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News archive May 2019

EZ Rider, May 30

Honda Cub EZ90

Honda Cub EZ90 two-stroke - how’s this for high eighties glam? Though produced early nineties, the cosmetics scream the previous decade. We didn’t see them here, but they sold a few in the USA.
This one is for sale on EBay in the states: 312629845394?ul_noapp=true
See this backgrounder on the model:
https:// 1991-honda-cub-ez-90/

Smith's Book, May 29

Barry Smith Yamaha Isle of Man

Australian racer Barry Smith: It’s 40 years since I won the Isle of Man TT Formula Three race on my modified Yamaha DS7 based 250, setting a race and lap record. The full story is in my book "Whispering Smith" available from or in Europe from The photo is from the first lap rounding Quarter Bridge.
See: http://
(Well worth a look, in our view.)

Yamaha FJ1100 classic - what's it worth? May 28

Yamaha FJ1100

This first-gen Yamaha FJ1100 is claimed by its seller to be as-new and unrestored. It’s on the market for $13,000.
That’s right up there on price for one of these, but in reality it might be worth that. A resto tends to be an expensive undertaking and low teens is not necessarily a lot for a large-capacity ‘classic’.
A 1984 model, this one falls well within the 30 year cut-off for club reg across the country. 
The FJ1100 was a ground-breaking model for Yamaha and a very quick piece of machinery.
See the ad here:…/1984-yamaha-fj11…/JBM5057691…
FJ backgrounder here:…/…/yamaha_fj1100%2084.htm

Yamaha FJ1100

Yamaha FJ1100

Castrol 6-Hour replica on the bench, May 26

Yamaha FZR1000 Castrol 6-Hour

This 1987 Yamaha FZR1000 was bought as a project a couple of years ago. At the time it was known to have a leaking head gasket, but of course other monsters were lurking in there. We're back into it after a long lay-off, as finding spare time is always a struggle. Progress is being made and we're now about to start reassembly.

It's a replica of the bike ridden by Michael Dowson and Kevin Magee to victory in the last Castol 6-Hour in 1987. Much of the advertising on the bodywork was outlawed long ago, so it's always a bit of a visual shock to see it in the flesh.

First Wing seems cheap

1975 Honda Goldwing USA sale

Some of the Facebook special interest groups pop up some remarkable bikes for sale, like this first model 1975 Honda Goldwing sent to us by Snag Leech. It's probably the best example we've seen for a long time and is being offered in the USA at US$3500, which translates to around AU$5100. That's good value, if it checked out okay.

These should be a valued classic, but the market seems to have so far resisted. Strange, given their huge influence on touring bikes across the decades.

You can find it here.

Bimmer Concept R 18, May 25


BMW's Concept R 18, based ona new-gen boxer powplant aimed at the cruiser market, is a hint of things to come. The brand's previous pitch at the cruiser sector, the R1200C and CL, didn't play so well. However this shows promise and employing an American business to build the prototype was surely no accident.

See the full site here.

See Motorcycle Trader mag's Facebook post on the new direction.

Collectible cop bike, May 24

Honda CB750-Four K0 police bike

This Japanese police bike may not look exceptional at first glance, but the fact it's based on the first-generation Honda 750-Four, the K0, makes it special. The UK seller is asking a touch over $32,000 for it, which is up there.

Its Ebay listing points to an interesting history, including a frame change: Fresh into stock, this absolutely gorgeous February 1970 Honda CB750 Police Bike. It's a Japanese home market police bike with the correct solid front foot rests, siren, 4 position ignition lock, red warning lights (also comes with a set of blue lenses), that has been fully restored to the highest standard, and is correct in every detail. The engine has been fully restored also with new genuine Honda parts where required. The frame was changed by the Japanese Police force in the day with a new un-stamed by Honda as the old one cracked around the back. The Police re-stamped the frame headstock with what we think was the majority of the original frame number, and this is on the Japanese paperwork. 

See the listing here.

Desmo dreamer, May 23

Ducati desmo 450 1969

Ducati 450 Desmo USA dealer ad from 1969. Race tech in your street bike.

Moving up, May 22

Rajdoot motorcycle ad 1967

1967 Rajdoot ad. Different markets, different times, different priorities. Love it.

Kawasaki future classic? May 21

Kawasaki ZZ-R1100 brochure

Got a bit of time for these. A good tidy early Kawasaki ZZ-R1100 would be worth hanging on to, as they’re already club plate-eligible in Vic and the first 1990 model will be elsewhere in just a year. They were wickedly quick, handled pretty well and were comfortable.
Specs and a 1995 review.

