The second Moto Guzzi of the week is this very nice, very original 850 Le Mans. These are often referred to as “Mark I” Le Mans, although that’s obviously a description retroactively applied to differentiate them from later bikes. Released in 1976, it was a logical progression from the V7 Sport in terms of styling and mechanicals. It featured the same basic frame and engine, but bored out to 850cc’s with bigger valves, carbs, and higher-compression, along with new, much more angular bodywork that still displays clear stylistic links to the earlier bike.
These changes gave 71hp at the wheel and a top speed of 130. It wasn’t the fastest bike of the period, but it was on par with the competition and included extremely stable handling in the mix. Sure it was quirky, and you can definitely feel the longitudinal crank’s torque-reaction in turns, but it’s easy to compensate for, once you acclimate, and has no negative effect on performance. And with that easily maintained engine and shaft drive, it was weirdly practical for an exotic Italian sportbike.
Many Guzzis of the period used a mechanically simple, but highly functional linked-braking system. A squeeze of the brake lever operates one front caliper. The foot pedal operates the other front caliper and the rear as well, with lockup prevented by a proportioning valve. Surprisingly effective, although many have been converted to more conventional setups.
The listing doesn’t include much detail about this bike, and the photos are a bit washed out so it’s hard to get a good idea about the paint, other than that it has paint. But the mileage is extremely low for a Guzzi and it looks very complete and well cared-for.
From the original eBay listing: 1976 Moto Guzzi Le Mans I for Sale
Owners manual and tools, service records, clear title some minor scuffs and wear but too nice to restore.
They are only original once.
Only 6000 or so first-gen bikes were made from 1976 through 1978, but most that show up for sale have been well-maintained, and they’re pretty fundamentally rugged bikes. The starting bid is $14,999.00 with no takers as yet. That’s in the ballpark as far as Le Mans pricing goes, and I’d assume we’ll see some activity as we get closer to the auction close. Certainly there are prettier examples out there, but this one’s combination of low miles and completely original condition should make it pretty desirable to Guzzi fans.
The only real cosmetic downside is the American market front headlamp that has a projecting ring around it to meet US safety regulations. The Euro part had a much better-looking, flush-mount design. One of those things you’d probably never notice, until someone helpfully pointed it out to you. Then it’s impossible to un-see. Your mind pokes at it, like a piece of food in your teeth you can’t stop prodding with your tongue…
While the price is certainly not chump change, it’s hard to argue that the Le Mans isn’t still a bit of a bargain in the collector bike world, especially considering that it’s a bike you can ride anywhere and still get parts for, a reliable vintage Italian exotic.
The 80s were a revolutionary time. Technology was crashing the old school party and promised to make everything better. The Honda CX500 Turbo was supposed to lead this charge, featuring fuel injection, a digital dash and a turbocharger that nearly doubled the horsepower of the standard CX500. It promised all of the power of a literbike with the efficiency of a 500. While it didn’t quite live up to that promise, it was still a valiant effort by Honda. The CX500T was only produced for one year as Honda bumped the displacement up to 650cc the next year. It’s limited production, classic 80s styling and interesting history make it a favorite for collectors.
This one isn’t a museum piece, but appears to be a pretty clean starting point that could be the basis of a full restoration, or just a really cool vintage rider for the occasional Bike Night at your local hot spot. It’s sure to draw a crowd.
Note: This is a repost from our sister site, Rare Sport Bikes For Sale.
From the seller:
This is a original 1982 CX500 Turbo very rare bike It is in very nice condition runs and rides well. I am the second owner first owner parked bike when starting a family, bike sat in a garage for 20 years. I purchased it, and went over the bike cleaned the tank replaced the tires with new hi speed avons greased bearings changed fluids put in new gel battery, new fuel pump. The original worked but would stop now and then and I would have to tap on it to get it going again I got tired of this and replaced it . bike comes with original pump if someone wants to try and fix it I purchased the correct plug end and made replacement pump a plug in nothing was modified to install it. Bike has a scratch on a turn signal housing small scuffs and scratches normal for its age there is oxidation on the engine (see pics) paint is worn off the center stand from sitting biggest problem is front fork seals have started to leak and will need replaced at some time . The bike is a good solid rider but could be a show bike with a little effort. everything works runs rides nice handles well, very quick. bike comes with original fuel pump owners manual and original Honda tire gage bike does not have the tool kit first owner said he never received one. Bike was originaly purchased from Fischer Cycle Sales N bend rd Ashtabula Ohio Original owner said they have the records of work he had done on it 20 years ago.
