Tagged: 1972

Last of the Air-Cooled Racers: 1972 Yamaha TD-3 for Sale

1972 Yamaha TD3 L Rear
Racebikes tend to have an unmistakably spare aesthetic, a mechanical pragmatism sadly hidden behind often garishly-painted plastics. And the endless march of progress sees older machines facing obsolescence continually updated, evolving to meet the threat of newer, faster machines. That’s the case with this 1972 TD-3, the last of Yamaha’s air-cooled, two-stroke production racebikes before the TZ series was introduced.  Yamaha actually pulled their factory 250cc World Championship machines out of competition after 1969, but the smaller machines were well supported by incentives and popular among privateer racers.

1972 Yamaha TD3 L Front Fairing

The TD-3 replaced, naturally, the TD-2 as Yamaha’s production 250cc racebike. Introduced in 1971, the bike featured a new dry clutch, lightweight frame, and six-speed gearbox. Slightly less oversquare bore and stroke of 54mm x 54mm matched the 247cc of the previous bike, with revised inlet and transfer ports to increase power. Producing almost 50hp, with just 231lbs dry to drag around, the TD-3 was plenty quick, with a top speed of over 140mph, depending on gearing and, of course, the rider’s weight…

1972 Yamaha TD3 Tank

From the original eBay listing: 1972 Yamaha TD-3 for Sale

This is a 1971 or 1972 Yamaha TD-3. The production racer years of production were not very accurate, but the TD-3 replaced the TD-2 in Motorcycle Grand Prix racing in 1971. By 1973, the TZ came out, which was a TD-3 with liquid cooling. This is a beautiful race bike which I raced for about 10 years. From about 1997 to 2006. I won the WERA Mid-Atlantic Championship with this bike in 2002. I have the trophy as proof! After 2002, work got in the way of racing and I could only participate in 3-4 races a year, so I was not able to garner enough points to be a contender, but the bike was very competitive. In 2006 I started the season, I only did a pre-race practice at Summit Point and decided to hang up my leathers. I had gained too much weight so that I did not fit comfortably in my leathers and was too heavy for a 250 class bike anyway. But, I had prepared the bike for the season in 2006 with new race compound Avons and I had put in next size new pistons and had lowered the ratios with a slightly smaller pinion as I felt that I was not getting enough power out of slow turns and my top speed was as high or higher than the Honda 4-stroke 350cc twins that were the main competition. Note: This was and probably still is a WERA Vintage 2 class race bike. The motor has chrome cylinders and the rebuild consists of installing the next size pistons and rings. I have a new pair of pistons and rings for the next size which I will include. A set of pistons and rings for this bike probably go for a pretty penny these days, if you can find them. This bike was racing relatively recently, so there have been class legal improvements made that the original race bikes did not have. It has a Penton PVL magneto ignition system which replaced the original Hitachi system, which I think I still have laying around. The bike does not need a battery. It has Works Performance rear shocks and an Italian Laverda SF front drum brake (Super Freno or Super Brake in English) and additional frame gusseting (to stiffen it) compared to the original. You will see a “MyLaps” lap timing transponder on the left fork leg which I think can be assigned to a new racer. The TD-3 has a dry clutch which you can see in the photos and a new set of friction discs were installed in 2006 and are unused except for a practice lap. As with most racers, the oil pump has been removed and it runs on mix. I have always used Silkolene Castorene. It will need a carburetor cleaning as the mix in the bowls will have varnished up, but it is out of the box ready to race. I have notes regarding jetting and the last jetting was for high humidity summer racing in the Mid Atlantic region. It has been stored in a dry trailer. 

 Mileage is unknown but an estimate is 10 laps at 3 miles for 6 average races a year = 1,800 miles plus practice = 2,500.
1972 Yamaha TD3 Engine
No display piece this, I only wish the seller had bothered to roll it out of his box trailer to take some nicer pictures! But even lurking in its cage, this little beast is obviously in good cosmetic condition and in excellent mechanical condition, with some upgrades that aren’t period-correct but should increase performance and reliability: the CDI ignition fitted to the TD-3 caused detonation problems when the bike was new, but this machine has a different setup. And that Laverda front brake is pretty state-of-the art, at least in terms of drum brake technology, and should provide impressive stopping power for this lightweight machine.