Big Triumph sale, May 20

1959 Triumph Bonneville

Shannons tonight sold a first-model Bonneville in very good restored condition for $44,000, just shy of the estimate. It was a very solid result for the local market.

Several motorcycles were on offer, including a mini fleet of Bonnevilles. The results were:

16. 1978 Suzuki RM80 $3750
17. 1981 Suzuki RM80 $5k
18. 1985 Honda XL600R $7k
19. 2002 Ducati 748R $14k
25. 1942 BSA WM20 $11k
26. 1948 BSA M21 $10k
27. 1967 BSA B40 $9500
37. 1936 Acme autocycle 98cc $2700
38. 1926 Triumph Model P 500 $8k
39. 1910 Speedwell $18k
40. 1970 Triumph T120R $20k
41. 1969 Triumph T120R $17k
42. 1969 Triumph T120R $20k – under negotiation
43. 1968 Triumph T120R $19k
49. 1964 Triumph T120R $17k
50. 1963 Triumph T120 $16k – under negotiation
51. 1961 Triumph T120R $32k – under negotiation
52. 1959 Triumph T120 $44k

Auction catalogue

Flat-tracker revival

Indian FTR1200

Can we expect to see a flat-tracker revival on the back of Indian's recently-released FTR1200? Anything is possible and you don't need to be psychic to realise that Harley-Davidson will be watching developments with great interest. Indian meanwhile has released retail prices, ranging from $21k to $25k on the road.

Harley-davidson XR1200

H-D's contribution to the genre was the XR1200, first unveiled in 2006 and produced in a couple of variants from 2008 to 2013. It was never a huge seller, but did okay and has potential as a future classic. Motorcycle Trader mag featured it as a potential collectible in early 2016.

Fat Rubber, May 19

Norton Commando Mk3 850

Our 'new' Norton is now registered and running after a couple of minor teething troubles. Next job is to swap the stock front tyre for a narrower size. For reasons that aren't entirely clear, both this and the T160 of the same year (1975) ran 4.10 front and rear tyres. Both benefit from dropping the front size back to 3.60 - it noticably sharpens up the steering.

Triumph Trident T160

We're putting the two bikes together for a Motorcycle Trader mag story, before too long. It was one of life's weird twists that the two machines shared an umbrella company but were fierce rivals in the showroom. Any bets on which one 'wins' the comparo?

See a story on setting up the T160.

Tackling the Big Trip

Goldwing kangaroo sign

Up until I had the dubious fortune of travelling with Grant, the Guido touring method resembled a bus timetable...gotta be at Lower Freckle Heights by nine on Tuesday, must be at Upper Flogdock by Wednesday – you get the picture. Fast, but no fun. Why not catch a bleedin' bus?

Grant is famous for rooting about, in the figurative sense... see more here - from Travels wuth Guido, book 1

Two very different takes on the market-changing Honda CB750-Four, May 17

Honda CB750-Four K0

Here’s a restored Honda CB750-Four K0 on the Australian market for $30k. Potentially good buying, particularly given international prices, if it checks out. The K0 is the first production version of the famous and iconic series. You could substantially raise the price if it were a sandcast bike in the American market.

Honda CB750-4 Dream restomod

Honda Dream or nightmare? Not sure about this restomod, though there is a certain logic to it. Funnily enough the early prototypes had some elements of this to them.

Zeppelin Steib, May 16

Steib S501 sidecar

1954 Steib sidecar promo on the cover of Motorrad. A great look. It appears to be an S501 sports chair, famous for its Zeppelin shape and has been copied many times over the years.

Harley finance, May 15

Harley finance

Is it too late to take them up on the offer?

Who loves a Norton? May 14

Two very different ends of the Norton spectrum. The 1975 Mk 3 below is an 850 with electric start and represented the last days of the design.

