Archive for the ‘eBay’ Tag
It is no secret that I love, I LOVE!!! Honda 350′s…and I’m not the only one. The CB is by most accounts the biggest selling motorcycle of all time…hell, I have four of them! CB,CL and SL models. A couple run, one’s a parts bike and the other is in boxes, milk crates and hanging from the rafters in my barn.
My love affair with the Honda twin began in 1971 when I was in a ‘one-upmanship’ contest with my friend Eddie. Even though I was riding a BSA 650 most of the time, the contest revolved around smaller bikes. Eddie won a couple of times but when I got my first SL350, his ‘little’ Yamaha DT1 250 was left in the dust…literally.
I eventually sold the SL350, after I had slogged it through the deserts of Southern California for a couple of years only to regret it a few years later. So…the search was on for another. I ended up with a 1972 CB350 that had been sitting out in a back yard for something like 10 years or so. That little 350 looked pretty bad, but it was all there and the price was right, a hundred bucks. On to my trailer it went (flat tires and all the spiders you could want, plus a dead mouse in the right side airfilter) and home it came with me. I still have it…25 years later.
Once home, some basic service, a lot of elbow grease and a few (?) new parts and I was back on my favorite little Honda twin. Over the years I put a mild cafe treatment on the bike, lower bars, changed the exhaust, moved the pegs back a bit, upgraded the suspension, I even put good tires on it. Now it is waiting for the big bore kit I recently acquired to be installed.
Building Cafe Racer out of a Honda 350 nowadays is a pretty easy thing to do. Parts are available easily; tanks, seats, controls,suspension, you name it and with a good credit card you can have it delivered to your door the next day. But here is the thing about building a vintage cafe racer,if you’re going to do it right, it ain’t gonna be cheap and it ain’t going to happen over a weekend. The time,effort and money you put into it is for your own pleasure…when time comes to sell it, don’t set your hopes too high.
So, on that note, I found a super sweet CL350 that has a whole lot of nice parts and a lot of love put into it and is being sold at a reasonable price (so far). This CL motor has been gone through, it didn’t need much it only has 4837 miles on it, carbs rebuilt, new electrics, etc, etc. Then we get into the really cool stuff.
The bike was stripped down and everything was either powder coated, painted or polished. The wheels got new spokes, bearings and tires. Suspension was all redone front and rear, nice handlebars, rearsets and the exhaust, which may be a bit loud but it sure looks good. I really dig the instruments and the headlight arrangement. I think I’m changing the vision I have for my own new 350 project.
This is a really nicely done Honda 350 that will last for a long time both mechanically and styling. Click on the pics below for more info and more pictures.
Oh and one last thing, the Honda advert says top speed is 100mph…don’t believe them…maybe 95mph is where it tops out. But with a very little work, the little 350 will ‘Do the Ton’. Have fun.
I made the mistake once of telling a potential employer (my local Harley Davidson dealer) that the only Harley I really liked was the XLCR from the late 70′s. The minute that sentence came out of my mouth I knew I was not going to be wearing orange and black to work each day. I did my best to backtrack but by then I was being shown the door. Oh well. Ironically, today I do ride a Buell, which is powered by Harley Davidson.
It is true though that I really like the XLCR, it is some sort of mental deficiency I understand that, but there is just something about that bike that works for me. The XLCR was the first bike designed by Willie G. himself and marketing wise it went over like a fart in church. To the faithful it was the bastard stepchild. The Cafe racer had more going against it than for it right from the get go. One, it didn’t look like a Harley should look. Two, it was made during the AMF period and it’s pretty common knowledge that those were as close to junk as could possibly be. Unreliable, poor fit and finish, and just shoddy in general. Fortunately, that period didn’t last too long and The Motor Company came back strong.
In 1977 The Motor Company built a few less 2,000 XLCR’s, 1978 had a production of around 1,000 and the last year, 1979, of the Cafe Racer there were only 9. Back then you could own one for just $3595…actually many were sold for a lot less. Today, a nicely kept or restored original goes for over $10,000!
I found one today on ebay that has a few modifications and is showing its age, but that’s OK. The mods include upgraded rear shocks, a new carb (sans air cleaner), and a what looks to be a loud exhaust. The bike needs some love but not too much from what I can see and might be had for a somewhat reasonable price.
