Posts by tag: V-3

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Honda October 13, 2022 posted by

Three for the Road – 1985 Honda NS400R

In the spate of GP racer replicas that littered the 1980s, perhaps none are as perplexing as the Honda NS400R. Patterned after the NS500 that Freddie Spencer rode into the history books (with a nod to the RS500 privateer machines), the NS400R shared the GP bike’s odd 3-cylinder arrangement. And while the NS400R was the biggest two stroke street bike in the Honda arsenal, it was seriously outgunned by both the Yamaha RZ/RZV500 and Suzuki RG500 Gamma. Still, the Honda brought some innovate touches to the party and should be considered for anyone interested in a GP replica from the era of the smokers.

1985 Honda NS400R for sale on eBay

Like the big Yamaha, the Honda NS400R arranges the cylinders in a 90 degree vee formation. But in the Honda’s case, there are two cylinders laying flat in the front of the motor, and the single rear cylinder sticks nearly straight up. This allowed Honda to centralize the mass of weight lower, and closer to the ideal location for weight balance. The lack of a 4th cylinder simplified packaging of the individual expansion chambers and triple flat slide carbs. This unusual powerplant was nestled into a boxed-section aluminum frame which optimized geometry for the GP-inspired 16″ front wheel. Dry weight was reported to be a relatively svelte 360-ish pounds, and with 71 HP extracted from the screaming three cylinders the Honda was perhaps the easiest of the big two strokes to handle.

From the seller:
1985 Honda NS400R in an original unrestored condition as it came from Japan starts and shift like it is a 2 strokes beast. All original including the windscreen which is a very hard to find an NS400R with original windscreen. The motorcycle still wears its original paint. It was not been dismantled nor been altered or tinkered with. I bought it from a motorcycle dealer in England who imported it from Japan. It was not cheap and easy to get it here and register it. I replaced the battery (Yuasa), chain (DID), the front tire (Bridgestone Battlax), grips and the handlebar weight with nos ones. It comes with a clear title Japanese and brochure. The bike is registered with clear Texas title in Hand and in my name. Checks/money orders have to clear before I release the motorcycle. Deposit is non refundable.

Area that needs attention:

Front upper and lower fairing
RPM needle sticks sometimes
Broken Left peg

Fun little Honda quirks abound on the NS400R. Front forks are air adjustable with anti-dive assist. Out back there is an aluminum swingarm acting on a Pro-link single shock with preload adjustment. The aerodynamic fairing covers the majority of the bike, and includes touches such as aero fairings on the forks AND the kickstand. Pretty cool!

The Honda NS400R is a real gem from back when the Japanese were trying all sorts of engine combinations to find success at both the showroom and the racetrack. Today these are hard to find in decent condition, and they always command a pretty steep price. Today’s bike is not perfect – as highlighted by the seller in pictures and text, but it is certainly presentable. There are some scuffs here and there which is to be expected from a used bike of this age. The solo-look seat cowl seems to be missing, and (to me) the front fender looks slightly different than the brochures for the red/white/blue models – but does look consistent to the Rothmans livery models. This might be due to variations in components for different geographies; experts on the model are welcome to chime in. The asking price for this one is, well, steep: $17,500 in Buy It Now format. You can check out all of the details here, and Good Luck!!

MI

Three for the Road – 1985 Honda NS400R
Honda May 18, 2021 posted by

Three Legged Race: 1985 Honda NS400R

The Wonderful World of Honda in the 1980s pretty much consisted of every possible engine arrangement, frame type, suspension system, across multiple models in the same segment. It was like Honda decided to shotgun the sporting world with as many options as possible. In truth, Honda was looking for an edge – both at the racetrack as well as the showroom. What transpired was a significant number of hits… and misses. The wonderfully weird NS400R is an example the falls right in the middle of the pile; it was not a monumental failure, but neither was it a runaway success. Today these remain very unique motorcycles.

