3

Evolution: 1978 Kawasaki Z1R for Sale

1978 Kawasaki Z1R R Side

Overshadowed by the obviously more exotic and suicidal turbocharged Z1R-TC, the Kawasaki Z1R was an evolution of Kawasaki’s Z1, a bike that is often overshadowed by the CB750 that was introduced first and stole all the “everyman’s multi” thunder.

1978 Kawasaki Z1R R Side Front

In fact, Kawasaki’s own 750 four was only a couple months behind the CB. But Kawasaki figured, that, if they couldn’t be first to market, they’d be first everywhere else, so they waited a couple years to introduce their own four-cylinder monster. With 903cc’s of  air/oil-cooled power, the Z1 blew the CB into the weeds in terms of outright performance. Along with the H1 and H2 two-strokes, the Z1 ensured that Kawasaki showrooms were fully of truly lethal machinery to kill the weak or foolish among the motorcycling fraternity…

1978 Kawasaki Z1R Dash

By the time the Z1R was introduced, Kawasaki’s basic platform was pretty outdated, with dual-shock rear suspension and heavy construction. The ice-blue paint compliments the angular, cafe-racer inspired styling and even extends to the rectangular fuel-filler cap. But although it was primarily a cosmetic update of the Z1, the Z1R’s evolutionary design featured meaningful mechanical changes as well. Cast wheels and a reinforced frame helped firm up the handling, and triple-disc brakes brought the heavy package to a stop consistently, even if performance is lacking by today’s standards. Power was largely left alone, aside from a displacement-bump to 1015cc. Which was just fine, considering Kawasaki’s place as the sand-kicking bully of the era.

1978 Kawasaki Z1R R Side Rear

From the original eBay listing: 1978 Kawasaki Z1R for Sale

Offered today is a great example of a original first year production KAWASAKI Z1R It is a original bike with all its original parts included notice the low production number , please watch you tube video of this rare and collectable machine !! 

This rare first year Kawasaki Z1R numbers matching original motorcycle ,its only original once !!!  a  vintage  collectable is a must for that kawasaki collector she runs and shifts  FANTASTIC  !!great  for those local jaunts, long rides or the infamous bike shows, a real winner.!!.

These bikes are hard to find ,expensive to get them correct ,  this bike is turn key and ready to go !!!! This condition is highly sought after great for the beginner and experienced collectors. A must have for anyone’s collection .GET ON AND RIDE turnkey bike .

As you can see from the photos this bike exudes quality and performance with that  70’s vintage look.

1978 Kawasaki Z1R L Side Front

There’s also a very nice, clearly narrated walk-around and startup video available here.

Interestingly, you can see the seller’s other Z1R in the background of his photos, which he states is a big reason behind the sale. I’ve never really understood the idea of collecting multiples of the same car or motorcycle. And to me, one of the coolest things about motorcycles is how relatively small they are, how little space they take up, at least compared to cars. So you can have more of them! There are so many cool modern and vintage machines out there, it’s hard to imagine why someone would want two of the exact same bike… But to each his or her own, and this one certainly looks like it’s in very nice condition, considering it’s supposedly original. Not flawless, but about as perfect as you’re likely to find this side of an expensive restoration.

While period reviews were positive about the changes made to the bike’s handling compared to the older versions, this is still pretty far from a canyon-carver. At almost 550lbs with a full tank of fuel they’re very heavy for sportbikes, but that powerhouse engine gives it straight-line performance and the weight might just help you keep the front end down as you blast away from stoplights…

-tad

1978 Kawasaki Z1R L Side

0

Sophisticated Vintage Brit: 1952 Ariel Square Four for Sale

1952 Ariel Square Four R Front

The motorcycling industry prior to the 1960’s was centered on single and twin-cylinder machines, and, at a time when simplicity equaled reliability, Edward Turner’s compact four-cylinder design would have seemed extremely exotic. Prior to the Lancia Aurelia’s introduction in 1950, car and motorcycle engines used “inline” formats almost exclusively, and although inline fours work fine in automotive applications, they can cause packaging, as well as cooling, problems in motorcycles.

Originally rejected by BSA, the unusual square-four design found a home with Ariel and featured a pair of parallel twin blocks siamesed with their transversely-mounted cranks geared together and sharing a common head with overhead cams. This compact design allowed a four-cylinder powerplant to be fitted in to frames that were normally home to engines with one or two cylinders.

