Tagged: parallel twin

A Rose by Any Other Name: 1969 Laverda 750GT for Sale

1975 Laverda 750GT R Side Front

Like Lamborghini, Laverda began building something other than fast, race-ready exotics. In fact, both manufactured agricultural machinery prior to branching out into supercars and superbikes, respectively. In Laverda’s case, that experience building durable, rugged farm equipment translated directly into motorcycles like this 1969 750GT, and the Laverda parallel-twins were famous for being over-engineered, with five main bearings in the engine, and for using electrical components sourced from Bosch and Nippon Denso. Reliability and build-quality were considered to be excellent when the bikes were new.

1975 Laverda 750GT L Engine2

Very early bikes had a 650cc displacement, but this grew to 744cc very quickly, owing to the expectation that the bigger engine would drive US sales. The bike weighed a little over 500lbs with fuel, and power was a very respectable 60hp for the 750cc version of the twin, with a top speed of over 100mph. The first Laverdas came to the US labeled as “American Eagles” instead of Laverdas, although many have been rebadged at this point. An American company that imported various bikes under a more patriotic brand, American Eagle had folded by 1970 and Laverdas were badged as Laverdas thereafter.

1975 Laverda 750GT Dash

It wasn’t that long ago that Laverda 750s were going for less than $5,000. They weren’t easy to find of course, but their collectability was in a bit of limbo and you could pick them up for a relative song. These days, even the earlier, “American Eagle” branded bikes are commanding nearly double that amount. The later 750SF or “Super Freni” has a distinctive, hairy-chested 70s vibe, with blocky styling and some vivid colors. But the earlier bikes like this one look much more like an Italian Commando, with that mini tank rack and the set of Smiths-looking gauges instead of the later, green-faced Honda-looking items… If you’re tastes run to the classic, the earlier Laverda twins offer power and reliability, with a dash of British class.

1975 Laverda 750GT Front Wheel

From the original eBay listing: 1969 Laverda 750GT for Sale

This is a very early Laverda 750cc GT. Frame and (matching) engine number: 1392. The ownership lists this bike as a 1969 model, but according to Tim Parker’s definitive Laverda reference (the ‘green book’) the serial number makes it a 1968 machine. One way or another, Laverda started the serial numbers for their twins at 1000, and they made a handful of 650s before upping the displacement to 750 – so this is one of the first 350 to 400 Laverda twins made.

I’ve owned this bike for almost 30 years. The speedo shows about 8,000 kilometers, but it was a new rebuilt instrument when I restored the bike about 8 years ago and doesn’t correspond especially well with the speedo drive gear, so that has very little to do with how far the bike has actually been ridden. It probably hasn’t seen an awful lot of use, however. It had been a basket job for about 10 years when I bought it back in the late 80s. I finally got around to starting a frame-up rebuild on it about 10 years ago.

The engine was completely stripped down and rebuilt – new pistons and cams, clutch plates, as well as any bearings, gaskets and seals that needed replacement. As you can see, it’s pretty pristine on the outside, and it’s just as clean inside, too. Since the rebuild it’s averaged about 1,000 kms (indicated) per summer, with oil changes every fall before going back into heated indoor storage for the winter.

It starts on the first turn of the crank, idles very steadily and pulls crisply to 6,500 rpm all 5 gears without any fuss or bother. Message me and I’ll send you a link to see a short video on YouTube showing this bike being started from cold as well as a bit of running footage.

10:1 ‘SFC’-type pistons were installed when I did the rebuild, as the original 7.7:1 compression ratio was a bit too laid back for modern roads, in my opinion. In combination with the 30mm square-slide carbs and medium-profile cams, this gives very torquey low-end and mid range response. Unlike some of the hairier (for their day) later Laverda twins, this set-up revs up from idle very smoothly and progressively — and makes for easily manageable around town riding. But it’s happiest loping down secondary roads at about 3,000 rpm – with the ‘cutback’ style Laverda pipes producing a nicely rorty, but not overly antisocial exhaust note. If you take a look at my YouTube video, you’ll get the idea.

This bike is very clean, but it’s not a museum piece. Over the years, I’ve gone over it from front to rear, inside and out, and I’ve sorted out a number of the Achilles’ heels that years of experience has taught me to look out for on Laverda twins in general and on this model in particular.

