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What's happening

News Jan 2023

Kawasaki stroker strength, Jan 27

kawasaki h2

Values for premium Kawasaki two-stroke triples continue to defy gravity, if the results from recent auctions are any indication.

The restored blue 1972 example shown here went for Au$35,000 (US$25,000, GB£20,100).


The green bike, a 1974 model that was also recently restored, was sold by Mecum in Las Vegas for Au$40,300 (US$28,600, GB£23,100)

While the market overall for classic motorcycles and cars has eased up in recent months, premium examples like this continue to fetch strong money.

kawasaki h2

This model has been over the Au$30k barrier for a while. A 1974 example in orange was sold by Shannons back in June 2021 for Au$32,500 (US$23,100, GB£18,600).

See our quick H2 profile.

And the contemporary Classic Two Wheels road test here.

Hopping through Texas, Jan 24

Valkyrie texas

A little tale of Valkyries, kangaroos and galahs...from the archives.

We're also repeat offenders with Valkyrie Interstates – see the latest here.

Twin-cam Titans, Jan 22


Suzuki's 1980s two-valve GS series have been sidelined by history, but we reckon they're greatly underestimated. See the story, here.

Ducati Sport, Jan 21

ducati 750
              sport auction

All indications are that if you were in the market for a Ducati 750 Sport, this 1974 example would be worth serious consideration. It has been through the life-cycle of being raced, laid-up long term and then restored.

Bidding is at Au$62,000 (US$43,000, GB£35,000) with a few days to go. See it here.

This model has been on the climb for a while – see our quick 2020 auction review with a link to a period road test from Classic Two Wheels.

Harley toast, anyone? Jan 20

harley toaster

Something for the bike nut who thought they had everything, a Harley toaster that burns the bar and shield logo into the bread.

This is part of a larger auction of memorabilia being sold off by former USA dealer Jim Godwin, via Mecum.

Ironically it's made in Japan and was never imported to America. However Godwin spotted the item and bought six, most of which he gave away to friends.

See the toaster here

And the main auction here

Lost Ninja, Jan 18


From our lost and found department: This pre-production 1984 Kawasaki GPz900R A1 somehow escaped the crusher and years later was rediscovered in a Kawasaki USA warehouse.

It has just a few miles on the odo from being moved around and the belief is it was first sent to the USA for a dealer conference. Decades later it was bought by a staffer and again did duty as a static display, this time for the Guggenheim Art of the Motorcycle show in the late 1990s.

Now the machine is coming up for sale via the giant Mecum auction that starts on January 24. See it, and the full story, here.

See the GPz900R that was in our shed, and the video here.

Suzuki GS1000G auction, Jan 15


Proof that age lends dignity to some models: Suzuki's GS1000G was for years largely ignored by the market and good examples could be had for a couple of thousand.

More recently however they've started to get a little traction. For buyers they're a dead reliable and exceptionally comfortable classic that can still be had for reasonable money.

This example is up for auction with Collecting Cars.

A similar bike sold via Shannons last November for Au$9100 (US$6400, GB£5200).

See the Motorcycle Specs backgrounder.

Dakar Spectacular, Jan 13

toby price
                dakar 2023

In case you missed it, the annual Dakar raid is on and today was in the sand badlands.

Australian Toby Price (pictured) is currently in second place with a relatively short gap to first, held by American Skyler Howes.

Fellow Aussie Daniel Sanders is in seventh.

SBS is sharing the incredible footage and stories. See today’s report here.

Look for the profile on South African competitor Kirsten Landman at @ minute 15.

Tesi Test, Jan 13

Bimota Tesi H2

Bimota's Tesi H2 has launched, costing an eye watering Au$98,500 (US$69,000, GB£56,000). Running a road version of Kawasaki's Ninja H2 supercharged 998cc inline four, it claims the same 228hp at 11,500rpm as the host machine.

However the Bimota runs a very different chassis, boasting centre-hub steering and a rolling weight of 219kg, or just shy of 20kg lighter than the Kawasaki H2.

Production is set at 250 units.

Australian Motor Cycle News has a track ride impression which provides a good insight into the machine – see it here.

