Tagged: triple

Sparkly Two-Stroke Terror: 1974 Kawasaki H1 500 Mach III for Sale

1974 Kawasaki H1 500 R Front

In the early 1970s, Kawasaki’s two-stroke triples like this H1 500 Mach III ruled the quarter-mile drag strips here in America. 60hp and a 115mph top speed may not sound like that much, but they were fairly light and lacked any of the modern electronic trickery designed to keep riders [mostly] on two wheels and away from the hedges, ditches, and telephone poles that seem to leap out of nowhere. Those horses also came on in a brutal, two-stroke rush that had the front wheel pointed skyward in an eyeblink, while sometimes unpredictable handling and a feeble front brake meant corners and stopping were best planned far in advance, a real challenge when the horizon was a simple flick of the wrist away.

Although the handling may have been primitive, the two-stroke triple and five speed gearbox that drove the beast was powerful, relatively reliable, and the perfect tool for tearing up the straight-line racetracks here in the USA, where they sold like hotcakes, since the scary cornering performance, dismal fuel consumption, and inadequate brakes barely mattered for most riders.

1974 Kawasaki H1 500 L Rear

The upside to the handling faults of many period motorcycle is that it allowed a whole cottage industry of frame-builders and tuners to exist: without bikes like the H1, we’d have no Bimota, and the world would be a sadder, emptier place. But the real question to me is why, since frame-builders of note had been around since the 1960s, didn’t Japanese manufacturers simply contract them to provide improvements? Especially since the issues that affected the H1 are relatively straightforward: frames lacking in stiffness, spindly forks that flexed, and primitive shocks. It’d be simple to dismiss those flaws as acceptable limitations for production-based motorcycles, but many racebikes of the period seem to have been similarly afflicted, so it seems like a pool of knowledge wasn’t being exploited.

1974 Kawasaki H1 500 R Rear

The H1 500 Mach III and the H2 750 Mach IV were both notoriously dangerous bikes that required skill and daring to ride quickly, although the H2 was significantly improved in terms of handling, a good thing considering the additional 50% in displacement… Interestingly, while the H2 was introduced after the H1, it was sold alongside its older, hairier brother for several years. Bidding for this example is just north of $4,000 and far short of the $7,500 Buy It Now price, although there’s plenty of time left on the auction.

From the original eBay listing: 1974 Kawasaki H1 500 Triple for Sale

Completely restored less than a year ago!
VIN BL353836
Open MA title
7806 miles
Dual disc front end braided steel lines
Rebuilt engine, less than 1000 miles ago
Powder-coated frame and wheels
Denco pipes
Custom Pearl Paint with candy color
Stainless spokes, powder-coated rims, extra chrome
Three small dents in rear of front fender (cannot be seen).
Runs and sounds awesome!

H1 and H2 prices have seen a dramatic increase in recent years, although values do seem to have leveled off a bit recently. That may be due to the fact that these were made in volume and, although pristine ones are pretty rare, it’s not all that hard to find a decent H1 if you want one. Although the seller claims that the bike has been “restored,” it’s important to remember that term does seem to mean different things to different people… This bike has obviously not been restored to some sort of “as-new” standard: the original bikes certainly didn’t have the painted triple clamps, the headlight ring is blacked out, the dash appears to have been painted, and the gauge faces are pretty faded.

1974 Kawasaki H1 500 Dash

That being said, the Denco pipes and the dual disc front end are certainly desirable updates, and the bike is very clean and shiny, with bright brightwork and chrome-y chrome. The paint, while not original, is definitely appropriate for a Kawasaki and, overall, this bike is more “resto-modded” and less “restored.” So while this bike may not be a good choice for collectors who prize originality, it might make a great bike for someone looking for a bike to ride, as long as the seller recognizes that the bike should command a lower price than a concourse-quality restoration when considering offers.

