not sure how the damage occurred, it was like that when I bought the bike.  There is also a small area of missing color on the right side of the front fender and can also be seen in the photos.  This bike is super fun to ride and will always put a smile on your face. 

1986 Honda NSR250R R Side Engine

Bidding is active and up to just $2,775 with very little time left on the auction. I was under the impression that the first NSR250R MC16 was released as a 1987 model-year bike, although it’s possible that this is from the first run of bikes that were sold in late 1986. Cosmetically, the bike does have some scuffs and dings, but nothing that you wouldn’t expect from a bike that’s thirty years old, and that set of brilliant blue Samco silicone hoses suggest that at least you won’t have to worry about coolant leaking out of your little sportbike!

-tad

1986 Honda NSR250R L Side

US Titled Two-Stroke: 1986 Honda NSR250R for Sale
Honda March 17, 2016 posted by

Featured Listing: 1992/1993 Honda CBR250RR for Sale

Update 3.18.2016: VIN confirms this is a MC22. -dc
Update 3.26.2016: Sold for full asking price. Congratulations to buyer and seller! -dc

DSC_0005

Today’s CBR250RR is another one of those grey market oddities, a bike that’s extremely rare here in the USA, but not considered particularly exotic elsewhere. Built from 1990 through 1996 and nicknamed the “Baby Blade” for obvious reasons, it was a small-displacement stepping-stone bike for riders before they moved up to a larger bike like a 600. But unlike here, where learner bikes are quickly discarded or skipped entirely by riders who foolishly think of 600 supersports as “starter bikes,” these are high-quality, sophisticated machines, a far cry from the relatively crude CBR300 of today.

DSC_0006

Instead of that bike’s simple and torquey single-cylinder engine, the CBR250RR used a 249cc liquid-cooled inline four that made 40hp and would rev safely to a shrieking 18,000rpm. Backed by a six-speed gearbox, the package was good for over 100mph. It wasn’t as light or as raw as an equivalent two-stroke, but it offered up a far more refined and durable experience. A 250 two-stroke is really its own thing, and the CBR was intended more as a high-quality learning tool before moving on to a larger CBR600 or 900.

DSC_0008

Today’s featured listing is either a 1992 or 1993 model and looks like it’s in very good, mostly original condition.

From the seller:
Honda CBR250RR for Sale

It’s a CBR250RR.  It’s titled, but the year doesn’t coincide with what year it probably is.  I believe it’s a 1992 or 1993 model.  When I originally picked it up, I had my mechanic go through everything.  The only major thing was cleaning the carbs, adjusting the inlet and exhaust valves and spot welding the exhaust can where the springs latch.  We removed the heat-wrapping that was there also.

It’s essentially stock minus the full exhaust (stainless steel).  There doesn’t seem to be any distinct markings on the full system, so I am unsure which brand it is.

The front cowl is ABS, the side fairings are fiberglass and the rear tail is OEM.

I bought the bike with 8,1XX kilometers and it’s currently at 12,7XX kilometers.

It’s been a weekend street bike, I have several other bikes that I ride in my rotation, this one is the one I’m willing to let go for greener pastures.

I do have the manual for the bike, it’s in Japanese.

Bike is currently located at Speedwerks in Delaware.

Will pay for anyone who wants a pre purchase inspection done.

$Price: 4,700 or best offer SOLD.

DSC_0007

These are difficult machines to put a price on. Their origins are relatively pedestrian, although they epitomize what Honda has always done, offering up engineering sophistication to buyers at all levels. And although they were always intended as entry-level bikes, they provide performance and handling not generally found in this type of machinery here in the US. For riders who subscribe to the “Slow Bike Fast” philosophy, these represent a pretty ideal balance of performance. A similar experience can be had on Honda’s CB1 for less money, but the 250RR is just that much cooler and more unusual: you’re definitely going to pay a premium for rarity with a bike like this, but for fans of small bikes with stratospheric redlines, it’s hard to beat a 250RR.

-tad

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Featured Listing: 1992/1993 Honda CBR250RR for Sale
Honda February 16, 2016 posted by

Fresh Off the Boat: 1989 Honda NSR250R MC18 for Sale

1989 Honda NSR250R R Side

Honda’s NSR250R was, until recently, unicorn-rare here in the United States. But a number of companies have sprung up to scrounge decent examples in Japan, where they are far less hard to come by, then ship them over here where they sell for a premium. Certainly, many have been truly thrashed by young knee-dragging hooligans, but there are nice examples to be had as well. And when the alternative is not having an NSR250R… Well maybe taking a chance on one of these little grey-market beasts is worth the gamble.

1989 Honda NSR250R Rear

With a nearly square 54mm x 54.5mm bore and stroke, the 249cc two-stroke in this MC18-II used carburetors but was otherwise very high-tech: Honda’s Automatic Torque-Amplification Chamber used a butterfly valve to vary expansion chamber volume to increase the midrange and their PGM-II ignition system was exceptionally sophisticated, creating a 3D map based on throttle position and rpm and modifying the timing in response. Mated to a six-speed cassette-style gearbox, and slotted into an aluminum beam frame, the entire package was the perfect weapon to battle the other quarter-liter contenders.

1989 Honda NSR250R Dash

From the original eBay listing: 1989 Honda NSR250R MC18 for Sale

1989 Honda NSR250 two-stroke! This is the street version of the legendary world championship winning NSR250 and NSR500 MotoGP racers. The bike is in excellent condition, both physically and mechanically with only 8,900 miles. This bike was purchased in Japan and imported through US Customs and I can provide all documentation to support its legality. The bike will come with a US title that is transferrable. Bike will be available for pick-up / delivery on March 1st.

With a Buy It Now price of $6,500 and under 9,000 on the clock this looks like a relatively clean example. Obviously, titling may be in issue in some states, but you could certainly buy it and display it, or turn it into a track-day bike.

1989 Honda NSR250R Top

Our commenters seem to feel that keeping these little two-strokes on the road is difficult, but from what I’ve seen, parts aren’t too difficult to come by if you’re prepared to plan ahead and order stuff from overseas… Or pick up some parts bikes: $6,500 is basically chump change when it comes to collectible bikes. I mean, you could have three for the price of your average Harley!

Anyone who has experience experience living with one of these care to weigh in? Are these really as hard to keep running as people seem to think?

-tad

1989 Honda NSR250R L Side

Fresh Off the Boat: 1989 Honda NSR250R MC18 for Sale