1972 Yamaha TD3 Front Wheel

While it is sad to see consumables being… consumed, it’s also great to see machines designed for racing actually being raced, instead of hidden away in garages. Racing a vintage motorcycle is obviously more about the sense of community and history than outright speed, since there are much cheaper ways to go fast. But if you’re looking to spend some time on track and like to tinker, a machine like this could be a lot of fun.

-tad

1972 Yamaha TD3 On Track

Barely Legal Moto-Porn: 1972 Harley Davidson XR750 for Sale

1972 Harley Davidson XR750 R Side Front

We don’t normally get to feature Harley Davidsons on this site because The Motor Company really didn’t make many bikes you would normally categorize as “sport bikes,” and the ones they did build are extremely rare. Although the Harley Davidson XR750 was originally intended as a flat-track racer, today’s example has been reborn with roadgoing equipment and I’ve decided it qualifies, since it’s supposedly powered by an ex-racing engine and I bet it could would eat most of its roadgoing rivals from Triumph or Norton for lunch.

1972 Harley Davidson XR750 L Side Rear

The race-ready XR750 is considered one of the most successful racing motorcycles ever, winning 29 of 37 AMA Grand National Titles between 1972 and 2008. Yeah, you read that correctly: the XR750 was competitive in flat-track racing for over 30 years. It was powered by a 748cc pushrod v-twin with aluminum heads from 1972 on that improved cooling, compared to the earlier iron heads. Certainly that engine featured primitive architecture, and yeah, it was only competitive considering the specific ruleset that governs flat-track racing. But let’s be real here: all racing is governed by rules that artificially limit development to help keep performance of competing machines somewhat comparable, so that in no way diminishes that impressive record of wins.

1972 Harley Davidson XR750 L Side Engine

Today’s machine is claimed to have a genuine racing engine with some very impressive history slotted into the frame. Although it was originally a race-only machine, this XR750 has been fitted with lights and a license plate, meaning it might just be road-legal where you live…

From the original eBay listing: 1972 Harley Davidson XR750 for Sale

Surprisingly well preserved Harley XR750 flat track bike with 1972 engine.

Street legal in most states, and WITH TITLE! MATCHING NUMBERS on both engine and frame!

This particular bike’s engine is reported to have been ridden in 1972-73 by Cal Rayborn, Mert Lawwill and Scott Brelsford. Harley racing royalty then and now. Of all years of HARLEY XR750, 1972 is probably the hardest to find, since they were very popular, in short supply, and were either used up or supplanted by later year engines with more power.

This bike does not have an odometer or a speedometer, so I have no ideas how many miles it has run.

1972 Harley Davidson XR750 Rear Suspension

What kind of flat tracker has dual front brakes? Or any front brakes, for that matter?! Well whatever the engine and frame’s original provenance, they’re part of a bike with roadgoing intent now, and the stopping power afforded by those dual calipers will be much appreciated, considering the potential speed on tap.

The Buy It Now price is listed as $29,495.00 with very little time left on the auction. That’s a great deal of money for a motorcycle, but considering that XR750’s don’t usually offer you the opportunity to terrorize your neighborhood, it’s really like you’re getting two bikes in one!

-tad

1972 Harley Davidson XR750 R Side

Burgundy Beauty: 1972 Moto Guzzi V7 Sport for Sale

1972 Moto Guzzi V7 Sport R Side Front

The original Moto Guzzi V7 Sport is one of our favorites, and it’s pretty easy to see why: while the modern café-racer and brat-style builders need to chop the living hell out of suspensions to get their creations to sit low, the V7 Sport had that look from the factory, and was one of the best-handling bikes of the era.

1972 Moto Guzzi V7 Sport Tank

In fact the bike’s frame was redesigned from the V700’s “loop-frame” to lower the bike’s CoG: the new design switched from a generator to a compact new alternator and relocated it from the top to the front of the engine to clear up space for the frame’s top rails. And the new frame fit so closely around the engine that detachable lower rails were included to facilitate servicing.

