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News September 2023

Mighty middleweight – Suzuki SV650, September 29

suzuki sv650

Believe it or not, Suzuki's first V-twin SV650 series has turned 24, which means next year they can be registered on club plates in some states.

We have had a couple of these come through the shed over time and reckon they're been unbeatable as a light, fun and easy-to-ride package.

The first-gen offered 51kW (68hp) for a claimed 165kg dry for the naked version – more than enough to tear up a licence. See the Suzuki overview.

Our shed: Ducati 916 take 2, September 28

ducati 916

Okay, we bought another one and this should have been really simple: Swap the mufflers, get the front brake light switch working and get a roadworthy certificate for the recently-acquired Ducati 916 (our second). It was not to be...see the story here.

Darwin for sale, September 28

                r1150gs for sale

Contrary to popular belief, we do know how to sell a motorcycle and have even been known to do it on rare occasions. And this is one of them.

The 2002 BMW R1150GS we recently bought on a whim in Darwin and then rode 3800km (2360 miles) home to Melbourne is now on the market. Why? Because I already have another example of exactly the same model and only ever bought it to do the trip.

The ad is on Bikesales.

If you missed the story on the trip (which was great fun), see it here.

Chaos on Sydney Road, September 28

syd road

A combined motorcycle and bicycle race on Sydney Road? Why not? Australian Motor Cycle News has published a fun story on this snapshot from the past. See it here.

Hyrbid stroker, September 27

yamaha rd350lc hybrid

Something a little different: A 1983 Yamaha RD350LC two-stroke twin updated with the front and rear suspension and wheels from a Suzuki RGV250 VJ22A – which places it in the early 1990s.

There is of course a long list of further mods and it all suggests this would be a quick and interesting piece of machinery. It's being sold via Brad's Vintage Cycle Sales and is priced at Au$18,500 (US$11,800, GB£9800)

yamaha rd350lc modified

Yamaha LCs have been a fairly popular modifier's platform in the UK – here's an example at Return of the Cafe Racers.


Yamaha RD350LC specs and backgrounder at Motorcycle Specs.

See our Yamaha RZ350 mini profile.

And our Suzuki RGV250 profile.

Six games, September 25

Honda cbx1000 prolink

Today's shed entertainment was playing with our recently-acquired 1981 Honda CBX1000 Prolink (the inline six), which is in need of some (hopefully) minor recommissioning after sitting unused for some time.

We're rapidly discovering there's a lot going on under that paint...wish us luck!

Specs and backgrounder at Motorcycle Specs.

See the epic Classic Two Wheels road test of the 1979 naked Mk1 version.

That will make two Honda sixes in the shed – the other being our Valkyrie Interstate.

Return of the screens, September 25


A few days ago we published a feature on motorcycle screens, pointing out the USA was a great source of over-sized units that provide better protection than stock items.


However we overlooked a local maker, namely Eagle Screens in WA. It has an impressive catalogue of offerings, which you can see here.

Hot Hondas, September 24

Honda CB750SS

Welcome to 1978 – or there-abouts – and Honda is flogging what looks like a souped-up CB750-Four F2 (last of the single-cams for most markets). The CB750SS is in fact a low-volume special cobbled together with the help of Seeley. The latter provided the fuel tank, bodywork, rear-sets...the list goes on.

By now the single-cam 750 was comprehensively out-gunned in the market, though it was still a a fairly quick road bike.

                  read replica

Honda and Seeley's partnership produced a couple of variants, including the Phil Read replica, of which about 150 are thought to have been built. The one shown here is currently for sale in the UK via Motorcycle Investment Services, priced at Au$33,350 (US$21,500, GB£17,500).

See the Old Bike mag special on the CB750-Four F series.

And our CB750-Four profile.

Middleweight delights, September 23

Kawasaki KZ550

It's 1980 and Kawasaki USA has come up with this quirky ad for its middleweight KZ550, which turned out to be a bit of a gem.

Cycle World wrote in its test: "Where the 550 absolutely shines is in engine performance, from low end and mid-range torque that would do a normal 750 justice to the fastest 550cc ET. That engine torque means the 550 will come off corners hard or cruise around town at low rpm (2500-3000) in top gear. In an impromptu roll-on from 50mph, the KZ550 in sixth gear left behind a 1340cc Harley-Davidson FLT 80 running in fourth gear (the Harley has five speeds). The ability to happily purr along at low rpm in higher gears has a lot to do with the bike’s good gas mileage.