1952 Ariel Square Four L Rear

The original 500cc engine was eventually enlarged to 601cc’s to increase torque for riders who wanted to fit a sidecar to their machines, but the OHC design had a propensity for overheating the rear pair of cylinders, as cooling airflow was blocked by the front pair.

1952 Ariel Square Four R Front Engine

The engine was completely redesigned in 1937 with pushrod-operated overhead valves and a big displacement increase to 997cc’s. Aluminum replaced iron in the head and cylinders in 1949 for a significant savings in weight, and the final iteration of the engine introduced in 1953 was distinguished by four separate exhaust pipes exiting the head, although this example is the earlier, two-pipe version.

1952 Ariel Square Four Dash

From the original eBay listing: 1952 Ariel Square Four for Sale

An English country cruiser capable of 100mph….

Gaining popularity as “the poor man’s Vincent”, the Square 4 is steadily increasing in value.

The current owner is the fifth (first not named David) in a line that traces this 52 Ariel Square 4 Mk I’s origin to New Jersey; where it was purchased new in 1952.

The most recent previous owner bought the bike while on a trip in N.Y. State in 1996. After the purchase he had a full restoration performed prior to displaying in his collection.

Upon receiving the machine, the current owner kicked it over twice and it started right up and ran nicely. He rode it around his neighborhood for an hour, and then carefully decommissioned the Ariel for display in his collection.

The odometer shows 56,818 km or 35,305 miles.  The current owner has done a fair bit of detail work on the machine since acquiring it – much polishing, inspecting, cleaning and servicing inside external cases etc. He removed and cleaned the oil tank & lines and installed a rebuilt exchange oil pump from Dragonfly.

The frame is refinished but not powder coated and makes it look very authentic. The tins are all superb in that they are original but refinished beautifully and correctly. Chrome is all perfect.

All of the wiring was redone correctly and everything works. Even the tiny light in the speedo and the brake light. (all the lights work in other words)  The bike includes the original ignition key and the (optional?) jiffy side stand.

The owner is in possession of a dating certificate with an extract from the Ariel Works Ltd. despatch record books confirming that all of the major components on the machine are original. With the exception of perhaps the rims, tires, spokes and buddy pad this bike has all of its original pieces, nicely and carefully restored.

Also included in the sale are the original owner’s manual signed by the first two owners and a copy of the 1970 NY State vehicle registration bearing the name and signature of the second owner who purchased the bike from his friend and original owner in 1957.

1952 Ariel Square Four R Rear2

Weight was relatively low for such a complex machine and the bike could top 90mph, no small feat in 1950, although maximum performance wasn’t really the point, since lighter, simpler singles like the BSA Gold Star could match those numbers. It was the square four’s smoothness and sophistication no twin or single could possibly match that was the source of the bike’s lasting appeal, with production lasting from 1931 until 1959.

1952 Ariel Square Four L Tank

This example is in excellent condition and appears to be well-documented. Bidding is north of $22,000 with plenty of time left on the auction. The popularity of some bikes will naturally rise and fall with prevailing trends, but Square Fours have been steadily appreciating in value for some time now, and looking at this bike, it’s easy to see why.

-tad

1952 Ariel Square Four L Side

14

Show or Go: 1972 Honda CL350 AHRMA Racebike for Sale

1972 Honda CL350 Race Bike on Track

While race and track bikes tend to be built with “go” rather than “show” in mind, even at the highest levels, vintage racing is sometimes a different story. While there are plenty of lashed-up, rattle-can bikes on the classic circuit, there are also some really nicely prepped machines that look like they’d be at home on a custom build show, and this Honda CL350 definitely has one foot in both of those worlds.

Honda’s CL350 was introduced in 1968 and, much like the new Ducati Scrambler, was meant more as a fun, versatile streetbike than a real offroad machine. Americans love their dirtbikes, so the CL350 sold very well at the time, and its basic reliability means there are plenty of nice ones still around. They’re rugged, make decent power, and have a very classic look, making them popular today in both stock form and as the basis for café-style rebuilds.

1972 Honda CL350 Race Bike L Rear

Powered by a 325cc parallel twin with a chain-driven overhead cam, the CL350 put out about 33hp in stock trim. But there was plenty more to be had and the engine was both lightweight and very tough, with much of the bike’s overall weight coming from heavy-duty offroad-capable parts. This means that there’s plenty of weight to lose when building a dedicated streetbike or a roadracer like we have here.

