1

The Quest for Speed: 1955 Triumph Salt Flat Racer

1955 Triumph Salt Flats Racer R Side

This very cool 1955 Triumph Salt Flats racer looks set to conquer the place that gave the later Bonneville its name. With its bare-metal, hot-rod style and immaculate preparation, it looks lean and stripped down to the bare essentials needed for speed on the flats.

1955 Triumph Salt Flats Racer Tank

Every year, speed junkies gather at the Bonneville Salt Flats, a 40 square mile expanse of flat ground in Utah. The site of a prehistoric lake, the water is long gone, dried up to leave nothing but a seemingly endless expanse of white salt where nothing can grow.

1955 Triumph Salt Flats Racer Rear

The endless plain has no trees, no plants, no animals: nothing to crash into as you head toward the “double-ton” and beyond. Aside from a notorious lack of traction, it’s the perfect place for folks trying to eke out just a last little bit of speed across the disorientingly featureless expanse of the Flats as salt strips paint from fairings and fenders.

1955 Triumph Salt Flats Racer Carbs Installed

There are many modern and vintage classes for bikes, cars, and trucks at The Flats, and you’ll see everything from stock vehicles with openings taped over for better aero all the way up to famous, purpose-built, cigar-shaped streamliners with multiple engines that look more like rocketships than they do motorcycles and cars.

1955 Triumph Salt Flats Racer L Front

This example is far simpler, with a much more reasonable design brief: no front brake, bars down near the lower triple, a rigid rear, and just a thin sliver of padding for a seat, this purpose-built, unfaired machine is an elemental embodiment of the Quest for Speed.

1955 Triumph Salt Flats Racer R Rear

From the original eBay listing: 1955 Triumph Pre-Unit Race Bike for Sale

Engine rebuild by Franz & Grubb in LA to be raced in Bonneville:
Robbins pistons, Amal GP carbs, Morris magneto, 750cc …
This engine kills and is ready to get you a record.
Frame: by FactoryMetal Works, stretched, lowered first-rate build, Ceriani front forks.
Custom gas tank, custom oil tank, custom seat, by Wrecked Metals
Tarozzi foot pegs and grips, high speed tire and rims, disk brakes, Excel rims, RoadRider front tire,
lots of details for engine available for serious buyer
This bike is one-of-a-kind custom Salt Flats racer ready for 2015.

1955 Triumph Salt Flats Racer Badge

There are 5 days left on the auction and the Reserve Not Met at about $4,200. It’s hard to price something like this, since it’s obviously not in any way original, and the bike is obviously good for only one thing: top-speed runs across wide-open spaces. Although maybe it could be converted for some type of vintage drag racing? It does look similar to bikes like the famous Yellow Peril that were designed for straight-line speed contests.

1955 Triumph Salt Flats Racer Carbs

The craftsmanship looks top-notch, with prep so clean it looks like you could eat off the surfaces, and the photography highlights the bike’s sculptural quality and elegant design. I particularly love that shot looking into the carburetor bellmouths.

What’s this worth? No idea. Do I want it? I don’t know what I’d do with it. Park it up and just look at it? Start my own quest for speed at Bonneville? Maybe.

Do I like it? I sure do.

-tad

1955 Triumph Salt Flats Racer Transport

 

1

Signed by the Artist: 1983 Kawasaki KZ1000R ELR

1983 Kawasaki KZ1000 ELR R Side

Prior to bikes like the Suzuki GSX-R750, production-based racers from Japan were big, burly brutes. Engines were large four-cylinders and plenty powerful, fitted to stiff frames that provided stability at the cost of agility. Clip ons? What are those? Superbike racing in the early 1980’s must have been amazing to watch, with pilots wrestling huge, unfaired machines around: in photos, the riders often look like small birds clinging desperately to the backs of charging rhinos…

1983 Kawasaki KZ1000 ELR R Side Rear

This bike is one of the classic road-going race-replicas of the era, a Kawasaki KZ1000R, also known as the “ELR” or “Eddie Lawson Replica.” Eddie Lawson was spectacularly successful on his bright-green KZ in AMA Superbike championship racing during the early 1980’s and the ELR was built to celebrate that success.