XLCR’s have a very definite cool factor, and it still one of only a couple Harley’s I would like to own.
Click on the pictures below for more pics and more info.
Yeah, I know that most of you (me too) like bigger bore bikes to convert to the style we like, Cafe’. But…smaller bikes are so much fun to ride, and…embarassing riders on modern 1000cc bikes through tight twisty roads, well, that just makes the ride all that much more fun.
Building small, 100cc-400cc bikes is a lot of fun. Parts are generally easily acquired, they don’t require high levels of mechanical skills, and like I said before, riding small bikes is a sh*tload of fun.
I found an almost done little Yamaha XS400 on ebay this morning that would make a great weekend canyon blaster or as it is, a good daily commuter. The XS400 is as reliable as the sun coming up each morning, loves to rev to the limit (and then some), has a chassis that is very capable of embarrassing bigger bikes in the twisties (with just a couple of easy suspension mods) and, they are cheap and easy to maintain…unlike your ex-girlfriend.
This XS I found has only 2700 miles on the clock, it is a kickstart only model, which is actually a good thing, has a nice set of wire wheels instead of the mags that came with most XS models and a nice paint job. Two things I would do here…get rid of the ugly tail light, put something that fits into the seat cowling, and change the exhaust. The straight exhaust doesn’t help the motor and a little 400cc twin sounds terrible with straight pipes. A nice reverse megaphone muffler would look great, sound better and make the motor run happier. This is a nice bike and the price doesn’t seem all that unreasonable for how few miles it has on it. I would still go through the carbs, do some suspension upgrades, put a proper set of clip-ons or clubman bars, and then go have a lot of fun.
Click on the pics below for more pictures and info.
Recently I spent some time with my friend Erik doing a heart transplant on his Sportster. Erik rides hard, he spends more time on the rev-limiter than most people spend on their bikes. But, Erik takes care of his bikes, well, kind of? After 70,000+ miles of abuse his Sporty decided it was done. A good used motor was found on ebay, shipped to California and without too much drama installed.
Erik has been, little by little, turning his Sportster into a Cafe Racer. Suspension mods,clip-ons, exhaust, seat…it’s all coming together nicely but I know he wants to do more.
Erik is considering new wire spoked wheels, new bodywork and pumping up the motor. It’s going to be a really well put together bike when done. But…I found one on ebay today that is already done and looks to me to a perfect example of how a Sportser should look.
I have to digress here a bit though, I have never been a fan of Harley Davidsons, except one…the XLCR, Harley’s (more exactly Willie G. Davidson’s) first design out of the cruiser/touring market. This has to probably be thee most underloved Harley ever built. It may be powered by a Harley motor but to ‘The Faithful’ it wasn’t a Harley Davidson. The XLCR fit into the same category as the little 2 strokes from Italy…maybe even lower. However, the XLCR has become a cult bike and quite valuable.
Today, Sportster based Cafe Racer’s aren’t all that unusual. The first one I ever saw was at one of my semi-regular Sunday stops ‘The Rock Store’ in the Santa Monica Mountains. The license plate on this particular Sporty was ‘DUCHUNTER’ and that was the owners favorite game, chasing down Ducati’s in the canyons. He often won the game.
The ’96 I found today is beautiful. Bodywork is a beautifully shaped 4 gallon tank, a classic Ducati seat and tail section, a sweet looking exhaust, nice clip-ons and classic aluminum spoked wheels. Everything about this bike looks to have been done with a a lot of love and attention to detail. This is how I hope Erik’s turns out but with his own special touches.
For more info and pictures, click on the pics below. And now, I’m going to go out and ride my own Harley powered Buell over to Erik’s and work on his Sporty Cafe Racer.
For some reason I seem to be on a Norton kick at this time. I want one. That big long stroke motor, watching the front wheel shake at stop lights…wait a minute, we’re heading into a way different topic of discussion here…uh, back to motorcycles.
I think the main reason I’m on this Norton kick is because my friends at ‘Left Coast Racing’ and I are getting ready for another Bonneville LSR run in couple of months with a pair of Norton’s. We currently hold a Land Speed Record with a rather built up 1959 Norton.
The very first Norton I ever took for a ride was a ‘rode hard and put away wet’ 750 Commando back in the early 70′s that my step dad rescued from some guys back yard. It was a lot different from the BSA’s and Triumph’s I had been riding, and honestly…at that time, I liked my Lightning 650 a lot better. But, being the good motorcycle souls that we were, we went about resurrecting it…a project that took over a year and a lot more money than my mom knows about.
