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Homologation Special: 1974 Laverda 750 SFC

1974 Laverda SFC L Side

So I generally hate branding on t-shirts: I’m not a big fan of paying for the privilege of advertising someone’s company. But I make an exception for vintage car and bike logo shirts, especially when they’re defunct manufacturers. My Laverda shirt starts conversations seemingly every time I wear it: random folks just walk up and ask me about it. Once, I was having lunch with my mother at a nice outdoor restaurant. The owner was making the rounds, stopping by to make sure everyone was enjoying themselves. When he got to our table, his face lit up, “Ah! My brother and I imported Laverdas back in the 70’s!”

1974 Laverda SFC R Front

He sat down and talked bikes for a good twenty minutes, which left my mom completely dumbfounded. “Does this kind of thing happen to you a lot?” Yes, yes it does: unlike Triumph or Ducati branded gear, which can be seen on both riders and non-riders from here to the moon, a Laverda shirt apparently says, “Yes, this person has good taste in motorcycles.”

1974 Laverda SFC R Engine

Now this particular Laverda is especially special, a true race bike for the road from an era when such things actually existed. You could literally take your SFC to a race track, pull off the lights and indicators, and expect to be competitive. It was an homologation special stuffed full of race-spec internals and produced in just enough numbers to make those parts eligible for racing. Developed from Laverda’s famously durable 750 parallel twin, it made between 70-80hp, depending on the year. Only 549 were ever produced, although replicas based on the lower-spec SF are fairly common.

1974 Laverda SFC L Rear

From the original eBay listing: 1974 Laverda SFC for Sale

 

Up for auction is a genuine 1974 Laverda SFC. This is not a replica, but rather a well-restored genuine article, made to ride rather than show. It is listed on the Marnix SFC registery. The frame was re-galvanized rather than powder coated. The fiberglass tank has been professionally treated with an aircraft tank coating to deal with ethanol in modern fuels. The point ignition has been replaced with with a Sachse electronic ignition. A extended clutch activator arm has been installed. The engine and frame numbers match (17188). The bike has the original PHB dual carbs, and retains the original Borrani rims and magnesium hubs, re-laced with stainless spokes. The original Ceriani front fork has been rebuilt, as have the rear original Ceriani shocks. The original fairing mirror electronic ignition and bellmouths are included.  See photos of original 2 owner’s titles and SFC stamp on engine block

 

1974 Laverda SFC L Engine

While the SFC might technically be legal for road use, it’s not exactly happy there. It’s barely tamed, raucous and loud, with heavy controls and a stiff suspension, a burly, chest-thumping motorcycle. But snarling around on something this exciting and gloriously orange would be worth the pain you’d feel the next day…

1974 Laverda SFC R Rear Wheel

 

 

Many of these I’ve seen for sale come with the road equipment in a box, but with over 6,000 miles on the clock, this one’s seen some use and appears to have been set up to see more: that “extended clutch activator arm” the seller mentions is a popular way to avoid having your left hand fall off. That makes me smile: as rare and cool as these are, they were meant to be ridden on street or track.

1974 Laverda SFC Dash

 

 

With four days left on the auction and the Reserve Not Met at $40,000 this is well below what I’ve seen these sell for in the past. My only quibble is the somewhat bland original instruments. Put those things carefully in a box, fab up a simple dash to house a white Veglia tach, and go!

 

 

-tad

1974 Laverda SFC R Side

 

0

The End of the Line: 1983 Triumph Bonneville TSS for Sale

1983 Triumph Bonneville TSS Full Left

Reader Jess pointed out this Triumph Bonneville TSS the other day, so I thought I’d write it up for you all. A bit of a forgotten bike from the early 1980’s, it highlights both the best and the worst of what Triumph had to offer at the time. It’s also a fascinating snapshot of the state of the industry, and it was also the very last motorcycle Triumph produced until their rebirth in the Bloor Era.

1983 Triumph Bonneville TSS L Tank

It may seem like a cop-out that smaller manufacturers like Triumph, Ducati, and Moto Guzzi have relied on nostalgia in recent years for at least a good part of their appeal. But for the most part, these companies really are the scrappy innovators, struggling in the face of the overwhelming onslaught of much larger manufacturers, who can bring far greater weight of resources and engineering might to bear on problems. Still reeling from the sudden Japanese onslaught of the late 1960’s, the smaller European manufacturers were forced to improvise and introduce less expensive, creative solutions to stay competitive.

