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1/2 Liter Superbike – 1987 Yamaha RZV500

While the roadgoing two-stroke era ended here in 1979, it continued for several more years around the globe, a few makers templating their Grand Prix bikes for the showroom.  This example looks under used and has a super-clean stock appearance.

1987 Yamaha RZV500 for sale on eBay

The RZV was destined only for Japan, and differed from the rest-of-world RZ500LC mainly in its alloy chassis.  The compact V4 is actually two upright twins which are geared directly to the clutch, and the lack of a central jackshaft left room for a smoothing counter-balancer.  Two pairs of 26mm Mikuni carburetors look to the sides, and expansion chambers leave from the front and rear of the V.  Forks are air-adjusted, have anti-dive and hold dual 267mm brakes and a 16-inch front wheel, while the 18-inch rear is mounted to an alloy monoshock.

The Seattle dealer showing this RZV500 has had a few other classic sportbikes on eBay ( and RSBFS ) along with a boatload of parts.  The RZV has just under 6,000 miles and looks excellent in several high-resolution photos.  Not sure exactly what to expect in the sticker department on a JDM machine, so expert readers will have to weigh in.  Comments from the eBay auction:

The body work is all original and is in very good condition. The paint work is in nice good condition with no major scratches anywhere, and wheels are in great shape with no major rock chips or corrosion. The frame does not have any corrosion and is nice and clean. The original exhaust is in nice condition with the exception of one dent on the right side muffler as can be seen in the pictures. But overall cosmetically this bike is in very nice condition.

The bike runs and rides perfect, and shifts smoothly through all gears. The carburetor was recently ultrasonically cleaned and adjusted, and a full service tune-up was performed which included new spark plugs, chain, brake pads, oil change, new tires, and all fluids flushed. All of the lighting, switches and electrical components work as they should.

With almost 200 hp per liter ( when de-restricted ), the RZV was too fast to live and production ended in 1988.  Several anachronisms flying in formation, it’s a two stroke, kick start, and weighs just over 400 lbs. dry.  Likewise, maybe you are more comfortable in your helmet and knee sliders than business casual, and would like to get in on the bidding.  It’s just eclipsed $13K but hasn’t yet met the reserve.

-donn

18 Comments

  • By far the coolest invention known to mankind…

  • Wow this is not only extra rare it looks in the pictures to be hyper immaculate. The reserve is likely eye watering. Like most rare bikes this thing has tire sizes that are not favorable for finding replacements for doing track time. What a mixed bag! A desireable bike you want to ride but consumeable parts that work against that.

    Funny but if you could put 2019 standard track day tires on this, the chassis would likely get tied in knots.

    All the same, what a little jewel this is.

  • A much nicer looking bike than that RG500 from last week that had bids reaching over $32000.

  • That speedometer is not original. In fact, it’s not even an RZV500 speedo.

    RZ/RD500 speedos go to 250 KPH. The RZV500 only goes to 180 KPH. It also has the speeds highlighted from 80 to 180 KPH. It is unique to the RZV500.

    The speedo on this bike is clearly not an RZV speedo, which begs the question; how many KMS are actually on this bike? It is certainly not as the seller claims.

  • I wonder, what would be harder to live with on a regular basis, this or a Honda RC30?

  • The bike looks very clean, but this is correct… That is an RD/RZ speedometer, so some part of this bike’s story remains untold.

  • The tasteners holding the rev counter and speedo have never had a wrench on them, check it out. What gives?

  • The fasteners have been painted. That black colour is wrong and definitely not original.

    Also worth noting is the fact that there is no such thing as a 1987 RZV500.

  • I’m inclined to agree with JR on this. The fastener and bezel surrounding the gauges are strangely perfect and clean compared to the hardware and fasteners elsewhere in the cockpit (top triple clamp and clip ons for example).

  • It’s not a bad bike, but there are certainly some discrepancies worth noting. I expect the reserve is set quite high and at that price there should be no hidden surprises, least of all finding out that the speedo is wrong and the actual mileage, and history, is unknown.

    If you look closely you will see that the bolts holding the mirrors on are also incorrect. They should be 8 mm bolts; specifically P/N 91026-08025. That is obvious. What about the rest that you can’t see?

    It is also worth noting that the gas cap seems to be incorrect as well. The finish is wrong. That one appears to be a YBR125 cap, which has a polished finish. An no, polishing will not make the RZV500 cap shine like that.

    The right lower pipe has rash on it. Why? Was the front damaged at the same time? Minor, but important.

    I can see that both rear carburetor drain hoses are missing. A small thing, but unusual nonetheless due to the way they are typically routed. They really should be there. Assume the uppers are missing as well. It is the little things that tell the real story.

    Curious that there is no battery in the bike. I’d definitely be asking the seller (whom it seems has only acquired it to sell it and knows nothing about them) if he has had the bike running since acquiring it. Perhaps the battery was removed after the fact.

    There are differences between the 84 and 85 and RZ500. There are differences with the rare (only 150 made) 1986 RZ500S. Then there are differences between the RZ500 and RZV500. Anyone looking to purchase any of them needs to be very aware of the differences and know that what you are buying is 100% correct. This site has featured plenty of RZV500s. Few are 100% correct. Know what you are buying. Not knowing can be expensive.

  • The V4 and RZV decals on the left side fairings look to be a different angle than the vent under them and of those on the right side.

  • And let’s also mention that the decals are wrong. It should have RZV 500R decals on both sides. Just another issue with this bike and there are more.

    I think that speedometer issue has the potential to derail any sale once the buyer figures out it is wrong. What is the actual distance covered by this bike? No one will ever know. What we do know is that it is not as claimed, and the seller is responsible for the listing being accurate or fictional.

    If this was an $8000 bike it wouldn’t matter. At the current price and the expected high reserve there is no room for seller errors. It has to be correct, or at least no so glaringly wrong.

  • Ok,Ok… The bike,albeit may not be what the seller is selling! Thank you for the eagle eyes on this one. I may have just pulled the trigger on this one and yes, when I heard hoofbeats, I expected horses, not zebras! Lesson learned, and,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, next 2 stroke, please, Thanks for the education…

  • Buyer beware…
    I bought a motorcycle from this seller and it showed up with a major significant flaw that was never mentioned. This is another sketchy motorcycle !!!

  • Looks the seller may have pulled the tool kit and is selling it in a separate auction. Booooo…..

  • If that tool kit did come from that bike it raises more questions about the bike’s actual condition. It takes a serious effort to make the tool kit look that awful. Typically that is seen on neglected bikes that have been stored outside for years.

  • Auction ended as no longer available yet it appears to still be for sale at starting bid of $100. Weird!!!!!

  • It defaults to the opening bid when an auction is cancelled. One day eBay will find a way to prevent auctions from being ended in the last 24 hours to avoid selling fees.

    I talked to the seller several times about the noted and very obvious discrepancies. He refused to accept that the bike was less than perfect. Typical flipper. Not a clue about what he is selling. Just sees the $$$. I hope the buyer knows what he bought.

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