1985 Honda NS400R for sale on eBay

While the rest of the two stroke world was playing with parallel twins, v-fours or square fours in 250cc or 500cc capacities, Honda threw that all out the window by marketing a 400cc v-three. Hondas ATAC exhast power valves were used on two of the three cylinders to aid in lower RPM torque. Tight and compact, the 400cc motor breathed through reed valves with carbs that were nestled inside of the vee. The configuration was for two cylinders to point forward with one upward, allowing for a very low and forward placement in the aluminum perimeter cradle chassis. The NS400R came equipped with a 16″ front wheel to lower gyroscopic steering effects, which was GP-level technology at the time. With 72 HP pushing 359 lbs of bike, performance was spirited.

From the seller:
PLEASE NOTE! THIS VEHICLE SHIPS OUT OF LAS VEGAS, NV. SHIPPING NATIONWIDE DIRECT TO PURCHASER’S RESIDENCE AVAILABLE. MILEAGE IS IN KILOMETERS, CONVERSION TO MILES WOULD EQUAL 28,980 MILES.

Wearing its factory-issue blue and white Rothmans livery, the replica racer is the largest-displacement, street-legal two-stroke road bike that Honda produced. The limited-production NS400R was only sold from 1985 to 1988, and this first-year model traces its lineage back to 1979. Honda was cleaning up in 500cc class motocross racing with two-stroke engines, but its four-stroke-powered World Grand Prix road bikes were lagging behind the competition. After internal deliberation over its four-stroke racing heritage, Honda pushed forward into two-stroke development and created an engine that was literally three times as good as its single-cylinder motocross performers. The water-cooled NS500 fused the power of three two-stroke motocross engines into a compact and lightweight V-3 configuration that produced 120 HP at 11,000 RPM. Freddie Spencer grabbed Honda’s first 500cc class win in 15 years on an NS500 in 1982, and then rode a lighter and more powerful NS500 to a 1983 500cc World Championship. The following year, Honda manufactured a limited-production version of the championship racer for privateers called the RS500 that was a near duplicate of the works machine without the specialized exhaust. Yamaha and Suzuki had already released street-legal replica racers, and Honda answered the challenge with the NS400R in 1985. The 387cc liquid-cooled two-stroke V-3 cranked out 72 HP at 9,500 RPM with triple flat-slide carburetors, and a 6-speed transmission wet clutch combination got the power to the ground. TRAC anti-dive front forks and a Pro-Link rear suspension joined a box section alloy frame and triple disc brakes with dual-piston calipers. The road-going replica racer was a street-legal facsimile of the NS500 V-3 that Fast Freddie rode past his 4-cylinder competition to become the youngest ever world champion at 21 years old. Honda discontinued the NS400R in 1988, and this two-stroke V-3 is a collectible waiting for a rider.

Although odd in design, perhaps the worst that can be said about the NS400R is that Honda didn’t make it a full-blown 500cc machine. With decent suspension (including cutting edge anti-dive front fork), full racer bodywork and typical Honda build quality, the NS-R was a formidable machine. But much like the RZ350 that lived in a world of middleweights, the Honda was always just a little bit less than the competition. It stands on its own as a smoking sports bike, handles sublimely well thanks to that low center of gravity and stiff chassis, and was generally regarded as a two stroke that you could live with even when you weren’t wringing it to redline with every gear change.

Today’s example is a very clean NS400R in the Rothman’s racing livery. It has seen a considerable amount of use (reread that statement about this being a two stroke you can live with, above), and that mileage might scare some buyers off. The seller doesn’t say anything about the history of this particular specimen, whether it has gone through a top end rebuild at any time, or when the crank seals were last changed. Aside from that, $13,995 will send you home with this beautiful bike. Check out all of the details here, and Good Luck!!

MI

Three Legged Race: 1985 Honda NS400R
Honda December 29, 2019 posted by

What Could Be – 1986 Honda NS400R

With most riders expecting the best part of 200 hp per liter, later two-strokes of middling displacement are often treated like caged animals. This Honda V-3 doesn’t appear to have been babied, but does boast current California registration.

