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News Dec 2023

Suzi style comparo, Dec 30

hayabusa gen 1

Now the delivery dust has settled, we've been contemplating the styling and tech on the first-gen Hayabusa compared to its 25th anniversary cousin.

We reckon that's worth a day or two with a camera and a feature. Watch this space...


In the meantime, you can find a wealth of 'Busa resources on our features page.

Hungarian resto, December 30

restoration method

Here's something to keep you amused over a glass or two: A restoration series on a Pannonia 250, circa 1970. And don't feel bad if you've never heard of the marque – it's Hungarian and faded away in the mid-1970s.

Pannonia 250

The company produced twins and singles, and it seems it was best known for its Soviet era 250 two-stroke singles, which appeared largely unchanged from the 1950s through to the seventies. Above is a factory ad for the 1965 model.

Meanwhile the restoration vids are interesting in that there is no narration, but they show the step-by-step process using pretty basic tools. So far, the series has completed much of the bodywork, and the engine/transmission, but has yet to assemble it. See it here, via YouTube.

Deus world domination, Dec 30

deus uk

It seems the plan for a world domination by Australian custom brand Deus ex Machina is proceeding nicely. It established itself in the USA some years ago and now has a beachhead in the UK, in Bournemouth on the south coast.

Calling itself The Lodge of Heavy Leisure, it offers overnight accommodation – a first for the brand. See it here, via Instagram.

First edition Hayabusa, Dec 29


The latest addition to the shed – Gen 1 Hayabusa in the hero colour. As it's a January 1999 build, it will be eligible for club plates in just a few days.

See our Gen 1 Hayabusa profile.


See the Hayabusa buyer guide at Bikesales;

And the 1999 road test at Classic Two Wheels.

Unboxing the SR500 after 41 years, Dec 28

yamaha sr500

What happens when you try to wake up a new-old-stock Yamaha SR500 after a 41-year snooze? Apparently one of the big mysteries is where the factory hid the keys. Any guesses?

See the story and video link from the Bikes and Beards channel, via Bring a Trailer.

Walt Seigl Bol d'Or – today's oddball, Dec 27

walt seigl bol

If you happen to be well-heeled and looking for something really special, we have a suspicion a Walt Seigl Motorcycles Bol d'Or would suit nicely. See our quick profile.

RADD ride, Dec 26


Today we managed to slip out in between thunderstorms and get acquainted with our 'new' 1993 Yamaha GTS1000, which is now eligible for club plates around the country.

We've owned one in the past and did a few miles on it, and this brought back good memories. The Parker RADD single-side front end may not be to everyone's taste, but we love the communicative feel. More to come on this one.

See the story on the first example to pass through our shed, which includes a backgrounder on the design.

Engine cutaway for the day, Dec 26

              Guzzi Daytona engine

Engine cutaway for the day: Moto Guzzi 's Daytona 1000 powerplant. Note the hybrid gear and belt drives for the cams, which are offset and high with stubby pushrods rather than strictly overhead.

See our Daytona profile.

A Christmas wish, Dec 23


Hannibal the Hayabusa is warming up in the driveway and the cat's in charge – welcome to our traditional Christmas column, folks.

Enjoy the season...

(Lou Martin pic)

Retro Nortons, Dec 23

norton 125

Norton has unveiled a line-up of 125th anniversary specials based on the 961 twin (above) and the VS4V (below), all of which reference race bikes of years past.

norton 125

The V-fours are priced at a hefty Au$97,000 in the UK (US$66,000, GB£52,000). There is also a naked V4, which is a little cheaper.

They make the twins look a whole lot more reasonable at Au$35,500 (US$24,000, GB£19,000).

There are four liveries on offer – see them here.

Of the options, we lean towards the Trans-Atlantic series colour scheme at top. What's your favourite?

See the Commando 850 MkIII in our shed.

Taglioni tales, Dec 22


The legendary Fabio Taglioni on joining Ducati: "Ducati had just been soundly beaten in the Giro d’Italia and he told me that he couldn’t pay me much unless we won the race the next year."

See the story by Ian Falloon.

