Posts by tag: pro-link

Honda November 6, 2018 posted by

Spitting Image – 1987 Honda NSR250R

Honda's early NSR-250's were nicely templated on the winning RS250R race machine, in race livery almost hard to tell apart.  This one went from road to private collection and has been made ready for the new owner's choice.

1987 Honda NSR250R for sale on eBay

Honda's MC16 used a 249cc V-twin, with cylinders slightly turned to ease intake and exhaust routing.  Exhaust port sizes are adjusted, and torque band extended, by Honda's RC Valve.  Almost any frame could cope with the legislated 45 hp, but Honda built a twin spar from alloy extrusions welded to cast connectors and headstock.  In-house suspension used air adjustable forks and Pro-link monoshock, with the straight swingarm that pre-dates the banana.

Evidently this collector is more than proverbially thinning the herd, and has auctioned several over the past few months.  Not a virgin with over 15K miles, but still looks excellent.  Beside one cracked corner on the right fairing and a couple of paint chips, it appears complete and original.  A lot of new wear parts were installed when the NSR was taken off the road, though we don't know when that was, cables and pads should be ok to sit.  Here is the list of freshenings that were done to make it ready for sale, from the eBay auction:

New Battery & amp; Battery Tender Hookup - which can also be used to run Electric gear

New front and rear brake fluids flushed and replaced with Honda Pro DOT 4

Carbs were Digitally Synchronized

New Spark Plugs Installed

Perfect Mechanical and Great Cosmetic condition and needs nothing

Replaced the fork oil with 15W

New transmission oil

Oil Injection Tank filled up

Coolant flushed and replaced

New set of tires have 250+/- miles on them in 3 rides this last summer

Honda continued with the NSR250R for another ten years, so the early model is less collectible, but also doesn't have the harder to defeat PGM ignition controller.  Not the lightest small sport, but Honda build quality took sales away from Yamaha, who had been ruling the two-stroke market.  Not exactly museum quality, this NSR looks like it could be a great rider.  Interest in the auction is high with 5 days to run...

-donn

Spitting Image – 1987 Honda NSR250R
Honda September 27, 2018 posted by

Cutting Edge: 1985 Rothmans Honda NS400R for Sale

Not too long ago, all kinds of weird and wonderful sportbikes from the mid-1980s were available for reasonable sums. Until recently, they weren't really old enough to be considered classics in terms of styling, and they weren't even close to modern machines in terms of outright performance or handling. It probably didn't help much that they're just plain weird to modern sensibilities: consider Honda's NS400R, with its two-stroke V3, anti-dive forks, odd middle-of-the-road displacement, and the slightly awkward, upright styling common to bikes of the era.

The 80s saw the Japanese brands finally come into their own and race and showroom success, combined with a strong economy, saw experimentation across the industry. Not all of it worked, of course, but that's beside the point. The bodywork of the NS400R seen here hid a liquid-cooled, 90° two-stroke V3 engine meant to evoke Honda's Grand Prix racing machines that used a similar configuration. The bike featured a six-speed gearbox, Honda's ATAC powervalve system, electronic ignition, TRAC anti-dive forks, a Pro-Link rear suspension, Comstar wheels, and radial tires that were considered very cutting-edge at the time.

Weight was very light, at just a shade over 400lbs wet and the bike's claimed 72hp means performance is a match for the RG and RZ, in spite of the NS400R displacing just 387cc. Why the smaller displacement, when an NS500R would have made for a more authentic Grand Prix experience? Well, regulations in the bike's home market meant significantly increased costs for 500cc machines: Suzuki actually sold an RG400 for Japanese two-stroke fans, and Yamaha detuned their RZ500 to meet power restrictions. Faced with the prospect of a detuned 500 or the need to sell two different models, Honda simply created one, very refined machine with their NS400R, but the perceived performance deficit hurt sales.

It's a shame: handling was superlative and the bike is often mentioned as a forgotten gem of the era. Of course, prices for bikes like the Suzuki RG500Γ have been rising rapidly over the past few years, dragging Yamaha RZ500 prices along with it, and the NS400R has been sucked into their wake. Two strokes are long dead and gone, and fans of smoky, lightweight sportbikes have been snapping them up quickly, especially really nice, low-mileage examples like this one.

From the original eBay listing: 1985 Rothmans Honda NS400R for Sale

Very nice condition. Runs great. 1509 original miles [2429 kilometers]

This is not 100% OEM. The two main items that are not OEM include the:

  1. Bodywork: brand new aftermarket bodywork (OEM bodywork included)
  2. Brand new Jim Lomas expansion chambers (OEM exhaust included).

Carbs ultrasonically cleaned, rebuilt and jetted. Also synced with Motion Pro carb balancer.

When fitting the Lomas chambers I pulled the cylinders to inspect them. No issues and still see cross-hatching in the Nikasil.

  • New base and head gaskets and ATAC gaskets.
  • New clutch (metal and friction plates)
  • New chain/sprockets 
  • New air filter
  • Fresh antifreeze
  • New spark plugs
  • New rubber boots from air box to carbs
  • Rebuilt fuel petcock
  • New regulator rectifier
  • Tires are in great shape

Everything works like it should. No leaks at all.

