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News archive Sep 2020

Days of Thunder, September 30

Yamaha thunderace

Yamaha’s deliberate divergence from a hard-edged sports bike platform produced a great bike, but cost it dearly in the showroom – meet the Thunderace YZF1000R. See the story here.

Related bike features: Yamaha R1; Yamaha FZR1000 Castrol 6-Hour replica

Ducati savings – 80s style, September 29

Ducati ad 1982

It seems awfully cheap now. Back in 1982 some heavy discounting by Australian dealer/distributor Ron Angel meant you could score a Ducati 900SS for Au$3999 – apparently a saving of $1600. That made the big V-twin much more price-competitive at a time when a Honda CB900F cost $3600.

Gotta love the cheeky sales line: "now Ducatis at the same price as ordinary bikes!"

However selling a 500 Pantah at the same price as the CB might have been a big call...

The little things, September 28

Shed with motorcycles

Ever get the feeling those allegedly 'little jobs' in the shed are ganging up on you? See the story here.

Paso Project, September 27

Ducati Paso 750

One of Ducati's and designer Massimo Tamburini's most controversial efforts in recent memory was this, the Paso 750 of 1988. The styling was hugely divisive, even though it fitted with a 1980s trend towards fully-enclosed motorcycles, such as the Honda CBR600/1000 series of the same era.

Unfortunately the unusual Weber carburettor set-up was a source of gremlins and needed sorting from new. The cure exists and they could be a fun ride once done. That issue, along with the fairly steep pricing (Au$13,000 at launch, quickly reduced to $10,000, when a CBR1000F cost $9300) pretty well axed any hope of volume sales when they were new. Look for our upcoming backgrounder.

This USA import has potential as a project, appearing to be complete and claiming just 21,000km. It's priced at a tempting Au$5900 (US$4100, £3300) – not a lot for an interesting piece of Ducati history, though you'd want to check it out carefully. See it here on Ebay.

Rare Pair, September 26

honda cb1100rc for sale

A rare pair of glam Honda CB1100RCs is on offer in Australia, via Bikesales. Both claim under 30,000km and one is said to signed by former World GP champ Wayne Gardner. The price? A sobering Au$95,000 (US$67,000, £52,000). See them here.

One Great Ride, September 26

Kawasaki GPz900R

Is it possible you spent all that money for a single run? See the story here.

As for the bike, see the story here.

250 hotshots – 1973, September 26

1973 250 road test

Classic Two Wheels has published this comparo between the 250 stroker hotshots of 1973 – the Yamaha RD250 and Suzuki GT250. See it here.

King Zed, September 25

Kawasaki ZZ-R1100

When sports-tourers ruled the earth, Kawasaki's ZZ-R1100 was king. See the future collectible story here.

Survivor FZ750, September 24

Yamaha FZ750

Early FZ750 Yamahas in good survivor condition are surprisingly rare these days, so we were pleased to get to a tip on this one from Nick Unfer. Located in Queensland (Australia), it's claiming around 52,000km (not enough to hurt it) and is on the market for Au$5800 (US$4100, £3200). See it here, on Bikesales.

Back in 1985, these things were going head-to-head in the showrooms with Suzuki's then-new and more hard-edged GSX-R750.

See our future collectible story on the FZ750, here; And a backgrounder on the first GSX-R750, here.

Zero mile XS650, September 24

Yamaha xs650

Since we got on to the topic of new-old-stock motorcycles (see our Commando from yesterday), Rob Remmerswaal put us on to this 1979 Yamaha XS650 in the Netherlands, priced at €15,000 (Au$25,000, US$17,500, £13,800). The ad mentions a new XS1 being sold in Australia, though we've yet to find that one.

Commando in a crate for auction, September 23

Norton Commando Mk3 in crate

A Commando from the last year of production Norton Villiers Triumph has surfaced, still in its crate and is being offered for auction in the UK. More here.

BMW M-bike, September 23

BMW M 1000 RR

BMW has unveiled its latest super sports special, the M 1000 RR, at prices starting around $50k. See the Moto Info story here.