1972 Moto Guzzi V7 Sport L Side Rear

The engine was more evolutionary and less revolutionary: a punched-out version of the V700’s longitudinally-mounted, shaft drive twin, it featured a five-speed gearbox and the usual carburetor updates, along with highly-adjustable swan-neck clip-ons for a custom fit.

1972 Moto Guzzi V7 Sport Rear Suspension

As the seller indicates, the bike displaces more than the original 748cc’s. It’s pretty common to drop in larger pistons and different cranks from later versions of the bike, since it basically amounts to a factory big-bore kit. Cycle Garden is a SoCal-based Guzzi specialist and supplier of OEM and aftermarket parts, so it’s also reassuring to know that they’ve been involved: I’ve met a few Guzzi guys who speak highly of them.

1972 Moto Guzzi V7 Sport L Side Front

From the original eBay listing: Numbers-Matching Moto Guzzi V7 Sport for Sale

Restored numbers matching 1972 Moto Guzzi V7 Sport – Burgundy & Grey Foam.

Purchased from Moe at Newport CA Cycle Garden.

This is a 1998 restoration with 2002 miles on the odometer.  I have put less than 200 miles on the bike since I purchased it from Moe, and am selling it because I do not have enough time to ride.

Recently won “Best of Show” at the Go AZ Motorcycles antique bike show.  Trophy is included with the bike.

The bike is stunning as you will see from the pictures.  It runs perfectly, and has never given me a moment of trouble.  Starts immediately when engaged, and is very fast.

The bike has a European shift pattern (right shift, left brake), which makes it a little different from most newer Sports.

Moe added their 955 CC Big Bore Kit (T-3 Crank Shaft, 88 mm Pistons), new paint at the time of restoration, full wire harness, fuse panel, restored the dash, and added reproduction Silentium mufflers.

I have removed the bar mirror, but will include it with the sale.

1972 Moto Guzzi V7 Sport Cockpit

Helpfully included are a pair of videos that can be found here and here.

There are no takers yet at the $18,000 starting bid, with just a couple days left on the auction. I’m a bit surprised because, although that’s not cheap, it seems to be relatively in line with V7 Sport prices of late. Maybe the non-original internals are putting off prospective buyers? Probably, if I were restoring a V7, I’d stick with the original displacement, but many LeMans are running bigger engines and that doesn’t seem to affect their prices negatively. Is it the color that’s deterring bidders? It’s certainly a very flattering color for the bike, although maybe collectors are holding out for a green or black one…

-tad

1972 Moto Guzzi V7 Sport R Side

Hammers of Hell: 1972 Harley Davidson XR750TT for Sale

1972 Harley Davidson XR750TT L Front

Today’s Harley Davidson XR750TT is the bike that makes me feel okay about lambasting Harley’s modern offerings. I’d never make fun of Hyosung for making poor motorcycles: they’re pretty new at the whole sporty-motorcycle thing. But Harley has a storied history of making performance bikes that could compete on the world stage, so it’s pretty clear they just don’t care anymore. Which is a damn shame, because a modern sports v-twin in the spirit of the XRTT would be a very cool motorcycle. They could call it a, I dunno,”Buell” or something…

The XRTT wasn’t cutting-edge, even when new, but it had some legitimate success in the Trans-Atlantic Match Races. That might have been down to the riding prowess of Cal Rayborn as much as anything though: that guy probably could have won races on a Schwinn bicycle if he had enough of a tailwind…

1972 Harley Davidson XR750TT Unfaired R Side

Harley’s 45° v-twin is very compact, but isn’t the smoothest configuration, especially in racing applications: basically, they vibrate enough to put all of you to sleep. And for years, they used an iron block, iron heads, and iron barrels. Basically, you get the feeling Harley would have made the fairings from iron if it were possible… But the XRTT used aluminum heads and barrels to save significant weight, and race-preparation let the XRTT rev out to 8,000rpm and put out 90hp through the four-speed gearbox.