1972 Honda CL350 Race Bike Engine Detail

From the original eBay listing: 1972 Honda CL350 AHRMA Racebike for Sale

The bike was built to a very high standard using the best components and lots of Italian “bling.” It uses the preferred CL350 frame (reinforced) which like the Honda CB350 version – has competitive advantages compared to the SL350 model frame.  It was also remarkably reliable. No DNSs and no DNFs during its one full season of competition! Add fresh fuel, battery and rubber and you’re ready to go racing with a very competitive mount!

I also used this bike myself to pass AHRMA’s Fast and Safe road-racing school at NOLA. This is an excellent track day bike! Or – a unique exotic for the collector who wants a special bike with real race “cred” that was built to an aesthetic level rarely seen on racing machinery.

Would be a great conversation piece as a static display for any private collection, restaurant or coffee shop …but I would prefer that this bike is acquired by someone who plans to continue its distinguished racing career.

This is a special bike that goes as good as it looks. Draws a crowd wherever it appears!

This is an well-maintained machine. The assembly / paint was expertly done in 2013. Beyond that, it does have the honest patina of actual racing action. It will require new rubber and a fresh battery.

Frame

Honda CL350 (high pipe, street-bike) was selected as the basis for this build. The frame (merely spot-welded at the factory) was “fully” welded during our build. All joints, attachments, pressings, perimeters, etc. were completely welded together for maximum rigidity.  Extraneous brackets were removed.  The steering head bearings were replaced with tapered roller bearings (All-Balls).  Swing-arm is stock.  Paint is urethane single-stage (no clear coat).

Brakes

Front brake was extensively tweaked by Vintage Brake. They did all their magic turning, backplate service and brake shoe matching magic to build these serious binders.  Front has Ferodo shoes.  Rear is NOS Honda CL350.

Suspension

Many thanks to Race Tech for their help, support, design & guidance.  Front forks are 1981 35mm Yamaha 650 twin with Gold Valve emulators and 80kg/m fork springs.  SL350 Honda triple clamps are used for the (larger) 35mm fork size.  Rear shocks are custom, fully adjustable Race Tech shocks.  They did the math based on the build sheet dimensions and superbly constructed them. Steering damper by Shindy Daytona.

Engine

Most internal parts are from Bore-Tech.  Racing Cam is from Megacycle along with their valves springs & lighter retainers.  New guides were installed.  A big bore, high compression piston kit from Bore-Tech was installed.  Stock crank (roller bearings).  Cappellini needle bearing / overhead oiling / oil filter setup to eliminate running the hardened cam in plain aluminum carriers. Cappellini supplied the trick oil cooler as well.  Degreed the cam according to Megacycle specs. Ignition is electronic and run off the crank versus the cam end.  Stock Honda clutch and gearset.

1972 Honda CL350 Race Bike R Side

The “SL350” the seller mentions in the first paragraph was introduced in 1969 and used a heavier frame more in keeping with legitimate off-road riding, but that obviously makes it less suitable for a track bike. This example uses the lighter CL/CB frame intended for street duty. The smaller Honda twins are, in general, very popular in vintage roadracing: they’re rugged as all get-out and are still very affordable, with maintenance and tuning parts readily available. Although it is possible to spend ludicrous amounts of cash building one to this level, that’s not really necessary, and you can still have a blast on something less polished.

1972 Honda CL350 Race Bike Tank Detail

As you can see from the close-up shots, this is a beautifully-prepared bike and, although the $8,900 Buy It Now price is very high for a Honda CL350-based anything, it’s probably worth that, considering the fabrication and care that’s gone into this build. As is often the case, you’re left with a bit of dilemma: do you risk trashing something this nice on track?

-tad

1972 Honda CL350 Race Bike Engine Parts

2

No Haters: 1974 John Player Norton 850 in Denmark

1974 JPN L Front

In spite of all the race-replica motorcycles named after their riders like this week’s Eddie Lawson Replica Kawasaki, the John Player Norton was not actually named after a particular rider. It was named after the British tobacco company that sponsored Norton’s race teams and the distinctive looks effectively bridge the 1960’s half-fairing sportbike style of the Ducati Super Sport and the later, fully-faired GSX-R750.

