Posts by tag: RZ500

Yamaha October 19, 2017 posted by

Ready to Roll: 1985 Yamaha RZ500 for Sale

Yamaha's two-stroke Grand Prix replica went by a few different names, depending on where it was sold: RD500LC in Europe, RZV500R for the Japanese market, and RZ500 in Canada and Australia. You'll note that nowhere do we mention which version we got here in the USA. The reason? We didn't: this wild, two-stroke four-cylinder was never officially imported during production that lasted from 1984 through 1986. I'd assume this particular RZ500 probably slipped across our northern border at some point, although it's always possible it was smuggled into the US in someone's luggage coming back from vacation in Australia...

Of course, as lightweight as a two-stroke can be, that's all relative: in 1984, a sportbike making 88hp and weighing 450lbs dry was considered pretty darn lean and mean. Of course, that was nearly 100lbs more than Suzuki's rival RG500, which also made a bit more power. But neither would impress today's riding public, weaned on 120hp 600cc supersports and 150+ hp 1000cc superbikes. But fans of two-stroke performance aren't necessarily interested in top speed or pure performance. They're into the character of that performance, in that particular two-stroke zing that pretty much requires constant use of the slick six-speed gearbox to make any sort of progress, accompanied by the two-stroke's trademark ring-a-ding and the smoky haze left in its wake.

The Yamaha was powered by the kind of oddball engine you just don't see enough of these days: a liquid-cooled 50° two-stroke V4 that featured twin cranks, a pair of YPVS power valves and lubrication handled by Yamaha’s Autolube oil-injection. 80s fashion meant a 16" wheel up front, along with anti-dive forks, and an 18" rear wheel. Two-stroke engines themselves are generally very compact, but the expansion chambers required for performance applications meant different packaging challenges, and led to the RZ500's underslung rear shock that cleared space for the rear cylinders' exhaust pipes.

The seller's description indicates that the bike is not completely stock, but anything other than a mothballed time capsule is likely to have had some wear-and-tear, and it seems like the current or previous owners have taken every opportunity to update or improve the bike when opportunities presented themselves.

From the original eBay listing: 1985 Yamaha RZ500 for Sale

1985 YAMAHA RZ500 V4 Two Stroke
Excellent condition, Looks amazing and runs great
COMPLETE engine rebuild and Stage III porting by Wilson Performance about 6500 miles ago. Total cost $6,400.00     (documentation attached)
Wilson Performance Air Filter System (documentation attached)
Wilbers rear shock Series 640. Complete factory rebuild in Aug 2017 (documentation attached)
Jim Lomas polished stainless steel chambers
Mikuni 34mm round slide carbs (nicely jetted)|
New AVON AM26 Road Runner tires
New chain and sprockets with 520 chain conversion
DYNA Coils
New bodywork
Factory Yamaha Service manual included and the rear stand
Bodywork kit is from Australia and runs about $1100.00
EBC brake rotors front and rear

The Buy It Now price is listed at $15,000 on the nose, pretty much the going price for a nice RZ500 these days. From the description, this bike looks like it's in very nice condition and is ready to be ridden, with proper maintenance and mild performance updates that should increase power and rideability. With new bodywork and the non-stock exhaust, this might not appeal to the most dogmatic of purists out there but, for everyone else, it looks like a very nice example, and the recent engine work should hopefully put prospective buyers' minds at ease.

-tad

Ready to Roll: 1985 Yamaha RZ500 for Sale
Yamaha July 30, 2017 posted by

Bargain or Basket Case? 1985 Yamaha RZ500

** Not Actual Bike. For illustrative purpose only.

RSBFS is all about the rare machine in exceptional condition. This is NOT that kind of post. This is, shall we say, an experiment. As many of our readers exhibit extensive mechanical knowledge, how about a rare and desirable bike that requires a little bit of work? Put on your rose-colored "I can see the potential here..." glasses and dive into this 1985 Yamaha RZ500. Long a staple of US-based two-stroke desires, the big RZ is one of the more popular smokers in existence. With great examples capable of eclipsing $20k in today's market, does sweat equity mitigate the price or is this just another pile of parts? Read on before you make your decision.

