Posts by tag: Sport Touring

MZ August 16, 2014 posted by

Rare and Practical: 2005 MZ1000S

Most attempts to resurrect a defunct or struggling brand start with high-performance, limited-edition hypersports machines that inevitably get compared to the GSX-R1000, and generally not in a good way. So it was interesting when a revitalized MZ chose not to compete directly with hypersports bikes from Ducati and Aprilia, instead creating a classy gentleman’s express that they hoped would be judged on its own merits.

Produced between 2004 and 2007, the MZ 1000S represented a new era for formerly East German MZ. Known in classic circles as pioneers in the two-stroke revolution, their later range of bikes was powered almost exclusively by the 660cc Yamaha single. Great, practical everyman transportation, but MZ needed something to compete with more refined machinery.

2005 MZ 1000S L Side

Unfortunately, one of the reasons people create hypersports bikes in the first place is that folks with more money than skill or sense buy them as dangerous fashion accessories, and the MZ1000S disappeared with barely a ripple… In fact, this is the first one I can ever remember seeing for sale.

But don’t let that discourage you: reviews may not have been glowing in terms of track prowess, but then it wasn’t that sort of bike. It worked as intended, as a rideable, practical exotic that stands out in a crowd. And stand out it surely does.

2005 MZ 1000S R Side Garage

From the original eBay listing: 2005 MZ 1000S for Sale 

Gloss Black/Silver graphics Color scheme with Remus Slip on Exhausts made specifically for this bike – engine is bone stock – fuels beautifully – complete paper work from first owner and myself – factory tool kit – Digital service and owners manual in ENGLISH – parts readily available from Grahams In the UK – Pazzo Clutch and Brake levers (I do have OEM levers and they are in mint condition) Sprockets are Yamaha parts and oil filter is standard K&N item. Slight light scratches in clear coat on tail section, only noticeable up close and in full sun from first owner running soft luggage while sport touring. I do NOT have the stock exhausts.

Bike is an incredible sport bike, while she’s big sitting at rest and tall in the saddle (If you have a short inseam – this might not be the bike for you – I’m 6’0″ and I’m solidly on the balls of my feet at a stop.) But get it going and the size melts away – it is capable of staying with modern 600’s easily in really twisty tight mountain roads and the torque is simply addicting – come out of a corner and just roll it on – you are pulling away while everyone else is downshifting like crazy to match your drive out of the corner – and like a BMW K1200/1300 or Moto Guzzi sport bike – incredibly confidence inspiring and OMG easy to ride fast!

The MZ 1000S was powered by their in-house parallel-twin, bucking the v-twin sportbike trend that saw every niche market motorcycle powered by Ducati, Honda, or Suzuki v-twin engines. This choice certainly came with built-in limitations: parallel-twin engines are very compact and less expensive to produce, but vibrate like the dickens, especially in larger-displacement applications.

Just ask Norton and Triumph.

2005 MZ 1000S L Side Garage

And they really aren’t generally rev-happy engines, happier to punch out useable torque. Even with a balance shaft or two, you’re never going to get screaming revs out of 1000cc parallel twin. Also, there’s a certain bias against the configuration: the very advantages that speak to efficiency in manufacturing suggest a certain… pragmatism that is at odds with an exotic image.

But you will get character and packaging advantages galore, and a torquey powerplant ideal for the sports touring bike MZ had in mind.

Parts availability is a big question mark, although the seller mentions that servicing has never been a problem. This is the epitome of a “mature” sport bike and should be comfortable on both long rides and fast canyon runs on Sunday morning. This could be a really cool buy for someone looking for a bike that will really stand out from the crowd.

-tad

2005 MZ 1000S L Side Rear

Rare and Practical: 2005 MZ1000S
Yamaha June 26, 2014 posted by

Exotic Suspension for the Masses: 1994 Yamaha GTS1000

Only sold for two years in the US, the Yamaha GTS1000 was available from 1993-94. Styling is conservative 90’s Japanese, but without the garish graphics that often distinguish sportbikes of the era and the look is handsome, but so relatively unremarkable that it’s easy to miss the bike’s true standout feature: the forkless front end.

