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News Oct 2021

Iconic Ducatis, Oct 31

Ducati 750GT

Half a century on from the launch of Ducati's V-twins, Classic Two Wheels has just published a big read, with period tests on the iconic 750GT and 750SS from the 1970s.

Plus there are a couple of invaluable background features including a piece on one on the bikes that contested the inaugural Imola 200, and a V-twin history piece from Ian Falloon. See it here.

Big twins auction results, Oct 31

Brough Superior SS100

H&H in the UK this week concluded its 200-lot British Motorcycle Museum auction and two of the lots we highlighted pulled strong bidding.

Leading the pair was a 1938 Brough Superior SS100 (lot 119), or essentially the model everyone wants when you talk of this marque. There are gaps in its long history, but we're assured it has all the correct numbers and is in good order. It was carrying an estimate of Au$330-370,000 (US$248-276,000, GB£180-200,000) and went for Au$396,000 (US$298,000, GB£218,000).

Vincent Rapide

Somewhat less terrifying in the price stakes is a 1948 Vincent Series B Rapide (lot 134). It was the subject of a restoration some 20 years ago and is claimed to still be in good shape. While the upper frame member and crankcases have numbers, there is none on the rear frame member. H&H had an estimate of Au$59-65,000 (US$42-48,000, GB£32-35,000), which was about in line with the softer prices we've recently seen on this model. However it defied expectations by hitting Au$75,000 (US$57,000, GB£41,400)

Norton V4 revealed, Oct 30

Norton V4SV

Norton Motorcycles has revealed a reworked version of its V4, called the V4SV, which it suggests is soon to be released for sale.

The pictures so far show a motorcycle close to final form, though the exhaust will be changed. Two versions are being shown: The Manx in silver livery and the Carbon wrapped in carbon-fibre bodywork.

In any case, neither price nor launch date has been confirmed, though the company is inviting expressions of interest.

According to the factory blurb: "The new re-engineered V4SV is the most luxurious British superbike ever created. The only British built and designed superbike in production. The speed, the handling, the feeling... Nothing comes close to it."

The machine is running the company's own 1200cc 72-degree V4, claiming 185 horses (138kW) and 125Nm, in a bespoke frame with extensive use of carbon fibre in the body. Braking is by Brembo and suspension is high-end Ohlins with full adjustment. electronics include a six-axis traction control.

Norton V4SV

The company was in the news a couple of years ago for all the wrong reasons, when senior management was accused of financial skulduggery. It was subsequently bought by TVS, which is India's third-largest motorcycle company with revenues in the region of US$8.5 billion.

See more about the V4SV at Norton's website.

See our Norton Commando profile; And the story on our own Commando

EffJay reborn, Oct 30

Babas MT-10

Custom bike house Babas has had a go at reviving Yamaha's iconic FJ1100. The exercise exists only as a graphic, so far, and was based on Yamaha's current MT-10. It was done for magazine Moto Journal. It looks good, doesn't it?

Yamaha FJ1100

See our Yamaha FJ1100-1200 backgrounder

Ride on the wild side, Oct 29

Yamaha R1

When Yamaha's first R1 launched back in 1998, it was something of a revelation and definitely another notch up the sports bike evolutionary scale. Here are a couple of features on what is becoming accepted as a future classic.

First, our own backgrounder: Kunihiko Miwa was the young lead designer on the R1 project and is now a very senior exec with the company. He is said to have laid down the basic goal posts for the R1: 150hp, under 180kg dry weight and 600-class handling.

The fact is, they pretty well hit the nail on the head...see the story here.

We're not the only ones to think that way. Classic Two Wheels has pubished the 1998 road test, which comments: The RI has been a long time coming. A long time since the FireBlade re-wrote the rules of big-bore sportsbikes.

A long time since word first crept out that Yamaha was onto something special. A long time since the model trickled out of Japan. Production delays and huge demand kept stocks low in Australia and frustrated potential purchasers, some of whom went elsewhere in search of their jollies.

For the rest, it has been worth the wait...see the story here.

RIP Paul Smart, Oct 28

Paul Smart Ducati

Sad news from the UK: Legendary racer Paul Smart, who is most closely identified with the success of Ducati at the inaugural Imola 200 race in 1972, has died in a traffic incident at age 78. More at Visor Down.

Hayabusa tops best of 2000s list, Oct 28

Suzuki Hayabusa

Since we got on to the topic of Hayabusa, yesterday, it seems the mighty bird has capped a list of the top 10 motorcycles of the 2000s, put together by Web Bike World.