-tad

1974 Kawasaki H1 500 L Front

Green Machine: 1977 Laverda Jarama for Sale

1977 Laverda Jarama R Front

Built by Slater Laverda in the UK, masterminds behind the original Jota, the Formula Mirage was powered by Laverda’s famously charismatic and durable three-cylinder engine. It featured a distinctive, one-piece fiberglass tank and seat unit that looked sleek, but significantly limited fuel capacity, which in turn reduced the range of the already thirsty triple. Several folks online also commented on the steeply-sloped seat unit that sees passengers steadily sliding forward into the rider. A bonus on a hot date, not so great if you’re give your buddy a lift to pick up his bike from the mechanic…

1977 Laverda Jarama L Rear

I generally prefer my Laverdas to be bright orange but, if I were in the market for one right now, I’d still have to give serious consideration to this very green Jarama. I always thought the Jarama was a European-only model, what with it being named after a Spanish race circuit that 99% of Americans have probably never heard of. But it turns out this was, in typical Laverda style, a US-only version of their 3CL. Certainly “Jarama” is a far sexier name than “3CL” but it’d probably help to have chosen “Sebring” or “Daytona” or even “Laguna” for an American model…

1977 Laverda Jarama Clocks

Powered by Laverda’s classic inline triple that displaced 981cc and featured the earlier, burlier 180° crank that had the outside pistons rising and falling together, the three-cylinder Laverdas are pretty imposing beasts. This unusual engine apparently produced more power than a traditional 120° crankshaft configuration, although it also produced far more vibration.

1977 Laverda Jarama Carb

The resulting sound and feel of the “four with a miss” engine are considered by fans to be superior to the later versions although, having heard both bikes in person, the 120° crank bikes are still pretty far from your average Speed Triple…

1977 Laverda Jarama R Engine

From the original eBay listing: 1977 Laverda Jarama for Sale

This is an all original 1977 Laverda Jarama 1000 with only 8105 miles in original factory green. The bike recently received a restoration. The frame was sandblasted and painted gloss black. The chainguard was sent to the chromer for replating along with the headlight brackets, exhaust downpipes (headers), Brevetato Jota bars, Ciriani rear shock springs, foot peg brackets and other misc parts, nut and bolts.  My plater refused to do the mufflers but they are in great shape anyways. They have some small rust spots here and there but no dents or road rash.  The carbs were completely rebuilt and received vapor blasting and an ultrasonic bath. Carbs also got new seals and misc parts were replaced. As you can see in the pictures all the aluminum covers were polished. Front forks were rebuilt and got new seals.  The brake calipers and disc carriers were re-anodized in black.  Calipers then received new pistons and seals and so did the front and rear master cylinders.  All the nuts, bolts and washers were also cad and zinc plated plated. The bike runs amazingly well and is a blast to ride. and looks beautiful too. Not many Jarama’s in the US.  

Now the not so bad: I wanted to preserve the original paint so I left it as is. There are two small dents on the tank. One is on the right side and the other is on the left top edge. The left side cover is also cracked and so is the rear tail piece.  
1977 Laverda Jarama R Rear
Unlike most Laverdas of the period, the Jarama featured a left side gearshift and other minor changes to appeal to buyers in the American market, although it ultimately didn’t help sales much and the bike is very rare. In many ways, it’s like a Jota “appearance package” except that the base 3CL is still a pretty high-performance motorcycle and probably a better ride for most people than the high-compression, highly-strung Jota.

Bidding is active with plenty of time left on the auction. In very sharp condition and with such low miles, this looks like a great opportunity for someone who wants a classic Laverda, but can’t quite stretch to a Jota.

-tad

1977 Laverda Jarama L Front

Orange Bang: 1978 Laverda 1200 America for Sale

1978 Laverda 1200 L Side

While I certainly appreciate an original or perfectly-restored motorcycle, I’m also okay with what have come to be known as “resto-mods” where the original spirit of the machine is kept intact, but electrical, suspension, braking, and sometimes wheels and tires are upgraded to more modern specification. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes the results look stunning, sometimes jarring. In the case of this Laverda 1200 America, I think it works really well.

At the time, a 1200cc motorcycle was considered pretty huge, and the fact that it was in a sports motorcycle that loved to rev and corner made it the Panigale of its day. Capable of 12 second quarter-miles and nearly 140mph, this was a very fast bike back when it was new and is deserving of respect even now. The 518lb wet weight sounds heavy in today’s world of 450lb literbikes, but it was comparable to the big Japanese four cylinders of the time.

