Yamaha's RZ500 was known in some markets as the RD500LC, but by any name, it was one of the weirdest and wildest sports machines ever built. The twin-crank, liquid-cooled two-stroke V4 featured a set of torque-boosting YPVS powervalves and standard Autolube oil-injection so riders could worry less about premix and more about handling what was one of the most heart-attack serious bikes of the period.
A six-speed gearbox put power to the 18" rear wheel that had its motions damped by a rear shock mounted under the engine, Buell-style, because the rear expansion chambers needed somewhere to live.
Forks of course used an anti-dive system that seemed to be required equipment for virtually every 1980's Japanese sportbike to help keep the front wheel in contact with the road.
Although power-to-weight ratio meant the bike was For Professionals Only, the RZ was surprisingly civilized: the engine used a balance shaft that was intended to reduce vibration and allow the frame and brackets to be more lightly constructed, saving weight, but also had the side-effect of making the RZ smoother than Suzuki's RG500. Unfortunately "civilized" sort of defeated the purpose of the whole exercise, and performance nuts generally prefer the wilder RG.
The seller claims that this is "probably one of the nicest you'll find," and from photos it certainly looks that way. Head on over to the original listing for additional photos and plenty of close-up shots.
From the original eBay listing: 1985 Yamaha RZ500 for Sale
Selling my 1985 Yamaha RZ500. I am the first registered owner. This bike was purchased new by JO-CO Motors Yamaha in Overland Park Kansas for one of there employees. They had to pick it up in Canada since the RZ500 wasn't sold in the US. He put 4,450 miles on it before he parked it in 1988. I bought it from him in 2009. He had never titled it. I went thought the necessary steps to get a clean MO. title in my name. So I am the first registered owner. He told me the motor would have to be torn down and inspected sense it hasn't been started in 21 years. The upper crank bearing sits dry and could seize from not being oiled. I contacted Bill at Wilson Performance an expert with RZ500 and he said the same thing. I took the motor to him on 11/09/2010 and he did a top to bottom rebuild. There was nothing wrong with the motor other than the upper crank bearing. I have receipts for all the work he did. He finished the motor on 8/18/2011. Bill was very helpful getting it dialed in. It start's on the first kick and run's perfect.
Now on to the bike:
It's probably one of the nicest 500 you'll find. This bike is "unrestored". Nothing has been refinished or repainted. There is no rust in or on the tank. Even the tires are original. It shows 7566 KM which is 4698 miles. I have the original exhaust, Manuals and spare parts. It has a rare steering dampener and the fox shock on the rear end.
Having just seen one for the first time in the flesh over the weekend, I was surprised how small they are. The styling is pretty bulbous when seen in photos, but it's all very compact and purposeful when viewed in person. And while the Yammie may have lost out when directly compared to the Suzuki RG500 in terms of outright peformance, these are still extremely collectible and have very dedicated fans. More refined, but still pretty raucous when compared to modern four-stroke fours, the RZ offers up plenty of performance and thrills for fans of 1980's hardware.