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Bonham’s Las Vegas Auctions January 2017: What We Would Buy!

You don’t have to have unlimited funds to pick up a real head turning motorcycle at the Bonham’s Las Vegas Auction coming up at the end of January. While there are some good cheapies to be had, the star attractions will sell for upwards of $100k. As usual, the auction will feature some rare examples of vintage motorcycles, limited edition numbers, and a few celebrity’s prized possessions. If you’re looking for more details about a certain Flying Merkel or an exceptional Vincent, we’ll put the link to the full catalog at the bottom – while they’re great and all that, they’re going to get more than their fair share of coverage on other bike pages. We’re going to focus on the sports orientated models, some of which come with affordable price tags…sort of. We’re only playing with imaginary money after all…

So, without any more delay, here are top five picks from the full auction catalog. If you see anything you like, be sure to head on down to the Rio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Thursday January 26, 2017 at 11am…

1984 Ducati 748cc TT1 Road Racer – $125,000 – $150,000

“One of 3 works European Endurance Racing machines.”

The TT1 is about as rare as you can get for a factory race bike. Although 50 of these were made, only 3 were given the full race treatment. This particular model comes with a motor that’s based around the 748cc belt driven Pantah Desmo 500, that’s capable of 80 hp. Weighing in at a mere 130 kg dry, thanks to an aluminum cantilever swingarm, this groundbreaking motorcycle is a rather sexy machine. With magnesium Marzocchi suspension and Brembo brakes, it’s a real thoroughbred endurance racer. In fact, this particular model has been featured in numerous publications and documentaries – notably Alan Cathcart’s Ducati, The Untold Story, and Ian Falloon’s Ducati Racers. It has also been ridden by legends like Kevin Schwantz and John Williams. Naturally, the bike comes with a complete history file to compliment the purchase…

1990 Gilera 558cc Saturno Bialbero Piuma – $15,000 – $20,000

This 1990’s edition racer from Italy’s oldest motorcycle manufacturer is a rather special motorcycle. Historically, Gilera was a successful brand until the introduction of the Fiat 500 car, which damaged Gilera’s sales significantly. However, in 1989 the company returned to racing, with a race version of the Saturno Bialbero, which was engineered by former Bimota chief Federico Martini. Late in 1989, Martini unveiled the Saturno Piuma, the new production racer. Only 51 of these were built, and 49 of them were sold, with Gilera keeping one aside for themselves, and the last unit was given to Alan Cathcart…and that’s the one for sale here!

Complete with Bimota inspired steering, Marzocchi upside down forks, Brembo brakes, and an awesome belt driven DOHC 558cc engine with a Dell’Orto carb, this classic Italian weights 121 kg dry, and pushes out 58 hp. Sure, it’s less than the Japanese equivalents of the time, but according to those that have ridden one, the handling is superb and more than makes up for the lack of grunt.

 

1971 EJ Potter Chevrolet V8 “WIDOWMAKER 7” Dragbike – $65,000 – $85,000

“The World’s Fastest Motorcycle in 1973”

Whenever we see a write up about one of these grand auctions, we always see a Merkel or something like that stealing the show. But THIS is infinitely more exciting. E.J Potter, aka the “Michigan Madman” decided to put a Chevrolet V8 engine into a motorcycle frame, and after a decade of building and fine tuning, he decided to earn himself a place in the history books.

With a steel backbone trellis frame, and the engine as a stressed member, Potter decided to do away with this old Harley Davidson drum brake clutch assembly and do away with the whole idea of a conventional clutch altogether, achieving record breaking speeds (for the time) of up to 136 mph. This iteration of the Widowmaker comes with a Chevrolet small block V8, Crane gear-driven roller cam and rockers, forged pistons, a 1960s Vertex Len Hughes-built magneto, Brodix aluminum heads, and a Kinsler-rebuilt Hilborn fuel injection. This is an absolute beast of a machine…

2007 Honda CBR1000RR Custom – $16,000 – 20,000

“Travis Barker from Blink 182’s bike!”

Certainly not the most exciting bike on the roster, this celebrity owned bike is pretty well priced. Now, while it’s not the most exciting, and sure, Travis Barker of Blink 182 fame is probably not the most relevant (or current) of national cultural icons, an estimated price of $16k for a bit of pop/punk and motorcycle memorabilia (that you can actually ride without feeling like you’re mishandling and artifact) is not a bad price at all.

Built by Custom Sportsbike Concepts, the CBR has a few cool features that make it worth the asking price. Not only is it a cool ’07 CBR, it also comes with a 1966 Cadillac inspired lime green paint job courtesy of Bang Customs, special wheels built by World Industries, white walled Pirelli Diablo tires, air suspension from Eye Candy Cycle Designs, a one of Tsukigi exhaust system and a shit load of chrome. All that, and of course the ’07 CBR’s 147 hp at 11,200 rpm, and 75.9 lb – ft of torque at 8,700 rpm too…

The Ecosse “Titanium Heretic” – $150,000 – 175,000

Ecosse Moto Works have supplied some of the most luxurious and bespoke hand built motorcycles of the last decade or so, so it’s no surprise that the boss’s own machine is a cut above the rest – and that’s the one going on sale. Dubbed the “Titanium Heretic,” it comes with only the best features and accoutrements that money can buy. Billet everything? Check. Massive engine? Check. Does it look the part? It certainly does. But does it perform? It does indeed.

Powered by a 2100cc air cooled V-twin engine that boasts around 118 hp at the wheel, and 145 lb – ft of torque, this is nothing short of a behemoth. Twin that awesome S&S motor with a six speed transmission, electronic fuel injection, a titanium chassis, Ohlins TTX suspension, carbon fiber wheels and ISR brakes, and you’ve got a very potent machine. It can be pushed “hard on both the street and the track” and offers a “no holds barred” approach to motorcycling. If you’ve got the dollar, this is an absolute steal at $150k… but who has the money? Someone does…

Naturally…the Bonham’s catalog is filled with hundreds of beauties going under the hammer next month, and you should definitely see what else is on offer. Like we mentioned above, we’ve picked a few leftfield favorites to showcase, because you can bet your bottom dollar that  all the old BSAs and Nortons and Triumphs and Harley Davidsons etc etc, will be featured elsewhere. It’s all very well owning an antique, but we’d much rather have something that we could really use in our collection…

Categories: Motorcycles

Joe Appleton
About Joe Appleton

I’ve done a bit of work here and there in the industry – I’ve even ridden a few bikes for actual money but what it comes down to is this: I ride bikes, build bikes and occasionally crash ‘em too. I like what I like but that certainly doesn’t make my opinion any more valid than yours…