Tagged: race bike

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

Origin of the Species: 1973 Yamaha TZ750 Prototype Road Racer #001

1973 Yamaha TZ750 L Side Front

The second of three very rare Yamaha TZ750 race bikes available this past week, this 1973 model is claimed to be a rare prototype machine. Fans of both ClassicSportBikesforSale.com and RareSportBikesforSale.com have proclaimed all three of these machines to be overpriced, but you can’t argue that they are very cool and very valuable motorcycles regardless of their asking prices. Yamaha’s TZ750 was all brawn and no brains, a power-mad beast of a bike that packed 140hp into a sub-400lb package good for 185mph, with basically terrifying handling when it was introduced. But that power came with reliability, and the TZ dominated AMA racing for years in spite of its lethally bad manners.

1973 Yamaha TZ750 L Side Engine3

This example is supposedly a “prototype” numbered #001, although I’d definitely want to consult with a TZ750 expert before plunking down my hard-earned cash. It’s certainly in impressive cosmetic condition and will undoubtedly look amazing on display. Early TZ’s used a twin-shock rear suspension as seen here, although later bikes moved on to a more modern monoshock set up that vastly improved handling from “scary” to “less scary” as the bike struggled to cope with increased power from the significantly revised powerplant that went from 700cc’s in early bikes to the full 750cc’s in the name.

1973 Yamaha TZ750 Bare Engine

From the original eBay listing: 1973 Yamaha TZ750 Prototype #001 for Sale

This is the rare only one built by the Yamaha Race department. It was finished in 1973 for Kel Caruthers to inspect and make final changes for the completion of the production TZ700/750 for release in 1974 for Daytona and European distribution.

What you see are some of the salvaged parts that were intercepted on the way to the crusher and torch. The main part being the frame and swing-arm stamped 409-100001.

This bike remained in the hands of factory rider Sadeo Asami until it was returned to Yamaha USA in the late 70`s. 

I sat in storage until 2012 when I was able to purchase the parts. A good friend and I spent 3 years bringing it back to as last race condition and another year to where it is now.

This is the bike that changed racing history.

1973 Yamaha TZ750 L Side Engine2

I would be curious, and I’m sure the seller can tell you, whether or not it runs. From the description, it sounds as if it does. This would obviously make a beautiful display piece and centerpiece to a collection, but racing machines I feel should always be kept in running condition, even if it’s only for parade laps and demonstrations. The Buy It Now price is set at $78,000 which, as stated previously, is very high for a TZ750. They’re pretty rare, but 600 were made and, even accounting for the attrition that naturally occurs during racing, it’s possible to find these regularly circling tracks in vintage racing events.

Regardless, I’m happy to see the bike offered up for sale, so we can all drool over it and think about how many extra kidneys we’d need to grow in order to be able to afford it….

-tad

1973 Yamaha TZ750 L Side

Bee Sting: 1975 Yamaha TZ750B for Sale

1975 Yamaha TZ750 L Front2

Looking like the world’s angriest bumble bee, complete with four stingers, this Yamaha TZ750B race bike is ready for a new life, terrorizing tracks in vintage racing classes. And “terror” is probably the right word: with as much as 140hp, the TZ750 was very fast and exceptionally reliable, although the concept of handling was still in its infancy and a “good-handling bike” was any motorcycle that exhibited cornering or straight-line behavior that didn’t involve a terminal death-wobble.

Early TZ750s may not have qualified…

1975 Yamaha TZ750 R Naked

The earliest liquid-cooled two-stroke fours look suspiciously like they were built up from a pair of 347cc parallel-twins to make the TZ700. The later 750cc engine that debuted in 1975 supposedly shared no parts at all with the smaller machines and was essentially a bored-out 500 Grand Prix engine. Power predictably overwhelmed the bike’s rudimentary handling and primitive tires. Early machines used a twin-shock rear, although the frames were eventually updated to a more modern monoshock design as seen here: this particular bike was obviously ahead of its time and uses a rare Kanemoto frame, according to the seller.

