Posts by tag: Triple

Kawasaki October 18, 2018 posted by

The Namesake – 1972 Kawasaki H2 750 Mach IV

Like Chevy's Z28 Camaro, the H2 is a model that creeps back into Kawasaki's line-up occasionally, but here we have the pre-historic beast that made the name.  The fire-breathing two stroke triple lasted only a few years before being regulated out of existence, but memorable enough that H2 is only applied to the most extreme green offerings.  The Florida example has somehow escaped the overcooked wheelies and tank slappers that claimed so many of its siblings.

1972 Kawasaki H2 750 Mach IV for sale on eBay

 

Coming hot on the heels of the 500cc H1, the Mach IV used the same successful formula - acceleration above all.  The 74 hp available were jammed into the upper reaches of the powerband, and weight was kept to a minimum at just 450 lbs. topped off.  Period single front disk and rear drum were adequate, as was the double cradle chassis, unless they were hopelessly out-gunned by the right wrist.  With a 19-inch front and 18-inch rear wheel, straight line stability was favored in the handling compromise.

 

This H2 is returning to the road at a ripe old age, and looks very good for its 30K miles.  Though not mentioned, the paint might be a little too nice and spell an older restoration.  The owner has gone over it carefully maintenance-wise, and provides this list in the eBay auction:

installed air filter box with a new (genuine) 3 way rubber manifold,
and a new (unknown manufacturer) upper snorkel.
needs internal filter element as I have none left.
drained and put new brake fluid in front cylinder, shoes and pads look good and all cleaned.
reset timing, cleaned and re-gapped pickups.
pistons are very recently installed (you can still see the cylinder honing marks) virtually no carbon build up.
cylinders are still at factory standard bore of 71mm - great compression.
complete new carb internals and set to factory standard.
crank seals and gearbox were inspected, all sweet.
3 x new NGK B9HS Japanese plugs.
new battery.
gas tank cleaned and new complete fuel tap seal kit installed.
no center stand installed but I can (if interested) supply one with bike that needs minor work,
a clean and a return spring.
clutch stripped/inspected and rebuilt, working great with no slippage.
as new bridgestone spitfire tires fitted and rims balanced.
all new fuel/vacuum lines installed.
the seat cover is perfect, the pan has no rust but the original foam will soon start making the dust particles.
exhaust is totally solid with very minor scuffs/dents but the chrome is starting to get tiny blistering on the lower middle pipe and would need to be re chromed to be show quality but is great as a daily driver.
new cylinder exhaust gaskets were fitted, center seals were checked and good,
all baffles are present and the only place you see two stroke fumes are coming out of the back end 🙂
I left the engine casings with the original patina on them as I know some people think polishing reduces value, so I have left that choice to the new owner.

 

Kawasaki had their eyes on the new Formula 750 race series and went racing in 1973 with the likes of Yvon DuHamel and Gary Nixon, but had more success rubbing Honda's nose in it on the road.  The quickness and low price of the H2 glossed over a lot of irrational rider exuberance, and though subsequent model years smoothed out the power delivery and handling a bit, the early models are legend.    The 900cc Z1 was introduced in 1972 and though the two models existed side by side for a couple of years, time marched on and showed the H2 the exit...

-donn

The Namesake – 1972 Kawasaki H2 750 Mach IV
Laverda August 15, 2018 posted by

Overnight Success: 1984 Laverda 1000 RGS Executive

When you think "high speed touring" the usual suspects usually begin with BMW and then taper off quickly towards some muted, former sportbike, Japanese road missile (think Connie or otherwise). All good choices, to be sure. But if I challenged you to narrow your answer to cover the 1970s and 1980s, what would you say? BMW still comes to mind... but not a whole lot else. We're not talking about the two-wheeled Winnebagos with which the Big Four did battle across the decades. We are talking about packing a briefcase and a small bag and streaking across the autobahn/autostrada at max velocity for an overnight trip. Compared to the rather staid Beemers, today's RGS Executive was as exotic as a Ferrari, and just as rare.