1983 Triumph Bonneville TSS SpeedoJPG

But work-arounds like Norton’s Isolastic frame will only get you so far, and Triumph knew it was going to lose the Horsepower Wars if it didn’t apply some real muscle to the problem: simply going with bigger pistons to boost performance was going to lead to increased vibration issues, and there’s a practical limit to just how big you can make your cylinders and valves before you run into problems with fueling.

Introduced in 1982 with an electric starter to compliment the traditional kick, the TSS featured a Weslake-derived 8-valve head originally designed for racing. Limited resources prevented a full-redesign of the engine, so the Weslake head basically bolted-onto a revised bottom end. It wasn’t a dual overhead cam engine, but used forked, pushrod-actuated rockers to operate two valves apiece for vastly improved breathing.

1983 Triumph Bonneville TSS Engine

These improved pushrods were now supported by head castings, making the whole assembly stiffer and more oil-tight to improve reliability. Extensive use of aluminum reduced the weight of the 748cc engine overall, and a much stiffer crankshaft significantly reduced vibration, allowing for a wide, smooth spread of power that peaked at a claimed 59hp and allowed a top speed of almost 125mph. The machine also featured five-spoke alloy wheels as well as an option for dual Lockheed disc brakes up front, providing a complete spectrum of performance improvements.

From the original eBay listing: 1983 Triumph Bonneville TSS for Sale

Garage find, rare 1983 TSS with low mileage. I bought this bike 10 years ago and rode it 3 times. Its been stored in my garage the entire time. I rode it 1 year ago and everything worked fine. I need to sell it soon for several reasons and have not had time to get a battery and try to start the bike. I have NO reason to believe that it would not start and run fine. The previous owner was a Rolls Royce technician and took very good care of the bike. If you are an enthusiast, you know that they only made about 185 of these for the United States. I hate to part with it but I must. It will not be a projest, just a battery, fresh gas and TLC.

The electric starter worked but grinded just like many do and is not recommended based on the poor design. The tank is original paint and looks great. The frame and all features are in very good original condition. If you have any questions please email. If you have offer, please keep them reasonable. I would rather keep it than give it away.

1983 Triumph Bonneville TSS L SideUnfortunately, while the design itself was sound, manufacturing problems plagued production and the new heads leaked oil badly, casting a dark shadow over the bike. Traditional oil-drips aside, the improved performance was not nearly enough to compete with bikes from Honda, who introduced their revolutionary V4 Interceptor that same year, and the two bikes are at such opposite ends of the spectrum it’s hardly fair to compare them. A total of 438 bikes were built before production ended in 1983, with even fewer making it to the US.

1983 Triumph Bonneville TSS L Side1983 Triumph Bonneville TSS Side Panel

But as with so many machines of the era, what was “outdated” then is often considered “classic” now. Unfortunately, a design that bridged the 1970’s and 1980’s still looks pretty clunky to me, more like some Honda twin aping an older Triumph than a classic in its own right.

But while styling may not have been Triumph’s best, it is very rare, and certainly noteworthy for being the end of the line for the original Triumph. In addition, if you do get a good, non-leaking example, performance should be pretty impressive for a 750 twin.

-tad

 1983 Triumph Bonneville TSS L Side Front

0

1967 Ducati Mark 3 Vintage Racer

1967 Ducati 250 Mark 3 Race Bike L Side

With all the laurels they’ve earned for wins on track and ink expended, or keys keyed, to express the love for the raucous bark of their v-twin motorcycles, it’s easy to forget that Ducati, like most manufacturers, got their start making single-cylinder motorcycles.

1967 Ducati 250 Mark 3 Race Bike R Side Front

For much of the motorcycle’s history, they were practical, inexpensive transportation first, racing machines a distant second, and you can’t get much more simple and reliable than the good ol’ single-cylinder. “Thumpers” are simple to design and manufacture, have fewer moving parts to break or need adjustment, and can be made in a huge range of displacements. In addition, their torquey power delivery and strong, friendly character make them excellent tools for the street.

1967 Ducati 250 Mark 3 Race Bike Dash

A small manufacturer couldn’t hope to compete in terms of sophistication with industrial giants like Honda, so Ducati stayed with forms of racing that played to their considerable strengths. While the Ducati Mark 3 may have been only a 250cc machine, the Diana Super Sport was the fastest 250 on the market at the time and could top “the ton” with relative ease. It did not feature Ducati’s now ubiquitous Desmo positive valve operation and used traditional springs, but it was a thoroughbred in every other way.