Almost missed that, didn’t you?

1994 Yamaga GTS1000 R Side Front

Conventional telescopic forks have well-known limitations: under braking, they compress and throw a motorcycle’s weight forward, upsetting weight-distribution, and this shift disturbs suspension geometry as well. In addition, the forces being channeled through and being amplified by the tubes means that triple-trees and  headstocks need to be very beefy, increasing weight.

1994 Yamaga GTS1000 L Front End

Plenty of alternatives have been tried since the dawn of motorcycle suspensions, but most have fallen by the wayside: they may improve in some areas, but usually at the cost of increased complexity or reduced steering feel, exactly the kind of things engineers were looking to avoid. They exchanging simple for complicated with no real upside, except as an exotic calling-card for owners of bikes like the Vyrus or Bimota Tesi who don’t mind the additional maintenance expense.

Interestingly, the suspension on this machine provides the best of both worlds: suspension compliance and braking stability as well as relative simplicity and reliability.

1994 Yamaga GTS1000 Dash

Yamaha’s “Omega-Framed” GTS1000 was an innovative, ambitious attempt to bring exotic swingarm front suspension technology to the masses. Alternative suspension maverick James Parker, who is still hard at work developing this concept today, licensed his technology to Yamaha and the engine was from Yamaha’s FZR1000, a 1000cc five-valve four cylinder that was detuned for touring duty, although that’s likely easily changed to something approaching the donor bike’s 145hp without too much trouble. The bike also included a great deal of exotic technology like electronic fuel injection, anti-lock brakes, and a catalytic converter.

1994 Yamaga GTS1000 Frame

From the original eBay listing: 1994 Yamaha GTS1000 for Sale

Two words. RARE, Collector! This GTS1000 is in fantastic condition and yes, it’s a pretty difficult find. The GTS was only available in the states from 1993 to 1994. It was still available in Europe until 1999. The previous owner took exceptional care of this. If you’re a collector or an enthusiast, this would be a great bike. Not to mention, it’s still a great bike to ride. For those of you who looked at this listing earlier, I did get the bags and the brakes. Please see pics. The only thing that is any concern is that the ABS is disconnected. I do have a box of all the parts for the ABS (see pics). The previous owner disconnected them as he didn’t like ABS. Overall, this bike is in great condition and would be a wonderful motorcycle to have in any collection.

Reviews at the time suggest that the suspension performed as advertised. Unfortunately, while the bike was innovative, it was very expensive and the de-fanged powerplant combined with a surprisingly limited range to muddy the waters: exactly what was this bike for? The main advantages of this design were really wasted on a heavy sport-touring bike like this, and it seems odd to combine relatively primitive ABS with a suspension designed to provide increased braking ability at the limit.

Poor sales killed the bike after just two years, although it sold until 1999 in other markets. I’m not sure these are really any sort of huge investment opportunity, but they have a strong cult following and parts for the engine should be readily available, although bodywork and suspension bits could be a problem. As an affordable sport-touring mount, it’d be hard to beat, so if you’re looking for a weird bike with reliability and subtlety, this interestingly technical machine could represent an opportunity you never knew existed.

-tad

1994 Yamaga GTS1000 L Side

 

Exotic Suspension for the Masses: 1994 Yamaha GTS1000
Ducati May 5, 2011 posted by

Guest Post: 1992 Ducati 907ie

I used to own a 1992 907ie, and really miss it. I have a standing search on eBay for this model, and this is one of the best I have seen in 2011. The listing is supplied by the original owner, and the bike has under 1,100 miles. He states he puts about 100 miles per year on it. Tires and battery are less than two years old.