The engine may have been a triumph of development over design, but the frame and suspension were top-shelf: Ceriani forks and Girling shock absorbers, with a huge Ceriani drum up front matched with a disc brake out back for solid stopping power.

1972 Harley Davidson XR750TT Engine

From the original eBay listing: 1972 Harley Davidson XR750TT for Sale

Daytona Road Racer. Arguably the most collectible motorcycle currently up for sale, world wide. Better than new, never started since its complete nut and bolt restoration, right down to the new, period correct, impossible to acquire, Goodyear racing slicks. This bike comes with the authentic factory paper work showing the HD mechanic signing off on the numbers matching engine before being shipped to the 1972 Daytona 200. 

The information for Brelsford is how the bike was set up for racing and where it says that Babe DeMay set up the complete chassis means that the motor was raced with Babe DeMay’s Chassis.  However, the chassis on this bike is one of ours (hi-speedmotorcycles) and it is put back to stock as from the factory.

It is an extremely valuable motorcycle with documented motor. The motor is restored and documented as used for racing.

1972 Harley Davidson XR750TT Engine2

This example has been up for sale for a while, which is probably no surprise at the $90,000 asking price. I hope you didn’t just spit coffee all over your keyboard… But it’s certainly a very nearly perfect example, down to the period racing slicks. About the only mark against it is that it’s been restored, and while it looses points for originality, this thing is beautiful and looks ready for a museum.

-tad

1972 Harley Davidson XR750TT R Front

Orange Bruiser: 1972 Laverda SFC for Sale

1972 Laverda SFC R Side

Laverda’s fierce homologation SFC was powered by a tuned version of their nearly bulletproof parallel-twin and was available in any color you wanted, as long as it was orange. You know, as good-looking as Ducatis are in red, and as classic as old British bikes are in black or silver, there’s something undeniably cool about a company choosing a “factory” color so incredibly in-your-face, so polarizing. Kawasaki’s green isn’t the prettiest color, and it isn’t always flattering, but you damn well know which manufacturer made that lime-green plastic rocket, sitting across the street.

1972 Laverda SFC R Side Fairing

The SFC’s engine was based on the rugged SF1, which was introduced in 1968 as a 650cc model, although displacement was soon bumped to 750. The bikes were a bit heavy, but this was the result of their being overbuilt, and reliability benefited: the parallel-twin had five main bearings. Parts not made in house by Laverda were chosen, regardless of their country of origin, for quality and the component list reads like a “best of” of 1970’s motorcycling performance: Ceriani, Bosch, Nippon-Denso…

1972 Laverda SFC R Side Tank

Relatively unstressed in roadgoing form, the twin was capable of much more power, and the SFC was tuned to make almost 80hp. Given its rugged nature it’s no surprise that the bike performed well in endurance racing: many SFC’s come with their headlights lights and turn signals boxed up and unused.

1972 Laverda SFC R Side Engine

I love that the dash on this bike contains exactly one instrument: a tachometer. No oil temp gauge, certainly no speedo. No idiot lights, not even a dash panel. Just that one Smiths gauge hanging there behind the headlight bucket.

1972 Laverda SFC Cockpit

From the original eBay listing: 1972 Laverda SFC for Sale

Laverda SFC 750 mk1

model year 1972 VIN/Engine 10784

Bike in top conditions, mechanically rebuilt by main specialist Riccardo Oro (documented), present on the Laverda SFC register with extra certification by Massimo Borghesi, last owner since 1997. Italian documents.

Ride and collect! Bulletproof investment.

1972 Laverda SFC Badge

The listing doesn’t mention it, but the bike also appears to include a crudely-welded, but probably period-correct 2-into-1 exhaust: because that’s just how racebikes roll. The seller Gianluca has listed a number of very tasty motorcycles for sale in the past and mentions that the bike is currently in the UK, but he’s happy to ship anywhere in the world.

Bidding is up to almost $20,000 with plenty of time left on the auction and I’ve no doubt it will go much higher: with under 600 ever made, these are some of the most desirable motorcycles of the era with rarity, pedigree, and that exotic, sadly defunct “Laverda” nameplate.