1983 Kawasaki KZ1000 ELR Dash

The KZ1000R was based on the more common KZ1000J that was, in essence, and evolution of the original Z1. That engine had grown from 903cc to 1015 but was stepped down to 998cc for the KZ1000 to make it eligible for various racing classes that were limited to 1000cc.

1983 Kawasaki KZ1000 ELR Fairing

Typical hot-rod tricks were used for the KZ1000R to improve performance and the package included an oil-cooler, a slick Kerker 4-into-1 exhaust, and uprated suspension. A slight difference in frame geometry that increased the steering-head angle led to a pretty significant change in feel, and the “R” felt much sharper than its more pedestrian “J” cousin.

But, as stated, the bike was no lightweight at 544lbs dry…

1983 Kawasaki KZ1000 ELR Rear Suspension

From the original eBay listing: 1983 Kawasaki KZ1000R ELR for Sale

I am selling for a friend a 1983 Super Bike Replica with low miles in which I have no reason to doubt. This is a new restoration due to the bike being outside for a few years. It has new tires and brake pads. The calipers and master cylinder have been rebuilt and bled with Dot 5 Synthetic brake fluid. Engine side covers have been re powder coated. Valve clearance has been checked and did not require shims. No engine oil leaks. New chain and sprockets.  I ran this on a shop I.V. bottle. The original petcock does not work and may need rebuilding. This will be shipped without fuel and battery. It has NOS hand grips and bar sliders. Complete tool kit and owners manual. The paint is high quality two stage urethane, the decal kit was NOS. Tail piece signed by the man himself. This would be a nice addition to anyone’s collection

1983 Kawasaki KZ1000 ELR Signature

With just 5,000 miles on the clock and only 750 examples built, it’s no surprise that the reserve has not been met at $7,400, especially since it’s been signed by Eddie Lawson himself! The repaint detracts from originality, but that should be balanced out nicely by that signature.

ELR’s are obviously not for shrinking-violets: the vivid green paint and all-around hooligan temperament make it an extrovert of a bike. These are very useable, so it’s a shame that this one will probably go into a collection and simply look cool, instead of being used to terrorize young punks on modern sportbikes in the canyons…

-tad

1983 Kawasaki KZ1000 ELR L Side

3

Single and Italian: 1970 Ducati 450 Mark 3 for Sale

1970 Ducati 450 Mark 3 R Side Front

This fine Saturday finds this Ducati 450 Mark 3 looking for a home. Although Ducati no longer makes single-cylinder motorcycles, they were the company’s bread-and-butter until the small-displacement Pantah twins arrived in the early 1980’s. The bevel-drive twins grabbed much of the glory, but their smaller, simpler siblings have a long history on the street and in competition. In recent years, collectors have been gobbling these up and prices have been increasing accordingly.

1970 Ducati 450 Mark 3 L Side Detail

The singles were available as sporty racers, practical standards, and even dirt bikes, with a range of displacements from 160 to 450cc’s. They were sophisticated machines, with a tower-shaft driven, single overhead-cam. The 450 Desmo models remain at the top of the heap, but bikes like this 450 Mark 3 are much sought-after as well, with displacement that allows for real-world riding and even highway use.

1970 Ducati 450 Mark 3 L Side

From the original eBay listing: 1970 Ducati 450 Mark 3 for Sale

Bevel Ducati 450 Mark 3 non-Desmo

A cosmetic make over with a low miles strong stock engine with a new top end gasket and seal kiits. bore and everything else inside is like new. Use the “Buy it Now” and get free crated shipping to most of the lower 48 states, with discounts for overseas shipping.

Tank and tool boxes have fresh paint perfect
Frame has good paint
Rebuilt Dellorto 29mm VHB
New points, condenser and plug
New key switch (two keys)
Alloy wheels
Stainless steel spokes
New Michelin tires
New battery
Rebuilt front forks
Rebuilt shocks (Jupiter type)
New cables
New reproduction exhaust system
Tank had been repainted and the chrome panels was unable to save them (silver painted)
Overall the chrome is in good shape for 40+ years, except the chrome on the rear fender is peeling
The seat needs a recover: the pan is solid with no rust (my guy is booked up until 2015)

The seller also included a video of the bike running and idling.

