THE NEXT ‘BIG THING’?

Classic Motorcycle Mechanics - - ARCHIVE -

We’d all like to know what the next big thing is within the clas­sic mo­tor­cy­cle mar­ket­place; with so many sec­tors hav­ing sailed into the sun­set re­gard­ing prices, I want to sniff out what the next boat is be­fore we miss it. So what about the 1990s 750? It was the back­bone of ev­ery man­u­fac­turer’s range, it was also the ca­pac­ity for top-level pro­duc­tion rac­ing such as World Su­per­bike. Only Suzuki stayed loyal to the 750 class though. Thirty years af­ter they tooled up to cre­ate the GSX-R750F you can still buy a new GSX-R750 if you want, but one by one the other Ja­panese firms have given up on the three-quar­ter litre sporty op­tion. Prices for cer­tain 1990s 750s have al­ready re­ceived a shot in the arm: the Yamaha YZF750 leads the pack in price hikes. De­cent ex­am­ples are now £3000, more if you choose to shop at one of the many clas­sic bike deal­ers. It’s easy to see why they’re back in de­mand. They still look the part and other than dodgy six-pot calipers and stick­ing EXUP valves there’s not too much to worry about. Early pink and white bikes are rare, so ex­pect to pay for the priv­i­lege if you do find one. Later cock­tail coloured bikes ben­e­fit from a big­ger rad and cheaper ask­ing prices. If you want even bet­ter value for money there are other op­tions. The Suzuki GSX-R750WT/V SRADS are sleep­ers and hon­est-look­ing bikes change hands for around £2000 with ex­cep­tional ones creep­ing nearer to £3000. The in­ter­est­ing thing is the fuel-in­jected WX and WW ver­sion can be found and had for well be­low £2000. Are we fi­nally get­ting nos­tal­gic about the car­bu­ret­tor? Kawasaki never both­ered stick­ing fuel in­jec­tion on the ZX-7R, which means there are lots to pick from and prices are still very sub­dued for what is a great bike. Un­sur­pris­ingly, the green ones will com­mand a small pre­mium. Honda VFR750S are with­out a doubt the think­ing man’s bar­gain though. That de­li­cious V4 mo­tor will hyp­no­tise and the build qual­ity is way ahead of the rest: good ones are avail­able for less than £2000. So what about parts? The good news is noth­ing ap­pears to be in short supply and prices are pretty sen­si­ble. An engine for any of the across-the­frame four-cylin­der 750s can be had for around £250 or less pri­vate, but ex­pect to pay nearer £350 for trade. The VFR750 engine is a vic­tim of its own suc­cess – com­plete mo­tors are rarely re­quired and prices re­flect this. One thing that all of our 750s do share is carbs, and prices for a set of these is one area that’s on the rise. You will have to pay a pre­mium for any from a freshly-bro­ken bike. GSX-R750 carbs with fresh petrol still in their float bowls can cost up to £200 a set, like­wise for de­cent YZF750 and ZX-7R ones. Al­ways ask how long a set of carbs have been off the bike, or you could ac­tu­ally end up buy­ing a set worse than the ones you’re look­ing to re­place! Some orig­i­nal parts aren’t worth it: shocks and down­pipes spring to mind. Body­work is ex­pen­sive new; it’s get­ting rich sec­ond-hand. Dent-free tanks are the hard­est to find and most used fair­ing pan­els will carry marks, scratches and cracks: tatty sides can be had from £10 at auto-jum­bles, but rear seat humps com­mand a pre­mium! My ad­vice is to buy parts now as an in­vest­ment!

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