Posts by tag: Grey Market

Honda September 19, 2018 posted by

Featured Listing: 1990 Honda CBR400RR NC29 for Sale

As the old saying goes, “It’s more fun to ride a slow bike fast than a fast bike slow.” That’s not to say it isn’t supremely fun to ride a fast bike fast, but let’s be honest here: most riders aren’t really capable of riding modern superbikes anywhere near their limit, even on a race track. And it also brings up the fact that today’s sportbikes are so fast, you can’t possibly access their full performance on the road without taking massive risks with your body and license. That’s not so much a problem with today’s Featured Listing, a Honda CBR400RR.

1990 Honda CBR400RR NC29 for sale on eBay

For most Americans, referencing the CBR400RR or “Baby Blade” just results in quizzical looks. But that’s no surprise, since the bike only recently became eligible for import here, and the CBR400 is still tricky to register if you have a strict DMV. Intended for the Japanese market, the bike has surprisingly sophisticated specifications for something with such a small engine.

It really is a miniature superbike: 399cc sixteen valve inline four with gear-driven cams and a six-speed gearbox. An aluminum beam frame, instead of the CBR600’s steel unit, with adjustable suspension front and rear. Power was 59hp stock, with another 10hp or so available with a bit of tuning and dry weight was a claimed 360lbs, so performance was pretty sprightly, in spite of the limited power. Interestingly, it was sold alongside the V4-engined VFR400R, so Honda had two different 400cc sportbikes available for sale at the same time.

This example is being offered up by our friends at Iconic Motorbikes in Marina Del Rey, California. I’ve seen it in person and, other than the surface corrosion visible on the fork legs and footpeg brackets, something common on Japanese imports and bikes exposed to the ocean air, it’s complete and very sharp-looking.

From the original eBay listing: 1990 Honda CBR400RR NC29 for Sale 

**NOT LEGAL FOR ROAD USE IN CA, TRACK ONLY!  OK FOR REGISTRATION IN MOST OTHER STATES**

Honda CBR400RR which is also known as an NC29.

These little 400’s are very hard to find in the USA and even more rare on the road. The ones that you do find are typically REALLY rough or loaded with oxidation or aftermarket bodywork.

This little gem however only has less then 9,400 miles (15,063 km), all 100% stock and original and ready for a new owner.  She starts right up with a little bit of choke and has a smooth throttle curve thereafter. If you’re looking for something that you’ll likely never see pull up next to you on the road… this is your girl!

Quick note, notice the oxidation on the rearsets and fork legs.  Pretty much it’s only major flaw but again, very common on Japanese imports and a super easy fix.  We have our own media blaster so we could essentially clean them up for the buyer if required but there’s some shop time involved for pulling the forks and rearsets apart.  Either or 🙂

As the seller clearly indicates: if you live in California, don’t even think about it, unless you are looking to build a small-displacement race bike, or just plan to display the bike. Bike currently has Arizona plates. Otherwise, this is one sweet little machine and would be plenty of fun on your local back road. The starting bid is $7,400 with no takers as yet, and a couple days left on the auction.

-tad

Featured Listing: 1990 Honda CBR400RR NC29 for Sale
Yamaha September 7, 2018 posted by

Street-Legal Stroker: 1992 Yamaha TZR250RS for Sale

Yamaha’s TZR250 doesn’t seem to command the same prices or attention as Honda’s NSR. Which is interesting, considering it’s similar in terms of weight and performance, and the TZR is generally even rarer in every market outside Japan: both the 3MA and 3XV versions were officially sold in the Japanese market only, although plenty found their way to the UK, Europe, and Canada via “parallel import” laws.

Certainly, the TZR isn’t lacking in technology: the 3XV packs an electronic engine-management system to rival Honda’s PGM-IV that controls the ignition advance, the powervalve, and the carburetors’ fuel mixture. Yamaha’s Deltabox frame is light and stiff, and the RS version seen here adds a dry clutch, close-ratio box, and later models even included fully-adjustable forks. This example goes a step further and has been upgraded with Öhlins forks and a Nitron rear shock.

Ultimately, the package closely mirrored the rest of the class: 90° liquid-cooled two-stroke v-twin displacing 249cc, an aluminum frame, a six-speed gearbox, and the de rigueur powervalve to boost the two-stroke’s limited midrange. The seller is asking $11,500 for this updated, well cared-for example.