The list runs: 1 Suzuki Hayabusa, 2 Harley-Davidson VRod, 3 Honda Goldwing, 4 BMW R1150 GS Adventure, 5 Honda CRF450R, 6 Yamaha FJR1300, 7 Triumph Rocket 3, 8 Suzuki GSX-R750 K6, 9 Can-Am Spyder, 10 Marine Turbine Technologies Y2k.

See the full story here.

Hayabusa collector, Oct 27

Suzuki  Hayabusa

First-model Suzuki Hayabusas, especially those in the copper colour scheme used in the original publicity, are very much on the collector radar with an example selling recently in the USA for Au$20,800 (US$15,600, GB£11,400).

The 1999 machine had a shade under 6000km (3700 miles) on the odo and was in excellent though not concours condition. Auctioned by Iconic, it was being sold by the Throttlestop Museum in Wisonsin, USA, to make way for another example with lower miles.

Suzuki Hayabusa ad

See our first-gen Hayabusa profile;

And the story on our modded 2003 example;

And the Classic Two Wheels 1999 road test.

Buellvana? Oct 26

Buell Hammerhead

We're intrigued by Buell's latest missive. The renewed company, which is building and selling variants of the Buell Racing V-twin has launched what it calls Buellvana.

This is an online ordering system for your next road rocket and here's how it works:

1. Go to and place a $25 dollar reservation for a production slot, plus receive a limited-edition Buell hat;

2. When your production slot nears, the Buell sales team will call to discuss and confirm the exact model configuration. In addition, your local delivery location and local service dealer will be identified;

3. Ready for delivery. The Buell sales team will call to finalize payment and arrange delivery of your new Buell Motorcycle.

Evidently the bikes cost a bit more than the hat. Prices start at Au$24,000 (US$18,000, GB£13,000), before you start piling on the options, or go for the range-topper Hammerhead model. The latter adds another US$1000 before options.

We expect this is for the domestic market only, at this stage.

TRX treat, Oct 25

Yamaha TRX850

Our random brochure for the day – Yamaha TRX850. See our backgrounder.

Fancy a Norcati? Oct 24


We've seen all sorts of Norton-framed specials across the decades, including Tritons, Norvin twins and singles and the like, but Norcati is not something you hear every day.

This example is said to run a 1964 wideline frame with a Ducati 600 Monster powerplant taken out to 675.

The mash-up includes Yamaha TZR forks with monobloc four-spotter brake caliper and YSS suspension on the rear. Instruments are period-looking Smiths electronic.

Up for grabs on Bikesales, it claims to have full road compliance via an engineer's certificate and is on the market at $29,900.

Speaking of one-offs, see our Norvin single feature

Super Nova, Oct 23

Triumph Super III

Triumph's Super III was top of the corporate line-up back when the company was a reborn niche player. See the story.

Might be right, Oct 22

Honda CB750-Four K2

Honda's CB750-Four was well into the swing of things by the time the K2 series rolled along, which shows in this period ad.

See our CB750-Four feature

See the 1970 K0 road test from Classic Two Wheels

Big price for Bimmer, Oct 21

BMW R90/6

A BMW R90/6 has just sold for Au$22,600 (US$17,000, GB£12,300), through Bring a Trailer in the USA. The 1974 bike was a low miler at 21,000 miles (34,000km) that had spent much of its life in storage, before undergoing a restoration.

That price is significantly higher than you might have expected a year ago – perhaps by as much as 50 per cent. See the lot here.


See the 1975 R90S test from Classic Two Wheels

Kawasaki future, Oct 21

Kawasaki hybrid

Australian Motor Cycle News has run with a feature on Kawasaki's vision of the future, with some fascinating tech, including hydrogen, hybrid and electric. See it here.

Zundapp and girls, Oct 21

Zundapp KS100

One of our favourite retro ads, for Zundapp's mighty KS100...clearly talking to key issues with its target market!

See our mini-feature on Zundapp lightweights

Farewell Nourish, Oct 20

Dave Nourish

Dave Nourish, founder of Nourish Race Engines and the creator of legions of British motorcycle competition powerplants, has passed away.

Phil Pilgrim over at Union Jack Motorcycles paid tribute by describing him as “arguably one of the greatest engineers of fast engines in the 20th century”.

Dave Nourish

Nourish was known for his work on Norton and Triumph powerplants, as well as a bespoke eight-valve Weslake twin. He sold his company a few years back and it continues today as Nourish Engineering.

Turbo time, Oct 21

Honda CX500 Turbo

Honda CX500 Turbo – our random brochure for the day. See out Turbo Kings feature.

