I am sure that this is not the first Norton that has been put together like this. A little bit Dunstall, a little JPS, a little something else. This 1973 Norton listed on Seattle Craigslist looks special to me. Everyone has that one thing that draws us to a motorcycle. It could be the way the engine sits in the frame. It could be the line that flows from the tank and into the seat. Some motorcycles from the factory have it, and some do not. These styling points are often what attracted us to a particular motorcycle, and it is this that keeps us pursuing a particular make for year after year.
Some times we can feel that there is just one thing missing. One piece that the factory didn’t do right. This one thing is what drives the after market parts market. This one thing drives the custom industry. And the seller of this Norton spent some time to get that one thing right for themselves.
From the seller
Old school classic cafe style Norton. Same owner last 20+ years. Runs good but could use some “freshining up”. Health issues force sale ( getting too old for this ! ) Have receipts, manuals, tools and some extra parts. More pictures on request.
The fairing looks to be a Dunstall, the seat from a JPS, and I am not sure where the tank comes from. (anyone?)
If you’re a motorcycle fan, you’re probably familiar with Ducati’s iconic v-twin [or "L-twin"] engine. And if you’re a vintage bike fan, you probably know all about their tower-shafts and bevel-drive cams and the famous desmodromic valvetrain. You might even know about their line of single-cylinder sport and offroad machines. But most people, even Ducati fans, don’t know about their abortive attempt at a line of parallel twin motorcycles that was intended to replace or at the very least supplement the expensive and hard-to-package vee engines.
That might be because Ducati themselves don’t exactly celebrate this particular bit of history…
Vee engines are generally very narrow, but they can be problematic packaging front-to-back. Go with a narrow angle, like the 45° Harley-Davidson, and you end up with a compact design [unless you also saddle them with a heavy, archaic, pre-unit gearbox and primary belt drive...], but one that tries to vibrate your eyeballs out of your skull and doesn’t want to rev very high.
Go with a wider angle for perfect primary balance, like Ducati’s 90° twin, and you end up with something very smooth and revvy, but pretty hard to fit into a short-wheelbase, quick-turning machine.
So when the time came to develop a new, middleweight sporting machine, Ducati went back to the drawing board and came up with… A parallel twin. Hey, it worked for the British, right? Predictably, Ducati engine guru Fabio Taglioni was appalled and insulted by the new direction and washed his hands of the whole thing.
The 500cc parallel twin engine had its valves actuated by springs instead of Ducati’s famous Desmodromic valvetrain and a single overhead camshaft. It made about 35hp, perfectly acceptable for a machine of that displacement. Unfortunately, Ducati folks can be a particular bunch, and the styling of the bike was not well received. Even Taglioni’s eventual Desmo head couldn’t spark much interest, although it probably didn’t help that the bikes had a pretty high incidence of catastrophic engine failure…
Fortunately, Mr Taglioni had a redesigned vee engine waiting in the wings that replaced the expensive to build tower shafts with simple rubber belts. Derivatives of this engine can still be found in brand new Monsters at your local [ha!] Ducati dealer.
This particular 500 is very unusual in that it has been customized with a classic cafe style: 1978 Ducati 500 GTL for Sale
From the original listing:
1978 Ducati 500GTL (VIN- 503184, completely restored and upgraded as a “Hooligan bike” / café racer, powder coated frame and other parts, K and N filters, period correct Tommaselli alloy clip-on handlebars and throttle, John Bull rear sets, 900ss style oversized Dellortto carbs, stainless fasteners, Bub Conti mufflers, period correct racing rear air shocks, Borrani alloy rims with stainless spokes, lots of other upgrades to electric, etc., extensive spares! Sold with Bill of Sale).
Not much information in the ad, but the photos speak volumes.
I happen to like this bike, although parts availability might be a very real problem, considering how rare it is. It’s a handsome machine, and looks to be in very good condition. If you’re a handy mechanic or love to scour the internet for parts in your spare time, this could be a very cool choice for a classic ride.
How big is too big? This not a question about the size of the bike or its engine, but wondering how tall is too tall to ride a single cylinder Ducati. This 1965 Ducati Monza is up for auction now and there are 17 bid with 2 days left. I am wondering what the mean height of the bidder is? I am average I think at 5’ 10” and can fit comfortably on most bikes, but I am asking riders over 6’ if they would bid on a motorcycle which might be a little cramped. The Ducati singles drove the company in the years before the 750SS and did it very well as shown by the active bidding on this bike.
