eBay Motorcycles Perspectives

Diamond in the rough

Photography by Julia LaPalme

Like many of you, I at times experience an almost uncontrollable desire to click on a particular Web site in search of Stuff I Want. I'm referring, or course, to eBay Motors (www.ebaymotors.com).

I mean, I surfed there twice yesterday looking for an '85 Yamaha RZ350 two-stroke and a '78 YZ250, the latter a motocrosser I campaigned as a 16-year-old and have yet to add to my collection.

Problem is, I have a Big Nasty Feature Story (BNFS) due in two days, and all this Web-surfing is doing nothing for my on-time performance.

I hate it when that happens. As does Catterson. But then he used to do it to me when I was editor-ask him about his Cagiva collection sometime.

Overall, I've had decent luck finding moto-oriented stuff I covet on eBay. The buys usually don't come cheap, but when you're after something both specific and rare, you seldom find a bargain.

Of course, there are bargains to be had. Take my friend Brian O'Shea, a.k.a. Mr. Superbike, a collector who's been featured in these pages before. Brian scored Big Time on eBay a few weeks ago, snapping up a pretty special factory racebike for a lot less than you'd think. Of course, there was a bit of luck involved

"I woke early Sunday morning, grabbed a cup of coffee and gave myself 15 minutes of eBay action before mowing the yard," O'Shea told me. "My typing was ugly that morning-I wanted 'track bike' but instead typed 'trac bike' and bang!, a 1991 Kawasaki Ninja 600 popped up. I knew right away it wasn't a 600, but a 750. What caught my eye were the number-one plates, which had me skootching up close to the monitor. Lessee...Muzzy pipe, WP steering damper, Fox shock, Muzzy, California Superbike School and Dunlop stickers...man, this thing looks like Scott Russell's Supersport bike! More details: no speedo, no kickstand and a VIN number ending in 13-a low-number production bike. Could it really be Russell's Muzzy Kawasaki racer?

"I checked the time remaining on the auction-three hours-and noted that bidding was up to $1550. What to do? I mean, I need another bike like a hole in the head! The ad stated the seller knew little about bikes and had purchased it from Sony Films at auction. The whole thing felt like a scam, but with no time to have someone check out the bike, I decided that, even if this wasn't the real thing, I had to make a bid. So at the last minute I offered $5000 and won the auction for $1952!"

The seller was in Los Angeles, so O'Shea e-mailed me to ask if I could grab the bike and hold onto it until his shipper - JC Motors in Costa Mesa, California (www.motorcycleshippers.com) - came to collect it. When I got to the tow yard where the bike was being stored, it took me about seven seconds to determine it was the Real Thing-the red AMA tech-inspection tag wrapped around the frame confirming what my eyes told me was a true Muzzy Kawasaki Supersport racer ridden by Mr. Daytona himself.

The confirmation didn't end there, however. "Just to be sure, I e-mailed Dave Turner at Muzzy's with photos of the bike," O'Shea wrote me a few days later, "and he said, 'Yep, that's definitely the bike.'"

Amazing: an honest-to-goodness Championship-winning Supersport bike for less than two grand! I guess not everything's expensive on eBay Motors, eh?

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