Posts by tag: racebike

Yamaha July 25, 2019 posted by

Purity of Purpose: 1998 Yamaha TZ250 for Sale

Laypeople often love cars and motorcycles with gratuitous stylistic frippery: air vents leading to nowhere, extraneous “engine beautification” panels to cover up the oily bits and wiring, unnecessary surface details to break up large panels. They don’t really understand the function of all those parts, or aerodynamic styling, so if it looks right, it is right. Purists also appreciate design, but often feel that good looks are a direct result of function, that that beauty is the natural result of effective engineering. Failing that, at least functional design has an aesthetic appeal all its own. Simplicity and lightness are especially important for racers, and sometimes the shapes that result look odd until you understand why they developed the way they did. In other cases, a pursuit of purity of purpose results in shape that just looks so right, like this Yamaha TZ250.

The TZ250 wasn’t simply a TZR250 with race plastics and the lights removed. It was  a pure racing machine, something privateers could buy directly from Yamaha and use to compete in Grand Prix racing. Everything on the bike is designed to help the bike make power, cheat the wind, or simplify servicing. Every component is as light as possible, and these featherweight machines are the model of elegant simplicity. Early versions were powered by a parallel-twin engine, but Yamaha switched to a v-twin in 1991, a liquid-cooled unit was basically one-half of the YZR500’s V4 and included a counterbalancer that made the engine much smoother, backed by a cassette gearbox for fast gearing changes trackside to maximize the bike’s narrow powerband.

The package was updated significantly in 1992, with subsequent changes amounting to a gradual evolution, refining and tweaking the package. The engine was updated in 1997 to allow the bike to run on unleaded fuel, as required by FIM regulations, while the 1998 version seen here introduced a sealed airbox with ram-air and oval-slide carburetors, along with revised bodywork that included the famous tapered tail.

From the original eBay listing: 1998 Yamaha TZ250 for Sale

I have a very, very nice 1998 Yamaha TZ250 4TW available. I purchased this bike in 2015 from a Southern California racer. It had been raced recently. I have done absolutely nothing to the bike, so it is still in as-raced condition. Overall its in excellent shape. The tank is flawless save for a very small dimple (about 1/8″ across). The bodywork is very good, but has a few imperfections here and there such as chips and scuffs. Normal racetrack wear. It has been stored in a heated storage facility with very low humidity here in Montana.

It has 190 miles on the top end and MCE racing crank. 2003 bodywork and airbox conversion. Includes PitBull rear stand, but no spares.

You can send your shipper here to my home in Red Lodge, Montana or I can deliver to one of several freight forwarders in Billings, Montana for attachment to a pallet.

The $14,500 Buy It Now the seller is asking for this TZ250 is a pretty good price, from what I’ve seen. It unfortunately doesn’t include any spares, which presents a headache if you’d like to use it regularly for race or trackday riding. You’ll obviously want to go through it thoroughly before using it, as it has been sitting for a couple years, but these are designed to be easily torn down and rebuilt, with crankshaft removal possible with the engine still in the frame and gearing changes to the cassette box taking only a half hour or so. Many TZs are being actively raced in AHRMA and other series, so I believe obtaining parts to keep them running isn’t prohibitively expensive, but these are a dying breed and represent the end of an era.

-tad

Kawasaki July 10, 2019 posted by

Privateer Superbike: 1995 Kawasaki ZX-7R for Sale

We don’t post too many racebikes here on RSBFS. Ex-racebikes are tricky to value. By their very nature, they evolve and change over time to remain competitive and, unless a bike is retired immediately after an historic race win, it’s not likely to be in anything like “original” condition. That very word contradicts what racing is about: if something doesn’t work, it’s discarded, if something better is introduced, it goes on the bike. They get crashed and blown up and rebuilt and raced again. But this particular Kawasaki ZX-7R had too many impressive names attached to it to pass up.

This Kawasaki is a bike from the glory days of World Superbike racing, when 750cc fours were pretty much the go-to configuration for everyone but Ducati. In stock form, the ZX-7R was a bit heavy at 450lbs dry, and the 748cc engine’s 105hp is decidedly underwhelming by today’s standards. But the bike made an excellent racing platform, and this version was kept in production for 7 years, a near eternity in terms of sportbike development and a testament to its sound design.

