Category Archives: rare motorcycles

1974 BMW R90s

screen-shot-2016-09-29-at-1-45-53-pmI have no idea what I was thinking. A past friend convinced me to buy a BMW motorcycle. I had a barn full of Honda’s Yamaha’s, Ducati’s ,Triumphs a, Gilera and something I don’t even remember. Based on the household rules (my wife) I had to sell something in order to buy something. No problem. A surfboard and a couple of motorcycles later I had a perfect 1976 R90S with a 100RS fairing. A perfect traveler. Barely broken in and had been sitting for 17 years.  Burried underneath boxes, pieces of carpet and a blanket was a bike that I didn’t really know I wanted

So, I trailered it home and proceeded going through it. All the fluids, new tires, brake pads and a good bath. I loved the R90. It did evscreen-shot-2016-09-29-at-1-45-16-pmerything I wanted it to do  and did it willingly.The R90S has a great history. My friend Reg Pridmore won the AMA Superbike Championship on one (highly modified of course) and friends have put hundreds of thousands of miles on them with no  issues. I put over 50,000 miles on mine in a bit over a year. It is a great motorcycle.
Then  a few years later I listened to another friend that  suggested a different bike and I thought “hey, why not?” The BMW went to a new home and a Buell Ulysses took it’s place. Back to the first question, “What was I thinking?” Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoy my Buell every time I hit the starter button but it just doesn’t have the same soul…as if a German bike actually has a soul, but  I’m comparing it to Italian and British bikes.

An R90s is about as perfect a motorcycle as you can get. It doesn’t require a computer to get it to run right, it handles better than most of us can ride and it is very comfortable on long rides for a vintage Sportbike, and yes ladies and gentlemen it is a Sportbike. This is a motorcycle that turns exactly when and where you want it to, it is a motorcycle that will stop on a dime and give you nine cents change and will keep you happy all day long and above and beyond all that, it’s beautiful. The R90 is really just an overbuilt  tarted up R75 but damn, it works!!!

I found a true sweetheart on ebay today, if you truly like or love vintage Sportbikes  this is a perfect bike for you. Click on the link (the blue line)  and you’ll get more info and more pictures. This is a great bike and the price is not out of line. And you get the saddlebags!!

<a target=”_self” href=”http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-53200-19255-0/1?icep_ff3=2&pub=5574881880&toolid=10001&campid=5336495545&customid=1974+BMW+R90S&icep_item=282191334074&ipn=psmain&icep_vectorid=229466&kwid=902099&mtid=824&kw=lg”&gt;screen-shot-2016-09-29-at-12-59-46-pm

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screen-shot-2016-09-29-at-1-00-22-pm1974 BMW R90S</a><img style=”text-decoration:none;border:0;padding:0;margin:0;” src=”http://rover.ebay.com/roverimp/1/711-53200-19255-0/1?ff3=2&pub=5574881880&toolid=10001&campid=5336495545&customid=1974+BMW+R90S&item=282191334074&mpt=%5BCACHEBUSTER%5D”&gt;

1970 Ural M-63

screen-shot-2016-09-22-at-10-43-56-amSo Comrade, you want to buy a motorcycle, I have just the one for you. Made right here in the mother country, the Ural M-63. A wonderful motorcycle, 650 CC, 15 KW power (20 hp) and a top speed of 104 KPH (65 MPH). It comes with a sidecar if you would like , that way you can take your wife and your mistress on a ride. screen-shot-2016-09-22-at-8-21-52-am

I had great fun again researching Ural. You have Ural, Dnepr, under one roof. Later down the road they were also known as Cossack motorcycles. Originally they were Military only but in the late 50’s IMZ started building bikes for the public. IMZ stands for Irbitskiy Motosikletniy Zavod (say that three times really fast) IMZ is the parent company. They were also sold in the UK under the name Satra from ’73 to ’79.

screen-shot-2016-09-22-at-8-27-15-amUral has a great history thanks to BMW and the German government. In 1940 the Soviet Union acquired design and production techniques from BMW. The Ural was based on the 1930’s BMW R71. It was originally built in the town of Irbit in an old Brewery. Now we have all heard about the lack of reliability in Urals but think about this…they’re built in a brewery…what did you expect? Let’s see, a barely adequate 6 volt electrical system, the carburetor leaked, floods and spit gas everywhere except into the engine. Sounds just perfect.

screen-shot-2016-09-22-at-8-31-33-amThe Urals however were known as a tank of a motorcycle. A 750 lb (with a sidecar) 20hp motorcycle that was very capable of traveling two up all over Eastern Europe. The M63 was made from 1963 to 1980. There is a lot more history but you can find it yourself.

