0

Baby Blue: 1975 Rickman-Metisse Triumph 650 CR

1975 Rickman Metisse 650CR L Side Front

Although I’m not a huge fan of the hazy edges of the photos, this blue Rickman Metisse Triumph 650CR looks gorgeous. Rickman started out making frames for offroad race bikes and later expanded into roadracing, and their distinctive nickel-plated tubular frames improved handling of the often floppy factory bikes of the era. These frames were designed to save weight and significantly improve stiffness, with the hollow frame tubes functioning to both store and cool engine oil on some models. Rickman’s bikes were generally sold in kit-form, with the customer supplying engines, transmissions, and wiring to complete the bike.

1975 Rickman Metisse 650CR R Cockpit

The company had a sense of humor as well: the name “Metisse” translates to “mongrel.” But, like most mongrels, the resulting creature is often healthier than the purebred animals that donated their DNA, and the Rickman Metisse attempted to combine the engineering of established manufacturers with the handling of a racebike, often with striking results.

1975 Rickman Metisse 650CR Dash

While later machines were often based around bikes from Japan, there was still room in their lineup for British machines, as this example shows. While a Triumph-powered sportbike may have been a bit moribund in 1975, this would still have turned serious heads. A Honda-powered Metisse probably would have been faster, but with a torquey parallel-twin and great looks, this combines the best of the era, wrapped up in bluer-than-blue bodywork.

1965 Rickman Metisse 650CR R Front

From the original eBay listing: 1975 Rickman Metisse Triumph 650CR

This is the last of 52 genuine Rickman-Metisse CR (Competition Replica) built by the Rickman factory in England. Rickman produced these as street-legal versions of their Isle of Man Production TT winning machine. Actual date of manufacture is September 1974. Registered as 1975 model. It is not a cobbled-together kit. Correct Rickman hubs, brakes, 41mm racing forks, all original hardware. Powered by a balanced and blueprinted Triumph T120R 650cc motor. Only 2700 original miles.

Original, unrestored, stunning. Nickel plating on frame showing some fading in some places, as expected over 40 years. Tiny ding on top of R/H silencer. A few minor chips in edges of fiberglass but not readily visible. Fuel tank showing some surface bumps/texturing in places, but was Caswell-coated inside by previous owner. I run VP110 ethanol-free gasoline in the bike. Starts first kick and runs/shifts perfectly. Handles incredibly well with new modern Avon tyres.

Please do not ask me my reserve. You find that out by bidding. You either hit it or you don’t. Clear California title in my name. Currently on non-op. No DMV back fees due. Blue California plate for display only and not associated with machine. I’ve described this beautiful bike to the best of my knowledge and ability. Sold as-is. Potential bidders welcome to make appointment to view in person, but no test rides. You will not be disappointed with its performance! The crown jewel to any British bike collection.

1975 Rickman Metisse 650CR R Engine Detail

The bidding is currently at $12,600 with active interest and a couple days left on the auction. This is a great-looking, well cared for machine. About the only gripe I have is with the obviously not-period-correct grips, although they are at least color-matched… A set of Tomaselli grips would be an inexpensive way to fix that and stay with a period look and brand.

-tad

1975 Rickman Metisse 650CR L Side

 

0

Same Owner from New:1975 Yamaha TA125 for Sale

 

1975 Yamaha TA125 L Side

The TA125 was Yamaha’s over-the-counter production roadracer built between 1971 and 1975. Prior to the TA, racers who rode Yamahas bought stock YAS1 or AS2’s and converted them to track specification using GYT factory race kits that included a comprehensive package of go-fast bits. But the finished bikes were ultimately limited by frames and suspension geometry designed for road use, and performance was not on par with class leaders.

1975 Yamaha TA125 Dash

The TA that followed wasn’t really a full racing bike like its bigger 250 and 350cc siblings, and was really a half-hearted effort: many parts were shared with the roadgoing AS3, making it a sort of “factory racing AS3” than a pure race bike, although this did make maintaining the TA125 a much less expensive proposition and the bikes were popular with privateers.