-tad

1972 Laverda SFC R Side Tail

Road-Legal Racer: 1972 Laverda SFC 750 for Sale

1972 Laverda SFC R Side

Laverda’s SFC is quite literally a race-bike for the road, from the end of the era when this was realistically possible. “Super Freni Competizione” translates basically to “Super Braking Competition” and refers to the enormous front drum brake and the SFC’s race-oriented construction.

1972 Laverda SFC L Side Engine

It was based on Laverda’s famously rugged 750cc twin and featured the highest-quality parts: everything not designed and manufactured in-house was chosen for its performance, with Ceriani providing suspension, Bosch the ignition components, and Nippon-Denso the electrics. With fewer than 600 made, these are homologation specials, stuffed full of race-ready parts that saw as much as 80hp from the 750cc parallel-twin. Although the SFC was technically a roadbike, the race-tuned motor and uncompromising ergonomics made street use largely hypothetical.

1972 Laverda SFC Dash

Road-oriented parts are clearly an afterthought: take a look at that taillight that looks like it’s attached to the tail section with double-sided tape, pointed skyward and the instrumentation devoid of anything but a single Smiths tachometer. Often, when these come up for sale, the few road-legal parts that were originally fitted have already been removed from the bike and boxed up.

1972 Laverda SFC R Side Engine

From the original eBay listing: 1972 Laverda SFC 750 Mk1 for Sale

Model year 1972

VIN/Engine 10784

Bike in top condition, mechanically rebuilt by main specialist Riccardo Oro, present on the Laverda SFC register with extra certification by Massimo Borghesi. Italian documents.

Ride and collect! Bulletproof investment.

Bike is currently located in Stowmarket, England but I can get them delivered all around the World at cost, no problem.

1972 Laverda SFC Display

Bidding is up north of $36,000 as I write this, with active bidding and plenty of time left on the auction. As is the case with many cars and motorcycles, these were refined throughout the production, adding disc brakes and electronic ignition, so later models were probably better in practice. However, from a collector’s standpoint, early models tend to command higher prices, and although we’ve featured a number of SFC’s over the past few years, I can’t remember seeing one this early.

-tad

1972 Laverda SFC L Side

Classic Roundcase: 1972 Ducati 750GT for Sale

1972 Ducati 750GT R Side

As always, range-topping sportbikes create a halo-effect and drive showroom traffic but, in the end, it’s lower-spec machines that keep the lights on and put food on the table. The 750SS may have been the sexy poster child for Ducati in the 1970’s, but that bike’s rarity and uncomfortable riding position means that the more mundane 750GT is a less expensive, far more practical proposition.

1972 Ducati 750GT L Front

Sharing frame and basic powertrain with the sportier Sport, the GT was designed as a real-world motorcycle, with relatively comfortable ergonomics. Interestingly, neither the GT nor the Sport actually featured the now universal Desmo heads and made do with regular valve springs. Valve springs, while less sexy in theory, make for easier and less costly maintenance. Luckily, the iconic bevel-drive and tower-shaft arrangement features on all of Ducuati’s “L-twin” engines of the period, so you can still help your mechanic afford that new addition on his home if you don’t like wrenching on bikes yourself.

1972 Ducati 750GT L Side Rear

The early “round case” models like this one command a premium compared to later models with restyled bits. There’s little functional difference between the two, other than the usual evolutionary changes, but the look of the original design is considered much more elegant, and they command higher prices.

1972 Ducati 750GT Dash

From the original eBay listing: 1972 Ducati 750 GT for Sale

Runs and drive great. clean AZ title, 750S751085, engine number 750683. 26246 on odo, but history of actual mileage unclear. steel gas tank professionally lined with caswell. fresh paint, frame just powder coated. new tires. fenders and exhaust rechromed . rear fender has been shortened (I didn’t do it). instrument pod solid, but shows cracks. electronic ignition and everything electrical works, including the charging system. wiring not pretty, could use a new wiring harness. side stand will swing up closer to exhaust, just didn’t move it enough when I put it on the center stand for the pictures. pictures don’t do it justice. the bike is stunning in person.