1985 Yamaha RZ500 Project Bike for sale

Known as the RD500LC in some markets, the RZ500 was Yamaha's repli-racer knockoff; having experienced tremendous success on the racetrack thanks to the exploits of Kenny Roberts and the PJ1-sponsored YZR500 GP machine, Yamaha hoped to parlay that into success on the showroom floor. Between 19854 and 1986, these 500cc, twin crank V-4 machines allowed street riders to exercise their inner Roberts or Lawson - everywhere but the US. Given the importance of the US market and the lack of EPA acceptance of anything as dirty as a two-stroke, the big RZ did not have a long model life span. Today it is considered rare and coveted by collectors. That is what makes this opportunity potentially (insert rose-colored glasses here) interesting.

From the seller:
1985 Yamaha RZ 500 in the works, I have most the parts (approx. 99.7%) including New Aftermarket Fairing kit with some new hardware (Tank cover not included). Windshield, Brakes, Tires, Chain/Sprocket, Wheel Bearings, Rims Powder Coated, Upgraded Hi Performance Ignition, Throttle Cables, Battery, Air filter, Gas Cap, Exhaust gaskets, Oil caps and plugs, Thermostat. Seat recovered. Some of these items have not been installed. Engine starts/runs but only been tested on cap full of fuel. Needs a bit more to assemble/finish YPVS needs setting up/repair. left handle bar cap missing, one mirror cracked. Need seat key/lock Fuel tank refinished in White Main photo of completed bike for reference only.

While the seller claims that the bike is mostly there, restoration experts would warn you that there can be a LOT missing in that final 0.3%. And that only refers to the parts list. Unless you have extensive experience assembling this model, have an original example that you can use as reference or are clairvoyant, you may find putting this puzzle together a bit more work than anticipated. And considering that this puzzle is good for speeds well over the ton, you had better ensure that the pieces are assembled correctly.

The general consensus is when collecting you should strive to find the best example of what you want; the cost of restoration usually exceeds the cost of what you could buy a better example for in the first place. Methinks this may be one of those cases, unless you are purchasing simply because you want a project. If you want a RZ500 to ride, my recommendation would be find one that is ready to be ridden. The seller is looking for $8,200 Canadian (works out to be $6,542 USD) or best offer. Cheap and interesting, or crazy and incomplete? Check it out here first, and then jump back and share your thoughts in the Comments section. Is this a project you would tackle? Good Luck!!

MI

Yamaha June 28, 2017 posted by

New York State of Mind: 1984 Yamaha RZ500

I will freely admit - having been born and bred in SoCal - that I have absolutely no idea what a New York state of mind might be. However I imagine it a series of dichotomies; hot and humid summers, cold and snowy winters, and the world's most crowded (and motorized unfriendly) city. That pretty much conjures up the images I have, intending NO offense intended to our East Coast denizens. However in my palm-tree infested world devoid of rain, I have a hard time thinking about how rare hardware survives. This bike does little to change my impression, although it may not be entirely fair to blame the locale.

1984 Yamaha RZ500 for sale on eBay

As I'm certain you have heard before, the RZ500 is the most populous of the rare, big two strokes. Encompassing a V-4, twin crank two stroke in a mild steel perimeter frame, the RZ was akin to a GP racer for the street. It was not the most hardcore of the bigger smokers (that honor falls to the Gamma), but it was both approachable and readily available; provided you lived somewhere other than the US. There are plenty of examples available, mostly coming from north of the US border; our two-stroke friend, Canada. Given the location of this bike, that is the most likely point of import.

