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News April 2021

Mighty bikes – Yamaha XS1100, Apr 30

Yamaha XS1100

It may now look like a two-wheeled dinosaur, but back in 1978 the XS1100 was an endurance race winner...see the story.

That 70s Show, Apr 29

1970s motorcycles

Wild styling and quirky riding – you'll find it here.

Yamaha's 100mph stroker, Apr 29

Yamaha R5

It's 1970 and the thought of having a 'little' 350 twin from Japan that does 100mph or better is still a novelty for a lot of people, but that was the reality. By this stage, Yamaha's strokers were well down the development trail that had been blazed by predecessors such as the YR-1 we featured a little while ago.

Yamaha R5 profile and specs.

Harley rolls back to 1970, Apr 27

harley davidson electra glide revival

Harley-Davidson is launching a 1970-style Electra Glide complete with white batwing fairing and top-loading panniers. It says it will produce a single run of 1500, running a version of its 114ci (1870cc) V-twin. More at H-D, here.

See specs and a profile for a real 1970 H-D Electra Glide.

Honda F-series, Apr 26

Honda CB750-Four F1

Blast from the past: Honda's CB750-Four F1 Supersport, followed two years later by the F2 with twin front brake discs. This was a last throw of the dice for the by now venerable SOHC four.

It was distinguished from the K-series predecessors with a more streamlined look and disc brakes at both ends. The restyle also included a four-into-one exhaust, reshaped fuek tank, seat, sidecovers and tail-piece.

Honda's F1 ran 1975-77 depending on market, and in some cases overlapped with the similar-looking F2, which ran 1977-79. See the specs here.

There were no major updates on the single overhead cam engine. The company's new twin-cam series – a much-needed update – was to launch by 1979.

Just to confuse things, Honda also marketed late SOHC K-series right alongside the F-series and even into the start of the twin-cams, so 1977-79. They were marked 750K or 750-Four K on the sidecovers.

See the Classic Two Wheels period road test

Meguro – forgotten bike brand for the day, Apr 25

meguro motorcycles

Though it showed a lot of promise, Meguro sadly didn't make it. However some small part survives in the Kawasaki W650/800 series, which draws some styling cues from a single-cylinder joint venture between the two companies.

See the Wikipedia entry here; And the Classic Jap Cycles entry here.

NVT swansong, Apr 25

Triumph Norton 1975

Norton Villiers Triumph ad circa 1974-75, featuring Triumph T160 and variants of the Norton Commando MkIII.

We have a couple of these in our shed: Triumph T160; Commando MkIII Roadster.

See our Commando profile here.

Bike sales boom, Apr 24

motorcycle sales australia

It seems two-wheelers are all the rage, on road and off. See the Carsguide story here.

Naked nutter, Apr 23

triumph street triple

Triumph Street Triple profile...see it here

Lunchtime bike market, Apr 22

Ducati 916

The mixing of claret, food and finance has its risks...see the story here.

Hondas lead Shannons Japan results, Apr 20

Honda CBX1000

The Shannons classic car and motorcycle auction which concluded tonight had some fascinating results. Hondas definitely led the4 charge, though there were some solid results for the Brits.

See the Japanese bike highlights here; And the Brit highlights here.

Norton commando fastback

Turbo brochures for the day, Apr 20

Honda CX500t brochure

Above is the ground-breaker for full factory-built turbos: Honda CX500T. This UK market brochure made a somewhat baffling pitch emphasising fuel-economy as much as performance. Gotta love the very seventies 'computer' font used for the header, even though this was the early eighties.

We much prefer the bold approach with the later 650 factory brochure below.

See our Turbo Kings feature on eighties turbo bikes from Honda, Suzuki, Yamaha and Kawasaki.

Honda cx650t

BSA Super Rocket, Apr 19

BSA Super Rocket

Today's retro ad: 1962 BSA Super Rocket, from a California dealership.

A contemporary test in Motor Cycling magazine said: "The Super Rocket has a near three-figure cruising speed – a performance to meet the autobahn ambitions of foreign-touring enthusiasts, or those who buy motorcycles with an optimistic eye to the extension of motorway travel at home in the not too distant future."

The 1959-63 model was an arch-rival for Triumph's Bonneville series, with a 649cc parallel twin claiming 50hp (37kW) at 6250rpm and a four-speed transmission. It claimed a wet weight of 170kg and a top speed was just shy of 190km/h (115mph).

Early auction stars, Apr 16

Honda CB750 K

A little surprise at the current Shannons auction is this, a nicely-presented Honda CB750-Four K4 (lot 86). With some days to go, it's currently sitting on Au$20,000 (US$15,500, GB£11,300), with an estimate of Au$20-28k.

Harley shovelhead

Another top performer among the motorcycles is a Shovelhead Harley-Davidson – a 1967 FLH (lot 89). It's sitting on $25,000 (US$19,400, GB£14,000) though the Au$30-36k estimate suggests it's expected to go a long way further.

See the auction here – it concludes April 20.

Future collectible: Suzuki GSX-R1000, Apr 16

Suzuki GSX-R1000K1

Suzuki’s first GSX-R1000 was a watershed development and is now getting hard to find...see the story.

Rolling jewellery, Apr 15


The joys of simplicity in an age of power...see it here.

Fuji – forgotten bike brands, Apr 14

Fuji Motorcycles

Japan's early motorcycle industry saw several brands briefly rise then disappear, and Fuji was one.

