Posts by Category: Yamaha

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
Yamaha February 25, 2021 posted by

Featured Listing: 1996 Yamaha YZF600R for Sale

Update 2.25.21: This bike has sold to an RSBFS reader! Congratulations to buyer and seller! -dc

If you grew up reading about, riding, or lusting after 80s and 90s Japanese sportbikes, the good news is that these machines are finally getting their due from collectors. The bad news is that there aren’t many nice, low-mile examples out there anymore, and prices are no longer what they were. Luckily, today’s Featured Listing is probably one of the cleanest, low-mile Yamaha YZF600Rs left in existence. 

The YZF600R, also known as the “Thundercat” in some markets, was introduced in 1994. It was an evolution of the steel Deltabox-framed FZR600 and shared that bike’s overall shape until a redesign in 1996 brought the styling into line with the bigger YZF1000 “Thunderace.” It was more of an all-rounder than some of its period competition, but it was still considered a highly-competent sportbike, just one that was more suited to street use than other, more highly-strung options. Like Yamaha’s own R6 for example. The YZF was available in some markets until 2007, sold alongside the R6 as a more practical alternative to that very track-focused machine.

The YZF600R followed the typical format for the class at the time, with the aforementioned steel Deltabox frame that added weight, compared to aluminum versions, but kept costs under control. The complete package weighed in at 453lbs wet and the bike’s 87 rwhp could push the bike to more than 150mph. Adjustable suspension at both ends was on the soft side, but handling was good enough for the track when properly adjusted, and the package was good enough to win an AMA Supersport championship in 1996.

This is listed as a 1996 model, so I’m assuming it was produced before the changeover to the later styling that replaced the “cat-eye” design seen here for a single-headlight. All things considered, this is an extremely clean and original example, with less than 1,700 miles showing on the odometer. Note that there are a few cracks and minor blemishes to be found, but these are clearly documented in the huge gallery of images below.

From the Seller: 1996 Yamaha YZF600R for Sale


1996 Yamaha YZF600R Survivor

With only 1,700 original miles and a striking maroon and dark magenta cocktail color combination, this fox-eye YZF has been in storage since 1999. It was recently brought back to life by cleaning the carbs, scrubbing the bike from top to bottom, oiling the cylinders, flushing the brakes, changing the oil, installing a fresh AGM battery, replacing the ignition, installing a new fuel pump and repairing a few minor fairing cracks (likely from damage during storage). The bike is clean and ready to ride with a clear Minnesota title.

The bike is all original except for an aftermarket ignition switch and in-tank fuel pump. The tires (old but intact), exhaust, windscreen, rear seat cowl, owner’s manual and even the reflectors everyone tore off are on it. The plastics are nice, but not perfect, with a few minor cracks. The same thing applies to the overall condition of the bike. The bike shows no signs of ever having been down.

The YZF is located in Minneapolis, Minnesota and can be picked up or shipped from there.

Over 100 pictures available.

Price: $4,000

The seller is asking $4,000 for this very classy, low-mile machine. You could probably find a cheaper YZF600R, but this is probably the nicest one you’re likely to find anytime soon. The only possible downside is that this example is slathered in very classy burgundy paint, not some lurid and evocative period race-replica scheme. Like Honda’s CBR600 F3, they made plenty of these, and they were never all that rare or valuable. But if you want to relive your youth in style, this one can’t really be beat. Just fit some fresh rubber and enjoy!

-tad

Featured Listing: 1996 Yamaha YZF600R for Sale
Yamaha February 25, 2021 posted by

Out of Towner – 1986 Yamaha RZ350

Since the RZ350 was sold here until 1986, it’s relatively rare to see the fully faired rest-of-world edition.  Though this example isn’t currently operational, it shouldn’t take much to bring it back to the living – not to mention California title !

1986 Yamaha RZ350 for sale on eBay

For 1986, the RZ350 used Yamaha’s 347cc parallel twin with their electrically controlled power valve, and revised porting and combustion chamber helped make 59 hp at 9,000 rpm.  The lightweight rode on 18-inch alloys with air-adjustable forks and monocross rear.  A perimeter chassis and swingarm were executed in steel tubing, with triple disk brakes.  The full fairing was new for 1985, but 1986 saw a revised tail fairing which perhaps looked sportier in its simplicity.

