Bizarre & Fascinating: Velocette LE MkII

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This Velocette LE is listed as 1960 MkIII model, though its hand-operated gearshift, leg shield-mounted instruments, interesting pull-start mechanism and 192cc, water-cooled flat twin point to it being a MkII built between 1951 and 1957. The ad is vague on mechanical condition, but the bike does appear to be in good, complete condition. Find it here on Craigslist near Atlanta, Georgia for $12,800. Special thanks to BaT reader Paul C. for this submission.

Velocette 200 LE, 1960

Conceived as reliable, comfortable, easy-to-ride transportation for the masses, the bike was introduced in 1948. Honda would later use a similar marketing strategy with its Cub, albeit with much more success. Advanced engineering meant a relatively high price, and despite becoming the British company’s all-time best-selling product, sales never met production goals and are rumored to have barely covered tooling costs. It’s also  claimed that a large police order accounted for more than half of MkII production, though sales ended with the MkIII in 1970 when the company voluntarily shut its doors.

Velocette 200 LE, 1960

Built around a pressed-steel frame, the LE (for “Little Engine”) utilized rubber motor mounts, felt soundproofing, water-cooling and large capacity silencers, and for the time was considered a very refined, quiet machine to ride. Power came from an L-head, horizontally-opposed twin, initially of 150cc and 6 HP, later upgraded to 192cc and 8 HP for MkII and MkIII models. Interstingly, the engine, 3-speed gearbox, driveshaft, swing-arm and bevel drive box were all built as a single unit. MkIII’s sacrificed much of the earlier bikes’ character for more conventional controls (foot-operated gear change, kick starter), making more powerful but still extraordinarily quirky MkII’s like this bike the pick of the bunch.

Velocette 200 LE, 1960

Good if unconventional looks, interesting engineering and scarcity make for a very compelling bike, though value is difficult to comment on with so few for sale at any given time. Regardless, it looks like a blast to ride–the two wheeled equivalent of a Citroen 2CV.

Dutch Rider: 1981 BMW R100RS w/ EML Sidecar

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This 1981 BMW R100RS (VIN TEX205829) runs an EML sidecar, fitment of which apparently required all the donor bike’s components to be swapped over to an EML-made frame. It’s an odd but interesting rig, with a forward tilting clam shell side car top/door and some pretty out-there styling, but the seller says it runs great, adding that it’s ready to be ridden anywhere. Find it here on eBay in Mount Clemens, Michigan with reserve not met. Special thanks to BaT reader Matt for this submission.

BMW R Series | eBay

More on the re-frame, this time in the seller’s own words: “The rig is titled as a 1998 Assembled Vehicle.  For those of you that are not familiar with these sidecar setups, the EML rig is complete with the sidecar and the frame.  The donor bike, in this case a 1981 R100RS, has all of the necessary components removed from the original frame and placed inside of the new EML frame.  At that time, due to the new frame being used, the unit is re-titled.”

BMW R Series | eBay

The ad goes on to note that the bike appears to have been repainted at some point, adding that finish is nice overall despite some roughness on the lower front fairing and a deep scratch on the sidecar, the latter of which is documented in additional photos visible within the listing. Also notable is some bubbling on the left side cover, visible in the photo below near its top left corner, just aft and below the tank. The fiberglass sidecar is finished inside simply with carpets and a vinyl covered seat, but build quality does appear to be quite good.

BMW R Series | eBay

A Dutch company founded in the early 70s, EML is an acronym for “Eigen Makelij”, roughly translated as “self-made.” The seller notes that the bike had been sitting for sometime when acquired, and lists quite a bit of recommissioning work including rebuilt carbs, new fluids, filters, tires, fitment of replacement petcocks, plugs, a fresh batter, new fuel lines, voltage regulator and weatherstripping. Additionally, the bike’s electrical system has been completely gone through, and is now said to be fully functional with everything noted as working properly.

BMW R Series | eBay

The ad further notes that the bike starts quickly and pulls well through all gears. It will smoke a bit when first started after sitting for a time, but this is fairly common for horizontally-opposed motor designs. Said to be ready to ride anywhere, you might as well bring a passenger.

One of 62: 1983 Bimota KB2 Laser TT

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This 1983 Bimota KB2 Laser TT (VIN 00090) is the marriage of a super stiff, hand built Italian frame and a Kawasaki GPZ550 powerplant. Just 177 of these were built, and less than 62 received the TT designation that included upgraded stoppers. This one is fitted with a full race kit including upgraded pistons and cams, and a number of mostly factory-approved fast bits. Find it here on eBay in Alcheda, Italy with reserve not met.

