Tagged: restored

Restored to Perfection: 1975 BMW R90S for Sale

1975 BMW R90S L Front

Today’s BMW R90S is the quintessential German sportbike: fast, stable, and reliable, but just a little bit uptight and unassuming. Or it would be unassuming, if not for that very vivid 70s paint job… By the 1970s, a major shift was well underway in the motorcycling world. Postwar shortages in many markets meant that, throughout the period immediately following World War II, cars were simply too expensive for many people to afford and motorcycles were often used as basic transportation in their place. But by the 1960s, the tide had begun to change and, more and more, motorcycles were seen as luxury items or toys, especially here in the US.

1975 BMW R90S R Rear

Generally stodgy image aside, BMWs had always been involved in racing but, by the 1970s, they felt they needed reach customers outside the lucrative, but steadily aging “old man” demographic. BMW’s traditional customers were aging out, and BMW wanted to reach out to a new crop of riders who were looking for something like a Ducati, but maybe with some comfort thrown in. The Germans may have been trying to create their own SuperSport with the R90S, but that practical Teutonic DNA comes through pretty strongly in both the form and the function.

1975 BMW R90S Dash

That dose of practicality in no way diminishes the performance available and the bike was very competitive in AMA racing immediately after it was introduced. High-compression pistons and performance carburetors meant that the proven pushrod engine, here bumped to 898cc, made 67 very flexible horses that could take the R90S all the way to 125mph, although braking power was never much to write home about.

1975 BMW R90S L Rear

Today’s example looks terrific and appears to be quite the labor of love. From the original eBay listing: 1975 BMW R90S for Sale

This is a perfect restored numbers-matching BMW R90S. Many collectors like a bike in original condition unrestored. This is perfect for somebody who put it in his man cave and enjoy looking at the bike or showing it to somebody. But after 40 years it would not be fun to drive it. All the rubber, bowden and seals and much more thinks getting dry brittle leaking and brake. This one is ready to drive and it is as new as it can be.

I am a 60 year old German engineer and be working on BMW’s my whole life as my hobby and for fun. I am selling this one because I have too many toys and I am downsizing for my retirement. This one is restored to perfection. Look at all the pictures it tells the story. I was working over 2 years on this bike and one thing lead in to another because as a perfectionist nothing is good enough.

Here is a list of what I have done. I am sure this list is not complete but you getting the idea:

  • Frame powder coated.
  • Wheels polished hubs bead blasted new stainless spokes.
  • Every screw on the bike is new and stainless.
  • All the rubber and I mean all what has any rubber in it or on it is new tires, seals, bowden, seat, footpegs and so on.
  • Wheel bearings and brakes are new
  • Every aluminum part on engine, gearbox and final drive is bead-blasted and assembled with new seals
  • Cylinder heads with lead-free valves
  • New pistons and oil rings
  • New clutch complete with spring plate
  • Carbs are overhauled and sealed for over $500
  • New seat complete with pan from Germany
  • Instrument cluster overhauled for over $600 and set to 0 miles
  • This was a low millage bike to begin with and in a very good shape
  • New paint and pin striped by a pro for over $2000.
  • New petcocks and fuel cap.
  • New exhaust system complete.
  • And so on…
  • It comes with the original toolkit, shop rag, metal air pump and manual
  • And I have a box full of receipts what I be afraid off to add up.
  • There is a lot of money in this bike.

1975 BMW R90S Parts

Bidding is very active on this bike and already north of $12,000, with plenty of time still left on the auction and the Reserve Not Met. That’s certainly premium money for an old BMW, but it sounds like you’re getting about as close to a brand-new R90S as is possible, barring a lifetime of tracking down NOS parts and building one from scratch. Certainly, the seller makes a great point: an unrestored, barn-find bike would likely require a ton of work to make it run correctly, or would require constant attention as the little bits mentioned deteriorate and fail. This bike is virtually perfect and ready-to-roll. If you have the cash to spend and want an R90S, this looks like a good choice!


