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News August 2021

Zed auction, August 30

Kawasaki Z900

Up for auction at Grays is this 1973 Kawasaki Z1 in Jaffa colours. It has had a documented frame swap during its life and comes with the original. Bidding is at Au$30,000 (US$22,000, GB£16,000) with a day to go.

Postscript: It sold for Au$35,200 (US$26,000, GB£18,800).

See it here.

Specs and backgrounder at Motorcycle Specs.

Heart and Head, August 29

Moto Guzzi Daytona 1000

A good place to park your dough, or a financial sink-hole? Both are sorely tempting. See the latest in the Travels with Guido series.

Harley-Davidson Pan America

Different strokes, August 28

Moto Guzzi 1000 SP

Two very different approaches to flogging a Moto Guzzi 1000 SP to the masses during the seventies: An American distributor (above) goes for technical information and persuasion, while a Brit concession (below) aims straight for the gonads...

Specs and backgrounder at Motorcycle Specs

Moto Guzzi 1000 SP

Dreaming of Mann, August 28

Isle of Man TT

Info Moto has published a guide to the 2022 Isle of Man TT festival, for those of you planning to get out of Dodge the minute the borders open. See it here.

We have a flashback piece on the Festival, which we'll publish soon.

Gamma auction, August 27

Suzuki RG500

This Suzuki RG500 is up for auction via Grays.

Back when 500cc two-strokes were the peak GP class, it seemed perfectly logical that at least a couple of the Japanese factories would have a crack at producing road-going replicas. Both Yamaha and Suzuki did just that in the mid 1980s: Yamaha with the RZ500 (aka RD500) and Suzuki the RG500 'Gamma'.

You can see our profile of the Suzuki here.

We're of course aware of Honda's NSR400, but that doesn't make the cut from our point of view, thanks to the lower engine capacity pitched at the doemestic market.

Meanwhile the auction bike claims to be in good shape and to have a little over 22,000km on the odo. Very collectible and a fascinating ride – see the auction lot, here.

Big eighties Suzi, August 26

Suzuki GSX1100

Given where prices of premium 1970s Japanese bikes such as early Z1/Z900s are heading, we suspect good examples of early Suzuki GSX1100s may get their moment in the collector spotlight. It's a significant chrome-era model and, for Aussie enthusiasts, has the 1981 Castrol 6-Hour win to its credit.

That was an interesting year. Dave Peterson and Neville Hiscock shared the winning ride, a lap up on the GSX1100-mounted Roger Heyes and Malcolm Campbell. One lap further back were the third-placed pairing of Ron Boulden and Stephen Gall on a Yamaha XS1100.

Suzuki GSX1100

This 1980 'small tank' example has surfaced at Classic Motorcycle Sales in Queensland, priced at $16,500 (US$12,000, GB£8700) and claiming 6200 miles (10,000km) on the odo.

Suzuki GSX1100

We've owned a couple of them over the years – see the story on the most recent.

McQueen Husky fetches big money, August 25

Husqvarna Viking Steve McQueen

Here's proof that the legend that is Steve McQueen still holds incredible sway on the classic vehicle circuit. This 1968 Husqvarna Viking is a former works race bike ridden by Bengt Åberg – the world MX champion for 1969-70 – and acquired by McQueen in February 1969.

Restored six years ago to concours standard, it went for an awe-inspiring US$204,000 (Au$282,000, GB£149,000) at the RM Sotherby's auction in Monterey earlier this month.

A scan of USA price guides suggests that an excellent example, without the fame factor, is worth closer to US$15,000 (Au$21,000, GB£11,000). Of course the Sotheby's lot had the double-header association with Åberg and McQueen.

The Viking was developed to tackle the 500 class and was good for 37 horses in customer form, while claiming to weigh just 97kg dry.

Kawasaki Z1-R II auction, August 24

Kawasaki Z1-R MkII

A Kawasaki Z1-R II is coming up for auction later this month, via Shannons. See the story here.

