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Super-Clean Custom: 1977 Yamaha RD400 for Sale

1977 Yamaha RD400 R Side Front

So hands up if you think the whole cafe racer thing is played out! I do love the democratic nature of the café racer movement, the democratic nature. You can spend as much or as little money as your imagination allows, and build your dream using any brand machine you want. But the thing that makes is so cool is the exact thing that makes it so cliché: everybody with a battered old bike, a hacksaw, and some flat-black spraypaint can get in on the action.

But, every once in a while, a bike comes along that shows just how the whole thing got legs again. And this cool, relatively simple Yamaha RD400 is one of those bikes.

1977 Yamaha RD400 R Side Tank

By the late 1960’s, Japan had proven that it had the engineering expertise to take on the established brands from Europe and America and was busy crushing them under their heel in terms of sales. They were inexpensive, featured sophisticated engines, and were much more reliable than their rivals. But the one area where they generally couldn’t compete was handling: bikes like Kawasaki’s Z1 were very fast in a straight line and merely competent in the corners, while their H1 earned a reputation for being downright treacherous. For most street riders, that was fine, and Harris, Spondon, and Rickman could whip you up a new frame if you really needed to go around corners.

1977 Yamaha RD400 R Side Engine

But there were some notable exceptions to this, and Yamaha’s line of middleweight two-strokes combined playful, two-stroke punch in a lightweight package that made it the ride of choice for backroad-burners and aspiring racers: while heavier than the track-only TZ, it featured that bike’s racy geometry, strong brakes, and a six-speed gearbox. Worry-automatic oil-injection helped keep two-stroke hassles to a minimum.

1977 Yamaha RD400 Tank

From the original eBay listing: 1977 Yamaha RD400 Custom for Sale

This 1977 Yamaha RD400 custom is a real head turner!  People will stop you all the time to ask about it!  This was professionally built by Motohangar in Vienna VA.     The bike was completed in June of this year.  Bike is a total, ground up restoration and performance modded machine.  It was a feature story on the Pipeburn website on June 16th 2014.    It was also featured on Yamaha USA’s Facebook page where they called it “a masterpiece.”  If you search it online you will see that it has been re-posted to dozens of enthusiast websites around the world.  Take a minute to check out the feature story on Pipeburn where the builder details the build process and there are lots more photos.    

Bike has fewer than 100 miles on it since rebuild and is absolutely immaculate.  Starts beautifully and sounds like two-stroke heaven due to the hand built Jim Lomas race pipes. Pat at Motohangar has built a number of show stopping bikes over that last few years, including the best in show “Honduki” bike.

This bike has been described as a 70’s LeMans style resto mod due to its stunning paint and graphics.  Everything was completely disassembled and rebuilt and repainted–engine cases are beautifully detailed, frame is freshly painted, wheels were blasted and painted, new seat pan and tail section custom built (oil filler relocated to top of tail section)  custom LED tail light fabricated, neutral and oil warning lights relocated into top triple.

Vintage Smoke rearsets–which include a Brembo rear caliper, Jim Lomas pipes, clip on’s, Frank’s fork tubes, new Dunlop tires, new Assault rear shocks, new chain, new brakes, cross drilled rotors– the list goes on.  This bike is far superior to a brand new RD.

This bike is very fast and responsive to the throttle.  It will put a smile on your face every time!  It sounds like a crazed pack of hornets coming down the road!  Seller has current Virginia title.

1977 Yamaha RD400 R Side Rear

Very clean and striking, this is the kind of custom that emphasizes the original bike’s style, while doing its own thing. The taillight is very cool and nicely done, if a bit overstyled, and I love the warning lights integrated into the top triple. I assume the “MH” on the engine is for “MotoHangar”, although I could do without that particular detail…

1977 Yamaha RD400 Tail

At $6,300 with the reserve met and a couple days to go, I’m very curious to see what this goes for. If this stays anywhere in that range, someone’s getting a serious bargain for a very classy, one-of-a-kind motorcycle.