1975 BMW R90S R Side

Faux Racer: 1973 Honda CB350F RC166 Replica for Sale

1966 Honda CB350 RC166 Replica L Side Front

Well this presents an odd opportunity: the chance to talk about two very different bikes in the same article. This 1973 Honda CB350F has been fully rebuilt to resemble the RC166 Grand Prix bike of the mid-1960’s. I used to see a guy at the Trader Joe’s in Los Angeles all the time who rode a bike like this one, all clad in black leathers and a replica “puddin’ bowl” helmet, the vintage-racer equivalent of the ubiquitous Harley “skid lid:” just as stupid, but way cooler.

1966 Honda CB350 RC166 Replica L Side Rear

This bike is intended as a replica of Honda’s RC166, an engineering masterpiece, and I’m not sure it succeeds on that front, although it does manage to be a very nice vintage motorcycle with a strong racing style.

1966 Honda CB350 RC166 Replica R Side

Introduced in 1972 as one of the seemingly endless, smaller iterations of the CB750 four-cylinder, the CB350F was, at the time, a very unusual bike in that most machines this small were twins or singles. The engine was actually undersquare, with a bigger bore than stroke and put 34hp thorough a 5-speed gearbox. Although there were plenty of other bikes in the class that were lighter and less expensive, including Honda’s own CB350 twin, the jewel-like engineering appealed to a different type of buyer, and the bike’s increased complexity was offset by Honda’s impressively reliable engineering.

1966 Honda CB350 RC166 Replica Engine Detail

From the original eBay listing: 1973 Honda CB350F RC166 Replica for Sale

This ’73 CB350F is fresh out of a full engine-out cosmetic and mechanical restoration from the frame up. The best I can describe is that everything is new except Frame, Engine, Wheel Hubs and the Triple Trees. Here is an example of what’s new on the bike.  Avon tires, aluminum rims, stainless spokes, caliper and pads, shock seals and fluid, steel fender, headlights, brake and tail light, license plate bracket, 4 into 1 headers, cone engineering muffler, tachometer cable, clutch cable, throttle cables, clutch lever, throttle assembly, grips, anti vibration bar ends, tapered roller bearing steering neck kit, clip-ons, master cylinder, Airtech-Fairing, seat, seat pan, fuel tank, windshield, chain, rear shocks, rear brake pads, electronic ignition, Antigravity 4cell battery, Antigravity battery charger, regulator/rectifier, velocity stacks, bronze swing arm bushings, point to point wiring. Clean title 14,538 miles. Less than 100 miles since restoration. Has electric start, headlights, tail light and brake light utilizing front brake. No speedo but in 5th gear 3,000 rpm’s = 30mph. 5,000 rpm’s = 50mph and so on. No turn signals and mirrors. The carburetors were professionally restored and I will provide extra main jets sizes. Engine does not leak oil, had new gasket kit installed along with all new fluids. The numbers on the fairing are vinyl and easily removable if you choose.

1966 Honda CB350 RC166 Replica R Side Tank

Compared to the real thing, the tank is suitably long and lean but the whole thing isn’t quite proportioned correctly and doesn’t have the tiny, rounded bum-stop tailpiece of the original. It also, of course, lacks Honda’s absolute shrieking masterpiece of a motor, a straight 6-cylinder, four-valve 250cc machine that belted out 65hp through a 7-speed gearbox. With internals that looked more like the parts of a scale model than the real thing, it’s almost impossible to imagine the skill involved in the creation of this thing in an era before computers and modern manufacturing techniques.

1966 Honda CB350 RC166 Replica Dash

And it worked: in the 1966 250cc world championship, the RC166 won ten of ten races.

1966 Honda CB350 RC166 Replica Rear Wheel

Although at first glance this replica isn’t streetable, there’s space for a number plate, a tail light, and the bike does feature a pair of little projector-beam headlamps tucked up between the forks under the nose of the fairing.

1966 Honda CB350 RC166 Replica R Rear

The starting bid is $7,400 with no takers yet but plenty of time left on the auction. This is really big money for a CB350, but pretty small money for such a one-of-a-kind custom with a ton of style. This is a very sweet little bike that is more “inspired by” the RC166 than it is an actual “replica of,” but that’s okay: a more authentic replica would probably be much more expensive, and still wouldn’t feature that awe-inspiring engine.


