Tagged: 650

Unrestored Beeza: 1969 BSA 650 Lightning for Sale

1969 BSA Lightning R Side

Designed as BSA’s versatile all-rounder, the A65 Lightning had twin-carbs compared to the Thunderbolt’s single-carb set up for improved performance at high rpm. It was considered the more conservative choice when compared to the competing Triumph Bonneville, although the flashy chrome tank panels look pretty striking today. Even though BSA and Triumph were technically owned by the same parent company by this point, clear attempts were made to create distinct brand identities for the Lightning and Bonneville, with a more “reliable” image for BSA, though such things are relative…

1969 BSA Lightning L Front Lamp

With similar displacements, power and performance were closely matched: the undersquare Triumph motor was a bit more torquey than the slightly oversquare BSA and both were OHV engines with the BSA featuring more modern “unit” construction behind those distinctive egg-shaped cases. Period riders often slotted the Triumph’s more easily-tuned engine into the lightweight, rigid BSA frame to create the TriBSA, a bike in the spirit of the more well-known Triton.

1969 BSA Lightning L Side Tank

The BSA’s 654cc twin put 52hp through a four-speed gearbox and was good for 108mph. Unfortunately, although the oversquare BSA was revvier, it was still a big parallel twin and using the higher revs broke bulb filaments with irritating regularity when chasing that power.

From the original eBay listing: 1969 BSA 650 Lightning for Sale

I am offering for sale this original and unrestored 1969 BSA 650 Lightning.  I received the bike in non running condition, with a 12 inch over extended front end, after market head light and brackets and one shorty muffler. The engine turned over with weak compression , but smoothly. The odometer indicated just over 2000 miles, and it`s last state inspection sticker was from 1974. The tires were original Dunlop `Made in England ` K70`s and the wheels were badly rusted on the bottom side from having been buried in earth. the bike had been in a barn, but apparently with a wet muddy floor. I proceeded to disassemble most of the bike , with the intent of leaving it as original as I could. I replaced the wheels with other ones from my stock, and cleaned and greased the wheel bearings. There is an almost new Asian K70 replica tire on the rear, and an original K70 on the front with good tread but has some sidewall checking. I sourced an original 1969 BSA front end with all correct components from my inventory, disassembled and cleaned it thoroughly and reassembled with new seals and all good component parts. I cleaned and polished all of the chrome parts to the best of my ability, and rubbed out the original vintage custom paint, which had apparently been done when the bike was still fairly new. I removed the top end, and found the rings to be stuck in the ring lands, and some rust in a couple of valve seats causing the low compression. The bottom end was clean and tight and still wet with oil from 1974 so decided not to disassemble it. I removed and thoroughly cleaned the pistons, and replaced them with new Hastings rings, honed the cylinders, replaced all gaskets, and removed, reseated and replaced the valves. Everything looked good. crankshaft end play is minimal and timing side bush shows minimal wear.(.002 clearance measured with a feeler gauge.) I also removed, cleaned thoroughly and replaced the oil pump, entire transmission, and primary drive and clutch assembly. I installed a very nice set of vintage Bates cocktail shaker megs with no baffles. They have a very pleasing exhaust note, but not annoyingly loud.

The end result is a bike which starts right up on one or two kicks, runs strong and smoothly, has good clutch action and shifts cleanly through all of the gears, does not smoke, and leakage is very minimal. (chain oiler drips as it should). It is clean and looks presentable, but surely no show bike or trailer queen. It has it`s fair share of ‘patina’ which is the cool way of saying worn chrome and paint, but is well sorted mechanically and electrically. I have no way of knowing if the odometer mileage is correct, although the bike appeared to have low miles. 

1969 BSA Lightning R Side Engine

There’s plenty of pitting and mild corrosion as described, but all that could be repaired if the new owner desired and the bike would work well as a rolling-restoration, since the issues are all cosmetic: as can be seen from the video, the bike starts and runs well, with a nice British twin snarl. There are no bids yet with plenty of time left on the auction, so I’ve no idea if this bike is realistically priced, but this looks like a very nice, rideable example of a late 60’s British icon.


1969 BSA Lightning R Side Front

Marvelous Mutt: 1968 Rickman Metisse Triumph for Sale

1968 Rickman Metisse Triumph L w Fairing

In the 1960’s and 1970’s, if you weren’t happy with the handling of your stock motorcycle, you could contact a number of different specialist frame companies for your racebike or road-legal custom. Among these, the name “Rickman” ranks among the very best, right up with Spondon and Egli, producing frames and bodywork for buyers who wanted something truly exotic.

