Posts by Category: Yamaha

Yamaha June 11, 2021 posted by

Up a Notch – 1992 Yamaha FZR1000

As much of an upstart as the original FZR1000 was in 1987, later design revisions took the superbike to the next level.  Today’s FZR is an elegant survivor with just under 13,000 miles.

1992 Yamaha FZR1000 for sale on eBay

Yamaha’s 1,002 cc Genesis had 5 valves per cylinder from the start, a great technical achievement until the EXUP power valve ( and 10 hp ! ) were added in 1989.  Because of the stretched power band, it’s ok with a 5-speed transmission.  The alloy DeltaBox chassis got revisions in 1989 and again in 1991, with the addition of upside-down Kayaba forks.  320mm brakes had plenty of oomph and reviewed with good feel via the 4-piston calipers.  Clip-ons under the triple clamp are routine in the sportbike world but not so much in the liter category, they draw the rider over the tank and make the fairing’s protection more easily accessible.

Evidently hidden away in a suburban Iowa garage for some of its life, this FZR appears excellent with just a Vance & Hines exhaust and smoked windscreen as visible mods.  Comments from the eBay auction:

Here is an excellent example of one of the legendary sportbikes from the 80’s and 90’s. This bike is in above average condition with minimal chips and scratches. Well cared for with only 12,900 miles. This bike has been kept up on maintenance and needs nothing other than a rider, or stow it away in your collection. These bikes are becoming more and more valuable and extremely hard to find in this condition. 

In 1991 a further redesign of the FZR resulted in the release of the FZR1000RU EXUP, upside-down telescoping forks were fitted and the front fairing was fitted with a single headlight, generally regarded to be the definitive FZR1000 which this bike is.  This bike has a few tasteful mods – Vance & Hines SS2R exhaust that gives it that superbike sound, and a lightly tinted windscreen.

Yamaha got it very right with the FZR1000, to the point that Cycle World named it the bike of the decade, and it even beat the FZR600 around the technical Streets of Willow road course.  Lighter than expected at just over 500 lbs., when 145 hp were applied and balanced on 60-series tires, it became a nimble projectile.

-donn

 

Up a Notch – 1992 Yamaha FZR1000
Yamaha June 5, 2021 posted by

Long Term Relationship – 1984 Yamaha RZ500

After Kenny Robert’s 1978-80 MotoGP crowns, Yamaha worked for a few years to bring a two-stroke 500cc V-4 to the showroom.  Here’s a Colorado example with touring bike miles but a recent engine rebuild and excellent cosmetics.

1984 Yamaha RZ500 for sale on eBay

Yamaha couldn’t exactly present their dealers with a $1,000-per-pound MotoGP bike, and had to incorporate production two-stroke cylinder tech, much of which came from the off-road side of the house.  Still the RZ’s V-4 ( or more exactly, pair of parallel twins turning the clutch input ) was a marvel, with 88 hp at 9,500 rpm.  Carburetors fed in from the side after foam filters gave the air a lick and a promise.  The powertrain architecture stipulated a cassette gearbox, which was filled with a robust set of close ratios.   The small tube chassis was executed in steel, with 267mm brakes and staggered 16-inch front/18-inch rear tire sizes in style for the 1980’s.  Air-adjustable forks and monoshock had multiple adjustments.

The surprising number of miles on this RZ differ with its spotless presentation and fresh-looking paint.  The  re-built engine at least partially offsets the high mileage, and the expansion chambers’ music will compete with any band.  Comments from the eBay auction:

These were never inported to the USA  by Yamaha  due to the EPA –
this bike was brought in from Canada  about 17 years ago. 
 
Blue printed motor by Wilson performance  a few years ago (world renowned RZ 500 performance).
 
GP stainless expansion chambers  and aftermarket bodywork last year!
 
This bike has 87,000 KM on it (Canada) which is roughly 54k miles.
 
The complete engine rebuild was done at 83,000 kilometers.
 
The bike runs flawlessly, we just put in a new battery.  Brakes work well , tires are fairly fresh with low miles.
 
Very rare Bike , imported properly to the USA one owner since its arrival.