1978 Laverda 1200 L Side Rear

What wasn’t comparable was the bike’s brutal, uncompromising nature: Laverdas were high-effort machines, with extremely heavy controls and very stiff suspension. But the payoff was a distinctive three-cylinder howl, excellent handling, and famously rugged construction: the 24,000 miles on this example should be no big deal, provided it’s been maintained as described. Big Laverdas aren’t all-day comfortable, they’re bikes for tearing up back roads, then collapsing in an exhausted heap when you arrive home, tingling with the aftershocks of adrenaline.

As with seemingly all Laverdas, the redline on the tach is deceiving: peak power actually occurs at the very top of the red band [7,500rpm], and the bike should obviously be safe for another 1,000rpm beyond that.

1978 Laverda 1200 Gauges

From the original eBay listing: 1978 Laverda 1200 America for Sale

Rare clean triple in very good condition. Build date 1977. Nothing major hidden, starts right away and runs strong. Clear Tennessee title, note the bike is located in NY, Long Island.

I bought the bike from a collector for my Italian collection, due to change of plans I do downsize a bit. It comes with very special upgrades, better brakes, adjustable handlebar and pedals, see pictures. The front end and brakes suggest it may be a Lance Weil prepared bike, it has also the very lightweight exhaust no baffles, likely the original exhaust from England, light as a feather. The previous owner stated cold compression is within 2 lbs of 157psi. Rare 4C stamped cams and likely but not confirmed special pistons. He said this was the fastest of all Laverdas he owned.

Very presentable rider, not a showbike but has the potential to be one. Not many more around and rarely seen for sale, great collectors bike.

1978 Laverda 1200 Front Brakes

The seller refers to this as an “Americana” but as far as I know, it was just the “America.” If this were a genuine Jota, perhaps the mechanical and cosmetic changes would be sacrilege, but the 1200 America was a bit of a compromise anyway, a bike designed to meet new American emissions laws with lower compression offset by bigger pistons to restore lost power compared to the 1000. I’d appreciate a few more photos with some better lighting, but all-in-all, this bike pushes the right buttons for me.

-tad

1978 Laverda 1200 Tank

Original Axe Murderer: Unrestored 1974 Kawasaki H2 750 Mach IV for Sale

1974 Kawasaki H2 750 Mach IV L Side

There’d been plenty of fast bikes prior to the Kawasaki two-stroke triples, of course, but while those were “introduced” in a conventional sense, the H1 and H2 were more accurately “unleashed on an unsuspecting public.” Never before had a bike’s ferocious engine so overwhelmed the limited chassis technology and brakes of the period in such a marketable way.

1974 Kawasaki H2 750 Mach IV R Side Front

By modern standards, and on paper, the power of the bigger 750 was fairly modest: just 75hp in a 450lb motorycle. But that was on paper. In reality, it wasn’t the quantity that made the power so terrifying, it was the sudden and violent two-stroke delivery. I’m sure you could ride your buddy’s around all day at low rpm and wonder what the fuss was all about. But whack that throttle open and hold it, hold it, and it would try to yank your arms out of their sockets.

Which was also fine, until you tried to stop, or go around a corner.

1974 Kawasaki H2 750 Mach IV Dash.JP

That lightswitch delivery combined with feeble brakes and a flexible frame that laughed in the face of words like “handling” and “stability.” This was a gas-sucking straight-line monster that suited American roads, the perfect Japanese alternative to big-displacement bikes like Kawasaki’s own Z1 that were so popular here during that period.

1974 Kawasaki H2 750 Mach IV R Engine

Many of the Mach IV’s that show up here on eBay seem to be painted in a very nice blue color that suits the bike very well. But this original, unmolested bike is an appropriately 70s green that is far more subtle and effectively evokes that glorious period of polyester and 8-tracks.

From the original eBay listing: 1974 Kawasaki H2 750 Mach IV for Sale

You are bidding on a 1974 Kawasaki H2, 750 Mach IV, often referred to as “THE WIDOW MAKER”. My brother Mike bought this bike new in 1975 and it has never been for sale since that time, he has decided to sell it now.

This is a one owner 1974 Kawasaki H2 Mach IV in excellent condition.  This is an all original, ALWAYS GARAGED collectors piece that runs as designed.  This is a survivor, it has never been painted, it has the original title, seat, original mufflers, owners manual, etc.

The title is a MO title.  In MO you can keep the old title for your collection and apply for your new title in your name.