1974 JPN R Side

For the most part, it’s a Norton Commando under the skin and features the same strengths and weaknesses of those bikes. The main changes were cosmetic, with the wild, twin-headlamp bodywork and solo-seat tail section. Road-going examples used Norton’s standard 828cc parallel-twin and four-speed gearbox, although an optional short-stroke 750cc version was available for US race classes.

This one looks to be in excellent shape, and is fitted with the road-oriented “850,” rather than the short-stroke engine, and is currently located in Denmark.

1974 JPN L Rear

From the original eBay listing: 1974 John Player Norton 850 for Sale

This is a very, very cool bike.

Up for your consideration is a 1974 Norton John Player 850.  (It’s kind of like a Commando but my boss says don’t call it that…)

From the sales brochure:

“Limited production run of this eye-catching luxury machine for the connoisseur.  Powered either by the high torque 850 unit to provide outstanding flexibility for the highways or by the 750 c.c. short-stroke high output engine as a base for competition.  White fibreglass fairings give the same aggressive appearance as the machines which carried the Norton name to yet one more victory in the 1973 Isle of Man T.T.  This model offers the ultimate in exciting high performance motorcycling combining style with comfort, speed and safety.”

“Features Twin double-dip headlamps with halogen light units if required; high output alternator with twin zener diode charge control.  Rear set footrests, brake and gearchange pedals; clip-on handlebars.  3½ gallon (15 litre) steel petrol tank.  Access to flip cap through quick-release cover in the styling.  Access to steel oil tank by lifting seat panel.”

This bike comes from a good a respectable home where it has accrued only 12,198 original miles over its lifetime.

1974 JPN Dash

While somewhat awkward in appearance, the JPL has undeniable presence and is historically significant, an evolutionary step to the sportbikes of today. Approximately 200 are believed to have been made in 1974, their only year of manufacture. At the time, they were not especially desirable and were difficult for dealers to unload but this, as so often seems to be the case, simply makes them rarer and more valuable now.

There’s very little time on this auction, so move quickly if this strikes your fancy!

-tad

1974 JPN L Side

0

Sophisticated Simplicity: 1939 Velocette KSS / MAC Special

1939 Velocette KSS Special R Front

For many riders, motorcycles are all about simplicity: throwing off the shackles of a roof and four doors, sound-deadening, automatic climate control, lane-change warning systems, info-tainment systems. And the real purists, be they lovers of modern or vintage machines, often gravitate towards single-cylinder machines like the Velocette KSS.

1939 Velocette KSS Special L Rear

Single cylinder bikes represent motorcycling at its most elemental: fewer parts to break and fewer parts to maintain, along with plenty of torque and charisma. Who needs a tachometer with that spread of power? Just shift it by feel. And while that simplicity and economy means that modern single-cylinder motorcycles are typically of the cheap and durable variety, that hasn’t always been the case.

1939 Velocette KSS Special R Engine

Based in Birmingham, in the United Kingdom, Velocette built their enviable reputation for durability with machines like the KSS 350cc. The “K” series bikes were very innovative, with a bevel-drive and tower shaft-driven overhead cam engine and a foot-operated gearshift with the very first positive-stop, something found on basically every modern motorcycle.

1939 Velocette KSS Special R Tank

Later “M” series machines switched to a much cheaper-to-produce engine with pushrod-operated valves, but used an improved frame and suspension based on the racing “K” bikes.

This particular example features the best of both worlds: a refined and sophisticated bevel-drive engine with the improved handling of the later frame and suspension, making it a period-correct hotrod. Perhaps an all-original KSS would be worth more money, but this hybrid should make a better overall motorcycle…

1939 Velocette KSS Special R Rear Suspension

From the original eBay listing: 1939 Velocette KSS/MAC Special for sale

The marriage of a KSS motor with the more current MAC rolling chassis was a fairly common practice that resulted in a far better platform for the OHC KSS motor.  Classic Motorcycle & Mechanics tested one in July ’92 and came away impressed with the combo.  This example (’39 KSS motor # KSS9121 and ’54 MAC chassis # RS7479) was built by a Velo expert in the Florida area during ’91 and ’92 and acquired by the current owner in 2004.  He rode it occasionally over the next few years and decomissioned it for display in his climate controlled collection in 2008.  He considered the machine to be a fine example with no mechanical issues.