Of course, this isn’t anything like a stock motorcycle. The claimed 150+hp is impressive and the WSB-spec Öhlins forks and Brembo brakes that replace the stock Nissin six-pots are all very, very tasty, but it’s the frame that makes this particularly interesting: it was supposedly used in World Superbike racing by Anthony Gobert and obtained from famed tuner Rob Muzzy. The seller’s description goes into more detail below.

From the original eBay listing: 1995 Kawasaki ZX-7R Racebike for Sale

1995 Kawasaki ZX7R Superbike. Works frame (WSB Gobert frame, Purchased from Muzzy in ’99), 2 Superbike motors: 800cc (for ’03) and 750cc. Fully kitted, Ohlins WSB forks, brembo brakes, everything. Spare valve springs (2 sets), valves, rods, pistons. 800 has Carrillo rods. Hasn’t been run for 15 years. Gets turned over now a couple times a year.

This is probably the finest privateer 1995 Kawasaki ZX7R Superbike ever built. The works frame (purchased from Muzzy in December of ’99) was supposedly Gobert’s. It was a World Superbike frame; done in Japan by Kawasaki. It was black when we got it. A work of art, they added a oil catch tank in the frame and welded a frame around the frame. It turned the bike from a pile of crap nightmare that would wind up and launch you at any second (with the fully built 150+ hp superbike engine) to a dream that is predictable and smooth. Which is why they won. Unfortunately those weren’t available to any of us, and we were lucky to get it for the 2000 season. After we got the frame, that bike won every club race and set track records in 2000 (beating the 1000s) until we had a Brembo rotor explode and put me in the ICU… ending that season. I raced it a few times since and we built a 800cc motor that put out 170hp (on the juice, no ram air) that ran with the 1000s of ’03. Unfortunately the KLS shifter broke during that national and we DNF’d. Later, it had a “tip over” in a practice due to a leak in a front tire, and it never got repainted. I got bodywork for it and never fitted it or painted it. Unlike the “works” bike Chandler rode and got claimed in the F-USA in 1996 (was just for sale on bringatrailer.com), these engines do NOT have the “works” gear driven cams. Those are not serviceable for privateers. This bike makes a ton of power with the conventional chain driven cams, works oil pickup, etc. Further, we still have a couple sets of valve springs (and tons of spares) which are now unobtainable. These motors can be serviced and freshened up. This will be an AHRMA killer.

This is obviously a well-developed package and should be a blast to ride. It also includes extra engines and spares to keep them running, although at that $25,000 asking price, you’d hope it would. There are cheaper ways to get into vintage [?!] racing, but none quite as evocative…

-tad

Privateer Superbike: 1995 Kawasaki ZX-7R for Sale
Featured Listing July 8, 2019 posted by

Featured Listing: 2017 Suter MMX500 for Sale

Update 7.8.2019: We’d like to take this opportunity to thank Amatumoto Grand Prix Motorbikes for being a sponsor of RSBFS! From Amatumoto, “This 2017 Suter MMX500 at reduced price will not last long, so if there is someone out there that has been pining for a reliable 2-stroke GP500, they should act soon.” Contact Amatumoto today! -dc

So, I’m going to have to try not to gush uncontrollably here, because this is one of the coolest bikes we’ve featured recently. A real, live Suter MMX500, a “what if” race-replica from a parallel universe where MotoGP racing never made the switch from two-stroke to four-stroke power. A labor of love built by Eskil Suter of Suter Racing and a bunch of guys who never got over their addition to premix fumes.

Forget all of your shed-built Grand Prix homages with RZ500 engines stuffed into R6 chassis and painted up in Marlboro racing colors. No disrespect intended, but this is what you’re looking for, the ultimate paean to the snarling, lethal machines that carried Rainey and Schwantz and Mamola to greatness.

The looks may be stealth-fighter modern, especially in this example’s matte carbon finish, but the spirit of those older machines is still there, married to absolutely state-of-the-art racing technology. It’s powered by a compact, fuel-injected two-stroke V4 with a pair of counter-rotating cranks based on the Swissauto/MuZ500 raced by Suter in 1998 and 1999. Apparently Suter “had a few crankcases kicking around from the 500cc V4 design,” and frames are, obviously, their specialty.

