Posts by tag: RZ500

Yamaha August 22, 2016 posted by

1985 Yamaha RZV500 available in Wisconsin


Here's a great looking, unrestored, Japanese market RZV500. The biggest difference between the RZ500 and RZV500 is the aluminum frame and even smaller production numbers compared to the ROW models. Mileage is a mere 7,400 and with 5 days remaining on the auction, the current bid is a little over $10k, reserve not met.


1985 Yamaha RZV500 for sale on eBay

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from the seller:

If your looking at this ad then you already know what you want so I'm not going to list all the technical stuff for this bike you can look that up online. I have had this RZV500 for 12 years. I ride it about a 100 miles a year and put it away. It runs and rides great. Starts easy I have done nothing with the motor since I bought it just changed oil and tires that's about it. I did add the Lomas pipes and changed jetting the pipes are mild steel.The stock pipes will be included.

I am not an RZ Geek just someone who likes to ride 2 stroke on the road so I might not be able to answer all technical questions but I will try. As far as the condition it does have some cracking in the body work some mild oxidation in areas. About everything you could expect for an unrestored 31 year old bike. The one thing I did notice on my last ride is the directional will go on but not flash that is something I have not looked in too. Other than that everything functions as it should.If you need more photos of something specific I will be happy to provide them.

From the Q&A at the bottom of the listing:

Q: What's the difference between a RZ500 & a RZV 500 ? Thank you.

A: Hello, There are several differences some subtle and some not so subtle. here is a list of some differences. RZV500R (51X) Made exclusively in Japan Tachometer mounted red warning light that activates at the equivalent of 55mph. Hand-produced lightweight aluminium frame, fuel tank contents gauge activated by a rhs mounted function switch (uses water temp gauge to show fuel tank contents available), front suspension pre-load adjustable from dial on top of forks legs. Self cancelling indicators deleted. Production run limited to 1600 units only (all sold in the first week of release allegedly) The claimed dry weight of the RZ is 438 lbs. The claimed dry weight of the RZV is 418 lbs. I hope this answer's your question. Thanks for asking. Todd

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1985 Yamaha RZV500 available in Wisconsin
Yamaha August 9, 2016 posted by

Unfairly Overshadowed? 1984 Yamaha RZ500 for Sale

1984 Yamaha RZ500 R Front

Many of the weird and wonderful bikes we like to feature on this site appear in time-capsule condition, as if Doc Brown put them in a trailer behind his time-traveling DeLorean and towed them from the distant year 1985 into… The future! Others are patched-up wrecks described as having “patina” with “90% tread left on tires.” This particular RZ500 falls somewhere in the middle, and looks like a nice, clean, bike with a reasonable asking price.

Crazy, right?

1984 Yamaha RZ500 L Front

Yamaha’s RZ500, also known as the RD500LC in some markets, was one of two 500cc race-replicas designed to ape the overall specification and style of the top-level two-stroke racebikes of the era. But unlike the Suzuki RG500 “Gamma,” the Yamaha pulled a bit of a Honda with their roadgoing exotic, taking a brilliant idea and then engineering the hell out of it, ending up with a bit of a muddle. The powerplant was a liquid-cooled 50° two-stroke V4 with twin cranks. So far, so good. A pair of YPVS power valves and oil-injection helped boost performance and make the bike a bit more practical. Seems like a smart choice. Sophisticated anti-dive forks and an unusually-mounted rear shock allowed for serious handling and tight packaging, respectively. Then a balance shaft was included to handle unwanted vibrations... In theory, this should have helped make the bike run smoother and make it more civilized while simultaneously allowing a lighter frame for improved performance, but it didn’t really work out that way. The resulting bike was both heavier and less powerful than the Gamma and although the RZ has its fans, reviewers and prices reflect the Gamma’s superior performance versus the RZ500’s more practical street bias. The upside is reasonable prices compared to the Suzuki, and that singular two-stroke sound and feel.