1966 Honda CB350 RC166 Replica L Side

Straight from Italy: 1972 Laverda SF 750 for Sale

1972 Laverda 750 SF2 L Rear

Classic Laverdas are, unfortunately for those of us with longing in our hearts and a distinct lack of cash in their bank accounts, finally starting to command the prices they probably deserve. For years, they languished in the underappreciated limbo where Moto Morini currently lives, trading hands for decent prices, but certainly a far-cry from what you can expect to pay for a decent Guzzi or Ducati of similar vintage.

1972 Laverda 750 SF2 R Front

And while eBay and your local Craigslist postings are filled with Triumphs in every condition from basket cases to patina’d riders to trailer-queen bobbers and café-racers, the big twins from Breganze are pretty hard to find in any condition. But that may just be the loyalty that Laverdas seem to inspire: these almost always show up as well-cared-for riders. Folks seem to take care of them, and hang onto them until they can’t ride anymore.

1972 Laverda 750 SF2 R Engine

Laverda got its start building farming machinery, and added motorcycles to the menu to feed the postwar boom of folks getting back to work in desperate need of cheap transport. Their early offerings were small sporty bikes under 200cc’s, but they knew that they would need to offer a bigger bike to compete with offerings from Triumph if they wanted to grow the company. This was especially true across the pond in America, where riders subscribed to the same “bigger is better” mentality as they do today.

1972 Laverda 750 SF2 Dash

Their 650cc parallel twin was introduced in 1966 and enlarged to 750cc’s in 1968. Interestingly, Laverdas were imported to America as “American Eagles” between 1968 and 1969, although I’d imagine many of these have been rebadged as Laverdas by now.

1972 Laverda 750 SF2 L Rear Wheel

Stable and fast, they developed a well-deserved reputation for durability. The two-cylinder engine featured five main bearings, and all parts not made in-house were chosen for their quality, not their country of origin: Italian suspension, German ignition components, and Japanese electricals all combined to make for a bike that would last. They were heavy, but perfect for endurance racing events that favored reliability.

1972 Laverda 750 SF2 L Engine

From the original eBay listing: 1972 Laverda SF1 for Sale

1972 Laverda 750 SF, matching number, frame off restoration, sandblasted and powder painted frame, 100% original parts, 40  mm pipes with complete exaust set with new compensator and new mufflers, polished Borrani laced wheels, Laverda drum brakes, Vintage Dunlop tires, reupholstered seat, new cables, new harness, remanufactured original ND gauges, new chrome parts and polished aluminum everywhere, inner treatment to the fuel tank, original Laverda orange paint, engine with original 24,600km/15,400 miles, 36 mm Dell’Orto carburators, Ceriani forks and adjustable shocks, new clutch, generator, starter, new lithium battery, Laverda embossed bolts.

Original 1972 Italian Registration, Title and Plate, ready to run.

The Laverda 750 SF is a milestone in the Italian motorcycling history because it has been the domestic sport bike which fought the Japanese brands invasion according to its superlative frame and powerful engine: when a Laverda 750 SF shows up, any Honda 750 Four takes the second place, as for glamour, charm and great sportmanship …

Today owing an impeccable and original Laverda 750 SF is a privilege and a safe well of family to be proud of.

These Laverdas sound smoother than British parallel twins of the time, but also distinct from Italian v-twin powerplants from Guzzi and Ducati. Later SF’s featured a pair of disc brakes up front, but this earlier model has Laverda’s in-house 9” front drum brake that lent its name to the bike: the “SF” stands for “Super Freni [braking]”. While the discs may look more modern, the drum is desirable and very effective.

1972 Laverda SF2 L Front Wheel

This looks like a gorgeous restoration and the bike has been painted in classic orange, but with an $11,500 starting price and no bids yet, it may be that the market isn’t quite ready for five-figure Laverdas. Or maybe bidders are just balking at the idea of dealing with importing a bike from Milan, Italy where this bike is currently located. Not so good for the seller, but great for those of us who still aspire to own one of these!