1984 Laverda 1000 RGS Executive for sale on eBay

The engine powering the RGS was Laverda's long-serving and very charismatic three-cylinder 981cc engine, the legacy of the Jota. With the latest spec mill having a smoother 120° crankshaft - instead of the less refined 180° lumpy crank timing - and rubber mounts the big triple was very nearly civilized. But what really made the RGS was the bodywork. With a large, aerodynamic fairing, comfortable seat and swoopy tail section the RGS was spit and polish on the basic bones that were born in the mid-1970s. The top spec of the lineup - the Executive model - added fairing extensions for even more weather protection, bar risers and matching color-coded hard bags. Performance was strong for the time, suspension was courtesy of Marzocchi, and cast wheels and Brembo brakes rounded out the package. Expensive, exclusive and totally unique, the Laverda RGS Executive stands out as an icon from a manufacturer that has created quite a few.

From the seller:
I bought this Executive early this year with only 2500 miles. It was stored away in a warehouse since the late 80's. It had the original Laverda FIAMM battery and original tires when I took possession. I performed the usual tasks that one does to a bike that's been dormant for several years. I replaced the battery, tires, rebuilt front and rear brakes, clutch, front end, rebuilt carbs and did an added some fresh oil. I also installed a Sachse electronic ignition. It runs flawlessly but has some cosmetic issues. It's an all original bike with original paint. It has a baseball size dent on the tank which can be seen in the photos. Also has an area on the topside of right pannier that's been scratched or scuffed. The right side fairing extension is cracked. The aluminum piece of the right pannier fell of on the road and is missing. The original tank had old fuel in it for 3 decades and it was full of sticky gunk so an NOS tank was purchased installed. As you can see in the picture the NOS tank has a dent. The original tank was mint on the outside but the inside nit so much. The original tank recently fell over on my bench and now has a golf ball size dent in the same area as the installed tank. The bike will include the spare tank and if the buyer wants the original battery and phantom tires they will be included as well. All the cosmetic mishaps occurred while bike was in storage.

While the Laverda family threw in the towel in 1985, the company continued the occasional spasm of activity through the 1990s - including a rather audacious reboot attempt that unfortunately failed. Last owned by Aprilia and now fully shuttered, one can consider the long run of Laverda to be from 1873 until about 2004. That's a run of over 130 years, for those of you counting along at home. And during that time Laverda made a name for itself as building motorcycles for real men; motorcycles with substance. This RGS Executive is one of the final models offered by Laverda, and remains a beautiful and collectible machine. Outclassed by the fit, finish and demonic attention to detail of the Japanese, the RGS brings something to the party that cannot be matched by any other motorcycle.

This particular RGS Executive is a very low mileage example: only 4,430 original miles claimed by the seller. That is not a lot of travel for a long-legged beast like this one. Overall the bike looks to be in decent shape, but there are some very obvious (and unfortunate) cosmetic issues. The grips are also not stock items. Keep in mind that we are talking about a low-volume, mostly hand-built machine from a defunct manufacturer. Parts specific to this model will be pricey and hard to find, although the fan base and support group for Laverda remains strong. Does the low number on the odometer equate to a high number at sale time? Given the rarity of the Executive model, there must be interest - but we really don't have enough current data to determine value. Certainly the $15,900 OBO ask is strong, but not horribly out of line across the last 10 years or so. Check out this rare beauty here, and enjoy another cool bike that you won't see every day. Good Luck!!

MI

Overnight Success: 1984 Laverda 1000 RGS Executive
Triumph July 28, 2018 posted by

Tuned Triple: 1995 Triumph Daytona Super III for Sale

In the 90s, it was foolish to take the Japanese Big Four head on: they were on a roll, and if you wanted to compete, you needed to offer something else, something different. They had the high-tech theme down cold, but no one can be all things to all people, and there has always been room in the margins for players with something unusual to offer. And a reborn Triumph had just such a machine with the Daytona Super III.

Sheer economic necessity dictated the design. The bike's spine frame meant versatility and the same basic component could be used as the foundation for a series of bikes with vastly different missions: sportbike, roadster, tourer, cruiser. But the downside was inherent compromise: that configuration carried weight high up and meant that the resulting bikes were generally heavier than more focused rivals.