See the Bimota Tesi H2 site

Plus the Kawasaki Ninja H2 site

And our story on the Tesi 1D 904SR

Lite 'n' Easy, Jan 12

Suzuki TS185ER

Today's riding menu: Our mid-1980s Suzuki TS185ER. It hadn't run for a year, but a fresh tank of fuel and two kicks and it was underway again. Lovely.

Having spent the previous day on our BMW K1200LT tourer, the little trail bike was a wonderful contrast – light and easy to throw around, with that distinctive two-stroke cackle.

This was a machine we bought over 20 years ago for the kids to ride and we wonder how many people out there started riding on something like this.

See our feature on it.

Remember the Drifter, Jan 10

Kawasaki drifter

One of the more obscure models in the Kawasaki cattledog is this, the VN1500-based Drifter.

Produced just before a flurry of revival efforts of the Indian marque, it mimicked the style of the late Springfield Indians with their trademark deeply-valanced guards.

Ironically, they found a niche market with owners of Springfield Indians, who saw them as a relatively low-cost and low-stress back-up for their historic bike. See our column on this theme and other models that found a second life after they left the showroom.

Meanwhile, this example is located in Melbourne and is on Bikesales at Au$9900 (US$6800, GB£5600).

See the Motorcycle Specs data and backgrounder.

Collector shed, Jan 8

mecum auction

The giant annual January Las Vegas classic bike and car auctions are coming up, with Mecum claiming some 1000 motorcycles in its catalogue.

While we have reservations about the wisdom of sellers entering into an event of that size, it provides ample entertainment for the interested spectator.

For us, the highlight is often cruising through individual collections and wondering what sort of person owned them. A good example is the Bruce Robinson collection, which features Bimota, Krauser, all four major Japanese turbo bikes from the 1980s, a Suzuki rotary, the inevitable Ducati MH900e still in a crate (aren't most of them?) and much more.

See it here.

See our Turbo Kings feature.

Zed legend, Jan 8

kawasaki z1-r

Though Kawasaki's inline four Zed platform was by now showing some age, the release of the Z1-R in 1978 helped breathe some life into the series.

Back then, in a test for Two Wheels mag, Kel Wearne concluded: "The Kawasaki is ideally styled to make it the love of an owner’s life. At $3095 at testing time, the Z1-R carries pizzaz enough to impress anyone, performance enough to salve any rider’s demon craze, and enough sophisticated design and style to be an instant classic."

See the story here.

Kawasaki z1-r

Want to know more about the big Zed? See our Z1-R profile

Maxxed-out Kawasaki, Jan 7

Kawasaki ZRX1200R

Something for the horsepower hounds: This 2001 ZRX1200R is running a Phil Tainton-modded engine now claiming 153hp at the back tyre, so a good 40-plus up on stock.

Look closely and you'll see it's running Keihin flat-slide carbs, along with Brembo brakes and Ohlins rear suspension. Evidently it's had a heap of money thrown at it, which goes some way towards explaining the hefty Au$38,000 (US$26,000, GB£21,600) price tag. See it at Bikesales.

Kawasaki ZRX1200R

We had a ZRX1200R in the shed a while ago. See the story here and the video here.

See our profile on the ZRX1100-1200R series.

Mambo Moto, Jan 4

Mambo dax

And now for something very different: A 1972 Honda Dax with the bodywork said to have been painted by Mambo artist Jeff Raglus and the seat crafted by Noel Crombie of Split Enz. There's a collaboration you won't see every day...

Mambo dax

It's up for sale via Bikesales at Au$11,000 (US$7400, GB£6200)

See the CT70 Dax specs and backgrounder.

Happy Honda, Jan 1


The first ride for the new year happened to be with the 1971 Honda CB750-Four K1, bought years ago as a restored unit from young Brian Browne at TT Motorcycles.

It started instantly, despite having sat for six weeks, and was an ideal choice for a brief arvo cruise. A great reminder of what a big happy motorcycle can feel like, even if it’s a very long way from being the sharpest toy in the shed.

Roll on 2023…

See more on this bike, here.

Pic by Ben Galli.

Tool time for the Triumph, Jan 1

Triumph t160

Today is as good a day as any to give the Triumph T160 some long overdue attention.

It’s been remarkably reliable, given how little love it’s been shown over the years.


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