1970 Ducati 450 Mark 3 Dash

With just over 24 hours left in the auction, bidding is up to $4,850 with the reserve, unsurprisingly, Not Yet Met. The Buy it Now price is set at $8,995 which seems reasonable for a 450 Mark 3: while smaller singles can definitely be had for less, the 450’s have been steadily increasing in value. With free shipping to most of the US at that price, I’m a bit surprised there’ve been no takers, since the bike looks to be in pretty nice shape. Any Ducati fans out there care to comment?

-tad

1970 Ducati 450 Mark 3 R Side

 

0

Ironhead: 1960 Harley Davidson Sportster XLCH for Sale

1960 Harley Sportster L Side Rear

While today’s Harley Sportster sells mainly on the basis of it being a Harley, that wasn’t always true. The original Harley Davidson Sportster was introduced in 1957 to stem the growing tide of British bikes that offered lighter weight and better handling than what HD was building at the time. These British machines offered a challenge to the American company on both road and track, with fierce rivalries being born as Harley, Triumph, Norton, and BSA all competed on dirt tracks across the country.

1960 Harley Sportster R Side

Unlike today’s Sportster, the new machine was right in the mix, and offered good power and nimble handling to match the imports. The engine was decidedly old-tech: nicknamed the “Ironhead” motor, it featured all-iron construction and overhead valves, but 883cc’s gave it great bottom-end torque. The “H” in XLCH denoted the “hot” version of the engine that included higher-compression pistons.

1960 Harley Sportster L Side Front

The rest of the bike was more progressive: unlike period Triumphs and modern Sportsters, engine and gearbox featured unit construction, with the engine and transmission sharing a single set of cases. This powertrain was mounted directly to the frame for a more rigid platform with improved handling, with the added benefit that it offered improved numbness for the rider’s hands and feet… Weighing in at about 500lbs wet, the bike was good for a top speed of about 115.

1960 Harley Sportster R Details

Fast, stable, and reasonably reliable, it sold well and took the fight to those pesky imports. At least until the Japanese crashed the party and basically put everybody out of business…

From the original eBay listing: 1960 Harley Davidson XLCH Sportster

A very nice and recently restored classic 1960 Harley Davidson XLCH Sportster with Hi-Fi Blue and Birch White paint scheme. Fully rebuilt and run in motor and transmission with matching lower case numbers and high pipe exhaust. Correct alloy wheels, solo seat, and 1038 CP hardware with correct finishes and more. Recently judged and scored in the high 90% range at the 2014 El Camino Classic Motorcycle Event in So. California. Ready for show or go!

Located in Southern California. 

NOTE! This motorcycle is selling with a clear title.

With three days left on the auction bidding is active and up to $8,000 with the reserve not met. That’s no surprise: this looks like a very sharp, very nice example with the higher-performance “CH” engine and matching numbers.

-tad

1960 Harley Sportster R Front

 

0

Boosted Classic: 1982 Honda CX500 Turbo for Sale

1982 Honda CX500 Turbo L Side

Here’s a bit of an odd duck: a cherished Honda CX500 Turbo! For a period in the early to mid-1980s, all of the major Japanese motorcycle manufacturers flirted with forced-induction, although it seems to have been a bit of a fad. The main advantage of a turbocharged motor is efficiency: some wasted exhaust energy is scavenged and repurposed to the production of more power, and obviously you can get much more volumetric efficiency with a turbo than you can with normal aspiration. But the benefits of forced-induction in a motorcycle are outweighed by the additional complexity they bring to the table, especially when a simple bump in displacement or revs might, at least in a motorcycle, provide the same power increase.

1982 Honda CX500 Turbo R Side Fisheye

But in the automotive world, the word “turbo” was all the rage, and bike manufacturers didn’t want to be left behind. Many of these early attempts were fairly crude, and while turbo lag and a big hit of power can be a rush in a car, they’re especially dangerous qualities for a bike. Porsche’s early 911 Turbo developed a reputation for lethality because mid-corner boost from the primitive turbocharging combined with tricky lift-throttle handling to surprise more than a few owners, testing their cars’ build-quality and crash durability as they headed off the road backwards.