Yamaha was never going to get their development costs back from the premium RZ, and retired the road machine after 1986.  The RZ continued to do well on the racetrack, but competition in the showroom was brutal.  Congratulations to the soon-to-be-previous owner for what seems to be an incident-free mileage record.

-donn 

Long Term Relationship – 1984 Yamaha RZ500
Yamaha May 27, 2021 posted by

Get Your GP On: 1985 Yamaha RZ500

Hot on the heels of the big Gamma we posted earlier this week, it only seemed fair to post the other 500cc competition – the Yamaha RZ500. Seeming more readily available than the Gamma, the RZ500 is another of the GP replica two strokes that were never officially imported into the United States. Today these smokers bring big bucks when presented in decent condition, and it’s easy to see why: Rare, fast and very exclusive, the Yamaha RZ500 was the closest you could come to channeling your inner Roberts, Lawson or Rainey on the street. And who didn’t want to do that?? Today, 35+ years removed, the world of ever-tightening emission and noise restrictions make these screaming banshees icons of a past era, never to be seen again. But today’s example shows that these icons can live on in the used bike market.

1985 Yamaha RZ500 for sale on eBay

Unlike Suzuki’s square four arrangement, Yamaha lined up their GP replica in a 50 degree, V-4 formation. Both brands utilized a twin crank setup – more out of two-stroke necessity than anything else. That meant that this is actually two twin-cylinder engines powering the bike, rather than one bigger four banger. Power from the two engines is harnessed and consolidated in the clutch & gearbox areas, making the whole thing seamless to the rider. The rest is pure two stroke wizardry, with reed valves, exhaust power valves and four individual tuned-length pipes for maximum HP (approaching 90 HP when new and stock). The chassis is a rather pedestrian mild steel affair. The Japanese home market offered a power-restricted version with alloy frame – the RZV – which shaved about 20 pounds off the total dry weight – but those are even more rare than the rest of the world model we see here. The swing arm for both models is aluminum. As per the fad of the times, the front hoop is a mere 16″ to reduce the gyroscopic effect and speed up transitions.

From the seller:
Also known as the Race-Developed 500cc Liquid-Cooled motorcycle or RD500LC, the RZ500 was produced in limited numbers from 1984-85 as a road legal production version of the YZR500 2-stroke V-4 Grand Prix factory racer. This rarely seen replica racer was not sold in the United States, and the1985 RZ500 stands as one of the most collectible road-going motorcycles of its era.

Very rare V4
Light and powerful
2 stroke Sports Bike
Liquid cooled, 6 speed
High performance with speed of 148 mph
499 cc
Odometer: 26604 km (16530 miles)

Bike is all stock and original, with the exception of the upgraded exhaust system (stock exhaust system will be included with the bike purchase). Original paint; see picture for a few minor flaws.

Bike is in excellent running condition with everything working.

Given the rarity of these bikes in the US and considering the short life span they had in market when new (model years spanned 1984 – 1986), it should be no surprise that prices on these big smokers are wafting up like the blue smoke they create. Still, these are a pretty good bet for long-term value appreciation since they are popular, approachable, and in limited supply. I don’t see any of those factors changing in the foreseeable future, although the availability of spares might become an issue at some point.

Today’s bike looks pretty good for an older girl (even with low-res photos). There are some unfortunate nicks and cracks in the plastics, but everything appears to be in place. The JL exhaust out of the UK is a nice addition, and the seller notes that the stock pipes come with. Definitely a bonus for the collector. The red handgrips look to be aftermarket, but the rest comes across as an honest example of the breed. With 16,530 miles on the clock this is not a garage queen, so somebody please buy it and get out there and ride! Check out all of the details here, and Good Luck!!

MI

Get Your GP On: 1985 Yamaha RZ500
Yamaha May 25, 2021 posted by

Blue-Grey Smoker – 1989 Yamaha RZ350

Today’s RZ350 is the fully-faired F2 model which was never imported to the U.S.  Looks like a very nice survivor which should be an easy import.

