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Been There Done That – 1985 Yamaha RZ350 with Just 1,972 Miles !

Introduced in 1982 as the closest thing to a race bike on the road, and certainly one of the last two-stroke street bikes available here, Yamaha’s RZ350 can be found in all prices and conditions.  With its sights set on the top of the hill, this later Fla. example has impossibly low miles and almost flawless condition.

1985 Yamaha RZ350 for sale on eBay

The early -80’s brought the Yamaha Power Valve System to their two-strokes, and it helps the engine run just fine around town.  But the 55 rated horsepower are available up at 9,000 rpm, requiring a more advanced set of rider skills.  Racey looks are helped by the perimeter frame and drop-in fuel tank, just like real racers of the day.  Dual front disks were new on a lighter-weight machine, and compensate for the lack of engine deceleration on a smoker.  Suspension wasn’t fancy, just preload adjustable but good quality like the rest of the build, and the gold-trimmed alloys had a light look.

An expert might be required to find something to quibble about on this RZ, and you’d suspect an odometer rollback if not for the museum condition.  Factory pipes look sharp and dispense with the catalyzer.  Comments from the eBay  auction:

Kenny Roberts Edition purchased from original owner earlier this year. Great condition very little patina  two small little touched up chips one on tank and fairing smaller then pencil eraser in front of gas cap the blue stripe is starting to shrink I don’t know if its from gas or what but that’s the only complaint I have with the bike because the rest of it is killer front forks are clean with very minimal rash the rims and controls are in great shape and look awesome. I have original pipes and tool kit look at the pics they tell the story look at them well please ask any questions or more pic’s if needed and the bike runs great . Miles are 1975 and the bike is all original not restored and shows extremely well for a 35 year old bike that hasn’t been monkeyed with and adult owned and cared for.

Like real estate, they’re just not making any more RZ350’s, so this owner can wait until his whopping buy-it-now seems sensible or someone makes an offer.  Not sure this year is CARB legal even with the original exhaust, but a knowledgeable reader will likely sing out.  The alternate livery doesn’t scream Kenny Roberts like the yellow, but it’s there.  You can usually hear me groan about bikes destined for the carpet, but this one is really too nice for anything but an occasional spin around the block.

-donn

6 Comments

  • Wow, that is quite the time capsule, most of these were thrown down the road way back when. I remember Gary Goodfellow roasting me on one of these.

  • I like this bike lots. Drooling over them at Berkeley Yamaha when new. But, there seems to be quite a few low mile very original ones within 1mi. of my house. Not a knock on this bike. But, I know several rz hoarders. At least 3 just blocks away from my house. Fanatical following. CA. Legal 2strokes can’t get enough! Brrraap!

  • Sure, it’s in nice shape and has low miles. But, $15,000 is a pie in the blue sky price. I put it in my EBay watch list and will see what happens.
    BTW – The first RZ 350s were 1983 models and not available to the USA market. The first USA ones were 1984 models. Prior to the RZ 350 there was the RD 350 LC or “Elsie” as it was nicknamed. “LC” meant Liquid Cooled which was a major change from the long running prior RD 350 air cooled models. The Elsie was very similar to the RZ but without the powervalves of the 1983 and later RZ models. RZ 350s came to dominate club road racing in the mid ’80s and there was also a Yamaha sponsored RZ Cup race series for them. There were good race bikes and fun street bikes.

  • Very nice bike, but if you are thinking of buying (especially at that price!) there are a few questions to ask. Strange that a bike with only 1972 miles no longer has its original mirrors. Where are the round originals? And what is that thing on the tail cowl just above the taillight? It shouldn’t be there. Looks like a lock cylinder…maybe? What is the purpose of the hole that was drilled, then plugged, in the clock/ignition surround (by the fuel label)? You might also want to ask why the power valve pulley cover (left cylinder) has shiny Philips screws holding it on rather than the black fasteners it came with. Seems like an odd thing to replace at only 1972 miles. Wish there were pics of the inside of the gas tank. Makes me wonder if that inline fuel filter might be there to deal with what is inside the tank. Could be nothing, but the lack of photos means you have to ask.

    It will take some money and time to sort out if you want to ride it. Fluids to replace, forks and brakes to overhaul, engine tear down for crank seals at a minimum, but really a full going over. Age and lack of use can get expensive.

    I’ve owned many RZ350s (still do) and they are a ton of fun, but at $15K I’m not sure anyone will be riding this one. That’s a shame.

  • If I was asking 15K for a pristine time capsule the stock pipes would definitely be in place.
    Needs to be perfect and unmolested at this price.
    JR’s points are a good question as well.

  • I have been saying this a lot lately. The market is hot, but it ain’t that hot…. At least to me, this price might as well be ONE MILLION DOLLARS. Is there ANYONE that is interested? Not one hand went up. Come on guys

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