1967 Ducati 250 Mark 3 Race Bike L Engine

This example has been fully prepped for the track and includes a metal belly pan, unusual dry clutch, and a four leading-shoe front drum brake from a period Suzuki for some improved stop to go with the engine’s uprated poke.

From the original eBay listing: 1967 Ducati Mark 3 250cc Vintage Racing Motorcycle

1967 Ducati A.H.R.M.A. legal in 250 GP and eligible to bump up to 350 GP class.
This bike has been developed over the past twenty years and last raced in 2013.
The frame is Ducati with custom fork crowns and Ceriani forks.
Rear shock mounts by the owner with Progressive Suspension Shocks.
The front brake is Suzuki 4LS and the rear brake is stock Ducati.
The engine uses a Euro Red crank, Arais piston, Megacycle cam, and Ducati rockers with light weight valves.
The dry clutch is from Italy. The crank has been balanced to minimize vibration.
The bike uses a total loss ignition with points and coil. It has a Scitsu tachometer.
Spares include sprockets, cables, pegs, shifter, levers, battery, and jets.

With just a single bid for $5,999 and the reserve not yet met, it’s unfortunate this bike hasn’t found a buyer yet, with three days to go. It seems like a great turnkey way to get into the vintage racing scene, something I’d really love to do myself.

1967 Ducati 250 Mark 3 Race Bike L Grip

There’ve been a number of really neat vintage racing machines up for sale recently on eBay, track bikes and race-eligible machinery that looks well-prepared and ready to go. These seem like they’d be a good bet for a buyer: obviously used harder than many pampered street machines, the upside is that they’re owned by gearheads and racing requires certain minimum safety and therefore maintenance standards be met. If you’re trusting your life to something you’re going to be pushing to the limit, your standards for just what constitutes “safe” do tend to go up a bit…

1967 Ducati 250 Mark 3 Race Bike R Rear

In addition, my personal experience with bikes and cars is that, the more you use them, the better they work. Sitting collecting dust in a garage or showroom is bad for bikes: tires and hoses dry out and crack, gaskets weep, parts seize and rust…

-tad

1967 Ducati 250 Mark 3 Race Bike R Side

 

2

It’s Pantah-stic! 1980 Ducati 500SL Track Day Racer

 

1980 Ducati 500SL Race Bike R Side2

In the late 1970’s Ducati introduced their best-forgotten parallel twin motorcycles in an attempt to broaden their appeal and cut manufacturing costs. But while the bike handled well, reliability was an issue and the looks did not appeal to Ducati’s fanbase: the bike was a massive flop.

After the debacle that the 500GTL parallel-twin represented, Ducati needed to get back in the saddle quickly, and the 500SL Pantah was the right horse for the job. The four-valve, water-cooled superbikes get all the glory nowadays, but the Pantah-derived engine has been the air-cooled, Desmodromic heart of Ducati’s breadwinners for over 30 years now, providing the motive force for SuperSports, Monsters in a dozen shapes, sizes, and displacements, Hypermotards, Pasos, and every other darn bike that rolled out the door, basically keeping the company afloat.

1980 Ducati 500SL Race Bike R Side Engine

The updated motor dispensed with the expensive-to-produce bevel-drive and tower-shaft system and replaced it with simple rubber camshaft belts. These needed regular replacement, but saved the company significant costs during manufacturing and assembly.

1980 Ducati 500SL Race Bike Tank Detail

This one features very stylish NCR-replica bodywork and paint, although the effect is somewhat spoiled by that unpainted front fender. That’s pretty easily fixed though. And these smaller twins sound plenty strong and could easily be mistaken for a bike of much larger displacement. You may not get the top-end scream out of a bike like this that you would from a modern 600, but this will punch you out of corners, handle well, and put a big smile on your face