1972 Laverda 750 SF2 L Front

Reader Suggestion: 1978 BMW R100/7 Custom Cafe

1978 BMW R100 7 L Side Rear

No longer quite the undiscovered gem they were, BMW’s “airhead” boxers still provide real value to the classic enthusiast. Although the rarer, sportier models like the R90S command real dollars, the more pedestrian bikes were made in sufficient numbers that, unless you’re concerned with collectability, still offer amazing bang for the buck.

Their durability probably doesn’t hurt, either: BMW’s longitudinal flat-twin is really the coelacanth of classic motorcycles, since it was knocked off by the Russians [Ural] and then that knock-off was knocked-off by the Chinese [Chang Jiang] and are still being produced to this day.

If a 1940’s engine can still provide reliable, if somewhat sedate motive power for a modern-ish motorcycle, imagine what the additional thirty years of development found in a bike from the 70’s will add! This 1978 BMW R100/7 may look pretty stock, but has been professionally repainted and restored to better-than-new condition, with upgraded components where appropriate.

1978 BMW R100 7 R Side

From the original listing: 1978 BMW R100/7 Custom Cafe for Sale

“Frame-off” powder coated, black respray, clear coated with hand painted pin striped bodywork, rebuilt motor and trans, lightened flywheel, light weight wrist pins, newer clutch, new t.o. bearing, rebuilt carbs, new Hoske mufflers, new rubber parts, new Metzeler Lazertec tires, BMW wire wheels, Dyna elec. ign.,RS solo seat, R90s handle bar, completed 2008, 1200 miles since build, new brake service Fall 2013, build by BMW restoration specialist in the Twin Cities (more info upon request)

These are very practical, reliable bikes, aside from braking that reportedly requires Johnny Carson-like levels of precognition to use effectively: even period reviews were less than stellar… Although I’d imagine updated pads or a swap to more modern components might help there and not degrade the looks much. On the upside: the rest of the package is hard to criticize: power, handling, and comfort are all there in spades.

$8,750 seems a bit steep for an R100/7, but with only 1200 miles on it since a thorough update, you’re getting what looks to be a very nicely turned-out machine. If you’re okay paying a bit more for something of quality, this could be your ride.



1982 Suzuki Katana for Sale

1982 Suzuki Katana R Front

This may be on the edge of what you might think of as a “classic sport bike”, but it’s got twin shocks, so I say it qualifies!

Introduced in 1980 and powered by Suzuki’s bulletproof air/oil-cooled transverse four-cylinder, de-bored and de-stroked to just under 1000cc’s, the Suzuki Katana looked like nothing else on the road. The striking, edgy design still looks exciting today and was a decisive move away from huge, wind-blocking fairings more suitable for touring bikes to sleek, wind-cheating items that merely pierced the wind, creating a small hole for the bike and rider to squeeze through.

1982 Suzuki Katana Dash

Even the instrument cluster was supposedly designed with speed in mind: the siamesed speedo and tach faces look cool, but were styled to fit behind the minimal windscreen.

Under the skin, this is largely the same model as Suzuki’s existing GS but represents an important shift in design, so while the bike may have been a styling makeover for the existing GS1100, it set the stage for Suzuki’s ground-breaking GSX-R that would soon follow.

1982 Suzuki Katana Engine

From the original eBay listing: 1982 Suzuki GS1000 Katana for sale

1982 Suzuki Katana, new original Suzuki body panels and new Suzuki windscreen, Airtech fiberglass upper cowling pained in original Suzuki silver color scheme (no shark fins but has chin piece), repainted fuel tank with new Suzuki petcock in Suzuki 1982 Katana silver color scheme…

Engine is a GS1150 1985 rebuilt with balanced, indexed, welded crank, completely rebuilt top end with new Ferrea valves, Webcam camshafts &adjustable sprockets, Webcam welded/strengthened rockers, new guides and seals, and new Suzuki valve springs & guides. Top-end and engine case vented with hoses over rear fender (no gas build up in engine, only pure air-fuel into carbs). New Mikuni RS-38 D19 carbs with new K&N air filters & new dual throttle cable…

New Moto GP Werks stainless steel exhaust. This is what the 1982 Katana should have been, has to be seen and heard. Less than 1000km on rebuilt bike, more than $20K invested into parts and rebuild. Bike is a sleeper, in excellent condition, and a real eye catcher.  Ideal buyer: a KATANA lover who can appreciate what went into a rebuild like this and is not afraid of the attention this bike will get.