1986 Honda NS400R for sale on eBay

Honda acknowledged that the 500cc GP formula was not going to be won with the four stroke NR500, and returned to the podium with the NS500.  Wishing to capitalize on their success within Japanese regulations, they presented a 387cc race lookalike, which was brought stateside in a plain gray wrapper.  The surprisingly symmetrical triple had two forward cylinders and the third more vertical.  The bank of three 26mm Keihin carburetors are plumbed directly in from the top, with the outside exhausts riding underneath and the center taking a scenic underseat route to the license plate.  Even with Honda’s ATAC power valve, acceleration below 7,000 rpm is gradual, then a controlled explosion to the 9,500 rpm peak of 72 hp.

Thirty-plus years on, almost every bike will have some unknowable history.  This example has evidently received more attention on the mechanical side than to the out-front details that grab eyeballs.  Seems like doing about 10% of the required beautification would make a 90% improvement.  From the eBay auction:

Just serviced and ready to ride.  Has some cosmetic issues as can be seen in the pictures, but the previous owner installed a brand new engine which has less than 1,000 km or less than 600 miles on it, even though the odometer reads 26,296 km which is about 16,400 miles.  Odometer may change slightly as it is ridden occasionally to keep it in great running condition.  Starts easily and runs great, but needs new kill switch assembly.
Previous owner had installed a new engine, and we rode this bike a few times over the years, but with 60 bikes in the collection it did not get ridden very often. I had it completely serviced in August 2019 and new CDI units were installed (this bike uses two).  Just had the carbs cleaned last week so it is running fine.  The bike has a CA title and registration and I have it in hand.

The livery on this NS400R is similar to Honda’s GP works livery in the early 1980’s, when Freddie Spencer was quickly drafted from Honda’s AMA Superbike effort.  Spencer hit pay dirt in 1985, winning at Daytona as well as the 500cc and 250cc GP championships.  This NS400R has a lot of question marks – high mileage, engine change, and pictures that serve only to start a conversation.  But if some of those could be resolved, it might justify the owner’s reference to a high-dollar Mecum auction winner.

-donn

What Could Be – 1986 Honda NS400R
Honda January 7, 2019 posted by

Featured Listing: 1985 Honda NS400R

While the world was off building 250cc and 500cc two strokes, Honda went their own way. Sure they built 250cc repli-racers (and even 125 and 150cc varietals). But when it came to the big two stroke, Honda took a cagey direction and built a mini hot rod. Emphasizing all the great points of a 250cc in terms of size and weight, Honda created a unique 400cc entry based on a V-3 configuration (just like their GP bike). The result was a bike not as powerful as the Gammas and RZs of the time, but more lithe and flickable than the bigger beasts. And although it was ultimately out-gunned on the top end, the NS400R could hold its own when the going got fun.

1985 Honda NS400R for sale on eBay

While a V-3 engine configuration might seem odd, it was actually a stroke (pun intended) of genius. Laying the two front cylinders forward and the single rear cylinder upright, the frontal area of the bike could be made as narrow as a parallel twin. And while both the Gamma square four and the RZ V-4 could boast similar stats, the NS single rear cylinder allowed the frame and bodywork to narrow considerably – a boon to both ergonomics as well as aerodynamics. The reed-valve triple also made due with a single crankshaft, which kept mass and rotational weight down when compared to rivals. The Honda power exhaust valve – dubbed ATAC – mellowed the power delivery of the bike, but like all two strokes nirvana is best discovered up near the top of the tach. With an aluminum chassis to maximize the benefits of the V-3 weight distribution, a front anti-dive fork holding a GP-inspired front wheel, and bodywork mimicking the race-only NS500 GP machine, the NS400 was considered the most polished of the large-bore two stroke set. Typical Honda fit, finish and reliability pervade the machine and the riding experience.