6-Hour celebration, September 22

Yamaha castrol 6-hour 1987

Just tripped over this today, a 1987 motorcycle magazine ad by Yamaha celebrating its victory in the final Castrol 6-Hour race, with Michael Dowson and Kevin Magee doing the riding honours on an FZR1000.

We have a replica of the bike (below), which was only recently completed. See the story here.

See the Classic Two Wheels comparison test of the 1987 Yamaha FZR1000 and Suzuki GSX-R1100


Yamaha FZR1000 1987

High-priced RG500, September 22

Suzuki RG500

A Suzuki RG500 that’s never been used was listed on Ebay in Australia with bidding soaring past Au$52,000 (US$37,800, £29,400), with four days to go. Amazing. Perhaps even more amazing is that it hadn’t reached reserve. The seller has since pulled down the ad.

See our RG500 profile.

Hoarder or Collector? September 21

motorcycle collection

A mate of mine, Lee, put this out on Faceplant: At what point does a collector become a hoarder? She got plenty of responses. Some serious, others not so much...see the story here.

Classic BMW fleet for auction, September 20


Bonhams auctioned off a collection of around 20 classic BMWs in Switzerland today. Several caught our eye – more here.

Today's anti-bargain, September 20

Yamaha TT500

$95k for a Yamaha TT500?! We assumed it was an error...

The owner did eventually correct the price, prompting this wonderful piece of Ebay logic (below): save $85,500!

Yamaha TT500

Double vision, September 19

honda cb750-4

It's not every day you get to see good examples of K0 and K1 Honda CB750-Fours in the market at the same time. The K0 is said to be a 1969 model and 90 per cent original. Located in Vic (below), it's priced at $25,000. (US$18,200, £14,100)

honda cb750-4

Meanwhile the K1 listing says it's a 1971 model with a host of spares. Located in NSW (below), it's priced at $20,500. (US$14,900, £11,600)

honda cb750-4

Both are with Bikesales. The start of a set, perhaps?

We've been living with a K1 for a little while now (top), see the story here.

And Classic Two Wheels has published its original 1969 road test. See it here.

Ride pic by Ben Galli

Generation R, September 18

Suzuki GSX-R750

Suzuki’s GSX-R750 spawned a whole new generation of sports tackle 35 years ago. Let's go for a fang down memory lane.

Classic Two Wheels, September 18

classic two wheels

Former Two Wheels magazine Editor Bill McKinnon has today launched an online revival of the iconic magazine. There you'll find material from a host of familiar names, such as Mr Smith, Seddon, Fereday, Cox, Groff, Rooth, Wearne and more.

The site concentrates on bringing back to life some of the finest work published across the decades, while occasionally mixing in fresh material. Well worth a look at

classic two wheels

Time machine – Honda NS400R, September 17

Honda NS400R

It's January 1990 and you could have had this grey import 1986 Honda NS400R for a measly Au$2200 (US$1600, £1200), in Motorcycle Trader mag.

Sure it had a few 'laps' on it at 63,000km (39,000 miles), but that was cheap even back then. It was being sold with a roadworthy certificate, and so was presumably a decent runner. Probably a prime candidate for a quick engine freshen up, which shouldn't have cost the earth.

What's a nice one worth now? A hell of a lot more...

Here's a tidy one for sale in the USA, asking US$16,400.

See a specs sheet and a period test here.

Satisfaction, September 16

Kawasaki ZRX1200R

Commuting by motorcycle beats everything, and the Kawasaki ZRX1200R is King of the home fleet at that little game. See the story here.

Cycle World to finish, September 16

cycle world

Long-running (since 1962) USA motorcycle magazine Cycle World is, sadly, about to produce its last print edition, however it will continue as a web title. The magazine had already gone to quarterly.

According to Canada MotoGuide, Cycle World was the USA's last general interest motorcycle print title, though several narrower focus titles remain.

See this story at Canada MotoGuide.

Cycle World online

cycle world 1991

Top 5 future classics? September 15

Yamaha V-max 1985

Bennets in the UK has made some bold choices on what it sees as the top five value-for-money future classics in the market at the moment. They are: 1996 Suzuki GSF1200 Bandit, 2005 Suzuki GSX-R1000K5, 1985 Yamaha V-Max, 1993 Ducati M900 Monster and 1994 BMW R 1100 GS.