1989 Yamaha RZ350 for sale on eBay

Water cooling let the RZ350 make better power with 63 hp, than its air cooled predecessor, the RD400.  And the YPVS power valve stretched the power band, though reviewers reported a big character change at 6,000 rpm.  Expansion chambers were factory equipment, as were multi-adjustable forks and pre-load adjustable MonoCross rear.  Triple 260mm disks were appropriately sized and 18-inch wheels were cast in black aluminum.  The full fairing had the same big side vents as the older brother RD500.

The RZ looks quite stock with astounding paint, if it’s indeed original.  Details of the faux pas seems to be attributable to a single incident.  Both blue and black seats have been seen with this livery, so this one might be factory, though most RZ350 rims have a polished edge so they may have been sprayed.  Guess a magnetic tank guard will be a little late to the party but will cover those nicks.  Comments from the eBay auction:

Legendary two stroke Yamaha bike in very good original condition (they are only original once as they say).

–  Numbers matching – original motor, never taken apart – original tool kit

–  Collector owned, stored in indoor heated space. Running and riding bike – has been out for use in 2021

–  11,000 original km (6835 miles)

–  Oil injection functional (no need to mix gas/oil)

–  Runs great – lots of power

–  Canadian spec model – 2nd last year of production

–  Great colour scheme – never available in the USA (Canada’s run of RZ350 went from 1983 to 1990 whereas the USA only got them 1983 and 1984)

–  Front brake rebuild 2021

–  Tires are in good condition – needs nothing to pass safety certificate

Even though is was only here for a couple of seasons, the bikini-faired RZ was pretty popular, so imports aren’t all that common.  The full bodywork hides the water-cooled mill and looks pretty racy to boot.  It’s high ( reserve ) season, so we’ll have to keep an eye on where this auction goes.

-donn

Blue-Grey Smoker – 1989 Yamaha RZ350
Yamaha May 12, 2021 posted by

CA Interloper: 1991 Yamaha TZR250

In the wilds of Northern California lurks a menacing, gray market two stroke. Titled in Vermont, wearing some interesting new bodywork that appears to be the basis for the black/red Lucky Strike livery and looking as if it has enjoyed the trip to get to this place in its life, the bike shows some mods and some wear – both to be expected given the time since new. The TZR250 has gone through a wide range of engine configurations during the model run, initially released in 1986 as a rather conventional parallel twin. The parallel twin arrangement was retained for the next evolution, however the cylinders were reversed to allow for better packaging for racing. It was not until 1991 that Yamaha created the 90 degree v-twin seen here.

1991 Yamaha TZR250 for sale on eBay

From the seller:
This is the best of the TZR’s, the 3XV. The V twin model for the narrowest possible motor and weight distribution, it is basically a race bike for the street. It starts after a few kicks cold, a couple when warm and runs great when in the rpm’s just like any two stroke. New body kit looks great (what looks like scratches/blemishes is the reflection of a car parked next to it).

More from the seller:
Has oil injection, so no need to mix 2 stroke oil in gas.

9723 KM on odometer (6040 miles)

Your chance to own a piece of Yamaha 2 stroke history that you can ride!

Things to note: Body kit is new. Battery is new. Temperature gauge does not work. Has LED headlight and heated grips. Gas tank has a dent on the top, it looks like a bar of some sort fell on it. You will not want to stop riding it. This is what the RZ350 should have been.

The TZR250 came not only in a variety of engine configurations, but also a variety of sporting configurations – R, RS,RSR,SP, and SPR are all part of the alphabet soup that denoted states of power and components. It is unclear exactly what we are looking at here, and without a VIN listed there is no lookup possible. The seller notes heated handgrips (wasn’t familiar with that as an option), and that the temp gauge is inop; the latter is pretty important to the care and feeding of a high-strung two stroke. That being said, this is indeed a rare smoker in the United States, much less the restrictive State of California. Prospective buyers should note that while the bike is in CA, it is not CA plated, meaning there may be difficulty if attempting to register it in the Golden State. Check out all of the details here, and Good Luck!!