From the seller:
Up for sale is a 1984 Yamaha RZ500 Motorcycle. Clear Title. Frame Number 47X-002434. I will get the engine number Soon and update the listing. Previous Owner had Bought the bike in 2007, He had put on new Tires, When though the Carburetors, changed the Kilometer Speedometer out for a MPH Gauge. Original reads 19,651. He had put a used MPH gauge on so mileage should be around 20,000. He had kept the original Kilo gauge, see picture, reads 34,454. The bike has a new battery. Fires right up and sounds great, no leaks or noises. Goes through the gears fine, clutch feels good. Inside of the gas tank was previously lined and is now starting to Bubble, so will need to be cleaned out. Front and rear brakes work as should. Headlight/ Taillight work. Has rear blinkers, Front blinkers are missing. It has a Jolly Moto exhaust system. Plastics have some cracks and slight repairs, but looks great! Expect normal wear and tear for a bike its age. Little to no rust. Would make a great Rider! Rare motorcycle, Clear Title/ Toolkit and cowl for seat. Please see all pictures before bidding. Bike is sold as is.

The seller shares some good information about the bike, but it seems unlikely that these words are the whole story. Not only has the speedo been changed out, but so too has the temp gauge. Were these items damaged in a crash (evidenced by the numerous scars on the bodywork), or was there another reason? Was overheating an issue? Where did all of the rust come from? Where are the front turn stalks? There are so many questions that I would want to ask on this one, not the least is why are all of the puke tubes hanging out in non-stock locations? The Jolly Moto pipes are a good score, but great pipes attached to some questions only really amplify the queries. Was the steering damper added after the fact? I could go on, but I'll stop here.

It should be no surprise to less geographically-challenged individuals than me that this bike is located near Syracuse, only a short doughnut's throw over the border to Canada. The swapped speedo makes sense from a federalization perspective, but the rest of the issues nag at me. Far from the near-perfect $20k smokers and exotica you tend to see on RSBFS (like this Kawasaki H2R or this ultra rare Kawasaki KR-1R), this RZ500 is a bit of a work in progress (as soon as the new buyer starts making progress). That could be a good thing if the price is right. The fly in the ointment here is that the opening ask is one buck short of ten grand. Yes, that is $10,000 USD. While a clean and well-sorted RZ500 can be a $15k machine (and $20k for a time capsule example), this one is far from that. Check it out here, and let us know what you think; does the DIY approach make any fiscal sense here, or is this one simply trying to ride the bubble? Good Luck!!

MI

New York State of Mind: 1984 Yamaha RZ500
Yamaha May 18, 2017 posted by

Time Capsule: 1984 Yamaha RZ500

There is no doubt that RSBFS show the love for the big RZ. One of the most popular bikes searched for on the site, the Yamaha RZ500 combines race-boy naughty looks with a twin-crank V4 two-stroke, enough pipes sticking out the back to warn off possible tailgaters, and a GP-inspired 16" front wheel to reduce gyroscopic forces and aid in cornering transitions. If you like to ride and are breathing, how could this not elevate your heart rate?

1984 Yamaha RZ500 for sale on eBay

Never officially imported into the US, many RZs find their way to the States via Canada. This bike appears to be no different as it is still sitting in that Northern Wonderland, home to many exotics that Americans lust after. The seller has some experience with shipping across borders, and adds the following statement: I will crate and ship the bike to shipper of your choice in Vancouver BC included in the final sale price.

From the seller:
This 1984 RZ500 (RD500) was brought from the original owners estate. The original owner was a bush pilot who brought it new in 1984, rode it for a total of 2015kms until sometime in 1986/87 and stored it.

The condition of this bike is nothing short of astounding, all the original rubber and foam is supple , (excluding air filter element and battery strap). The battery was only slightly low in two cells, hence zero acid damage to the bike. The bike was lightly stripped, cleaned, lubed. The carbs where rebuilt. The bike runs beautifully, it currently has pre mix in it as well as running the pump.