1972 Ducati 750GT R Side Engine

Plenty of time left on the auction, although there’s no activity so far. The bike is in very nice condition, with fresh paint on the tank and frame, but $18,000 seems like a pretty high starting point for an auction to me, so we’ll see how this progresses as the week unfolds.

-tad

1972 Ducati 750GT L Side

Show or Go: 1972 Honda CL350 AHRMA Racebike for Sale

1972 Honda CL350 Race Bike on Track

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

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

1972 Honda CL350 Race Bike L Rear

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

1972 Honda CL350 Race Bike Engine Detail

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

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

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

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

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

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

Frame

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

Brakes

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

Suspension

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

Engine

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

1972 Honda CL350 Race Bike R Side

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

1972 Honda CL350 Race Bike Tank Detail

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

-tad

1972 Honda CL350 Race Bike Engine Parts

King of the Hill: Restored 1972 Kawasaki H2 Mach IV for Sale

1972 Kawasaki H2 750 L Front

Nothing the Europeans produced had quite the same character as the big two-stroke triples from Kawasaki. Produced first in H1 500cc form, and then later in S2 and S3 sizes, the H2 750 Mach IV was king of the hill in terms of power and displacement. With a short wheelbase and power that came on like a 2×4 to the back of the head, these developed a reputation for killing their owners, although, unlike the earlier Mach III with its bendy-riffic frame, this was likely a result of new riders not really being prepared for the experience of the two-stroke’s savage powerband.

1972 Kawasaki H2 750 L Rear2

When the Japanese began their manufacturing onslaught, they were often perceived/portrayed as simple imitators, producers of budget crap that was great, if that’s all you could afford. But as their products eclipsed those produced by European manufacturers in terms of quality and reliability, they became less imitators and more innovators. And while bikes like Honda’s and Kawasaki’s big four-cylinder bikes allowed them to compete in the world motorcycle arena, they were still playing the game that had already existed, just playing it better.

1972 Kawasaki H2 750 Engine Detail

But the two-stroke performance motorcycles from Japan ushered in a new era of motorcycle performance, and mirrored the musclecar virtues of cheap speed, with frightening fuel economy to match: figures below 20mpg are possible with a heavy throttle hand. While Suzuki’s two strokes were often tamed for the road to smooth the power delivery, make them more four-stroke-like in character, Kawasaki embraced the gnarly character of the stroker, and their killer rep led to success in the showroom.

1972 Kawasaki H2 750 Dash

Considering the power on tap, these never sound all that menacing in person: the crackle and pop of even a big, highly-tuned two-stroke still sounds like the world’s angriest lawnmower to me. But until recently, the fastest motorcycles in the world were 500cc two-strokes that left an angry, buzz-saw wail in their wake.

1972 Kawasaki H2 750 Exhaust

From the original eBay listing: 1972 Kawasaki H2 750 for sale

This is a 1972 Kawasaki H2 that has been restored to as new condition. The engine number is 22221 and the frame number is 22118. It is a museum quality restoration of every single piece. If the original piece could not be brought back to as new it was replaced with NOS. The seat, pipes, and front foot peg rubbers are reproduction(I installed the foot peg rubbers without realizing they were not NOS and I’m too lazy to change them). All of the metal parts were taken down to bare metal and either re-plated or painted. The painted parts have 2 coats of zinc-chromate primer, 1 coat of sandable primer, one coat of sealer and the correct paint. The hardware is all NOS as is most of the rubber pieces. It was painted with as close a match as I could find for the original Kawasaki Candy Blue, it’s 2 coats of silver-white pearl with 4 coats of candy blue, the decals and then 2 coats of clear. Every single date-coded part that came on this bike is still on it and so are the steel plugged handlebars. The crank has been rebuilt with slotted rods and the pistons are from Wossner pistons, rings and pins. The original CDI’s that are pictured in the bike are not in it now but will be included. I have a Lakeland box installed. It has Continental tubeless tires with tubes installed. The gauges were done be Don Fulsang. This bike is as new right down to the inside of the switch houses and including the original wiring harness. I have installed a lithium ion battery instead of a wet-acid battery. It’s a numbers matching bike and I have put 400 miles on it since the restoration and all the bugs are worked out, it’s ready to show or ride. This bike is tuned beautifully and runs like it should, scary. If you want a new 1972 Kawasaki H2 this is as close as you will get. The only flaws are the candy blue pooled a bit on the top of the side cover so when the seat is up you can see it. After you ride it hard and park it the transmission will leak a couple of drops and quit, I must have roughed up the transmission shaft seal when I installed the shaft, and the tool kit strap is incorrect although a NOS Kawasaki part, it’s the battery strap. If it bugs you it’s an easy fix. I did all the work on this bike myself, it took me 9 months to build and I could not count the hours. I built it because I wanted a new 1972 H2 and this was the only way to get one. I now have other triples to restore and don’t have time to ride this so it’s for sale. This bike has no disappointments. I don’t think you can buy one nicer.