Now imagine that same dynamic, on a bike leaned over at 45° on 130-section tires…

1982 Honda CX500 Turbo Dash

When Honda joined in on the craze, they did it with typical refinement, although their choice of a platform might seem odd at first. Instead of a signature sophisticated and smooth four-cylinder, they chose their almost retro-tech, slightly ungainly CX500 v-twin. But while the spec sheet for the CX500 looks low-tech, it was actually a very sophisticated design, with many thoughtfully designed aspects designed in: the pushrods were required by a slight twist to the angle of the heads so the carburetors didn’t try to occupy the same space as a rider’s knees, and the transmission spun counter to the longitudinal crankshaft to minimize torque-reaction to the shaft-drive rear.

1982 Honda CX500 Turbo R Fairing Detail

Most importantly, the engine was liquid-cooled and could easily handle the additional heat and pressure that the turbo would add, and the simplicity of the 80° twin left plenty of space for intake and exhaust plumbing. The resulting package was far from pretty, but with 19psi, the little 487cc motor put out 82hp and could push the bike north of 120mph. The bike also featured modular ComStar wheels and tubeless tires, a relative rarity at the time.

1982 Honda CX500 Turbo L Side Rear Suspension

From the original eBay listing: 1982 Honda CX500 Turbo for Sale

Well, you found it! My pride and joy. And if you are looking at this listing I can pretty much guarantee you already know alot about this motorcycle. Its super rare and hard to find. It has been in my possession since around August 2005. It appears by paperwork I have in the shop manual that I am the third owner and that it was originally purchased in CT.

This bike is in original condition with a few exceptions. I replaced the front brake lines with Galfer SS lines just this past weekend. Along with the new lines I did a complete rebuild of the front calipers, polished caliper pistons, new piston seals and dust caps, new pads, master cylinder rebuild, and of course new fluid. Also shortly after I got it the paint on the exhaust was chipping off on the “TURBO” shields. I removed the paint with intentions of painting it back black and never got around to it. Besides that this bike is stock and unmolested. Adult active duty military owned, kept in a climate controlled garage and was the Queen of all the bikes, always covered up and sheltered from the elements.

However, this bike is not perfect. It does have imperfections and most of them common to this model. A paint chip in the front fender, a scratch here and there, the crack in the right side fairing that is common due to the heat off the exhaust, a small crack in right front turn signal (cant see it unless your looking for it), Small imperfection in the windscreen, etc. Remember this bike is 32 years old!!! Also the bike was laid over in the garage by previous owner and probably contributed to the crack in the fairing. The left side battery compartment cover was cracked real bad when I bought her. I replaced it with an original equipment one soon after I bought it. There is a piece of gauge cluster foam gasket material that has slid down on the tachometer. It does not affect the function of the tach and I was going to replace but am scared to take it apart that far. I’ve tried to take pictures of all her imperfections and am representing the bike to the best of my ability.

Thats the bad, now the good. Bike has a new battery, original owners manual, shop manual (which I used to rebuild brakes), and runs like a top! I just rode this bike this past weekend with my dad and it still makes me grin ear to ear when the boost kicks in and the turbo gauge ramps up to max psi! It is definitely like no other bike I have ever had and I hate to see her go and hope the next person will appreciate her and take care of her as well as I have.

The CX500 was produced for only one year, and was followed by the more refined, slightly bigger CX650 Turbo. While ultimately a technological dead-end for motorcycles, the flirtation with turbocharging has led to a few very funky, affordable collector bikes, and many can be found in very nice condition if you poke around.

There are still a couple days left on the auction, although the reserve has not been met at about $3,000. It looks to be in very nice, original shape: the cracks are unfortunate, but speak to the originality of this machine and the bike is in otherwise very nice shape. The stainless front brake lines are a welcome touch and the bike appears to have had very careful maintenance.