Early on, they focused on offroad racing, but their catalog eventually encompassed roadracing and street bikes as well, starting with the engine and transmission from the Triumph Bonneville like this particular example.

1968 Rickman Metisse Triumph R Rear

Rickman’s signature frames were constructed from lightweight, nickel-plated tubes that provided a stiff foundation for improved suspension, and many featured internal oil-passages that replaced oil tanks and coolers. The completed hybrids were amusingly named “Metisse,” French for “mongrel.”

1968 Rickman Metisse Triumph L Front

For the most part, the company produced kits instead of complete motorcycles, supplying frames and bodywork: engines, transmissions, wheels, and electrics not included. A wide variety of engines were fitted snuggly into Rickman frames over the years, but Japanese big-bore machines featured heavily in their later output. Like Bimota, they recognized that the handling of these machines could be improved, and the resulting bikes featured the best of both worlds: Japanese engineering and reliability combined with British innovation to create fast, nimble, and rare bikes that could compete on road or track.

1968 Rickman Metisse Triumph Clocks

From the original eBay listing: 1968 Rickman Metisse Road Racer for Sale

The condition of this machine is highly original, un-restored, and preserved, having covered 828 miles since new. All of the numbers are factory correct and original. It is the 650 cc engine. The gearbox is also original to the machine. This Norton is completely original and has never been apart. I am the third owner from new, the first long-time owner being the legendary female motorcycle trailblazer Barbara Lee Weber of Chicago. It is in preserved, original, and almost showroom new condition.

The paint is the original red and is nearly flawless. The original decals are still applied to the gas tank. The plastic sidecovers are in excellent condition and are not in need of any type of repair.  

All of the original accessories, including the headlight and very hard to find tail light, are in operational condition and in excellent original condition.

The Rickman Triumph on the road is very easy to handle, and rides down the road very tight, with no shakes, shimmies, or rattles. It shifts and accelerates smoothly and holds the road as it should.  

There is absolutely NOTHING that needs to be done to this machine to ride it occasionally and enjoy it as a showpiece. Unlike other machines for sale on the internet, this one is ready to ride and not in need of any expensive service once you get it home.  

1968 Rickman Metisse Triumph Engine Detail

There’s a ton of additional information, original documentation, and photographs over on eBay, so pop on over for a look. Bidding is pretty active on this one, with five days left and the Reserve Not Met at $9,100. If you’re looking for a Rickman, this is a very nice, unrestored example of their original road bike with as detailed a history as you’re ever likely to find.


1968 Rickman Metisse Triumph R No Fairing

1972 Benelli Tornado 650S for Sale

1972 Benelli Tornado 650 R Side

While the name Benelli is now more likely associated with firearms outside the vintage biking scene, the company was founded in 1911 by matriarch Teresa as a way to keep her six sons steadily employed. Within ten years, they’d gone from a bicycle and motorcycle repair shop to manufacturer of their own, in-house engine and a successful racing team.

The Tornado 650 was introduced in 1969 and was designed to compete with the bigger offerings from Norton and Triumph in the US and Great Britain.  Powered by a very oversquare 642cc parallel twin, it was reliable and performance was on par with the competition, with a claimed top speed of 117mph.

1972 Benelli Tornado 650 L Side

While those numbers suggest that it’s virtually interchangeable with other machines of its general capacity and specification, in reality the Benelli offered much greater refinement than a Triumph or Norton of the era. Unfortunately, while those machines may be lacking a bit in terms of sophistication, they’re certainly fast, and offer a wealth of tuning parts, shops that specialize, and support communities.

The Benelli will likely get you a wealth of curious looks. Especially if they take a close look at those funky, vibration-reducing footpeg rubbers…

1972 Benelli Tornado 650 Dash

From the original eBay listing: 1972 Benelli Tornado 650S for Sale 

Very low mileage bike restored to as-new condition by Vincent special builder Dale Keesecker in 2008 with 1159 original miles. Entire engine was gone through, all seals replaced, everything checked and carefully reassembled. New paint and high quality chrome applied, cables replaced, any rubber or plastic showing deterioration was replaced.

The bike now has 2280 miles on it. I bought it from Dale in 2009 and have fully tested it over the 1121 miles and 5 years that I have had it.  It is stone reliable, starts instantly on the button, idles perfectly and is a dream to ride. No paint scratches or blemishes, never fallen over, never been wet. Tires bought new in 2011, less than 1000 miles on them. Brakes work great, all electrics work except that the horn is disconnected. Does not leak oil.  It is very quick, handles beautifully and has a phenomenal sound. A huge attention getter anywhere I go on it.  Includes full service manuals, diagrams and user manuals in English & Italian.