1939 Velocette KSS Special Dash

I love how the seller refers to the 1954 MAC chassis not as “later” but as “more current”. Ha! It’s all relative, I guess… In any event, this bike is in beautiful, but not over-restored condition, although I’m not sure just what it would take to “recommission” it for road use. It’s only been off the road for a few years, so hopefully it won’t take too much effort: this bike deserves to be ridden.

-tad

1939 Velocette KSS Special R Rear

1

Fast and Green: 1983 Kawasaki KZ1000R Eddie Lawson Replica

1983 Kawasaki KZ1000R ELR R Side

As long as there’s been motorcycle racing, there have been riders wanting their street bikes to look like the ones they’ve seen tearing around racetracks: from café racers to modern Rossi-replica paint jobs, street riders ape the style of their heroes, although the very best examples combine a helping of both form and function.

And while more modern race-replicas are often based on track-bred, fundamentally uncomfortable sportbike ergonomics, bikes like this classic Kawasaki KZ1000R “Eddie Lawson Replica” actually work pretty well on the road. That’s really a function of the bike being based on the road-racing AMA Superbike mount of rider Eddie Lawson, which was based on the plain-Jane KZ1000J, Kawasaki’s standard 1015cc air-cooled four cylinder machine.

1983 Kawasaki KZ1000R ELR Tank

De-stroked to 998cc’s to make it eligible for various racing classes, the R also featured an oil-cooler, 4-into-1 Kerker exhaust, upgraded suspension components, and adjustments to the steering-head angle to sharpen up steering. These relatively simple changes led to a bike that felt very different than the machine on which it was based. And although their more humble roots make them far more comfortable than modern race-replicas, bikes like the ELR pay the price in terms of handling: a 544lb dry weight makes them a real workout to hustle through the corners.

Of course, the bike’s actual performance is overshadowed a bit by a liberal application of Kawasaki’s lurid green paint and racing stripes!

1983 Kawasaki KZ1000R ELR Dash

While the description suggests this bike needs some work, looking at the pictures that have been included, I get the feeling the seller is a bit of a perfectionist, since this looks very clean and complete.

1983 Kawasaki KZ1000R ELR R Side Rear

From the original eBay listing: 1983 Kawasaki KZ1000R Eddie Lawson Replica for Sale

32,034 original miles. Last registered in July 1992. I purchased this bike with the intent of doing a total restoration. Having sat for 22 years I cleaned the carbs and changed the oil and filter.

Engine runs strong with no strange noises. All electrics work, lights, signals, horns, and gauges. I replaced the fork seals and fork oil and installed a new rear tire. I have cleaned and painted the wheels, foot peg mounts, battery box, forks, and other little parts. Besides needing a total restoration it is missing the chain guard, air box and needs a battery. I just don’t have the time needed to tackle a project of this size. It’s not perfect by a long shot but the basics are there to restore it to what it once was.

I encourage you to contact me directly with any specific questions that you may have about this bike or for additional pictures. Bike is available for viewing during the auction and is located in Northern California. Call and we can arrange a time. Bike is registered in California and title is clear and in my name.

1983 Kawasaki KZ1000R ELR L Side Rear

This isn’t a low-mileage garage queen, but the seller’s assertion that it “needs a total restoration” might be a bit of an overstatement: he mentions that everything works and the engine runs well. From the photos, it looks to be in great shape, and the missing bits shouldn’t be any problem: chain guard? Who needs that? And the airbox can simply be replaced with cool-looking, if somewhat controversial individual filters. These are already pretty collectable, with only 750 original examples built,  and are quickly becoming valuable, especially in such decent, original condition.

1983 Kawasaki KZ1000R ELR Fairing

I’m not obsessive about “patina” and I can appreciate restored and even-over-restored motorcycles with the best of them, but there is something cool about a bike that looks lived-in, one that looks like it’s been used as intended, but well cared-for. Has a few battle scars to show for its 32,000 miles. This bike sounds it just needs a couple weekends of work to make it roadworthy and provide plenty of miles and smiles before that “total restoration” is really necessary.

-tad

1983 Kawasaki KZ1000R ELR L Side

 

4

Everything Old is New: 1975 Ducati 860GT Super Sport

1975 Ducati 860GT SS R Side Front

Prices of Ducati’s somewhat maligned 860GT have risen to a point where bikes like this vibrant-green resto-mod stuffed full of desmodromic L-twin make sense.