-tad

1977 Yamaha RD400 R Side

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The Littlest Superbike: 1976 Honda CB400F

 

1976 Honda CB400F R Front

Introduced at a time when “middleweight” machines almost exclusively featured single and twin-cylinder engines, Honda’s little CB400F was really a “because we can” middle finger in the face of the competition, a demonstration of engineering mastery. Out of the box, it offered no performance advantage over twins, singles, and two-stroke alternatives: the increased weight of the package was only partly offset by the additional power that higher revs allowed.

1976 Honda CB400F Dash

But that was hardly the point. Introduced in 1975 and built until 1977, this was really a more sophisticated alternative to those bikes that offered a smooth, silky 408cc four-cylinder powerplant and a six-speed gearbox when bikes from Britain generally had only four speeds…

1976 Honda CB400F Tail

Unfortunately, that same complicated specification led to relative high prices for the class, and that resulted in poor sales. If you wanted cheap speed in a package that handled, Yamaha’s RD bikes were the ticket. But Honda’s little four offered a much more refined package. With a distinctive four-into-one header that clearly advertised the bike’s specification, the rest of the bike was relatively conservatively styled.

1976 Honda CB400F L Tank

While these weren’t especially fast right from the factory, legendary Honda durability allowed tuners to wring some fairly insane power from these for the race track… Tuner Kaz Yoshima built CB400’s to compete against much larger bikes and his could hit 130mph!

1976 Honda CB400F R Rear

From the original eBay listing: 1976 Honda CB400F for Sale

I’ve reluctantly decided to sell my 1976 CF 400F Super Sport. A recent total shoulder replacement and a dangerous increase in local traffic have curtailed my riding pleasure. In an effort to accurately describe this motorcycle, this description may get a little tedious, but I would rather give interested parties an in depth look than leave out any important details. If I left out any information, please let me know.

History: I purchased this bike in September 2005 from the original owner’s family in Tennessee. It currently has 11,008 miles, it has a clear South Carolina title, and the engine and frame numbers match. It has never been laid down. It is in very good to excellent mechanical and cosmetic shape. When I acquired the bike it was obviously very well cared for and the previous owners kept detailed records since the original purchase. During my ownership I have kept up regular service and maintenance, and always stored in a climate controlled garage. Documentation includes original written sales receipt from dealer, most maintenance records, original owners manual and warranty booklet (in original plastic pouches). Also included is original toolkit that appears to have 10 oil drain bolt washers still sealed in a plastic bag. Also from the previous owners is a binder that contained a xeroxed copy of a shop manual along with the maintenance records and parts purchased in it. There were a lot of OEM items supplied with the motorcycle when I bought it that I cannot find receipts for, but they were in OEM marked sealed bags. Some were used in subsequent maintenance described below.

Items Not Original: The battery is about 7 months old and sale includes a hardwired battery tender with quick connect. The original tires were replaced by my local Honda dealer at 10,890 miles, so they have 120 miles on them. The new tires are Bridgestone Battlax BT-45’s. I also had the original chain and sprockets replaced at the same time, all OEM replacements. The previous owners had replaced the master brake cylinder/reservoir (OEM). Included with my purchase of the bike was a new starter/kill switch assembly as the starter button had an intermittent short, a very common issue on these bikes. After installing it, the new assembly (and brake reservoir) did not match the patina of the old turn signal assembly on the left-side of the handlebars. In an effort to make them all match (they look like they have a bronze/black anodized coating), I replaced the left-side turn signal assembly (OEM) again with parts I acquired with the bike. The brake and clutch handles look more like a pewter finish so they didn’t need replacing, they are original and still have the original heavy plastic coating and rubber tips. I still have the old left and right assemblies that are included with the sale, but not the master brake cylinder.

1976 Honda CB400F Nekkid

The listing includes lots of additional history and detail. Keep in mind the “numbers matching” issue that the seller mentions in his listing, although it looks like this really won’t be any problem for a potential buyer. Bidding is pretty active, so it seems like buyers aren’t being scared off.