1975 Yamaha TA125 Rear wheel

This particular example is currently being offered for sale by the same family that has owned it from new. Like most bikes that have seen serious race track use, it’s not dead stock, having been upgraded during its racing career to remain competitive, although the upgrades are obviously period appropriate and designed to enhance racetrack performance.

1975 Yamaha TA125 Front Brake

From the original eBay listing: 1975 Yamaha TA125 for Sale

This motorcycle was one of two bought new by my father in 1977 from Twin-K Yamaha in Detroit Michigan. They were shipped to Venezuela where we lived. My brother raced it in the 1978 Venezuelan Grand Prix of the FIM World Championship qualifying 19th (first TA). I later rode it in AHRMA in the United States. I rebuilt/restored the bike about 10 years ago, rebuilt crank (new rods and bearings), new cases, pistons, rings, seals and rolled it into my dining room. It has a Fontana 4-leading shoe drum brake as was raced in the GP. The rims are not original, most everyone went with wider WM-3 rims to take advantage of the new Dunlops. It also has a box section swingarm and Koni shocks. I can’t remember who made the swingarm. The bike needs some odds and ends. Front brake lever and perch, plug cap, rear brake cable spring, shift link rod. Frame # 400-990258. When I did the motor I used a NOS set of cases I had. The matching number engine cases #AS3-990258, original front brake, and standard shocks will be provided. I have some fairings laying around.

1975 Yamaha TA125 L Side Engine

Interestingly, with just under two days left on the auction and a starting bid of $10,000 there are no nibbles as yet. While it may not have had a famous rider, it’s pretty cool that the entire history of the bike is known, and the guy selling it is the guy who raced it. But perhaps the price is a bit too rich? Or maybe they’re picking up on a “maybe I don’t really want to sell this bike” vibe from the seller? I know that it’d be hard to part with something like this if I’d put blood and sweat into competing on it…

Regardless, make an offer and maybe he’ll bite: this one is ready for display, or set it up for vintage racing.

-tad

1975 Yamaha TA125 Tail

5

Munch Miles in Style: 1984 Moto Guzzi Lemans III

1984 Moto Guzzi LeMans III R Side

Guzzi’s LeMans III was the first Italian bike I fell in love with, a fake LeMans I someone made out of a III with the fairings stripped off and a simple, round headlight fitted. The square cylinder heads would be obvious to me now, but I still wouldn’t care: the low stance allowed by the Tonti frame makes it one of the coolest café-styled bikes out there, without compromising useability. It’s fast, reliable, tuneable, and makes an amazing noise.

1984 Moto Guzzi LeMans III L Engine Detail

Produced between 1981 and 1984, the LeMans III was a more thorough overhaul of the bike than the CX100 and featured a restyled cylinder head design and revised internals, along with the distinctive angular styling. In typical 1980’s era emissions-reducing form, compression was reduced, but vastly improved quality control at the factory actually improved performance, and the lower-compression engine made more torque than the older version.

1984 Moto Guzzi LeMans III Dash

And I always have to point out: see that little button underneath the row of idiot lights? That’s actually the key: it looks like a normal flat key in your pocket,but it folds as you see in the picture so you can slot it into the dash, and then you twist. Cool right? Just make sure you don’t loose it, since I’m not sure replacements are available…

From the original eBay listing: 1984 Moto Guzzi LeMans III for Sale

I’ve owned this bike for 15 years.  It is solid and requires minimal attention.  It’s a GUZZI!  And a very, very good one.  I would not hesitate to head across the continent on this machine.  It has had all the right upgrades and runs EXTREMELY well.  Bike has no “issues” and is not a refurb.  This bike has always been on the road and excellently maintained.