1982 Honda CX500 Turbo Front Suspension

Turbocharged bikes were a bit of a gimmick at the time, but can be a real blast on the road: that lag and boost can be a bit of a pain if you’re looking at lap times. But on a back road, that rush of power can be a whole lot of fun! And modern technology that smooths power delivery, reduces lag, and improves safety might see the return of forced-induction to motorcycle manufacturing… Fun, collectible, reliable, and affordable, snap one of these up before prices shoot up: 80’s bikes are still a bit uncool, but these things tend to be cyclical [pun!] and interest is on the upswing.

-tad

1982 Honda CX500 Turbo R Side

 

3

Six Appeal: 1979 Honda CBX for Sale

1979 Honda CBX R Side

One of my favorite double-take bikes, the Honda CBX can appear at first glance to be simply just another 1970’s motorcycle. But even out of the corner of your eye, something looks off. A second look, and it all becomes clearer:

“Hmmmm… That’s an awful lot of engine up there.”

1979 Honda CBX L Engine

The 1047cc straight-six looked massive but was, in reality, not a whole lot wider than Honda’s 750cc four. But where that engine just about tucks into the complete package, that extra bit of CBX just hangs out on either side, a huge aluminum brick just barely surrounded by a motorcycle. With no radiator in front to block the view, the 6-into-2 exhaust is on full display, a polished metal pipe-organ monument to excess.

1979 Honda CBX Dash

While the straight-six GP bikes that inspired the CBX were light and lithe and packed their impossibly tiny, Swiss-watch mechanicals behind sleek bodywork, there was nothing subtle or sprightly about the CBX. Nearly 600lbs ready-to-roll with typically mediocre Japanese big-bike suspension, the bike shared nothing but engine configuration with its racing cousins. It was possibly this confused message that ultimately made the bike such a hard sell: a heavy, expensive bike inspired by racing but with absolutely no racing pretensions whatsoever? People did buy the bike, and lucky for us, treated them with care and respect, but they were not huge sellers at the time.

1979 Honda CBX R Front

Eventually, the CBX was updated with slab-sided styling and a monoshock rear suspension. It was less elegant, but much more suited to the bike’s real forte: fast touring.

From the original eBay listing: 1979 Honda CBX for Sale

Original 1979 Honda CBX, excellent condition with 17k miles. Original Paint and parts, there are aftermarket mirrors and an oil pressure gauge currently on it but I have the original mirrors and cap that go with the bike. Bike has never sat unused or in non running condition, it starts up easily and runs smoothly and perfect. No leaks, drips, or issues. That is the original seat and exhaust on the bike, there is one small rust spot on the left side exhaust, right side looks clean. There are no splits in the seat, all tabs on the side covers are intact. Bike is in excellent condition but it is 35 years old so not perfect. There is a small scratch on the back of the fender and a rub mark on the rear seat cowl. I am selling the bike for the original owner who is now 84 years old and can no longer ride. I personally rode the bike approximately 80 miles in the last couple weeks and it is an absolute joy to ride. I have the bike and clear title in hand. Bike is for sale locally, inspections are welcome and I will cancel this listing if the bike sells.

1979 Honda CBX R Engine Side

Interestingly, these were some of the first Japanese bikes to attain classic status. They were never really treated as the appliances,which makes sense: while Japanese sportbikes were typically marketed to, shall we say, less-than-sympathetic owners who used the machines’ mechanical excellence as an excuse to beat the living hell out of them, then forget them in a shed, the CBX was always a high-end, luxury grand touring bike.

1979 Honda CBX L Side Rear

With 17,000 miles on the clock and a Buy It Now price of $11,900, this seems like a pretty decent price for what appears to be a very good CBX: the black is a little bit faded, but the bike looks very sharp and original.

While the nearly $12,000 asking price might seem like a lot of cash, the value of these has remained relatively flat, while bikes like the Kawasaki H1 and Z1 have increased significantly over the past few years. I wonder if, with the CBX, we’ve hit that intersection between rarity and value, or if they’ll spike upwards again. I’m hoping not: they’re on my list of bikes to own.