I am selling because I have far too many motorcycles and some treasures just have to go.

1972 Benelli Tornado 650 L Rear

I love the fact that the bike features both electric and kick start, along with that gorgeous front brake. Today, Benelli is in a bit of limbo: they are currently still owned by a Chinese company and are supposedly still producing their wild sports triples. But distribution and quality both seem spotty, and the styling of these modern bikes, while very distinctive, is perhaps a bit overwrought… Which is a tragic turn of events, given their history. I realize the world market needs lots of cheap and cheerful motorcycles, but here’s hoping the Qianjiang Group uses the Benelli name and heritage to relaunch the brand at some point as a manufacturer of premium motorcycles.

1972 Benelli Tornado 650 Front Brake

$7,000 is premium money for a Benelli Tornado but, from the photos, this is a really stunning example and looks basically like a brand-new 1970’s Italian motorcycle. If you’re looking for something a little out of the ordinary and love the sound and feel of a parallel twin, this could be your ride.


1972 Benelli Tornado 650 Tank

1980 Ducati Custom for Sale

1980 Ducati Custom L Front

This is a one-of-a-kind custom naked Ducati.  I’ve seen a few Pantah-based customs come up for sale recently, perhaps because, for a while, they were cheap to buy and the huge fairings and 80’s styling were considered pretty uncool until pretty recently.  Or maybe people just thought that early trellis frame should be on display.  This one is claimed to have an “NCR type frame” and it definitely doesn’t look stock.

The belt-driven, single overhead cam Pantah motor still lives on in modern, air-cooled Ducatis and has featured displacements from 500 to 1100 cc’s, although this early bike probably originally had a 500 or 600.  The seller mentions that it has a new 650 in it, most likely from the Cagiva Alazzurra that used a version of Ducati’s famous L-twin.

1980 Ducati Custom Clocks

Don’t let the smallish displacement fool you though: what these twins lack in outright power, they make up for in midrange thunder.  The basic hard parts are very durable, respond well to tuning, and while they do require regular maintenance, they can be very reliable.

From the original eBay listing: 1980 Ducati Custom for Sale

You are bidding on a  Ducati  with a specilal frame and body work, the chassis and body work was imported by Jimmy Adamo in the late 80:s, some one then put a  new 650 cc engine  and components in the frame and built the bike, engine had been hopped up along with race type exhaust system etc. When I got the bike I put on Marvic magnesium wheels, had the frame nickel plated, built the clutch you see, added the racing type full floating rotors, Brembo Gold line calipers, stainless lines, added the alloy rear swing arm, steering damper, etc,etc,. The bike also has 38 mm front forks with alloy upper and lower steering triple clamps. This bike has won numerous awards at shows, finished  second  overall at the Cycle World show at the Javits center in New York. The bike has been off the road for 10 years  and stored in a climate controlled garage,  I just rebuilt the cylinder heads and carbs, the gas tank-seat assembly is fiber glass and we cut the bottom out and cleaned up the inside of the tank, reassembled it and Caswelled the entire inside of tank, the tank is now  ethanol and fuel proof. the brakes and clutch are on silicon brake fluid and work perfectly. I just put a brand new battery in , bike runs  great and sounds like a racing smallblock Chevy

1980 Ducati Custom Engine

I’m a big fan of the air-cooled Pantah motor: until you’ve heard the clanking, hissing, rasping, thudding cacophony of one, you really haven’t lived, and even the smallest Ducati twins can sound truly fierce.  That vented cover shows off the dry clutch , although I’d consider putting some covers over those cam belts: I love the exposed look, but one stray rock…


1980 Ducati Custom R Rear Susp

The starting bid is set at $5,000 and there’s been no real interest with a few days left on the auction.  I actually prefer the original Pantah’s bulbous fairing and classic silver, blue, and red paint, but you certainly won’t see anything like this at your local bike night, and the rare parts are certainly very cool.  Although I’d lose that plastic hugger on the rear wheel and those fakey carbon-look turn signals as soon as I got it home…


1980 Ducati Custom R Side

1982 Yamaha Seca Turbo for Sale

1982 Yamaha Seca Turbo L Front1982 Yamaha Seca Turbo R Side

The Yamaha Seca Turbo was a result of the Japanese manufacturers’ brief flirtation with boost in the 1980’s.  Honda CX500 Turbo came first in 1982, followed by the Yamaha.  Powered by a significantly reworked and enhanced 650cc four-cylinder motor from the regular Seca with a turbocharger tucked in between the transmission and the rear wheel, the bike did not have a significant advantage over the normally-aspirated machine on paper.  But on the road, mid-range performance was eye-opening and very addictive in typical turbo fashion

But lag made using that boost effectively somewhat difficult, and turbocharging added needless complexity: additional displacement was a far more effective way to increase power, so the bike did not sell well, and examples are rare today.

