Friday, 30 January 2009

Ex-Roberts XS650 for sale in UK



Thanks to Steve H for point it out on eBay. Seems to be up for £23,500, but then says make an offer. Be our guest. This is from the advert... McQ, your thoughts, please.

'Thank you for looking at the famous and legendary Ex-Kenny Roberts (senior!) Yamaha Flattracker. If you are of a certain age, you might recall the Classic Motorcycle Mechanics magazine featured this bike as a series of rebuild articles, over several years, in the late 90’s. When they’d finished the bike (of which more later), Bob Berry, the then editor, sold it to me.
The history of the machine is very well documented, but in essence, this is the story:
Roberts was already world 500cc Grand Prix champion in 1978 when he agreed to take part in a ‘demonstration race’ with Dave Aldana, against some British speedway riders, at Haldon Raceway, in Exeter. This event was sponsored by Bulmers Cider. His bike was basically a works Yamaha flattracker, built by the legendary Sheldon( Shell) Thuet. Thuet was, and possibly still is, responsible for some of the greatest oval racers ever made, cutting his teeth on Enfields and Indians. Roberts employed him to personally look after his bikes when he raced for the US #1 plate, which of course he won. Although no longer racing flat track, due to his GP commitments, Roberts took everything very seriously and instructed Thuet to bring with him a competitive machine and to fly it over for the races.
The races are well recorded and I have a copy of the report in Motor Cycle News, at the time. Roberts lost, and had the ar*e over the bike’s performance, he has since told me!'

6 comments:

Chris said...

I would do terrible, terrible things to own that bike...

Owen said...

That's no Kenny Roberts dirt tracker - wrong frame, wrong tires and wheels, wrong tank and fender, wrong bars, wrong forks - and a tach and speedo? Get Real!

Gary Inman and Ben Part said...

Thanks Owen. There are some weird things about, and we only quoted the advert, we didn't verify it, but the guy is saying it was built for a race in England, not something he campaigned in the US.
It also has FZR1000 forks that weren't made until KR was a team manager. But Roberts did race in that series in the UK. What frame is it?
G

McQmoto said...

I recall the series of rebuild articles and at the time thought that they didn't have much to start with and were making compromises that I wouldn't have made but don't have the articles and don't remember details.
I do know of another bike that Roberts rode in the Bulmers series but that has a monoshock frame, an OU72 motor and has remained complete and original.
Before taking the plunge (and we're not talking small money here) I'd want to verify its history, determine how much is original / original spec - particularly in the motor and do a lot of homework. Frame does look like one of Shell's but it doesn't seem to sit right - maybe the shocks are too long.
You can buy a genuine Shell Yam without a Roberts connection and with all the right bits for a lot less - I did, see SB1!

Griff said...

I recall the build story and winced at every issue (Bodgit and Scarper spring to mind)a lot of the major bits were kosher but it looks wierd because its got 18 inch wheels ,forks are too long and shocks too short.

McQmoto said...

The time to buy it would've been before it was rebuilt (as opposed to restored). It should've been shipped over to Shell to have him do it properly - and not expensively. Sadly he's quit now although in fairness, he is in his mid 90's! Why would someone would turn something with provenance into a streetracker? So many "streetrackers" end up looking crap with wrong front end, shocks, wheels etc etc when you can get the right bits on Ebay and fit a disk to a Barnes-type flanged hub (same as rear but without the adapters), Betor forks, S&W shocks, Grimeca brakes, 19" wheels, a set of Avon SuperVenoms etc etc. - And you can live with a right hand shift. With just a little homework or talking to someone with a clue it could look the dog's bo***ks instead of a dog's dinner. On this, the seller has corrected some things - tank and seat are OK for a Shell frame but it still needs a lot to make it worth anywhere near the very high asking price, if it ever would be...