Norton Commando Mk 3

Ironically one of the bikes it was in hot competition with was the Triumph T160 (pictured at right, below), also on its last legs and produced by the same umbrella corporation. Both had been comprehensively trounced in the all-important USA market by Honda's CB750-Four (at left, below). Pic by Ben Galli for Motorcycle Trader mag

Honda CB750 and Triumph T160

Meanwhile Norton was willing to try different tactics, such as the Hi Rider below. Are these looks only a mother could love? Its appearance was described by Cycle magazine in 1974 as “hilarious”, despite which it lasted in the corporate ‘cattledog’ for several years and there was even a MkII version. See Ian Falloon’s 2011 story,

Norton hi rider

Quadro Qooder leaning 4-wheeler, May 12

This one has been a long time in development - the Quadro Qooder leaning four-wheeler. Evidently it runs a mid-mounted 400cc powerplant and you can get one in Europe for around Au$17,600, plus ORC. See this link for a story by New Atlas, from 2009, on an early prototype. And here is the Quadro vehicles home page, which also offers leaning three-wheelers.

Norman revival, May 11

Norman B2 Motorcycle

Norman B2 Motorcycle

From the Just British Motorcycles feed on Facebook, before nd after shots of a Norman B2 which had been abandoned at a motorcycle shop in Dover (UK). There is a club for these things (of course!) - see this link. Are there any in Australia? Drop us a line here.

Stash of Vincents for sale - including Series A, May 10

Vincent Series A

It's not every day an auction house gets thrown the rights to a collection of six Vincents, previously stashed away in a Los Angeles warehouse. Without doubt the highlight is what looks like a very good Series A, and apparently there's a collection of spares being offered at the same sale, by Liquid Asset Partners.

See the story at

First of the Bonnevilles, May 9

Triumph T120 Bonneville 1959

This 1959 first-model Triumph T120 Bonneville is one of eight restored Meriden Triumphs from the one collection, coming up for auction at Shannons in Sydney on May 20. Big things are expected of it, with a guiding price range of $45,000-48,000. That's consistent with what they've been selling for internationally - perhaps a little under. $50k would not be surprising.
Given the Bonneville name is very much alive and well, a good example of a first-edition should generate interest, particularly since it's now 60 years old.

Last of the Agusta, May 8

MV Agusta 850SS 1978

This is one of the very late MV Agustas from the original factory, an 850SS dated 1978. It was effectively all over for the factory by this stage, so the numbers built were tiny and the spec could vary. This one for sale in Qld claims to be one of the 27 850SS made and would be an interesting collector piece. Yours for $150k.
See the listing here:…/mv-agusta-1978-m…/JBW5055438…

Honda CR750 factory racer replica for sale, May 5

Honda CR750 replica

If you're a Honda nut, one of the bikes you might dream of owning one day is a CR750. These were the CB750-Four factory racer of the late sixties and early seventies and were produced in tiny numbers. A real one would set you back a fortune. However a number of replicas are out there at more affordable prices. This one in the UK is a good example, priced at $22,500, which seems very cheap. If however you prefer to get one built here, Brian Browne at TT Motorcycles in Victoria would be the man to talk to. See this link for more info on the CR750.

Would you bet on a Bridgestone? May 4

Bridgestone 175 twin 1970

1970 Bridgestone 175 twin up for sale on Ebay in the USA, for Au$3130. Despite the ridiculous handlebars, it’s probably worth a punt, if you could get it shipped without spending a bomb. The seller might have a little trouble moving it though, as they have mis-spelled the brand name, which makes it almost impossible to find!
It’s here:
Interesting brand, and the bikes had some promising race results over the years. The holy grail for collectors though is the 350 GTR.
And see this Bridgestone resource page:

Bigger Rocket, May 3


Triumph has finally unvelied its new-gen Rocket III, running a 2.5 litre triple engine (up from 2.3), a whole host of new electronics and a complete restyle. It's the first major revision of the platform since its launch in 2003. What you're seeing here is the Triumph Factory Custom (or TFC) version, of which 750 will be made. It's priced at about a 50 per cent premium over a stocker and boasts 'over 268hp', according to the factory.

Triumph Rocket III TFC

Triumph Rocket III TFC

See our old 2013 review of the Rocket III Roadster, which in our view was the pick of the models.


The department store that sold motorcycles, May 2

Sears Allstate puch motorcycle

Here's an oddball that just sold on Ebay (for Au$3800), a 175cc two-stroke twin marketed under the Allstate brand in 1954 by Sears department store in the USA. It was actually made by Steyr-Puch. 
This was one of several models sold by Sears over the years. 
See the story on this example here:
And a listing of Allstate bikes here:…/sea…/sears-allstate-troyce.htm


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