While it may be hard to accept, by the mid-1970’s the styling of the Ducati’s now-classic 750GT had become a bit dated. So how do you follow up such an impressive debut? Well, in an effort to modernize their style, Ducati brought in Giorgetto Giugiaro to pen some new lines for the old dog. But while Giugiaro has designed some of the most stunning cars of all time, his bikes have been somewhat more… Controversial. A bit like Pierre Terblanche, his restyled bike was not well liked when it was introduced, and until very recently, the 860GT was the only affordable way into bevel-drive Ducati ownership. Many have been fitted with 750GT tanks and side panels or fairings to create SS replicas. This bike actually goes the other way, and uses an uprated 900SS motor in a bike that features the original, classic lines and distinctive 70’s green.

1975 Ducati 860GT SS L Side

The 900SS actually had the same 864cc displacement as the 860GT, but the heads used Ducati’s signature desmodromic valve actuation, while the 860GT just used regular old valve springs…

1975 Ducati 860GT SS Engine Detail

From the original eBay listing: 1975 Ducati 860GT with 900SS Engine for Sale

From BevelTech Engineering – a completely restored and rebuilt 1975 Ducati 860 GT fitted with a 1975 900 Desmo Supersport Engine – also fully rebuilt and refreshed.

The accompanying photos will give an indication as to the quality of this build – suffice to say that with 4 decades of bevel drive experience by a professional Engineer, this is no schoolboy lash-up.

Should the bike be sold locally, a 12 month unlimited kilometer warranty on the engine and running gear will be provided.

Approximately a hundred kilometers since completion.

There are modifications too numerous to list. Be assured that the bike runs, handles and stops as you would expect. It is, in every respect, as new and this is reflected in the reserve price.

Many more photos of the engine rebuild available – eBay only allows for 24 in the listing. Just ask.

Shipping worldwide at buyers expense – $1,000 AUD deposit upon successful purchase. Balance by bank transfer prior to collection – the usual.

No doubt questions aplenty – please ask.

*** Note: rear Ohlins shown have been found to leak and as no rebuild kit is available and the dealer would not honour warranty, shocks have been replaced with rebuilt Marzocchi remote reservoir air units.

1975 Ducati 860GT SS Side Panel

It’s a shame about the Öhlins shocks, but the replacement Marzocchis should do the job nicely. While the loss of more traditional skinny wheels and tires [or is that “tyres”] is a shame in terms of looks, the performance benefits of radial rubber can’t be overstated, and should also make it much easier to find a good selection locally. Grippier rubber should also allow the rider to make use of the modern front brake set up and improve safety significantly.

Otherwise, this is a very interesting combination, and it’s nice to see someone celebrating Giugiaro’s angular style instead of simply doing another SS-style job or boring café conversion.

1975 Ducati 860GT SS L Side Front

There’s plenty of time left on the auction, and at $10,300 I’m not surprised the reserve hasn’t been met. With values of all bevel-drive Ducatis steadily rising, importing this to the US from Australia would be worth the chore. Just swap that mirror across to the other bar!

-tad

1975 Ducati 860GT SS R Side

 

 

0

Classy Survivor: 1975 Laverda 750SF for Sale

1975 Laverda 750SF L Side

Bikes like this Laverda 750SF really appeal to me. I’m not especially concerned with originality, or perfection when it comes to cars and bikes: it’s not that I don’t appreciate a museum-perfect example, or a perfectly turned out custom creation with one-off parts. It’s that I know that’s best choice for other people, or people who can afford to have multiple versions of their favorite vehicles.

1975 Laverda 750SF R Side Front

I also realize that these vehicles were generally not perfect from the factory: compromised by half-understood or half-baked emissions requirements that barely functioned, or engineering solutions that didn’t work as intended, “originality” is interesting, but sometimes overrated. It isn’t like vintage bikes necessarily performed as the manufacturers intended, even when brand new, rolling right off the showroom floor.

So really, what I’m looking for in a motorcycle is something that cleans up well, but isn’t pristine enough that I’d be afraid to actually ride it…

1975 Laverda 750SF Dash

Laverda’s parallel twin, like many of the formerly affordable 1970s motorcycles, have been steadily appreciating in value. Although rarer Jota and race-ready SFC models have seen the biggest jump, even more pedestrian SF models are seeing their pricing finally start to match their relatively high-quality. From the get-go, they were built to last, and used quality switchgear and components that made a lie of the “Italian reliability” stereotype, although the price was a fairly high initial cost.