There are those of us that go for interesting and then there are those that go for just plain weird. Today I found weird, but in a cool way. I’m going to leave any description of the bike to the ebay seller.  I really don’t know what to say about it. Click on the blue link below for more pictures and some information. It is weird but in a cool way. You certainly won’t see anything like at your local Sunday morning hangout…or the Church parking lot.

<a target=”_self” href=”http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-53200-19255-0/1?icep_ff3=2&pub=5574881880&toolid=10001&campid=5336495545&customid=1970+Ural+-63&icep_item=172347404334&ipn=psmain&icep_vectorid=229466&kwid=902099&mtid=824&kw=lg”&gt;screen-shot-2016-09-22-at-10-36-48-am

screen-shot-2016-09-22-at-10-37-03-amscreen-shot-2016-09-22-at-10-37-15-am1970 Ural M-63</a><img style=”text-decoration:none;border:0;padding:0;margin:0;” src=”http://rover.ebay.com/roverimp/1/711-53200-19255-0/1?ff3=2&pub=5574881880&toolid=10001&campid=5336495545&customid=1970+Ural+M-63&item=172347404334&mpt=%5BCACHEBUSTER%5D”&gt;

1974 John Player Norton Replica

Screen Shot 2016-06-01 at 8.54.46 AMI have written many times about motorcycles I have lusted after during my 50+ years of motorcycling. Some are worthy of my lust and others are just a Thursday night at the Pub talking with my other motorcycle junkie (in some cases it’s motorcycle junk) friends.  But, this particular Norton is one of my two obsessions, the Harley Davidson XLCR being the other.  I know I need to be sent to an institution.

The JPN has a history…a good one. In racing, one off motorcycles were the norm and the JPN was no exception.  In 1973 John Player cigarettes sponsored the Norton racing effort at the Isle Of Man , Peter Williams  won the Formula One 750 on one, beating the Honda 750! Online there is a great story from Cycle magazine about the history of the John Player Special. If you like Norton’s  it’s a good read.

Screen Shot 2016-06-01 at 8.58.25 AMMy history with Norton is somewhat short. The man that started me in motorcycling his middle name was Norton, I have been part of a Bonneville Land Speed Record holding team (powered by Norton) for a decade, one of my closest motorcycle racing friends Scott Fabbro, took a vintage Norton to the IOM a year ago. The podcast interview, and it’s great, is at http://www.themotoworld.com. Screen Shot 2016-06-01 at 9.02.43 AM

The thing about the John Player Replica is that it is just a stone stock 850 Norton under fiberglass bodywork. Really, lift off the body work and there is the standard steel gas tank underneath, it has the standard steel frame. But you know what…who cares. It’s cool!  It’s nothing special but it is very special. There were only about 200 made, mostly for the US market and at that time, that particular styling and ergonomics were not all that popular. It only had 50hp, give or take, and in the horsepower craved (or depraved?) 70’s that was almost pedestrian …but, the Norton on a twisty road could leave most all higher horsepower bikes in it’s rearview mirrors.

I found a real beauty today on ebay. It’s been gone through, some basics and some upgrades. Here’s the deal, the seller is asking $22,000. Is it worth that? No way. Is it worth around $12-15K yep!! Click on the link below for a bunch more info..a bunch!  and more pics. It is a wonderful and rare motorcycle.

<a target=”_self” href=”http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-53200-19255-0/1?icep_ff3=2&pub=5574881880&toolid=10001&campid=5336495545&customid=1974+Norton+John+Player+Replica&icep_item=121997486890&ipn=psmain&icep_vectorid=229466&kwid=902099&mtid=824&kw=lg”&gt;Screen Shot 2016-05-27 at 8.13.34 AM

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Screen Shot 2016-05-27 at 8.13.19 AM1974 Norton John Player Replica</a><img style=”text-decoration:none;border:0;padding:0;margin:0;” src=”http://rover.ebay.com/roverimp/1/711-53200-19255-0/1?ff3=2&pub=5574881880&toolid=10001&campid=5336495545&customid=1974+Norton+John+Player+Replica&item=121997486890&mpt=%5BCACHEBUSTER%5D”0

1970 Moto Guzzi Ambassador

This motorcycle has an odd cool factor. The bike I found on ebay today is an ex cop bike but you wouldn’t know it. This motorcycle is ripe for being a cafe racer or a very nice tourer. Right now, it is dead center. Perfect.

Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 7.30.34 AMThe Guzzi Ambassador truly is the do anything motorcycle. These bikes are stone reliable, steady as can be on the road and handle with perfect Italian precision. It is not as nimble as a Ducati of the time, but a Ducati of the time couldn’t take you across the continent as comfortably. The Guzzi Ambassador and Eldorado were the true work horses of the motorcycling stable, they would do the work but when you wanted some spirit, they were there for you. My former racing partner Steve Allen of Bevel Heaven a Vintage Ducati parts resource, had an Ambassador that he let me ride a few times and I loved it. This nice loping motor that had some spunk and the bike would go where you pointed it without wobbling, weaving or scaring the crap out of you.Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 7.34.15 AM

The bike I found today is worth the money the seller is asking. I don’t often feel that way. This motorcycle is beautiful and is ready to fly. It has been gone through top to bottom, front to back. You could either put a windshield and saddle bags on it and head across the country. Or…put a set of clip-on handlebars (better yet a set of Clubmans) a bikini fairing and a cool Cafe seat and have one of the coolest cafe racers around.

Click on the link below for a lot more info and a few more pictures

<a target=”_self” href=”http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-53200-19255-0/1?icep_ff3=2&pub=5574881880&toolid=10001&campid=5336495545&customid=1970+Moto+Guzzi+Ambassador&icep_item=121993899146&ipn=psmain&icep_vectorid=229466&kwid=902099&mtid=824&kw=lg”&gt;Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 7.09.48 AM

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Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 7.10.29 AM1970 Moto Guzzi Ambassador</a><img style=”text-decoration:none;border:0;padding:0;margin:0;” src=”http://rover.ebay.com/roverimp/1/711-53200-19255-0/1?ff3=2&pub=5574881880&toolid=10001&campid=5336495545&customid=1970+Moto+Guzzi+Ambassador&item=121993899146&mpt=%5BCACHEBUSTER%5D”&gt;

1969 Suzuki T250 Hustler

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 7.43.45 AMThe little bike that could.When the original Suzuki X6 Hustler came out (aka the T20) it humbled bikes twice it’s size. Light (for it’s time) quick and affordable. What more could you ask for? Well, not much other than handling. The original X6 was typically Japanesse…it tended to wander around corners, get wiggly going over road bumpiness and the brakes were…adequate. Styling wise, a basic ’60’s bike. Chrome sided tank and all.Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 7.42.48 AM

Then came the T250 Hustler. Was it better? Yes. Was it more fun? Yes. Did it still need work? What bike of that era didn’t? 32 HP out of a little 250…super fun. A top speed of 90+ mph it easily outran a Honda 350!

A friend had bought an X6 (I thought he was drunk at the time…our college years) and challenged me to a race. I Currently had an RD250 in the garage so I accepted. Over beers we decided that we would have two races (when sober). One a Drag race (no, I didn’t wear a dress) and one a Canyon road. In the drag race, the Yamaha was no match for the Suzuki, I think I was coughing up blue smoke for days! Then came the Canyon ride.Now it was his turn to smell nothing but Castrol  two stroke oil.Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 11.57.34 AM

Small bore two strokes require involvement. You don’t just sit on them and ride around you have to work at it. The T250 Hustler was really fun to ride as long you knew what you were doing. Pay attention to what gear you’re in…your left foot gets a real work out on the Hustler. This a very peaky motor with great rewards when you work with it. What are the downsides to this motorcycle…handling. But, it doesn’t take much to really get this little bike to handle. New fork springs, better shocks and better swing arm bushings…then, you will leave that Yamaha in a blue smoke cloud on any road.Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 11.53.34 AM

I found a really nice T250 on ebay this morning that anybody that likes small fast bikes would love. Rebuilt through out , this little bike is ready for some serious fun. If you live in area like I do with a lot of tight canyons this is truly  a “High Giggle Factor” ride.

Click on the link below for more pictures and info. Have fun!!

<a target=”_self” href=”http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-53200-19255-0/1?icep_ff3=2&pub=5574881880&toolid=10001&campid=5336495545&customid=1969+Suzuki+T250&icep_item=182133177647&ipn=psmain&icep_vectorid=229466&kwid=902099&mtid=824&kw=lg”&gt;Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 7.47.07 AM

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Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 7.46.44 AM1969 Suzuki T250</a><img style=”text-decoration:none;border:0;padding:0;margin:0;” src=”http://rover.ebay.com/roverimp/1/711-53200-19255-0/1?ff3=2&pub=5574881880&toolid=10001&campid=5336495545&customid=1969+Suzuki+T250&item=182133177647&mpt=%5BCACHEBUSTER%5D”&gt;

1971 Triumph Trophy 650

Screen Shot 2016-05-13 at 11.21.15 AMThe Triumph Trophy is all in all a great motorcycle. It has a great history beginning back in the 1950’s. Over the years (it was built up until 1973) it got many improvements from frame strengthening, bigger better brakes, engine improvements and became a movie star. Everyone of us that love motorcycles and those that are stuck living with us, have watched Steve McQueen try to outrun the Germans  and jump a barbed wire fence in the movie The Great Escape. All done on a Triumph Trophy.Screen Shot 2016-05-13 at 11.24.54 AM

When I started racing in the desert there were a lot of guys riding big British singles and twins. The BSA Gold Star and the Triumph Trophy being the most popular. The Trophy became well known as the ‘Desert Sled’.Screen Shot 2016-05-13 at 11.29.00 AM My step dad (who infected me with the motorcycle sickness) rode one for a couple of years and then passed it to me..looking back, I really think he didn’t like me. He first put me on a Bultaco and then a Desert Sled. Every time he thinks about those years he’s got to be laughing his ass off.