From the seller:
Reluctantly selling my 1985 Honda NS400R
Freddie Spencer inspired, 3 cylinders, 2-stroke, 72hp rocket
JDM spec, imported directly from Japan by me
Registered in California (current plate, registration and clear title)

More from the seller:
Complete frame-off restoration
Rare Rotthmans racing scheme
Only 10,700kms (6,700 miles)
Very rare and the US and even more with CA plate/title
Many parts powder coated, refurbished, too many details to list
All original fairings repainted to original specs
Looks and runs amazing

There is a LOT to like about this particular NS. First off, it has the rare Rothmans race livery, as opposed to the more common red/white/blue/yellow color scheme. It wears OE fairings, however they have been repainted. Thanks to what looks like a total refurb this bike is clean, clean, clean (just look at those pics!). For even more pics the seller has posted before, during and after images here. And while the rest of the world might not care, the California title is a nugget that is not to be missed. Here in Cali, two strokes are pretty much verboten – making this gem a bit of a unicorn. And chances are very, very good that a California title will enable reciprocity with nearly any other state of the Union. With importation and titling taken care of (a major headache for most), this restored NS400R is waiting for a new owner to ride off into the sunset.

The bigger two strokes continue to rise in value over the years. The Honda NS400R is a very unique offering in this segment, and not as popular in numbers as the big RZ/RZV, nor as popular with collectors as the Gamma. And while some of this can be attributed to the more diminutive stature of the 400 (think Dani Pedrosa instead of Cal Crutchlow), the limited years of production (1985-1987) likely have much to do with it. It you are in the market for a classic two stroke from this era, do not discount the magnificent NS400R. And when it comes to specimens, today’s example is one of the best we have seen in a long time. Check it out here, as this auction is going quickly – as is the bidding. Get your hand in today, before this one is gone. Good Luck!!

MI

Featured Listing: 1985 Honda NS400R
Honda April 6, 2011 posted by

Let there be smoke! 1986 Honda NS400R

For Sale: 1986 Honda NS400R

Take a moment to ponder those lucky Canadians. Long recipients of bikes never considered for import into the US, the “neighbors to the north” continue to be the source of some great machinery. In this case, a rare ’86 NS400R V-3 two stroke. Today’s bike is a clean looking example of the breed, with stock pipes and recent service.

From the seller:
Up for auction is a 1986 Honda NS400R. Honda’s biggest 2stroke street bike. The bike is take on Freddie Spencer’s 1983 world championship winning NS500 triple. It is a 387cc V3. I have a clean title in hand.

The bike will need new tires. There are a few paint chips that have been touched up. The carbs were serviced by Rocket Cycle here in Toronto, ( NOT CHEAP ). The coolant was changed in October and the bike went into storage in November. I didn’t ride the bike much this past summer only a handful of times, just to keep things moving. Its a fun little bike that does gets quite a bit of attention. It was a rare bike in 1986 because it was expensive when compared to what other bikes were being sold for. I believe they sold about 405 of these bikes in Canada. None were shipped to the US, but I did see one at the Barber Museum in October , when I was there for the RG gathering.

As there was a ban on tobacco ads back in the mid 80’s, the Rothman’s livery was not available in Canada. So the bike was only sold in the HRC scheme. It was a sweet looking bike back then and still looks good today. The comstar wheels really compliment the look of the bike.

The bike will be sold as seen. I will include the service manual which was hard enough for me to get. The infil part that sits behind the passenger seat will also be included, as will the chrome tie down hooks. They are not on the bike now because I don’t like the look of chrome on this bike.

I bought this bike because I liked the look and mystique of this unusual bike, but now its time to move on. It was respectfully ridden and never abused.

Winning bidder must arrange there own shipping. I can deliver the bike up to 100 kms free of charge.

There is NO warranty implied, expessed or otherwise. It is a 25 year old USED bike. The bike is being sold as is. Pickup from my home is welcome. ASK ALL QUESTIONS BEFORE YOU BID.

The seller, who also has a Yamaha RZV500 (now sold) and Suzuki RG500 Gamma (not for sale), has offered a few videos of the NS400. Enjoy the popcorn sound of two strokes!

This video does not have the greatest sound, but it sure is nice to see these bikes out on the road – and it would be even better if those roads (and bikes) were in the US….

The starting bid for this Japanese-Canadian beauty is a cool $5,000 US. With 22,000 miles on the odometer, this is not a new, low miles bike. On the other hand, it has been ridden and appears in reasonable condition. I suspect the lack of a US title will impact the sale, but perhaps some savvy RSBFS reader can clue us in on how hard it is to import one of these beauties.