See the story here.

Honda CB1100RB racer on offer, September 15

Honda CB1100RB

This CB1100RB is listed as a former Dennis Neill mount, having done service as a factory production racer and then a Honda Australia superbike. Neill famously ended his career with a crash on the machine at Mount Panorama in the 1981 Arai 500. However the bike was repaired and saw a few more campaigns. It's currently on Bikesales, with a fair bit of background recorded, priced at $115,000.

Classic Motorcycle Mechanics mag in the UK has a backgrounder, here.

Centennial Suzukis, September 15

Suzuki GSX-R

Suzuki is releasing its 100th anniversary range in Australia, with three variants of the GSX-R line-up: 600, 750 and 1000 (pictured). More here.

Oddball R100RS variant for sale, September 14


Here's something you won't see every day: a BMW R100RS John Player Special. It was for sale in northern NSW at Au$10,000 (US$7300, £5700) and was snapped up quickly.

This was an era when promotional vehicles for tobacco companies and their race teams were a bit of a thing. It might sit nicely beside your 1980s BMW 635 coupe in JPS warpaint, celebrating Jim Richards' victory in the 1985 Australian Touring Car Championship.

The car which won the championship was for sale earlier this year – see the story at Which Car.

BMW Australia is said to have done 30 bikes in the livery.

Boxers were, a few years after this 1981 version, being phased out in favour of the K-series. A refreshed version of the R100RS was reintroduced locally for the 1988 model year.

Enquiries went through MMM's BMW Boxerworks in Brisbane, Queensland. It was also listed on Facebook.

Nice Gixxer, September 13

Suzuki GSX-R750G

What's an exceptional 1986 Suzuki GSX-R750 worth? One of the nicest examples we've seen in a long time, claiming just 1925 miles (3100km), recently fetched a top bid of US$7777 (Au$10,700, £6100) without meeting reserve at Iconic Motorbike Auctions in the USA. See the lot here.

The 1986 model, aka the GSX-R750G, had some updates over the original with the most significant being a 25mm longer swingarm for more stability.

See a history of this series at

We have a feature coming up on these – keep an eye out for it.

Happy Sunbeam, September 13

sunbeam s7

That counts as a good afternoon – sorting a couple of little issues on Winston the 1947 Sunbeam S7. Now running nicely again. Ignition timing was off (the distributor had worked a little loose) and the battery charge was low – all good again.

See a recent story on the bike, here.

My favourite quote in that story comes from Philip White, who somehow managed to revive its mechanicals for me, after all sorts of dramas: “This is a very rare and beautiful motorcycle. It should stay that way. You should ride it once and put it away…” And, no, I haven't followed his tongue-in-cheek advice.

Bimota SB6 – worth a punt? September 12

Bimota SB6

The appearance on the Aussie market of a Bimota SB6 – the firm's most successful model – prompted us to do a quick profile. See the story and the bike for sale, here.

Get to the Thunder Rally, September 12

thunder rally 2020

Young Aunty Mal at the Ducati Owners Club of NSW is inviting all of us to the annual Thunder Rally.

It's number 39 and, yes, is on this year and, given the fluid situation with Covid restrictions, it has ended up as an online event. You can find out more at the club home page, while the registration page is here. Or here on Facebook.

It's helping a great cause, which is Royal Rehab.

The virtual side happens via Zoom on October 10 at 3.00-4.00pm. Entry is $30 and that puts you in the running for what seems like a squillion bike-related prizes. Most importantly, all riders are welcome – so join in and help out a good cause.

A little background from Mal: For 39 years the proceeds have gone to the Spinal Unit at Royal North Shore Hospital. In later years it went to the Brain and Spinal Injury Unit at the Royal Rehabilitation Centre.

For the first 27 years of the rally, it was the sole contributing event to the Spinal Unit. Subsequently, the Ducati Owners Club of NSW adopted the hospital as its official recipient for created funding. Including the Ducati bike raffle and some other events we are at around half a million dollars over near 40 years.

Sometimes the rally raises four or five grand, however the first rally, in 1982, raised a whopping $400! Oh, how times have changed. With full trade and media support, combined with the generosity of fellow riders, we have gone forward together.