Dyna electronic ignition, Dyna coils
Dellorto 40MM pumper carbs, Delran manifolds, Heads have been flowed
Bub head pipes, Lafranconi Competizione Wizzer mufflers
Heavy valve springs, Chrome Moly push rods (Raceco), Augustini cam
Lightened flywheel, Harpers outsider oil filter kit, Steel braided brake lines
Marzochi 38MM fork assembly, Tarozzi adjustable clip-ons, Fork brace, Koni adjustable shocks
Gaman seat, Euro Motoelectrics starter,  U-joints replaced, Front brake rotors and calipers replaced with new.
Lots of original parts included.

Note: Lemans III chin fairing is included.  I have it off the bike because I think it looks better without.

1984 Moto Guzzi LeMans III Front

Like so many Guzzis, this one isn’t strictly stock, but the modifications are thoughtful, subtle, and should improve the overall package. Also: the noise those cannon-like Lafronconi pipes make should be pretty epic. Mileage is at 55,000 although Guzzis are built to go the distance and this appears to have been very well maintained. The III is definitely not the most desirable of the LeMans bikes, but prices are on the rise: there are just two days left on the auction and bidding is at about $5,000 with the reserve not yet met.

-tad

1984 Moto Guzzi LeMans III L Side

6

Truth in Advertising: 1975 Laverda SFC for Sale in Italy

1975 Laverda SFC L Side

Manufacturers love to throw around terms like “race bike for the road” and “Moto GP technology for the street”. But it’s really just hyperbole: the only thing most road bikes have in common with GP bikes is a brand name and the simple fact that they’re possessed of two wheels…

But that wasn’t always so, and this Laverda SFC is a genuine race bike, a raw, track-ready beast with road equipment fitted as an afterthought. Take a look at that taillight: does it look like it’s supposed to be there, stuck on and pointing up in the air? In fact, many of these come up for sale with lights, signals, and mirrors safely stored in a cardboard box…

1975 Laverda SFC R Side Engine

The SFC was based on Laverda’s SF1, a parallel twin introduced in 1968 and originally sold as an Amercian Eagle in the US. After a short run of 650cc machines displacement was bumped to 750. Laverda’s twin was famously durable and the bikes, while not especially light, were very stable and reliable. Engine internals were built to last, and the twin featured five main bearings. Laverda chose components from different manufacturers in an attempt to maximize both performance and reliability: parts not made in-house came from Ceriani, Bosch, and Nippon-Denso.

1975 Laverda SFC Dash

This famed reliability made Laverda’s twin the ideal foundation for an endurance-racing machine, and the SFC was built to homologate the bike for competition. The SFC was barely streetable, with high-performance internals that helped the bike produce almost 80hp.

1975 Laverda SFC R Grip

From the original eBay listing: 1975 Laverda SFC 750 “Elettronico” for Sale

VIN 18300 Engine 18300

This is “the real thing”, numbers on the register and it is the rariest and most desiderable model of the serie, the “Elettronico” of 1975. On top of this it has a works race history being raced by Giuseppe Uberti Foppa (works Laverda rider listed also in the SFC register book) at the 500kms of Monza in 1975, with certification signed by him.

The bike was restored in the Factory in the early 80’s and kept as a jewel since, totally original genuine parts, even the fiberglass body, throttle, all small bits, no repro’s or nos.

Bike is “on the button” with even new tyres, showroom conditions. The best i have seen in the last 20 years! Bulletproof investment. Bike is currently located in Italy, 33080 Roveredo in Piano (Pordenone) but i can get them delivered all around the World at cost, no problem. We can supply US contact as reference.

1975 Laverda SFC L Side Tailsection2

The bikes evolved throughout their 549 bike run. Early bikes had the huge Laverda or magnesium Ceriani drum brake that gave them their name: “SFC” stood for “Super Freni Competizione” which basically translates to “super braking competition.” Later bikes featured triple disc brakes, a real rarity at the time. 1974 also saw significant improvements to frame and engine internals, and the last batch of “Electronica” bikes were fitted with Bosch electronic ignition and feature a distinctive primary chain cover.