1975 Yamaha TZ750 L RearFrom the original eBay listing: 1975 Yamaha TZ750B for Sale

Show Winner – Fresh Rebuild – Race Ready. Very Unique Early TZ750; C&J Mono-Shock Frame equipped, Raced in the 1976 and 1977 Daytona 200!

C&J made 4 special TZ750 mono-shock frames for Erv Kanemoto in the mid 1970`s. They were ridden by Gary Nixon, Freddie Spencer, and Gary Fisher. This particular unnumbered chassis was built using a 1975 TZ750B donor bike, and made it into the hands of AMA Pro rider Cory Ruppelt; he finished in the money in the 1976 Daytona 200 Roadrace on this bike.

Original period equipment includes: Morris Magnesium wheels, Lockheed front calipers, early Vesco fairing, and silenced crossover chambers. 
Modern KR series Dunlop racing tires, D.I.D. endless chain, and Boysen reeds make it track-worthy.

Rebuilt motor has 1 hour track time; tear-down inspection just completed. Un-numbered cases. Genuine TZ750D Master Cylinder just installed – carbs, ignition, controls, forks and C&J modified bodywork are original TZ. The bike is near exactly as raced in the 1970’s including paint. Has been preserved for 30 years on display before being brought back to a rider. Unrestored from the 1970’s, in “as-raced” condition.

The seller also includes some on-track video of the bike doing some parade laps here.

1975 Yamaha TZ750 L Rear Naked

Many classic racebikes are non-running display pieces with too much history for the owners to risk a crash, or because they cannot afford the upkeep on a rare, non-production machine more than forty years old. Luckily, this particular bike comes with period looks, unrestored paint, and a refreshed motor that looks like it’s ready to rock.

-tad

1975 Yamaha TZ750 R Front

Beautiful MaSheene: 1979 Suzuki GS1000S Ex-Barry Sheene Race Bike for Sale

1979 Suzuki GS Barry Sheene R Front

Today’s Suzuki GS1000S was touched by the hand of a master, the late Barry Sheene. In an era of sullen, sanitized superstars, it’s easy to forget that there used to be some really charismatic racers, folks who not only seemed to enjoy racing, but enjoyed life. But you certainly can’t expect guys barely out of their teens to have fully-developed personalities, and “early-to-bed, early-to-rise” is the name of the game so riders can stay in peak physical condition because racing is big business, and these guys are professionals.

1979 Suzuki GS Barry Sheene L Side

With so much money on the line, modern riders are endlessly coached: it’s pretty difficult to remember to name-drop all those sponsors without practice. And it’s especially difficult to remember that long list just thirty seconds after competing in a grueling, dangerous race.

1979 Suzuki GS Barry Sheene Fairing Detail

But back in the 60s and 70s, some of the most high-profile racers on two and four wheels were basically party animals… Chief among them was Barry Sheene. He was a popular character both on and off track and an outspoken champion of rider safety. He partied with notorious driver James Hunt, married a Penthouse Pet, and eventually succumbed to cancer, a likely result of his years of smoking: he once famously had a hole cut in the chinbar of his helmet so he could smoke before a race…

1979 Suzuki GS Barry Sheene Dash

While much of his career was spent on purebred two-stroke racing machinery, today’s bike is a highly modified GS1000S prepped by “Pops” Yoshimura.

From the original eBay listing: 1979 Dunstall Suzuki GS1000S Ex-Barry Sheene Race Bike for Sale

The machine offered here for sale was raced by Barry Sheene at the August bank holiday meeting at Oulton Park 1979. UK importer Heron Suzuki was interested in promoting production-based racing and asked Paul Dunstall to enter a Yoshimura prepared factory GS1000s Suzuki in TT Formula One events in 1979. Barry Sheen was the Texaco-sponsored Heron Suzuki teams number one rider in Grand Prix and his dislike of racing heavyweight four strokes was well known, once referring to them as ‘muck spreaders.’ Nevertheless Barry acquitted himself with distinction in his one off ride at Oulton Park, Finishing a close 2nd to Honda mounted Ron Haslam. Indeed the Suzuki star might have one had he not been balked by a back marker on the final lap For its first foray into Formula 1 racing Suzuki adopted a relatively cautious approach to tuning the GS1000S roadster. 