At $2,949 and a couple days left on the auction, this looks like a good deal for such a shiny, original machine with only 11,000 miles on the clock. This is another one of those bikes that I’d love to pick up, if I only had the space to keep one. A great introductory classic, or a bike for someone who wants to spend more time riding than wrenching!

-tad

1976 Honda CB400 L Front

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Yellow One-Lunger: 1975 Ducati 350 Desmo for Sale!

1975 Ducati 350 Desmo R Side

Today, Ducati’s famed “Desmo” valvetrain features across their entire range, giving them something to crow about in their marketing material, something for bench-racing affectionados to brag about, something that adds just a bit to the symphony of noise these bikes make. But with today’s streetbikes that can rev to 16,000rpm and still go 16,000 miles between valve adjustments, there’s really little practical advantage to Ducati’s avoidance of valvesprings.

These days, the biggest limiting factor for Ducati motors is piston speed, not valve float.

1975 Ducati 350 Desmo L Side Detail

But in the 1950’s, when “hairpin” valve springs were still regularly used and metallurgy was less advanced, there was a definite performance advantage for a desmodromic system. Most cars and motorcycles use the lobes of cams or pushrods to open valves, and springs to close them. But at high speeds, springs just can’t close the valves fast enough before the cam pushes them back open, leading to “valve float” where the valves never actually close all the way. In addition to the obvious performance problems this can generate, pistons can actually strike the open valves, causing catastrophic failure.

1975 Ducati 350 Desmo Dash

Designed by Fabio Taglioni and first applied to the 1956 125cc race bike, Ducati’s desmodromic system uses cams to both open and close the valves, completely eliminating float and allowing for very precise tuning. In 1968, Desmo performance came to the street and was eventually available in 250, 350, and 450 flavors. The 350 was actually 340cc’s with 10:1 compression and a 5-speed box.

1975 Ducati 350 Desmo R Side Detail

Interesting, the 250 and 450 models were far more flexible on the street, with the 350 the hot-headed middle child. The bike could top 100mph easily in stock form and was just about ready to go racing right out of the box: just add a bigger carburetor and megaphone exhaust.

From the original eBay listing: 1975 Ducati 350 Desmo for Sale

An exceptional example of an original yellow 350 Desmo Single. Designed by Italian designed, Tartarini, these Desmos were the pinnacle of Ducati’s single-cylinder design and performance. Restored by current owner approximately 20 years ago with limited mileage since then.

Bike comes with 36-spoke Borrani alloy rims, four-leading-shoe Grimeca front drum brakes, and 32 mm Dellorto SSI remote-float racing carburetor. Engine was disassembled, inspected and rebuilt with new parts as required, including 76.4mm high-compression piston and electronic ignition. Starts and runs perfectly.

Includes original parts (not pictured) such as steel chain guard, engine brackets and front brake stays. Other minor engine spares also included.

1975 Ducati 350 Desmo L Rear Suspension

This particular example is finished in classic Ducati yellow, that’s almost orange. Yellow is a color that’s so easy to do badly, but this particular shade is a very rich, evocative color. Shouty and just a bit “look-at-me” but classic and subtle at the same time: it’s easily my favorite yellow and a great match for the bike. I also love the gauges that swing underhand in a more British style, but with classic Italian markings.

At $12,000 currently with the Reserve Not Met, I’m curious to see what this sells for. Most 60’s and 70’s Ducatis are not Desmos and feature regular valve springs, and the early Desmos have been highly valued for some time.

-tad

1975 Ducati 350 Desmo Cockpit

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The Anti-UJM: 1981 Ducati Pantah 600SL for Sale

1981 Ducati Pantah SL600 R side

Ducati’s original Pantah is perhaps the “anti-UJM”. Where many motorcycles of the late 1970’s and early 1980’s seemed cut from a very similar cloth, with the characteristic unfaired, transverse inline four, and stepped dual-seat, the Pantah is almost aggressively futuristic in a way that set the tone for the decades that followed, although no one would likely credit the fairly low-production machine with starting the trend…

1981 Ducati Pantah SL600 L Engine

Introduced in 1979 to replace the classic, but conventional models Ducati had been making up to that point, it’s main engineering claim-to-fame was the new engine that was designed to reduce production costs and maintenance compared to the bevel-drive models. While the venerable twin was powerful and very good-looking, the many small parts needed proper set up and needed fairly fine adjustment.