1975 Laverda 750GT L Engine

The seller’s description is much more detailed than shown above, but well worth a read: he obviously knows the bike inside and out, and is happy to share details of the restoration and the bike’s history, something that always inspires confidence. He even offers up post-sale “technical assistance” which has to be a first! Basically, if you’ve ever wanted an early Laverda twin, this might be worth a serious look. Bidding is very active on this bike, with very little time left on the auction. But the Reserve has not been met at $7,900 so it’s obvious that the seller is well aware of the bike’s increasing value. With under 8,000 miles on the clock, there’s plenty of life left in this Laverda: some parts can be scarce, but most of what you need to keep them running should be available, and the basic construction is extremely durable.

-tad

1975 Laverda 750GT R Side

Road and Track: 1974 Laverda SFC 750 for Sale

1974 Laverda SFC R Side Front

It’s been a little while since I’ve seen a Laverda SFC for sale. They are some of the most desirable sportbikes of the 1970s, homologation specials that were quite literally race bikes with some road equipment tacked on. Basically: cut a hole in the fairing for an off-the-shelf headlight, bolt on a speedometer, and stick an awkwardly-angled taillight on the solo-tail section, complete with curved lower edge to accommodate a number-plate…

Voilà: instant road bike!

Of course, many never saw the road at all, and lights, signals, and other equipment were quickly boxed up to prep the bikes for race-duty. Or display.

1974 Laverda SFC L Side

Sold in limited numbers between 1971 and 1976, the Laverda SFC took its name from the enormous front drum brake seen on earlier models. SFC literally stands for Super Freni Competizione or basically, “super-braking race bike.” Later bikes like this one did feature dual discs, and I’m sure those stop very nicely but, like the Moto Guzzi V7 Sport, there’s something about those huge aluminum drums found on early 70s Italian sport bikes… But from the seller’s listing, it looks like much more than just the brakes were updated on the later bikes…

1974 Laverda SFC L Clocks

The basic Laverda parallel twin made for a pretty good foundation for racing. It wasn’t particularly light, but the bike was stiff and very stable, ideal for endurance events. And the engine featured five main bearings for exemplary durability, as the bike in stock form was fairly under-stressed. Stuffed full of factory high-performance goodness, the SFC made 80hp while retaining the standard bike’s rock-solid handling.

1974 Laverda SFC L Side Rear

From the original eBay listing: 1974 Laverda 750 SFC for Sale

The example offered here is an excellent example of the US series 1974 Laverda 750 SFC and comes with a known and documented history. Although it has been slightly modified from original, with a smaller European taillight, Verlicchi twin cable throttle, and no turn signals and reflectors, the sporting soul remains intact.

The late 1950s and early 1960s was not a great time for Italian motorcycle manufacturers. As Italian industry was heavily protected and imports restricted, motorcycle manufacturers survived in a false world where most of their products were consumed by the domestic market. When domestic demand collapsed so did much of the Italian motorcycle industry. Laverda struggled during this period but Massimo Laverda saw a way out, and that was targeting the huge American market.

Massimo was a motorcycle enthusiast, already aware of the move to towards motorcycling as a means of fun and enjoyment instead of basic transportation and was convinced the future lay in large capacity, more sporting machines. Knowing he didn’t have the resources to develop an engine from the ground up, and not wanting to emulate obsolete British designs, Massimo looked at what Honda was doing. Honda released their 305cc CB77 parallel twin “Super Hawk” for 1961 and as this overhead camshaft unit construction engine with horizontally-split crankcases was already proving considerably reliable, Laverda essentially enlarged and strengthened the Honda engine, initially creating a 650, before releasing the 750 in 1969. In long distance endurance racing during 1969 and 1970 the 750 S and SF established Laverda’s reputation for robustness and exceptional all round performance and for 1971 Laverda created the 750 SFC (C for Competizione). The bright orange color scheme of the factory racers became an SFC trademark. Although it was always a limited edition model, even after 1973 when the factory stopped racing the 750 twin, the SFC continued, incorporating many of the developments learnt from three successful years of racing. The 750 SFC was thus a true racing machine, built to the highest standards, that could be ridden on the street and a limited edition replica of a successful factory racer. Few components were shared between the SFC and regular SF, and only in 1974 did production exceed 200 a year.

For 1974 Laverda released an updated 750 SFC, primarily for Italian 750cc production-based racing, one of the leading domestic racing categories. Success in 750 racing was seen as very important publicity and the updated 750 SFC differed considerably in design and concept to the earlier drum brake versions. It was now substantially different to the 750 SF and designed with 750 class production racing in mind rather than endurance racing. Incorporating many developments of the 1973 factory bikes, the 1974 750 SFC was one of the outstanding sporting machines of the era. With its low frame and sculptured looks the 1974 750 SFC was also a styling triumph. There was also a specific US version this year but while these North American examples were slightly different in equipment the engine and chassis specifications were the same as the European model.