-tad

1979 Honda CBX L Side

0

Three Kinds of Trouble: 1973 Triumph Hurricane

1973 Triumph Hurricane R Side

Looking like a grownup version of a Schwinn bicycle, all the Hurricane X75 needs to be full-on childhood dream embodied in steel is a sparkly vinyl banana seat. A sort of proto-factory chopper originally designed BSA, the extroverted styling was a bit of an overreaction to the original design of the bike, which was thought to be too much like the plain-Jane Bonneville for the wild-eyed, long-haired hippies over in the USA.

So Craig Vetter, no stranger to unconventional designs, was called in to do a bit of a makeover, and his signature one-piece tank-and-tail style is on display here, although you might have missed it if you were looking at the right side of the bike… With the unusual single-sided three-into-three exhaust looking like it might make rides into one, long right-hand turn.

1973 Triumph Hurricane L Rear

From the original eBay listing: 1973 Triumph X75 for Sale

CLEANING HOUSE !!!!!!! Selling my Hurricane and several other bikes. Realistically priced to sell. Happy to answer all questions. Bike is a very low mileage machine from Canada. Absolutely one of the nicest you will find. It has not run in 2 years but the fuel and carbs were drained prior to putting it on display and the engine has been turned regularly. I have all the Canadian import paperwork but no title. I’m more than happy to get a title for an additional $500 to cover the fees for this machine or I can give you all the Canadian paperwork and you do it yourself.

When BSA went out of business, just 1200 three-cylinder engines were put aside and the X75 was rebranded as a Triumph. These are very collectable these days, and it’s easy to see why: right out of the box, they look right and have plenty of performance.

1973 Triumph Hurricane Engine

Bidding is very active on this bike, with a couple days left on the auction and the Reserve Not Met at $17,200. I’d prefer a few more high-res photos of the bike, considering the price bracket we’re playing in here, but that close-up of the stamped engine serial number suggests that the bike is pretty clean. I’ve seen asking prices much higher than this, and it looks very solid, so worst-case scenario sees a paint job and a light mechanical refresh.

So depending on where this ends up when the hammer falls, you could think of it as a bargain!

-tad

1973 Triumph Hurricane L Side Dark

 

4

Tasty Two-Stroke: 1985 Yamaha RZ350 for Sale

1985 Yamaha RZ350 L Side Front

I’ve only recently become an acolyte in the Church of Smokers. Growing up, I mostly heard them in the context of dirt bikes ripping up and down our street, and the angry, mechanical-insect noise isn’t really the sexiest… But I’ve opened my mind to the antisocial little things, and this bike might make a great introduction to two-stroke ownership.

Sold between 1984 and 1985 in the US, the Yamaha RZ350 was powered by a liquid-cooled, two-stroke parallel-twin that displaced 347cc’s. This long-serving powerplant was introduced in 1983, with variants finding home in select Yamahas until 2006.

1985 Yamaha RZ350 R Front

Evolved from the RD350, the RZ added liquid-cooling and Yamaha’s torque-enhancing power-valve technology dubbed, originally enough, “YPVS.” Can you guess what that stands for? This computer-controlled system helped to smooth out the traditionally peaky power delivery of the two-stroke, plumping the mid-range for improved street usability.

1985 Yamaha RZ350 Dash

A terror on back roads of the time, the RZ350 was literally one of the best-handling bikes you could buy at any price. Remember, this was before the GSX-R750 was introduced, and while many bikes made more power, they were usually correspondingly heavy and unwieldy: the RZ was light and nimble, with a powerband that needed chasing and a gearbox that rewarded the rider for doing so, a real enthusiast’s motorcycle.

1985 Yamaha RZ350 R Side Tank

From the original eBay listing: 1985 Yamaha RZ350 for Sale

Fresh Paint about 5 years ago
Frame was powder coated
Couple of chips in front fender and a couple of nicks in stickers but otherwise paint is sparkling.  Looks like a new bike!
DG – Pipes
K&N Air filter
Aluminum battery box
Engine Stock
Never Raced
In the family since 1990
New Battery
#’s match

Bidding is active and there are just a couple days left on the auction, with the Reserve Not Met at $3,900. These can really run the gamut in terms of quality and state of tune. This one is largely stock and has been repainted, but ridden, which is as it should be.