1981 Ducati Pantah SL600 Front

While the belt-driven Pantah engine did, until recently, famously require very regular belt changes and valve adjustments, both of these procedures are relatively straightforward, and the engines performed as advertised: they’re rugged, respond well to tuning, and make famously cool noises.

Originally a 500cc engine, the new twin made 50hp and could push the 443lb 500SL to 115mph. In 1981, displacement was increased to 600.

1981 Ducati Pantah SL600 Dash

From the original eBay listing: 1981 Ducati Pantah 600SL for Sale

Up for sale this week is a very nice 1981 Ducati Pantah 600 SL. It was just repainted and a new factory decal set was applied.

I acquired this bike a few years back from a noted West Coast Ducati collector, having searched for 3 years after regretting selling my previous one. It is the only Pantah in stock configuration that I have seen for sale on ebay since 2009.

According to the previous owner, this bike had been gone through mechanically within the 2 years prior to my purchase. The engine runs strong, and I’ve never had an issue with any of the electrics or ancillaries.

 The bike is beautiful, one of my favorite designs of all time. The engine presents beautifully, and the few places on the frame where the paint has rubbed off have been touched up.

The odometer shows 59,000 Kilometers. That’s 36,000 miles. It neither looks nor rides like an old bike.

The reason for selling this bike is two-fold. First, at 6’1”, my knees touch the fairing. Secondly, at 57, back issues have forced me to give up riding anything remotely café-style. Much as I love this bike, I’m not operating a museum over here, so she’s got to go to a new home.

As I said, I haven’t seen another stock configuration Pantah available on ebay in 5 years. If you have been looking for one, this is the one. I have set a fair reserve based on the condition and availability of these bikes. You can be confident that this bike won’t disappoint.

These bikes were until recently dirt-cheap to acquire, although they’ve been headed ever-upward in value: this one is looking at a starting bid of $5,000. They represent the perfect useable classic, with real performance and handling, good parts availability for the engine, and even a bit of wind protection.

1981 Ducati Pantah SL600 L Rear Wheel

If 36,000 miles on the clocks puts you off, it shouldn’t: Ducati’s two-valve twins are very rugged and can reach 100,000 miles before needing any significant internal work, assuming they’ve been properly cared for.

This one looks ready to gas up and ride.

-tad

1981 Ducati Pantah SL600 L side

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Tangerine Dream:1982 Laverda Jota for Sale

1982 Laverda Jota R Side

It’s been positively raining Laverdas this past couple weeks. I normally try to mix things up, but Laverdas, especially ones like this Jota don’t come around all that often, so it’s a case of “making hay while the sun shines”…

The original Jota was created, not by the Laverda factory in Breganze, Italy, but by Slater Laverda, a dealer and shop in England. Introduced in 1976, it was basically a high-performance version of the company’s 3CL 1000 with a much more evocative name.

1982 Laverda Jota L Side Engine

Upgrades generally included high-compression pistons, camshafts, and a free-flowing exhaust although Jotas were, in the typical Italian style, subject to different specifications, depending on when and for what market they were built. It wasn’t a true factory model, so details varied from country to country and year to year, although US models are generally understood to be of lower-spec than the original British bikes.

1982 Laverda Jota Dash

Changes to the 981cc three-cylinder engine were good for 90hp and 146mph. Early bikes featured a 180° camshaft that had the outside pistons rising and falling together. Supposedly better for power, and certainly good for noise: the Italian triple was raw and raucous, and sounded like a four with a miss… In 1982, Laverda switched to a smoother 120° camshaft, although having heard those a few times in person, they’re far from tame.