This bike even with the few dents and paint issues is as nice a bike as you will find that has never been restored and has been owned by only one person.  The bike was purchased new from Junior Mills Kawasaki in JoplinMO the first quarter of 1975.  The original title says 4/10/1975.

There are 11,000 original and accurate miles on this bike.  The chain, sprocket, tires and some rubber parts were replaced approximately 1000 miles and 5 years ago. It is in excellent running condition and runs like it did when new.  I have driven it about 100 miles in the last few days, it’s fun.  If you have never driven one of these it is an experience.

1974 Kawasaki H2 750 Mach IV R Side Rear

As they say, “it’s only original once” and that’s especially desirable when “original” is as nice as this one appears to be. While heavily patina’d bikes are all the rage these days, I’d personally rather ride around on something that cleans up nicely and shines a bit.

All of Kawasaki’s wild two-stroke triples are currently rocketing upwards in value, so at $6,500.00 with five days left on the auction, this one is obviously nowhere near its final price.

-tad

1974 Kawasaki H2 750 Mach IV R Side

Damaged Goods: 1985 Laverda SFC1000 for Sale

1985 Laverda SFC1000 L Side

Like Ducati, Laverda struggled against the might of the Japanese Big Four once they hit their stride and figured out how to make stuff handle. Strapped for cash, they tended to keep models in production for far longer than was competitive, and had a habit of slapping some fresh bodywork and a new name onto old frames and engines to make bikes like this SFC1000. But when that engine is Laverda’s storming 981cc three-cylinder, at least you know you’re growing obsolete in style!

1985 Laverda SFC1000 R Side Engine

The SFC1000 was a bit like Ducati’s MHR bikes, a reach back to past glories to help stimulate sales. The original SFC was named for it’s massive front drum brake and stood for “Super Freni Competizione.” Literally: “Super Brakes Racing.” And while the SFC1000 undoubtedly stopped pretty well, it was a far-cry from the barely streetable, twin-cylinder, homologation SFC. Early triples used a firing order that made great power but vibrated severely. By the time the SFC1000 rolled around, Laverda had switched to a much smoother design that made for a more civilized bike, but one that had fans grumbling about “character.”

1985 Laverda SFC1000 L Side Fairing

So the SFC1000 really was a big, burly GT machine, capable of covering miles in serious style. And there’s nothing at all wrong with that. For the record, this is the kind of white-faced tach I love: Veglia in particular makes such a classy-looking gauge, and it looks especially slick in that bare-aluminum dash.

1985 Laverda SFC1000 Clocks

This bike is rare and beautiful, but there’s a “but” here. I’ll let the seller tell you about it. From the original eBay listing: 1985 Laverda SFC1000 for Sale

I’ve owned the bike for about 8 years. Originally purchased at Slater’s by a former Laverda shop in Calif and brought in to the U.S. under the radar around 1987. Bike sat in the shop for close to 20 years. I jumped through a lot of hoops to purchase it, having owned two much lesser condition SFC1000’s that I bought in England, prior, but never shipped back the US. I put a ton of time and dough into recommissioning this bike to ride and run perfectly. It hauls ass like a pack of scalded cats. This bike won second place at the Laverda National Meet at Mid-Ohio in 2008, as judged by Piero Laverda. She only has original 2398 original kilometers (1490 miles) on the clock – not even broken in.  Does not leak even a drop of oil – ever.

So, sounds great so far, right? Beautiful bike. But then the seller dumped it in his wet driveway, causing some cosmetic damage:

I was sick over this for months. Here I am exactly a year later, and I have come to terms with reality, that I have neither the time nor energy to tend to making this bike right again. That’s where you come in.

What does she need? New mirrors, a right turn signal, repair fairing (easy for someone with fiberglass skills). Fix dings in fuel tank from the clip-on bar hitting the tank. New right muffler. The ‘SFC1000’ right side foot peg mount is tweaked and may be able to be straightened, else replaced. Right side engine cover. Front Brake lever and perhaps master cyl assembly. Right side foot peg and brake pedal rubber – all detailed in the photos. The bike will need to be painted, I guess. Anyhow, the issues are all cosmetic. Mechanically, this bike is as new, perhaps better.

Parts are all readily available from Wolfgang at Columbia Car and Cycle in British Columbia, Canada and at Laverda Paradies in Germany, including the fairing, alternator cover, muffler, and SFC1000 footpeg mount.