I’m always fascinated by how two-strokes can be mounted in the frame: a lack of cams, cam-drives, or valve gear means they’re ludicrously compact, and often oriented in ways not at all intuitive for someone weaned on four-strokes. In this case, the engine is laid over on its side, rotated 90 degrees from what you’d expect, facing forward. So more like a >4 really, at least if you’re looking at it from the left-hand side…

The bike may be tagged as a 500, but it actually displaces 576cc, with an undersquare 56 x 58.5mm bore and stroke in an effort to deliver a bit more midrange and help the bike avoid racebike service intervals. Suter acknowledges that most of its customers are skilled enthusiasts, not win-or-crash racers, and the changes to the formula make for a more manageable ride that still captures the feeling of a two-stroke MotoGP machine, but is less likely to spit a rider off in an evil highside when they get in a bit over their head…

Modern electronics and fuel injection help there as well, while offering improved rideability and a better spread of power. Of course, the delivery is still two-stroke abrupt and, with 195hp at 13,000rpm pushing just 280lbs, power-to-weight is still fairly astonishing, so the two-stroke GP character is intact, just slightly more refined.

Head on over to the original listing for the bike, as there are plenty of additional photos for you to drool over.

From the Seller: 2017 Suter MMX500 for Sale

SUMMARY

Model: Suter MMX 500

Origin: Switzerland

Engine: Suter

Last Service: 490 km

Colour: Carbon

Suspension: Ohlins

Brakes: Brembo

OZ 17″ wheels

Availability: Immediately in our store of USA

MODEL INFORMATION
Bike in good condition and ready to race. Extra parts included with the bike: rear stand, pistons, rings, reeds gaskets, fiber+steel clutch plates, plugs + caps, filters, front stand, windscreen, seat, engine stand, service manual, owner manual, cover.

Spares list:

Pistons, rings, carbon reeds, gaskets, and o-rings; enough for 2 complete rebuilds

fiber/steel clutch plates

plugs & caps

Spare seat #5 of 99

Engine stand, front & rear service stands

Parts, service & dash manuals

bike cover

This is the very first Suter MMX500 I’ve seen for sale. With just 99 made, I’m assuming they were all snapped up before they were even finished by well-heeled track day and racing fans. If you’ve got $115,000 $95,000 lying around and decide to buy this, please let me know what track days you’ll be attending, because I need to see an MMX500 in action. The craftsmanship and passion that went into its creation are impressive, as you can see from the images. Of course, the price is shocking, but this is a very rare opportunity to purchase one at any price, so refinance your home, sell that sailboat, or sell that kidney, and pounce before someone else does.

-tad

Featured Listing: 2017 Suter MMX500 for Sale
Bimota December 29, 2017 posted by

Race History: Ex-Anthony Gobert Bimota SB8K for Sale

Both a flamboyant racer and a cautionary tale, Anthony Gobert was a hugely talented rider who fell from grace after a failed drug test. Several times, actually. Racing today is obviously a far cry from the wild days of the 60s and 70s, where playboy racers partied with stewardesses well into the night before getting up the following morning to risk life and limb while nursing a hangover. Today’s riders generally treat racing as the serious profession it has become, instead of as a way for daredevils to travel and booze it up on someone else’s dime. I’m sure Gobert’s missteps would have been laughed off in another era, but a failed test for marijuana, of all things, ended his MotoGP dreams in 1997, although he continued to race in Superbikes events in a variety of classes. Somewhere along Gobert’s slow downward spiral, he got a ride on this Bimota SB8K and managed to make an underfunded machine from a tiny manufacturer briefly competitive, a testament to his talent.

Bimota’s SB8 was really the TL1000R that Suzuki wasn’t able to build, and one of their most successful models. There’s no doubting the liquid-cooled, 996 v-twin engine’s prowess: it’s been used in various iterations by Suzuki since 1997 to power both sports and touring models. More importantly, both Cagiva and Bimota saw the potential for the engine to power some serious sporting hardware, and just needed to work around the layout challenges posed by the v-twin. As can be seen by the Ducati Panigale’s side-mounted rear shock, a transverse 90° v-twin is very long, making it difficult to package efficiently in a compact sportbike while simultaneously maximizing swingarm length. Suzuki used an innovative rotary damper with roots in Formula 1 to support the rear of their TL1000S and TL1000R. Unfortunately, while the concept was sound in theory, it didn’t work so well in practice, as the undersized unit tended to overheat and cause handling to go from “stable” to “exciting” without much warning.