1984 Yamaha RZ500 Tank

So what’s the big deal with the rising popularity of these two-stroke sportbikes? A bit of nostalgia and a bit of performance. These tinny-sounding streetbikes began to disappear after the mid-1980s here in the USA where ever-tightening emissions laws strangled the smoky little beasts into an early grave. Top-level racing of the era saw two-stroke machines competing exclusively and that link to race-bred machinery is a powerful thing in the minds of motorcycle enthusiasts. There’s also the axiom made popular by Colin Chapman, founder of Lotus: “Simplify, then add lightness.” And two strokes are both of those things: with fewer moving parts, they’re simpler and lighter, while theoretically making twice as much power as a four-stroke of equivalent displacement. So while a 500cc two-stroke might make similar power compared to a 1000cc four-stroke, the resulting package is much lighter, meaning the bike will turn quicker, brake better, and generally offer more feedback to the rider. Two-strokes require more maintenance, which isn’t a problem for race bikes or committed enthusiasts, and they also produce more pollution, which is something many motorcycle fans are happy to… Ahem. Overlook.

1984 Yamaha RZ500 R Side Detail

From the original eBay listing: 1984 Yamaha RZ500 for Sale

In great condition. Runs after one kick. Never downed. Never raced, 8700 Miles. Tuned by Lance Gamma

Engine: 499 cc liquid-cooled V4 two stroke Power: 64.2 kW (88 PS) @9,500 rpm Torque: 65.4 N·m @8,500 rpm Transmission 6 speed Weight 205 kg/452 lb (dry)

1984 Yamaha RZ500 R Side

There's a $9,000 opening bid with no takers as yet and a $10,000 Buy It Now price for this bit of two-stroke history. This example isn't cosmetically perfect, with a little bit of surface rust here and there on the steel frame, but appears complete and mechanically well cared-for: "tuned by Lance Gamma" certainly adds some value. Although as always, I wish these sellers would include more details about the bike's history and exactly what "tuned" means: did he adjust the carburetors, or do a performance rebuild of the motor and set up the suspension? Having been under the care of a well-known and regarded tuner is great, but a bit more detail might help the bike sell...


1984 Yamaha RZ500 L Fairing

Unfairly Overshadowed? 1984 Yamaha RZ500 for Sale
Yamaha July 17, 2016 posted by

V4 Race Replica: 1985 Yamaha RZ500 for Sale

1985 Yamaha RZ500 R Front

Like any market, collector car and bike values can be difficult to predict, which is why they call it “speculating.” Sure, that Anniversary Edition Corvette looks pretty sharp in a giant, plastic wedge kind of way, but will it ever be valuable enough to really justify squirreling away one instead of driving it? The same holds true for motorcycles: at the time, who would ever have expected the Yamaha RZ500 to be so much less sought-after than its direct competitor, the Suzuki RG500 Gamma?

1985 Yamaha RZ500 L Rear

On paper, the two bikes share a similar mission and specifications and both have their engine as the centerpiece: shared with no other bike in either company’s lineup, the Yamaha used a 50° V4 two-stroke and the Suzuki used a square-four two-stroke. Both were meant to mimic their respective company’s GP race bikes’ configurations and made similar power: 88hp for the Yammie and a claimed 94hp for the Suzuki. Both had paired cranks and a whole host of sophisticated engine and suspension trickery, with the Yamaha using their YPVS power valve system to boost midrange torque.

1985 Yamaha RZ500 Rear Wheel

Frame on the RZ500, known as the RD500LC in some markets, was made of steel, although the Japanese market RZV500R used a lightweight aluminum frame. Unfortunately, that bike was restricted in terms of power to 64hp, so any performance advantages, at least in a straight line, were muted. And now we’re getting to the root of the problem. Basically, Yamaha hedged their bets to make the RZ500 more accessible to the average rider, watering down their “GP bike with lights” to increase appeal: a balance shaft smoothed the raucous engine but added weight. The steel frame kept pricing down, but once again: increased weight. At 452lbs dry the RZ outweighed the RG by a staggering 80lbs.