You’d be forgiven for thinking the site is now ClassicItalianSportbikesforSale.com, considering the raft of recent posts… and that impression won’t be changing this week, with two bikes from Mandello del Lario that were just too nice to pass up, starting with this beautiful V7 Sport.
While Moto Guzzi has, for the past twenty years or so, been thought of as more of a sport-touring manufacturer, like an Italian BMW, it’s important to remember that the V7 Sport and LeMans were very serious sports motorcycles, as quick and nimble as anything being made at the time. In fact, a comparison between the Le Mans and the Ducati 900SS saw reviewers describing the Guzzi as having the freer-reving engine. And while the shaft drive’s torque-effect is noticeable, you quickly get used to it. It was only Guzzi’s inability to keep up with the relentless forward march of the Japanese manufacturers that forced them to recast their image in the same way the Brits were forced to in the 1980’s, trading “performance” for “sophistication” and “character.”
The V7 was where it all began for Guzzi’s v-twin sportbikes. The earlier loop-framed motorcycles offered stable handling, comfort, and reliability, but were too tall and too heavy to really perform as sportbikes. So Lino Tonti designed a new frame that wrapped around the longitudinally-mounted engine and bulky five-speed transmission, using removable down-tubes to allow for servicing. The engine was punched out to 748cc’s to comply with 750cc class limits and the generator was moved to the front of the engine to reduce overall height. The result was bike with a long, low silhouette that handled well, stopped quickly, and made plenty of power.
This example has relatively low mileage and is claimed to be in original, unrestored condition. To me, these bikes look best in the famous lime-green color, but you can’t go wrong with black. Later bikes had twin discs up front, but the earlier drum looks great and offered good stopping power.
From the original eBay listing: 1974 Moto Guzzi V7 Sport for Sale
Third owner bike. It was purchased from a good friend who owned it for many years so I know this bike runs very well and personally ridden it on 80 miles canyon rides on weekends multiple times. Minimum patina and only original once.
From manufacture tag, it is June 1973 production model. Titled as a 74 when sold from the dealer in Canada. Matching number prestige original condition. Just take the time to look at all the photos which shows how beautiful it is especially the drum brakes and shark fins exhaust and other unique car engine concepts and details. Bike has been documented in logs of all service done over the years with receipts. It has constantly been maintained and serviced as necessary.
This is Moto Guzzi’s Sport model that company used in competition. Drum brakes works excellent. Electric start by push button on right handlebar or twisting ignition key like a car makes riding practical. Torque on the V7 pulls fast and cruise the freeways easily over 80mph. Handlebars can be easily moved to upper position for great comfort and long flat seat make it an excellent touring bike with the passenger.
Bike has been stored indoors, ridden, and maintained, waxed routinely.
Clear CA title and registration in my name.
The seller also includes a list of maintenance and recent work that’s gone into the bike over at the original listing. He does also mention and point out that there is one broken cooling fin that’s hiding under the intake on the right side of the bike, but says that it can be fixed if the head is ever off the bike.
Other than that, this bike looks to be in exceptional original condition and is ready to ride. His Buy It Now price is set at $19,400.00 which is on the high side, but is far from outrageous, especially considering the condition. These are steadily appreciating classics that you can ride regularly if you choose and, if I had the cash, there’d be one in my garage for sure.
As sleek and sexy as exotic cars and motorcycles may appear to the uninitiated, it’s under the skin where the really beautiful stuff generally lives. After all, you can cloak a pedestrian four-banger Fiero in fairly convincing Lamborghini bodywork, but pull the bodywork of this Bimota HB2 and the bike is perhaps even better-looking.
While the GSX-R is generally thought to have brought endurance-racing looks and monoshock frames to the masses, they certainly weren’t the first to actually build a bike like that for the road. That honor would likely go to Bimota and one of their lightweight Japanese-engined racers. This was at the tail end of the era before the Japanese Big Four really got their act together and made big bikes that could handle, and Bimota was happy to take their powerful and nearly unburstable powerplants and put them into packages that were uncompromisingly fast, lightweight, and devoid of mass-production compromises.