Bimota took that throbbing, 138hp lump of an engine and put it into a machine that could much more fully exploit its obvious possibility. As with all Bimotas, the SB8’s real party trick was a state-of-the-art frame. While I’m a sucker for Ducati’s classic trellis unit, the SB8 used a wild composite design based around stiff, lightweight aluminum spars with carbon fiber side plates and a self-supporting carbon fiber tail section. You can see Bimota’s solution to that rear suspension issue, peeking out on the right side of the bike from behind the main frame spar. Ultimately, the SB8 weighed in at nearly 50lbs less than the TL-R, although the bike is uncharacteristically broad and bulky for a v-twin, ironic considering the amazingly slim design of the Ducati 996. It’s exotic for sure, but not especially pretty, and the carbon air tubes on the original SB8R also meant you’d better know where those hand controls are without looking, or you’d be craning your neck awkwardly trying to find the high-beam switch or cancel the turn signals. Best not to use them.

Of course, the locations of headlight and turn signal switches matter little in this particular case, since this is the updated SB8K version that did away with the massive carbon tubes in favor of a more conventional intake system. And this bike doesn’t have signals or lights anyway, since it’s the very World Superbike machine that Gobert used to win at Philip Island in 2000, reminding everyone of his talent, if not his self-control. Many who worked with him feel he could have been one of the all-time greats, and flashes of his brilliance can be seen in results he achieved on the SB8K.

From the original eBay listing: Ex-Anthony Gobert Bimota SB8K for Sale

ex-Anthony Gobert, winning in Philip Island April 2000.

VIN: 00071

This is a legendary bike in a WSBK history for who remembers the victory in april 2000 in Philip Island when Fogarty ended his career… also it is an ICON for the Italian racing motorcyles enthusiasts and the Bimota collectors. 

Only 2 FACTORY bikes were built for the 2000 WSBK, frame #71 and frame #73. This is the only of the 2 fully preserved, complete (with telemetry) and owned by BIMOTA FACTORY from year 2000 to 2017. Full history know, fully untouched since the 2000 season ended.

The bike is fitted with SUZUKI FACTORY TL1000R magnesium/dry clutch engine but tuned then for Bimota by one of the TOP mechanics in the Italian motorcycling history, Franco Farne’… yes the Ducati legend! The bike comes with some spares: engine cases, 2 heads, spare rear wheel, box with bits and pieces.

Letter of verification by the FACTORY present.

Parade, race and collect!

Be sure to check out the photos in the gallery above. The shot of the injectors and one of the high-capacity radiator with the cutout for the front cylinder are especially cool. This is yet another ex-race machine being offered by the same seller as the YB4 racebike from a couple weeks back and, a bit of expected racing wear and tear and some significant discoloration on the swingarm, appears to be in very nice condition. There are several days left on the auction, and bidding is up to just under $9,000 with the Reserve Not Met.

-tad

Race History: Ex-Anthony Gobert Bimota SB8K for Sale
Suzuki August 28, 2017 posted by

Classic Racer in a Box: Ex-Doug Polen Suzuki GSX-R750 for Sale

Looking for a fun weekend project to keep you busy for a while? Well look no further than this ex-Doug Polen Suzuki GSX-R750 racebike. It’s not exactly finished, but all of the really important parts appear to be there to get you started… Strangely enough, it seems like the AMA racebikes used many of the stock Suzuki components, even switching from the more exotic dry clutch to the standard wet unit, according to the seller. So that should help, right?

The introduction of the Suzuki GSX-R750 in 1985 was a seminal event in the history of motorcycling. It may not have been the first or only bike to use fully-enclosed, endurance-racer styling wrapped around a bulletproof, large-displacement inline four and monoshock aluminum frame, but it made that formula affordable and available to the masses, and led directly to the sportbikes we know and love. Later sportbikes would add liquid-cooling to the equation to help generate maximum power, but the Gixxer eschewed such frippery as too heavy for their pure speed machine: in spite of the visible cooling fins, it’s oil that does most of the work. The oil-cooled powerplant utilized their SACS or “Suzuki Advanced Cooling System” that used a double-chambered pump and oil jets directed at the underside of the pistons to keep temperatures under control. Other than oil cooling, it followed modern designs and used dual overhead cams and four valves per cylinder.