The machine offered here for sale was raced by Barry Sheene at the August bank holiday meeting at Oulton Park 1979. UK importer heron Suzuki was interested in promoting production-based racing and asked Paul Dunstall to enter a Yoshimura prepared factory GS1000s Suzuki in TT Formula One events in 1979. The machine was sent from Japan to Pops Yoshimura in California where the engine received special cams , larger inlet and exhaust valves , high compression slipper pistons, self generating ignition, close ratio gears and a stronger clutch basket , The crankshaft conrods and bottom end being left in stock . Retaining the standard 28 mm carburettors a Formula One requirement. The 1000cc tuned GS produced around 114 bhp with a wide spread of usable power .

As well as other additions to inside the engine which were a Kawasaki KZ 1000 idler wheel fitted into the cylinder head below the intake cam and an inverted stock GS 750 idler roller was installed into the GS 1000 cylinder head to help keep the cam chain under control when revs were 10,000 RPM plus, reduced valve stems and enlarged valve seats, 10.5 -1 high compression slipper pistons, confirming this is an original Yoshimura race tuned F1 engine (by Pops Yoshimura). Changes to the chassis included a shorter Peckett and mcNabb swinging arm and RG 500 fork yokes. Period photographs of the Sheene Suzuki racing at Oulton Park show it equipped with only a cockpit fairing , whereas photographs taken later in the season show the type of full fairing that it also wore. It can also be seen that this machine was equipped with a right foot gearchange as were many of Barry Sheene’s bikes.

The Dunstall Suzuki teams regular riders were Steve machin and Bob Smith but Sheene’s 2nd place at Oulton park would be its best result in 1979. The Ex-Sheene Suzuki was later sold by Tony Robinson (who was involved in the running of the Suzuki Dunstall team) to Martin Jones of Muswell Hill London then sold it to Mike Ryan of Cheltenham in April 1998 then purchased by Richard Ford in June 1999, since 2002 the Suzuki has been on display in the Lake land motor museum . This Suzuki has not been run since being loaned to the museum but has just recently been recommissioned by Dyna tech and the present owner, only requiring new tyres to be able to race this one off classic machine .

Believed the only Japanese  four -stroke ever raced by the late ex-world champion  (he did race a Seeley Norton in 1970 retiring with gearbox problems). This is very rare ex-factory production racer is now offered with various bills of sale and period press cuttings tracing its history back to  Tony Robinson with a bill of sale and internal engine photo’s previously sold by Bonhams as the original bike raced by Barry Sheene.

1979 Suzuki GS Barry Sheene R Rear

What’s it really worth? Well, this is a one-of-a-kind machine that appears to be in perfectly-preserved condition, and and is ready to race. Just add tires. Sorry: “tyres.” And while it certainly isn’t as desirable as one of Barry’s two-stroke race bikes would be, it was ridden by the man himself in competition, and looks great in Heron Suzuki livery: he rode for Heron Suzuki until after the 1979 season and his famous battle with Kenny Roberts at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone would have been on a bike with these colors.

A beautiful piece of racing history and touched by the man himself.

-tad

1979 Suzuki GS R Side

All-Original GP Machine: 1982 Suzuki RGB500 Mk7 XR40 for Sale

1982 Suzuki RGB500 R Side

Ridden by such luminaries as Barry Sheene and Randy Mamola, the two-stroke Suzuki RGB500 was eventually developed into the dominant machine you see here, but it went through a significant evolution following its introduction in 1974. As you’d expect, the bike always had power to spare, but high speed handling was suspect at first…

1982 Suzuki RGB500 R Side Naked

By the time the 1982 bike rolled around, Suzuki had moved to a “square” 54mm x 54mm engine for a grand total of 495cc. It was far more reliable than previous iterations and featured the same stepped cylinders seen on the RG500 Gamma road bike that had the rear pair of cylinders raised up slightly higher than the front pair. With a dry weight of 292lbs and 120hp, the bike could reach speeds of up to 170mph, which is pretty terrifying considering the tire technology of the time.