Kawasaki KR250 – today's time machine, August 23

Kawasaki KR250

When this little green monster emerged in 1984, Kawasaki was fresh from winning five 250cc GP world championships on the trot. So when you saw brand K on a diminutive two-stroke, you took notice.

Weighing a claimed 133kg dry, the liquid-cooled tandem twin boasted 45 horses in a package that had all the mid-80s good gear. That included a front end with anti-dive and 16-inch front wheel.

The example above was advertised by an Australian dealer in year 2000 at Au$1800 (US$1300, GB£950). It cost nearer Au$3000 (US$2200, GB£1600) when new and 16 years down the track was probably just one clumsy owner away from being consigned to the tip. These days an excellent example – and good luck finding such a unicorn – should have no trouble fetching three to four times its new price.

Kawasaki KR250

See the specs and backgrounder at Motorcycle Specs.

More at the Time Machine page

Ducati pit palace, August 22

Ducati pit palace

For the Ducati fan who thought they had everything, your very own ex-works mobile pit palace! It's up for sale via Ebay in the UK.

Top Fun – Kawasaki GPz900R video review, August 21


Kawasaki's leader sports bike back in 1984 and star of the movie Top Gun, the GPz900R was a formidable bit of kit when launched and remains a desirable and very useable classic. Here's our new video review.

Kawasaki GPz900R

See the feature on our buy-fly-ride example, here.

Norton deviant, August 20

Norton flat-tracker

And now for something a little different. A Norton flat-tracker, anyone? This is one of just five made in 2017. See the story at Silodrome.

Ducati 750SS – today's time machine, August 19

Ducati 750ss

It's January 2000 and this comparatively rare 1976 Ducati 750SS is on the market in Australia for Au$13,900 (US$10,000, GB£7300). Coincidentally, you could buy a 2000 year model 750SS off the showroom floor for the same money.

Today? Author and Ducati expert Ian Falloon suggests the 1976 model is worth around Au$55,000 (US$39,000, GB£29,000), perhaps a shade more. That's several times what the 2000 model would now be worth.

So, if you invested your hard-earned in the old clunker 21 years ago, well done – you can start to feel smug!

Ducati 750SS

See the specs and backgrounder at Motorcycle Specs.

More at the Time Machine page

Video: Triple Triumph Triples, August 18


From our archives: a 2015 shoot of three generations of Triumph triples, spanning 40 years. They are 1975 Trident T160, 1995 Daytona Super III and 2015 Daytona 675R.

See our T160 here and our Super III here.

Step away, August 17

step away paul newbold

Some days, you need someone like this to make you step away from the motorcycle...see the story.

Today's mystery auction lot, August 17

Cycle Scoot

A Cycle-Scoot, with bold Indianapolis 500 branding. No, we'd never heard of it, either.

Note the pivoting left footboard is both throttle and brake. What could possibly go wrong? Enjoy the Hemmings listing, here.

Happiness is next to... August 16

Indian motorcycles priest

Had to share this picture that recently popped up from the archives: an unexpected admirer at the launch of the then new Polaris Indian motorcycle range, back in September 2013. I offered him a spin, and suspect he may have been just a little tempted...but he declined.

See the story on our previous-generation Kings Mountain Indian.

Sandcast CeeBee auction, August 15

Honda CB750-Four K0

Shannons' next auction has an interesting selection of motorcycles on offer and this sandcast Honda CB750-Four K0 (lot 83) is one that caught our eye. As you may know, early 'sandcast' (aka gravity-cast) versions are very much in demand and we've seen well-restored versions change hands in the USA for US$45,000. The estimate on this one is Au$50-60,000 (US$37-44,000, GB£27-32,000).

Hagerty puts the case succinctly in this piece, about why a sandcast is worth double a die-cast K0: "Honda’s biggest gamble was the CB750, the biggest motorcycle the company had ever made up to that point. In late 1968, Honda unveiled one of its riskiest models, and in the spring of 1969 the CB750 went on sale. Honda planned on selling only 1500 CB750s a year; to keep development costs low, Honda used a sandcast molding technique — the preferred method for keeping down costs in low-production runs — for the engine cases.

