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News May 2024

Who are you calling old? May 31

bmw k1200lt

The second of our 1999 motorcycles went on club/classic/historic plates in Victoria today, now that it has reached 25 years of age. Joining the mighty first-gen Suzuki Hayabusa is our BMW K1200LT ubertourer. Who knew we'd all live this long?

See the revival story on the K1200LT;

Plus the Perth Run to Melbourne road diary;

And our model profile.

suzuki hayabusa

More on the Suzuki soon – in the meantime, see our 'Busa resources page.

Cut-off dates for club or historic plates vary from state-to-state in Australia:

Qld – 30 years

NSW – 30 years

ACT ­– 30 years

Vic – 25 years

Tas ­– 30 years

SA – 25 years

WA – Prior to 1990 (rolling 30-year rule from 2025)
NT – 30 years

Vetter sale, May 31

vetter hurrican prototype

The pre-production Vetter Hurricane recently advertised by Classic Avenue in the USA has sold for Au$75,000 (US$50,000, GB£39,000).

Its owner bought the machine new from a USA dealership back in 1972 in somewhat confused circumstances, as the factory did not want it sold.

See it here.

See the X75 review by Roland Brown at Hagerty.

See the Triumph T160 (with video) in our shed.

Endurance Bandit, May 30

suzuki bandit
              endurance racer

Here's something a little different: a 2002 Suzuki Bandit 1200 dressed up as an endurance racer. It looks like some decent resources were thrown at it, including a set of Keihin flat-slide carburetors.

It's being sold by Centrepoint Wholesale in Queensland and is listed on Facebook at Au$15,000 (US$9900, GB£7800).

See the Bandit series review at Bennetts in the UK.

suzuki gs1200ss

Suzuki had a crack at something similar with this platform, in the shape of the GS1200SS.

See our profile on the preceding two-valve Suzuki GS-G series.

Exotic buy of the week, May 29

ducati 1199

Okay, so Au$48,500 (US$32,250, GB£25,270) may not seem like bargain of the week for a motorcycle, even if it is a high-end Ducati. However when it's a 2014 1199 Superleggera, it probably is.


That's what was paid for this example in the USA recently, via Bring a Trailer. It claimed 7900km (4900 miles) on the odo. In late-model collector land, that mileage is up there.

Ducati produced 500 and they carried no visual bragging rights such as a 000/500 marking on the top triple tree plate. That's something the factory had for decades coached customers to expect and was a very questionable move.

Nevertheless this model was hot property, claiming specs that put it well into the horsepower-per-kilo club and exclusive track-focused features.

Back in 2014, a new one was priced at Au$97,000 (US$65,000, GB£76,000)

The issue for this example was it had been subject to a host of relatively minor mods over time and, from what we can tell, the owner may have committed the unforgive-able sin of losing some original bits including the muffler.

However the suitcase that held the road-to-track conversion bits and documentation was largely intact. Paraphernalia of that type is a key marker for a collector.

We were amused to see that, when we looked up Australian offerings, there is one with a touch over 20,000km on the odo. That might not seem like much to some of you, but will look like an incredible mileage for this model in the international collector market.

More worrying was the lack of mention of the suitcase. It's priced at Au$72,000 (US$48,000, GB£37,600).

Cycle World magazine has a contemporary review that's worth reading

Ducati has a page dedicated to it

Today's shed task: Moto Guzzi Daytona, May 26

moto guzzi daytona

At last! The moons are starting to align and tomorrow we have an appointment with an engineer as part of the registration process to get our Japan import Moto Guzzi Daytona 1000 on the road.

So today's task was to fit a VIN plate, new mirrors and generally go over the thing to ensure it was up and running. The next step is a roadworthy inspection and then hopefully we'll have it on club plates and on the road. Wish us luck...

See our Guzzi Daytona profile

How much for the RG500? May 26


You may recall our mention of the pre-production Suzuki RG500 out of Australia that recently went to auction via Iconic in the USA. It got a respectable top bid of Au$53,000 (US$35,100, GB£27,500) however it didn't reach the reserve price.

In our view, the owner should have taken it, if they were serious about selling.

While the RG is unquestionably an interesting and historically important motorcycle, the bidding is about right in the current market and arguably generous.

However that's not a universal opinion. Knowledgeable AllMoto reader Richard Morrison points out he was involved in the sale of a roughly equivalent example which went for 50 per cent more.

See our RG500 profile.

Under-rated Ducati, May 25

ducati 999

Is Ducati's 999 generation under-rated? Yep. Though not as pretty as the prior 916-998 series, the Pierre Terblanche styling continues to make a statement and I'll admit to becoming a fan of it.

As you would hope for a new-gen model, it was also an improvement over the 916 group on several fronts, including performance and – for you tall folk out there – greatly improved options in the ride position.