To get ‘er runnin’ you’ll need to drain the carb bowls and clean the pilot jets most likely, as the fuel has been in there for a year. Top off the AGM sealed battery charge. The tires are good, but about 9 years old, so replacing is a good idea. Bleed the brake and clutch systems.

At this point, I want this girl go to a great Laverda home, where she’ll get the attention and care she deserves. You must agree to send me photos as you put the bike back in order, and when it’s all done.

1985 Laverda SFC1000 R Side Engine Ouch

Head on over to the original eBay listing for the seller’s account of exactly what happened and some other updates to the bike. Minor cosmetic damage aside, this is a really nice bike and very rare here in the states. A bit of time spent on eBay and a few weekends of the usual work to get a bike that’s been sitting for a year or so ready for the road. The dings in the tank will take a bit more work, but I’d just snap this one up and ride it with the battle scars until I could afford to have it fixed correctly. If you’re not afraid to get your hands dirty, this could make a great bargain, depending on where the reserve is set.

-tad

1985 Laverda SFC1000 R Side Fairing Damage

More Patina Than You Can Handle: 1973 Triumph Hurricane X75

1973 Triumph X75 R SideI’ve gotten into the habit of occasionally posting these Triumph X75 Hurricanes, although they’re actually proto-choppers more than they are actual sportbikes. But I think they’re pretty cool, and since they’re powered by the Triumph/BSA three-cylinder engine, I think most of our readers probably like them too. 1973 Triumph X75 R Side Tank DetailStyled by icon Craig Vetter, the X75 Hurricane was intended for the US market, and the bosses at BSA felt that the original look planned for the bike was far too vanilla for the riders on this side of the pond. He might have gone a bit overboard with the Hurricane, but the result sure is distinctive and features Vetter’s signature one-piece tank-and-bodywork, along with that fan of tailpipes along the right side of the bodywork.

Just 1200 were made, using engines set aside when BSA went under and the bike was rebranded as a Triumph. 1973 Triumph X75 R Side EngineThe 741cc overhead-valve three-cylinder engine was fairly traditional in terms of design and construction, but put out a healthy 58hp and could push the bike well over 100mph and would have been perfect for blasting away from stoplights in a storm of noise. It should also turn left pretty well, but fast right turns could prove to be a bit of a problem… 1973 Triumph X75 R Side Exhaust DetailFrom the original eBay listing: 1973 Triumph X75 Hurricane for Sale

We are thrilled to offer such a unique and rare piece of motorcycle history. If you’ve got a Triumph-sized hole in your collection and want something pretty wild and very cool, this might fit the bill. To the best of our knowledge this amazing Triumph Hurricane X75 is all original and untouched. Please review pictures for overall condition and please feel free to ask any questions.

Well I have a question: “Does it run?” While it’s nice to have a bit of the model’s history, I think most buyers would appreciate a bit more information about this specific example, especially considering the $32,000 Buy It Now price. I’m pretty sure anyone even remotely interested in dropping that kind of money on a bike probably already knows a bit about the bike’s general background. 1973 Triumph X75 R FrontThis particular example is positively dripping with patina. For many folks, originality is absolutely key, and this one’s got more originality than you might be able to deal with. To be honest, it looks like it’s in need of a complete, ground-up restoration. Mechanically, at least: many collectors want to keep that original paint intact as much as possible. Me? I’m all for resto-mods and restorations: many vintage vehicles were never intended to be collectors items or last though the ages, and were built to a price, with ugly wiring, parts-bin switches, and low-quality paint on frame and bodywork.

Is this Hurricane really worth $32,000? We’ll just have to wait ’till the end of this auction and see if someone ponies up the cash for this iconic motorcycle.

-tad 1973 Triumph X75 R Side Front

Baby Blue Triple: 1974 Rickman CR BSA A75

1974 Rickman BSA R Front

We don’t normally like to post up unfinished bikes here on CSBFS, but this 1974 Rickman CR BSA A75 is rare enough that it’s worth a second look, and complete enough that I expect many of our readers wouldn’t be put off by the work needed to turn this into a stunning, and very rare British sport bike. Rickman’s of all stripes are relatively rare, and this baby blue machine looks like it will be stunning once finished. In the 1960’s and 1970’s, even major manufacturers were still experimenting with what characteristics made motorcycles handle well, and many production bikes left something to be desired in terms of roadholding, especially when riders started to really push them on track.