1975 Laverda SFC R Side Gearbox

There are 8 days left on the auction and bidding is up to $40,000 with the reserve not yet met. That’s a ton of money for a motorcycle, but this is also a ton of motorcycle for your money, with great looks, great sound, rarity, performance, and heritage.

-tad

1975 Laverda SFC R Side

2

The British Alternative: 1974 Benelli Tornado 650S for Sale

1974 Benelli Tornado 650S L Front

Looking at the basic numbers, you’d be forgiven for thinking the Benelli Tornado 650S was simply a Triumph in sexy, Italian duds. But while the basic configuration matches bikes from the British manufacturers and it was designed to compete directly against those bikes, the feel was subtly different. The 642cc twin was very oversquare, loved to rev, could push the bike to a claimed top speed of 117mph, and was reliable to boot.

So almost nothing like a British twin then.

1974 Benelli Tornado 650S Dash

Benelli was founded in 1911 by the widow Teresa Benelli to provide employment for her six sons and keep them from getting into mischief. Originally a repair shop, the bike branched out into full-fledged motorcycle production in 1921 and they produced a variety of twin, four, and even six-cylinder motorcycles until they closed up shop in the late 1980’s.

1974 Benelli Tornado 650S Tank

While the Benelli was an excellent performer right out of the box, the British twins have a wealth of tuning and parts support that makes owning one today a better proposition. But if you dare to be a bit different, a Tornado makes for a very cool ride and you are unlikely to find a better example than this one.

This is really one of the nicest Benellis I’ve ever seen and the bike features a ton of cool details to obsess over, like funky, vibration-absorbing footpeg nubs and a gorgeous drum brake up front.

1974 Benelli Tornado 650S Rear Hub

From the original eBay listing: 1974 Benelli Tornado 650S

Up for auction is this beautiful Benelli Tornado 650S. The frame has been powdercoated, the bearings in the wheels, steering tube and swingarm have all been replaced. The cables are all new as is the wiring harness. Take a look at all of the chrome work and polishing. Anything that was chromed originally has been re-chromed and polished to perfection. Those are new exhaust pipes and mufflers. The Ceriani shocks were restored. new seat cover, new chain and sprockets. Note the polished aluminum turn signal housings – no plastic there! The side covers, tail light, head light were repainted, but the tank has the original paint since it was deemed good enough to be left alone. As was the engine and transmission. These motors are very durable. Over the years I have ridden Joel Samick’s 650S on two Retro Tours (highly recommended!). I enjoyed it so much that I bought this one. His has triple the mileage of this one and it is still running as strong as ever.

It starts right up with a mighty roar and takes off smoothly, shifting well through all five gears. The engine has a short stroke and revs very quickly. If you are accustomed to a British 650, this will surprise you – in a good way! The front brake is a gorgeous double-sided affair that looks fantastic even if it doesn’t work as well as a modern disc. If you attended the 2013 Barber Vintage Festival you may have seen this bike in the Motorcycle Classics show. It was awarded the Best European trophy. I have ridden it sparingly since then. Everything works as it should including the clutch which was just replaced. While replacing the clutch I fixed an oil leak from the engine side cover. I bought the clutch kit and gaskets from benelliparts.de which has always had the parts I have needed for my Benellis. Their prices are very reasonable too. These bikes have always been rare and one in this condition is rarer still.

1974 Benelli Tornado 650S R Sidepanel

Bidding is very active and up to $6,900 as of today. A beautiful, unusual alternative to a fickle British twin or a more obvious Italian v-twin, this bike should be great everyday classic that goes and shows equally well.

-tad

1974 Benelli Tornado 650S R Side

0

Classy Little Italian: 1984 Moto Morini 350 K2 for Sale

1984 Moto Morini 350 K2 L Front

If you’re looking to ride something a bit different and don’t have a ton of cash to spend, you can’t go wrong with a Moto Morini like this 350 K2. Throughout the 1970’s and 1980’s, Morini’s v-twins were available in both 350 and 500 flavors. This example is clearly a child of the 80’s, but the styling is relatively restrained for the period and very tasteful.