"Combined with the light weight and quick steering, the impression the rider gets from the KZ550’s engine is that he’s riding a 400 with 750 power." See the full road test here.

kawasaki gpz550

We don't recall getting the KZ550 in Australia, but we did get the closely-related and equally highly-regarded GPz550. That model went to a Uni-Trak (monoshock) rear suspension from 1981. See the Cycle World profile.

$100k of Comets, September 22

vincent comet series a

Here's living proof that there are some classics out there which retain value no matter what. The two Vincent Comet singles you see here, both desperately in need of resuscitation, collectively fetched over Au$100k at a September Donington (Australia) auction.

The first, a rare Series A Special from 1937, flew a long way past the published estimates to Au$76,000 (US$48,700, GB£39,600). This variant has been described as a TT model with lights, hence the exceptional interest.

vincent comet

Meanwhile the second bike is a Series C from around 1949. It fetched Au$31,000 (US$19,900, GB£16,200).

See the Series C Comet review from The Classic MotorCycle.

Animated Vespa, September 21

mickey mouse vespa

If you're a fan of animation, this Vespa might prove to be the thing that finally plunges you into scooter ownership. In partnership with Disney in its 100th anniversary, Vespa has released a Primavera 50 in Mickey Mouse livery, complete with artwork of the immortal mouse and his signature. Price? Au$7590 (US$4860, GB£3950) on the road. More here.

mickey mouse vespa

plymouth road

It's not the first time we've had a cartoon character associated with a vehicle – one that instantly springs to mind is Chrysler and its Plymouth Road Runner series of the 1960s. See the Unique Cars magazine story, here.

plymouth road

Our bikes: Screen play, September 21

motorcycle screens

We've come to the conclusion that if you want a motorcycle touring screen that actually works, you need to talk to the Americans. See the full story here.

History under the hammer, September 19

curtiss v-twin

Mike Hanlon over at New Atlas has trawled through and analysed the results of the recent sale of the Parham collection from the National Motorcycle Museum in Iowa, USA. It's well worth a read – see the full story here.

The auction was conducted earlier this month by Mecum.

Among the lots were several significant machines, including the 1906 Curtiss V-twin shown. It sold for Au$333,500 (US$214,500, GB£173,300).

Kawasaki Z900 – random shot for the day, September 19

kawasaki z900

It's 1976 and the A4 version of Kawasaki's mighty Z900 is still carrying the factory's performance flag, some four years after it was launched.

See the vital stats at Motorcycle Specs.

See our feature on its stylish successor, the Z1-R.

Yamaha SR500 by Mel LeMoto, September 18

mel lemoto sr500

Following on from yesterday's post on Mel LeMoto Yamaha RD250/350LC custom kits from 1980-ish is this gem from Stewart Ross of the SR500 Club in Australia.

Please tell us someone out there has one!

See the Yamaha SR500 in our shed.

Mel LeMoto – today's oddball, September 17

yamaha mel lemoto

Just the thing for the Yamaha RD250/350LC owner who had plenty of cash to throw around, a Mel LeMoto kit to turn you bike into a road-going TZ replica.

It was pretty comprehensive, including alloy tank, body work, rearsets, front brake discs and a fresh set of combustion chambers complete with stinger mufflers.

Are there any still running around out there?

1980 Yamaha RD350LC specs at Motorcycle Specs.

Land yacht cruise, September 16


It's great to get out and about for a few days, using the 1999 Bimmer K1200LT land yacht in the way the maker intended. Fortunately it handles a whole lot better than it looks!

See our model profile.

And the story on the big rebuild for the one in the shed.

CB750-Four resto, September 15


Honda's CB750-Four was an industry-changing motorcycle and remains popular as a restoration target 55 years after its launch. Here's a good piece on a K0 restoration out of the USA, published by Motorcycle Classics.

Honda cb750-four

See the 750-Four K1 in our shed.

See the 1970 Classic Two Wheels road test.

Blowers and bikes, September 14

BMW supercharged Georg Meier

It's 1939 and Georg 'Schorsch' Meier is winning the Senior TT at the Isle of Man on his supercharged BMW. Some 80-ish years later, you may notice a lack of superchargers in MotoGP, which seems a shame.

Ian Falloon's weekly retrospective feature covers the fascinating history behind blowers and bikes. See it here.

Suzuki's litre hero, September 13


Suzuki's GS1000E was a hugely important bike in the maker's history – it's first litre-class machine (from 1978) and a great follow-on from its first big four-stroke, the GS750E.

It's often overlooked in favour of later and more glamorous models such as the GSX1100E, and is nevertheless a great ride.