I'd be curious about the condition of the original bodywork, if it's not the stuff in the picture shown off the bike. If it was an original Rothmans, why the replica bodywork? I'm not implying anything shady on the part of the customer. Honestly, I've said forever that if I got something weird or rare, I'd personally source aftermarket panels and paint them up, then store the originals safely away, but it's not clear that this is what the seller has done. Either way, it looks damn nice, and the seller helpfully includes a recent video of the bike. And, while the NS400R was sort of languishing, forgotten and a bit unloved compared to the Gammas and RZs for a while there, prices have begun to move steadily upward, and the seller is asking a $7,700 Buy It Now price for this one.

-tad

Cutting Edge: 1985 Rothmans Honda NS400R for Sale
Honda September 21, 2018 posted by

Kwaai – 1991 Honda NSR250SP in South Africa

What would it take for you to brave the scary monsters just over the horizon ?  Maybe a later NSR250SP (MC21) in excellent original condition ?  This one hails from faraway Cape Town, is in rare Pentax replica livery, and the owner promises shipping to CONUS that looks like a bargain.

1991 Honda NSR250SP / MC21 ( South Africa ) for sale on eBay

Honda had been making the NSR250R since 1987 with yearly updates passed down from race engineering.  Though power was limited by  statute to 45 hp, the 249cc L-twin was capable of nearly 60 hp with an HRC or updated card for the PGM-III programmed ignition system.  The alloy twin-spar chassis and 41mm air-adjustable forks, along with the Pro-Link rear monoshock could easily cope with more.  The MC21 brought the "gull arm" asymmetrical swingarm, which allowed the expansion chamber to wend its way offside and increased ground clearance.  The Sport Production edition was a rarity with racey bits like a dry clutch, cartridge gearbox, and magnesium wheels.

Showing just under 4,500 miles on its km odometer, this NSR looks unrestored and excellent.  From the condition, an occasional ride with an adult aboard would be my speculation.  Not enough use to require any major work, though some matching rubber would be nice before the next ride.  Unfortunately, no notes about de-restricting the engine.  From the eBay auction:

Extremely rare original Pentax Honda NSR250 MC21 SP.
Dry clutch, Magnesium wheels and adjustable suspension comes as standard on this SP model.
All original parts which even includes the original honda toolkit and passenger seat.
Worldwide shipping is available at affordable low cost.

Around Cape Town kwaai has two meanings: normally angry or bad-tempered, but urban slang takes it in a tough or cool direction.  The NSR250SP also has a split personality, loafing around below the powerband, but hang on once you get the tach pointed north.  Back when everyone had a camera that didn't text or surf, Pentax sponsored Honda's racing team, though the livery looks peculiar today.  There's a fairly steady stream of grey small-sports but this one has lowish miles and no damage or corrosion.  Shipping and importation will be a project, and it might be worth enlisting an expert, but looks to be worth the effort...

-donn

Kwaai – 1991 Honda NSR250SP in South Africa
Honda March 24, 2018 posted by

Order of Magnitude – 1998 Honda CBR900RR

Honda developed their Fireblade with an eye on the ruler and the scale, keeping size and weight down so the 893cc engine could provide open-bike performance. Though often seen in white/blue/red or black/purple/yellow livery, the pearlescent yellow on this CBR has a less trendy but outstanding appeal.

1998 Honda CBR900RR for sale on eBay

Honda developed a new inline four for the CBR900RR, nearly as compact and weighing just thirteen pounds more than it's 599cc brother.  Engineers optimized mid-range torque for the new engine, resulting in 65 ft.-lbs. at 10,000 rpm and 122 hp available.  The 45mm Showa dual-adjustable forks and fully adjustable Showa/Pro-Link rear were judged overly taut for the real road, but this set has been professionally adjusted for a full size adult.  At 296mm the front disks aren't oversized, but with four-piston calipers they can get the job done.  The compact package turns sharper yet with 16-inch front and 17-inch rear wheels.

Evidently having only three owners, this CBR looks way better than its 24,000 miles normally would.  Mods were all done recently, and mostly don't detract from the CBR's good looks, which would be easier to mess up with the monochrome paint.  Turn signal smoothing and tail-tidying are fairly personal, and the factory parts are included for the new owner.  From the eBay auction:

This bike has a few tasteful upgrades.  All of which I did myself.  When I purchased this bike, it was 100% bone stock OEM condition.  So I have all of the stock parts too that I will include in with the purchase as I have no use for them. Here is a list of the upgrades I did to it:

- Micron polished slip on exhaust ($350)
- Front & rear suspension re worked by Race Tech suspension ($1,200)
- Zero Gravity dark smoke tinted windscreen ($50)
- Pro Grip carbon fiber tank pad protector ($20)
- New Bridgestone Battlax tires w/ about 300 miles on them now ($300)
- Smoke tinted LED tail light w/ integrated turn signals ($45)
- Rear fender mud guard removed & license plate raised up
- LED license plate light
- Front LED turn signals hidden inside front grill inlays ($30)
- Black brake & clutch levers ($25)

The 893cc CBR was just the first generation, and for 1994 the transmission was updated to improve shifting.  The succeeding years brought three increased engine sizes and fuel injection, but kept the core principles of compactness, light weight and mass-centralization.  Project leader Tadao Baba was a factory worker and veteran test rider, but not a designer or engineer.  His vision gave the CBR900RR a multi-year head start when compared to rival open-class machines.  This updated survivor looks like it wasn't ridden hard or put away wet, and it'll be interesting to see where bidding goes...