The HB2 was, as the alpha-numeric name suggests, the second Honda-powered bike built by Bimota. Only 10 HB1’s were built, the first made from a CB750 wrecked by Massimo Tamburini himself. 200 HB2’s were built following, making them almost mass-produced by Bimota standards. The HB2 was powered by the CB900F’s 90hp air/oil-cooled, four-valve, four-cylinder engine, wrapped in a lightweight trellis frame that saved almost 70lbs compared to the more traditional donor bike. The exhaust added a dab of power but was mainly intended to save additional weight.
It takes just 4 bolts and a single electrical connector to remove the lightweight fairing and allow unfettered access to the gorgeous mechanicals, as can be seen from the photos.
From the original eBay listing: 1981 Bimota HB2 for Sale
Great opportunity to buy a supper rare and highly collectable motorcycle, one of the first Bimotas,this one was 2nd generation using a Honda engine but was the 1st model Bimota implemented the billet plate to hold the frame together, was the most expensive and fastest production bike back in 1981. Is a very basic and simple motorcycle, engineered ,design and manufactured with one purpose, to serve one rider and provide the most handling and performance. Has a very cool spider web trellis frame, billet integrated plates to improve rigidity, magnesium wheels, magnesium legs 40 mm fully adjustable Italia(Certain) fork, billet triple tree and rear sets, one piece fiber glass body with tank cover and integrated seat. Bike is mostly stock with the exception of very rare Dellorto PH32 carbs, original came with Keihin carbs (very cheap and easy to obtain on eBay).
I purchased the bike from a collector, along with other motorcycle and unfortunately can’t keep them all, decided to sell a few, including this Bimota HB2.
The bike is very solid and in better than average shape but is not pristine, has scratches, dents, some other marks and scuffs as you can imagine for a 34 years old bike. I encourage who ever is interested to come for an inspection, bike has new tires, carbs and fluids taken care, starts and rides well but I only take her out for short rides, too precious to go the distance. Only 197 of these babies were made, this is#26 and titled in my name, Illinois title.
I have bunch of period magazine covering this bike and all of them have agreed the bike was a masterpiece and way ahead of its time, for years had no competition, was in a class all by herself/ I would included them with the bike.
Interestingly, these early Bimotas generally used the factory gauges for a less-exotic and bespoke, but far more reliable way to keep an eye on vital statistics: the gauges on 90’s Bimotas were almost comically erratic when they functioned at all. With plenty of time left on the auction, but no bidders and a starting bid of $11,000 there’s plenty of time to get in on a very collectible motorcycle in solid shape.
I usually try to mix things up here, and we did just feature a very nice early roundcase Ducati this week, but this late square-case SuperSport makes a nice bookend to that earlier machine. While you might expect the bigger-engined 900 SuperSport to be the more desirable bike compared to the earlier 750SS or Sport, the reverse is actually true: with just 401 produced, the earlier 750SS is far more collectible than its bigger descendant. But that just means these are that much more accessible for folks who want to experience a classic bevel-drive Ducati.
“Accessible” of course being a relative term…
Although these epitomize Italian sportbikes of the period, the truth is that, but the late 1970’s, Ducati’s v-twin was getting pretty long in the tooth. It handled better than the newest crop of Japanese superbikes, but they were less refined, less reliable, and very expensive to produce, with the complex and Swiss watch-like tower-shaft and bevel-drive gear arrangement requiring very precise set up. In fact, the Pantah that followed was mainly intended to reduce production costs, not improve performance: those rubber belts ran quieter and made building those motors much faster and easier, even though they needed more regular replacement. Thanks for that, Ducati.