1980 Ducati 500SL Race Bike Dash

From the original eBay listing: 1980 Ducati 500SL Vintage Track Day Racer

HERE IS A GREAT EXAMPLE OF A BUILT 1980 500SL VINTAGE TRACK DAY RACER.
HAS  NCR/AIRTEK BODYWORK
38MM MARZZOCI FRONT FORKS( TUNED BY ACCELERATED TECHNOLOGY IN CANADA)
BITUBO REAR SHOCKS(NEED REBUILD) LITTLE LEAK
WAS TOLD BY PREVIOUS OWNER IT HAS A BIG BORE KIT. (THE BIKE IS FAST AS HELL)
36MM DELLORTOS (REBUILT)
SPA DESIGN TACH/SPEEDO (JUST RETURNED FROM SPA FOR REPAIR)
AVON  AM23 130/65/18 REAR NEW (OLD REAR TIRE COMES WITH BIKE STILL GREAT SHAPE)
AVON AM22  100/80/18 FRONT NEW
THIS IS A RACE BIKE WITH NO LIGHTS AND TOTALLY REWIRED ELECTRONICS FOR RACING WITH 2 TOGGLE SWITCHES AND PUSH BUTTON START
IT IS CURRENTLY REGISTERED IN CT WHICH THERE IS NO NEED FOR A TITLE UNDER 1981 YEAR
FRESH OIL CHANGE AND PLUGS
I CURRENTLY STREET DRIVE THIS AWESOME BIKE AND ITS A BLAST ON THE STREET
THE END OF THE UPPER FAIRING ON THE LEFT BY THE GAS TANK IS BROKE OFF. CAN EASILY BE REPAIRED
THE PAINT IS NOT PERFECT AND THERE IS SCRATCHES

The simple, air-cooled two-valve Ducatis have been around for a long time, and have proven very reliable and responsive to tuning. Looked after, the belts are very reliable, but they need replacement every two years or 12k miles, something that every Ducatisti knows is cheap insurance. The job itself is relatively simple and requires less know-how than adjusting the Desmo valves, so potential buyers shouldn’t be put off by Ducati’s exotic reputation. This one is obviously no trailer-queen, excepting trips to the race track and the photography leaves a bit to be desired, but it looks like this bike has been well-maintained and is ready to go.

1980 Ducati 500SL Race Bike Front Brake

The one-piece NCR bodywork may not be the most elegant, but it embodies tons of racing history and certainly is distinctive. There’s been no activity on this auction and time is almost up, but at $4,500 it looks like it’d be a great tool for track day fun at a pretty budget price.

-tad

1980 Ducati 500SL Race Bike R Side

4

1980 BMW R100 Cafe Racer for Sale

1980 BMW R100 Cafe R Front

As often as people hack “cafe racers” together these days, it’s surprising how often such a simple idea goes wrong. In an era when the aftermarket was in its infancy, and not much was available to increase the speed of your bike, or to make it look more like the bikes your idols were racing, you often took things off your motorcycle.

To go faster, simplify and add lightness.

1980 BMW R100 Cafe L Side Rear

And while the original “Ton-Up Boys” built their bikes for speed, current café racers are, let’s face it, more concerned with image than outright performance. If you want to go fast and don’t have much cash or have a do-it-yourself mentality, you’re much better off buying a well-used GSX-R and thrashing the hell out of it on road or track.

1980 BMW R100 Cafe L Front

So bikes like this are really about owning a cool old bike that looks and sounds right, that mixes vintage feel with some modern concessions to function: clip on bars halfway between the top and bottom triple may look pretty tough, but who the hell wants to ride that?

1980 BMW R100 Cafe Dash

This bike though, gets things mostly very, very right, with very classy ivory white paint and a and I’m not sure that classic half-fairing has ever looked so right on a motorcycle. This is based on either the R100/7 or the sportier R100S, although the ad doesn’t specify. Both were powered by BMW’s sporty, reliable 980cc horizontally-opposed twin that was flexible and basically vice-free.

1980 BMW R100 Cafe L Side Engine

If you’re building a bike to meet those criteria, the BMW “airhead” models are the perfect foundation: they’re mostly very affordable, much more reliable than a British twin, parts are readily available, they handle well for a classic machine and, maybe most importantly, supply a classic look and feel of a big twin clattering away beneath you.

From the original eBay listing: 1980 BMW R100 Café Racer

Turn-key bike, ready to ride now, and was just serviced by licensed BMW dealer. Very nimble and fun to ride, and has great visual presence.
Bike starts up easily, runs well, and sounds awesome.
Prior owner did the following work:

  • Ivory White paint with black pin striping, 3-4 coats of two-part clear coat.
  • New BMW badges for tank.
  • SuperTrapp Dual Exhaust, tremendous sound, clean, no rust.
  • Original seat pan, with custom shaped and covered seat done professionally, with brushed aluminum trim kit.
  • Cafe Racer Half fairing (small crack at bottom, barely visible).
  • Windscreen by Zero Gravity.
  • Clip-on bars.
  • New rubber grips.
  • New rear tire, front has 80% + tread.
  • Valves and end play adjusted.
  • Forks cleaned, lubed, and rebuilt.
  • New Transmission fluid, brake fluid.
  • Splines lubed.
  • New oil and oil filter, along with oil pan gasket and valve cover gaskets.
  • Bike has Mikuni carb upgrade.
  • Bike is gorgeous, but this is not a concourse example.
  • Mileage is in my opinion greater than that reflected on odometer.

