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News June 2024

Boxer run, June 23

BMW R 1300 GS

We've recently been playing with two variants of the new BMW R 1300 GS platform: the Triple Black shown here and the Trophy X. We'll soon unwrap what they're like, right here.

In the meantime, see the factory website.

And yes, that is its turn-of-the-century predecessor, the R1150GS, in the background. We have two in the shed and the moment. See them here.

Norton surgery, June 23

norton
              nemesis

Creative British engineer Allen Millyard is well into his restoration of the Norton Nemesis V8 and has reached the point where he's working on the crankshaft and conrods.

His hunt for new bearings has, weirdly enough, led him straight to a 1980s Suzuki parts catalogue. See the video on YouTube.

Sprint tempter, June 23

triumph
              sprint rs

Remember these? Triumph's Sprint RS of 1999-on was never a huge volume seller but was nevertheless highly regarded by anyone who threw a leg over the model.

A well-sorted handling package, it combined with a 955 triple claiming a little over 110hp (120 in the 2002 model) to provide one of the most enjoyable rides available at the time.

The example shown here, a 2000 model, is on the market via Facebook for Au$5600 (US$3700, GB£3000). It claims to be in good shape, with a little under 20,000km on the odo. That seems like a lot of bike for the money.

See the 2002 review at bikesales.

See our Sprint ST 1050 review.

Thunder days, June 22

yamaha thunderace

Yamaha's ThunderAce of 1996 was the last front line sport bike from the marque that hedged its bets by nudging sports-tourer territory.

How it should be packaged was a source of controversy within the design team.

Sales struggled in a slow market. Nevertheless it proved to be a quick and capable thing that, these days, represents a potential bargain – assuming you can find a decent one.

See our profile.

Under-rated Zed, June 20

kawasaki zz-r1100

If ever there was a now-under-rated motorcycle from the 1990s, the Kawasaki ZZ-R1100 is it. Spectacularly quick and a halfway decent handling package for its day, this big sports-tourer more or less defined what the litre-plus end of the class could do.

Honda's VFR750 of the same broad period was also a high point for fans of three-quarter litre machinery.

Values for the Kawasaki are pretty low at the moment, though if you want one it will be a challenge to find an example that's original and with reasonable miles on the odo. Australians typically wear out this type of machine, when overseas equivalents often end up stuck on garages through harsh winters, or parked thanks to loss of interest.

See our feature on the series.

That Elvis bloke, June 20

elvis triumph

When Triumph this week announced an Elvis tribute Bonneville T120, we did quietly wonder how much traction (forgive the pun...) the whole Presley thing really has in this day and age. After all, the man died 47 years ago.

We did a quick check, and the Elvis YouTube channel has somewhere in the order of 3.8 million subscribers.

Those of you who have been of legal drinking age for a while may also recall the wildly successful 2010 remix of A Little Less Conversation by Junkie XL, which has scored 38 million views. Watch it – you'll understand why. Or not.

Okay, so they might be on to something.

elvis triumph

The new Elvis signature model has several unique cosmetic touches and comes as a numbered series of 925. According to the maker: "each one will be presented along with a Sony gold disc, in an exclusive Elvis Presley and Triumph Motorcycles record sleeve, encasing a bespoke certificate of authenticity, signed by Triumph’s CEO Nick Bloor and Jamie Salter, Founder, Chairman and CEO of ABG, Elvis Presley Enterprises."

They start to roll into Australia in small numbers around July-August this year, priced at Au$26,990 (US$18,000, GB£14,200).


elvis triumph


Triumph started talking about the whole Elvis connection last year, when it put out a call for bikes bought in 1965 by the star for his mates in the flippantly-named 'Memphis Mafia'. See the intriguing story here.

Ducati trio, June 19

Grays has a tempting trio of Ducatis up for auction at the moment:

ducati 851

1987 Ducati 851 showing 14,260km

See our model profile

ducati 900ss

1978 Ducati 900SS showing 12,800km

ducati
              mhr1000

1985 Ducati MHR1000 showing 29,750km

See our 750 GT profile

Today's oddball: Moto Martin BMW, June 17

moto martin BMW

Something for the BMW collector who thought they had everything: this 1987 Moto Martin has popped up on the market again. Our thanks to Richard Morrison for alerting us.

As rare as the proverbial hen's teeth, it's running a BMW K1 driveline and the vendor on bikesales tells an interesting story on how that came about.

We first covered the bike when it went to auction in 2021, however that sale was unsuccessful.

See the K1 that lived in our shed.

Travels with Guido: motorcycle absurdity, June 16

gold
              wing timing cap

Spend enough time with a particular model and you end up going down the rabbit-hole of finding arcane bits to support your toy, which somehow morphs from being a mechanical mission to a lifestyle choice. Our most recent example is for 1975 Honda GL1000 Gold Wings, two of which are now in our shed...see the latest Travels with Guido column.

Cop Kawasaki, June 15

police
              kawasaki

Here's living proof that dinosaurs roamed the highways back in the 1980s. This 1989 Kawasaki USA ad for the Z1000P was being run in specialist magazines (aimed at state and county administrations) near enough to four years after the air-cooled bikes had disappeared from civilian showrooms. By that time the liquid-cooled GPz900R and its siblings had taken over.

Nevertheless Kawasaki was pulling decent sales with the older-gen machinery, apparently appreciated for its rugged simplicity and, thanks to a claimed 92 horses, respectable performance.

Earlier versions of the Z1000P became famous through the1977-83 CHiPs TV series about two riders with the California Highway Patrol.

You can't help thinking that, even now, it might make a halfway decent solo touring bike.