The 900SS was introduced in 1975 and used the updated 864cc twin that used the restyled, more angular-looking cases that led to the “square case” nickname for these later bevel-drive engines. It also used a simplified gearshift intended from the outset to work with a left-side shift: earlier bikes with a left-side shifter were basically converted from the original right-side mechanism using a convoluted linkage that was far from precise. Cast-aluminum wheels came in 1979 and added more modern performance, although some today might bemoan the loss of the classic wire spoked items…
From the original eBay listing: 1979 Ducati 900SS for Sale
Very rare bevel-head Ducati, all original with few modifications. Conti exhaust, Marzocchi shocks, Del’lorto 40 mm pumper carbs, and a Dr. Desmo Bevel-gear window. 14,000 original-owner miles, has Campagnolo cast alloy wheels, a rare original option, and perforated brake disks. Complete professional no-cost-barred frame-up restoration done ca 2000-2001 by MPH Motorsports (Houston), stripped to frame, powder-coated, engine sent to Perth, Australia for the performance Vee Two treatment (converted for unleaded fuel, hardened seats, porting, http://veetwo.net/ ). Very professional result and true to the original. Runs strong and handles as if on rails. The rarest collectable MC known, recognized in the Guggenheim “Art of the Motorcycle”. Perfect condition, runs great. Always garaged, maintained by Erico MS in Denver (who will crate and ship the motorcycle), did I mention I am the original owner already?
It’s nice that the seller took the time to wash the bike before taking pictures, but I do wish it’d been dried off first… And I do wish that a few more unblurry pics had been included.
Bidding is up just north of $16,000 with the Reserve Not Met. There’s not much to say about this bike: it’s a blue-chip classic in nearly perfect condition, with a fairly recent full restoration by a professional shop, with an engine built by one of the best Ducati speed shops in the business. The only questions are: “Do you like the black/gold paint, or would you prefer blue/silver?” And maybe, “Would you prefer your classic Ducati with spoked wheels?”
This Motobi Sei Tiranti is new to me, so I did a bit of digging. It was a race bike based on the “Sprite” and built by Primo Zanzani, a roadracer and self-taught motorcycle tuner who came onboard Motobi to develop the four-cylinder 250GP bike and later race bikes based on the egg-shaped Motobi single, helping them earn the 250cc Junior title in 1966, 1967, and 1969.
“Sei Tiranti” refers to the six head studs on the later model homologation bikes that provided additional strength versus the street Motobi’s four head studs that allowed for higher compression and more revs as they chased after more power.
The race bikes were pretty far from the street bikes in every way allowed by the rules in this class. The bikes often bore only a superficial resemblance to the street bikes on which they were supposedly based and included sand-cast cases along with many other trick parts. The bike weighs in at just 223lbs dry, making for pretty good performance when combined with the 33hp and 5-speed box.
Motobi was originally known as Moto “B” Pesaro for founder Giuseppe Benelli and their home province of Pesaro, the name later was shortened to Motobi. After an early disagreement with his brothers, Giuseppe went his own way, making small-displacement motorcycles until he was brought back into the fold in 1962 when the larger Benelli company acquired him, possibly making for awkward family dinners thereafter…
From the original eBay listing: 1968 Motobi 250 Sei Tiranti for Sale
Have a look first at this video of the history of Mr. Primo Zanzani…..his bikes won over 500 races in the 50s and 60s. This racing motorbike, belonging to the history of the racing motorbikes, has been hand built fully by him in person. Fully original in any single parts. Very very rare bike. last one has been sold in Japan for 95.000 euro. Immensive collectionist value.
Visible in our museum in Fano.
Recently restored and fully rebuilt by Mr. Zanzani, still alive and living in Pesaro.
The original listing is found on eBay.co.uk, but the bike is currently in Fano, a province of Pesaro, very near where it was born. Interestingly, this should be a very authentic rebuild, since Primo Zanzani is still very much alive and running his family business, as well as producing race replicas that appear to be accurate in every detail.
The classified listing states the price as £30,000 which as of today equates to about $47,000, which is some serious change for a motorcycle of any sort, although the seller helpfully cites that previous examples have sold for even more.
I’m very new to Motobi, so if any of our readers can enlighten me further, I’m happy to hear from you!
Ducati’s 750 Sport is one of the most iconinc motorcycles of any era, an instantly-recognizable bike that looked as fast as it was. The earlier 750GT was probably a better, far more practical motorcycle. But the Sport looked like sex on wheels, and made full use of the performance available from the very capbable package.