MI

CA Interloper: 1991 Yamaha TZR250
Yamaha April 9, 2021 posted by

Legend: 1985 Yamaha RZ 350

Every iconic bike tells a story. In the case of the RZ350 – the last of the factory imported two strokes into all 50 U.S. States – the story is one of evolution. The RZ (or RD350LC as it was called in other markets), was an evolutionary beast that began with the RD series of the early 1970s. But the RZ took the parallel twin two stroke concept much further, by adding liquid cooling and a trick exhaust port power valve to widen the power band (YPVS), not to mention the catalytic converters in the pipe trick. This particular bike has a story as well. And far from some adverts we see where the owner says (or knows) nothing about the bike in question, today’s seller has written a ton. I will let him pick up the story.

1985 Yamaha RZ 350 for sale on eBay

From the seller:
Step 1: The purchase
My desire for a top of the line RZ350 started years ago, but in early 2014 one came up for sale 800 miles from home. My wife and I jumped in my truck and arrived in Missoula MT to pouring rain and freezing temps. “perfect bike buying weather”. The seller was short on words, the bike was complete but the wheels were seized from sitting and the buyer all of a sudden “couldnt find the paperwork.” Are you kidding me? After we drove 3 states to come buy it? So i said I’m paying you 300 dollars under asking until you can find the title, long story short, he blocked me and I never heard from him.

More from the seller:
Step 2: Contract the builder
Reach out the best 2 stroke tuner/builder I know at the time. His name is Troy Gessner out of Bellingham, WA. If you’re ever curious, go look at 125GP records, his son John, had all of them. His dad is a 2 stroke genius and was a meticulous engineer type mechanic. Never cuts corners, never says “that should be ok”. While every other GP125 would have some sort of a mechanical or seizure, John and Troy went 2 years with 2 mechanicals, and both were electrical related, not catastrophic mechanicals. At any rate, I reach out and he says tell ya what… You get that RZ, and I’ll do a frame up, cases up build for you, at half what the shops would charge. Deal. He’s recently retired, and excited to work on a 2 stroke bigger than a 125GP Honda. We talk about the best route and without going into politics, WA state is real bugger on VIN/No title issues. So we result to buying a frame and title off of Ebay from AZ. Frame arrives to Bellingham, i take paperwork to DOL, we get title in my name, the DAY we recieve the proper title, clean title, Troy got to work. Please note, we are building a true Spec II Racing version of the RZ350. Spec II oem bodywork, Spec II windscreen, Spec II crankshaft rebuild and weld up, Spec II pipes. THIS IS A NON-MATCHING FRAME/ENGINE. Since this is a fun Spec II Yamaha version, the vin on the frame and the vin on the engine should absolutely not matter. It surely didnt to us. This is an aftermarket build with todays components and goodies almost everything upgraded to be better.

More from the seller:
Step 3: The build.
When I tell you that this was a nut and bolt restoration, I’m not saying it was “kinda taken down and slapped together with new top end and pistons” I”m talking every wear item, every nut bolt seal was ordered through Yamaha. We paid hundreds of dollars to have oem fasteners, nuts bolts springs, seals, all OEM. Here’s the short list. You will recieve with the bike, a build book. See final photo, its 1 page of your build book where Troy outlines every detail from every day he spent working/building the bike.
Entire bike disassembled down to nothing. Everything in the engine was in working order except the cylinder head showed some bad gas pre-detonation wear, so we waited for a month for a perfect OEM Cyl head to pop up on ebay.
Crankshaft sent to Spec II Racing to Gary for rebuild and welding.
After tearing everything down we realized after talking to the painter, the only way to get that specific decal kit to look right, is if its on the bike. Trevor Beckman at FlexiGlass in Vancouver Canada, needed the bike almost like it was going to be done. So the only way around this was to put the bike back together, without the engine and drive the entire bike to him across the border. Troy did just that. The Spec II edition decals were applied to the bike on top of the white paint but underneath the clearcoat, just like it should be. the paint/clear looks like a factory job. After paint was done, Troy went to pick it back up, and carefully disassemble it, and put the bodywork off to the side. Ducati red and bright white. Are those factory colors. Nope. Do they look correct, yup.