Ducati Other | eBay

Bimota started as a boutique company that outsourced engine-building to Japan in order to concentrate on bleeding-edge, flex-free frames. No expense was spared on parts, and as a result these bikes went for a hefty $12k in their day. Factory wheels would usually be gold colored 16″ Campagnolo magnesium items that look cooler than the ones here, though at 17 inches they are said to be a factory upgrade. Other factory mods include M1R Marzocchi forks and Brembo four pot calipers.

Ducati Other | eBay

The cockpit on these is very simple and more track bike than street. It was the importer’s responsibility to provide mirrors, and like most, this one has none. At least there are turn signals, which a Cycle magazine tester lacked back in the day. The black-on-white cluster here looks like a newer Kawasaki-based part compared to the original, and some of the switchgear might also be relatively modern. Considering these weren’t Bimota parts originally, this seems like a reasonable update.

Ducati Other | eBay

All the KB models had Kawasaki powerplants, the particular model signifying the second with Kawasaki power. Its factory rating was around 65 horsepower, but you should get a decent bit more with the upgraded pistons, camshaft and carburetor. At only 375 pounds dry, this one was said to smoke the 60 pound heavier donor Kawas in the twisties. You can see the upgraded Mikuni flat carb peeking out behind the bodywork here. With a recent service, it should be ready to fire right up.

Ducati Other | eBay

These look equally as excellent with the fairing as without, something that’s hard to say about many bikes. This one’s certainly very collectible, but the relatively non-exotic powerplant means it could be used with at least some peace of mind.

Big, Comfortable & Fast: 1985 Suzuki GS1150E

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This 1985 Suzuki GS1150E looks very nice in photos and has just received new tires, a fresh battery and had the carbs gone through. One of the very fastest street bikes available at the time, they were also quite sophisticated and good-looking, though at 550 pounds they were only OK handlers. Find this one here on Craigslist in Issaquah, Washington for $2,595. Special thanks to BaT reader Joby J. for this submission.

1985 Suzuki GS 1150e Survivor!

Dark, indoor photos don’t do the bike any favors, but closeups seem to confirm the seller’s claim of nicely preserved paint and bodywork. Red over black with white pinstriping is an attractive combination, and we’re always fans of 80s-style graphics–aside from the make and model, those seen here also proclaim FULL FLOATER SUSPENSION. Some black paint can be seen flaking off the cam covers, but overall the high-revving 16 valve four still looks sharp.

1985 Suzuki GS 1150e Survivor!

We’d prefer to see it without the aftermarket fairing, but at least it’s been nicely color-coordinated and should provide an added degree f comfort on long rides. Good for 119 HP at 8,500 RPM, these GS1150E’s were among the quickest un-faired big bikes on the market when introduced in 1984. This one has just under 22k miles from new, and the seller notes recent carb work, new Pirellis and a fresh battery.

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We’d pull the fairing, restore the cam covers and do our best to ruin the new rear tire in an unreasonably short period of time.

One Owner: 1971 BMW R75/5

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This 1971 BMW R75/5 is a claimed 17k mile example on offer by its original owner. Said to be all-original apart from a rather ungainly aftermarket windshield, the bike otherwise looks quite nice in photos. Further claimed to have always been serviced at a BMW dealer, these are comfortable, well-built and engineered bikes that are often difficult to find as nice as this one seems to be. Find it here on Craigslist in Miami, Florida for $4k.

1971 BMW R75/5 For Sale

The bulky, distinctly shaped OEM tank seems to have nice paint and shows no immediately obvious dents or dings. The right rear turn signal has a broken stalk, but these are easy and cheap to source. The big, comfortable saddle looks correct, and though we’d ditch the big windshield and homemade looking luggage rack ASAP, everything else looks good.

1971 BMW R75/5 For Sale

Check out the combination speedo/tach unit. It’s not sporty, but it’s practical and looks cool–a perfect match for the bike’s character. Good for 50 HP and a bit less torque, these boxer twins make a good, distinct sound, and are pretty quiet with stock pipes as this one appears to be fitted with. The gyroscopic effect of the engine’s crank and shaft drive can be a bit disconcerting to those not familiar with this type of layout, but ridden within its limits–and limited clearance–it doesn’t take long to adapt.

1971 BMW R75/5 For Sale

Though not perfect, this one’s low mileage, one-owner history and dealer maintenance make it easy to look past it’s relatively minor and easily correctable faults.