The Sport was built up from the standard 750GT and featured a lighter crankshaft, higher-compression pistons, and bigger carbs. One thing it did not have was Ducati’s now ubiquitous desmodromic heads. Only the SuperSport models got that little technological nugget, although the Sport did use the very accurate tower shaft and bevel drive system to operate the overhead cams.
The Sport obviously looked different as well: the tank was longer and narrower, and there were no passenger accommodations. And while the 750GT was a much more practical motorcycle in real world applications, the Sport had that extra dose of sex appeal
The 750 Sport was one of the best-handling bikes of the period, and with 62hp and a fat wedge of midrange torque on tap and five gears to choose from, it had the punch to get you between corners quickly as well.
From the original eBay listing: 1974 Ducati 750 Sport for Sale
12,019 Kilometers (7,451 miles)
This is a 1973 production year of which only 746 were produced – see Ian Falloon’s excellent book – “The Ducati 750 Bible, pages 74-75” on VIN numbers. “The 1973 750 Sport was a very elemental motorcycle, the lightest of all the 750s and totally uncompromised.” Page 76. I can attest to this statement as it is a no frills, takes no prisoners and is raw & visceral experience.
I’ve owned this 1974 Ducati 750 Sport since March of 2007. It is in beautiful and extraordinary condition with 12,019 kilometers (7,451 miles) on the clock! I have the history of the bike from December 1995. A gentleman in Massachusetts purchased it December 1995 and later sold it in May 2004 to another gentleman in Massachusetts. He kept it until I purchased the bike in March 2007. The bike has only covered 591 kilometers (366 miles) since December 1995. The bike sits in the garage, covered up and only ridden a few miles each summer. It has always started on the first or second kick even after not being ridden for months. I have photocopies of the previous titles listing names, dates and odometer statements, which may be inspected and are included with the sale.
Original Veglia instruments with only 12,019 Kilometers (7,451 miles). The speedometer has the correct trip reset knob
As you can see from the pictures, there are two gas tanks. The one on the ground plus 4 additional pictures is the original fiberglass tank. Due to ethanol mandated by Colorado, I never put gas into that tank. Other than a slight lifting of the decal (see photo), it is in excellent condition. It’s been stored in my office since I took ownership.
The tank that is on the bike is a reproduction. I purchased that tank from a well-known Ducati specialist (name not disclosed but receipt is included) that was supposed to be ethanol resistant. Additionally, Caswell coating was used but the ethanol gas still affected the tank. It has bubbled on the side but is fully serviceable for everyday ridding – there are no leaks or seeping of gas
All receipts and documents that I have accumulated during my ownership will be provided.
The seller includes quite a bit more information over at the original listing, so be sure to check it out if this bike piques your interest.
I’m a huge fan of the particular shade of yellow used on the Sport. Yellow can be a really vibrant, attention-getting color, but this particular yellow is almost subtle. It’s certainly a color that flatters the Sport. Technically, 1974 saw some changes to the Sport, with black cases giving way to polished items, and a Brembo front brake replacing the Scarab shown here. I wouldn’t worry about that too much: the black cases look great, and many bikes of the era used whatever was lying around the factory, so it’s very possible these bits are original.
All-in-all, one of the most desirable sports motorcycles of all time, and likely to continue to appreciate in value.
Although styled to match their bigger siblings, Moto Guzzi’s V35 and V50 models shared few mechanical components and, in some ways, were more refined, sophisticated machines. They shared the longitudinal engine configuration and shaft-drive with the bigger bikes, but used unconventional “Heron” -style heads that improve both manufacturing and combustion efficiency.
Heron heads have been used by Jaguar, Ford, and Volvo and were used extensively by Moto Morini. Basically, the surface of a Heron-style head is flat, instead of domed, with valves running parallel to each other instead of angled. Combustion then occurs in the top of the dished piston top and has advantages in terms of fuel economy. The simplified design means manufacturing costs are significantly lowered.
The V50 put out 45hp which is certainly enough to have some fun with, especially when combined with the bike’s light weight, strong brakes, and generally excellent handling. The shaft drive is also reportedly less pronounced than on larger models, perhaps because the smaller bike’s drivetrain contains less rotating mass.