From the original eBay listing: 1992 Yamaha TZR250RS for Sale

You are looking at a super clean, well maintained and a hard to find TZR 250RS. The RS model comes with close ratio gear box, RS paint scheme, fully adjustable suspension and dry clutch. I upgraded the front forks with Ohlins components, Nitron R1 rear shock, Brembo calipers, Brembo pads, braided brake lines and full floating rotors. Maintenance was done which includes fresh Motul fluids (coolant, brake fluid and transmission oil), carbs been cleaned/synced. Bike is street legal, titled, registered and insured in NJ. Everything on the bike is OEM all original with the exception of the upgrades mentioned. You will never find another one in this condition. 

This one has been up for sale more than once in a couple different places, but appears to be very clean and comes with a New Jersey title, which is a nice bonus for anyone looking to ride their stinky little sportbike. The biggest question here is: has the bike been de-restricted? Collectors may not be too worried, but anyone looking to ride this anywhere outside a very tight, technical racetrack or a very twisty back road will want more than the government-mandated 45hp. The Japanese government, obviously: the US government regulates many, many things, but horsepower is not one of them.

-tad

Street-Legal Stroker: 1992 Yamaha TZR250RS for Sale
Yamaha August 7, 2018 posted by

One-Eighty: 1989 Yamaha TZR250 3MA for Sale

It’s been a while since we’ve seen a Yamaha TZR250 3MA for sale, and the bike is both very rare and also a sportbike, so we’re posting this one, even though it isn’t in perfect condition. I’m a huge fan of this particular iteration of the TZR, because of course I’m a fan of the weird, slightly less-than-successful version of any bike. With competition very fierce in the 250cc sportbike class and specifications so similar, Honda, Suzuki, Yamaha, and occasionally Kawasaki were all looking for a competitive advantage. The bikes all had aluminum beam frames, liquid-cooled two-stroke twins, and power valves to boost midrange. Light weight meant incredible agility and the triple disc brakes were almost overkill for the 300lb machines.

Although two-stroke engines are very compact, routing the bulky de rigueur expansion chambers meant design compromises: the typical quarter-liter solution meant asymmetrical “banana” style swingarms that looked cool and allowed the expansion chambers to tuck in close to the centerline and maximize cornering clearance, but added weight.

Yamaha had a different idea. Why not flip the cylinders of their parallel twin around 180° so that the carburetors were at the front and the exhausts exited toward the rear? Since two-strokes lack camshafts or valvetrain, this was pretty simple to do for the 3MA version, and meant there were no worries routing the exhaust and expansion chambers around the bike’s lower half. Instead, they went straight back and out through the tail, creating a slight bulge in panels just below the seat.

The concept was sound but the bike was produced for just two years and is generally considered a failure, although its reputation for mechanical unreliability is apparently a bit of an exaggeration. It was light and handled brilliantly, but the reversed-cylinders offered no real advantage. A failed experiment, the bike was only officially sold in Japan, although the bike did find its way to parts of Europe as a parallel import.

This little TZR is a complete machine and appears to be original, but is a little scruffy around the edges, although it’s hard to tell from the pics. I’m seeing the typical corrosion and discoloration you’d expect on a Japanese bike of this era, especially one that likely spent it’s first few years in the salt air of its homeland.

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

1989 Yamaha TZR 250 3MA, no reserve
New tires, chain and sprockets, carbs rebuilt, fresh service
Very low kilometers, runs good, aftermarket exhaust chambers, bodywork is OEM
I can send running video, call me or text me 954-809-8596
My name is Mike

Hi, Mike! This isn’t my favorite color combo for this bike, but you can’t go wrong with basic black. The $5,500 opening bid is probably in the ball park, but I wonder what the reserve is. TZRs are rare, but seem to generally be less desirable than NSRs. Personally I love the look and general weirdness of the 3MA, but there was no performance advantage for the backwards cylinders, and I’ve read that parts are harder to source than for earlier parallel twins or later 3XV v-twin TZRs. Basically, it’s a cool bike, but it’s the oddity and style that appeal most, and this one is a runner, but in need of a bit of cosmetic TLC.