"However, demand for the CB750 skyrocketed, and Honda moved from producing 1500 bikes a year to 1500 a month. At this point, Honda knew it had a winner. It decided to invest in die-cast molds. After 7414 motorcycles, engine number CB750E-1007414 was the last to leave the factory with a set of sandcast engine cases. To put that total in perspective, Honda would go on to produce about 445,000 of these first-generation, single-overhead cam CB750s."

Also, see this piece on CB750s "finally getting the love they deserve" and why their value has increased in recent years.

The crankcases on the early bikes were notoriously fragile and a number were replaced under warranty with diecast engines. The issue tended to be the final drive chain letting go and smashing a hole in the cases – something later attended to by better-quality chains.

Judging the value of any survivor should include a look at the quality of the restoration. Keep in mind that for decades CeeBees were effectively a throw-away – not worth repairing – and the survival rate was therefore surprisingly low.

Even the next model along and produced in the greatest volume – the K1 – is surprisingly rare these days. It's really only in the last 15-or-so years that the market's mood has changed and started to see them as collectible.

Honda CB750-Four K0

There is a dedicated online club for sandcast owners – see it here.

World Motorcycles in the USA is a well-established sandcast restoration specialist.

See our 50 Years of Honda CB750-Four feature

Retro ad for the day, August 15

ND suzuki ad

Nippon Denso does its best to make an impression with this wild graphic using a Suzuki GT-series two-stroke triple powerplant.

Devo style, August 14

BMW K1 Devo

We always reckoned our BMW K1 had more than a touch of Devo about it.

See the video...

And see the updated feature, here

Turbo time, August 13

Honda CX500 turbo

This Honda CX500 Turbo has popped up on the market via Facebook, looking well-presented and asking Au$15,000 (US$11,000, GB£8000). See it here.

Kawasaki turbo

We'll confess to having a bit of a soft spot for eighties Japanese turbos, having owned a Kawasaki GPz750E in the past.

All the big four Japan makers had a crack at this – see our Turbo Kings feature.

Flashback: The Matt Solution, August 12

Suzuki Hayabusa

Anyone who buys your pride and joy should have to sign a contract that lets you take it back...see the story.

World's most expensive motorcycle listing? August 11

Crocker 1942

We're happy to be proven wrong, but at the moment we suspect this is the world's most expensive motorcycle listing, at US$1 million (Au$1.37 million, GB£723,000).

It's a 1942 Crocker, thought to be the last of the 60-ish bespoke V-twin road bikes said to have left the legendary California workshop before the business closed down. This is running a second-gen overhead-valve engine and 80ci (1310cc). The clutch is a foot-operated rocker unit typical of the period, matched to what we assume is a three-speed 'crash' transmission with – of course – hand-shift.

Crocker 1936

While this sounds like Monopoly money to most of us, there is a history of Crockers reaching extraordinary prices. Back in 2019, a 1936 model (above) reached US$825,000 via a Mecum auction.

Crocker 1942

Is there room to negotiate on the latest offering? See the listing.

Ups & downs at auction, August 10

Honda CB750-four K0

Someone picked up a bargain via USA auction site Bring a Trailer recently, with this 1970 Honda CB750-Four K0 (diecast rather than early sandcast) going for Au$10,500 (US$7700, GB£5600). Meanwhile a 1976 Benelli 750 Sei flew to Au$28,600 (US$21,000, GB£15,000).

We suspect there may be a lesson here for would-be sellers of classics.

The Honda was, according to the listing, running, in original spec and had recent mechanical work with 14,000 miles (22,500km) claimed. A very desirable and apparently complete bike, it was presented with some light age-related corrosion. The selling price was about half what we might have expected. There is reason to believe a day or two with a detailer would have dramatically changed (doubled?) the result. In any case, it was great buying.

See one of the stories on our K1 here; And the period Classic Two Wheels test on the K0 here.