All holes in the frame were cleaned and die tapped. The frame recieved new head bearing races in the frame (and bearings upon reassembly)

More from the seller:
The internet says that the rear shock is “not repairable” Troy brought the rear shock to KFG Racing. You may have heard of them, they’re the #1 suspension shop on the westcoast. KFG drilled/tapped the shock, recharged it, and resprung for a 200lb rider. No more saggy bike with worn out 35 year old shock for a 140lb rider. Even better, when you buy the bike, if in 10 years it feels soft. KFG can service it again for you, like a current day sportbike shock. The front forks were torn down by Troy personally and rebuilt with new internals and oil. The calipers were nasty. He tore them down and rebuilt them with new parts and new brake pads. The wheels and calipers were in great shape. The bike only had 15k original miles.

When Troy reassembled the transmission, all the small washers, seals, springs, pins, bearings were replaced. Everything reassembled like a tech would in 1985. Shifts like a new bike.

Engine wise, the engine is stock. No crazy porting. No changes to compression. Troy says “we want this bike to last. We want it to run prime, and behave on the street.” So I agreed to that for sure. We decided to install VFORCE3 reed cages for some added mid-range power. Rebuilt oil and water pump. New bridgestone tires.

Things not restored: seat/seat cover, wheels, calipers, tachometer cluster, bar end mirrors kept.

Amsoil Dominator 2 stroke race oil injector used for break-in. Coolant topped off, Yamalube oil for trans. Bike runs like a dream, pulls hard, shifts hard, sounds great. Has a nice crackle to the pipes 🙂

More from the seller:
Lastly……Step 4: The negative. (small stuff!)
Ready for the bad news? (I told you. No surprises. Thats not how I sell)
Upon getting the bike back together, I went up to Troys house and he says well Darren the bike is back together go ride it. But we do have a ever so slight (a drip an hour) leak near the petcock. so we wipe the drip and go for a ride. Bike is great, I pay troy for his time, and i’m on my way home. I get home unload, go ride it again, I go for a 35ish mile ride, I’m as happy as a clam. All the electrical works, bike pulls, corners, shifts, and brakes, like a bike 20 years, 30 years newer! The gauge cluster still has a small chip out of the lower right side. very minor, see photo. I’m all smiles…. Until the next morning. I head out and the shop has a strong gas smell. I find a grapefruit sized puddle of fuel on the ground. I realize the tank leak is a bigger issue than I first realized. I touch the area up UNDER the bottom of the tank, if you know RZ350’s, they have a section of a half an inch that is LOWER than the petcock. A horrible design as all RZ owners know. I didnt catch it, Troy didnt catch it and VERY sadly, the painter/sander, did not catch it 🙁 Now we have fresh paint, fresh decals from australia, on a tank that needs some sort of a repair. I am no body guy, but i did what I could to try to fix it. i used an exacto knife on the fresh paint up under the tank maybe 1″? (i know, teeth gritting to read that) and I applied a thin line of JB weld. It was a temporary fix that worked for a few months, but it didnt fix it. I rode it 1 more time. I’ve had the bike entered in 2 motorcycle exhibition shows, and it one that gets the looks. And now the embarrassing part. A small dribble lead to the bike being parked and “i’ll deal with it later.” Its 2021. I opened Troy’s book to read off some of the meticulous notes, and it starts off with “15 May, 2014″….. I just shook my head. I have a family now, and I’ve decided to split ways with the bike. So you know the entire story. You’re getting the best of the best, frame up, engine up, suspension up type bike. You’re getting bodywork that is as rare as a white unicorn, a windscreen that is no longer in production, and pipes that are hard to find. BUT you will need to repair the slow leak gas tank. At this point you will need a new battery. The bike has approx 50 miles on it.

The long and short of it is that RZ350s are money these days. Non running junkers are going for what great riders were going for less than a decade ago. Today’s seller spent a lot of time (and money, undoubtedly) to build a very clean example of a neo-RZ – keeping to the original theme, but making some interesting and cool modifications. Clearly the Spec II parts and pieces approach works from a period-correct perspective. The pictures show a bike restored to a very high standard, but the tank leak is definitely unfortunate. So, too, is the damaged bezel given the overall condition of this machine. Which brings us to the asking price of $15k. That is big money, although a completely restored stocker might pull it off. The seller appears to be open to offers, so check out all of the details here and give it some thought. Good Luck!!