1971 brought the biggest and not necessarily the most popular changes. First we start with the ‘Oil In Frame’ . Previous models had a separate oil tank. The oil in frame design did lose some weight but also oil capacity and so the engine tended to run a bit hotter and oil usage became greater…wait a minute, my Triumphs had so much oil leaking that I never had to do an oil change…I was always putting new oil in. OK, I’m kidding here (kind of…)

The ’71 model got a better frame and it did handle quite a bit better, the one problem…the new front brake. The conical brake was really good but it did require pretty regular attention to keep it up to snuff. But here is the big part, the electrics. There is an old joke, why do the English drink warm beer? Because Lucas makes the refrigerators. Hah!  The electrics were a problem but the following year upgrades became available and they got better, you didn’t have to ride home in the dark. Sadly the Trophy  was discontinued the following year. The Trophy is a really good motorcycle.

I found a really nice one at a reasonable price on ebay today. This bike has only 2482 miles, not much but for some reason the top end has been rebuilt. A few upgrades made but other than that it’s a nice stock bike. Well worth a good look.

Click on the link below for more pictures and info.

<a target=”_self” href=”http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-53200-19255-0/1?icep_ff3=2&pub=5574881880&toolid=10001&campid=5336495545&customid=1971+Triumph+Trophy&icep_item=262431126188&ipn=psmain&icep_vectorid=229466&kwid=902099&mtid=824&kw=lg”&gt;Screen Shot 2016-05-12 at 7.25.09 AM

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Screen Shot 2016-05-12 at 7.25.27 AM1971 Triumph Trophy</a><img style=”text-decoration:none;border:0;padding:0;margin:0;” src=”http://rover.ebay.com/roverimp/1/711-53200-19255-0/1?ff3=2&pub=5574881880&toolid=10001&campid=5336495545&customid=1971+Triumph+Trophy&item=262431126188&mpt=%5BCACHEBUSTER%5D”>1971 Triumph

1952 Puma 125

Screen Shot 2016-05-05 at 7.35.38 AMIn my circle of motorcycling friends there are a  few, well, most of them, that their motto is “the weirder the better”. That goes for cars, motorcycles and even some of the women they’ve dated over the years. Corvairs with 327 Chevys in what was the back seat, a  Honda CB350 with a Kawasaki Ninja 250 motor in it, a Moto Guzzi powered 3 wheeler shaped like a canoe, a Moto Guzzi powered Bonneville streamliner with a sidecar …the list goes on…and on and on…Screen Shot 2016-05-06 at 8.22.15 AM

When you get into this crazy world you’re always looking for something that is just plain odd. I found one today on ebay that fits the bill perfectly. The Puma 125. Built in Argentina with a Sachs engine from Germany. Think about this, after WW2 a lot, I mean a lot, of Germans headed (fled) to Argentina. They brought with them mechanical and engineering skills beyond what the Argentine’s had at a the time and started making things with (and proudly) the ‘Made in Argentina’ label. It’s hard to find any information on this bike other than Sachs engine. It looks to be a very simple little 2 stroke. The seller says it was running but now needs some TLC. This is not a bike you would want to ride very far but with some good clean up , hang it on the wall in your TV room or ‘Man Cave’.Screen Shot 2016-05-06 at 8.07.09 AM

This really is a very cool little motorbike, Rare  as rare can be. Click on the link below for more pictures and a little more info.

<a target=”_self” href=”http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-53200-19255-0/1?icep_ff3=2&pub=5574881880&toolid=10001&campid=5336495545&customid=1952+Puma+125&icep_item=131802262971&ipn=psmain&icep_vectorid=229466&kwid=902099&mtid=824&kw=lg”&gt;Screen Shot 2016-05-06 at 8.26.20 AM

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Screen Shot 2016-05-06 at 8.26.56 AM1952 Puma 125</a><img style=”text-decoration:none;border:0;padding:0;margin:0;” src=”http://rover.ebay.com/roverimp/1/711-53200-19255-0/1?ff3=2&pub=5574881880&toolid=10001&campid=5336495545&customid=1952+Puma+125&item=131802262971&mpt=%5BCACHEBUSTER%5D”&gt;