1975 Laverda 750SF L Side Tank

From the original eBay listing: 1975 Laverda 750SF for Sale

Built August 74. This bike to me is a survivor, tank and side covers have been repainted cyber gray. They were painted orange when I got it and paint was not in good condition. My first Laverda was dark gray so I wanted the same. Myself and friend Scott Potter noted Laverda restorer of motolaverda.com rebuilt the engine. New rings, honed cylinders and lapped valves. Crank bearings and rod bearings were in great condition as was the trans. I replaced the swing arm bushings along with the tires (Bridgestone Spitfires). This bike runs and rides great. It is a rider not a show bike. I will let the pictures do the talking.

1975 Laverda 750SF L Side Engine

Although it could be more orange, that’s easily fixed and this is otherwise exactly the kind of bike I’d be looking for personally. Laverdas have an excellent reputation for durability, and the ownership community prides itself of the do-it-yourself-ness required by a long-defunct brand that never produced that many bikes to begin with. It’s a testament to the original’s quality construction that so many examples are still on the road today.

Move quickly, as there’s just one day left on the auction. Bidding is up to just north of $5200, well short of where these would normally be expected to land.

-tad

1975 Laverda 750SF R Side Naked

7

Iconic: 1978 MV Agusta 750S America

1978 MV Agusta 750S America L Front

Bikes like the MV Agusta 750S America make absolutely no sense on a performance-per-dollar basis. It’s the kind of motorcycle that today would have riders scoffing that they “could buy four GSX-R1000’s for that price…” But that’s obviously missing the point. MV Agusta’s raison d’être was always racing, and their road bikes of the era seemed designed deliberately not to sell: the original 600 was heavy, slow and, worst of all, it was ugly as sin. The 750 that followed was at least a handsome bike, but was burdened with a strange feature not generally found on sportbikes: shaft drive. Rumor has it that MV Agusta didn’t want their factory race teams to be challenged by privateers and fitted the heavy system to hobble them. Magni made a chain-drive conversion for the 750S, but most owners have kept them relatively stock.

1978 MV Agusta 750S America R Front Final

And honestly, there really wasn’t much to improve anyway, aside from that 560lb wet weight. They were compact and handling belied the bloat: on the move, the bike carried its weight well and the bike could be hustled through a set of bends. Ultimate limits weren’t racetrack-worthy, but that wasn’t really what this bike was about and with a price tag of $6000, it’s not like you’d want to push things too fast on the road anyway…

1978 MV Agusta 750S America Cockpit Final

The centerpiece, aside from the looks, fit-and-finish, and the name, was obviously that engine. Sand-cast and heavily-finned, with dual overhead cams, four cylinders, and a set of cam-timing gears in the center of the engine, it was ruggedly built, with a broad spread of power. Four-cylinder bikes are sometimes criticized for being bland and characterless, but this engine puts paid to that idea: induction, gear-whine, and the four individual exhausts combine into a complex, very expensive noise.

1978 MV Agusta 750S America Suspension Final

From the original eBay listing: 1978 MV Agusta 750S America

ONLY 1,112 Miles, original paint, excellent condition and VERY RARE. Believed to only be a 2 owner bike.

Comes with:
– 2 fairings
– 3 sets of exhaust pipes
– Original tool kit
– New battery
– Spare New Marzocchi Shocks
– Riders manual, shop manual, MV Agusta Super profile book & various related literature
– Street & Race Air Cleaners
– Brembo & OE front calipers

Clear title in hand. Bike is located in Atlanta. NO trades, No B.S. please.

1978 MV Agusta 750S America Tail

Interestingly, the 750S America is the very first MV I ever saw in the flesh. For several years, one sat in the showroom of The Garage Company in Southern California, in the days before the company’s modern incarnation and before the internet: until then, I’d been completely unaware that MV even made a roadbike at all. This is one of the rarest of the rare, an iconic bike with just 600 or so made in three years.  The seller mentions three different exhausts come with the bike, and I’d like to know if one is a set of those gorgeous, curved items generally seen in period photos… There’s just one day left on the auction, with the reserve not met, so move quickly if you happen to have a spare $76,000 burning a hole in your pocket.