If you can sit through the overproduced, Ken Burns-style slideshow [or just skip it], there’s some good riding footage of the bike in there to give you a feel for the bike’s character:

If you’re building a bike that needs to be ridden every day, sound good, and look right, the BMW “airhead” models are the perfect foundation: they’re mostly very affordable, much more reliable than a British twin, parts are readily available, they handle well for a classic machine and, maybe most importantly, supply a classic look and feel of a big twin clattering away beneath you.

1980 BMW R100 Cafe R Side Petcock

Aside from the plastic bezels and dash sourced from the original bike and those slightly questionable “BMW R100” badges, I really like this bike, and I think it would make a great daily-rider. Bidding is active on this one, but at just $4,050 and with The Reserve Not Met, I think this one has a ways to go, since a bone-stock example would likely fetch that.

-tad

1980 BMW R100 Cafe L Side

 

4

Brawn and Brains: 1979 Suzuki GS1000S “Wes Cooley Replica”

1980 Suzuki GS1000S L Side

Back when fast motorcycles were defined by two chief virtues: speed and stability, the Suzuki GS1000S was one of the speediest and stable-est of them all. A hulking motorcycle with four air-cooled cylinders, it formed the basis for Suzuki’s AMA Superbike racing efforts, and riders hustled the big brute around with surprising skill.

Until this point, Japanese big bikes had largely been freight-train like straight-line monsters, but the Zook brought a new trick to the party: handling. The GS1000 wasn’t the fastest of the Japanese liter bikes, but it was a real jack-of-all-trades, with a stiff frame, and solid brakes. It wasn’t particularly light, but then neither were its rivals.

1980 Suzuki GS1000S R Front

Race bikes were developed by the famous “Pops” Yoshimura and ridden by Wes Cooley who’d previously been using Kawasakis in their racing efforts, to middling results. But the new GS1000S put them on the podium and the won the AMA Superbike Championship in both 1979 and 1980. The S was originally intended for the European market, but was available in limited quantities in the US, with just 500 imported in ’79 and 700 in ’80.

Although never officially named as such, the S model became known informally as the “Wes Cooley Replica.”

1980 Suzuki GS1000S L Front

From the original eBay listing: 1979 Suzuki GS1000S for sale

This Suzuki GS1000S is my baby, bought new in Reno, Nevada in 1979. I rode this great bike often during good weather for about 10 years, putting weekend fast road miles on it throughout the Sierras and into Washington, Oregon and Idaho, without any issues, malfunctions or failures of any kind. During the past 20 years or so she has been my second bike, most often superior in most ways to the newer bikes I bought, and sold, always less impressed with them than with the all-around qualities of this Ballerina Queen of the road. Among the bikes which have come and gone from my garage, a wonderful 2005 red Suzuki Hayabusa and an equally stellar lime green 2005 Kawasaki ZRX1200R which were great, but never instilled the passion in me this old Suzuki has. Still immensely capable canyon carver and sports-touring ride but my garage is full and she needs a new home. I am not interested in selling this bike to anyone not intending to keep it…. I love this old bike and hope to find a good home for her.

He also lists updates and maintenance that’s been done and is obviously a sympathetic owner. With 35,000 miles on the clock, this is clearly no garage-queen, but these are built like tanks and it should have plenty of life left in it: Suzuki’s big four cylinder was a mainstay of drag racing for years and could handle all sorts of boost and spray without exploding. Interestingly, the 997cc motor was a development of the GS750 engine, but was actually lighter than its smaller sibling.

1980 Suzuki GS1000S L Rear

The four-into-one exhaust is not original, but I think it looks great and definitely makes the bike look a bit lighter and more modern. Interestingly, the list price for the S was $3,679 when it was new, just $20 less than the Buy-It-Now price… This is a very fair price for a very handsome, practical machine.

-tad

1980 Suzuki GS1000S R Side

0

Just Add Boost: 1982 Honda CX500 Turbo

1982 Honda CX500 Turbo L Side Outdoors

The CX500 motorcycles from Honda are pretty strange machines, considering the source: for a company whose calling card had become sophisticated range of four-cylinder motorcycles, it seems strange they would introduce a longitudinally-oriented, shaft drive, pushrod motorcycle.