Engines had the same issues: Triumph’s three and four-cylinder designs were versatile, but they could never be as light or as powerful as something designed for screaming revs and maximum aggression. But although inline fours are powerful, Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, and Yamaha’s reliance on them to power sports motorcycles during this period made the whole class a bit same-y, which likely explains some of Ducati’s contrarian appeal.

Freed from the need to fit into displacement restrictions imposed by racing classes, Triumph was able to create a sportbike focused for the road. The Daytona came in two flavors originally, one powered by the three cylinder and one by the four. The triple was lighter and ultimately more popular, but was very outclassed in the performance stakes compared to Japanese rivals. So Triumph introduced the Super III to at least close the gap and make the bike a viable alternative to more focused sportbikes.

Cosworth tuning increased power from 98 to 115hp and gave the bike a 140mph top speed, along with six-piston brakes. Performance was at least within shouting distance of other sportbikes, but the Triumph offered that charismatic and torquey three-cylinder that had great midrange punch, stable handling, reasonable comfort, much higher build quality and paintwork, along with classic styling that was a complete 180°, compared to the wild graphics and lurid colors found on bikes like the GSX-R750.

From the original eBay listing: 1995 Triumph Daytona Super III for Sale

Between 1992 and 1997 Triumph produced the much appreciated but ultimately underpowered 3 cylinder Daytona 900. This bike was a successor to the original Daytona 750 and boasted a more acceptable riding position designed to increase its sporting ability. But the power to weight ratio was still a problem, especially when compared to other bikes at the time such as the GSX-R and the ultra-light Fireblade/CBR. So for the 1994-96 model years Triumph produced the Daytona Super III, and exported a very limited production run of ~150 bikes to the USA (numbers are approx 1000 worldwide).

Having been bitten by the Triumph triple bug, I searched for 2 years for a Super III and was ecstatic when I came across this extremely clean and well cared for example. Sadly, priorities have shifted and looking to thin the herd. This is not a divorce sale, baby sale, or other emergency sale. I'd like this to go to someone who will appreciate it as I have.  

Bike details: 8779.3 miles although that may go slightly up. 1 season old Michelin Pilot Power tires with less than 1k miles. Forks serviced at the end of last season with fresh oil, seals, and .95kg springs. Everything on the bike is OEM except for e-code halogen headlights for better night vision. All bodywork and paint is original. All factory carbon fiber parts are present, original, and unbroken.  

Extras: extremely rare Sprint Fox Fairing and custom made carbon fiber fill pieces. Comes with an extra fairing mount. Sudco FCR39 carbs (true triple carb setup for the 885, not a re-rack). Spare seat for re-upholstering. Can include some German basketweave vinyl (60's Porsche restoration supply) if desired. It is very similar to the 60's Triumph seat covers, albeit much higher quality.  

Very minor cons: small scratches on each muffler, less than 2". Right side lower fairing has a few light scratches. Some chipping on fairing V behind front wheel.  

This is one of the lowest mileage original Triumph Super IIIs in existence. Extras worth $2,500 alone. Will not separate at this point.  

Japanese sportbikes of this era are old enough that the splashy graphics and DayGlo colors have become cool again, but the simple lines of this bright yellow Super III still appeal. These are very rare and certainly the most valuable of the early Daytonas, but still pretty affordable compared to other exotic machines. The $6,500 asking price is pretty high for a Super III, but the bike appears to be in superlative condition and has been enthusiast-owned, with low mileage, and comes with some very desirable extras. Speaking of: the seller mentions "Sudco" carbs, but I'm assuming they're actually Keihin flat-slides, since Sudco doesn't actually make carburetors, they just sell them.

-tad

Tuned Triple: 1995 Triumph Daytona Super III for Sale
Laverda May 16, 2018 posted by

Semi-Finalist – 1983 Laverda RGS1000

Laverda was already reeling from overseas competition in the early 1980's, but had the gumption for one more design project.  The RGS was based on their recent 1000cc air-cooled triple and rode more like a Beemer than a finicky Italian exotic.  This one has been enjoyed, but is quite original and well maintained.