1982 Laverda Jota Front

Jotas are brutal bikes: tall, with heavy controls, although the famous adjustable bars at least make finding a comfortable riding position a bit easier. The flip side is that they’re also ruggedly overbuilt and while, like all older machines, they do require more tinkering than a modern motorcycle, the hard parts are extremely robust and the bikes can cover huge miles before needing significant work.

From the original eBay listing: 1982 Laverda Jota for Sale

This is a 1982 Laverda Jota 180 which has just finished a restoration after being in long term climate controlled storage. It is number 8118 making it one of the last ones built.

Everything that needed to be replaced was replaced – details of the items are below.

This is as close to an original bike as can be found in North America.

The bike is ready to ride – I’ve put just a few hundred miles on it since restoration, to test all systems and performance, and is ready to go to someone who will love and use her.

Restoration did not include any engine work; seals etc but there are no leaks.

This bike has ~9500 miles on it, with more being added. This bike had never been taken apart, it had damage to the fairing during storage, caused by falling wood, which was repaired and the entire bike was repainted by a professional painter. The tail piece was broken and replaced with a carbon fiber unit. The stripes on the tail piece reveal the carbon fiber. A new dark windscreen was installed.

When adjusting valves the internals looked brand new!

This is a US Spec bike, all in fantastic original condition. Please look at the photos, original finish on engine and frame, was in great condition when I acquired the bike. I went through and rebuilt all the hydraulics and carbs with new parts. I replaced the original Ignition and pickups with an Ignitech controller and electronic sensor board as the original pickup wires had deteriorated. I repaired the original pickup wiring and they will be included.

The listing also includes additional work that has recently been done to the bike. Although this one is listed as a 1982, the seller mentions it has the earlier 180° so it’s technically a leftover 1981 model, making it far more desirable than the later versions. Interestingly, these make peak power at 7,500 rpm, north of the indicated redline on the suspiciously Honda-looking tach, making the red band actually more of a “power band”.

1982 Laverda Jota Clocks

Bidding is very active, as you’d expect, although at just north of $11,000 the reserve hasn’t been met yet. That’s no real surprise: this looks to be a great example of the last of the fire-breathing Jotas, and should go for a good bit more than that.

While I’m not the biggest fan of the huge fairings often found on these, my fantasy garage absolutely includes a three-cylinder Laverda. In bright, Laverda orange.

-tad

1982 Laverda Jota L Side

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Marvelous Mutt: 1968 Rickman Metisse Triumph for Sale

1968 Rickman Metisse Triumph L w Fairing

In the 1960’s and 1970’s, if you weren’t happy with the handling of your stock motorcycle, you could contact a number of different specialist frame companies for your racebike or road-legal custom. Among these, the name “Rickman” ranks among the very best, right up with Spondon and Egli, producing frames and bodywork for buyers who wanted something truly exotic.

Early on, they focused on offroad racing, but their catalog eventually encompassed roadracing and street bikes as well, starting with the engine and transmission from the Triumph Bonneville like this particular example.

1968 Rickman Metisse Triumph R Rear

Rickman’s signature frames were constructed from lightweight, nickel-plated tubes that provided a stiff foundation for improved suspension, and many featured internal oil-passages that replaced oil tanks and coolers. The completed hybrids were amusingly named “Metisse,” French for “mongrel.”

1968 Rickman Metisse Triumph L Front

For the most part, the company produced kits instead of complete motorcycles, supplying frames and bodywork: engines, transmissions, wheels, and electrics not included. A wide variety of engines were fitted snuggly into Rickman frames over the years, but Japanese big-bore machines featured heavily in their later output. Like Bimota, they recognized that the handling of these machines could be improved, and the resulting bikes featured the best of both worlds: Japanese engineering and reliability combined with British innovation to create fast, nimble, and rare bikes that could compete on road or track.

1968 Rickman Metisse Triumph Clocks

From the original eBay listing: 1968 Rickman Metisse Road Racer for Sale

The condition of this machine is highly original, un-restored, and preserved, having covered 828 miles since new. All of the numbers are factory correct and original. It is the 650 cc engine. The gearbox is also original to the machine. This Norton is completely original and has never been apart. I am the third owner from new, the first long-time owner being the legendary female motorcycle trailblazer Barbara Lee Weber of Chicago. It is in preserved, original, and almost showroom new condition.