1974 Rickman BSA L Rear

Enter Rickman, a typical British “based out of a shed” outfit that stressed the effectiveness of their bikes over pedigree. They sold incomplete frame, suspension, and bodywork kits that could be completed by individuals at home or by shops that supplied engines, transmissions, wheels, and electrics. Early on, they often used British twins, but many bikes that show up on eBay are powered by Japanese four cylinders like the CB750.

1974 Rickman BSA R Rear

This one “keeps it in the family” and is powered by a BSA A75 three cylinder, a package very similar to the one found in the Triumph Trident we featured recently. Designed to allow BSA and Triumph to compete with the CB750, the 740cc overhead-valve triple used pushrods and a four-speed box at first, although a five speed was later added and should be the transmission in this bike. While the architecture of the new triple was primitive, compared to the CB750 against which it was competing, the engine was no slouch, producing a claimed 58hp that made the bike good for a 120mph top speed and was much smoother than the twin on which it was based, while offering plenty of character.

1974 Rickman BSA Dash

According to the seller, this might be the only BSA triple-powered Rickman in existence, although the kit-nature of Rickmans makes this very hard to verify. Suffice to say, it’s pretty unusual. While the bodywork might look fine as-is with a bit of patina, that nickel-plated frame needs some elbow grease to return to its former glory.

From the original eBay listing: 1974 Rickman CR BSA A75 for Sale

Very rare Rickman BSA Triple CR road racer, built in limited numbers.  This bike was brought back from the UK by an Air Force Captain in 1976, but was actually built in 1974.  Believed to be a set of service cases ordered and built for the chassis.  I really wanted to restore the bike but do not think I will ever find the time so it’s time to pass it along to someone who can.

The bike is mostly complete as shown, But there will be some minor parts missing. What you see is what i have for the bike. I have started to disassemble the bike and have tried polishing the Nickel frame in a few spots and it comes up with a great shine, but wonderful patina, very easily.  I have the swing arm professionally polished to see how good a pro could get it and as you can see, it looks great!  The fiberglass is in good condition, especially for it’s age. but there are a couple of spots that need minor repair.  I did buy a NOS seat in the correct color that is included.  I believe the mileage is genuine as the tires on the bike were date code 1974 and had very little wear.  Borrani rims are straight and in very nice condition.  I have a few sundry new parts for it including a rear master cylinder rebuild kit which had to be bought from the UK.

Very rare and cool project for someone.  The Rickman book shows this bike delivered to Rivetts of London Ltd. in Leytonstone.  I used to visit this shop on a regular basis in this period so really feel a connection.  All the research I have done has not shown another Rickman CR built with a BSA A75 engine so it may just be that this is a 1 of 1 bike.

Sold as is for restoration.  Has a clean Missouri title.  I have many more pictures that can be sent on request. 

1974 Rickman BSA L Side

According to later updates on the listing, the seller has gotten some flack, claiming that the bike is not original. The whole point of these Rickman bikes was their mix-and-match nature built around customer preferences: based around a new frame that offered improved stiffness and high-spec suspension for tighter handling, the rest of the bike was very “kit-bike” mix-and-match, back before “kit” became a dirty word associated with Fiero-based Lamborghinis and oddly-proportioned “Cobras.” Rickman themselves even poked fun at this with their Metisse, which is French for “mongrel.”

There’s just one day left on the auction and bidding is up a bit north of $6,000, although the Reserve Has Not Yet Been Met. With luck, this bike will find a good home and will soon be returned to its former glory.

-tad

1974 Rickman BSA R Front

Tasty Triple: 1974 Triumph Trident for Sale

1974 Triumph Trident R Side

It’s pretty easy to imagine what sort of engine powers a Triumph Trident: a trident obviously offers three prongs of fish or secutor and murmillo-stabbing goodness, and the Trident has three cylinders of British charisma! Built with the US market in mind and designed to counter the immanent threat of Honda’s CB750, the Triumph/BSA 750 triple was much smoother than the parallel-twins on which it was based. It featured very ordinary specifications, with a four-speed box that was updated to a five-speed unit in 1971 and pushrod-actuated overhead valves.