1985 Yamaha RZ350 L Front

The RZ is the epitome of a “useable classic:” these are fun to ride, with plenty of power. They’re striking to look at with a strong community of experts and amateurs to help you keep your little bumblebee buzzing. Parts availability is excellent and  includes a wide range of updated parts, owing to the long production run of these two-strokes into the modern era, with many parts easily retrofitted to improve reliability and performance.

-tad

1985 Yamaha RZ350 R Rear

5

Classic Bevel-Drive: 1973 Ducati 750GT for Sale

1973 Ducati 750GT R Side

If you’ve got a spare kidney, there’s a very nice Ducati 750GT in Ontario that’s looking for a home. Bevel-drive Ducatis continue to appreciate in value and, with the SS and Sport models out of reach for the average enthusiast, the more pedestrian GT is the only shot at round-case action for most people. While the only v-twin Ducatis to get the famous Desmo valvetrain were the SuperSports, the GT still had a very precise bevel-drive and tower-shaft arrangement that help give these bikes their classic style and sound and maintenance bills…

1973 Ducati 750GT Dash

Interestingly, the GT is also the most practical of the v-twin Ducatis: while it lacks the racy clip-ons and solo seat of the Sport and the sleek fairing of the SS, ergonomics designed with human beings, instead of hellbent-for-leather track monkeys, means that owners with the dosh to afford these can actually enjoy them, even if their monkey days are far behind them…

1973 Ducati 750GT R Side Engine

Ducati’s line of 750cc twins got a cosmetic make-over in 1974 that featured a more rectilinear look for the engine cases. Purists greatly prefer the more rounded-style of the earlier bikes, and it’s easy to see why: in the same way that the Triumph Bonnevile epitomizes the look of a classic British twin, the 750 Ducati captures the best of Italy during this era of motorcycling. While the new cases were much more “modern” at the time, they pointed the way forward into the more slab-sided, altogether less elegant and more slab-sided 70s and 80s.

1973 Ducati 750GT Seat

From the original eBay listing: 1973 Ducati 750GT for Sale

I have added more pictures of the stuff that comes with the bike.
1973 Ducati 750GT round case. A true collectors motorcycle, certainly one of the most beautiful motorcycles ever produced.
Engine number 751XXX DM750, Frame number: DM750S 751XXX, 2nd series. North America

Engine:

Carbs are 32mm Dellorto’s (PHF 32AD, PHF32AS), K&N filters, the original 30mm Amal carbs are included, with original air boxes and hoses.
OEM Tommaselli twin pull throttle and controls.
Engine has never been apart since I have owned it. Always lovingly tuned and maintained.
The finish on the motor is authentic and unrestored. It’s always looked like that since I’ve owned it.

Chassis:

While the bike has not been restored in the purest sense, It has been brought back to as close to its original condition as possible.
Correct Borrani flanged rims (RM014403, RM014626/1)
Original front hub. The bike had a single Lockheed disk brake and caliper. At some point in my ownership I borrowed the master cylinder for another project, figuring I could always come up with another when the time comes. I searched high and low for a single Lockheed master cylinder with no luck. I did find a Lockheed master with 2 rings on it indicating a double disk set up. Now if you think finding an original rare master was difficult, try finding a second disk and an even more rare, mirror image Lockheed calliper. I did find a pair from a later model and that is what is on the bike now. Has Earls stainless braided lines – braking is much improved. OEM Single disk included.

The front end is OEM Marzzocchi leading fork. Excellent chrome, pinch bolt has been overtightened, cracked and will need attention, (see photo)
Exhaust pipes, and balance pipe are original and cleaned up nice, mufflers are Bub replicas. I can find one of the original Contis, the other must be around somewhere, they are painted black and not nice.
Original sidestand!!!
Seat has been reupholstered to match original pattern and is really nice. Small 1/8″ tear, (see photo). Original seat included.
Fiberglass tank and side panels painted to original spec and tank sealed and lined. Really nice.
Frame was painted red! by original owner at some time and then the coat of black paint on it now looks presentable.
The bike had been in dry storage for 20 years, periodically turned over with oil in cylinders. Protective coating on cycle parts. Cleaned up excellent. Changed oil, new battery and started after 4 kicks!