1982 Honda CX500 Turbo R Nose

In fact, every aspect actually seems like an attempt to one-up Moto Guzzi: the longitudinal v-twin, but with 80º between the cylinders to keep the engine more compact. A slight twist to the heads themselves that required pushrods instead of overhead cams, but allowed the carbs and inlets to keep clear of the riders legs. A transmission spinning counter to crankshaft rotation, to help cancel some to the inherent torque reaction caused by the engine’s north-south orientation. The bike was water-cooled and featured the first tubeless tires on a production motorcycle, mounted to Honda’s Comstar wheels.

Unfortunately, while all this made sense, it was pug-ugly and pretty appliance-like.

1982 Honda CX500 Turbo L Front Wheel

But when other Japanese manufacturers began turbocharging their bikes, Honda turbocharged their first-ever v-twin because it was liquid-cooled and could handle the additional heat and stress generated by forced-induction. The pushrod twin may not have looked very sophisticated on paper, but it provided a great foundation for the innovations Honda applied, including advanced, computer-controlled fuel injection, a mono-shock rear end, and anti-dive fork, and 19psi of boost.

The result was 82hp from 497cc’s and a tested top speed of over 120mph.

1982 Honda CX500 Turbo R Fairing

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

Rare 1982 honda cx 500 turbo bike , bike runs and rides good, Stator was replaced a few years ago, new battery, new brake pads, original Honda tool kit, side covers have no broken tabs, do not let the miles fool you this bike runs great, this bike has some small scuffs on the right side fairing near the front, that was there when I bought this bike, clear MN title in my name and plated , this will need a rear  tire soon, other wise bike starts rides good and has good power

1982 Honda CX500 Turbo L Dash

The CX500 Turbo was a real one-year wonder and was superceded by the CX650 that actually displaced 673cc’s… Turbo bikes in general were expensive to produce and provided horsepower gains more easily achieved by simple displacement increases. But while not necessarily the best way to go fast, they do provide exciting power delivery and turbocharged motors are a great deal of fun when the boost kicks in.

Bidding is still under $3,000 with just a day left. It’s not perfect and does have some wear on the left-side fairing, but this is a real steal for such an interesting and rare motorcycle.

-tad

1982 Honda CX500 Turbo R Rear

1

Vintage Race Bike Week Continues: 1975 Yamaha RD350 Road Racer

 

1975 Yamaha RD350 Racer L Side

It’s raining race bikes this week! This example is a fully race-fettled, faired version of the popular, fast, and nimble Yamaha RD350. Streetbikes didn’t feature this example’s large, aerodynamic fairing, or that very interesting bladed trefoil tail section.

1975 Yamaha RD350 Racer L Rear

What streetbikes did feature was a lightweight parallel twin two-stroke that pumped out a genuine 40rwhp, making it a very quick middleweight sporting machine with good handling and reliability. The transmission contained six speeds, and the RD350 used an automatic oil-injection system so owners didn’t have to ride around with a quart of two-stroke oil in their backpack… Although this bike has had its suggestively-name “Yamalube” system removed in the name of simplicity and weight-savings.

1975 Yamaha RD350 Racer L Front Engine

Frames were similar to the TZ series of racebikes and the RD’s handling was excellent, although the RD was much heavier than the purpose-built machines. Many RD’s were used as club racers and the bike bucks the prevalent image of 1970’s Japanese machines being fast in a straight line only.

And while the brakes look a bit underwhelming compared to two-disc set ups, the system was powerful and well-regarded at the time.

1975 Yamaha RD350 Racer L Engine

From the original eBay listing: 1975 Yamaha RD350 Road Racer

111427640692

This is a RD 350 set up for Vintage Road Racing.  I purchased this bike to fulfill an old dream of road racing.  I was 55 at the time.  I got my Motorcycle Competition License and headed for the track.  I only ran the bike on Track Days (a couple of times, maybe 20 laps).  I had a blast !  My mind was 18, but my body was not.  Track time proved to be too expensive.  I parked the bike in my house(well covered) drained tank and prepped it for storage. Now is the time for someone else to have FUN !   I just moved it to my shop and cleaned it up.  Bought new battery and added gas/oil mix.  It fired up in a couple of kicks.  Revs and runs fine. I’m the third owner that I know of. 