1974 Laverda SFC Rearset

Just 549 of these were made over the short production run, making them very desirable. This example looks to be in excellent condition and is being offered up by a seller who’s featured regularly on these pages, as he often seems to have very rare and very interesting motorcycles available. There is still some time left on the auction and bidding is up north of $37,000 although the reserve has not been met which is no surprise, given the condition and rarity of this SFC.

-tad

1974 Laverda SFC R Side

Old Yellow: 1971 Norton 750cc Production Racer for Sale

1971 Norton Commando Racer L Side

Phil Schilling was an ex-racer most famous for being the editor of Cycle magazine and for his involvement in the creation and racing of the classic hot-rod Ducati named Old Blue. But as with any good motorcycle enthusiast, his tastes were varied, and apparently this bright yellow Norton Commando production racer was built to his specifications.

1971 Norton Commando Racer R Side Engine

Norton’s old-school approach to motorcycle construction may not have been cutting-edge at the time, but means that they’re relatively simple to work on, many parts are interchangeable between models [see: Triton], and plenty of the reliability issues can be addressed with updated parts or regular attention. And while many bikes at the time boasted more advanced specification and design, Nortons were fast, powerful, and handled well.

1971 Norton Commando Racer Dash

A steady increase in displacement to keep Norton’s power competitive with rivals and appeal to US buyers meant unacceptable levels of vibration. Parallel-twins are extremely compact and far simpler to manufacture than v-twins, but they do tend to vibrate more when not fitted with modern luxuries like engine counter-balancers. By the time the Norton twin was punched out to the race-legal 745cc likely found in this bike, vibration was enough of an issue that a solution was needed. Instead of rubber-mounting the bars, pegs, seat, and anything else that might interact with the rider, their innovative Isolastic system used a system of rubber mounts to insulate the engine itself. It works great when properly set up but, like all rubber bushings, they need regular attention: worn Isolastics can mean scarily unpredictable handling.

1971 Norton Commando Racer Kick

From the original eBay listing: 1971 Norton 750cc Production Racer for Sale

The ex-Phil Schilling 1971 Norton Commando 750cc Production Racer, Fully Documented, to AMA 750 Spec, 1 of 1!

Frame #: 145102 Engine #: 145102

Its innovative vibration-beating Isolastic frame enabled the Commando to prolong the life of Norton’s aging parallel twin. Launched in 1967, the model was an instant hit with the motorcycling public, being voted Motor Cycle News ‘Machine of the Year’ for five consecutive years. A true ‘skunkworks’ project, the Production Racer was introduced for 1971 and hand-assembled at Norton race manager Peter Inchley’s famous ‘Long Shop,’ a hangar at the old Thruxton air base. A homologation special built for little more than one season to qualify for various 750cc road racing series, the street-legal ‘Proddy Racer’ was the fastest/quickest Commando made, capable of 130mph as delivered with a list price double that of standard Commandos. Credit for the performance goes to the blueprinted engine, meticulously assembled with high-compression pistons, factory 3S racing camshaft, ported cylinder head, larger valves and polished internals, good for at least an additional 10bhp over an assembly-line Commando. Handling likewise was improved upon thanks to test rider Peter Williams, also an excellent development engineer, who could simply throw open the hangar doors and commence to hot-lapping the adjacent Thruxton race circuit. It certainly did the bike’s credibility not one iota of harm when Williams and co-rider Charlie Sanby took a Production Racer to victory in the 1970 Thruxton 500 endurance race.

While records aren’t definitive, it is believed that fewer than 200 Production Racers were made, perhaps as few as 120.

The example on offer here, is a tad more special than the average, incredibly rare Norton Proddie Racer. The bike was built for Executive Editor of Cycle magazine and famed racer, Phil Schilling. A great collector of classic machines, Schilling sensed the collectability of the Norton, so had Peter Williams personally build him the ultimate iteration of the ultimate Commando.

The engine is much wilder than that of the standard Production Racer, with a host of trick parts. The engine was built to the same specification of Williams’ AMA750cc Class Special with Norvil ‘Triple S’ cams, high 10.25:1 compression pistons, big 32mm Amal Concentric carbs and twin megaphone exhausts. A Quaife five-speed gearbox replaced the standard item.

Fork sliders and internals have been reworked for superior damping, while the swingarm bushing was totally revised, and the arm itself was lengthened. A 6-gallon gas tank replaces the standard Production Racer item.

The bike was extensively tested by Peter Williams on the Thruxton track before delivery in August of 1971.