Isle of Man 2022, Oct 20

Isle of man tt

With Australia the Hermit Kingdom showing signs of opening its borders, Dave Milligan over at motorcycle travel business Get Routed has announced he's setting up for the 2022 Isle of Man TT.

He says: “I have just scored a bunch more accommodation (single ensuite rooms, no less) for next years TT and for the Classic TT in August.

“The accommodation is in Ramsey approx 150 metres from the TT course and less to all the pubs and restaurants.

“There are packages for both events which include return bike shipping, return ferry tickets from Liverpool and 14 nights accommodation covering practice and race week.

“All enquiries to or call me on 0412 689 849."

Ramsay sprint

See our Isle of Man feature

See the Info Moto guide

On tour, Oct 19

Honda Blackbird adventure tourer

Honda Blackbird, the thinking rider's adventure tourer...

(Spotted on Facebook, somewhere in Russia)

See our Blackbird backgrounder; And the story on our Blackbird.

Wing workshop, Oct 18

Honda Gold Wing

The allegedly easy task of getting our recently-acquired Gold Wing up to speed has been a test of patience. See it here.

GS Take 2 – settling in our latest acquisition, Oct 17


A few tweaks here and there and our second attempt at GS ownership seems to be going just fine, without busting the budget. See it here.

CFMOTO cuts loose, Oct 17

CFMOTO concept

CFMOTO has clearly cut loose its creative team and has released a few images of a so far un-named concept bike. Note the carbon front discs, among all the other high-end gear.

CFMOTO concept

CFMOTO concept

Conti cruise, Oct 16

BMW R18 Transcontinental

We've been playing with one of these on behalf of Australian Motor Cycle News recently, all 400-plus kilos of BMW's top-flight cruiser – the R 18 Transcontinental. Behind the retro styling cues, there's a wealth of tech and all the rider aids you could reasonably hope for, and it's a thoroughly interesting ride.

Look for the test in the next edition of AMCN on October 28.

AMCN Adeventure issue

Oh, and in the meantime the mag's annual adventure bike issue is on the loose – well worth getting.

Gamma rush, Oct 15

Suzuki RG500

It seems Suzuki RG500s really are flavour of the month on the auction scene at the moment. A few days ago we mentioned an unused example being sold by Bonhams for a new record price of  Au$64,300 (US$47,000, GB£34,500).

That event has been backed up by a 1985 restomod auctioned by Iconic in the USA (and pictured here) selling for  Au$44,000 (US$32,500, GB£23,800), or at least double what we might have expected for the same machine a year ago.

This example had a major rebuild two years ago and is running aftermarket pipes, rear shock, wheels and brakes. Those changes, while done well, would normally be expected to hold back bidding. However that didn't seem to be the case and we can't help thinking the seller was incredibly fortunate.

Will we see this trend continue? Only time will tell.

See our Suzuki RG500 profile.

Hot Duke, Oct 14

Ducati MH900e

Classic bike guru Ian Falloon tells us the Ducati 900e Hailwood replica is the hottest thing on the market at the moment, at least when it comes to Dukes. Prices have risen steeply in recent months and sellers seem to be increasingly ambitious on what they ask.

As always, it's the never-used examples that are fetching top dollar – which seems a shame, but they were never accused of being a comfortable ride!

Ducati MH900e

The example at top was sold a few days ago by Bring a Trailer for Au$49,200 (US$36,100, GB£26,500), while the one above is on the market via Classic Avenue for a breath-taking $66,800 (US$49,000, GB£36,000)!

See our mini profile on the model.

Sleeping SR500, Oct 13

Yamaha SR500

Yamaha's mighty SR500 single of the late 1970s was not necessarily a roaring commercial success, though it has over the years developed a cult following. And we daresay this represents the proverbial golden fleece for some – a 1981 version, in silver, still in the crate.

It's being offered by Mecum in the USA, at its giant Las Vegas auction next January. Any guesses on what it will go for?

The story is it was owned by the late Charles 'Chuck' Hardin, of Empire Cycle in Spokane, Washington state. It's a multi-franchise store that currently sells Triumph, Husqvarna and CFMOTO.

Yamaha SR500

See the SR500 Club here; And a feature on our SR here.

Sales boom for bikes, Oct 13

Honda CBr1000SP

It seems buying your way out of boredom may be a national past-time during a period when our borders are locked up. Motorcycle sales in 2021 have benefited to the tune of an 8.3 per cent lift compared to last year.

Honda retains market leadership a little ahead of Yamaha, while Ducati and Triumph have seen some big gains.

FCAI bike sales

Info Moto has a breakdown of the numbers.

Flashback: Ducati SportClassic range, Oct 12

Ducati Sport Classic

Ducati stuck its neck out by going retro before retro was a ‘thing’.