BMW R 1200 GS guide, Dec 21

bmw r1200gs

In the used market for a big do-anything kind of toy? BMW's R 1200 GS series might be the answer, though with three major generations the devil can be in the detail.

See the Bikesales story.

See the R1150GS in our shed

Super twins, Dec 20

honda cb77

Honda's apparently modest CB72 and CB77 Super Hawk twins turned around the company's early 1960s image from interesting to potential giant-killer.

See the profile by young Mr Falloon, and one for sale.

Racer reel, Dec 19

tara Morrison

We rarely cover racing, but every now and then something pops up that we reckon has a broader appeal. Like this video from Tara Morrison, who in 2023 moved up to become part of the lead pack in Supersport 300 in Australia.

The video gives a great fly-on-the-wall view of the lead up to her race weekend at Phillip Island and then what competing at this family-affair level is like – clearly not something for the faint-hearted! See it here.

Tougher Hustler, Dec 18

Suzuki Hustler 1970

Suzuki's second generation Hustler, aka the T-250, in a Brit ad circa 1970.

This time around it and the T-350 shared an updated bottom end, potentially giving it greater longevity than the X6 predecessor.

See the period road test from Cycle World.

Sixers, Dec 17

honda sixes

We appear to have an infestation of Honda sixes in the back yard...1981 CBX1000 and 2001 Valkyrie Interstate.

The CBX is now registered and first impressions are of a light truck with a sexy engine. More to come...

As for the Valk, you can read about it here.

Suzuki GSX-R1100W - random ad for the day, Dec 16


Suzuki's GSX-R1100 gradually shuffled from pure sports to nudging sports-tourer territory by the time it reached the W generation, which brought in liquid cooling. However it was still a formidably quick bit of gear in pretty much any circumstances.

These days we reckon it would be a very enjoyable modern classic. Early ones (WP) now fall into the 30-year category for club registration, and even the last of them (WU) are now 25 years old, which makes them eligible in some states.

See our GSX-R1100 profile.

How much for the big Honda six? Dec 14

honda cbx1000

After a considerable amount of work, we're on the verge of registering our 1981 CBX1000 Prolink, on historic plates in Victoria.

While we were fishing through the paperwork, we came across the original dealer receipt, from Phil Crump Honda in Mildura. Yep, that Phil Crump, the champion speedway rider.

And the price? A snip at Au$4999 (US$3350, GB£2700)!

cbx1000 doc

Bridgestone 350 GTR, Dec 13

              350 GTR

Random brochure for the day: Bridgestone 350 GTR, circa 1967.

Review via Motorcycle Classics.

Triumph Bond teaser, Dec 13

Triumph Bond

Triumph has relaunched an action teaser from behind the scenes of the 2021 Bond flick, No Time to Die. See it here.

And the Triumph filmography, here.

Nineties classics, Dec 12


Bikesales has today published a story penned by muggins on what makes a classic motorcycle, and gives a heads-up on the five nineties gems you should stick in your shed.

Think early FireBlade and R1, among others. See it here.

(Main pic: Ben Galli)

CBX rebuild, Dec 10

honda cbx1000

"A Honda CBX1000 engine rebuild is not something that should be taken on by a home mechanic in their shed or garage. In 1978 most of the top mechanics for Honda were either flown to Japan or sent to Honda Britain to be trained in the CBX specifically.

"These motors are unique, quite complex and there is a lot of knowledge required about how these engines work and are put together before touching them. The time has come to rebuild these motors now because the cam chain tensioners are at the end of their life..."

So says the story at The Motorcycle Broker in the UK. See it here.

Red frame result, Dec 9

moto guzzi v7
              red frame

Gooding & Co has just sold this 1971 Moto Guzzi V7 Telaio Rosso (red frame) for a staggering Au$132,000 (US$87,000, GB£69,000) against a pre-auction upper estimate of Au$76,000 (US$50,000, GB£40,000).

Just 104 examples were built that year.

According to our profile by Ian Falloon: "Not only did the new Sport look purposeful, unlike any other sporting motorcycle it had shaft drive. Homologation of the V7 Sport for production racing saw the first examples built in the racing department, these being the Telaio Rosso (red frame) models.

"Now highly prized by collectors the Telaio Rosso featured many individually crafted components." See the V7 story here.