-donn

Order of Magnitude – 1998 Honda CBR900RR
Honda March 12, 2018 posted by

Featured Listing – 1986 Honda VFR700F

Update 3.14.2018: SOLD in 2 Days! Congratulations to buyer and seller! -dc

VFR fans might remember this special 700F from last spring's write-up.  Over the past year just a few hundred miles and a new starter are of note. 

The VFR700F was an interim model which ducked under a tariff limit on engine size, making a huge difference in MSRP from the VFR750F.  Performance was comparable and the model received two updates even though it was only imported for two years.  This edition is a late 1986 F2, with the angular console inkeeping with the times.

The F2 was a significant re-design from the 1983 introduction, and the entire engine was new in response to the update to the cam lubrication problem.  The frame was now a twin-spar aluminum, adding a sixth speed, air-adjustable forks and revised Pro-Link monoshock.  Still it was 81 hp pushing just over 500 lbs. wet, though the racing team did wonders with theirs - Fred Merkel won the AMA Superbike 1984-86 and was the new WSBK champion 1988-89.

This particular VFR was a rescue but looks like a show dog these days.  Fairings were repaired by plastic welding but are factory original.  Nice touches like the bronze powder-coated engine cases and up-to-date black wheels compete with knowledgeable fan updates like the 17-inch front wheel and shortened and cored mufflers ( with correct jetting ).  A lightening trim to the front fender shows the restorer's expertise and sharp eye, and maybe a little nostalgia with the NOS tank emblem.  Check out the restoration blog - here - .

By now most VFR's have half-again or twice as many miles, as they are a rider's bike.  Most have never even heard about a restoration like this.  Renewed for another life, with its 2nd generation alloy chassis and stock paint and graphics, it could easily hold its own at a show or concours.  Owner Scott asks just $4,000.

-donn

Featured Listing – 1986 Honda VFR700F
Honda December 1, 2017 posted by

Triple Time: 1986 Honda NS400R for Sale

Honda's two-stroke NS400R was ostensibly intended to capitalize on their Grand Prix racing efforts, but with less displacement and one fewer cylinder than rivals from Suzuki and Yamaha, it got lost in the shuffle at the time and suffered from a perceived lack of hairy-chestedness, compared to its 500cc competition.

So why did Honda go with a 400cc triple instead of a 500cc four, like Yamaha and Suzuki? Well in fact Yamaha and Suzuki did produce 400cc versions of their engines, in order to make these performance machines more appealing in their home market of Japan, where taxes and licensing laws made owning the 500cc version prohibitively expensive. So instead of building different versions of their repli-racer to suit the laws of different countries, Honda simply used the 400cc version for all markets.

The performance gap, especially between the NS400R and the RZ500 is actually pretty minimal, due to the Honda’s light weight: the liquid-cooled 387cc V3 produced a claimed 72hp and the bike weighed just 360lbs. A six-speed gearbox helped keep the two-stroke “on the pipe” and the bike featured sophisticated suspension at both ends, with TRAC anti-dive forks and a Pro-Link rear setup. Modular Comstar wheels were fitted with radial tires, a relative novelty at the time.

From the original eBay listing: 1986 Honda NS400R for Sale

This bike has been meticulously restored from bottom to top as a shining example of the replica Honda put out in honour of the legend Fast Freddie Spencer! For the hard core era two stroke enthusiast and collector, this machine will not disappoint you!

I also have another 1986 NS400R that is in parts. Everything mechanically is there for restoration except some of the body fairings. I would not be fair to part this unit out as a result. I am prepared to sell both as a package or separately. 

Ask and I can send you the link to the Youtube video.

Period reviews praised the bike’s handling, and the overall package was surprisingly refined, considering the bike’s light weight and racy specification. I wonder if that didn't hurt the bike's reputation, although it should have been a bonus at the time. It's the same thing that let down the RZ500: in an effort to make a better road bike, Yamaha lost sight of why people were interested in a big-bore two-stroke in the first place, and the result was needlessly heavy and somewhat less exciting than Suzuki's Gamma. The NS400R doesn't have a weight problem, but it doesn't seem to have the RG500's wild reputation, either. They were relative bargains for a long time, but values have risen significantly over the past few years and this restored example is being offered for approximately $9,400 US. Note that this bike is currently in Canada, so keep that in mind before you hit the Buy It Now or Make Offer buttons.

-tad

Triple Time: 1986 Honda NS400R for Sale