This amazing piece of Norton history is accompanied by a letter from Norton Villiers’ Chairman, R. D. Poore to Cook Nielson at Cycle magazine discussing the delivery of the “Schilling Norton”, original spec sheets from Norton, and the magazine article, scans attached to the listing.

I have confirmed the factory records, which say that Engine/Frame number 145102 was recorded as a racer, dispatched to Berliner, the US distrivutor, on August 4th, 1971.

This irreplaceable historically significant bike has been on static display in a very prominent collection of high-end motorcycles, and, as such, some re-commissioning will need to be undertaken before returning to the track.

There’s very little time left on the listing, with a Buy It Now price of $29,000. That’s obviously huge money for a Norton Commando but, if the seller is to be believed, this is a one-of-a-kind motorcycle and would easily cost that much just to build a replica, ignoring the historic value. It’s tough to put a value on such a rare machine but, with no offers yet, this one might be priced just a bit too high. Certainly, the link to Schilling is pretty cool, but collectors seem to value actual race history and that may be affecting the sale on this one. Hopefully, the right buyer will find and prep this bike for some vintage racing. It’s what Phil would have wanted I’m sure.

-tad

1971 Norton Commando Racer R Side

As Seen On TV: Fonzie’s 1949 Triumph Trophy 500 for Sale

1949 Triumph Trophy 500

Normally we use the term “sportbike” on this site to refer to street and track bikes with a roadracing style or intent. But obviously offroading is a sport, so I’m going to stretch our usual definition to include today’s iconic motorcycle: the Triumph Trophy 500 as seen on the TV show “Happy Days.”

1949 Triumph Trophy 500 L Side

Today, rebels without causes and 1%-ers wouldn’t be caught dead with anything but one of Milwaukee’s finest slung between their legs. But Henry Winkler’s Arthur Fonzarelli was a different kind of rebel, a good kid with a rebellious streak, a kinder, gentler tough guy and his greaser image harkens back to an earlier era, when bad boys rode whatever they wanted. In fact, the original motorcycle hooligan, Marlon Brando’s character in The Wild One, rode a Triumph Thunderbird. His whole crew actually rode British iron, although rival gang members rode Harleys.

1949 Triumph Trophy 500 R Side Engine

Named for Triumph’s success at the Italian International Six Day Trial in 1948, the original Trophy was an offroad special derived from the Speed Twin. A rigid frame housed a 498cc parallel-twin backed by a four-speed gearbox, with a 1951 redesign adding an aluminum head and barrels.

This particular example isn’t in particularly nice shape and, if not for the association with the show, you might simply dismiss it as a “barn find” in need of a restoration.

1949 Triumph Trophy 500 L Side Engine

From the original eBay listing: Happy Days 1949 Triumph Trophy 500 for Sale

“The Fonz” Henry Winkler’s  Iconic  Fully Documented Happy Days Televison Series  used 1949 Triumph Trophy 500 Motorcycle.

Found by Cycle World Magazine and later sold and fully documented by Bonhams’ Auctions.

Sold in its unrestored “as filmed condition” with all its studio scars and its almost 70 years of age. (Fully documented and vetted by Bonham’s Auctions)

Built by non other than Bud Ekins, the premier builder for the studios and sold by him to the prior owner.

The Television show ran for 10 years from 1974 to 1984 making it one of the most beloved television series in history.

So iconic that his motorcycle jacket is on permanent display at the Smithsonian Museum and a toy model was made and sold throughout the world.

This could be one of the most iconic motorcycles ever!

AYYYE!  Thumbs up! 

1949 Triumph Trophy 500 Tank

Certainly the seller is probably correct that this is one of the most iconic motorcycles ever. Maybe not among motorcycle fans in particular, but certainly among people in general. With a $100,000 Buy It Now price, you’re certainly not paying for the machine itself. Instead, this is a bit of entertainment history. So what to do with it? I’d keep it as-is in terms of patina, but I’d give it a good mechanical restoration so I could put on my Schott Perfecto 618 and ride it to motorcycle shows, hair slicked back in a pompadour, like the rest of the romeos wore…

-tad

1949 Triumph Trophy 500 Fonz

Oooh, Shiny! 1974 Norton Commando Roadster

1974 Norton Commando R Side Front

Classic British motorcycles like this 1974 Norton Commando seem to have their devoted legions of fans for the same reasons American musclecars do: they’re relatively available, easy to tinker with and modify, and simple to make into a strong statement that reflects the individual owner, for better or for worse. Parts interchange between models and even brands, the basic engineering is solid, or at least straightforward to remedy, and there is huge aftermarket support.