1973 Ducati 750GT Front Brakes

The listing includes a comprehensive account of many parts used to recondition the bike. While the dual front brakes may not be original, I’m sure there aren’t too many people who will mind that update very much! Especially since the paired Lockheed calipers are period-correct. Originality is cool, but considering the reputation the original Scarab calipers have, those might be best left for museum pieces…

Asking price is $23,000 with about 24 hours left. All-in-all, a very nice bike, at a price that’s definitely less than a well-optioned Hyundai Elantra. I know that if I were cross shopping those two vehicles which I’d choose…

-tad

1973 Ducati 750GT Rear Suspension

2

Old World Craftsmanship: 1964 Velocette Venom Clubman Veeline

1964 Velocette Venom R Front Full

1964 Velocette Venom Clubman Veeline. Now that’s a real mouthful of a name, but it just sounds so British. And it is, designed around a classic single-cylinder engine and built by hand by a family-owned company based in Birmingham, UK.

1964 Velocette Venom L Rear

These days, singles are most often associated with offroad and enduro-styled machines, or with practical, budget-minded learner bikes and commuters. But for many years, single-cylinder machines were a mainstay of the motorcycle industry. They played to the basic strengths of the configuration: fewer moving parts meant simplicity, which in turn led to reliability, light weight, and a practical spread of power. And Velocettes were anything but cheap and cheerful: they were famous for their quality construction and innovative designs characterized by gradual, thoughtful evolution and craftsmanship, as opposed to mass-produced revolution as favored by the Japanese manufacturers.

1964 Velocette Venom R Front Detail

Displacing 499cc’s, the Venom’s aluminum overhead-valve engine featured a cam set high in the block to keep pushrods short. It put about 35hp through a four-speed box that included one of Velocette’s innovative features: the first use of the “positive-stop” shift.

1964 Velocette Venom R Rear Detail

From the original eBay listing: 1964 Velocette Venom Clubman Veeline

For sale is my 1964 Velocette Venom Clubman Veeline frame# RS17215 engine #VM5634. It has the Lucas manual racing magneto, Thruxton seat, Thruxton twin leading shoe front brake, 10TT9 carb. 

I bought the bike earlier this year out of the Mike Doyle collection at auction. I don’t have much previous info on the bike, overall it is in great shape. The fairing has some nicks and scratches, and a crack underneath but presents well. To get it going, I changed the fluids, adjusted the clutch, brakes and installed a new 6V battery. After learning “the drill” the bike runs magnificently. I’ve put about 100 miles on it. The clutch works properly and it shifts fine. The TT carb is a challenge to tune and be civil around town so I’m in process of bolting on a new monobloc. The TT comes in a box. It does weep some oil out of the clutch while running so it comes with a new o-ring seal and felt gasket along with a few other bits and bobs like new rubber grommets for the cables and shock bushings.  

This is a very complete and highly original bike showing 6229 miles. I have a California title and it’s currently registered in my name. No reserve, happy bidding.

Update 10/7 – Finished installing the Amal monobloc and the bike runs and idles great, was able to take it for a putt. It doesn’t need a choke so I left it off, but comes with the choke parts and a new cable. I’ll post a video of the bike running on Saturday. One other item to note is that the decompression lever and cable are missing. 

1964 Velocette Venom L Side

The “Clubman” designation indicated higher-performance specifications, including higher compression and a bigger carburetor, along with a sportier riding position and a closer-ratio gearbox. The “Veeline” featured the optional fairing, making this particular example relatively rare.

Velocettes make ideal collectable British singles, owing to their high-quality construction and relative reliability. With several days, bidding is up to $7,800 with the reserve not yet met. I’m relatively unfamiliar with the current value of these, but this appears to be in very nice condition, and that fairing, will not especially sleek, is very distinctive!

-tad

1964 Velocette Venom R Front

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