1974 Triumph Trident L Side Front

This was good for 58hp and a nearly 120mph top speed. While the specifications were ordinary, the Triumph/BSA machine was the only game in town at the time if you wanted a big, four-stroke triple. And why wouldn’t you? Triples famously combine the torque of a twin and the revs of a four, with a funky, syncopated beat.

1974 Triumph Trident Clocks

Interestingly, BSA owned Triumph at the time and the triple was produced in both BSA and Triumph versions: unit construction allowed slight visual differences between the two, with the BSA engine leaned slightly forward and the Triumph’s more upright. The same engine would later find its way into the very striking X75 Hurricane as well, although the Trident is far more restrained in terms of style.

1974 Triumph Trident R Side Engine

From the original eBay listing: 1974 Triumph Trident for Sale

Kept in a climate controlled environment and out of a serious collection. Currently registered and road-ready. Converted to a cafe-style bike. Very rare aluminium tank, 1969 ray gun mufflers, cafe style seat and custom paint. This is not a barn fresh bike, starts stops and runs. Please take a look at the pictures and feel free to ask any questions you may have. This IS a matching numbers bike!

1974 Triumph Trident L Side Engine

The aluminum tank on this bike has a much more squared-off style that looks a bit more like the BSA’s original design: the Triumph’s tank was a much more traditional, teardrop Bonneville-style piece.

Personally, I’d swap that solo-seat/number-plate tail section out for a nice dual seat and some passenger pegs: this is clearly no race-bike, and would make an excellent platform for introducing that special someone to the pleasures of life on a bike.

-tad

1974 Triumph Trident L Side

 

A Deeper Shade of Orange: 1977 Laverda Jota for Sale

1977 Laverda Jota R Side

I’m not generally a purist when it comes to colors: I actually prefer my Ferraris in subtle hues like greys and earthy metallics. I’m not a huge fan of British Racing Green. And silver is a great color for daily-driver Mercedes, it’s a bit bland if you’re spending over $100,000 on a car or bike. But when it comes to Laverda, there’s only one color for me: orange. That’s not to say bikes like this Laverda Jota don’t look amazing in red, or silver, or green. It’s just that, if you have a good excuse to own a bike slathered in screaming tangerine paint, it seems like you should fully take advantage.

1977 Laverda Jota L Side Detail

The original Jota is a bit of a hot-rod, built up by Slater Laverda, a dealer and tuning shop based out of the UK. Laverda’s 981cc triple in the 3CL was clearly understressed, and Slater saw the performance potential just waiting to be unleashed. They took the basic, rugged package and upgraded it with high-compression pistons, higher-lift camshafts, and a free-flowing exhaust.

1977 Laverda Jota R Tank

The modifications resulted in 90hp and a top speed of 146mph. For a time, it was the fastest bike in the land. And even after it was superseded by faster machines, it was still the manliest bike in the land: early machines used a 180° camshaft that had the outside pistons rising and falling at the same time, which made for wild power and a raw feel that has been likened to an inline four with a miss… Controls were heavy, seat height tall, and they were generally unruly, but characterful beasts.

1977 Laverda Jota Clocks

From the original eBay listing: 1977 Laverda Jota for Sale

This Laverda Jota was built in July 1977. This particular bike was originally sold in Southern California. I bought it a couple years ago and thought I would ride it here it Texas however things have changed and I am now offering it for sale. I have owned three previous Laverda’s: a 1976 3cl with Jota cams etc., and a 1978 3cl, and a coveted 1974 SFC (the last new one on the planet in 1978). However this Jota is special and has super low miles.

This bike was set up to race at Riverside in the 80’s but never got the chance (AMA changed the requirements) so I am told by the previous owner. The bike was completely disassembled and modified slightly. If you look closely on the pictures you will notice the frame was reinforced in the air filter area.  If you look close at the exhaust down tubes you will see another reinforced cross tube installed. These frame modifications stabilize the bike at higher speeds.  There are custom made foot levers for the gear shifting and the brake assemblies.  You can see that the rear disc brake was also modified in an upside down configuration. One off parts to accommodate the mounting. All the modifications are done with forethought and implementation. The powder coating on the frame, wheels, and fork sliders is very thick and shiny.