Nortons of the period were a bit like the John Bloor’s resurrected Triumph of the 1990s: modular designs allowed the factory to tailor bikes to fit niche markets, like the Interstate that was clearly intended to speak to American fans. But after the 1973 shift from the 750 to the 850 version, they were all built around the 828cc engine in different states of tune.

1974 Norton Commando L Side Rear

They also featured Norton’s solution for the increasing vibration supplied by their ever-larger parallel twin. Parallel twins are compact and inexpensive to manufacture compared to a v-twin or multi. But while modern models use all sorts of balance-shaft trickery to prevent vision-blurring and hand-numbing vibration, bikes in the 1950s and 1960s relied on tricks like odd rubber footpegs [see: Benelli Tornado] or the sheer cussedness of the rider to combat fatigue.

1974 Norton Commando L Side Engine

Norton’s solution was the perfect example of plucky British workshed engineering: they basically used rubber mounts to isolate the engine, transmission, and swingarm from the rider. Those bits were left to vibrate happily while the rider racked up the miles in relative comfort. For such a simple concept, the Isolastic mounting system works very well but must be carefully maintained, as worn bushings can lead to vague and unpredictable handling.

1974 Norton Commando R Side

This particular machine’s classic looks actually suggest a 1950s machine to me, with all that bare, polished metal. But the builder has clearly spent a great deal of effort and money to update the bike functionally in as many ways as possible.

From the original eBay listing: 1974 Norton Commando for Sale

Custom build using the best parts available. I started with a 1974 frame and installed a 750 hi performance motor that I rebuilt for just such an occasion. Most if not all the parts are new or better than OEM replacements.

This is a partial list:
Engine # 20M3S 132501
New valves, springs, pistons and rings
High performance camshaft
Amal 32mm carbs
Dave Taylor head steady
Venhill braided Stainless rocker feed lines
“Big Bore” 1-1/2″ exhaust system
RGM Belt Drive Primary
Quaife polished gearbox case
Alton Electric start kit
Shorai Battery
Stainless steel transmission adjustment hardware kit
Jim Comstock hydraulic actuated clutch with Brembo Master cylinder
New drive chain with 21tooth countershaft sprocket
New polished Excel rims with stainless steel spokes and nipples
New Bridgestone tires
Hagon Shocks
Performance machine 4 piston caliper with Brembo Master cylinder
Baja Designs light switch / directional switch combo
Solid state charging system
Rebuilt gauges
Custom quartz headlight incorporating LED turn signals
RGM 3.5 gallon custom alloy gas tank
Custom alloy seat and Corbin gunfighter seat
New fork tubes, seals etc
Bucketloads of stainless steel hardware
New wiring harnesses

As you can see from the list, this is a serious amount of money invested in the parts alone. The Alton E-Start kit alone retails for $2495 and drives the crank directly without going through the primary so it spins the engine with very little effort. If you’re looking for something completely different, this is the one. I have ridden the bike to put some shakedown miles on it and everything is working well.

1974 Norton Commando R Side Rear

Oftentimes, it’s the perfectly preserved, completely original bikes that command the hearts and dollars of collectors. But the Commando seems to buck that trend, as long as the updates and modifications are the right updates and modifications… Bidding is currently up to $9,100.00 with the Reserve Not Met and a $14,995.00 Buy It Now option. Nortons were always easy to modify and lent themselves to tinkering, modifying, and improving. A bit like the MGB, you can just about build one from an aftermarket catalog, assuming you have a frame number to start with. This one seems to use the best of the old and the best of the new to create something that captures the classic British biking spirit.

It may not be to everyone’s taste, but it is very classic and the completed bike is very… polished.

-tad

1974 Norton Commando L Side

Ahead of Its Time: 1974 John Player Norton Commando for Sale

1974 Norton Commando JPN Fairing Front

You’d be forgiven for not realizing that this very strange-looking John Player Norton Replica is, under the skin, a Commando: buyers didn’t know quite what to do with this at the time, either. It’s a bit of an evolutionary “missing link” in terms of sportbike design, effectively bridging the gap between earlier bullet-like dustbin fairings and modern designs as seen on the first-generation GSX-R750. Cutting-edge design unfortunately cuts both ways: while theoretically new ideas should excite consumers, manufacturers always run the risk that their revolutionary machines will actually alienate their core audience. Take the Pierre Terblanche-styled Ducati 999 for example: the bike was, in virtually every way, an improvement over the beloved 916 and the design was a complete departure for Ducati. The 999 is finally, grudgingly being accepted as a classic design but when new it was too much of a departure, too new, too alien to be the follow up Ducatisti were waiting for. And sales were disappointing.