1985 Yamaha RZ500 Clocks

Period reviewers were quick to praise the raw, authentic feel of the Suzuki compared to the more civilized Yamaha. And for racing fans looking for a connection, however tenuous, to the prototype racing machines being raced by their heroes, those pounds and the lack of edginess matter.

From the original eBay listing: 1985 Yamaha RZ500 for Sale

This bike is in possession of the coveted California Registration. I did start it, sounded good, but 2 of the cylinders were over oiling, and 2 of the carbs started leaking, so I shut her down.

This rare bike needs a new owner and a little TLC.  

1985 Yamaha RZ500 Front Wheel

But just because they don’t command quite the rabid following as the Gamma doesn’t mean the RZ isn't a blast to ride, or cheap exactly. Prices have been rising recently, as they have with all two-stroke sports motorcycles, although this one hasn't attracted much attention yet at the $9,000 starting bid. This example isn’t perfect, obviously, and will need those engine issues sorted before it's ready to go. Some minor blemishes mean you can feel comfortable hooning your bike without fear of violating a pristine collectible, because even though the RZ might be less racy than the Gamma, don’t think it doesn’t provide two-stroke race-rep thrills for children of the 1980s.


1985 Yamaha RZ500 L Front

V4 Race Replica: 1985 Yamaha RZ500 for Sale
Yamaha September 1, 2015 posted by

So Fresh and So Clean: Unrestored 1985 Yamaha RZ500 for Sale

1985 Yamaha RZ500 Unrestored R Side Front

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.

1985 Yamaha RZ500 Unrestored Lower L Fairing

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.

1985 Yamaha RZ500 Unrestored R Side

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.

1985 Yamaha RZ500 Unrestored Clocks

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.

1985 Yamaha RZ500 Unrestored Rear Wheel

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. 

1985 Yamaha RZ500 Unrestored Lower R Fairing

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.

If you're a Yamaha fan, or a vintage racebike fan, you should head on over to and check out the TZ750 currently listed there.


1985 Yamaha RZ500 Unrestored L Side

So Fresh and So Clean: Unrestored 1985 Yamaha RZ500 for Sale
Yamaha August 22, 2015 posted by

More Two-Stroke Sizzle: 1985 Yamaha RZ500 for Sale

1985 Yamaha RZ500 R Side

It seems like it's been raining two-strokes recently, and this RZ500 should make Yamaha fans happy. Bikes seem to come in waves as their values wax and wane. Forgotten bikes suddenly find a collector's market, and all those folks who've had them from new suddenly unload them, or get too old to ride them in a bunch, and the market is glutted for a while. That seems to be what's been going on of late with the 80's two-strokes. Sometimes, it's almost impossible to find a nice RG500 or RZ500 for sale, but the past couple months it seems like they've been everywhere.

1985 Yamaha RZ500 R Side Rear

These liquid-cooled, two-stroke MotoGP inspired machines were the ultimate road-going motorcycles of the time. From the twin-crank, 50° V4 to the anti-dive front forks visible in the photos, these were high-spec, high-performance machines like nothing else on the road. Sure, a big Ducati might be just as fast over a given section of road, but the two-strokes were scalpels to the Ducati's hammer, and offered a very different experience.

1985 Yamaha RZ500 Front Wheel

This RZ seems to be a very decent example. Not completely original, but not resto-modded into something new and terrifying.

From the original eBay listing: 1985 Yamaha RZ500 for Sale

Beautiful condition!

Frame has been powder coated.

Rims have been powder coated.

New tires, chain, brake pads.

Engine has been professionally tuned.

This beauty was a Grand Prix inspired 500. Light, powerful and stunning.

Willing to deliver as far as the Maine, USA border (Calais or Houlton).

I am also considering selling several other bikes in my collection - various vintage Yamaha's, to be listed at a later date.

1985 Yamaha RZ500 R Side Fairing

Bidding is active on this one with several days left on the auction. It's currently sitting just north of $5,000 but this will obviously likely go much higher before the end. The bike is currently located in Canada, but a ride back down through Maine at this time of year might make for a very nice vacation...