From the seller
1965 Ducati Monza 250 bitsa bike or Cafe Racer. Frame sandblasted and painted. The fenders are fiberglass. New Excell aluminum rims with stainless steel spokes and nipples. New Avon tires. New rear shocks. New fork seals. New stator, flywheel and regulator rectifier from Electrex from England. The electrical system is now 12 volts. All the wiring and fuse block is new. The new ignition is Pazon from New Zealand with a new Dyna ignition coil. The fuel tank and seat metal work is new hand made aluminum with a flip up vintage style fuel cap. The carb is a new Dellorto PHBH 30mm with a screened velocity stack. The kick start engagement spring has been converted from the original leaf to a coil spring. It has a new Veglia reproduction racing tach. The new rear sets feature a flip up toe in the brake lever for the kicker clearance. Aside from the already mentioned engine improvements the engine is said to have a new piston and rings. It was obtained complete. Interesting to note is that there is a thin spacer between a pair of base gaskets under the cylinder. Head or cylinder milled? High compression piston? Kicker compression is 165 psi. It seems fine with premium pump fuel. Various parts like the hubs, covers on the engine, top triple clamp and lower forks have been polished a bit. For the non informed this bike is a left side kick, right side shift with the reverse or GP shift pattern. It is a 5 speed. There is a new rear aluminum sprocket and gold chain.
There appears to be some attention made to the engine to give it a little more then from the factory. Having a 30mm Carb on a 250 single tells me that the engine is inspired and able to handle the extra fuel/air (maybe a little lean looking at the blue on the exhaust?) to generate a little bigger explosion to translate to the rear wheel. But back to the question, how many tall people will be willing to wear this small 1965 Ducati Monza, because it looks like a great road racer? BB
Well you can’t get a whole lot rarer than this: the seller claims only four of these were imported in 1980! If you’re not familiar with Moto Morini, that’s no surprise. They’re been largely forgotten, since their big, booming recent offerings never made it across the Atlantic and their smallish 70′s and 80′s V-twins never made much of a splash over here in the land of “more is better”.
But in Europe, Morini is famous for their stylish, sporty machines. Generally known for their “3½”, a 344cc 72° twin that sounded terrific, but made pretty modest power. It featured cutting-edge design, including a six-speed transmission, belt-driven overhead cams, and “Heron” heads that provided ease of manufacture and excellent fuel economy.
While the bikes possessed excellent handling characteristics, their small displacement doomed them to obscurity here in the US.
From the original eBay listing: 1980 Moto Morini 250TC for Sale
6216 miles with a full 30 year documented history-dealer to my garage. This bike is one of the least great examples of hand made Italian craftmanship, especially in a small displacement bike. This bike was originally imported by Morini/BMW dealer Perry Bushong of Fort Worth TX. If you care to just google his name and or go to his shop, the guys a legend.
Perry purchased this bike for himself new and told me that in 1980 it was 1 of only 4 of these models imported to the US that year. Perry kept it for quite a few years then sold it to his head mechanic. A few years back unfortunately his mechanic passed away and Perry sold it to a local collector, who in return sold it to me a few years later.
The bike had just over 4k miles on it when I received it, in that the time I have owned it I performed the following:
New tires, new plugs, rebuilt carbs, replaced cracked speedo/tach housing with NOS one, replaced cracked pulse coil with new improved North Leciester Morini one, new battery, new Hagon rear shocks.
I have well over $1500 of parts and labor into this bike and it shows. It rides and runs perfectly. Six speed gearbox works great and rips up to 75 mph, with a sound that you can’t believe comes from a 250 vtwin. It is amazingly fun to ride. Full Italian buzz from
To quote my friend Stuart owner North Leciester Morini in the UK, “if Faberge was going to have a bike made, the Moto Morini 250 TC would be it”
This bike is a hand made tart, full Italian quality. Lafranconi pipes, Grimeca brakes/wheels, Veglia speedo/tach, Paioli front shocks and triple tree as well as a steering stabilizer, Verlichi fork boots and dust covers, adjustable low cafe bars, 6 volt system powers flashers and headlight.