The basis for the model was the Z1000J – see the Motorcycle Specs data on the J.

Kawasaki went on to create liquid-cooled tributes to the air-cooled era bikes, in the shape of the ZRX1100/1200R series. See our profile.

Flashback: rolling jewellery, June 12

suzuki hayabusa

Suzuki Hayabusa or Honda XR200? It's a tough choice when you're looking for the perfect motorcycle. See our Travels with Guido column from a few years back.

honda xr200
                  motocycle travel vietnam

More Travels with Guido columns

Collectible R1, June 11

Yamaha R1

It's no secret that Yamaha's first-gen R1 is very much on the collector radar, though prices haven't gone completely nuts. This 1998 example in the USA with 927 miles (1490km) on the odo was recently auctioned at Bring a Trailer for Au$26,000 (US$17,000, GB£13,400).

Finding a low-miler with the original exhaust is becoming difficult. See what's listed on bikesales.

See our R1 profile.

Ultimate rides, June 10

Ultimate
              Motorcycle Tours by Grant Roff

There is no greater pleasure than swinging a leg over a motorcycle and heading off into the great unknown in a foreign land.

 

Sure it can be a little scary at times, but the rewards are enormous and, having sampled much of Europe, UK, USA and Asia this way, we can highly recommend it.

 

Ultimate Motorcycle Tours, written by experienced rider and motorcycle author Grant Roff, gets across much of that excitement, while providing some insights into what to expect and to look for in some of the planet’s great rides.

 

It covers numerous routes in North America (including Canada), Europe, the UK, Vietnam, India, Australia and New Zealand.

 

An unusual and worthy addition to the book is a series of profiles on well-known motorcycle travelers.


To quote the author: "Some of these rides might remain dreams, but others may be possible and forever rewarding."


Published this year, it takes a refreshing approach to the subject material and we can recommend it. Widely available through the usual online stores, it's priced at Au$45 (US$35, GB£23). The publisher is Hardie Grant.


See our Ha Noi Run road diary.

K-style – flashback for the day, June 9

bmw k1

Devo meets Kraftwerk pretty much sums up the styling for BMW's weirdly spectacular K1. We owned one for a while and you can see the story (with video) here.

Also, see Ian Falloon's profile on the model.

Ago at auction, June 9

mv
                  agusta ago

A near enough to spotless 2005 MV Agusta F4 1000 Ago sold at Donington Auctions (Australia) on June 2 for Au$55,000 (US$36,000, GB£28,500). That was a good result, given the currently tight market.

As we noted in a previous story on this bike: producing around 166hp, the Ago received numerous upgrades over the Strada version of the F4 1000 and was retailed for Au$52,000 (US$35,000, GB£27,000) plus on-road costs. 


This example had zero miles on the odo and was number 15 of 300 made.


See the MV Agusta F4 1000 Nero in our shed


ducati imola replica


Another bike that got our interest was a round-case Ducati 750 replica of the 1972 Imola-winning machine. A difficult bike to value, it went for Au$40,000 (US$14,000, GB£11,000).

See our feature on the originals.


vincent motorcycles sign


Probably exceeding all expectations was an illuminated Vincent motorcycles dealership sign dating back to the 1950s. It measured 47cm wide (just over 18 inches) and went for a staggering Au$7300 (US$4800, GB£3800).

Yamaha aspiration, June 8

yamaha rd400 ad

Yamaha's aspirational USA ad for the 1976 RD400, complete with the big house and Ferrari Dino in the background.

The copywriters make a big fuss over the cast aluminium rims and self-cancelling turn signals – hot stuff for the time.

See the Classic Mechanics buyer guide;

And the data from Motorcycle Specs.

We have a mini collection of RD250-350 brochures;

And a series or RD200-250-400 brochures from 1978.

The next step up the evolutionary scale was the giant-killer RD-LC liquid-cooled series, then the more sophisticated RZs.

See our RZ350 profile.

yamaha rd500

Then in 1984 we scored the ultimate Yamaha stroker, the feisty V-four RZ500, aka RD500LC. See our 500 profile.

Suzuki GSX-R1100G – today's random factory pic, June 7

suzuki gsxr1100

Handsome beast, isn't it? Well, maybe only if you are a fan of eighties styling. Suzuki's GSX-R1100G of 1986 was an ultra-compact and light beast for its day, claiming a healthy 128 horses (95.6kW) for 197kg dry weight. It reset expectations for buyers of open-class Japanese sports road motorcycles.

See the Suzuki profile page.

suzuki gsxr1100

We recently added a 1987 version to our fleet, an H model. More to come on that, soon.

In the meantime, see our GSX-R1100 series profile.

Kawasaki GPz resto, June 3

Kawasaki GPz750

One for the fans of eighties style – a restored and very late air-cooled GPz750 from 1987. It's with a dealer on bikesales, priced at Au$8490 (US$5600, GB£4400).

The liquid-cooled GPz900R had already been out a few years by this time, and a 750 version was available, so it was interesting to see the air-cooled predecessor still hanging around in the showrooms.

See the data and profile on the air-cooled 750 at Motorcycle Specs.

Plus the GPz900R A1 that lived in our shed.

BSA century – today's retro ad, June 2

bsa ad

Retro ad for the day – BSA early 1960s.

See the Motorcycle Classics Super Rocket versus Triumph Tiger 110 story.

Last day for classics, June 2

ducati imola rep

Today is the final day for the current Donington (Australia) collector auction. It includes this replica of a 1972 Ducati Imola racer. See the catalogue here.

We have two Falloon features on the originals: Part 1, Part 2.


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