-tad

One-Eighty: 1989 Yamaha TZR250 3MA for Sale
Honda August 3, 2018 posted by

Unconventional NC30: 1992 Honda VFR400R for Sale

Purists and Honda fans might want to avert their eyes now… Styled like a baby RC30, the VFR400R NC30 has long offered Honda V4 thrills and character in a more affordable, less intimidating package. Of course, the steady rise in RC30 prices means that values for the NC30 are on the way up as well, as the bike has always been like a gateway drug for folks craving a Honda V4 rush. But because the NC30 was made in greater numbers and the bike has been pretty affordable, the bike can be considered less sacred, and is more likely to be subjected to modifications…

At a glance, you could easily confuse an NC30 for an RC30. The design is intentionally very similar, although the NC has smaller headlights and looks overall a bit like an RC that’s been through the wash in hot water. It shares the RC’s beam frame design, Pro-Arm single-sided swingarm, and V4 configuration. And the difference in displacement and overall performance is mitigated by a substantial weight disparity: the NC weighs 401lbs wet, compared to the RC’s 488lbs wet.

We’ve gotten used to 200hp road missiles but, with sophisticated electronics needed to help manage these beasts, I think we sometimes underestimate just how much fun a pure, unadulterated 60hp motorcycle can be when it’s this light and this thoroughly developed.

The rise in prices will also likely lead to purists being more offended by bikes like this one. Honestly, the modifications, although fairly extensive, are pretty tasteful, carefully thought out, and easy to miss at first since the bike retains the iconic HRC colors. Personally I’m kind of a fan of endurance-racing squinty-eyed headlamp setups like this. Airtech makes some neat ones for the GSX-R and ZX-7 and it makes a great, but maybe too-familiar design look fresh.

Head on over to eBay for a whole bunch of additional pictures of this little resto-mod.

From the original eBay listing: 1992 Honda VFR400R NC30 for Sale

This bike has been a project to build a very cool VFR400 I have worked on over the last couple years after I purchased it from a friend who owned it for quite a few years. This bike has been in the US for many years, it does not suffer from much of the corrosion issues that many new Japan NC30 imports are plagued with. This bike has a 17 digit VIN, which is how I bought it. Currently titled and reg’d in Arizona this bike IS LEGAL TO REGISTER IN CA with the 17 digit VIN. 

This NC30 is turn key, ready to ride, track day or display in your collection. EVERYTHING is new or fresh.

The following is BRAND NEW in last few weeks:

  • Complete fresh paint and bodywork $3500
  • Brand new Bridgestone S21’s front and back, no miles  $350
  • Brand new Tyga Full exhaust System $800
  • New Tyga fork adjusters and re-freshed forks $300
  • Freshly powdercoated wheels front and back $300
  • New Thermae upper and lower oversized radiators $600
  • NC35 17″ rear wheel $350
  • Full service front to back, oil, filter, coolant brake fluid front and back.

You can probably not build an NC30 like this for less… and I have more in it than I am asking for!!!

This is a 1992 VFR400. It is wearing a Tyga Suzuka Style cowling with an NC35 solo style tail section. The bodywork has just been freshly professionally painted in RC30 style classic Honda tri colors.

  • The bike is on an NC30 3.5×17″ front wheel with NC35 rotors, the rear wheel is an NC35 17″.
  • Wheels freshly powdercoated and wearing brand new Bridgestones. 
  • Tyga Performance Full Stainless exhaust system with carbon can. 
  • Tyga Performance rear sets
  • Tyga Performance fork caps with Full rebound adjustment
  • Ohlins rear shock
  • Thermae Oversized race radiators
  • HRC rear brake reservoir
  • Samco hoses
  • Braided brake lines

This NC30 is very clean and well sorted, it has a rare Ohlins rear shock, the NC35 17 inch rear and looks incredible with the Suzuka style bodywork. The bike is very clean for its age, please look at the photos with the lower bodywork removed. No leaks or mechanical problems, carbs recently cleaned, jetted for exhaust. Everything works, currently the bike does not have front blinkers installed, but I have a Tyga set that can go with the bike and be installed at your discretion. 

All other electrical works as it should, and it has an updated reg/rec, so no issues with the stock Honda ones that often fail. This bike is also equipped with an aftermarket top speed de-restrictor to get around the JDM 180 kph limit.

Not a stock NC30 by any means, but I think it has all the right mods, looks incredible and will make someone VERY happy… and you will NOT see another one like it at your next bike night!

Please check out all the pictures, contact me with ANY questions or if you need more photos!!!

So it’s not completely original, and it isn’t even close to stock, but the seller is obviously a knowledgeable enthusiast. Modifications like the NC35 rear wheel make plenty of practical sense and, if you’re looking for the V4 experience on a budget and have an irreverent streak, that $10,500 Buy It Now price represents a screaming deal.