This bike sounds incredible, idles perfectly, and runs like a Jota should. Handles beautifully. It is robust and throaty. The paint is excellent. One imperfection on the back tail piece is a hairline crack near the mounting screw. Probably overtightened at one point. Tires are in good shape.

I located new Vox bell horns and they will be included along with a mirror, purchased from Wolfgang. I forgot to take a picture of under the seat area and battery. It is as nice as the rest of the bike. Any questions shoot me an email.

1977 Laverda Jota R Rear Detail

So while I’d prefer my Laverdas to be orange, this looks to be a really great, although not completely original example. But really, the Jota wasn’t a factory model anyway, and varied from region to region in terms of specification, so what are a few more performance updates between friends? The work looks to be a very high standard and, color aside, this is one of the nicest Laverdas I’ve seen in a while.

-tad

1977 Laverda Jota L Side

 

Cheap Speed: 1975 Kawasaki H1 500 Mach III

1975 Kawasaki H1 500 R Side Rear

Although “Mach III” is a pretty ambitious name for a motorcycle that can only just top 115mph, it probably felt much faster to test riders of Kawasaki’s two-stroke three-cylinder rocket, given the questionable brakes and less-than-secure handling. 60hp might not sound like a big deal today, but it came on in a frantic, two-stroke rush that invoked unintended wheelies, all accompanied by a chainsaw-snarl soundtrack.

1975 Kawasaki H1 500 L Side Rear

The Kawasaki H1 500 Mach III was actually pretty par for the course for big-bore Japanese roadbikes of the 1970’s, a formula that generally included a powerful, sophisticated powerplant suspended in a chassis just barely able to contain the engine’s fury, with brakes added almost as an afterthought. Spindly forks and frame flex led to a reputation for wayward and even lethal handling, in a case like this one.

1975 Kawasaki H1 500 Cockpit

But in a strange way, this was exactly what the US market really called for: in the quarter mile and stop light drag races, power was king, and fuel consumption below 20mpg was no big deal in an era of cheap gas. Buyers wanted cheap speed and the H1 delivered. Brakes? Those are just so you can stop and pick up your winnings after a race, or pull up to the pumps to refuel, right? Handling? Well as long as you can stay in your lane for 1,320 feet at a time, the handling’s just fine, thanks.

1975 Kawasaki H1 500 L Bar Detail

At the time, a lack of refinement in the package might have been considered a distinct disadvantage. Instead, the straight-line speed, combined with a low price point to create a cult bike that was a legend even in its own lifetime.

1975 Kawasaki H1 500 R Side Rear Detail

From the original eBay listing: 1975 Kawasaki H1 500 Mach III for Sale

This is my 75  Kawasaki H1. I purchased this motorcycle many years ago. It is not stock but it’s very retro. It has had motor work, 0.50 pistons, rings, bearings and new gaskets. It also has pods, reconditioned and re jetted carburetors to go with the nice set of chrome Denco chambers. New tires and tubes. The front caliper was also rebuilt with new pads. New sprockets and chain. The tank, side covers and cowl were painted back in the late 70’s and are retro to that time period. The decals were added on and clear coated recently. I don’t think you can get a paint job like this now and if you could I bet it would be very expensive. The large metal flake really stands out. Inside the tank is clean. The chrome is in very nice original condition. I replaced the fork ears with NOS ones a few years back. All the electrical works and it starts up in 1 or 2 sometimes 3 kicks. It runs well and has that snappy two stroke sound . Smooth acceleration and quick braking. I have kept it stored in a warm dry area in my house and has been well taken care of. It’s a very noticeable motorcycle and does attract quite a bit of attention when I do take it out. Frame # H1F-39057  Engine # KAE 109069 mid year production model.

1975 Kawasaki H1 500 Side Panel

As the seller points out, this bike features a gorgeous, period-look metal-flake paint job that may not be to everyone’s taste, but if you’re buying a 70’s Kawasaki, you might as well go all-in. Those Denco expansion chambers are gorgeous as well, and this bike looks to be really well put together. Bidding is very active on this bike, with less than 24 hours to go and bidding just north of $6,000 as I write this, although I expect that to go up significantly before the auction is all over. But if you’re looking for a nice H1, it might be worth keeping an eye on this auction to see if you can snipe yourself a good deal…

-tad

1975 Kawasaki H1 500 R Side