Stories from the Road

How the NS came to NE

It was a cold and damp winter morning. I was sitting with my 1st cup of coffee for the day. My iPad out, scrolling thru motorcycle photos, messages boards and classifieds. Something I always do, I’m never not in the market for a bike. I seem to have a list of maybe 5 or 6 bikes that I would buy if I ever saw one for sale. Thankfully I very hardly see one of these “sacred cows” for sale.

This day would be different!

But let’s back track a bit first…all the way back to 1985!

I had just discovered MotoGP racing (it was called 500gps back then) and started following the group of American racers that were dominating that world series of racing. Eddie Lawson, Randy Mamola and Freddie Spencer. Unfortunately, they all raced in far off lands, no tracks in the states hosted an international event. I found a weekly newspaper called cycle news that publish all the results from racing around the world. Each week I would sit down and read that from cover to cover. I started Subscribing to every motorcycle magazine published so I could soak in everything two wheels.

At the time I was riding my 2nd motorcycle a Suzuki GS450s. I was starting to look at upgrading my bike to something a little sportier, but I didn’t think I was ready for some of the bigger sport bikes of that time. Plus, I was young, dumb and was on a very limited budget.

I remember walking into my local dealer, SKY cycle and seeing a poster of King Kenny Roberts sitting on a Yamaha RZ350. A two stroke, just like the boys over in Europe were racing! It was street legal here in the states? I had to have one!

Few days later I found a low mileage one for sale and she was mine. What a beautiful bike she was and the sound from those pipes, only a gear head would love. Blue smoke billowing out as I tore up the streets of central mass! People would ask me what I’m doing at gas stations when I had to remove the seat and add two stoke oil to the reservoir. It was a very special time in my life. I was exploring on my motorcycle and discovering what it was like to just go.

Now this was the year Fast Freddie Spencer was racing in the 250 and 500 class and was winning both classes week in and week out on his beautiful RWB Honda two stroke.

At this time the only two stroke sold in the states was the RZ350 that I owned. Other countries got some special bikes like the Suzuki RG500, Yamaha RZ500 and in 1985 and 1986 Honda came out with the NS400r. All very cool and Unique machines.

The Honda stole my heart from the 1st time I saw it on the cover of cycle world. I was so disappointed to find out Honda had no plans to import the super cool V3 two stroke to the states.

Occasionally over the years I’d read about a few grey market bikes sneaking over to the states, usually a RZ500, Gamma 250 or 500 but never a NS!

I always had my heart set on someday buying that little V3 two stroke. As the years went on these bikes became more valuable and pretty rare.

So now back to that chilly morning in late February, I’m on a classified section of a motorcycle message board. I see the headline “several two stokes” listed for sale. I click and the 1st pic I see is this beautiful RWB NS400r listed.


I read a little further, it’s a Canadian model but has a current Iowa title. Less than 4,000 miles and it says museum quality machine. I send the owner a message, half expecting him to say it’s sold.

He gets back to me right away, fills me in on the details and says his price is firm, will not take a $ less then asking price. It turns out he had a collection of bikes including other rare two strokes and wanted to sell just one to raise some money for his granddaughter’s college fund. He had a few listed in other messages boards

We talk on the phone, exchange a few emails and then I tell him give me a few days and I’ll get back to you. He says, okay but if I sell one bike the NS comes off the market. I hang up and contacted my insurance agent to find out if I can register it here in MA. He says yup, no problem! Then I look at my latest bank statement. I have the cash. I then remember I’ve always told myself if I ever saw a NS400r for sale I’d buy it. Now it was time to put up or shut up!

Roughly 10 min after I hung up with him, I called him back. Then about 1 month later this beautiful Machine arrives at my doorstep!

It took 32 years for me to finally own one.

I don’t ride it much; I have few other bikes that collect the miles. However, when I do I’m transfix right back to the 80s and it’s like I’m 18 again. Riding a two stroke certainly attracts attention these days. You don’t see too many of them on the roads. If you do, look at the face of the rider, I bet they have a huge smile under the helmet!