1974 Norton Commando JPN R Fairing

The John Player Norton Replica suffered a similar fate. Named after the famous British tobacco company, the few made didn’t find an audience at first and some languished unsold for years. Keep in mind that the whole concept of collectable motorcycles is relatively new, and few people were interested in race-replicas or limited editions. On the upside, if the odd styling captures your imagination, this should offer no real challenge to ride and maintain: aside from gearing changes to take advantage of the bike’s improved top-speed potential, the bike is basically a stock Norton Commando.

1974 Norton Commando JPN L Tank

It uses the 828cc version of Norton’s famous parallel-twin engine and four-speed box found in the 850 Commando. A short-stroke 750 was also available for buyers that planned to race their machines in the US, although I’ve never seen one come up for sale and I’m not sure exactly how many of the 200 total machines took advantage of this option.

1974 Norton Commando JPN L Seat

From the original eBay listing: 1974 John Player Norton Commando for Sale

Very, very nice John Player Special. These do not come up very often. Many, many more vintage motorcycle available…

The seller then goes on to list a number of other vintage machines they have available. Which is great, but a bit of that space could have been used to answer some questions about this machine: does it run? What work, maintenance, or upgrades have been done to the bike in question? Aside from the fact that it has 12,465 miles on it so we know it’s not been sitting its whole life, we’re left to guess. I’m sure the seller is probably expecting prospective buyers to ask appropriate questions. But although these are pretty rare, with just 120 shipped to the US, they’re not impossible to find, and many buyers want to do their initial research without having to reach out to the seller. It’d also be great to see some better pictures of this very distinctive machine, although the close-up shots do show some great detail and give a pretty good idea of the overall condition.

-tad

1974 Norton Commando JPN L Fairing

Tea with Hot Sauce: 1967 Triumph Bonneville with Tracy Bodywork

1967 Trimph Bonneville Tracy R Front

While this Triumph Bonneville with Tracy bodywork is really more dirt-track than actual sportbike, but it’s cool and rare enough I thought it was worth a post.

1967 Trimph Bonneville Tracy L Engine

During the wild-and-woolly 1960s and 1970s, body kits could be found for all kinds of cars and bikes and change your workaday VW Bug or UJM into something much more individual. Some were complete garbage, and some were of very high quality. Tracy Nelson’s Fiberglas Works’ were of the latter variety. Based out of Santa Cruz and inspired by Craig Vetter’s creations, Tracy designed one-piece bodywork that replaced heavy steel tanks, side panels, and seat with one-piece replacements that both lightened the bike and lowered its center of gravity.

1967 Trimph Bonneville Tracy Dash

When Tracy kits turn up, they tend to be decked out with wild period paintjobs or metal-flake custom insanity and are sometimes grafted on to home-brew choppers of dubious quality. This example keeps things simple and is a very appropriate baby blue that really shows off the bodywork to good effect.

1967 Trimph Bonneville Tracy Rear Suspension

From the original eBay listing: 1967 Triumph Bonneville with Tracy Bodywork for Sale

Built by: B & D Cycles Triumph Restorations of Clinton, WI.

Cosmetically in beautiful shape as well. 

Tracy body is solid and finished in high quality “Team Triumph” blue/white. Tank was properly lined to resist ethanol fuel damage to fiberglass.

Not many of these Tracy bodies survived the ’70s in this nice of condition… or at all.

Stored in a climate controlled environment and ridden on a fairly regular basis.

Numbers matching T120 frame and motor. TR6 head (had to be used to fit the Tracy body kit). 

Engine was completely rebuilt a couple of years ago. 

Bike has Clubman bars, Bates headlight and Mighty Mite electronics with capacitor.

Reverse magaphone mufflers, ’68 front wheel and brake assembly laced to a Borrani Shoulder rim.

Tires and tubes are excellent. 

Bike is ready to ride and enjoy right now. No worries.

VERY STRONG RUNNER!! PLENTY OF POWER!!

A VERY cool, clean and unusual bike for not a lot of money. 

You will NOT park next to someone on another Triumph like this… period. 

1967 Trimph Bonneville Tracy L Tank

The seller also helpfully includes a walk around tour and a cold startup video. With just a couple days left on the auction and a starting bid of $4,650, I’m surprised there’s been little interest so far. It looks this might go for far less than a similarly stock Bonneville and offers up a bit of American hot sauce to spice up your Brit-bike Earl Grey.