The paint is the original red and is nearly flawless. The original decals are still applied to the gas tank. The plastic sidecovers are in excellent condition and are not in need of any type of repair.  

All of the original accessories, including the headlight and very hard to find tail light, are in operational condition and in excellent original condition.

The Rickman Triumph on the road is very easy to handle, and rides down the road very tight, with no shakes, shimmies, or rattles. It shifts and accelerates smoothly and holds the road as it should.  

There is absolutely NOTHING that needs to be done to this machine to ride it occasionally and enjoy it as a showpiece. Unlike other machines for sale on the internet, this one is ready to ride and not in need of any expensive service once you get it home.  

1968 Rickman Metisse Triumph Engine Detail

There’s a ton of additional information, original documentation, and photographs over on eBay, so pop on over for a look. Bidding is pretty active on this one, with five days left and the Reserve Not Met at $9,100. If you’re looking for a Rickman, this is a very nice, unrestored example of their original road bike with as detailed a history as you’re ever likely to find.

-tad

1968 Rickman Metisse Triumph R No Fairing

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Low and Lean: 1973 Moto Guzzi V7 Sport

http://bit.ly/VSUIbu

1973 Moto Guzzi V7 Sport Green L Side

To me, old Moto Guzzis like this V7 Sport are just about the perfect vintage bikes: they’re rare, but parts are available to keep them running. The styling is classic, but they’re relatively reliable, and dead-simple to work on. Construction is rugged and durable, but the bikes are still sporty and agile compared to their contemporaries. They’re sportbikes, yet can actually rack up miles, since they’re not highly-strung or fragile. And the innovative frame design by Lino Tonti that allowed the engine to be set low for handling and cornering clearance, also just happens to make for the lowest, meanest-looking bike of the period.

1973 Moto Guzzi V7 Sport Green R Side Detail

Although some very odd folks have occasionally been known to race the earlier “loop-framed” Guzzis, they were primarily sport-touring machines, and Guzzi wanted a piece of that “win on Sunday, sell on Monday” pie, so they needed something with a bit more handling. They knew the powertrain would do the job, but the frame of the V700 was just too tall to be competitive in racing.

1973 Moto Guzzi V7 Sport Green Dash

So Lino Tonti designed a very low frame with detachable bottom rails to improve handling, the engine was punched out from 703cc’s to 748 to slip in under the 750cc limit for racing, and a 5-speed gearbox was fitted. The generator was moved from the top of the engine to the front and replaced with a compact Bosch alternator, freeing up room for the frame top rails. A huge front drum was fitted and adjustable “swan-neck” clip on bars allowed the ergonomics to be tailored to suit the rider’s mood.

1973 Moto Guzzi V7 Sport Green Rear Wheel

From the original eBay listing: 1973 Moto Guzzi V7 Sport for Sale

Mostly Original Great Vintage Motorcycle 24592 miles!

This is a very close to original bike, although recently repainted.  Has been stored indoors, as a collector on display, for many years.  If you want this one to run, it would need to be gone through, battery, etc.  But otherwise you can leave dry and add to your collection.  

Due to the misplacement of a single box during the painting, the gas cap box locks and pet cock are not included.  If/when that box is found, those items will be included.  Please see the photos and let us know if you need any more.

The original run of Telaio Rosso [“red frame”] bikes were basically hand-built, with details not found on later bikes, including sand-cast engine cases. And while those few bikes represent the Holy Grail for Guzzi fans, the production V7 Sport was made in enough numbers to make them a realistic goal. Prices have more than doubled in the past ten years, but they’re still relatively affordable and very usable bikes, with plenty of replacement parts.

1973 Moto Guzzi V7 Sport Green Front Wheel

As always, it’s especially important to do your research before plunking down cash on a V7 Sport: the Tonti frame was in production for more than 30 years, and tanks, fenders, bars, and exhausts are all available, so many replicas exist.