-tad

Unconventional NC30: 1992 Honda VFR400R for Sale
Derbi July 21, 2018 posted by

End of an Era: 2006 Derbi GPR125 for Sale

This Derbi GPR125 was the very end of the line before the Spanish manufacturer, and pretty much everyone else, switched from two to four-stroke engines for their entry-level 125s. As you might expect, this led to the expected decrease in stinky two-stroke smoke and a massive reduction in fun. 125cc two-strokes aren’t exactly barn-burners, but they make much more power than four-strokes of equivalent displacement while weighing significantly less, and the change meant the class went from being high-strung funsters with youth-safe limits to the boring, efficient commuters and learner bikes of today.

The two-stroke 125s were bikes for new riders, but they were styled to inspire wannabe racers and incorporated some advanced design elements. The frame was aluminum, and the box-section swingarm was braced, although the 33hp [once derestricted] engine probably didn’t really require it. A six speed gearbox meant you could make good progress using the minimal power available, since the bike weighed in under 300lbs wet. And the styling seen here is extremely aggressive and the bike is surprisingly well-finished, with neat details like electric start, turn signals mounted in the mirrors, and an undertail exhaust.

The main issue is that all of the bikes in the class have limited straight-line performance and pretty basic suspension: they were meant to provide budget transportation and, looking past the manic engines, the bikes are fairly uninspiring, upside down forks, modern frame design, and sporty looks aside. Luckily, the geometry is excellent so the handling is good, in spite of the crude components, and the bike uses Yamaha’s liquid-cooled TZR125 single, so reliability and parts availability should be no problem.

From the original eBay listing: 2006 Derbi GPR125 for Sale

Look closely, it’s the only one you’re likely to see here in the states! This is a 2006 Derbi GPR125 Racing. Only a handful of these were brought into the U.S. The engine was sourced from Yamaha, by Derbi, and it’s the same engine used in the Euro-spec liquid-cooled Yamaha TZR125R street bike, and the DTR 125 2-stroke dirt bike. It’s liquid-cooled, and has 6-speed trans, electric start, power valve, and oil injection, so premixing isn’t necessary, just pull up to a gas pump and fill it up. I’ve only run Motul synthetic in it since I’ve owned it. If you don’t know anything about 2-strokes, you should probably look elsewhere.

I’ve owned this bike ten years now. It’s been unbelievably reliable, but I’m ready to move on to something else. It’s currently showing approx 8300 miles on the clock, but I still ride it to work sometimes (although I also have other bikes I ride regularly). The indicated mileage is 662 miles less than actual. The original meters only read in kilometers. I picked up another set that reads in miles and mph. The difference between the two sets (after converting kilometers to miles) was 662 miles, that’s the reason for the discrepancy.

The top end was rebuilt about 1500 miles ago, strictly for maintenance, not because there were any problems. I port matched the cylinder to the cases while I had it apart, because the factory matching was very poor. I also cleaned up all the ports. The cylinder is still standard bore and in excellent condition. This bike came in 1st place overall in the 2009 Lake Erie Loop, completing 659 miles in 11 hours 16 minutes. That’s WFO across Canada for hours. If that’s not a testament to reliability, I don’t know what is! And it won by a long shot! http://www.lakeerieloop.org/race-results/2009-rr.html

The list of mods/upgrades/spare parts is long, so buckle up! Besides the top end work already mentioned, the stock carb was replaced with a Keihin PWK D-slide, it has Boysen dual-stage reeds, heavy duty clutch springs, a 3-degree advance key, and an Arrow undertail exhaust with titanium muffler. I also have for it a hand-built Jim Lomas side-exit pipe with a carbon fiber end can. Only ten of these pipes were built, and this one is serial numbered 007! (Just lucky) I also have a spare set of lowers that have been modified to clear this pipe. The air injection pump and associated plumbing have been removed. I think that wraps up the engine part of the program.

