Most riders think of the 3 1/2 when they hear Moto Morini, but the firm was also known for their 500 Sei-V that was produced a decade later…to very little fanfare. What was once a classically beautiful motorcycle became an odd jumble of plastic and angular lines as the Italian company tried to compete with bikes coming out of Japan.
Following up on yesterday’s oddball Italian upright is…another oddball Italian upright. The Bimota Mantra is definitely one of the most distinctive motorcycles to come out of the Rimini company’s doors. With that said, I love that they took a chance – you may never see a bike that looks like this again.
4 years after Triumph’s 100th anniversary, the British fashion designer Paul Smith created 9 different T100 Bonnevilles, each with a custom paint job. Public response was strong enough that Triumph took two of the designs and created limited runs of 50 bikes each that were individually numbered on the tank. One was called “Multi-Union”, the other is what you see …
Between 1983 and 1985, BMW built a limited edition of their R65. Called the R65LS, it featured a polarizing front fairing that makes the bike look faster than it actually was.
This is one of very few bikes out there which I’ve struggled to find information on, but there’s so rare that I have to share them – especially when an awesome reader sends it my way!
With a six-decade production run that ended in 1992, the Jawa 350 was incredibly successful in Eastern Europe but very rare here in the US. This one’s rarer than the rest as it’s still basically new!
In 2010, Honda introduced a spiritual successor to their legendary CB750. This time around it was the CB1100, featuring a 1,140cc air/oil-cooled inline four. It debuted in Japan, Australia, and New Zealand – it took until 2013 until Honda decided to offer it in the US. Here’s a first year example (in the US market) that’s barely been ridden.
The successor to their legendary Gold Star single, BSA’s Cyclone was also a 500cc – but it was a twin cylinder.
Based on the Trophy, the TRW was a 500 twin specifically made for the British government as a military combat vehicle, the bike came with side-valves instead of the overhead valves found on other models of the era which made it more reliable and provided easier to fix in case of a failure.
In 2007, Ducati released a limited edition of just 100 SportClassics exclusively for the North American market. Called the Special Edition, it combined modern tech with traditionally-inspired design that was designed to remind Ducati fans of the 1978 900SS Darmah with its classic black and gold paint scheme. 90 were sold in the US, and 10 were sold in Canada. …
Between 1991 and 1995, BMW produced 20,898 examples of the R100R – one of the last airhead boxers to ever wear a roundel on the tank. Basic specifications include a 980cc air-cooled twin with an oil cooler, Brembo brakes, a 5-speed transmission, and shaft drive.
In a 1976 Motorcyclist review, Bob Greene calls Yamaha’s XS360 “exceeding my every expectation of handling, performance, and comfort…What Yamaha’s done here is close much of the credibility gap betwixt little bike an dbig bike, evidenced by their expensive electrics and point adjustment systems, electric starter, trick flashers, and on and on. Small only in displacement and wheelbase, Yamaha’s new …
The BMW R1150R Rockster was an interesting variant on their naked bike of the time, the R1150R. The Rockster was BMW’s take on a streetfighter of sorts, made by pulling together the headlight from a R1150GS, gauges from the R1100S, and throwing them onto the R1150R with a distinctive paint job.
The BMW R60US was a 30 horsepower classic that typically included telescopic forks and higher handle bars as part of the “US” designation. US models also came without sidecar lugs, one of the few distinctions that separated it from the Euro models.
From early 2011 until late 2019, I crisscrossed the lower 48 in search of weird, wonderful and rare motorcycles that were destined to head overseas. If Abhi abides, maybe Bike-urious will feature a longer story on a grey-exporters experiences in the future. I learned a lot not only about buying bikes during those eight years and 400,000 miles, I also …