1982 Suzuki RGB500 R Side Grip

Fascinating details seen in the photos include the square-four’s complex throttle cable assembly and the anti-dive front system on the front forks.

From the original eBay listing: 1982 RGB500 Mk7 XR40 for Sale

This is not a street bike folks, this is the real deal, A real factory Suzuki GP road race bike… This bike has the stepped square 4 motor with magnesium crankcases, magnesium carburetors, and dry clutch… The Chassis is loaded with magnesium, Titanium and Aluminum, stuff you would expect to find on a factory race bike… First year of “Full Floater” monoshock suspension… Chassis number 42 motor number 49… Bike is in unrestored, excellent condition, just as it rolled off the race track in 1982… This bike from part of the team Heron Suzuki stable, bike has been museum store in Japan since last raced… these bikes are tad more rare than a TZ750 and much more powerful… It is the perfect bike to dominate vintage racing and is eligible for the “classic TT” in Phillips island This is a rare opportunity to own a real factory GP bike, don’t let it slip by, you’ll be sorry if you do…

1982 Suzuki RGB500 R Side Front

With a beautiful period paint scheme and tons of rare, race-spec parts, this bike may not have been ridden by any famous racers to any notable victories, but it’s also available at a price much lower than you’d expect to pay for one of those machines. Bidding is just north of $25,000 there’s a ways to go until we hit the $65,000 Buy It Now price. It’s in impressively original condition and would make a stunning collector’s piece, but hopefully, the rise in popularity of vintage racing will see this bike returned to the track.

-tad

1982 Suzuki RGB500 L 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

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

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

Grand Prix Single: 1962 Matchless G50 for Sale

1962 Matchless G50 R Side Front

Possibly less well known than the incredibly long-lived Norton Manx, the Matchless G50 was a beautifully simple Grand Prix race bike that used lightness and simplicity to great advantage, as seen in the photos of this bike that clearly show the magnesium engine cases.

1962 Matchless G50 L Side

The 496cc chain-driven SOHC air-cooled single was connected to a four-speed gearbox and could push the 320lb bike to a top speed of 135mph. Supposedly named for the 50bhp it made at the rear wheel, the Matchless G50 was a direct competitor of the Norton Manx and, although it made less power, it was 30lbs lighter, making it that bike’s equal on tighter tracks… Unfortunately, the G50’s career was much shorter, with just 180 built in total between 1958 and 1963.

1962 Matchless G50 Dash

If you want one and you’re not particularly bothered by originality, near-perfect replicas are still being built by folks like Colin Seely, although with modern tolerances and production methods and often with higher-spec internals. They’re pricey for sure, but you won’t have to worry about finding someone willing to sell you a real G50, or be concerned about crashing a piece of history.

1962 Matchless G50 R Side Rear

From the original eBay listing: 1962 Matchless G50 Factory Racer for Sale

500cc Single Cylinder, with magnesium cases, Amal GP carburetor, correct front and rear brakes, older restoration on a very correct and unmolested factory racer. This motorcycle has been on static display in a private collection for many years. A full inspection and a new set of tires will be required prior to returning to competion use. The 1962 was the last year model for the Matchless G50 and is the most collectable and desirable of all years. Selling on a bill of sale.

1962 Matchless G50 Engine Detail2

The bike’s $62,750.00 Buy It Now price might seem pretty shocking, but Bonhams sold one in 2013 that went for just a shade under $60k so I’d expect this is right on the money for a genuine GP racer from the golden age of the British biking industry. It’s certainly an amazing machine, and would make a stunning vintage racer or display piece.

-tad

1962 Matchless G50 R Side