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News June 2021

How much for the Zed? June 19

Kawasaki z900

Results from a recent Shannons auction confirm that if you now want a seventies Kawasaki Z900 in premium shape, it will cost you around Au$35,000 (US$26,000, GB£19,000)...more here.

Retro ad for the day, June 19

suzuki boredome ts ad

It's 1971 and Suzuki is doing its very best to conquer boredom with a TS-series stroker. That works for us...

Rare Century twin for sale, June 19

century chief

One of two Century Chief prototypes from the 1990s has lobbed in Australia and is now for sale. More here

Sweet SR, June 19

yamaha sr500

Definitely a front-runner for our Father of the Year award is Stu Lloyd, who built this Yamaha SR500 cafe racer for his daughter. Worth a read, here.

Pivotal Moment – 40 years ago, June 17

harley buyout 1981

A pivotal moment for H-D and, in some ways, much of the rest of the motorcycle industry. This was a publicity pic for the 1981 leveraged buyout from AMF, by management, of the Harley-Davidson company.

The industry as a whole was heading for a major contraction later that decade.

A few years after this shot was taken, the Evolution series was launched, which was a badly-needed product upgrade.

As the proverbial hit the fan, it was H-D which turned out to be an innovator when it came to developing owner groups and the accessory/merchandise side of the business, along with their retail environment.

In the pic: Willie G Davidson at right, Vaughn Beales next to him. (Pic from H-D Museum)

Darmah Drama, June 16

Ducati 900 darmah ad

Ducati's 1977 launch of its Leopoldo Tartini-designed 900 road bikes came in two forms, the 900 SD (top) and 900 SSD (below), aka the Darmah series. If nothing else, you couldn't accuse Ducati's marketing of under-playing things!

Ian Falloon tells us the 1981 ad is from UK distributor Coburn & Hughes.

ducati 900 ssd

The styling changes were accompanied by significant technical updates over the 860 series, including a switch to Desmodromic heads.

See Darmah specs and backgrounder at Motorcycle Specs;

See Falloon's Ducati 860, 900 Mille Bible (print).

UK Auction Results, June 13


ducati 900 mhr

H&H Classics in the UK recently handled 150 lots for the National Motorcycle Museum, with a weird and wonderful mix of offerings.

Two that caught our eye are a 1982 Ducati Hailwood 900 (lot 79, above) and first-model 1975 Suzuki Rotary (lot 127, below).

The Ducati carried an estimate of Au$31-35,000 (US$24-27,000, GB£17-19,000) and sold for Au$32,600 (US$25,200, GB£17,800)

The Suzuki estimate range was Au$11-13,000 (US$8500-10,000, GB£6-7000) and it sold for Au$12,600 (US$9700, GB£6900).

See our Suzuki RE5 mini profile.

The full auction results can be seen here.

suzuki re5

suzuki re5

Retro ad for the day – BSA, June 13

BSA C15 ad

Enjoy our retro ads for the day, for BSA's C15 250 single. The company's ads for this and the Bantam were commonly pitched at women as riders. This happy seaside pose with the 1960 model above was a little unusual for the series, while the one below was more typical.

C15 specs via Motorcycle Specs

BSA C15 ad

Race pic for the day, June 12

Harley finke

Something you definitely won't see every day – a Harley XR1200-based rocket built by Farrows Customs (Qld) competing in this year's Finke desert race. Brave, and great to see!

Pic is from the James Robinson feed on Facebook.

Amaroo 6-Hour, June 10

Mike Hailwood ducati australia

Australian Motorcycle News (AMCN) has a terrific retro piece about the days the legendary Castrol 6-Hour production race was held at Amaroo Park. And yes, that's Mike Hailwood on the Ducati shared with Jim Scaysbrook, in the photo. See the story here.

Jim also talks about teaming up with Hailwood, in another AMCN piece – see it here.

Norton Commando up for auction, June 8

Norton Commando

Shannons' Winter classics auction went live today and one of the prime bike lots is this 1972 Norton Commando 750 (lot 77). It claims very few miles on a major restoration and the estimate is Au$22-28,000 (US$17-22,000, GB£12-15,000).

See the full catalogue here.

Norton Commando

See our Norton Commando profile.

Norton Commando

See the Norton 850 story from 'our shed'.

Classic Two Wheels has a 1973 Norton Commando 850 road test – see it here.

Kawasaki H1 & H2 period tests, June 7

Kawasaki Mach III

After we published our mini profile on Kawasaki's H1 and H2 series, Classic Two Wheels dug out two contemporary road tests for two different generations of Kawasaki's two-stroke weapons: a 1969 Mach III 500 and 1972 Mach IV 750. See them here.

Kawasaki Mach IV

Kawasaki H2 auction, June 4

Kawasaki H2 750

One of Kawasaki's mighty two-stroke triples is up for auction, so we figured it was a good time to produce a mini profile. See it here.

Tiddler Time, June 4

Laverda lusso

Let's ride something ridiculous...see it here.

Harley Pan America tech, June 4

Harley-davidson pan america

Not a new story, but timely given all the recent excitement over Harley-Davidson's great tech leap forward with the Pan America. This is a deep-dive by Cycle World veteren Kevin Cameron.

Harley-davidson pan america

Bygone brands – American Eagle, June 3

american eagle laverda

This Laverda 750 twin was one of the flagship models of a short-lived enterprise in the USA...more here.

Stroker for the day, June 1

Yamaha RD350

We've long been fans of Yamaha's air-cooled RD series, with the 350s of this era arguably being the pick of them. This tidy-looking 1973 RD350A has popped up on Bikesales, priced at Au$14,500 (US$11,200, GB£7900).

See our RD250/350 brochure page; Specs and period test at Motorcycle Specs.


Want more news & views? See our archive.


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