1984 Moto Morini 350 K2 R Rear

Powered by a little 72° v-twin that was more compact than the 90° engines from Ducati and Guzzi but was still very smooth, the 344cc engine generated a respectable 37hp and it put those horses through a six-speed gearbox and dry clutch combo. While pushrods were a slightly low-tech feature, the engine was otherwise very sophisticated: the camshaft was driven by a toothed rubber belt and Heron-style heads helped provide excellent fuel economy, as well as yet more interesting trivia for bike-night discussions.

1984 Moto Morini 350 K2 Dash

Largely overlooked here in the US because of their small displacements, Moto Morinis made up in handling what they lacked in outright power. Famously nimble and sophisticated, they’ve been overlooked by collectors for a very long time, although prices have been on the rise in recent years. Morini twins featured both kick and electric start but, as the seller mentions: the “electric leg” was always a bit temperamental…

1984 Moto Morini 350 K2 L Rear2

From the original eBay listing: 1984 Moto Morini 350 K2 for Sale

If you are looking at this, then you already know that these Moto Morinis are renowned for their razor-sharp handling and their nimble, fun-to-ride nature. This one is no exception. The V-twin is surprisingly powerful for a 350 and road tests had their top speed around 100 MPH. The 6-speed trans is a delight to use, snicking up or down with a left-hand shifter that was much improved over earlier versions. The dry clutch is easy to pull but it never slips. It starts easily with the kicker and it also has an electric starter that works-sometimes. These engines have a reputation for reliability and durability. They need very little maintenance with their electronic ignition and simple screw-type valve adjusters.

When I bought the bike four years ago I was amazed at its excellent original condition. When I got it home I changed the oil, cleaned the oil filter and adjusted the valves. Since it had the original timing belt, I changed it for a new one that I got from North Leceister Motorcycles. They are the experts on these and they have a great stock of parts. They hold the K2 model in very high regard.

I have since put about 750 miles on it. Some of those were from riding it in the Cycle World Rolling Concours at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2012. It was in the Modern Classic class along with some really over-the-top restorations, so I felt almost guilty about it winning 3rd place since all I had to do was wash it!

The bike shows well, but there are the inevitable imperfections that one finds in a used, original bike. The windscreen is cracked. The flopping keys have worn the paint away at the ignition switch. There are a few nicks, the worst is shown in the pics.

1984 Moto Morini 350 K2 L Rear

Bidding on this is active, although at just $1,500 or so, the reserve has not been met. Which is no surprise: aside from a couple minor scuffs, this thing is in amazing condition and is very rare. Morinis are rising in value, but are still very affordable. If you’re looking for a quirky, collectable Italian that you will definitely not see at your regular bike meetup, give this one a serious look.

-tad

1984 Moto Morini 350 K2 R Side

3

Rebadged Racer: 1975 Harley Davidson RR250

1975 Harley Davidson RR250 r side front

When is a Harley not a Harley? When it’s an Aermacchi, like this RR250. At different times during its history, American manufacturer Harley Davidson seemed to recall the perceived benefits of “win on Sunday, sell on Monday” and attempted to rectify a lack of road-racing product by absorbing an outside manufacturer, using the truckloads of cash generated selling leather chaps and vests and protective bandanas.

While they’ve been active and successful in dirt-track racing, they’ve only rarely been competitive in road racing, and a purchase of Aermacchi in the 1960’s attempted to fill that role. Most Aermacchi Harleys you’re likely to come across were Sprints, bikes that handled well and were powered by their outdated, but extremely reliable four-stroke singles, distinctively laid-over for a low center of gravity. But the writing was on the wall and, by the late 1960’s, it was clear that anyone who wanted to compete in smaller classes needed a two-stroke if they wanted to compete in smaller categories of racing or on the street.