Everything on this bike works as it should and it starts first or second kick. No electric start. Mechanically I would say this bike is better than stock, the KN pods and jetting were done by Perry Bushong and he purchased the pods from Herdan motorcycles in Pennsylvania another former Morini dealer.
The seller appears pretty knowledgeable about the the bike, and a quick internet search turns up very little information about the 250cc version of the bike. It looks like parts availability shouldn’t be too much worse than for the larger bikes, which is to say “not great”. But the price of entry should ultimately be low for such an exotic and usable bike, and you’ll certainly never see another at your local, or pretty much any other bike night.
Just a couple days ago, we posted one of the classic “round-case” Ducatis. Today, we have the later follow-up model, the 860GT, dressed in very cool but slightly faded period colors. The sharp creases of the new bodywork and engine cases were penned by Giorgetto Guigiaro, clearly in the same angular design headspace as when he designed the original Lotus Esprit and VW Golf/Rabbit. Perhaps if he’d been channeling the same muse as when he designed the gorgeous Maserati Ghibli and DeTomaso Mangusta, the 860GT would have been better received…
These are pretty elegant-looking bikes, but it’s clear that Ducati fans can be a conservative bunch: when the bike was introduced, the styling was very polarizing and this was reflected in disappointing sales. But sinking sales and a financially- imperiled Ducati just mean that modern collectors in search of vintage style and impeccable pedigree can pick one of these up at a much more reasonable cost.
From the original eBay listing: 1976 Ducati 860GT for Sale
Up for auction is a 1976 Ducati 860 GT. A very nice original bike. Has 18,224 actual miles. Runs great and shifts through all gears. Chrome on exhaust, wheels and other small parts is typical Italian chrome with some blistering and some loss. All the paint is original. Fenders are faded. Tank and side covers are nice with tank only having one small ding on the rt side and some chip from normal use. Has been sitting without fuel and was put away as a running bike with no known problems other than the tachometer is broken. Light switches on the bars have been replaced but work. Small ding in the bezel of the speedometer. Tires are Conti Blitz and are like new. Mufflers are stock and not dented or rusted out.
In spite of it’s relatively controversial styling, Ducati still managed to make and sell plenty of these, so availability and the less classic looks have kept prices relatively low. Although with the round-case model values headed ever upward, prices for these are also increasing.
If you are a casual motorcycle nut, if asked to list Italian Sports bikes, you may have 4-5. If you’re a confirmed motorcycle nut, you might be able to name 6-7. This is not because there are few Italian sports bikes, its more that few make it into the consciousness of the U.S. buyers mind. This is a bad thing, because this 1954 Gilera Saturno should have been here in the States with a big presence in the 1950’s. But you can make up for that in 3 days from today, if you have the Lira.
From the seller
In the day, the Saturno was one of the most dominant forces in 500GP racing. Right up until the late 50’s when Gilera came out with their 4 cylinder 500, the Saturno was the bike to beat. Saturnos also had good success in European motocross as well as being very reliable transportation.
Like manufactures from around Europe, Gilera was racing, and doing a very good job at it. Singles, Twins, Four cylinders were all coming out of the factory to hit the tracks, and winning. The seller believes that this is someone’s attempt to take a road going bike, The Saturno, and put as many race goodies on it, like any good motor head would do. (testa del motore?)
More from the seller.
This is an extremely rare 1954 Gilera Saturno in Corsa trim. The history of this bike is not well known so I am calling it a replica to be safe. The genuine Corsa’s would have an alloy cylinder barrel and 35mm remote float carb. This bike has an iron cylinder and a 30mm side float carb. I’ve also found that the smaller carb’d models are listed with 28mm carbs so this falls somewhere in between. It’s possible that this bike is actually a Sport model in the Corsa trim or it could be an actual Corsa that was refitted with an iron barrel and smaller carb being more easily sourced.