1982 Yamaha Seca Turbo Front1982 Yamaha Seca Turbo Rear

From the original eBay listing: 1982 Yamaha Seca Turbo for Sale

1982 Yamaha Seca Turbo.  Really low miles, just 5,177 miles since new in 1982.  Bike is all original with no modifications.  Runs great – everything works.  Has only normal aging for a 30+ year old bike – only issue I’m aware of is a very slow oil leak.  No other issues.  No reserve on this bike – please don’t bid unless you plan to purchase.  Bike is available locally for sale so Seller reserves the right to end auction early.  $1000 deposit due withikn 48 hours of auction close.  Balance due within 7 days of auction close.  Buyer responsible for pick up and shipping although I can help coordinate and can suggest reputable shipping companies.  Bid with confidence – it’s a great find!

The Seca’s styling was considered very futuristic at the time, which meant it quickly looked very dated once the decade was over.  Sort of like those chunky white Venetian-blinder sunglasses.  But 80’s retro chic is coming back into fashion, and there seems to be a renewed interest in strikingly 80’s bikes and this quirky machine might push your nostalgia buttons.  Or your techno-geek buttons: did you know that only the left muffler actually vents spent exhausts, and that the right is basically wastgate plumbing?

1982 Yamaha Seca Turbo Front Wheel1982 Yamaha Seca Turbo Dash

This is a pretty clean example of a pretty rare bird and so far, the price is staying pretty low, with a starting bid of $3,500 and no takers as of this writing.


1950 Triumph Thunderbird

What can I say, but a 1950 Triumph Thunderbird will always get my attention. And this one offered up for sale appears to have been owner for 90% of its life (or more?) by the same owner. That fact will  get more attention then most.

From the seller

1950 6T 650cc TRIUMPH THUNDERBIRD. I restored this motor in 1957, adding 8.5 piston, alloy rims, chrome spokes, with chrome nuts and bolts throughout assembly. Painted it in Tiger 100 colors and added the improved 7″ Nacell to use sealed beam. I’ve ridden it since then, adding 17,500 miles. Picked up a 1974 Triumph Trident in 1978 and have put fewer miles on the 6T. In 2010, I affected some updates; New seat Refreshed worn leather on the saddle bags New Avon tires and tubes. Greased wheel bearings and spring hub. This is a MK II spring hub NOS from dealership days New AMAL concentric carb New petrol tabs (pet cocks)New fuel lines New gel cell battery, now no maintenance with stainless steel battery cover March 2011 I trailered it to Daytona and rode about 400 miles with no issues March 2012 I trailered it to Daytona and rode about 300 miles with no issues Additional items include; Original tool bag with most of the original tools and some extras

During the post war years the British Motorcycle Industry listened to the US market, and when they said bigger is better, Triumph gave them what they wanted. The Thunderbird was based on the Pre-War Speed Twin, and Triumph Tiger T100, but gained 250cc worth of displacement. The fact that Marlon Brando also made it famous in the Wild Ones didn’t hurt sales.

Like all the Triumphs of the time, the 6T Thunderbird was first offered in a rigid frame, with a Pre-Unit engine and transmission. The engine, with its single carburetor, produced 34bhp at 6300rpm which enable the, fresh off the factory floor, bikes to average 92mph for 500 miles in a publicity stunt on the famous Montlhéry track outside Paris.

Designer Edward Turner addressed the rough ride of the rigid frame by developing a Sprung hub, which put the suspension inside the rear hub. A unique answer to the question, this only lasted until 1954 when all Triumphs received there own suspended frame. If you do buy this 1950 Triumph Thunderbird, you will get to experience the sometimes frightening ride of one such sprung hub. BB

Better with boost: 1982 YAMAHA XJ650LJ SECA TURBO


To my knowledge, we have not yet posted the likes of a Yamaha Seca Turbo on the pages of CSBFS (although we have posted this Honda CX500T and this Kawasaki GPz750 Turbo). That is a shame, as these are really great riding bikes that deserve some attention. The least-loved of all of the factory turbo bikes, the Seca is a fine sport touring bike with a little added torque, thanks to the turbo boost. The fairing design is 1980s futuristic, the base engine is 1970s air-cooled technology, and the overall package provided a workable, reliable motorcycle.