-tad

1978 MV Agusta 750S America Rear Final

3

Sharp Vintage Racer: 1978 Yamaha TZ350 for Sale in Australia

1978 Yamaha TZ350 R Side2

Although Yamaha’s TZ bikes had certain broad characteristics in common with their RD line, they were far more than just hotted-up versions of those bikes: they were pure racebikes designed for Grand Prix competition, and had no roadgoing direct equivalent.

The introduction of water-cooling to the two-stroke twin in the TZ allowed for much higher outputs and, at a competitive price point, they were dominant when new. The bikes developed progressively from dual-shock “A” models to later, mono-shock “C” models and on through to “H” models, although some models featured more drastic changes than others.

1978 Yamaha TZ350 R Side Engine

The “E” model featured here included an updated frame and other, relatively minor changes before the introduction of the more radically-revised “F” that followed. By now, many examples with campaign history include elements from different iterations: racers of the period wouldn’t have been a very sentimental bunch, and fitted their older mounts with whatever updates they could afford to keep their machines competitive in the ruthless grind of racing.

With a claimed 64hp from the little smoker and tires that look like they’d be more at home on a bicycle, this should present some very entertaining challenges for track-junkies weaned on modern-day, 190-section tires and 4,000rpm-wide powerbands to pull them out of trouble…

1978 Yamaha TZ350 L Side

From the original eBay listing: 1978 Yamaha TZ350 for Sale in Australia

Yamaha TZ350 E is a beautiful and very fast light road race bike.  Highly sought after by collectors and racers alike. Yamaha made a very small batch of road race bikes each year for sale through selected dealers and the demand was always greater than supply. 1978 was the last of this particular chassis shape and featured a few modifications over prior years.

Fully rebuilt from the ground up to go racing in the 350cc Forgotten Era P5 class in Australia, F500 AHRMA and similar classes with other race organizations. New pistons, gaskets, seals, rebuilt crankshaft, OEM six speed close ratio transmission with air cooled clutch and self generating Motoplat ignition (mag).  It has not been run since the rebuild.  It does come with a few spares, a drum of 100 Octane race fuel and an Accu-Mix jug to get the right fuel to oil ratio.

Upgraded front forks with later model damper rods and Gold Valve Emulators. This is an excellent example of this model water cooled Yamaha production road race bikes.

Aluminum tank with high flow petrol tap and stock or later model fiberglass race seat.  Scitsu electric tachometer and Daytona digital temperature gauge comprise the instrumentation.  No digital dashboards back in the day.  This is a race bike built for the race track but would look at home in any private collection of period race bikes.

My son raced this bike for a few years with a later model fairing and TZ750A reed valve top end (available separately).  It is being rebuilt with stock 1978 fairing and pipes and the correct piston ported cylinders. The cylinder head is in the shop being machined to as-new condition and if the bores on the 350 barrels are less than perfect, a set of NOS 350 barrels and pistons will be fitted.  Most of the pictures are as it was raced and the last one is a borrowed picture, but that is basically how it will look before it leaves the shop. It comes with a few race spares including 250 and 350cc barrels. It will have the original OEM fairing with alloy belly pan as shown in the sample picture.  I think I have a spare original belly pan somewhere too.

The TZ350 is slightly forgotten here in the U.S. as there was no real category for them to run in, although they were obviously allowed to race in the larger classes.  In fact, the last couple I’ve seen for sale have hailed from Austrialia. This example is in Melbourne and, as a pure-racing machine, importing it to the States shouldn’t be too much of an issue, aside from the drum of racing fuel…

1978 Yamaha TZ350 On Track

Vintage roadracing bikes are a bit of a strange breed. When new, owners would have been riders looking for a speed-fix, and bikes would have been modified in any way possible to eke out a few extra horses to punch harder out of corners, or squeeze out a few more mph on the straights, originality be damned. But the collector market seems to prize perfectly preserved machines above all else, although obviously racing history and period modifications are acceptable and even desirable, depending on the bike in question.

Bidding is only up to around $2,200 right now, with what seems to be a reasonable reserve set at $10,000. I’d prefer a few more pictures, but the description suggests a well-maintained bike in great, appropriately updated condition.

-tad

1978 Yamaha TZ350 R Side

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