1975 Harley Davidson RR250 dash

In 1973, Aermacchi’s two-stroke twins were also rebadged as Harleys and the bikes won three 250cc championships in a row. Variations were raced as late as 1978. Aermacchi’s original two-stroke was based on a pair of dirt bike engines, siamesed together. It shared many internal parts with the Yamaha single on which it was based, keeping running costs for the high-performance machine under control. The bike was lighter than the Yamaha TZ available at the time, and proved to be very competitive.

Water-cooling was added for 1973 and power jumped from about 50hp to 58hp, and the Harley-badged bikes won three 250cc championships in a row.

From the original eBay listing: 1975 Harley Davidson RR250 Daytona Road Race Bike

Motor turns nicely. Overall bike shows little use.
2-stroke water cooled 2 cylinder
No race damage, excellent over all condition
#1F100xxH4
Race #53 raced at Daytona in 1970s, some history.
Has not been run since 1970s.
Dealer owned since new

There are five days left on this auction with a starting bid of $30,000 and no takers so far. The Buy It Now is listed as $35,000 so it’s pretty clear what the seller believes this is worth. It’s unrestored and a bit rough around the edges, but that’s the nature of true racing machines: ten-foot paint jobs and scuffed paint are the norm when the goal is speed.

A cool bike from another, slightly forgotten period of Harley’s racing history. I still hold out hope that they’ll shock me speechless and actually “build” something like this again. Plenty of custom shops are assembling Harley café racers and sporty retros are all the rage. I can’t imagine that a stylish, agile bike based on their new 750 wouldn’t find buyers.

-tad

1975 Harley Davidson RR250 L side

6

Clean Commando: 1969 Dunstall Norton 750

1969 Norton Dunstall R Front

Today, we have a very clean Dunstall Commando 750 . The seemingly modular nature of British motorcycles of the 1960’s allowed for a dizzying number of permutations: compact singles and parallel twins from Norton and Triumph fitted to frames from either manufacturer, with non-unit gearboxes that allowed additional installation flexibility… And that’s before outside companies like Dunstall and Rickman got into the act, with purpose-built racing and road machines so different from the donor bikes that they were sometimes considered manufacturers in their own right.

1969 Norton Dunstall L side

After getting his start customizing and then racing a Norton Dominator in the late 1950’s, mating the twin-cylinder engine with a Norton Manx gearbox and frame, Paul Dunstall parlayed his unlikely success with the hybrid machine into a business producing a range of tuning parts for British twins.

Instead of focusing on frames like other British businesses, Paul Dunstall tuned engines and offered a range of bolt-on parts to improve performance, as well as completely built machines based on various British brands.

1969 Norton Dunstall Dash

Although complete bikes fit into general “levels” of performance and customization, there were many options in the Dunstall catalog, and no two bikes are exactly alike. This particular bike has twin discs at the front, although the seller does mention that the original drum is included with the sale, so you can make that switch to old-school aesthetics if you like. The twin-disc set up was available from Dunstall, so the current set up is period-correct and should provide reliable stopping if you plan to ride rather than display the bike.

1969 Norton Dunstall L Foot Control

The original listing includes details from the build sheet regarding the engine and options for the rest of the machine: 1969 Dunstall Norton Commando for Sale

Here we have a Genuine Dunstall 750 Commando that that received a complete restoration early this year.  I purchased this bike from the original owner who in 1981 completely disassembled it.  It remained in boxes since 81′ until I rescued it in 2011.  This is an original bike that was ordered from Dunstall’s 1968-1969 Catalogue.  I have the original build sheet that was provided to the new owner upon purchase.  You will also see a picture from a motorcycle magazine in the UK that featured a 69′ 750 Dunstall just like this one.
 