Obviously, as a race-spec machine for the street, the GSX-R750 spent plenty of time competing in various classes both abroad and here in the US. This particular bike was used in AMA racing and was ridden by Doug Polen. Polen was a world-class rider who got his start in AMA racing but left to compete in the World Superbike Championship, where he won the title on the trot in 1991 and 1992. He continued to compete in both international and American roadracing with success, netted a win at the Suzuka 8 Hour endurance race, and even dabbled in MotoGP.

There’s additional information about the bike, its history, and the included photos over on eBay, so head over and take a look.

From the original eBay listing: Ex-Doug Polen Suzuki GSX-R750 AMA Superbike for Sale

I have researched the photo archives of Cycle World and Cycle magazines and obtained a number of unpublished photos from their records.  I’ve also bought photographs from freelance photographers that covered AMA racing in that year.  Special thanks to Larry Lawrence, of The Rider Files website.  I will provide these photos to the buyer with the proviso that they remain unpublished.

Each rider had two chassis.  The chassis and motors evolved constantly through the season and Doug probably got the good parts first, as he did better than Otter in the results, starting with the first race.  Their A bikes had all of the good parts at each race and the B bikes had more stock components.  You can clearly see in the photographs the progression of modifications during the season for all of the bikes and the lower spec of the B bikes.

The chassis is un-braced, with modified stock forks, Kosman Triple clamps, Kosman brake discs, AP calipers, a Fox shock and Marvic magnesium wheels.  The swingarm has been slotted, to allow for more variation in wheelbase.  Jim Lindemann worked with them on the shock valving, although he passed away a few years ago.  I have spoken to an ex-Fox engineer and he’d be happy to restore the shock but the records they had of those years were destroyed a few years ago.  Sandy Kosman now lives in Portland Oregon and the last time I talked to him, he was willing to get the discs reground on a Blanchard grinder, if desired.   One of the previous owners began the restoration years ago and the chassis, as pictured, is where he was when he sold the bike to the next owner.

The bodywork used was stock Suzuki plastic.  Early in the season it was raced in 1986 blue/white Suzuki colors; later in the season some of it was sporting the 1987 blue/white Suzuki stock colors.  A perforated metal filler panel was incorporated into the lower fairing V and the lower fairing panels had holes cut in them to allow for more ground clearance.

The motors were modified during the season and varied quite a bit.  They had Yoshimura (either kit Suzuki or Cosworth) pistons, different crank bearings, heads ported by Ron Scrima, Megacycle cams with Yosh retainers, a Tsubaki cam chain tensioner, and various carbs and exhausts.  At one point they obtained dry clutches and close ratio transmission gears but went back to running wet clutches and stock transmission ratios.  They may have run an ECU with a higher rev limit.  Ron Scrima passed away in 2011 but his company (Racing Engine Service) is still in business in Texas and the current owner was with Ron for about 25 years, so they might be my first choice for an engine refresh.  Another option would be Kelly Roberts, also in Texas.  I have never disassembled the motor, so I do not know what internal components are present.

I am interested in selling this project to someone that has the necessary resources and desire to restore it to an as-raced condition and to preserve it for the future.  It is a significant bike, as it was one of the highest placed privateer AMA superbike efforts of that era and was ridden by the rider that probably had more success in the USA racing the first generation Suzuki GSX-R than any other rider.  I would be willing to discuss this bike in more detail, via telephone, with any serious prospective buyers.  I am also willing to provide additional photos, a more complete listing of what components will come with the bike, and an approximate idea of what additional components will be needed to complete the restoration.

I have listed the mileage as 99999, as eBay requires that the mileage be listed for any vehicle sale.  The true mileage is unknown, as it was never recorded, which is not unusual for a race bike.

It also looks like the bike went through several iterations, giving you a bit of flexibility in terms of the color scheme you choose. If it were complete and in as-raced condition, this would probably be a very valuable motorcycle. As it stands, it’s a valuable… basket case. How valuable? Well the But It Now price for this bit of American roadracing history is $4,950. This is going to need a lot of love, time, and money to finish, but I think this GSX-R deserves to be restored to its former functional glory.