The auction is on now, and waiting for you to .

MI

Honda January 21, 2011 posted by

A Few, Very Rare, Race Bikes For Sale; Ex Roberts & Aoki

These three authentic race bikes are very special in their historical value, for winning and for not!

First Up:

Bike:  1999 Honda CBR900RR Erion Racing; Ex Kurtis Roberts

Location:  California

Price:  POR

The seller, RMD Motors, is sparse on the details, but it should be obvious what you’re looking at being that this bike is said to be authentic.  They do state that the bike produces 200hp at the rear wheel, comes with nothing other than what is in the photos (Read: No spares)–but that does include Kurtis’ actual leathers.

The AMA Formula Xtreme series is intended for production bikes, with some, but not many, rules on what parts of the bike you can exchange for aftermarket parts.  The intent of Formula Xtreme is to allow as many types of motorcycles to compete, anything from inline-fours to air-cooled V-twins.  Formula Xtreme racing is usually one of the more competitive and entertaining races of an AMA weekend; Many veterans such as Eric Bostrom, Jake Zemke, Josh Hayes, Nicky Hayden and Kurtis Roberts among others have cut their teeth in Formula Xtreme.

Erion Racing has continued to be a prominent name in Honda AMA racing with even a special Erion Racing edition CBR929RR released for the U.S. market by the manufacturer.  For 1999, Erion Racing was the winner of the Formula Xtreme championship with another title in 2000.  I’m not adept on the Formula Xtreme rules for 1999, but it’s obvious looking at the bike what some of it’s features are:  Race bodywork with mounts, analog tach’,  race fuel tank, larger radiator, Erion SS/Carbon full exhaust system, aftermarket triple clamps, Ohlins forks & rear shock, Brembo calipers, Marchesini wheels and I’m sure much more that I didn’t notice!  This is a chance to own a fantastic looking, legitimate, race bike with a championship under it’s belt.  I’m unaware how many races this particular bike won, I’m not sure about the 900 designation as this should be a 919 or 929 based on the year, but you still have a serious piece of AMA history regardless and I’m sure RMD would be happy to answer your questions.

See this Erion CBR900RR on RMD’s website here.

Next Up:

Bike:  2002 Kenny Roberts Proton KR3; Ex Nobuatsu Aoki

Location:  California

Price:  POR

As you may know, 2002 was the last year for two-strokes in MotoGP.  Two-strokes had their last hurrah in 2001, but couldn’t overcome the 490cc deficit they had to the four-strokes in 2002 and were finally obsolete–How you may feel about this is up for debate.  Regardless, Proton KR racing had a respectable finish in the 2001 championship with Nobuatsu Aoki & Jeremy Mcwilliams finishing 12th & 14th in the championship, respectively.  The disadvantages for the privateer team of Proton KR were immense and they didn’t receive much help from their V-3 format.  The four cylinder bikes of 500gp had the most tractable power delivery–If it’s possible to say that for a GP two-stroke–while also having the most power.  As an example, the NSR500v was a V-Twin example of Honda’s factory NSR500 designed for privateers and had nowhere near the power of the factory bike.  The theory was that the two and three cylinder machines had a lower weight and could out corner the larger bikes, in practice the two and three cylinder bikes hadn’t a chance but on a wet course or a very tight one.  The Proton KR3 debuted in 1997 and was a joint venture between legendary racer Kenny Roberts and Malaysian giant Proton.  While they may not have won any championships, or come close–and as frustrating as I imagine it was for KR–I’m sure “King” Roberts enjoyed it, I know I would have!

This example looks to be in fantastic condition.  The seller states that this bike will run and comes with a small selection of spares.  As I’m sure you can imagine, it would be no small feat to run this bike anywhere, especially when consumables are accounted for.  However, if you have the funds, ask yourself:  How many times does a 2001 500GP bike come up for sale?

See this bike on RMD’s website here.