First I want to say that corners were not cut during this EXTENSIVE AND ALSO EXPENSIVE restoration.  These early frames had a weak spot where the top frame meets the neck.  They would crack and the factory had a recall on them.  This frame was not one of the bikes that received the upgrade so I had a professional welder do this.  Pictures of the upgrade are also available (before and after).  I replaced the red plastic brake lines for more modern braided lines.  Plastic red lines are also included.  Also included is the original early Dunstall Decibel 2-2 exhaust system. These are very rare and earlier than the famous 2-1-2 system.  They were originally black so I had the mufflers ceramic coated.  The pipes need new nuts and collars soldered back on.  They are are in pristine condition.  The seat covers still wears the original leather on top.  I had my upholstery guy remake a new cover using the original top side leather.
 all sides and red bead are new.
1969 Norton Dunstall Rear Hub
With five days left and bidding up to $7,900, there’s still plenty of time to get in on the action, and I’d expect bidding to go a good bit higher: this bike is in excellent condition and represents a high-water-mark for Dunstall in terms of style and performance. While Dunstall continued into the 1970’s and added Japanese manufacturers to its range, the Norton-based machines have a definite cachet.

-tad

1969 Norton Dunstall Cockpit

2

Street or Track: 1973 Honda CB500 Street Race Bike for Sale

1973 Honda CB500 Cafe R Front

Some bikes are rare by virtue of the fact that few were ever made. Others are rare simply because so few survive in anything like good condition. Others, like this Honda CB500 are one-of-a-kind, a common bike elevated to the ranks of rare and valuable because of the execution.

1973 Honda CB500 Cafe R Rear

Certainly, Honda made plenty of CB500’s, so they’re not rare in terms of how many were built. But in typical Honda style, most were used as transportation and then passed on, discarded, and caught in an ever-worsening spiral of less-sympathetic maintenance as they moved down the food chain to the bottom-feeders. Luckily, Honda’s line of four-cylinder motorcycles were built to last, and parts to rebuild them are plentiful.

1973 Honda CB500 Cafe Cockpit

While the seller refers to this as a “race bike” and the bike does appear to have some history that speaks to competition, it’s currently set up for street use, with a headlight, taillight, and rear-view mirror. The listing includes a thorough accounting of upgrades and prep work, including an overbore to 651cc’s and a set of bigger CB750 carburetors to help feed the hungry Honda. I’m not sure how the overbore affects racing classes, as bikes are generally grouped according to displacement and the modifications that have been made, although those twin-discs up front are a welcome upgrade, no matter how you plan to use this bike.

1973 Honda CB500 Cafe Rear

From the original eBay listing: 1973 Honda CB500 Race Bike for Sale

According to the previous owner, the bike was raced in F1 CCS vintage Classes in 2000 and rebuilt for the next season at the end of the year. It was raced in 02 in CCS WERA and AHRMA winning both LW and HW Vintage classes. At the end of 02 the motor was again rebuilt to its current state. In 2003 the bike saw a practice laps but was never raced again. The bike was sold to someone for their 64 birthday but to health issues his race days are over that is when I bought the bike. The bike has a clear title. The bike runs great and has no mechanical issues and dose not leak or smoke. When I bought the bike number cylinder was not hitting when for a good drive and it cleared up runs like race bike should. Things that have been done to bring this race machine to this standard

CB500’s are not especially rare or valuable, although prices for nice examples are being dragged upwards as Honda’s other four-cylinder bikes increase in value. However, this particular example looks like it’s been well cared for and treaded to significant mechanical and cosmetic upgrades that definitely make it worth a second look. With five days left and bidding just north of $5,000 it looks like I’m not the only one who thinks that.

1973 Honda CB500 Cafe Dash

As it stands, this CB500 is a very slick street bike, and that bare metal tank with leather strap look appropriately racy for posing at the coffee shop after a good ride down some winding back roads. If you plan to take “race bike” literally, make sure you read the rule book of the appropriate sanctioning body carefully. If you plan to ride this on the street, make sure you replace that hideous AutoMeter oil pressure gauge with something more appropriately vintage.

-tad

1973 Honda CB500 Cafe L Side

3

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

 

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