Values for good examples are improving over time, though they're still cheap compared to their earlier cousins.

ducati 999r

For example Bring a Trailer in the USA recently flogged off a 999R Monoposto with just 346 miles (560km) on the odo, in what looked like excellent shape, for Au$26,400 (US$17,500, GB£13,800). That's somewhere in the region of half new price and well below what we would expect in the local market. Someone got a bargain.

ducati 999r

However we have seen them do much better, particularly if they're in superbike team livery. For example this 2005 machine showing just 10km on the odo went for Au$63,960 (US$42,000, GB£33,500) via Collecting Cars in February 2023.

See our Ducati 999 profile by Ian Falloon

And our Ducati 999R profile

Proto Vetter Hurricane, May 22

vetter hurrican prototype

A pre-production 1972 Vetter Triumph X75 Hurricane has popped up on the international market, in the USA, and has a fascinating story behind it.

Auction house Classic Avenue says it is the market-test machine sent to the USA and one of maybe two or three prototypes, and one of two claiming to still be in existence. It would appear to have the best-founded provenance.

In any case, it's been in the same hands since 1972, when the current owner spotted it at a dealership and bought it on the spot. The dealership quickly tried to reclaim the machine, which apparently shouldn't have been sold.

However the then new owner refused to relent.

See it here.

See the X75 review by Roland Brown at Hagerty.

See the Triumph T160 (with video) in our shed.

XS love, May 20

yamha xs650

Just what the young British man about town aspired to back in 1979 – parking the XS650 in Mum and Dad's lounge room for a bit of light polishing before Coronation Street fired up on the telly.

See the profile at Motorcycle Specs.

MV Ago auction, May 20

mv agusta ago

Donington Auctions (Australia) has opened bidding on an eclectic mix of current and future classics, including the MV Agusta F4 Ago pictured.

MV Agusta’s F4 series was a crucial revival for the brand, launched with the 750 inline four back in 1999.

At that time the first offering was the Serie Oro (Gold Series), a limited run of 300 machines priced at what was then a staggering Au$60,000 (US$40,000, GB£31,000).

MV soon offered a Strada version for more like Au$25,000 (US$17,000, GB£13,000).

The designer behind these beauties was none other than Massimo Tamburini, the master who penned Ducati’s iconic 916 series.

By 2004 MV Agusta bumped the radial valve powerplant up to a full litre and these bikes were sold for around Au$32,900 (US$22,000, GB£17,000).

A number of special editions were produced over time, with perhaps the most iconic being the Ago, named after the company’s most famous GP racer, Giacomo Agostini.

Producing around 166hp, the Ago received numerous upgrades and was retailed for Au$52,000 (US$35,000, GB£27,000) plus on-road costs. It proved to be a hit with the cognoscenti. 

This example has zero miles on the odo and is number 15 of 300 made.

See the MV Agusta F4 1000 Nero in our shed

Pre-production RG500 auction, May 19


A pre-production RG500 that has never been started and was once in Suzuki Australia's modest collection has popped up on the market. Located in Perth, it's being sold through Iconic in the USA.

See our RG500 profile.

China Wing, May 19

great wall motors s200gl

Meet the Souo S2000 GL, the Gold Wing challenger from Great Wall Motor. Running a four-valve, DOHC flat eight with eight-speed dual-clutch transmission, it's a clear exercise in one-upmanship over the Honda.

Cycle World has a detailed run-down on it.

Twin Wings, May 18


Yep, we've gone out of our way to raise the absurdity level in the shed. See the story here.

DGR this Sunday, May 17

distinguished gentlemans ride

The extraordinary Distinguished Gentleman's Ride is on this Sunday, May 19, with events across the world fundraising for a range of health causes.

See the main page here;

Triumph Motorcycles has long been the major sponsor;

And we reckon turning up for the ride in Castlemaine, Victoria, is a pretty good way to spend the day. Local Brian Rix has organised the event and you can find it here.

Random brochure for the day: Laverda Jota, May 17

Laverda Jota

Big bold Jota ad from 1981-82. See the contemporary road test from Cycle World.

Plus Ian Falloon's story on the ground-breaking 3C.

Parts trivia solution, May 17

honda valkyrie

Our solution from the latest parts trivia challenge: yep, it was a Honda Valkyrie 1500 powerplant.

valkyrie engine

See our Valkyrie profile feature.

Minsk in a crate, May 16

minsk wildcat

Auction find for the day: a 1998 Minsk Wildcat 125 two-stroke four-speed single still in its shipping crate, sold by Bring a Trailer in the USA.

It went for Au$3300 (US$2200, GB£1700).