And the auction lot, here.

BSA test – random mag cover for the day, Dec 8

              lightning cover

BSA Lightning road test, Bultaco 360 Bandido and how to rebuild a Japanese carburetor – the hot topics for March 1970 in Popular Cycling out of the USA.

See the 1971 BSA Lightning review from Cycle World magazine.

And the Bultaco Bandido retrospective at Motocross Action mag.

GPz gallop, Dec 8

kawasaki gpz900r

Flashback: One of the early experiments with our ongoing fly-buy-ride program, a 1984 Kawasaki GPz900R bought out of Alice Springs in the NT mid-Summer and ridden about 2300km (1400 miles) to Melbourne. It turned out to be a great long-distance bike.

See the story here.

Random brochure for the day: Bimota DB1, Dec 7

bimota db1

Remember these? Ducati-powered and a very 1980s motorcycle with the fully-enclosed bodywork.

See the stats and backgrounder at Motorcycle Specs.

Dakar desire, Dec 6

yamaha xt500

Spannerman over at InfoMoto unwraps his long-held desire for Yamaha's pioneering Paris-Dakar star of the late 1970s, the XT500....see the story, here.

paris dakar

See the Harry's Garage video on his collection of iconic Paris-Dakar machinery and the progress they represent.

bmw r100gs

See the BMW R100GS Paris-Dakar that was in our shed.

Classics for the brave: Suzuki RE-5, Dec 5

suzuki re5

Suzuki's 1975 RE-5 (M-model) rotary of 1975 was, from a marketing point of view, a courageous decision that just might have eventually paid dividends when it came to positioning the company as an innovator.

It also represented a massive engineering effort, albeit a little conservative in some respects to produce something with respectable reliability and factory back-up for the time.

It famously never really caught on as a sales success, despite efforts to produce a MkII version with more conventional-looking styling for the instruments and tail-lamps.

We've tripped over a few MkI versions. One tidy 1975 10,000km (6000-mile) example sold in the USA via Bring a Trailer recently for Au$9000 (US$6000, GB£4800).

That's a tempting proposition for Australian collectors, until you start to add up the import costs including the possible complication of a VASS approval given it's right on the cusp of the period (start of July 1975) which requires one.


Perhaps more realistic is the example shown above from Bikesales, claiming 11,400km (7100 miles) and looking as though it is in similar condition. It's priced at Au$16,990 (US$11,200, GB£8900).

Somewhat more ambitious is the pricing of what is advertised as a local super-low-miler (577km/359 miles) that is questioned even by the owner and with less clear provenance at Au$25,000 (US$16,400, GB£13,000).

Suzuki's RE-5 series has long held interest among enthusiasts as a potential classic, and it deserves to be in any collection. However rarity in this case hasn't necessarily translated into huge demand and prices to match.

See our mini Suzuki RE5 profile, here.

Today's blast from the past: Yamaha SZR660, Dec 4

yamaha szr660

It may not be the prettiest thing Yamaha ever built, but the SZR660 was an absolute hoot on a tight and twisty road.

The combination of TZR125RR chassis and the big single-cylinder powerplant could be intoxicating.

The brain-child of Yamaha Belgarda, it claimed 48 horses (35kW) at 6200rpm and 56Nm at 5000rpm from the five-valve engine, for a dry weight of 159kg

However it never became a volume seller across its 1996-2001 model life.

More stats at Motorcycle Specs.

Random project for the day: 1975 Honda Gold Wing, Dec 3

Honda GL1000

More coming on this the meantime you can see our previous GL1000 project, here.

Travels with Guido: Vlad and the irony of lunch, Dec 3


It's 2006, and we have a bit of a situation at the Lemmings Motorcycle Club lunch...see our retro Travels with Guido column, here.

Ducati Apollo – today's mythical beast, Dec 2

ducati apollo

Hugely ambitious, the Ducati Apollo, aka the Berliner, never made it into the showrooms – see our profile.

Yamaha RD350LC – today's random brochure, Dec 1


The eighties hooligan bike of choice and the machine that launched a load of racing careers...

See the AMCN story here;

And the Bennetts RZ350/RD350F story here.


See our news archive


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