1983 Laverda RGS1000 ( Canada ) for sale on eBay

For the RGS, Laverda civilized the 981 cc engine with rubber mounts and quieter exhaust, but the 83 hp didn't suffer.  Marzocchi  suspension is found front and rear, but triple 280mm Brembo brakes are a little undersized for a 135 mph streamliner.  Designer details like the Veglia dash, removable pillion fairing and the tank filler in the front ( out of the way of a tank bag ) are sweet period items.

Over the age of EPA, this Laverda should be an easy import from British Columbia.  Seems cared-for despite the mileage - though my back-of-the-napkin ( ok, google ) conversion shows 57,000 miles from 92,000 KM.  Making it sound like a recent acquisition, the owner isn't a slave to details, but says this in the eBay auction:

Hello, have my beautiful almost all orig RGS to sell.  Wolfgang recently went thru her before my purchase with full tuneup, fluids, tires, rejet, etc.  He has most history on it, has had top end done plus small items.  Most normal upgrades done with ignition, etc.  Runs very strong, and smooth.

After the Laverda family abandoned ship in 1985, the company was fits and starts until industrialist Francesco Tognon was nearly successful with a couple of new models in the 1990's, making the RGS almost the last design from an icon dating back to 1873.  Fast, quiet, and smooth, the Laverda was unfortunately slower, heavier, and more expensive than its Japanese rivals.  But if you're after a continental 1980's experience, the RGS is one of a very few...

-donn

Semi-Finalist – 1983 Laverda RGS1000
Triumph April 5, 2018 posted by

Low Mileage Future Classic: 2001 Triumph Daytona 955i for Sale

The first generation of Triumph's new line of motorcycles that followed their resurrection by John Bloor seemed calculated to avoid direct comparison with products from the Japanese manufacturers. They'd obviously learned from their past mistakes trying to match the high performance and low cost of their Big Four rivals, and the new lineup filled in the gaps in more conventional thinking: a sportbike that wouldn't be legal in any major racing class, with comfortable ergonomics and a big, flexible engine. Or two engines? Check. A funky retro-roadster with classic looks and a three-cylinder engine? Check. And it worked: build quality was high and the bikes sold well enough to support a second generation of the machines that included the now-iconic bug-eyed Speed Triple, the versatile Tiger, and an updated Daytona like today's sleek silver example.

The second generation of the Daytona introduced in 1997 still didn't try to go head-to-head with bikes like the GSX-R750 or the GSX-R1100. In fact, with the four-cylinder version gone, it fell pretty much between those two in terms of character and performance: it was more powerful and more comfortable than the 750 and more agile than the 1100. The GSX-R1000 that came along later pretty much murdered the Daytona in terms of outright performance, but Hinkley's big triple sportbike was one of the best roadbikes of the era, and the looks have aged very well.

Originally designated the T595, the revised, fuel-injected 955cc triple put out 128hp at the wheel and a healthy midrange. It was quickly renamed the 955i to avoid any misunderstandings regarding the big triple's displacement. The single-sided swingarm is obviously for looks, since no one that I know of was racing them, and the simple, monochromatic paint suggests confidence in the design: I've always felt that wild graphics take away from a bike's design and distract you from its actual silhouette, like you're looking at some World War II combat ship with bold shapes painted on the hull to make it harder to hit with a torpedo... Anyway, I like these in Triumph's vivid "burnt mustard" color, but this silver example looks very elegant and mature.

The smaller Daytona that was introduced in 2006 carried on Triumph's tradition of oddball displacements, and that bike's famously flexible 675cc triple ended up allowing Triumph to finally compete on nearly equal footing with the more traditional 600cc inline fours. Triumph fans have long clamored for a sportbike built around the bigger, 1050 engine from the Speed Triple, but a new bike based around the 765cc version might be a great alternative to Ducati's "supermid" 959 Panigale and MV Agusta's F3 800...