The Belarus brand had a relatively low profile in the West until UK motoring show Top Gear in 2008 did an epic ride in Vietnam on a gaggle of machines. One of them was a Minsk, ridden by Richard Hammond. See it on YouTube.

Minsks were for a time in wide use in North Vietnam but in recent years have become a far less common sight.

We were there recently for the Ha Noi Run – see it here.

Parts trivia: what's the powerplant? May 15

parts trivia

Righto, brains trust...what make and model is this engine out of? We'll bring you the solution in a few days.

Five grand challenge, May 14

              Sprint RS

Just for a laugh we hopped on bikesales and did a search for what $5000 would buy us. Quite a lot as it turns out.

Here are our two favourites.

First up a 2004 Triumph Sprint RS. This was the lesser-known machine in the range and arguably the pick if you didn't need the touring features offered with the Sprint ST. It was certainly stylish and performed well.

This one is in WA – perhaps an excuse for a long ride for you easterners...

See our Sprint ST profile.

BMW k1200 RS

And from BMW we have the 2005 K1200S. This is the across-the-frame engine series and in this case claimed a Blackbird-matching 165hp – so it was a serious performer.

You get a lot of fruit with these, such as ABS and shaft drive. This example appears to have ESA (electrically-adjusted suspension) and heated handgrips.

Parts trivia solution: Suzuki, May 12

parts trivia

Our parts trivia challenge for last week was from a recent addition to the shed, a 1987 Suzuki GSX-R1100H. More on that bike soon.

In the meantime, see our GSX-R1100 guide.

suzuki gsxr1100h

Spotted: Great Wall flat 8 prototype, May 11

great wall 8

More images have emerged of the flat-eight-powered Goldwing-style motorcycle being developed by China-based Great Wall Motors. See them here.

Shock & Awe – the Beattie Files, May 11

boss hoss

Young Beattie gets to grips with a big brute of a V8...see the story.

Pic: Boss Hoss USA

Dedication, May 10

Yamaha RDs

A spectacular line-up of RD Yamahas – how's that for a committed collector?

Spotted on the Classic 2 Strokes Facebook page.

See our RD250-350 brochure gallery, and the RD250-400 gallery.

How much for the Imola Ducati? May 10

ducati imola

Gooding & Co is currently selling one of seven surviving Ducati 750 Desmos out of a batch of eight built for the victorious tilt at the 1972 Imola 200.

Bidding, with several days to go, is halfway to mid-estimate at Au$530,000 (US$350,000, GB£280,000).

How high will it go?

See our backgrounder.

Random pic for the day: Gen 1 Hayabusa, May 8


One of our Gen 1 Suzuki Hayabusas, aka Hannibal. Pic by Lou Martin.

See the story on this bike here.

See our Hayabusa resources page.

Camchains and raiders of the lost forums, May 7


There’s a job out there for anyone who can make sense of online forums – join us for the great camchain tensioner hunt...

Spotted: Honda CB350 twin, May 5


There was a time when older Honda twins like this CB350 were a common sight on our roads. Not any more...see our mini profile.

Hope springs eternal at auction, May 5

suzuki rg500

We're often staggered by the prices people are prepared to pay at auction for project bikes, They can often seem disproportionately high when you take into account the likely restoration costs.

For example the Suzuki RG500 project above went at a recent Bonhams auction for Au$22,400 (US$14,000, GB£11,250). A quick check of bikesales shows two apparently good running examples available for under Au$30,000 (US$20,000, GB£16,000).

See our RG500 profile.


A series C Vincent Comet single project went for Au$24,300 (US$16,000, GB£12,800). In Australia, a decent runner can be had for Au$30-40,000 (US$20-26,000, GB£16-21,000)

Parts trivia for the week, May 3

parts trivia

Parts trivia challenge for the week: what brand, model and year?

Responses to

Mighty two-strokes: Yamaha R-3, May 2

yamaha r3

Back in 1969, Yamaha launched its third generation 350 two-stroke twin road bike, the R-3. Here's our mini profile of a machine that pulls heartstrings even today.

yamaha r3

Top pic: Mecum Auctions

If you're looking for the modern YZF-R3 four-stroke, see our buyer guide at bikesales.

Gooding highlights, May 1

Gooding & Co has released the catalogue for its upcoming classic auction, which is headlined by the ultra-rare Imola Ducati 750SS we featured a week ago. Here are a few highlights.

mv Agusta 750S

1975 MV Agusta 750S America

honda cb750-four k0

1969 Honda CB750-Four K0 sandcast

ducati 900ss

1981 Ducati 900SS

Laverda sfc

1974 Laverda 750 SFC

There is a lot in there for the Honda collector, including one of two surprises, such as a 1978 GL1000 Gold Wing with a pretty solid estimate.

See the full catalogue here.


See our news archive


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