This particular gem is very clean. It sports nearly 23,000 miles on the clock, which is a testament to the reliability of these Yamahas. Part of the secret of the longevity of these Secas is the fact that boost is really set quite low by turbo standards. As such, the engine is not overly stressed and thus tends to last a long time. The downside, of course, is that perfomance is commensurate with boost: more boost equals more power and a shorter engine life. In the Seca Turbo, boost levels were kept relatively low, making this the least potent of all the factory turbo bikes. However it will also last. For a rider with this many miles, the bike certainly looks to be in great shape.

From the seller:
I just got back from a 35 mile ride on this great bike. It starts, runs, and drives very good with everything in working order. Low mileage two owner original that is in excellent condition, with less than 800 miles per year driven. New Battery & front tire last year.

Everything works, and the bike needs nothing, other than a new rear tire. There is some minor checking on the windscreen, but it is not bad enough to replace. A few minor scratches that are common for a 29 year old bike, but this bike is remarkably clean. Fantastic condition!

For those looking to get into the collectable bikes of the 1980s, the factory Turbo bikes represent a good starting place. They are all very rare – as no Turbo bike sold very well back in the day – and they are all very affordable. Parts are still available for some of the bikes (in this case, the Seca Turbo shares some pieces with other Seca models), and most dealership mechanics will find the basics familiar.

I found the image below on a website (see picture for attribution), which chronicles the importance of the Seca Turbo: This was the cover shot of Cycle magazine’s August 1982 edition, highlighting the significance of the model’s release, and the performance it offered.

This auction is on right now, and the price of entry is tiny for a rare, unique machine. The current bid at time of this post is only $510, and this is a no reserve auction. That’s right folks – somebody is going home with this beauty, and probably for a song!

For more information and pictures, . Good luck!


Hold the Turbo: 1983 Honda CX650E

For Sale: 1983 Honda CX650E

From the wilds of Canada (and currently residing in Florida) comes this unique bike not see in the States. Evolved from the CX500 series of bikes which paid tribute to the Moto Guzzi choice of engine configuration, the CX650E was the basis for what became known as the CX650 Turbo here in 1983. But instead of the fully-faired sport-touring treatment as we received in the US, other markets had access to this decidedly more cafe-racer style of bike.

It is interesting to note the similarities between this “E” model and the Turbo. The wheels are the same as is most of the bodywork – aside from the fairing. This model offered a locking glovebox in the tail section that was not on the Turbo (that space was needed to house the fuel injection computer), and the dash looks remarkably similar (minus the boost gauge). One can certainly see the lineage of the Turbo when looking at this bike!

From the seller:
Very nice Honda brought onto the continent through Canada. Same general format as the CX650T turbo, but without the heat, bother, spool-up time, and low reliability of the turbo bike. Pulls from down low and right now.

Smooth and powerful at interstate speeds, handles more like a sport bike in the twisties. A near perfect all-arounder.

Liquid-cooled and shaft-drive: with proper maintenance this bike should go well over 100K miles with no major expenditures.

No issues other than an intermittent squeak in the rear suspension somewhere, and faded graphics. Otherwise starts, runs, shifts, stops perfectly. And looks great doing it.

This is a great motorcycle we should have had here in the States.

The seller has also included a short video of the bike starting up. I must say that the v-twin sounds very good indeed – much better than the Turbo at idle, which is very quiet. One known area to watch for on these motors is the stator – which is one of the components of the charging system. The stators on the Turbo bikes tend to fail at approximately 20k mile intervals, and replacing them is an involved “pull the motor” sort of process. Additionally, the wiring around the connectors can be suspect; look closely for burned or charred wires (especially behind the side panels) when doing an inspection.

I’ll be honest with you: I have no idea as to the value of this bike. The current bid amount is only $1,259, which feels like a bargain for such a unique (to the US) motorcycle. But it lacks the Turbo power and cachet as well. So I give it points for being interesting, but would probably price it somewhere around a comparable era bike (say GPz or VFR) in similar condition. For more information and to check out the action, . And don’t forget to leave a comment and let us know your thoughts on this one!