Recommended reading: Japan's Motorcycle Wars, by Jeffrey W Alexander. See a review by the Vintagent, here.

Suzuki GSX750EFE, Apr 13

Suzuki GSX750EFE

Our brochure for the day – Suzuki Australia was charging Au$4499 (US$3400, GB£2500) plus on-road costs for this back in 1984. Claiming 84 horses for its 211kg claimed dry weight it went okay. Fashion dictated a 16-inch front wheel – an idea that quickly fell out of favour.

Specs and backgrounder for the similar 1985-86 models, via Motorcycle Specs

Regrets, Apr 12

Suzuki Katana

Pondering the ghosts of sheds past...see the story here.

Honda CBX 'museum quality', Apr 11

Honda CBX1000

A USA owner is breaking up a mini collection of Honda CBX1000s, selling off what he says is a 'museum quality' example and the lowest mileage unit in the line-up. It claims just 517 miles (832km) on the odo.

It sold for Au$20,500 (US$15,900, GB£11,600).

Honda CBX1000

Bike brochure for the day: Honda CB550K Four, Apr 11

Honda CB550K

Though often ignored in favour of its 750 sibling, Honda's 550K (1974-78) was a pretty attractive middleweight package, boasting 50 horses for a claimed 191kg dry weight. Its relatively compact size gave it a lot of appeal as something that was easier to handle and more nimble than 750-plus road bikes, while still being able to keep up with bigger machinery out on the road.

See specs and a backgrounder here at Motorcycle Specs.

Soft prices for hero Hondas, Apr 9

Honda RC30

Two recent online auctions for iconic Hondas produced disappointing results for their owners. Both lots were passed in.

The first was a well-presented low mile (6900km/4300ml) 1990 Honda RC30, which fetched a top bid of Au$55,600 (US$42,600, GB£11,000), or around Au$10k under where we would expect it to be.

Honda CR750 tribute

Even more disappointing was the low bid on this seemingly well-constructed and recently refurbished 1975 CR750 tribute. It fetched a top bid of just Au$18,300 (US$14,000, GB£11,000), or about what you'd expect for an equivalent CB750 road bike.

While it is 'just' a tribute, building one to this standard is an expensive exercise.

The CR has a wonderful history behind it and you can read about the drama behind Dick Mann's 1970 Daytona victory with one at Motorcyclist online.

While it's too early to call those prices a trend, it does make you wonder what's going on.

Tasmania – one hot lap, Apr 9

Tasmania motorcycle tour

Young Beattie and his motley crew go looking for trouble in Tasmania, and find it. See the story here.

Nortons at auction, Apr 9

Norton motorcycle

Four Nortons are up for grabs at the upcoming Shannons auction. See them here.

Is Covid Killing the Motorcycle Industry? Apr 8

Mick Hone

From our friends at Info Moto -– see it here.

The Commando Cult, Apr 7

norton commando

How the Brit twin became a cult classic...see the story here.

Honda CBX Pro-Link six on the block, Apr 5

Honda CBX1000 B

Honda's mighty CBX1000 went from over-the-top all-rounder to super slick sports tourer with its shift to the second-gen B and C models, complete with Bol d'Or style fairing. We've seen a few pop up on the world market in recent times, but not so many in Australia – at least not low-milers like this one.

Complete with Hondaline panniers, it's claiming around 22,000km on the odo. It's up for auction at Shannons from April 13 and you can find it here. The estimate is $Au22-28,000 (US$17-21,000, GB£12-15,000)

Specs & backgrounder on the gen 1 CBX here; And gen 2 here

The great chase, Apr 4

honda CBR1000F 1990

We couldn't resist bringing you this story from reader Craig Glover, who commented in response to our Facebook post on the second-gen Honda CBR1000F:

"I remember when they were new; I was riding my ZXR750, with my mate on another one, when we saw two of them in the far distance on a very brisk Sunday morning ride back of the Gold Coast from Canungra.

"We looked at each other nodded and took chase...challenge accepted. We rode as hard as we ever had, on the mat for several km, and could only get a little closer but not catch them.

"They stopped at the same servo a few km later in Nerang. It ended up being Mick and Scott Doohan. We didn't feel quite as beaten after that and both pissed ourselves laughing. The Doohans must have wondered WTF was wrong with us 😂"

Flashback: End of the Road, Apr 3

Indian on tow truck

How a poor design decision buggers your day, two decades later...see the story here.

Record price for BMW R100GS P-D, April 2

BMW R100GS Paris-Dakar

A mint condition, low-mile, BMW R100GS Paris-Dakar has sold at auction on Bring a Trailer for an incredible Au$56,400 (US$43,000, GB£31,000), which we're pretty confident is a record price.

Boasting just 520 miles on the odo (840km), it was presented in exceptional condition, along with a factory solo seat, paperwork and other accessories. See the lot here.

As we mentioned a few days ago, another example in black, also in outstanding condition but with 50,000km (31,000 miles), was sold by the same site in March for Au$20,300 (US$15,500, GB£11,300).

See the feature on our R100GS Paris-Dakar

Kawasaki KR250 for auction, April 1

Kawasaki KR250

When was the last time you saw one of these in decent condition? This 1985 example, located in South Africa, is on the market via Iconic.

Weighing 133kg dry with 45 horses, they claimed a180km/h top speed and were a pretty wild ride, if somewhat fragile.

See this link for specs and a profile

Want more news & views? See our archive.


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