MI

Legend: 1985 Yamaha RZ 350
Yamaha March 19, 2021 posted by

Meet You Half Way – 1979 Yamaha RD400F Daytona Special

To celebrate Kenny Roberts’ 1978 Daytona win, Yamaha styled a distinctive final-year model with all the air-cooled improvements since 1973.  Here’s an Ohio native that shows like it has 1,2oo miles instead of the 12,000 the odometer says.

1979 Yamaha Rd400F for sale on eBay

The RD400F is just bit more grown up than the original RD350, though it shares the wheelbase, 28mm Mikuni’s and kickstarter.  Along the way it acquired five additional ponies, alloy wheels, capacitive discharge ignition, and a wider rear tire.  Its additional 35 lbs. meant 25 more feet in the 60-to-zero test, though braking was identical with front and rear 267mm discs.  Changes to the engine’s porting and an internal bypass improved rideability and lowered emissions, along with an almost Suzuk-ish shroud on the head which improved the noise signature.

Probably looking better than it did on day one, this collector’s item has been restored and polished to a fair-thee-well.  Since the Daytona is an exercise in white, black and chrome, it’s naturally photogenic.  Expert readers will have to weigh in on any discrepancies.  Comments from the eBay auction:

Only 12,122 miles. Clear title in my name. Numbers matching with all the 2VO stampings also. This is a beautiful survivor. The body set has been repainted with the pearl white to perfection. New seat cover. Tires are also new. Gas tank is clean metal inside. Everything works like it should. Starts easy and runs and rides great. Pulls hard and smooth through the gears just like it should. This is stunning survivor.

When the last RD400 rolled out of the showroom, Yamaha was in the middle of a staggering 12 year run of luck in the Daytona 200, and Roberts also won the last of that streak on his YZR680 / OW69.  Yamaha brought back the two-stroke twin ( in a water-cooled form ) in 1983, but took it offshore after only two years.  The sound, simplicity, and lighter weight make the air-cooled RD’s worth pursuing, but rather few are in this remarkable condition.

-donn

Meet You Half Way – 1979 Yamaha RD400F Daytona Special
Yamaha March 9, 2021 posted by

Out in the Yellow Paint – 1985 Yamaha RZ350

A classic in part because it’s the last year of U.S. imports, Yamaha’s Kenny Roberts edition typifies two-stroke fun.  Here’s a windy city example with low miles, excellent cosmetics, and Jim Lomas expansion chambers.

1985 Yamaha RZ350 for sale on eBay

Yamaha had their air-cooled 350 in the house since 1973, but liquid cooling brought more stable cylinder head temperatures and better all-round running to the RZ.  YPVS electrically tuned exhaust ports made for a wider torque band and 59 hp.  The RZ had Yamaha’s first perimeter frame on a road machine, in steel tubing with a racer’s drop-in fuel tank.  Other race-bred improvements like triple disk brakes and monoshock rear were making their way on to more popularly-priced bikes.  Yamaha’s day-glow GP race livery reflected their Marlboro sponsorship, but the AMA series speed block livery is adorned with Roberts’ autograph.

Apparently for sale by owner, this beauty shows just half of the 25K miles a lot of RZ’s have, with just a couple of paint chips to show for 36 years.  Throaty exhaust notes in the too short video posted – here –, and just a couple of comments from the eBay auction-

Kenny Robert’s edition, the most desirable year of the most desirable color combination Yamaha RZ 350. Very low original miles (12,647), clean title with owner of record since 1991 and matching VINs. Runs well, idles perfectly, fires up first kick and it was jetted for JL pipes.The bike is in overall in great rider quality condition, it has some very minor imperfections shown in the pictures below. The bike sits in my climate-controlled building and is available to view anytime.

Winning two Grand National Championships, and three World Championships ( and being runner-up in each once ), Roberts is a champions champion.  There have been other yellow and black comemmoratives since the RZ350 was legislated out of existence, but this is still number one.  For a fan of the man, the brand or the sport, a fresh-looking two stroke sportbike would be a great tribute to have in the garage.

-donn

Out in the Yellow Paint – 1985 Yamaha RZ350