1972 Kawasaki H2 750 Electrics

The seller mentions that the color isn’t a perfect match for the original paint, but I think he’s being hypercritical: this is a really gorgeous bike, with a price tag that matches the preparation. I wouldn’t normally include a picture of the wiring, but you can see just how nice this example is. These have been steadily increasing in value for quite a while now and, while this is near the top of the range, the price doesn’t seem all that outrageous, since you could practically eat off the engine, it’s so clean.

-tad

1972 Kawasaki H2 750 L Rear

 

The Hammers of Hell: 1972 Harley Davidson XRTT

1977 Harley XRTT L Side Front

When I see the state of Harley’s current lineup of overweight retro-sleds, it makes me sad to see that they’ve no interest in building bikes like this beautiful Harley XRTT anymore, as clearly evidenced by their shoddy treatment of Erik Buell. Their original Sportster was a genuine alternative to bikes like Triumph’s Bonneville but, while the current Bonneville is possibly the ideal “modern classic”, today’s Sportster is compromised in virtually every way, the epitome of “form-over-function.”

1977 Harley XRTT Dash

Now obviously, this isn’t hurting sales any. But it’s a shame that Ducati and Triumph can both create a range of bikes that celebrate their heritage while still providing modern performance and safety, Harley can’t or won’t, when they produce more motorcycles annually than Triumph and Ducati combined.

But they’re obviously happy to rest on the laurels of bikes like this one.

1977 Harley XRTT L Side Rear

When Harley decided to go roadracing in the 1970’s, they started with what they knew best: dirt-track racing. The 1972 bikes featured a significantly updated motor that used aluminum heads and barrels. The 45° twin’s compact design still featured pushrods, but the compact design had many of the same advantages of the famous small-block Chevy: perhaps not the most modern or best-breathing configuration, but the compact design and light weight allowed for a potent package

1977 Harley XRTT Front Wheel

Careful preparation let the simple engines rev to over 8,000rpm and pump out 90hp from 750cc’s. A four-speed box and a huge them rev over 8k and they made 90 plus HP. A 4-speed box put the power to the ground while a huge Ceriani drum brake up front and a disc at the rear provided very effective stopping.

1977 Harley XRTT Engine

From the original eBay listing: 1972 Harley Davidson XRTT for Sale

1972 Harley-Davidson XRTT Racing bike. The engine was redone by Carl Patrick less than three months ago and the engine is documented with the Harley-Davidson time cards. This bike is in flawless condition and was on display at Harley-Davidson. There are no current fluids in the bike. This is a once in a life time opportunity!

It’s a shame that this bike hasn’t been used as intended, buy the upside is that it’s in spectacular shape, and I’m sure it could be made to run if that’s your interest, since the engine was just rebuilt. The chin-pad on the tank is a particularly cool detail although, given the 45° twin’s reputation for vibration, it might not be the most practical place to rest your head while tucking in behind that screen…

1977 Harley XRTT L Side

Starting price is $55,000 with no bids so far. While that’s a ton of money for a motorcycle, I’d expect that’s perfectly fair, given the bike’s rarity: opinions vary, but less than 25 were ever made, and very few of those are in this sort of condition.

-tad

1977 Harley XRTT R Side