Now for the list of goodies that make this bike outstanding.  The bike was red when I purchased it.  I have painted it Classic Yamaha Yellow with black and white racing stripes(Basecoat/Clearcoat).  It has about 300 miles on the Top End, which was rebuilt with Genuine Yamaha parts by the previous owner.  It has not been ported.  Stock carbs with Boysen Power Reeds, 140 main jets(could go smaller), AirTech full TZ fairing and anti-draft seat and windscreen(with a few scratches), metal front fender(unknown origin), Raask rear sets, Spec II expansion chambers, Tapered steering head bearings, Brass swingarm bushings, NHK steering damper, ProFlo/K&N air filter, New aluminum clip-ons, Excel Aluminum rims, Dunlop K series tires(little wear), Nissin front master cylinder, New battery(under rear part of seat), Koni chrome steel rear shocks(not in production anymore), High Power coils w/NGK spark plug leads(new), Newly installed custom Sprocket Specialist 14 tooth front, 42 tooth rear for use with lighter weight RK XSO 520 Chain(all new).  The oil pump was removed by previous owner, I use 32:1 premix Yamalube.

These are very popular vintage rides, and only their high production numbers is keeping prices down. Set up for the track using quality components, this may not have the rarity or outright speed of a genuine TZ, but should be pretty good fun for less money, and the buzzy little 347cc motor can be hotted up to make significantly more power.

1975 Yamaha RD350 Racer R Engine

I’m sad to hear the rider doesn’t feel his body can keep up with his youthful enthusiasm, but his loss is your gain! This bike is no battered track-rat, and it looks nice enough to ride or display, although it seems to waste all that nice prep work by parking it up somewhere…

Any of our loyal readers know anything about that tail section?

-tad

1975 Yamaha RD350 Racer L Naked

1

Trapped in Amber: 1964 Honda CB160 Roadracer CR93 Replica

1964 Honda CB175 Roadracer R Side

This week’s race-replica theme continues with a very pretty little Honda CB Roadracer.

The CR93 “Benly” that inspired this machine is from an era when Honda wasn’t a household name associated with clockwork precision motorcycles of unprecedented complexity and unheard of reliability. These were very rare production 125 racers were produced in small numbers for only two years, putting out 21hp from the gear-driven, four-valve per cylinder parallel twin.

It was simple, but sophisticated, with reliable engineering and adequate power, and it was very competitive on race tracks until the 1970’s.

This very slick replica is based on the CB160 and is probably pretty close to the real thing in terms of performance: it’s lower in specification, with only two valves per cylinder and single overhead cam, but the larger displacement means very similar outright power, and more torque.

From the original listing: 1964 Honda CB Roadracer for Sale

This CB160 Based HondaCR93 Replica is in Great condition, Difficult to distinguish from the Original Factory machines of which only 140 approx. where Produced. Located in my rec. room for the past years. Only top Quality items where purchased to complete this 175cc CR93 Replica. it has never been raced or Track day’d.

Rebuilt Crank
Megacycle Race Cam # 122X4
5 speed transmission installed, 1 down 4 up.
New Pistons, Rods,Bearings & Seals Installed.
New Carbs, Keihin PE24mm Race Cams
Custom Handmade Alum CR93 Tank & Seat  Painted in Original Honda CR Colors.
Electronic Ignition, Dayna Coils
Alum Valanced (Dropped ) Rims with Avon Race Tires.
Stainless Steel Spokes
Torozzi Alum Rearsets
Honda CR93 type Steering Dampner
Ikon (Koni ) rear Shocks
Some spare items, Pistons, Gaskets, Cables etc.

1964 Honda CB175 Roadracer L Side Naked

I’d prefer a few more photos of this bike, since it looks to be a high-quality replica. And he mentions both the CB160 and CB175 in his description although, given the year, I’d assume it’s based around the 160. He lists frame and engine numbers, so some quick research should clear things up if you’re considering throwing your hat into the ring on this one.

I’m not sure what the point of this build was originally: it’s an authentic-looking replica that appears to have been intended for display only, but that uses many high-performance parts and appears to be set up for serious track work. Which is a shame, since people actively race CB160 and CB175 Hondas, and I’ve been thinking about getting into this myself: it’s still cheap and unintimidating, with parts and tuning advice widely available.

The seller even mentions AHRMA, WERA, VRRA, and Group W in the listing, suggesting it’s eligible for those race-sanctioning bodies.

The reserve hasn’t been met yet at $3,200 which is no real surprise, considering how much work it looks like went into this build. I hope someone picks this up and gets it out on the road.