Paper work from back in the day; 3 x Books, 1x Yamaha Canada transfer of off ownership, 1x Original ownership, invoice and receipt set for deposits, purchase off bike, including till receipts, 1x Assembly sign off sheet, 1 x 1st service paperwork, 3x insurance cover notes + all the current paperwork

Finding a RZ in this condition is pretty rare. Finding one with a documented history is even more elusive. And while two strokes do not require the same type of care as their four-stroke brethren, they do require care and feeding. When the condition of the bike in question matches up with paperwork from the time periods involved, you are a lot closer to that goal. Note that this does not mean the bike is perfect, nor does it mean that you - as a prospective buyer - are free from doing your homework. RSBFS always recommends interested buyers dig a little deeper when it comes to rare, older and hard to find machinery.

More from the seller:
Flaws; There are 2 mounting tabs repaired, cracks around left center mounting hole, and crack on belly pan. The tank was cleaned inside with metal rescue, it has not been lined. some minor rust flecks on underside of right lower exhaust and a ding. There is some flecking here and there on some of the olive fittings.The tach was not working in the vid, but has since started moving, i think it is sticky from sitting.

The bike runs and shifts great, however, the tires , brake pads, seals etc etc are 33+ years old, so indulging the inner Kenny right off the bat may not be a great idea.

The price of originality will always be higher than that of a modified machine. And in this case, the bidding internet certainly agrees. This low-mileage bike has several days to run at auction, with bidding already beyond US $16,500. How high will it go? All depends what originality is worth to the buyer. Note that this one is a Canadian machine and will still need to be imported into whatever country/state you are located, which may (or may not) be an easy task. Still, RSBFS recommends that you find the best example of the model you wish to purchase, as reconditioning and restorations are frightfully expensive. This one looks like the real deal. Check it out here, and good luck!!

MI

Time Capsule: 1984 Yamaha RZ500
Yamaha March 10, 2017 posted by

Thawed: 1984 Yamaha RZ500

In many parts of the country, it would appear that a wet winter has relented to an early summer. Warmer temperatures seem to prevail, which leads to more riding, sooner in the year. This particular RZ500 - the model a shoe-in for top 10 bikes searched by RSBFS readers - was a Canadian import now a Florida resident. With importation already taken care of, an avid rider can simply take advantage and shred a knee puck or two. Dragging appendages shouldn't be an issue, given the RZ's reputation for outstanding handling; the frame is a basic-yet-stout mild steel box-section affair arranged in a perimeter layout. The rest of the bike is packaged around the fabulous V-4, two-stoke power plant, with the rear shock placed horizontally under the engine. Given the need for expansion chamber space (it is a smoker after all) the under-seat area is chock full of the upper cylinders' pipes. The end result is more mass down low, and a very transition-friendly machine.

1985 Yamaha RZ500 for sale on eBay

From the seller:
RECENT CANADIAN IMPORT. PREVIOUS OWNER BOUGHT FROM ESTATE SALE. OWNER DECIDED TO POWDER COAT FRAME AND WHEELS AS THESE LET DOWN THE CONDITION OF THE REST OF THE BIKE. THE FRAME AND WHEELS CAME OUT AMAZING.

HE HAD ANOTHER MECHANIC HELP HIM CHECK OUT THE ENGINE AS IT SHOWED 46K KILOMETERS ON THE SPEEDO. ENGINE HISTORY WAS UNKNOWN. COMPRESSION/LEAK DOWN CHK WAS GOOD AND THE ENGINE WAS IN PRISTINE CONDITION VISUALLY WITH NEWLY FINISHED COVERS ETC ALL GASKETS THAT WERE VISIBLE LOOKED NEW AND THEY TOOK CLUTCH COVERS OFF ALL LOOKED GREAT. THE CARBS WERE CAREFULLY TUNED AND SET UP AND THE BIKE RUNS LOVELY. STARTS HOT OR COLD AND REVS FREELY.