What got us going on this theme was spotting a 1981 example for sale via Facebook marketplace. You don't often see them pop up and this one claims to have been restored and is being offered for Au$10,000 (US$6400, GB£5100). See the listing here.

Specs and backgrounder and Motorcycle Specs.

MV Nero gallery, September 12

              Agusta F4 1000 Nero

A week or so ago we put up a quick story on our recently acquired MV Agusta F4 1000 Nero, but at the time we were light-on for pics and specs.

That's now been fixed and you can now see the Italian monster in all its glory, here.

Stroker wave, September 11


The current wave of popularity being experienced by late-model two-stroke sports bikes shows no sign of diminishing. From our blink-and-you'll-miss-it department comes this listing on Facebook, from Brad's Vintage Cycle Sales.

A 13,100km (8100-mile) and apparently tidy 1992 Suzuki RGV250 was listed at Au$18,950 (US$12,200, GB£9800) and lasted less than an hour.

See our RGV250 profile.

Peak Zed for the shed, September 10


Some while back we mentioned laying our scone-grabbers on a shiny one-owner Kawasaki ZX-12R, filling out the rocketship end of the shed that already contained a Honda Blackbird and modified Suzuki Hayabusa.

Now, a few months down the track, we have had a chance to play with it and have a few things to report. See the story here.

Brute force, September 10


Brute force...partial shed clean-up today: Kawasaki ZX-12R, Honda Blackbird, Suzuki Hayabusa, plus Triumph Daytona 1200, Super III and Speed Triple.

See Our Bikes for more on each of them.

Africa style, September 9


Honda delivered some style to the adventure tourer cum rally raid replica sector back in 1990 with the V-twin XRV750. See the buyer guide from Bennetts in the UK.

Gun Enfield, September 8

                    enfield 1963 interceptor 750

It's 1963, Triumph is launching its elegant unit construction Bonneville 650 and rival Royal Enfield has its 750 Interceptor entering the market. Fast, if somewhat prone to oil leaks, it made quite an impression.

See the Motorcycle Classics feature.

Yamaha GL 750 – today's if-only star, September 7

yamaha gl750


It's 1971 and Yamaha is showing off a spectacular prototype in Tokyo (then Paris the following year): The two-stroke, liquid-cooled, fuel-injected inline four GL 750.


Sadly we never got to see a production version. However the basic engine architecture (minus the injection) turned out to be very handy on the racetrack in the shape of the TZ700 and TZ750 series.

Surely there's a talented builder out there who could create a working replica?

Little things, September 6



Flashback: Sometimes it's the little things that bring the biggest smile to your dial – like an old Suzuki TS185ER. See the story here.

Brit bargains, September 5


                  851 sp3

Recent auction results in the UK suggest that's the place to go hunting a classic at the moment. The example here is a 1991 Ducati 851 SP3 with 12,500km on the odo and apparently in good shape. It sold through Gooding & Company for Au$15,600 (US$10,100, GB£8000) compared to a pre-auction estimate of Au$30-49,000 (US$19-32,000, GB£15-25,000). We reckon it looks like a bargain.

vincent black shadow auction

On August 6 we reported on a 1951 Series C Black Shadow that was in good working though not pristine condition and came with its original registration. It went for Au$57,700 (US$38,000, GB£29,800), through Silverstone. Believe it or not, that's cheap by local standards.

Flash Zed, September 4


It was 1983 and music flick Flashdance had been released, as had the Kawasaki GPz1100/ZX1100 A-1 in all its 120-horse glory. The price scribbled on the brochure in the pic is what it cost back then in Australia...are there any good ones left out there?

See the backgrounder at Motorcycle Specs.

Our bikes: MV Agusta F4 1000 Nero hits the road, September 3

mv agusta f4 1000 nero

It's been an entertaining week in the Chateau Guido shed, with the 2006 MV Agusta F4 Nero finally getting on the road with fresh tyres and rego. See the story here.

Honda SL350 – today's random brochure, September 2


honda sl350

Honda's mighty twin-cylinder SL350 trail bike met with a muted reception way back in 1969-71 and we're wondering if there are many survivors out there.

Basic stats for the 326cc four-stroke were 33 horses at 9500rpm in a package with a dry weight of 145kg.

Most would not have been worth restoring and Hagerty in the USA lists the value of a good example at around Au$6200 (US$4000, GB£3150).

There are however exceptions, such as the example shown here. It was formerly owned by actor John Wayne and auctioned last year by Sotheby's. Though long-departed, it seems the movie star still has pulling power, with the Honda fetching Au$46,000 (US$30,000, GB£23,600).

More specs at Motorcycle Specs.


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