These are generally still very affordable, as classic Katanas are just starting to catch on in the collector market and really are much better off being ridden than sitting in someone’s living room. The classic air/oil cooled four-cylinder powerplant makes plenty of poke and there plenty of tuning parts and shops that can make these things go like stink.

1982 Suzuki Katana Exhaust

This one has been “restored” or at the very least given a pretty solid injection of horses, with updated and new parts used to create someone’s vision of the “perfect” Katana. It looks beautiful, although the lack of originality may hurt it for collectors.

Starting price is almost $10k with no takers but plenty of time left. Seems to me that price is pretty high, even considering the work that’s gone into it: it isn’t absolutely perfect, or original.

It’s in Canada, so make sure you do your DMV research before bidding!


1982 Suzuki Katana R Rear


As Seen on TV: 1974 Norton Commando

1974 Norton Commando R Rear

Aside from rakish good looks that embody the best of the era, this particular Norton Commando appears to have had a bit of a brush with television fame, having been built by a shop that featured on Café Racer TV. While café racers in general have become a bit cliché of late, they still have a classic look and style that I think will endure well past their brief second moment in the sun. Unlike stretched out, chrome and candy-flamed choppers, café bikes hark back to a nostalgic era and, aside from the occasional example sporting below-the lower triple clamp clipons, they are actually rideable.

1974 Norton Commando Dash

Differences between Nortons of this period are largely down to relatively minor cosmetic details: they all featured the 828cc [“850”] parallel twin, although some models were more highly tuned than others. And all featured Norton’s interesting “Isolastic” engine mounting system.

As Nortons increased in displacement to keep pace with their competition, the vibrations of the compact, but not particularly smooth, parallel-twin became an increasing problem. Dominator and Atlas riders simply lived with the increasing “character” of the powerplant, but by the time the Commando came around, Norton felt the 750cc engine would need something more than the relative sponginess of the human body to absorb vibrations.

1974 Norton Commando L Rear

The most obvious options were unacceptable: rubber-mount the controls and reduce feel or redesign the engine and bankrupt the company. So Norton chose a middle route: they mounted the engine, transmission, and swingarm on a system of rubber bushings. This solution works very well, although it needs to be set up carefully and maintained in order to work correctly: worn Isolastics can cause scary handling problems.

From the original eBay listing: 1974 Norton Commando

Up for bid is my 1974 Norton Commando 850.  This bike was originally restored by The Classic Bike Experience (featured on Cafe Racer TV) in Essex, Vermont approximately five years ago.  This is the original “GUS” bike that got everything started for CBE.  There is a complete written documentary of their restoration of this particular Commando located on the Classic Bike Experience’s website under the heading CBE Cafe Bikes. 

I purchased “Gus” in October 2009 from Jack and Nick.  Since purchasing, I have changed/upgraded several things more to my liking.

I have the original Amals, the original coils, and the original bronze clutch plates.  

I have put approximately 1600 gentle two lane country miles on this bike since the original CBE rebuild five years ago.  I don’t know how I managed to leave that information out of the original listing, but it is definitely information that needs to be in the listing…

I have tried to make this bike as reliable as a 40 year old motorcycle can be.  It generally starts on the first or second kick.  It gets attention everywhere it goes.  I have started avoiding gas stations with other motorcycles and crowds because I know I will be stuck there talking to people.

1974 Norton Commando L Engine

Starting bid is $10,000 with no takers as yet and only one day left to go. That’s a pretty penny for a Norton Commando and perhaps the seller is attaching a bit too much value to the “celebrity” status of its builders, but I’m still sort of surprised there’s been no interest at all. This is a very nice example with thoughtful upgrades, meticulous maintenance and documentation, and a visual record of the build itself.