1985 Yamaha RZ500 L Side

More Two-Stroke Sizzle: 1985 Yamaha RZ500 for Sale
Yamaha August 8, 2015 posted by

Tasteful Custom Stroker: 1985 Yamaha RZ500 for Sale

1985 Yamaha RZ500 R Side Front

Well, last week's seemingly ham-fisted resto-mod Gamma went over like a lead balloon, so let's see how this one flies: a very bright and shiny Yamaha RZ500 fitted with some FZR bits!

1985 Yamaha RZ500 L Side RearJPG

Built from 1984 to 1986, the RZ500 was also known as the RD500LC in some markets. It was Yamaha's entry into the Moto GP replica wars and a direct competitor of Suzuki's equally wild RG500Γ Gamma, although most feel that the Gamma was ultimately the better bike. Due to emissions laws, the RZ500 was never officially imported to the USA, although some found there way here via Canada and, more recently, imported directly.

1985 Yamaha RZ500 Cockpit

Like the Gamma, the RZ featured wild specifications: a liquid-cooled, 499cc two-stroke V4 with two cranks and 50° between cylinder banks. A pair of YPVS power valves and oil-injection. Even a balance shaft to quell vibration, and while this did improve the bike's ability as a street ride, the real advantage of the balance shaft was that it allowed the frame and other bits to be lighter. That light weight philosophy extended to the materials used, and the engine cases were made of magnesium. You know how I know that? It's got "MAGNESIUM" cast right there into the cases!

1985 Yamaha RZ500 L Side Engine

It isn't mentioned in the description, so I'll assume this bike has the standard steel frame. Japanese bikes actually had a desirable aluminum version of the frame that helped offset the detuned engine sold in that market. If you look, you can see the remote reservior for the rear suspension peeking out by the radiator: the rear shock was mounted Buell-style under the engine to make room for the rear pair of cylinders' exhaust. The original bike featured anti-dive forks, although those have been lost in the transition to the FZR front end, a loss I'd expect is more than acceptible, considering the other benefits of the swap.

1985 Yamaha RZ500 R Side Chambers

From the original eBay listing: 1985 Yamaha RZ500 for Sale

For sale is my 1985 Yamaha RZ500, 4 Cylinder Liquid Cooled Two-Stroke, Custom Painted to Kenny Roberts Replica Graphics. When I found this bike 8 years ago, I had to have it. I was (and am) a big RZ350 fan and then my buddy explained to me that Yamaha made a 4 cylinder version that was never sold in the U.S.A. I did some research and watched over a few years then saw this bike. Several things immediately drew me to it which might you too but high on the list was the Kenny Roberts Paint Job. For me (a person who is by far more drawn to stock) I just can’t stop looking at this bike. Then add to it the complete rebuild and modifications made with high dollar parts, there was no decision to be made.

When I got it, my buddy convinced me to take a ride to the local Indy Ducati Dealer which was holding an open house event and motorcycle show. As we pulled up, two guys from the Factory Ducati Semi heard the sound and ran up to ask me if this was really an RZ500… that felt good. I won 1st place at that show in the “Other Class”. I felt a little embarrassed as there was such a crowd gathered around the bike that most had never seen before. The same happens time and time again when I find the time to take it out for a cruise or to the Indy Moto GP… it just commands your attention.

1985 Yamaha RZ500 R Side Tail

The listing is pretty comprehensive and includes much more detail, along with some additional photos, so pop over for a look. With a Buy It Now price of $14,950.00 and just two days left on the listing, the seller is looking for premium money. But it looks like a premium bike, with those gorgeous expansion chambers, clean bodywork, thoughtful improvements, and a 17" wheel update that should make for improved handling. If you're okay with the updates, this is one sharp machine.

As always with these customized machines, expert opinions are welcome in the comments!


1985 Yamaha RZ500 R Side

Tasteful Custom Stroker: 1985 Yamaha RZ500 for Sale