One of the reasons the Thunder Rally has always been 'all rider's welcome' is because brain and spinal injury doesn't care what's written on the tank, and also because we believed everyone should always be welcome as fellow riders no matter what.

Buy a Classic, September 11

Ducati 750ss brochure

Everyone’s in the market for a classic these days, right? Maybe. Let’s take a spin through some of the basics of getting one for yourself. See the story here.

Retro ad for the day, September 10

Moorooka Yamaha ad

It's the start of the millennium, and Motorcycle Trader mag for January 2000 has these beauties in a Moorooka Yamaha ad inside the front cover. Anything there you wish you'd bought? Have to admit the YZF750 in screaming 90s colours has a bit of appeal...then again, so does the first-edition R1.

See our first-model R1 review.

Hyper Boxers, September 9


Want something really special in a twin? BMW’s three-way high-end HP2 series is the place to start. See the story here.

Bazza's shots, September 9

barry ashenhurst photography

If you've been reading dirt bike tests over a few decades, there's a very good chance you've tripped over words and pics by the enormously talented Barry Ashenhurst. For a while there he was a mainstay contributor for Motorcycle Trader mag in Australia, among others.

Bazz has since set up a website showcasing just a small section of his exceptional work and, if you appreciate good images, it's well worth a visit. The pic above is an example, though the site so far concentrates on lots of things other than motorcycles.

As for his stories, here's an example of something from the archives. Look for the second paragraph.

Find Bazz on Facebook, here.

Alien Technology, September 8

honda gl1000

Back in 1975, Honda's new GL1000 Gold Wing looked as though aliens may have had a hand in it. See the profile here.

Who's obsessed? September 8

bobby sullivan

These photos recently surfaced on social media. Meet Bobby Sullivan and his extraordinary Triumph collection, which became the subject of a book. We reckon the man is performing a public service, as it's always nice to be able to point to someone who is more obsessed than you...

bobby sullivan

Waterbottle offering, September 7

Suzuki GT750

One of the more reasonably-priced Suzuki GT750 'Waterbottles' we've seen in a while, at $9500 (US$6900, £5300). The owner claims a fairly comprehensive mechanical refresh.

Specs and some period tests can be found here.

Find it here at Ebay.

Suzuki GS1000S, September 6

suzuki gs1000s

Suzuki GS1000S – a seminal motorcycle for the brand and one which shared its fame with American racer Wes Cooley. Look out for our upcoming model profile.

Restomods – love 'em or hate 'em? September 5

z1 restomod

You don't have to follow in the factory's footsteps. See the story here.

Bad criteria, September 4

Ducati 916

Is there such a thing as a defensible motorcycle purchase? See the story here.

Pic by Ben Galli Photography

Yamaha Grand Prix, September 3


The bike has aged pretty well, though we're not so sure about the fashion. The YR-1 Grand Prix of 1967 was a hugely important bike for the company. See the story here.

Mr Versatile, September 2

Suzuki DR650

Was there ever a more useful bike than a Suzuki DR650? We suspect not. See the story here.

Vale Brumby, September 2

vasle neale brumby

Former Heavy Duty magazine owner Neale Brumby has passed away after a long illness. All the best to Vivienne and the kids, and his friends. A wonderful character who will be sorely missed.

Here's a nice tribute by Rod Chapman, at Bikesales.

Sub $10k Brit challenge, September 1

Royal Enfield Meteor 700

You may have noticed that mainstay classic British twins, such as Norton Commando and Meriden Triumph Bonneville, along with lots of other classics, have seen prices climbing in recent years. Recent Australian sales have seen numbers climb well past the 20k and even 30k mark for something a bit special.

So just as an exercise we went looking for a sub-$10k classic Brit twin – does such a thing still exist? It does.

This 1954 Royal Enfield Meteor 700 (below) is on the market at Bikesales for $9500. The overall engine architecture is similar to Triumphs of the day and the power clam was a modest 30 horses. That was supposed to be good enough for 100mph.

That distinctive twin-lamp instrument nacelle, by the way, still carries on with modern Royal Enfield Bullets. Tempted?

Royal Enfield Meteor 700

Want more news? See our archive.


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