-tad

1973 Moto Guzzi V7 Sport Green R Side Detail2

 

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Little Rocket: 1973 Kawasaki 350 S2 Mach II

1973 Kawasaki S2 350 R Side

Kawasaki’s two-stroke triples were a milestone in Japanese motorcycling history. While the Honda’s CB750 offered sophistication and technology at a relative budget price, it wasn’t really doing anything you couldn’t get elsewhere, although you’d have to pay a lot more to get it… But Kawasaki’s line of two-stroke triples that started with their H1 500 in 1969 was exactly its own thing and created its own, purely Japanese vision of what a performance motorcycle should be. The bikes were designed for basically one thing and one thing only: brutal straight-line speed with a crackling, angry-buzz soundtrack that left a haze of blue smoke hanging in their wake.

1973 Kawasaki S2 350 R Engine

Made between 1971 and 1974, the Kawasaki S2 350 was instantly recognizable as a part of their two-stroke family, and featured familiar styling cues that included the three asymmetrical exhaust pipes and kicked up ducktail rear. As with many of the smaller-bore machines sold in the US, the S1 and S2 were really overseas models designed originally to skirt taxes on bigger machines and licensing laws for new riders. So the 250 Mach I and 350 Mach II were actually more civilized than their bigger 500 and 750 brothers, although maybe “civilized” might be pushing things a bit, or should at least be considered a relative term…

1973 Kawasaki S2 350 L Dash

The 346cc engine featured a smooth 120° crank and put out a claimed 45hp at 8,000rpm in typical two-stroke, lightswitch-style and the narrower engine of the smaller bike improved cornering clearance. It was a good bit lighter than its bigger brethren at 330lbs dry, and that lighter weight led to a corresponding improvement in what was known at the time as “handling”.

1973 Kawasaki S2 350 L Side Tank

These little triples were actually pretty nimble, although the first year was definitely underbraked and the marginal front drum was replaced with a more powerful disc for 1972. The 350 was eventually replaced by a 400cc version in 1974 that actually made less power but was more flexible.

Translated from ALL CAPITALESE over at the original eBay listing: 1973 Kawasaki S2 350 Mach II

This is a fine example of a 73 S2. A fair amount of time and labor went into this bike to spruce it up. It runs very well and is very good condition. The tins were completely stripped to bare metal, reconditioned and painted to the stock original color. There is no decal: it’s all paint. A professional vintage motorcycle auto body shop performed the work and it is showroom condition paint.

The seat is in pristine condition and is original. New bars, grips, mirrors, polished controls. The engine covers were removed triple polished and new gaskets were installed. Tube seals and dust boots were replaced. Both rims were in great shape and were cleaned, rear hub was triple polished, new spokes installed along with new tires and tubes. Cylinders were honed and new std bore pistons and rings installed. The caliper and master cylinder were serviced. Oil change, plugs, points and condensers, dialed in, timed and tuned. The carbs were serviced, synced and adjusted. It still has the clean original exhaust pipes. All hardware was cleaned, polished, and/or replaced. It is all stock in appearance.

It starts on the first kick and rides nice and smooth.

1973 Kawasaki S2 350 Seat

The S2 wasn’t simply an H1 with a de-bored and de-stroked engine stuck between the frame rails: while it used a similar design for both frame and engine, parts are not generally cross-compatible. And therein lies the problem: parts for these cool little machines can be difficult to come by. Luckily, this particular bike appears to be in great running shape, so bodywork won’t be a problem unless you loop the little monster over backwards…

1973 Kawasaki S2 350 Underseat

The S2 really isn’t at all what you might be expecting if you’re familiar with four-stroke engines of similar displacement. These things are very quick for their size and although tested top speed is shy of 100mph, they’ll get you off the line in a hurry and feel very much like their larger brethren, with the same dismal fuel economy: Kawasaki’s triples were the fastest machines in their respective classes, but you paid for that speed at the pump.

With prices of the H1 and H2 bikes skyrocketing in recent years, this presents a cool opportunity to get one of Kawi’s famous triples in a much more manageable package for a much lower price.