There is a lot of action going on with this auction, so if you want something Italian, and a little lower on the list, check out some more info shared by the seller of this 1954 Gilera Saturno. BB
While all of the classic “bevel-drive” Ducatis are collectable, it is the early “round-case” Ducati twins that are still the most sought-after models. These bikes are ground-zero for Ducati’s current crop of big-bore superbikes and sporting machines, the first models to be powered by the famously charismatic “L-Twin” engine. Basically, a 90° V-twin with one cylinder sticking out nearly horizontal and the other pointing somewhat ominously at the rider’s crotch, this configuration has become synonymous with the brand in the decades since its introduction.
The 750cc engines were redesigned in 1974 with a much more angular look to match revised bodywork. This restyle was not generally well received by Ducatisti at the time and, decades later, this bias is reflected in the greater desirability of the earlier “round-case” models.
With SS of both round and square varieties and the Sport models still escalating in value, the 750GT’s are still the best and only affordable way into round-case ownership. As a bonus, the GT sported the most practical ergonomics and a dual seat, making it a more usable proposition than the more race-y SS and Sport models.
From the original eBay listing: 1973 Ducati 750GT for Sale
I have had the bike since 1999 & believe I am the 3rd owner. The bike was a basket case when I got it. The odometer now reads 20,177 – which is likely close to being correct. I have totally rebuilt this Ducati, & put only 3000 miles on it since ’99. The following is a list of the changes, improvements, & upgrades that I, & the previous owners, have made:
Top End: New high CR pistons (750Sport), sleeves, & rings
Carbs: 32mm DelOrto PHF w/ K&N air filters
Ignition: Dyna S & coils, w/ ballast resistor
Master cyl.: Brembo (original Scarab M cyl. comes with bike)
Caliper: Brembo P08 (original Scarab caliper comes with bike)
Brake Line: Braided steel
Shocks: Red Wing (OEM shocks come with bike)
Mufflers: Bub Conti replicas
Fuse block: aftermarket replacement
Speedo & Tach: Original Smiths – (rebuilt)
Seat: Stock seat recovered, & Cafe solo seat (Syds)
Side covers: fiberglass (Syds)
Rider’s peg rubbers: new OEM replicas (not installed)
Passenger pegs (OEM pegs & rubbers with bike-not installed)
Frame stripped & repainted with DU9000
Tank & side covers painted (base coat clear coat) to replicate 750 Sport
Note that the owner has replaced the original Scarab disc brake caliper and master cylinder with the more effective Brembo stopper, an example of the logical, period upgrades that have been implemented. It’s pretty clear that, while this bike is not perfectly original, it’s in some ways better: it’s usable.
BuyItNow price is $17,500 and bidding is up to almost $9,000 with the reserve not met and five days to go.
The Moto Guzzi Lodola [“Lark”] is yet another reminder that, in the motorcycling world, bigger wasn’t always considered better. In the past, tax laws that penalized big bikes and the simple efficiency of small motorcycles was appealing in an era where the choice to ride was often driven more by economic necessity than issues of vanity or pleasure. With cars often an unaffordable luxury, small, practical, but stylish machines were a very realistic transportation choice.
Our motorcycling forefathers seem to have been spoilt for choice when it came to choosing a stylish, practical mount. It’s hard to imagine now, in an era when it sometimes seems like motorcycles fall into only one of two categories: boat-anchor, chrome-dripping, heavyweight retro cruisers and insane, race-track escapee plastic darts that require rattlesnake reflexes to ride effectively. Heck, the smallest Guzzi you can buy these days is a 750, a machine that would have been considered big at one point, but is obviously tiny when you compare it to their new 1400cc offering…
But the little Lodola was considered to be a very sophisticated machine at the time, with a mutable character that reflected the rider’s mood, or right wrist. The little 235cc bike is particularly interesting for being the last bike designed with founder Carlo Guzzi’s direct input.
See the original eBay listing: 1960 Moto Guzzi Lodola for Sale
This particular example appears to be well maintained and is being sold by an owner who is clearly attempting to accurately represent the bike being offered. From the original listing:
These are issues I know the bike has. They are minor, but for full disclosure, here they are:
- It does leak a little oil like many of these old bikes do. There is a new engine gasket set included in the spare parts if it bothers you enough to swap them out. Never bothered me. Main issue is fixed, yet because of the age of this bike, I cannot guarantee it will not leak ever again.
- Mileage is unknown.