-tad

 

1964 Honda CB175 Roadracer R Side Naked

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Faux Racer: 1973 Honda CB350F RC166 Replica for Sale

1966 Honda CB350 RC166 Replica L Side Front

Well this presents an odd opportunity: the chance to talk about two very different bikes in the same article. This 1973 Honda CB350F has been fully rebuilt to resemble the RC166 Grand Prix bike of the mid-1960’s. I used to see a guy at the Trader Joe’s in Los Angeles all the time who rode a bike like this one, all clad in black leathers and a replica “puddin’ bowl” helmet, the vintage-racer equivalent of the ubiquitous Harley “skid lid:” just as stupid, but way cooler.

1966 Honda CB350 RC166 Replica L Side Rear

This bike is intended as a replica of Honda’s RC166, an engineering masterpiece, and I’m not sure it succeeds on that front, although it does manage to be a very nice vintage motorcycle with a strong racing style.

1966 Honda CB350 RC166 Replica R Side

Introduced in 1972 as one of the seemingly endless, smaller iterations of the CB750 four-cylinder, the CB350F was, at the time, a very unusual bike in that most machines this small were twins or singles. The engine was actually undersquare, with a bigger bore than stroke and put 34hp thorough a 5-speed gearbox. Although there were plenty of other bikes in the class that were lighter and less expensive, including Honda’s own CB350 twin, the jewel-like engineering appealed to a different type of buyer, and the bike’s increased complexity was offset by Honda’s impressively reliable engineering.

1966 Honda CB350 RC166 Replica Engine Detail

From the original eBay listing: 1973 Honda CB350F RC166 Replica for Sale

This ’73 CB350F is fresh out of a full engine-out cosmetic and mechanical restoration from the frame up. The best I can describe is that everything is new except Frame, Engine, Wheel Hubs and the Triple Trees. Here is an example of what’s new on the bike.  Avon tires, aluminum rims, stainless spokes, caliper and pads, shock seals and fluid, steel fender, headlights, brake and tail light, license plate bracket, 4 into 1 headers, cone engineering muffler, tachometer cable, clutch cable, throttle cables, clutch lever, throttle assembly, grips, anti vibration bar ends, tapered roller bearing steering neck kit, clip-ons, master cylinder, Airtech-Fairing, seat, seat pan, fuel tank, windshield, chain, rear shocks, rear brake pads, electronic ignition, Antigravity 4cell battery, Antigravity battery charger, regulator/rectifier, velocity stacks, bronze swing arm bushings, point to point wiring. Clean title 14,538 miles. Less than 100 miles since restoration. Has electric start, headlights, tail light and brake light utilizing front brake. No speedo but in 5th gear 3,000 rpm’s = 30mph. 5,000 rpm’s = 50mph and so on. No turn signals and mirrors. The carburetors were professionally restored and I will provide extra main jets sizes. Engine does not leak oil, had new gasket kit installed along with all new fluids. The numbers on the fairing are vinyl and easily removable if you choose.

1966 Honda CB350 RC166 Replica R Side Tank

Compared to the real thing, the tank is suitably long and lean but the whole thing isn’t quite proportioned correctly and doesn’t have the tiny, rounded bum-stop tailpiece of the original. It also, of course, lacks Honda’s absolute shrieking masterpiece of a motor, a straight 6-cylinder, four-valve 250cc machine that belted out 65hp through a 7-speed gearbox. With internals that looked more like the parts of a scale model than the real thing, it’s almost impossible to imagine the skill involved in the creation of this thing in an era before computers and modern manufacturing techniques.

1966 Honda CB350 RC166 Replica Dash

And it worked: in the 1966 250cc world championship, the RC166 won ten of ten races.

1966 Honda CB350 RC166 Replica Rear Wheel

Although at first glance this replica isn’t streetable, there’s space for a number plate, a tail light, and the bike does feature a pair of little projector-beam headlamps tucked up between the forks under the nose of the fairing.

1966 Honda CB350 RC166 Replica R Rear

The starting bid is $7,400 with no takers yet but plenty of time left on the auction. This is really big money for a CB350, but pretty small money for such a one-of-a-kind custom with a ton of style. This is a very sweet little bike that is more “inspired by” the RC166 than it is an actual “replica of,” but that’s okay: a more authentic replica would probably be much more expensive, and still wouldn’t feature that awe-inspiring engine.

-tad

1966 Honda CB350 RC166 Replica L Side

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