Lastly:

Bike:  2004 Kenny Roberts Proton KRV5 XM2; Ex Kurtis Roberts

Location:  California

Price:  POR (Rumor has it $300,000)

The Proton KR KRV5 debuted in 2002 with the adoption of four-strokes.  The V5 in KRv5 denotes that this bike has a 60deg V5 arrangement and a displacement of 990cc, putting out 200hp @ 15,000rpm.  The bodywork appears to be the latter iteration of the KRV5, which is consistent with the Valencia technical inspection sticker.  For 2004, Kurtis Roberts was only able to finish twice in France and Brazil with 15th and 19th, respectively.  The bike for sale here shows a technical inspection sticker for Valencia in 2004, however Roberts never started the GP at Valencia in 2004.

So, what are you getting for your money?  As things stand right now, you’ll get a fully functioning seven year old, privateer, MotoGP bike with a minimal spares package.  This bike currently doesn’t hold the value that any of the factory bikes would and shouldn’t for a long, long time.  However, none of those factory bikes are currently available–that I’m aware of–and you’ll probably be waiting a very long time for one to pop up if you don’t already know someone who has one.

See the bike on RMD’s website here.

So, all of these bikes look to be from the same seller/collection, but which one is the one to have if you can only choose one?  Obviously, the most expensive will always be one of the Proton KR bikes, with a large gap back to the CBR.  My money says that the 2002 Proton KR3 will always be the most valuable bike of the three; The most important influence being that it is one of the last two-stroke 500GP/MotoGP bikes to ever be produced–privateer or otherwise.  The 2004 KRV5 will always be a interim MotoGP bike and if the rules are again revised to allow 1000cc bikes, it won’t even have a displacement draw.  The CBR is a National Championship bike, even if it’s only in Formula Xtreme, and that kind of provenance doesn’t come everyday.

There are two kinds of collectors these bikes are for:  One who has a decent amount of money to spend on a collector bike, and someone who has obscene amounts of money for a collector bike.  The Proton’s are obviously the expensive bikes with the Erion CBR checking the affordable box.  Both of the MotoGP bikes have parts that you’re never going to be able to purchase from any retailer, and I’m sure the CBR has some good HRC bits on it too.  I wouldn’t be ashamed to have any of these three bikes, but I’d absolutely love to have a final year Grand Prix two-stroke.  If nothing else, spend a little time to enjoy the photos!

AG

Honda June 16, 2010 posted by

1986 Honda NS400R (Untitled)

This is a genuine NS400R for sale somewhere in the U.S.!

Bike: 1986 Honda NS400R

Price: $7,500 USD

Location: Unknown

Mileage: 34,000km (21,126mi)

The seller states that while this bike does have 34k km on it, the bike had an entire engine rebuild and new crank at 32k km.  The bike has always been stored inside and starts on the first kick.  Unfortunately, the bike is untitled and leads to the best line from the seller’s ad “It has no title as I imported this one from the Netherlands so I can’t register it, but you can.”  Oh, OK!  The asking price of $7,500 isn’t bad at all for NS4ooR’s that we’ve seen but, this example also isn’t registered.

This bike, and color scheme, was released in 1985 to commemorate Freddie Spencer’s 1983 World Championship; Freddie also won the 500cc & 250cc championship in 1985–the only person to do this.  Just like the bike Freddie rode in 1983, this bike is a liquid-cooled, three cylinder, reed-valve, two-stroke in a V-3 configuration.  The V format makes the motor very compact–displacing about the same space as a parallel twin–and is housed in an aluminum box section frame.  The GP inspired setup results in a dry weight of 163kg (359lb).  The 59hp is spread out over the power band (as best a two stroke can do) through Honda’s AT AC (auto-controlled torque amplification chambers) exhaust power valves on the front, two, expansion chambers.

This was a pretty advanced bike in ’85 and is still pretty cool 24 years on, if you have some magical skills or don’t mind a $7,500 piece of furniture–it’s cheaper than that grand piano you probably can’t play–I would have a look at this very nice looking NS400R.  See the NS’s we’ve shown in the past here.  See this example on the WERA forum here.

AG