Benelli 750 Sei

Meanwhile, the Benelli six with just 88 miles on the odo and well-presented got a solid result. It had the additional advantage of ultra-low miles, which seems to be catnip for investors.

See our Benelli 750 Sei profile here.

In any case, seventies motorcycles are seeing a lot of action in the auction scene. (Thanks to Ian Falloon for spotting this one.)

Daytona double – today's tempter, August 9

Triumph Super 3

Brisbane-based importer Classic Motorcycle Sales has put a T300 series 1995 Triumph Daytona Super III and Daytona 1200 up for sale.

Back in the mid-1990s, the Super III 900 was the Hinckley factory's top-of-the-line, priced at Au$21,000 (US$15,400, GB£11,000) in Australia, when a Daytona 1200 cost $18,000 and a Honda Fireblade was $16,000.

The Super III ran a higher state of tune than its 'normal' Daytona 900 sibling, claiming 12:1 compression and a power figure of 115hp (86kW) versus 98 (73). It also ran six--piston Alcon front brake calipers (which were excellent) and came loaded with several carbon-fibre panels. Just 805 were made.

This example has 11,600 miles (18,700km) on the odo and is priced at $16,700.

Triumph Daytona 1200

The company also has a Daytona 1200 on the market for $9800. This one is showing 20,000 miles (32,000km). While the Super III is a triple, the 1200 is a four in a similar state of tune, sharing the 12:1 compression. It claimed 147 horses (109kW) when new and came with four-piston front brake calipers as standard.

Ttiumph Daytonas

We currently own both models: see our Super III story here and a quirky tale about taking the pair for a ride, here.

Rossi by Classic Two Wheels, August 8

Valetnino rossi two wheels mag cover

A tribute to Valentino, by Classic Two Wheels – very cool. See it here.

Ecco BMW R65 – final debrief, August 8


After 16 years, the R65 has finally left the shed. Was it a good experience? See the story here.

Ride pic by Ben Galli

Wing sale, August 7

Honda GL1000

This well-presented 1976 Honda Gold Wing, with around 7000 miles (11,000km) on the odo was recently sold through Bring a Trailer for Au$20,300 (US$15,000, GB£11,000).

Up to now, early Wings have struggled to find a market, which is remarkable given their significance in contemporary motorcycle history, particularly in the USA.

Though strong money for a GL1000, we suspect it barely covered the cost of the trophy-winning restoration and reckon it was actually a pretty good buy. See the auction lot here.

Honda gl1000

See our early Gold Wing profile here.

Honda GL1000

Oh, and we may be a bit biased, having recently added this 1975 GL1000 to the shed. More to come on that one...

Valentino Rossi to retire, August 6

Valentino Rossi

It's probably about time, but we'll miss the rider who injected some fun into grands prix. However we haven't quite seen the last of him – look out for Rossi the race team manager...see the story at Info Moto.

The hidden Yamaha GTS1000, August 5

Yamaha GTS1000

Getting Casper the GTS1000 was a long and dodgy's how it started.

Fly-Ride 1975, August 4

Yamaha Cycle Spot ad

It's 1975 and Cycle Spot in Concord, Sydney, is offering free air tickets for would-be 'superbike' buyers.

Yamaha RZ201 rotary

Note the Yamaha RZ 201 rotary, which never made it into production, being used as eye-candy.
Of course you'd be flying Ansett in a Boeing 727. All the latest jet-setter tech, right there!

Honda VF1000F – 1984, August 3

Honda VF1000F

Today's brochure. Though it turned out to be flawed, the V-four powerplant was a stand-out back when they were launched. At the time they claimed 122 horses punting a 230kg dry package to a top speed of 240km/h.

See the full numbers at Motorcycle Specs

Laverda 750 SF, August 2

Laverda 750 SF

Bike brochure for the day...

See specs and a profile here at Motorcycle Specs.

Future collectibles: Harley-Davidson V-Rod, August 1

harley vrod

Harley-Davidson’s V-Rod project was hugely expensive, but good examples are now very reasonably priced...see the story.


Want more news & views? See our archive.


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