Seems worth it to pay a bit extra for such a nicely put together machine.


1974 Norton Commando R Side

The Real Deal: 1974 Laverda SFC for Sale

1974 Laverda SFC L Side

Of all the motorcycles being brought back from the dead these days, the only one I really want to see again is Laverda. But I wouldn’t want to see them reincarnated as some boutique retro-clunker with dual shocks, styled to look like an old bike with a sort-of new engine and a price aimed at born-again-bikers with a contrary streak or dewey-eyed nostalgists who “owned one back in the day.”

1974 Laverda SFC Dash

I’d love to see a modern sporting machine that embodies the classic Laverda virtues: stability, durability, and speed. And orange. Yeah, as far as I’m concerned “orange” is a virtue.

And machines like this 1974 SFC are why I want to see them resurrected. [Thanks to our reader George for forwarding this along to us!]

The SFC was a racing special developed from the standard SF1, a 650 and later 750cc parallel-twin machine introduced in the late 60’s to compete in the US against bigger American and British bikes. Laverdas had a reputation for being durable and overbuilt and performed well in endurance race events. What componenets they didn’t manufacture in-house, they sourced from the very best names in the business, and the results have a distinctly international flavor: Ceriani suspension from Italy, Bosch ignition components from Germany, and a Nippon-Denso starter from the Land of the Rising Sun.

1974 Laverda SFC L Detail

The SFC was a true homologation special, filled with serious race parts and then tuned to make them sing: they produced between 71-80hp, depending on the year and only 549 were ever produced. They came with road-legal equipment, but the bike was really best suited for the track.

From the original eBay listing: 1974 Laverda SFC for sale

This is a genuine Laverda 750 SFC. It was on the 750 SFC Registry maintained by Marnix Van der Schalk when I bought it seven years ago from a noted private collector. It is one of the 100 or so made for the US market featuring full instrumentation and Jota style bars. It is a street legal race bike.

The previous owner bought it in its restored condition and did not know for sure who restored it, but he thought Lance Weil worked on it. Whoever did it spared no expense or effort in this meticulous and correct restoration. I regret to say that I have ridden this gem less than 10 miles- I consider myself a curator of this bike. I have other Laverdas that I actually ride.
After riding it last I changed the oil, drained the tank and carbs, and fogged the engine with marine fogging oil. I leave it in gear and every week or so I turn the engine over manually with the rear wheel. When I did start and ride it I found that it lit up quickly with an alarming snarl from the two-into-one race pipe ( I will include the street exhaust system). It revs very quickly when goosed, making a sound that sends shivers down the spine. The clutch works properly, as do all of the gears. I am a Laverda fan, having owned nine of them, and I can vouch for the fact that the SFC is something special.
Please study the pictures. You will see the new wiring and electrical parts, the magnesium hubs and gear selector cover, the new rotors, switches. You will also note the damaged paint on the rough fiberglass inner side of the fairing. That was from a leaking master cylinder. There is no battery in it now.
1974 Laverda SFC R Engine

The owner sounds very knowledgeable and is clearly a Laverda enthusiast: for those of you who don’t know, Lance Weil was considered to be the Laverda tuner in the US, and any bike he worked on is generally considered to have been touched by the hand of god. I only wish he’d included a video clip of the bike starting and running so we could all share the sound of that exhaust.  With less than 600 made over their entire six-year run, this is a very rare, collectible machine and the $50,000 asking price reflects that. He’s already had one offer so that price, while shocking at first glance, is clearly reasonable for someone.