Ducati 907ie For Sale

Unlike most Ducatis of the time, this is a square-tube framed bike. The frame is quite ugly, but the body work makes up for it. The motor is the familiar L-twin with belt-driven cams and the desmodromic action. The unit on the 907 is two-valves per cylinder, and it is fuel-injected and liquid cooled.

I can tell you from experience these things are super sweet to ride. They have about 75 HP at the rear wheel, and rev to about 9,000 RPM before hitting the limiter. Even though they’re 20 years old, the suspension is very sporty, providing plenty of ground clearance (though I would never take one to a track). It is a bit heavy at about 500+ pounds, but you don’t much notice it, and the brakes are excellent. The stock seat gets tiresome after 150 miles, but Corbin still markets a replacement.

The pictures are really only adequate. The owner has good feedback on eBay, so I trust that the bike is in excellent condition. The description says box stock except for tires and battery. I can see, however, that this bike has the European-option tail light on it, which is a highly-desirable feature that combines stop light and turn signals in to one cohesive unit. The stock pipes on this are really ugly, but Ferracci might still have a set laying around. Note a swap of slip-ons will require a new chip for the EFI.

The stock gearing on all older Ducatis is too high. The simplest fix is to drop one tooth from the front sprocket, which should allow the existing chain to be used without modification. A better solution is to add two teeth to the rear sprocket, but that would require a new chain.

This model bike needs valve adjustments every 6,000 miles, and belt changes every 12,000 miles. A typical Ducati owner accepts those costs as the price of admission. If I were to buy this bike, I would get the belts changed immediately, add two teeth to the rear sprocket, find some decent slip-ons and chip, then happily put perhaps 1,000 miles per year on it.

Two problems with this bike are fairly common. There is a clock in the dash that usually dies. Also, the regulator is prone to failure, but recent Ducati regulators can be swapped in. The mirrors rarely survive a tip-over, and they are very difficult to find. But the bike has 17″ wheels and can be fitted with current technology sport bike tires. The K&N oil filter is still common among some current Ducatis and Aprilias.

This model is the first Ducati I ever laid eyes on back in the late 80’s, and I was amazed back then by the sound. It was a privilege to own one for several years. I now have an ST-3, which is a better bike in most ways than the 907ie, but definitely not as handsome.

Only 2,300 total of the Paso (750) and 907’s were ever built; I don’t know the import numbers for 1992. The current bid is just over $2,500 with a reserve not yet met. At the end of 2010 I saw a ’92 907 on eBay go for about $7,500. That bike was also a one-owner, mostly stock, with less than 2,000 miles on it. So, a BIN of $5,000 is one heck of a bargain. If I were not in the midst of starting a new company, I would snap this one up at the BIN.

This was a guest post from Philip. As you can tell, his email to me was so complete that I asked if we could turn it into a guest post. Thanks for the heads up and the detailed analysis Philip! -dc

Honda January 11, 2011 posted by

1991 Honda VFR750F-M With 3,950 Original Miles Just Outside Of Seattle, Washington

A low mileage ’91 VFR750F in Washington state!

Bike:  1991 Honda VFR750F-M (RC36)

Location:  Bothell, Washington

Mileage:  3,950mi

Price:  $3,395USD

Honda marketing labeled the VFR as a “sportbike for all seasons” and “an entire garage full in one bike”.  These VFR’s were designed to be just as usable as a canyon carver, sport-tourer, and daily rider.  The bike retained race derived components such as the 16-valve V-4, Pro-Arm single sided swing-arm, twin piston brakes and a dual spar aluminum perimeter frame.

I find these earlier VFR’s–third and fourth generation–to be the best looking of the standard production VFR line.  The seller doesn’t state much other than that this bike is all original.  From the minuscule Craigslist photos, it looks to be in very good condition as I would expect for a bike of this mileage.  This bike does look to have bronze wheels.  While I’ve only seen these red examples with white wheels, this could be from the factory–anyone care to comment?  The price is higher than most for a second-gen’ VFR but considering mileage and condition, it isn’t too out of line.

See the bike on Craigslist here.

AG