- There are two small paint chips on the left side upper fork, one small chip on the bottom of the rear fender, and a small stress crack on the left side of the rear fender that I have seen on almost every Lodola. These can be seen in the last three pictures. There are also a couple of small chips on the frame, but are only visible with the engine case covers removed.
- The muffler is a period Moto Guzzi replacement, not the original. It shows some minor chrome flaking as it was not restored. It still looks nice, but close examination will show the flaking. Personally, I like this muffler better than an original as it is a little shorter and “Moto Guzzi” is embossed in it, which the original did not have.
The bike will come with some extra parts left over from the rebuild and reproduction owner’s and service manuals (in Italian).
I’ve only seen a couple of these come up for sale, and bidding is still very low for this bike, so I’m curious to see what we’ll be looking at when the [virtual] gavel comes down on this auction. But it looks like a very cool little machine for Sunday rides down country lanes.
It’s really been raining Benelli the past couple weeks! This week, there’s a very solid, but slightly neglected 1983 Benelli 900 Sei for sale in New Jersey. The 900 was a development of the 750 Sei introduced in 1972 as a flagship model for Benelli, a sophisticated tour de force of engineering and style, a classic “gentleman’s express” of a motorcycle intended to show that Benelli could compete with the Japanese manufacturers.
The 750cc six-cylinder motor was supposedly heavily influenced by Honda’s CB550 four cylinder engine, with two cylinders grafted on to create the first road-going inline six motorcycle. In 1979, displacement increased to 906cc and the single over head cam engine made 80hp. While this wasn’t world-shattering performance at the time, the multi was extremely smooth with a wide powerband.
Note the interesting duplex chain intended to handle the displacement/power increase of the larger motor.
From the original eBay listing: 1983 Benelli 900 Sei
This bike has not been driven in almost 20 years. Was running when I stopped driving it. I did not plan to stop driving it, and did not drain the carbs. It would need work to get it back to it’s former glory. It’s been siting in the back of a dry place and has little rust. This bike sounds like no other,I lent it to a friend once and had to chase him down for days and he left his new bike with me. It sounds that good. The bikes has a small rip in the fairing and the carbs need work so i am selling this as a non running bike. I’m sure in can be fixed, but if I fixed it I would drive it and I would be rite back on it again.
There’s not much information here, and the seller refers to the bike as a “Sci” which doesn’t do much to increase buyer confidence. With bidding still below $4,000, this might be a great way to pick one of these up at a bargain price, but anyone getting into a six-cylinder Italian exotic should be prepared to spend money putting a bike like this right.
With luck, a simple carburetor rebuild should get this classic machine back on the road.
The parallel twin is an engine synonymous with classic motorcycles. In the era before the “multis”, when Honda and Kawasaki and Suzuki mass-produced their four-cylinder engines, a twin was the perfect way to get power, light weight, and handling in a compact, motorcycle-friendly package. The classic Nortons and Triumphs often featured this engine configuration, but the Big Three Japanese makers certainly made a few as well and, as you’d expect, they did it with their usual attention to detail.
While British and Italian twins were often sports models, typically Honda twins were jack-of-all-trades middleweights. They were relatively cheap to buy, fun to ride, and dead reliable. Basically the same virtues they have now. While low prices mean many are being chopped up to make cheap café racers and bobbers, here’s one little Honda twin that may just be too nice to molest.
From the original eBay listing, and available for sale from one of our readers:
This classic, vintage 1976 HONDA CB360T motorcycle has been restored roughly 10 years ago. It’s been on display in a private collection with 690 original miles, with clear title in hand.
Fuel tank is dry and treated, sump has clean oil and motorcycle was in excellent running condition when stored.
The text in the listing is pretty spare, but the pictures speak for themselves. Honda sold thousands of their 350 and 360 twins, but really nice ones are getting rarer and rarer as people use them up and discard them. I’d normally advocate the bobber and café conversions that often consume these bikes, but it seems a real shame in this case: it’s in beautiful shape and has just 690 miles on it from new!
These bikes had a 356cc engine tuned for a broad, usable band of torque and a 6speed transmission, a relative rarity in that era. While no road-burner, the 360T was a sweet-handling, unintimidating bike. While the price on this one may reach well beyond what a normal CB360 would fetch, collectors should snap up this bike and squirrel it away.