From the original eBay listing: 2001 Triumph Daytona 955i for Sale

Frankly, there is not too much to say about a 2001 Triumph 955i that has accumulated just over 3,600 California miles since it was delivered in 2001! We will take this opportunity to clarify a few important points, and provide a history of the bike that many believe represents one of the best high performance sports bikes ever produced by Triumph. Specifically:

  • From a cosmetic and mechanical perspective, the bike remains in excellent condition in every respect… no surprises, no excuses.
  • Within a few months the bike was fully inspected and serviced by the local Triumph dealer. The bike has always received "expense no object" care and has been ridden occasionally to ensure full operation at all times. Of course, it has never seen rain.
  • The 955i has always been licensed and carries a clear California title
  • No surprises, accidents, replaced components, aftermarket parts... 100% stock
  • No modifications
  • Stand shown not included
  • Owner's manual included

Note: This is a serious super bike and we recommend that only experienced riders consider the purchase of a bike that is capable of speeds over 165 mph with ¼ mile speeds reaching 130+ mph when piloted by a capable rider.

In any event, if you have a hankering for an absolutely pristine example of Triumph's comeback kid, you're in the right place. There is very little time left on the auction and bidding is up over $4,500 with very active bidding. This is more than you typically see for an early Daytona like this one, but mileage is outrageously low, and appears to be one of the very last built before a significant redesign in 2001 that resulted in a much improved, but less attractive motorcycle.

-tad

Low Mileage Future Classic: 2001 Triumph Daytona 955i for Sale
Laverda February 26, 2018 posted by

Hot Rod Italian: 1983 Laverda Jota for Sale

By 1983, Laverda was on a slow, downward slide as the company made incremental improvements to their charismatic, but outdated machines to keep them marginally relevant: by that point, the Japanese offered bikes with handling, power, and reliability, all at a significantly lower cost. They couldn't match Italian bikes like the Laverda Jota for style, but styling is subjective anyway, and it is really irrelevant if the bikes in question are out of your financial reach in the first place.

But in 1976 when the original Jota was introduced, Laverda was doing just fine. Their new three cylinder 3C that had been introduced a few years prior was fast, powerful, and handsome, on the cutting edge of performance at the time. But British shop Slater Laverda thought the 981cc triple had more to offer, and with new camshafts, high-compression pistons, and an exhaust their "Jota," named for a Spanish dance, was good for 90hp and 146mph, big numbers for the day.

The original Laverda three cylinder bikes, including the Jota, used a 180° crankshaft with the outside pistons rising and falling at the same time. The result has been described as running like a "four cylinder with a miss" due to the ragged, uneven sound and feel. At lower rpm, it almost sounds like a twin, although the extra cylinder adds an additional layer to the sound as revs build and it's a very raw, raucous powerplant. Later machines switched to a smoother, more conventional 120° crankshaft, but all Jotas sound way wilder than any modern triple, so if you're expecting the "neutered" 120° bikes to feel like a modern Triumph Speed Triple, you'll be sadly disappointed or incredibly thrilled, depending on your point of view.

Today's example from 1983 likely has the 120° crankshaft that was introduced in 1982, but with low-volume Italian bikes it can be hard to predict. The earlier, raw-er bikes are generally more desirable, but pretty much all classic Laverda triples have become very valuable at this point, especially Jotas.

From the original eBay listing: 1983 Laverda Jota for Sale

1983 Laverda Jota. All original and unmolested. This bike runs and drives like a new motorcycle. Has been fully serviced, needs nothing. I won't go into a long tirade, because if you're looking at this, you know exactly what you were looking for. Absolutely and confidently NO disappointments!

Well I know what the seller means, buy I'd argue semantics and say that an old Laverda in no way runs or drives "like a new motorcycle," which I think is really the point here. Modern motorcycles are dead reliable and deadly fast, but they basically do exactly what they've been asked to do: they start, they run, they go around corners. That's a little boring, and a Laverda Jota is anything but boring, even in more refined 120° form. A modern bike is basically a tool, and an old bike and especially an old Italian bike is more like a living thing: a lover or a temperamental spouse. The asking price for this particular mail-order bride? $32,000.

-tad

Hot Rod Italian: 1983 Laverda Jota for Sale