The front brake disc was replaced with a full floating wave rotor from Metrakit. The rear sprocket is a custom made, lightened aluminum sprocket. The bike came with no helmet lock from the factory, so I was able to add one from a Yamaha YSR50. The crazy heavy steel rear brake stay arm was replaced with a custom made aluminum one. The stock plastic shifter was replaced with an aluminum one from an Aprilia. The rear pegs and peg hangers have been removed, as has the long stock rear mudguard, and small LED turn signals were installed to clean up the rear end. The orange stripes on the rims are just rim tape. You can remove it in five minutes if you don’t like it. The bike tips the scales around 285 lbs with a full tank of fuel. I also added a Sigma bicycle computer. They’re super accurate, and you get a second trip meter in the deal. The stock windscreen was replaced with a Puig double-bubble screen (an incredibly nice piece!). From the factory, one headlight is for low-beam, one for high-beam. The only time both are on is when you hit the flash-to-pass switch. I added two relays, so now when you hit that stitch, both will come on and stay on, until you hit it again. I also installed headlight bulbs that are slightly higher wattage than stock. This was done a long time ago and there have been no problems. I’m a fanatic about NOT making mods that can’t be reversed, so everything can be put back to stock if you choose, although I think all these mods are for the better. I have ALL the stock parts, except for the stock muffler, and stock front brake rotor. 

I have a HUGE amount of spare parts for this bike (I’m a motorcycle hoarder). I have a bunch of spare bodywork, some electrical parts, spare factory decals, all the stock parts that were removed, and other misc odds and ends. 

The swingarm stand down in the photos is NOT included in the auction. The bike has a regular side stand.

The common wear items, like tires, brake pads, and chain are in usable condition, but are nearing the end of their service life. Battery is in very good condition. The bike always starts easily, always goes, and there are no other issues I’m aware of, other than what I just mentioned. And since I know someone is going to ask, I’ve had it over 80 mph on flat ground with my 165 lb self on it.

The bike has a clear Ohio street motorcycle title.

This is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I challenge you to find another one of these for sale in the U.S. So please, keep it real. I’ll be happy to help with shipping from my end, but this is totally at the buyer’s expense, and must be agreed upon ahead of purchase. Local pickup is available. Please ask your questions before you bid! I reserve the right to end the auction early, as the bike is also listed for sale locally. 

Well you can’t say that the seller isn’t providing plenty of detail in that listing, and the $4,500 asking price frankly seems like a screaming deal for such a cool and unusual bike. The main issue here is that it’s obviously very limited in terms of function: good looks aside, it’s still pretty slow, especially on US roads if you no longer have the physique of a 17-year old.

-tad

End of an Era: 2006 Derbi GPR125 for Sale
Yamaha July 18, 2018 posted by

Featured Listing: 1984 Yamaha RZV500R for Sale

Update 7.30.2018: Ted has updated us that this bike is sold. Congratulations to buyer and seller! -dc

Yamaha threw their hat into the Grand Prix race replica ring with the… Well what this bike was called depended on where the thing was being sold. In Canada and Australia, it was an RZ500, which fits since it was like a bigger, faster RZ350. In Europe, it was the RD500LC, which also makes plenty of sense considering the RD series’ history, but with added Liquid Cooling! And in Japan, it was the RZV500R as seen in today’s Featured Listing, which sounds the most exotic to me.

And like Honda’s NS400R and Suzuki’s RG500, the RZ/RD/RZV was powered by a racing-inspired, two-stroke multi that was shared with no other bike in Yamaha’s lineup. That made the bikes very exclusive, but not really cost-effective to produce. But really, what other sort of motorcycle would you power with a liquid-cooled 50° two-stroke V4 that featured twin cranks and a balance shaft displacing nearly 500cc? The rest of the package was likewise geared towards sportbike domination: a six-speed gearbox, a pair of YPVS power valves, Autolube oil-injection system, an underslung rear shock that was very exotic at the time, anti-dive forks, and 16” front and 18” wheels shod with typically skinny period tires.

Unfortunately, in spite of the racy looks and the inclusion of magnesium parts, the RZ500 still weighed in at a period-appropriate 450lbs dry. The problem was that rival Suzuki’s RG500 weighed significantly less while making more power than the RZ’s 88 claimed ponies. The RZ was designed from the start to be a civilized race-replica, but at the time the RG stole Yamaha’s thunder with their much wilder ride.

But today, neither bike would be considered particularly fast on a racetrack and the appeal is a combination of nostalgia and the singularly exciting character of a big two-stroke, something the RZ still has in abundance and at a lower cost than an equivalent RG.  The RG has always been “the one to have,” and steadily increasing values mean it’s been priced out of reach for many fans. But although RZ prices have climbed to keep pace with the general increase of all 80s two-stroke sportbikes, they still lag behind the Gamma, making them the affordable choice.