-tad

1973 Kawasaki S2 350 L Side

 

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Executive Express: 1982 Honda CBX for Sale

1982 Honda CBX R Front

I’ve written a number of times about Honda’s mighty CBX, with its straight-six and cascading wall of exhaust pipes. They’re glorious monuments to excess: relatively heavy, with too many cylinders, too many exhaust pipes, and too many carburetors, with plenty of power and a truly silken, exotic exhaust note.

1982 Honda CBX L Engine

Introduced in 1979, the bikes struggled a bit with their identity. The straight-six itself was shared with no other models and was really intended to evoke Honda’s GP race bikes of ten years prior. But while those racing machines were jewel-like exotics of staggering complexity and miraculous packaging, the CBX let it all hang out, and with the butch 1047cc powerplant on full display, the bike was anything but lithe and sleek. Although the six wasn’t really much wider than Honda’s 750 four-cylinder, it certainly looked that way, and the whole package was pretty heavy. Nearly 600 pounds of weight, combined with relatively indifferent suspension, made the bike more of a sport-touring machine.

1982 Honda CBX L Rear

Early CBX’s featured classic “UJM on steroids” styling, with twin shocks, a little duck-tailed seat unit, and nothing up front to hide the imposing engine. But in 1981 the bike’s mission changed and the bike was developed into a monoshock sport-touring machine. The angular 80’s fairings may not be to everyone’s taste, but the redesign actually suits the bike’s original mission very well: eating up miles in class and comfort.

1982 Honda CBX Dash

From the original eBay listing: 1982 Honda CBX for Sale

I am the second owner for the past 24 years. The bike has lived a sheltered life, always indoors where it was has been loved and respected. Never wrecked or abused. Keeping this rare-limited bike to original specs and condition was always my goal and passion. Original 13, 340 miles. Untouched pearl white paint with black/blue stripes. Minimal paint scuffs on right rear saddle bag from passengers getting on and off through the years. One small minor 3/8″ scratch on left front side of gas tank. Original owner called it a “birthmark” since new from shipping. It was elected to leave it rather then to fix it.

All original decals an information tags still on the bike and in perfect condition. Current a leather Corbin seat for comfort, original seat is in perfect condition and included in the sale. Bike runs and rides excellent, no issues. No rust in gas tank. Everything works as it should. Highway pegs added when new by original owner – not drilled. Tires were replaced 22 years ago, no rot. Front tire in very good condition, rear is wearing down. Approximately 11,000 miles on tires. I have a brand new set of tires never used, original to the 1982 CBX are also included with the sale.

Front fork seals replaced, carbs were synchronized once. Replaced full exhaust with last known set of Honda line original exhaust 20 years ago for $2,000 is still in like new condition and replaced rear air shock due to leaking for $680 with last known Honda line original.

1982 Honda CBX Front

Folks who love to travel on their motorcycles seem to love full-dress Harleys. I’ve never ridden a full-dress Harley, so I can’t really speak to the experience, but I do know that they’re extremely heavy, relatively slow, and handle poorly. I hear they have killer stereos though… That seems to suit most people, but I’ve never understood why you can’t have comfort, speed, and sophistication. This CBX provides all three, and I think I’d prefer that wailing straight-six for a soundtrack, since I’m pretty bored with classic rock.

With bidding just above $5,000 it’s no surprise the reserve has not been met. This bike looks to be a very nice example of a late CBX. One of the few Japanese bikes of the period that have really always been pretty collectible, CBX values are definitely on the rise, although early bikes remain more desirable. Which is great if you actually want to use your bike to tour, since you get that truly epic motor in a much more usable package.

-tad

1982 Honda CBX R Side

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Do you love old motorcycles? Do you spend your free time scrounging around eBay and Craigslist to find vintage sportbikes for your fantasy garage? Want to be a more active part of the motorcycle scene and share your opinions with a wider audience?

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If you have some time and a passion for bikes, we’d love to hear from you!

-tad

Indian Tank Crop

 

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