-tad

Ducati August 14, 2017 posted by

Recovered Racer – 1998 Ducati 916

After an 18-month refurbishment, this 916 has a fresh carbon fairings and race engine.  While a detail here or there might need attention, it has a long list of mods resulting in a nicely presented and special 916.

1998 Ducati 916 for sale on eBay

Relieving the 888, the 916 started a new dynasty and made a lot of 1994 best bike lists.  Much of the machine was derived from Ducati racebikes – trellis frame, single-sided swingarm, dry clutch, underseat exhaust, and instantaneous access to the engine.  The folded headlight fairing was designed by Massimo Tamburini and became a sportbike icon.  In the five years from 1994-98, the torquey 916 won four Superbike World Championships.

This is an ex-privateer’s racebike, and for all the fun of turning a road bike into a racer, bringing a race machine back to the street can be tougher.  The owner answered the challenge of integrating all the great mods and beautifying the lot.  This bike has had some updates for the track, and some on the way back to the street.  With a built race engine, 1098 front end and race dash, the owner added a full carbon fiber body, including the fuel tank.  Here’s one paragraph from the long description in the eBay auction:

This build was year and a half effort; acquiring the right mix of parts to make a Duc that I’ve never seen. This bike’s been to many events, and it is an original.  It has carbon fiber Ducati performance bodywork, fuel tank, air intakes, airbox, front fender, rear fender, foot guards, chain guard and Arrow exhaust.  The only major part that isn’t carbon fiber is the wheels; they are Marchesini 10 spoke forged magnesium wheels (3.50″ x 17″ Front and 5.50″ x 17″ Rear).  The Marchesini 10 spoke wheel weights with bearings front 6.04lbs, and rear 7.76lbs, very light, so I stayed with the 10 spokes.  The inside of the fuel tank has been coated with Caswell epoxy gas tank sealer to prevent leaks and protect the carbon fiber.

With this 916 coming up on 20 years old, a reliability comparison between stock and modified would be more of a pain management exercise.  This build might suit a tinkerer or an owner with access to a good repair shop, as when service is required, it won’t quite be covered by the maintenance manual.  In return, the new owner will have a one-of-a-kind 916, race-engined with classic looks but many more modern components.  Located in a north Dallas suburb, arranging an in-person inspection by a friend or a shop might be a way to start…

– donn

 

Recovered Racer – 1998 Ducati 916
Yamaha May 22, 2017 posted by

Vintage Racer: 1970 Yamaha TR2 350 for Sale

Introduced in the late 1960s as an over-the-counter racebike, Yamaha’s TR2 was based on the road-going R3, and was extremely popular among privateer racers of the period. At just 253lbs dry, the bike was lightweight and, with a nearly square 61mm x 59.6mm bore and stroke that worked out to 348cc, the little air-cooled, two-stroke parallel-twin put a claimed 55hp through a five-speed gearbox.

The huge drum brakes at both ends seen here were difficult to adjust correctly and are obviously not as effective as discs that would have likely been fitted to period racers as soon as they could get their hands on a set, but look very shiny!

From the original eBay listing: 1970 Yamaha TR2 350 for Sale

Restored to an excellent condition. Matching numbers. This very rare racebike have been completely overhauled with a lot of brand new parts as new cylinder barrels and pistons and an overhauled crankshaft, new Koni shock dampers, tires etc.

Transport can be arranged to most EU countries as I can deliver it by myself for actual costs for petrol and ferry tickets and, depending of distance, overnight costs at a cheap hotel. Transport outside Europe must be arranged by the buyer himself. I will make it ready for shipping with a crate and good wrapping.

Currently located in Sweden, this bike is in extremely nice condition, considering the age and the hard life most racebikes have endured, and appears ready to run or for display. Starting bid is $9,900 with no takers and very little time left on the auction, so move fast if you’re living room needs redecorating!