This example is the Japanese-market RZV500R and featured an aluminum frame instead of the steel units on the other versions. Unfortunately, the aluminum frame wasn’t something added to enhance performance, it was to offset the damage done by home market regulations that limited output to 64hp. Luckily, this example has supposedly been de-restricted and features a very sharp set of custom spannies that look far more upswept than the stock parts and should liberate more of the famous two-stroke crackle, along with FZR wheels, brakes, and front forks to match.

From the seller: 1984 Yamaha RZV500R for Sale

VIN#: 51X002446

Entering the world of RZ500’s has introduced me to several collectors who have shared some of their incredible knowledge of the Yamaha model. RZ500’s were built by Yamaha in model years 1984 and 1985. They were never sold new in the US and any that are currently here were brought in as Grey Market Vehicles. Yamaha Canada imported the RZ500 model which was also sold in Australia. The United Kingdom model was named the RD500 and came with a different color scheme than the RZ.

All of these models had steel frames and were delivered in what was considered unrestricted versions with higher horsepower than the domestic Japanese version of the motorcycle. The Japanese bikes with restricted horse power had smaller carburetors and exhaust systems to that end. In an attempt to balance the lost of power, the Japanese bikes were equipped with aluminum frames which were considerably lighter, but again, only for Japanese domestic consumption. That model of the RZ was called the RZV500, is model of bike being offered here. Our bike has the aluminum frame, different mirrors and decals identifying it as the RZV, the most desirable version of the bike if unrestricted. In this case that has been done with a set of Tommy Crawford Expansion Chamber Exhausts. The pipes are said to work well, are rare to find and are no longer made. A perfect storm so to speak.

This bike has been modified additionally with what we assume are a period FZR Front Forks and a set of matching wheels. There is also an Ohlin’s rear Shock Absorber in the back.

The owner of the bike was a huge enthusiast of Road Race bikes and at the time was doing some club racing. Being in the Service, when it was time to be stationed at another post, the Service took care of moving his personal property including his motorcycles. As per regulations, vehicles that were transported with personal property were to have all of their fuel removed, which was done with a tag hanging from the handle bar noting this. Unfortunately, medical issues evolved that prevented the bike from being recommissioned and it been in this state for over ten years. Sadly for the owner, he never was able to ride again and his family is selling the bike as part of his estate.

Collectors with an interest in the bikes have warned us about trying to start the bike without a serious inspection and reconditioning. Crank seals, carburetors and possibly other work may be needed and we are not in a position or capable of any of it. The bike, in running order, would most likely bring over $20,000 and is now priced accordingly to accommodate the possible needed work. It has an Oregon clear and clean title of ownership.

So this should pretty much be the highest-performing version of the RZ: the lighter aluminum frame combined with the full-power engine. More power, less weight, what’s not to like? That is, once the bike is reconditioned, of course… The Seller is asking $15,295 $12,000 for this one and, if you’re handy with the wrenches and love to tune two-strokes, or have deep pockets and Lance Gamma’s number on speed dial, this could be a good opportunity to pick up a clean RZV with more modern running gear that just needs some mechanical attention.

-tad

Featured Listing: 1984 Yamaha RZV500R for Sale
Honda July 18, 2018 posted by

Meeting Your Heroes: 1989 Honda VFR400R NC30 for Sale

With values of the VFR750R RC30 through the roof, the VFR400R NC30 has become the affordable go-to for fans of Honda’s V4 homologation specials. Styled like a 4/5 scale model of the RC30, the NC30’s dual headlamps, aluminum beam frame, and Pro-Arm single-sided swingarm ape the bigger bike’s look and function. Significantly the engine shares its V4 configuration, gear-driven cams, and 360° “big bang” crankshaft with the RC30.

The big bang firing order helps give the later Honda V4s their characteristic flat droning exhaust note and supposedly improves corner exit grip, compared to a more traditional 180° firing order that evenly spaces the combustion events. Even if you’re not pushing the limits of traction, the big bang engines offer a very wide, forgiving powerband.

On paper, the Honda VFR400R doesn’t seem like it’d impress a modern rider. Just 400cc? Are you joking? Well no. First of all, it has a dry weight of around 300lbs, so the 59 horses don’t have very much mass to haul around, which is reflected in the bike’s surprising 130mph top speed. Most importantly, the NC30 was designed to offer some of the best handling available at any price, and is still considered to be one of the all-time greats.