Unfortunately for me, I can’t afford a $50k motorcycle and my dreams of owning a new one aren’t likely to be realized anytime soon: the Laverda name was bought by Aprilia, who seem to have no intention of developing the brand. It’s not hard to see why: they already have a selection of modern sportbikes and sport-touring machines in their stable and a line of classy, retro-sport bikes with Moto Guzzi. Laverda would just cut into the sales of one or the other… But it’s a shame, because I’d like to think there’s room in the motorcycling world for just one more Italian bike brand, especially if they could produce machines as stunningly orange as this one…


1974 Laverda SFC R Side


1966 Ducati Sport 125 for Sale

1966 Ducati 125 R Front

Today’s small-displacement motorcycles are really either “learners” or “commuters”, with few aspirational qualities to encourage pride-of-ownership. There really isn’t much cool about a Honda 250 Rebel other than the fact that it is, in fact, a motorcycle. Ducati doesn’t even really make an entry-level bike anymore: a 695 Monster may be an “entry-level Ducati,” but it sure isn’t an entry-level motorcycle…

1966 Ducati 125 L Dash

Although most smaller-engined Ducatis of the 1960’s were intended more as transportation than as racing tools and were clearly built to a price, they were still imbued with some of the passion and engineering of their more race-oriented siblings. This example is clearly nicer than when it left the factory, but Ducatis of all stripes were designed to appeal to the heart as well as the pocketbook.

1966 Ducati 125 Engine Detail 2

This is the sort of thing I really love: a vintage bike rebuilt to look period, but with upgrades and improvements implemented during the rebuild, instead of slavish devotion to “from the factory” originality. Everything here is for go as much as show, and the seller does a great job of describing what went into this build.

From the original eBay listing: 1966 Ducati 125 for Sale

The bike was complete when I got it, but the engine internals were unknown. Everything was taken down to the last nut and bolt, cleaned, inspected, then polished, plated, painted or otherwise finished as required.

At this time, I decided to build up the engine to 160cc. I brand new NOS piston and cylinder were fitted, along with a 160 head. The new head got new valves, guides, seats and retainers, and the ports were massaged, all courtesy of Mike Libby, C.R. Axtell’s partner.

The engine was completely disassembled, and every bearing and bushing was replaced. The crankshaft was rebuilt, and everything was expertly assembled and correctly timed and shimmed by Ducati ace Frank Scurria, who worked at, and raced for the ZDS Motors (West Coast counterpart to Berliner) with the legendary A.J. Lewis in the ’60s. The entire clutch was replaced with new, the transmission inspected and properly shimmed.

Externally, there are no clues that this is not a 125cc, that is, until you notice the little bike is nipping at the heels of your 175 Elite. Even the casting numbers on the head are the same.

Now, for those who are aghast at all these deviations from original, remember, it was built to be ridden with confidence and vigor, day and night. Modern traffic has no tolerance for shiny little traffic obstacles.

1966 Ducati 125 R Tank 2

It’s a shame that small-displacement sportbikes are thing of the past. Perhaps KTM’s 390 will make it to these shores and give us a machine whose quality is not measured in cubic inches… Bidding on this Ducati is active and up to over $13,000 with the reserve not yet met. There’s very little time left on the auction, so move quickly and bid aggressively on this beautiful little machine.


1966 Ducati 125 R Side


1963 Ducati Diana 250 for Sale

1963 Ducati Diana 250 L Front

Well, this is always a pleasure to find: a classic bike in beautiful shape with clear photography and a detailed description. While other manufacturers found sales success in the US with the bigger-displacement machines that are so popular here, Ducati continued to plug away with its more European offerings that emphasized handling over outright power. The Diana featured very sophisticated specifications for such a small machine, including a “unit” design for the engine and gearbox, all-aluminum construction, and a overhead cam driven by a distinctive tower shaft that can be seen on the right side of the engine.

1963 Ducati Diana 250 R Rear

A combination of light weight and a broad spread of useable power meant that the tiny machine could compete with much larger bikes and still handle curves like an outright racer.

The natural light, detail shots do show some very minor imperfections, but that’s no shame as the seller freely admits to actually riding this little jewel. It’s also not completely original, as this particular example has basically been brought up to Diana Mark III spec with valve, carb, and cam upgrades that allowed power to be boosted at the expense of a narrower powerband, which was in turn mitigated by the extra gear in the transmission.