-tad

Vintage Racer: 1970 Yamaha TR2 350 for Sale
Suzuki May 11, 2017 posted by

Featured Listing: Suzuki TL1000R Racer/Track Day Special for Sale

In the 90s, Ducati captured the imagination of race fans and road riders alike with their exotic, race-winning v-twins, and the Japanese were forced to play catch up on track in in the showrooms, as they’d largely been relying on highly-developed, but less emotional inline fours in World Superbike and endurance racing. The rules of World Superbike certainly favored v-twins at the time, and the Japanese seemed to believe that was all there was to their success, “If a tiny little company like Ducati can do it, we can too!” Unfortunately, both Honda and Suzuki missed their opportunity to cash in, producing “Ducati-killers” that failed to understand exactly why people bought Ducatis in the first place. The Honda SuperHawk was a very good motorcycle cursed with a tiny gas tank and handling that was never really intended to measure up to the track-focused 916, with handsome but fairly bland looks. And Suzuki’s TL1000R was a massive failure in terms of its Ducati-slaying ability as well. They’d already built their road-focused TL1000S, so the TL1000R should have been a no-brainer. But while the 916 was narrow, sleek, and very focused on speed, the TL-R was bulbous and heavy, with handling limited by the controversial rotary rear damper carried over from the TL-S. The rotary damper worked fine in theory, but overheated in practice, resulting in sometimes scary at-the-limit handling. Luckily, today’s Featured Listing, a track-ready TL1000R goes a long way towards rectifying those shortcomings.

Why use a rotary damper in the first place? Well a bike with a 90° v-twin is generally very narrow [unless you’re on a Moto Guzzi], light, smooth and torquey, but presents packaging challenges. Ducati’s front cylinder lies nearly horizontal, making for a very long engine and a correspondingly long wheelbase. Suzuki rotated their engine back in the chassis, but that left little room for a traditional rear shock, and they used a compact rotary damper in its place. It was a proven concept, but the execution left a bit to be desired…

Although the TL1000R was considered a sales flop at the time, low prices and that absolute peach of a v-twin have made it a very appealing roadbike. Keep in mind that Suzuki used this engine to power a whole range of their own bikes, and it was used by plenty of other manufacturers as well. It is reliable, reasonably powerful, and sounds great with a set of aftermarket cans. The TL1000R was a fundamentally sound bike, with all of the elements to be the everyman v-twin Suzuki advertised, but the execution was flawed. Power is never going to rival modern Ducatis, unless you throw a ton of money at the engine. But pounds can be shed, and handling improved with a swap to a more traditional rear shock and good suspension set up.

Today’s Featured Listing goes back to the TL-R’s original stated intent and systematically fixes problems: a complete modern GSX-R1000 front end with a Brembo master cylinder, lightweight bodywork, updated rear shock by Penske, and an Aprilia RS250 solo tail that lightens the bike visually as well, making it the sleek machine it always should have been.

From the seller: TLR1000R Race Bike for Sale

TL1000R for sale, bill of sale, no title, was built frame up piece by piece. Specs follow:

Engine – stock internally, Sharkskinz airbox, M4 full exhaust – rear sections have been modified to pull the exhaust closer to the swingarm for cornering ground clearance, Power Commander III. Yes, I know it’s not really a superbike with the stock motor, but the rest of the modifications mean it’s not SS legal.

Chassis – LE rear link and Penske shock, 04 GSXR 1000 forke/triples – LE valved and lengthened, Woodcraft clipons, Vortex upper triple clamp, Ohlins steering damper, Sato rearsets

Brakes – Brembo radial m/c, 04 GSXR 1000 calipers with spacers to run 320mm TLR rotors, rear caliper is a Wilwood PS-1 in a captured spacer setup (Pro Fab did the swingarm modification and all the machined parts), Goodridge stainless lines

Body – Sharkskinz body with Honda RS250 tailsection. Rear subframe is all fabricated aluminum.

Misc – Wire harness has been thrifted and ECU has been relocated to the front in fabricated aluminum holder. Clutch m/c is a brembo radial. Throttle is from Yoyodyne, probably more little stuff that I’m forgetting.

$6500, located in Indianapolis

Email is best for me: motorsport.studio at geemale.com

I love the Aprilia RS250 tail section, and the Gulf Racing colors work for me too: I’d love to do a track Ducati 916 up like that! Honestly, $5,600 seems like a heck of a deal for such a fully-developed bike. I’ve no idea if it’d make a competitive racebike, but if you like twins but don’t want to risk your precious 998R in the fast group at a track day, this might be just the ticket. I fully understand why folks would choose something like a GSX-R or R6 as a trackday ride, but it’s the funky stuff like this that interests me.

-tad