Introduced in the late 1970’s, the V35 and V50 were primarily intended for the European market, where taxes and fuel prices are generally much higher than here in the US. But some of the littler Guzzi’s did make it over here and although they are rare, often show up in surprisingly good condition. Although I’ve never seen one quite this nice…
From the original eBay listing: 1981 Moto Guzzi V50 Monza for Sale
Very rare bike in the US and seldom seen for sale at all, much less in this condition. I rode this bike around the hills of North Carolina and Tennessee for a few years after I bought it, and enjoyed every mile. I then treated it to a complete frame off, full nut and bolt cosmetic restoration to the highest standards. The bike was originally red, but was changed to the gorgeous silver-blue as sold in Europe. The list of NOS parts used was very extensive and cost many thousands of dollars. The only changes from stock are a DynaTech electronic ignition and a pair of rearview mirrors that are much superior to the stock ones. While these bikes maintain the wonderful good looks of the 1000cc LeMans, they are extremely light and nimble at only 350 pounds, and must be experienced on a twisty road to fully appreciate their capabilities. A factory service manual and parts book is included with this sale.
The bike is fully sorted and needs nothing to enjoy as is. With that said, there is one issue that bears mention. It has what I consider to be an inordinate amount of noise in the primary drive. I have asked other Guzzi owners’ opinion on this, and they say it is normal for the model. The noise is reduced significantly when the clutch is pulled in, so if it is out of the ordinary I really don’t know what to blame for it. I have reduced the price $1000 from what I feel is a fair value on this bike to accommodate this issue.
I’m curious about that noise the seller mentions. Guzzis use an automotive-style dry clutch that naturally makes more noise than an oil-bath clutch and certainly would be quieter once the clutch was pulled in. Without hearing it, or knowing the seller’s experience with other Guzzi models, it’s hard to say, but considering the work that’s gone into this, I think it’s worth taking a chance on.
While this certainly isn’t the fastest classic Guzzi around, I think it’s a great-looking bike, and it’s much more nimble than you might expect, given its chunky looks and that shaft drive. If you’re looking for something weird, collectible, fun, and relatively inexpensive, this little Monza would make an excellent choice.
Today’s Kawasaki-powered Rickman CR900’s most distinguishing feature, aside from its overall impressive condition, is that stunning paint. Colors like this can be difficult to photograph, but I think the seller has done an excellent job with this unusual paint.
The “900” obviously indicates the displacement, as the bike was powered by Kawasaki’s powerful 903cc Z1 engine, but stuffed into a gorgeous, stiff nickel-plated frame that significantly improved on the original machine’s merely adequate handling. Which makes sense, since handling improvements were Rickman’s stock in trade.
Started by Don and Derek Rickman, the company began by building off-road racing bikes designed around existing engines and transmissions. By the 1960’s, they’d started building roadcourse and streetbikes, at first based around British twins but later using the new Japanese multis. This was a perfect marriage, since the Honda CB and Kawasaki Z1 were powerful and reliable, but didn’t really have the frames or suspension to make them competitive on track.
It’s not really clear how many CR900’s were actually built: Rickman sold these as kits, sans engine, transmission, and electricals. And while you could buy them complete through various shops, many were built at home in the proverbial shed, making the exact numbers built difficult to discern.
Regardless, Rickmans of any stripe are hard to find in this condition, regardless of powerplant choice.
From the original eBay listing: 1978 Rickman Kawasaki for Sale
You maybe looking at one of the rarest bikes on the planet. This bike is titled as a Rickman and not as a Kawasaki. The bike is titled as a 1978. The I.D. plate fixed to the steering neck indicates September, 1977 chassis and is the correct id plate for this bike.
Almost all of the Rickman CR900’s, of which few were built, were finished in green This bike has the orgiinal gel coat in red. The bike is original in color and I know of no other with this color. This is an original machine in pristine condition and rides like a rocket ship with the responsive and light frames built by Rickman powered by the Kawaski 900 cc motor. This bike performs as good as any modern bike today.
The 900 cc motor number is Z1E 238xx.
This Rickman chassis was purchased in England by the original owner while vacationing there.