I was lucky enough to ride one of these recently and it was an absolute pleasure: famously agile handling meant the bike was intuitive, east to ride, and plenty of fun, even though I wasn’t pushing its cornering limits. If you’re slightly terrified trying to use anything approaching maximum revs on a modern sportbike, you’ll be happy to know that the NC30 is both flexible at low rpm and happy to spin to its 14,500rpm limit. In fact chasing the redline was pretty much required, since I was working to keep up with a friend who was riding an MV Agusta F4R…

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

Up for auction is a beautiful 1989 Honda VFR400 model NC30. Hands down the most desirable color scheme. Gas tank is mint condition with zero rust inside the tank. The bike was legally imported into the United States. The bike has a clear Arizona US title with the proper 11 digit VIN number (title and frame number match). Bike starts right up runs perfect with no oil leaks. The bike is all original and is a true pleasure to ride pulling through all gears very hard. With a 14,000k rpm red line the bike will leave you with a smile on your face for days. Please view all the images as there are few scratches and scuff’s throughout the bike. Also please keep in mind that this is all OEM factory Honda fairings and not the cheaper aftermarket stuff.The bike is all sock minus the stainless steel brake lines. All the electronics including horn, turn signals, high / low beam, and Killswitch all work as they should. This bike is being sold locally and I encourage all bidders to come down and view the bike in person or send a local mechanic on your behalf to view for you. Rare vintage Japanese bikes don’t come up often and this is a beautiful example with no disappointment.

These days, it isn’t too hard to find an NC30 for sale: the spike in RC30 prices and the fact that these have hit the 25 year mark has seen an influx of Japanese market bikes. So the trick isn’t so much finding one for sale, it’s finding a nice one for the right price. This one looks very clean and original, with the usual wear and tear you’d expect on a bike of this age that’s actually been ridden often enough to accumulate the 27,000 miles indicated. The stock exhaust is a little quiet for my taste, but it does mean you can hear the cool whine from the gear-driven camshafts… There are still several days left on this auction and bidding is a bit slow so far, possibly owing to the mileage. But this is a Honda, and the fact that it isn’t museum-quality just means you might get to ride and enjoy this cool little machine for

-tad

Meeting Your Heroes: 1989 Honda VFR400R NC30 for Sale
Honda June 1, 2018 posted by

Sharp Little Blade: 1991 Honda CBR400RR NC29 for Sale

If you’re into bikes that aren’t obviously compensating for something, this little Honda CBR400RR offers big-bike looks and serious refinement in a more compact, less overwhelming package. The included photos are very nice, but the seller has included just three of them, so I’ll keep this post short. In general, 400cc sportbikes from this period are grey market imports: while very popular overseas and in particular in their home market of Japan, there was little to no interest in a sportbike displacing less than 600cc here in the USA.

That’s unfortunate, because this “Baby Blade,” so called because its bigger sibling was called the “Fireblade” in other markets, was a pretty sophisticated machine. It was powered by a 399cc inline four with sixteen valves, gear-driven twin overhead cams that was suspended in a stiff aluminum frame. The 70hp available from de-restricted versions was put through a six-speed gearbox and overall there’s plenty of fun to be had on a tight canyon road.

Americans actually could pick up the CBR’s close relative in the relatively obscure CB-1 that used a detuned version of the CBR’s engine but replaced the aluminum frame with one made of steel. Weight was similar as the CB didn’t have a fairing, but it looks like Honda might have gambled correctly in not importing the CBR, since the CB-1 didn’t sell very well.

From the original eBay listing: 1991 Honda CBR400RR NC29 for Sale

1991 Honda CBR400RR NC29 aka Baby Blade

Classic smaller displacement sport bike popular in Japan/UK. Imported from Japan.
Starts and runs nicely all through rev range!

Recently carb tuned and de-restricted. Bike is in KM and I added a MPH overlay.

Makes a great small displacement track bike! 

New: 

  • Pirelli Rosso Corsa
  • Screen
  • Mirrors
  • Battery
  • Tank grip
  • Axle slider

Buy It Now price is $5,500 which is a pretty decent price although you’ll obviously have to be careful to verify you can register it where you live. This one is in Texas and I’m assuming it’s been road-registered there since the seller has gone to the trouble to add the MPH overlay to the speedometer.

-tad

Sharp Little Blade: 1991 Honda CBR400RR NC29 for Sale