A VERY GOOD 9 I WOULD SAY FOR CONDITION PLS CHK PICS AND SEE FOR YOURSELF.

From a riding perspective, it is very hard to go wrong with an RZ500. These are performance machines, and provided you are willing to deal with the vibration, smoke and somewhat compromising riding position, you might think you had died and gone to heaven. Power is quite respectable (about 80 HP in stock trim), and weight is nicely managed with a claimed dry weight of 438 lbs. Prices have held strong over the last 5-7 years, making this a model that costs more to get into with each passing year. That is bad news for someone who wants one, but good news for anyone that either has one or has the cash to purchase one. This is a safe investment bet from a two wheeled perspective, although the appreciation may not be as great as with other machines (i.e. RC30).

This bike is available in Florida. It is not clear if the seller simply imported the bike, or imported and legally registered the bike for use in the USA. That would be a pretty big decider, as a licensed RZ500 in the US is worth more (considerably more) than a "sold with a bill of sale" example. The seller does claim a mechanic has made an inspection of this approximately 28,000 mile machine, but seal replacement can be critical to a two stroke to prevent air ingestion (and the resultant lean seizure). As always, we recommend that you investigate carefully, as lots of questions, and - if at all possible - see the bike in question in person. This is a popular auction with bidding above $9,000 USD and reserve not yet met. Check it out here, and be sure and share your thoughts on the model. Good Luck!!

MI

Yamaha February 23, 2017 posted by

North Star: 1985 Yamaha RZ500 in Canada

Perennial fan favorite, the RZ500 ranks among the top bikes viewed, watched, clicked on or lusted after on the pages of RSBFS. And it's no wonder why: with GP-inspired good looks, twin-crank V-4 two stroke power and a racing pedigree, the big RZ was all that riders could want from a sport bike in the early to mid 1980s. It made the right noises, had the go-fast credentials, and made one feel like King Kenny or Eddie Lawson right out of the box; as long as that box was not opened in the USA. Perhaps it is the forbidden fruit aspect of the big RZ that gets the blood pumping. Although readily available in most other world markets, the US was left wanting.

1985 Yamaha RZ500 for sale on eBay

Yamaha made two versions of this bike. For most of the world, they released what you see here: the RZ500. For the home market in Japan, Yamaha produced the RZV500. The RZV sports an aluminum chassis and weighs less than the RZ. However home market rules limited the HP, and thus the RZV was sold in de-rated condition. In stock form the RZ was the faster of the two bikes, although the hot combination is the RZV chassis with an RZ-spec (or greater) engine setup.

From the seller:
Awesome V4 2 stroke collector bike, less than 1000kms since engine was rebuilt, bike is in fantastic condition, sounds great with the Jolly Moto pipes which are worth 2k alone
comes with the original pipes in nice condition, original airboxes and mirrors
serious bidders only, no its not cheap for a collector item like this,
bike is located in BC Canada

shipping is buyers responsibility, i will assist whatever transport company you choose
dont ask me for a shipping quote, ask them

Since none of the RZ500s that landed in North America officially made it to the US, the quickest route to smoker glory came from our friends north of the border. Imported Canadian RZs have been fulfilling the fantasies of American riders ever since these beasts hit the showroom floor, and continue to offer a steady supply of ring-a-ding-ding to those with the desire and wherewithal. Shipping and paperwork not necessarily included.

With rare Jolly Moto pipes, some mods and a recent rebuild, this example could be a good find for someone interested in riding their collection in anger. It is not in pristine, stock condition - but appears to be holding up well. Nearly 30,000 miles have passed under the wheels of this bad boy, but it lacks the type of corrosion we typically see from bikes in this locale. Pity the pipes require rear bodywork changes, but it's probably worth it as the revs rise and bike comes on full song. Located in BC, Canada, this RZ500 could be your cure for the winter blues.

MI

North Star: 1985 Yamaha RZ500 in Canada