See our buyer guide.

Wallet-busters at Bonhams, Oct 11

Suzuki RG500

Last week's Bonhams autumn sale at the Classic Motorcycle Mechanics show proved that there is no shortage of interest in iconic eighties performance bikes, or more traditional classics. A Suzuki RG500 Gamma fetched record money, however a one-off Norton prototype went for a song. See the story.

Norton Unicorn, Oct 11

Norton Cosworth experimental

Silodrome has published a story on this beast, thought to be a double overhead cam eight-valve liquid-cooled twin development engine, built by Cosworth, for Norton. See the story here.

Mini Superbike? Oct 10


The recent USA auction of a 1976 Honda CB400F, aka 400-Four, has prompted us to put up a mini profile. See it here.

Just a few cc, Oct 10

Ducati 748 biposto

Sent to us by Ian Falloon, with the wry comment, "It's amazing how much difference bigger pistons make." This very tidy 1999 Ducati 748 Biposto, with 15,000 miles (24,000km) on the odo sold via Bring a Trailer for Au$9900 (US$7200, GB£5300).

That's around two-thirds of what an equivalent 916 should bring. And the funny thing is, the 748 is arguably a sweeter ride.

Flashback: Troubled touring, Oct 9

Kawasaki Z400

Overloaded and looking for trouble on a Kawasaki Z400...see the story.

Savic start-up, Oct 8

Savic motorcycle

Australian electric motorcycle start-up Savic has received federal and state government funding to get production of its C-series underway. Some 100 units have been sold, according to founder Dennis Savic. More here at Which Car.

Oddball for the day, Oct 7

Suzuki GSX1100G

Do you remember these? A short-lived oddball model from the Suzuki cattledog, circa 1991-95, running a variant of the GSX-R1100 engine with a five-speed transmission and shaft drive. It claimed 100 horses and was pretty heavy at 259kg dry. Essentially a remake of the GS850/1000/1100G series of the early eighties, but with the updated engine.

In Australia, they were priced at Au$10,400 (US$7600, GB£5600) plus ORC - when a GSX-R1100M of 1991 was priced at Au$12,400 (US$9000, GB£6650).

Are there any still running around out there?

Specs and backgrounder here

Suzuki GSX-R1100J - today's time machine, Oct 6

Suzuki GSX-R1100J

Suzuki's first-gen GSX-R1100 had been subtly upgraded during its brief time on the market by the time the J model rolled around, and even in 2000 – when this ad was published – it was still a formidable bit of gear...more here.

Cheeky BSA, Oct 5

BSA Spitfire ad

Cheeky BSA Spitfire ad from 1967, for the USA market. Remember this was pre-internet by some decades, so the customer was encouraged to write to the California office if they desired more info on the range.

Spitfire specs and backgrounder at Motorcycle Specs

1980 Hyperwave, Oct 4

Suzuki GS1000S

Back in 1980 a writer for Two Wheels magazine suggested:

"The hyperwave of overkill has been broken upon our shores for more than a year now. Cylinder overkill (numbers), size overkill (capacity), weight overkill, complexity overkill and certainly pricing overkill. You might be buying more for your money but you’re paying more for the “privilege” of riding.

Kawasaki Z1000

"And one question is constant. Just when is enough, enough? Probably never. As long as people continue to think they can handle the machines of the dream culture more will always be associated (not always correctly) with being better."

Honda CB900FA

This was the intro to a comparison between three hero bikes from Japan: Suzuki GS1000S, Kawasaki Z1000 Mk2 and Honda CB900FA. See the story here, at Classic Two Wheels.

See more classic bike features here, or have a squiz at the bikes in our shed, here.

What now? Oct 3

Vincent Rapide Chinese red

So you've just thrown a king's ransom at a motorcycle that's looking decidedly second-hand...what now? See the story here.

Triumph Silver Jubilee Bonnie – today's retro ad, Oct 2

Triump[h Bonneville Silver Jubilee

We're not sure anyone would make a motorcycle commemorating the British royals at the moment, but Triumph did in 1977 with the Bonneville Silver Jubilee. 1000 were promised to America, and here's the brochure.

Triump[h Bonneville Silver Jubilee

Read the period Two Wheels magazine road test of the T140 Bonnie, plus Ian Falloon's take on the Silver Jubilee model (aka Betty’s Bonnie) at Classic Two Wheels.

Buell is back, Oct 1

buell hammerhead 1190

Buell has announced it really is back, with a new model called the Hammerhead 1190 for which it is taking orders from November 1. More here.


Want more news & views? See our archive.


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