During that same time, we were also upgrading a Triumph Bonneville from a standard 650cc to a Weslake 750 model (again, another story for anther time…and a really good one??). The Commando rebuild was a lot easier thanks to people like Brian Slark, Domiracer and Berliner. At the end of the year both motorcycles were finished, broken in appropriately and then taken out for a proper thrashing…Sunday morning on Angeles Crest Highway.
I fell in love with the Norton. Up to that time my motorcycling life had been with high revving two strokes, and somewhat high revving (by then current standards) English and Japanese twins, the Norton was a different feeling altogether. Where my BSA would feel light at the bars, the Norton was dead steady, the BSA needed some revs to get off a corner quickly, the Norton just needed a nudge on the throttle…the BSA needed you to pay attention, the Norton just went along with however you were riding that day (even with a minor (major) hangover).
The Norton was sold to a friend of a friend of a friend or their third cousin by marriage twice removed (no Alabama jokes here…) and was never seen again. I had grown to love that motorcycle and was sad to see it leave the garage…the guy didn’t even ride it home, he put it in a pick up truck!??? After all the work we did?… and he didn’t even live 20 miles away!! This was way before the days of ebay and buying a motorcycle on the other side of the world was easy.
So today, while working on our other websites, http://www.ilovecaferacers.com and http://www.themotoworld.com and cruising ebay looking for yet another project bike for a friend, I came upon a very nice Norton that is ready to ride and has some very nice bits and pieces.
This is a 1974 850 Commando that is a runner but…it has been sitting for years according to the owner so if you buy this bike you really need to go through the carbs, change the fluids, probably the tyres…all the standard stuff but I think this bike will be well worth the effort.
The bike has been outfitted with the Dunstall bits that really make it great, starting with the Dunstall 2 into 1 into 2 exhaust system. This exhaust is worth the price of admission alone, it is a work of art in every respect…performance and looks. The beautiful tank and that very slim front fender (I put one of those on the front of my H2, it was pretty worthless as far as fenders go, but I loved how it looked), the 850 also has what looks to me like Lester mag wheels. This Norton only has only 8800 miles on the clock and like I said before, with just some standard service, should be a wonderful ride.
Click on the pics below for more pictures and a little more info. This is a great bike for the money.
Here’s a relisted Norton cafe racer that I liked a lot the first time around, and I don’t like it any less now. There is no reserve on the auction, so it should sell this time. Maybe it was a non-paying bidder last time? No idea. Current price is $2,550 with over 4 days left and a few bidders. Here’s the link to the original bike, or you can click through to the new listing through the pics below…
What’s going on with all of the relists of bikes (specifically cafe racers) on eBay right now? Are buyers falling through? Are they all not meeting reserve? Maybe the economy is keeping these bikes from selling. Enquiring minds want to know.
As always, watch out for second chance offers on any eBay item as they are often fraudulent.
Here’s a nice set of Tarozzi not-really-used rear-sets that might make a good addition for your cafe racers. Like most, they don’t come with a bracket, so it’s up to you to find a suitable place to mount these footpegs/controls. Because they aren’t technically new anymore (although they have never been used), the seller has started the auction at a very low price, but reserve has not yet been met…
Sometimes when I’m surfing the web, a bike catches my eye at first glance, and I get really excited. Then I look closer, and that original excitement diminishes as I see the small problems, and then the larger problems, and then wonder why I wasted the time on the bike.
This eBay listing suckered me with the thought of a bike I love at a pretty great price. $2,900 and no bids yet! And I even read the first two lines of the copy:
“Up for sale is a 2004 Triumph Thruxton 900 with only 7593 miles.
Runs, and drives mint! Perfectly straight. One owner bike.”
Then I got to the pictures…
If you decide to buy this bike, please be aware that it has been crashed. Crashed such that it is no easy project to repair. A bent subframe, broken controls, trashed instruments, and broken fenders (plus miscellaneous other problems) are all going to contribute to a migraine the size of the factory in Hinckley while it was on fire.
I’d love to see if someone could make this a nice build for a minimum of dollars, but I suspect there is even more here than meets the eye. If interested, please look at EVERY photo and talk to the seller. And be very afraid…