1963 Ducati Diana 250 R Engine

From the original eBay listing: 1963 Ducati Diana 250 for Sale

This is a rare, early Diana before the more common red/black MK III model.   But the engine has been upgraded to the MK III specs with MK III Cam, SSI 27 carb, high compression piston, and 40mm intake valve, 36mm exhaust (I think, don’t remember for sure).  Some features of this model and this particular bike:

7 rib early brake drums
Borrani WM1/WM2 rims
Painted spokes per original
Original tread pattern Chin Shen tires
Front brake Ferrodo linings, turned to fit drum per vintagebrake.com
Nimh 5 cell battery (no acid) and disconnect inside tool box
Clear title (states 1964, most Ducatis I have bought are titled the year following build)
Good kick start gears and upgraded spring
Seat carcass and cover newly made
Aluminum castings carefully cleaned to retain original finish, no bead blasting!
Has correct “stilleto” clutch and brake levers.  Very cool and not PC.

Engine has been rebuilt with all new bearings, piston, guides, valves, etc.  It hasn’t been run in 5 years but I squirted gas in the carb this morning and it fired right up!  Tank is clean and dry.  Does not leak oil, feel free to display indoors but it would be more fun to ride!

Things not correct with the bike:

No choke cable to carb.  Doesn’t need it.
NOS muffler has same diameter as header pipe.  SS tubing sleeve connects the two.  (Reproduction muffler readily available)
High handle bars discarded for the lower ones on the bike.  This model sometimes came with clip-ons which are readily available.
5 speed engine per explanation above.  There is no visually apparent difference.  4 speed engine cases (included) match title.

1963 Ducati Diana 250 R Tank Detail

Bidding is up to $6k with the reserve not yet met, but that’s no surprise, given the condition. This is one of those “if you’re looking for one of these, this is the one to buy” situations, and I’d expect any additional expense will be well worth it. Maybe not completely original, but it’s hard to argue with the results. Even the updated 5 speed box makes good sense, and the original 4 speed is included if you feel the need for that sort of authenticity.

The seller states that you should “feel free to display it indoors but it would be more fun to ride” and I heartily agree!


1963 Ducati Diana 250 R Side

1962 Moto Parilla 250 Grand Sport for Sale

1962 Moto Parilla 250 GS L Side

This is the first Moto Parilla I’ve seen come up for sale. Considering how often I see the name bounced around the classic bike community, I was surprised at how few of them were actually made. Giovanni Parrilla [note the second “r” in his name compared to the bike] first displayed his single cylinder creation in 1946, and his small displacement machines found success on both road and track until the rise of the Japanese two-strokes made Parilla’s jewel-like singles obsolete.

1962 Moto Parilla 250 GS Engine Detail

The Grand Sport featured here was powered by Parilla’s “high-cam” engine. Valves were actuated by short pushrods enclosed in rubber boots [see above photo] and a cam set high in the block, and this allowed relatively high revs for a pushrod engine. It also allowed the head to be removed without disturbing the ignition timing. Most countries were happy with the 175cc version but, as always, Americans clamored for more power, so the engine was enlarged to 250cc’s.

1962 Moto Parilla 250 GS R Bar

From the original eBay listing: 1962 Moto Parilla Grand Sport for Sale

From the vintage Italian motorcyle museum of Mr. Guy Webster. This bike is in beautiful museum display condition. It has not been started in years but the motor was rebuilt about 15 years ago when the bike was restored. Despite being restored much of the bike is original unrestored as the bike was already in excellent condition. The motor turns freely and with good compression. 

This bike was one of the key exhibits in the “Art of the Motorcycle” Guggenheim exhibit as can be documented in the photo of the display card. This display document will also go with the bike upon it sale. 

1962 Moto Parilla 250 GS Rear Suspension

That the bike has been beautifully restored, was owned by Guy Webster, and was the exact bike shown the famous Art of the Motorcycle exhibit all count in the “plus” column, although the fact that it is really in display-only condition for me personally counts in the “minus” column. But given this bike’s distinctive looks and history, this would make an excellent addition to the collection of anyone fascinated by small-displacement sports machines.


1962 Moto Parilla 250 GS R Front