The milage on this bike is less than 9,000. Most of these miles were accumulated prior to the motor being installed into the Rickman. Thus this Rickman frame has seen very limited use. The original rear sprocket shows virtually no wear. The saddle looks near new. The instruments are from the original Kawasaki and show the mileage covered by both the kaw and the Rickman chassis. If you are looking for an original colectable motorcycle that is sure to increase in value look no further. Rickman motorcycles, are extremely rare and have proven in the past to be highly desirable and with their limited production should continue to increase in value.
Bidding is up north of $15,000 with four days left on the auction and plenty of interest. Rickman’s show up fairly regularly for sale, but this is the nicest I’ve ever seen. I’m not in the market for a vintage bike at the moment, but I bike like this would definitely be in the running if I had the cash…
The muscular Kawasaki Z1 almost started its life as an “also ran.” It must be frustrating to spend years working on a new motorcycle [Codename: “New York Steak”] in secret, only to have your rivals beat you to the market by the narrowest of margins. But that’s exactly what happened to Kawasaki when the revolutionary Honda CB750 was introduced just ahead of their own 750.
So what to do, now that Honda had stolen their thunder? They knew that to continue on-course and introduce their own 750cc four-cylinder right after Honda would have their range-topping motorcycle looking decidedly less exciting. So they bided their time and introduced the Z1 in 1973 figuring if they couldn’t be first to market, they’d be the fastest bike on the block.
Thinking that “bigger is better,” their 903cc four made 82hp and could push the bike to a top speed of 130mph. The new Z1 was king of street and strip and, if you wanted to go fast this was the bike to have. Handling was decent as well, although that was never really the point with this bike.
Nice examples are very rare today and steadily increasing in value, because so many were raced, crashed, abandoned, blown up, and turned into post-apocalyptic biker gang machines… Bit of film trivia: almost all of the motorcycles used in the original “Mad Max” were Z1’s donated to the production by Kawasaki.
This one, however, combines original paint with an otherwise thorough mechanical restoration and looks to be one of the nicest, useable examples I’ve seen in a while.
From the original eBay listing: 1974 Kawasaki Z1 for Sale
Here is an absolutely stunning 1974 model Z1 with a very low VIN. It is number 325 off of the assembly line for the 1974 model. This bike is such an early model that in fact it was actually manufactured in July, 1973. The VIN on the frame, engine, and title match as they should and it has a clear South Carolina title. I have owned this bike for several years now and it has just had a recent restoration. Everything on this bike works as it did when brand new. The engine runs perfectly from idle to redline. The engine does not smoke and there is no abnormal noise. This bike handles great and accelerates quickly with lots of power. The frame is straight and never altered. Without a doubt the successful bidder will enjoy owning this beautiful motorcycle!
This bike comes with a very rare period correct Pops Yoshimura 4 – 1 header. This header was on this bike when I bought it. This highly sought after header is in exceptionally good condition. It is one of the early Pops Yoshimura headers with brazed on collars on the head pipes, indicative of when he first got started. Beautiful header! Awesome sound! I can install a new stock reproduction exhaust if your country requires a stock exhaust system due to import regulations, (for an additional fee of course).
The Kawasaki Z1 came new from the factory with Dunlop Gold Seal tires, F6 front and K87 rear. I was fortunate enough, (and with enough cash) to obtain a set of Dunlop Gold Seal tires from a 1973 model bike that was salvaged in 1973 with less than 500 miles on it. These tires have been stored in climate control all these years and they are still soft and pliable with no cracks and no defects! These tires are unobtainable today. This bike comes with original Dunlop Gold Seal Tires as it did when it was brand new!
This bike received a thorough restoration and meticulous attention went into every detail. Nothing was rushed and nothing was overlooked. This bike was in good condition before the restoration, (not rusty abused junk). Every effort was made not to over-restore this bike. The tank and body set are original paint with light patina. Most parts on this bike are original including all of the correct date codes. I have hundreds of photos that document every detail of the restoration. In fact I will include a nice PowerPoint slide show of the restoration.
I’m a sucker for good-quality videos like the one included here, although the “Hawaii 5-0″ music might be a bit much. You can hear the screaming exhaust perfectly well over the music so you know the seller has their priorities straight! There’s quite a bit more information over at the original listing, along with additional high-quality images, so take a look if 70’s superbikes get you revving.