-tad

1967 Trimph Bonneville Tracy L Rear

Frisky Featherbed: 1965 Norton Atlas for Sale

1964 Norton Dominator L Side

Often overlooked in favor of the more rakish Commando and more famous Triumph Bonneville, the Norton Atlas offers familiar British twin strengths with its own particular charms. The parallel twin may be the perfect motorcycle powerplant. Compact, simpler, and easier to package than a v-twin or inline-four, smoother and more sophisticated than a single, the layout was used extensively by the British biking industry in the 1960s and 1970s. Unfortunately, the layout’s Achilles heel is vibration, especially in larger displacement applications.

1964 Norton Dominator Engine

Certainly vibration was an issue as Norton’s twins grew past 500cc, eventually necessitating the Commando’s innovative Isolastic frame, but handling certainly wasn’t a problem for the Atlas: it was fitted with the famous “featherbed” frame, so named after racer Harold Daniell described the 1950 racebike that originally used a similar design as being so smooth and comfortable it was “like riding on a featherbed.”

1964 Norton Dominator Dash

Today’s example has been well-maintained and features some appropriate, period-correct updates and modifications along with tons of character and patina.

1964 Norton Dominator Primary

From the original eBay listing: 1965 Norton Atlas for Sale

This auction is for a very good example of a great British motorcycle, don’t overlook the Atlas model: they are very sought after on the other side of the pond and my personal experience has been that it has out performed my other similar Brit twins, Triumphs and BSAs included.

It is still a low mileage mostly original bike even has  the std size factory dished top pistons for low compression are still in their noticed them when I decarbonized the top end also that is the original seat covering in place.

Here is a list of repairs and up-grades that I have done since I owned the bike and It probably has only covered 7k afterwards(other bikes to ride)

6 start oil pump drive, cam chain replaced, mag chain replaced, oil distribution seal for crank changed, gearbox sprocket  changed, solid state voltage regulator, Boyer dual coil, 1968 Commando distributor in place of magneto with electronic ignition now starts with key.

Bob Newby primary belt drive, best on the market, cost $780 eliminated oil leaks from the badly designed steel primary cover and as an added benefit bike has less vibration also changed to the newer laminated style stator. Norvil pushrod seal conversion insures clutch stays dry.

Clutch now has a sweet take up and very light lever pull. 

If you are a  collector the Frame and Engine numbers do match. 

This  motorcycle is a collectible model that won’t depreciate with its slim line “featherbed frame” really is a joy to ride, extremely stable for a classic bike and can handle  100 mile weekend  day rides in the summer months even on the highway with no over-heating!

1964 Norton Dominator Front Wheel

The seller also includes a list of some original parts that are included. It’s obviously been enthusiast-owned and well cared for, although with no takers at the $5,500 starting bid, the seller may be aiming high, even considering the condition.

-tad

1964 Norton Dominator R Side

Two-Stroke Racer: 1976 Yamaha TZ350 for Sale

1976 Yamaha TZ350C R Side

Although the RD400 was certainly popular with racers of the day, Yamaha’s track-only TZ350 was a definite step up in terms of performance, with water-cooling added to the engine to increase performance significantly. While the TZ bikes had certain general characteristics in common with their streetable cousins: two-stroke parallel-twin engines, twin-shock suspensions, they were pure, over-the-counter racing machines. And they were priced to sell: combined with the performance you’d expect of a track-ready racebike, the TZ250 and 350 were a dominant force in period roadracing.

1976 Yamaha TZ350C Cockpit

The 349cc, water-cooled two-stroke put out 60bhp and was matched to a 6-speed gearbox. Combined with a dry weight of just 250lbs, the TZ had impressive performance. Early bikes used a conventional twin-shock rear suspension and drum brakes, but the bikes continued to evolve throughout their production run. The later “C” models bikes, as seen here, used a monoshock rear for improved roadholding.

1976 Yamaha TZ350C Rear Wheel

Although the listing shows the bike as being in Portland, Oregon, the body of the listing clearly states that this machine currently resides in New Zealand, so anyone considering a purchase should start calculating shipping, taxes, duties, and whatever other headaches might be involved…

1976 Yamaha TZ350C R Bar

From the original eBay listing: 1976 Yamaha TZ350C for Sale

The “C” model, of 1976 was another matter entirely. Here was a radical departure chassis and running gear wise from the earlier TZ’s. Adjustable “mono-shock” (spring preload and rebound damping only) rear suspension, combined with twin piston front and rear disk brakes set the world on fire, with the new bikes selling like hot-cakes from Yamaha dealers worldwide. The retail price of around £ 1,550 including a comprehensive spares kit was incredible value for money and did no harm at all to sales. The clutch basket “boss” was improved by changing it’s method of attachment to a male / female spline system from the previous model’s “dog” type. The exhaust header picked up an additional o-ring and a new mounting system. Power jumped up slightly to 62bhp @ 10,000rpm.

NOTE: This Motorcycle is “Not” located in the USA it is located in New Zealand and can be shipped world-wide. Allow and additional $1200USD minimum for most countries. Exact shipping price will be by quotation.

This bike looks extremely clean, although no mention is made of its running condition: the tires look basically brand new, so it’s a bit hard to tell if it’s set up for display or as a runner. With an opening bid of $12,500 and no takers as yet it’s not the first time we’ve posted one of these and seen a relative lack of interest. This one’s a bit more expensive than previous examples as well, which is a shame considering the condition and potential performance available for vintage racing enthusiasts.

1976 Yamaha TZ350C Front Brake

Here in the US, where this bike most explicitly isn’t, the TZ350 was a bike with nowhere to call home: there were classes for 250 and 500cc machines, but the 350 ended up having to run in bigger classes where it was at a distinct disadvantage in terms of power. These days, things may be different and organizations like AHRMA may give the bike more of an opportunity to shine, but limited appeal at the time makes these exceedingly rare here.

-tad

1976 Yamaha TZ350C L Side

Racer for the People: 1975 Yamaha TZ250B for Sale

1975 Yamaha TZ250B R Side

A production roadracer with no street-legal counterpart, the Yamaha TZ250 was a water-cooled update of the older air-cooled TD and TR bikes. Designed so that privateers of the era could pop down to a local dealer and literally buy a bike over the counter that they could expect to be reasonably competitive, the TZ250 cleverly used many production parts to keep costs down: some engine parts were shared with the RD350 and various suspension bits were taken from existing machines.

1975 Yamaha TZ250B L Side Rear

Unlike the often exclusive Hondas, the TZ was an everyman machine, with moderate pricing and strong support in the aftermarket and what it lacked in outright power, it made up for in user-friendliness. But keep in mind that “user-friendly” is relative: in spite of the small displacement, this is a very highly developed racing motorcycle and will require a correspondingly high level of attention to keep it running.

Luckily, it appears that, although this bike has been sitting a while, it appears to have been owned by a racer, not a collector, and the original listing contains tons of detailed information about what has been done to set up, modify, and maintain this machine.

1975 Yamaha TZ250B R Side Rear

From the original eBay listing: 1975 Yamaha TZ250B for Sale

In 1981 I was newly out of high school, bumbling around, partying, chasing girls and trying to figure out my life.  I desperately wanted to become a motorcycle road racer and was privileged to be offered a job as a mechanic at Cycle Works in Stamford, CT.  As it turns out, a year later they were out of business.

I say privileged because Cycle Works was one of the last “real” racing dealerships from the golden era of the nineteen seventies.  This was the kind of shop that you could walk into and see a TZ250 or a race prepped RD400 for sale on the showroom floor or a TZ750 in line for service and race prep, I was twenty years old and thought I had died and gone to heaven.  Years earlier, Mike Baldwin had worked there and had purchased and ran a TZ250.  This TZ250.  Learning to race on an RD350, I then graduated to this TZ250.

The TZ hasn’t seen much action in the last ten years and has spent most of that time in my living room.  A few years back, I redid the motor which included: a freshly plated “F” model cylinder, new pistons, rings seals, bearing etc…, crank rebuilt by Lynn Garland. It has not been started since.

Previously I relocated the temp gauge holder to the opposite side so it wouldn’t interfere with the cables, I have the original tang.  In early 2000, I replaced the original Koni’s with a pair of Works Performance shocks.  The Koni’s will need to be rebuilt.  Other than that it is a really nice example of an early seventies GP bike.  It will have to be gone through if you intend to vintage race, but it’s really to valuable to be ridden in anger. (It is really fast though!)  It also comes with a State of CT title, yes in 1981 you could walk into motor vehicle and register you race bike for the ride. Never rode it on the street though.

1975 Yamaha TZ250B Engine Detail

1974 saw the introduction of the TZ250B, but it was nearly identical to the “A” that was introduced in 1973. The later “C” of 1976 saw the frame changed to a more modern monoshock setup, but this twin-shock bike certainly has plenty of period charm.

With no takers yet at the $13,750 starting bid, this machine is obviously overpriced for the market, or just hasn’t managed to find its audience. Luckily for us, the seller took some very nice pictures for us to drool over as we indulge our own vintage racing fantasies…

-tad

1975 Yamaha TZ250B L Side