Not seeming to be a dealer, this owner invites inspection at their home.  The RZ shows very well, with 14,403 km’s or a hair under 9,000 miles.  Finishes and plating indicate inside storage.  Nicks and dings keep it from being a real show bike but once it’s back on the road, it would be a smashing rider or riding resto.  Comments from the eBay auction:

The bike is the full fairing Canadian model that was imported here in the US and it comes with a clean CA title and non-op registration.  The motorcycle is in excellent condition and has approximately 14K Kilometers which is equivalent to just under 9K miles. As shown in the photos, the bike is in excellent cosmetic condition with only minor blemishes to the paint as shown in the last photo. 

The bike has been stored and was drained of fluids, so it will need a light service to get running including but not limited to a new battery, fresh fluids, and possibly a carb cleaning.  The motor kicks over with great compression, the throttle turns, clutch and brakes are working, inside of gas tank is clean, electrical is working, etc. so it should not take very much to bring the bike back onto the road. 

For anyone considering this bike as a collectors item or investment, the bike is a numbers matching (Vin to Engine) vintage motorcycle in mostly all original factory condition, this bike has not been restored but rather it has been on display and preserved for most of its life.

Can’t pretend to understand the RD / RZ / LC confusion, but the actual bike has made more incremental changes over the years and across continental divides.  Meanwhile the two stroke Yamaha fun factor is un-parallelled.  Bidding seems serious in this auction, with more than three days yet to run.  The new owner will have a distinctive RZ350, and will get a chance to know it better during the re-commissioning.

-donn

Out of Towner – 1986 Yamaha RZ350
Yamaha January 27, 2021 posted by

Uncompromised – 1989 Yamaha FZR-750R – OW01 with 2,900 Miles !

Metric tons of ink have been spilled concerning Yamaha’s FZR-750R – code named OW01 – and other homologation specials built for the first few years of the Superbike World Championship.  Rare as they are, this Californian is striking with very low miles and a spare set of bodywork.

1989 Yamaha FZR-750R – OW01 for sale on eBay

Yamaha added just the bare requirements to make their FZR-750R ready for the road, lower compression pistons ( still 11.2-to-1 ), the EXUP automatic exhaust tuner, mirrors, reflectors, and a few lights.  The rest is how a superbike team would like to see it, a seriously oversquare four, with 38mm Mikuni flat slides looking right down into the five-valve head, and 109hp before the racekit and tuner worked their magic.  Titanium connecting rods are topped with short-skirted pistons, light to achieve the 12,500 rpm ceiling of the powerband.  A Deltabox frame triangulates light alloy stampings right to the headstock, welded to cast frame connectors which hold the Monocross rear and Öhlins shock.  Conventional forks are up front hung with 320mm Nissin brakes, with a smaller single rear.

Collectors come and go, but judging from recent auctions, apparently thinning the herd in this case.  The OW01 has some compatriots in the garage full of 20th century superbikes, but is set apart at least by the scoops delivering cold air and 916-style folds in the fairing.  Thirty-plus years on, with not enough miles to worry about the history, it looks remarkably tidy.  Not that someone would have to go through it carefully if it was going out on the track, but a carpeted stand is more likely.  Comments from the eBay auction:

Rare FZR 750R OW01.  Bike is a JDM version and in mint condition like the rest of my collection.  Bike will come with a spare upper fairing and I have a lot of miscellaneous NOS parts for it as well. Bike has 4,800 kilometers.

Feedback from race teams was included in new designs, and it was practically a miracle when models survived three years.  The OW01 was superceded for 1993 but soldiered on in private and semi-private hands – like Eddie Lawson’s 1993 Daytona victory.  Many 750R’s found their way onto the racetrack, but that time has passed for this almost perfect specimen.  A singular bike from a special time, anxious for a new home or at least a new offer.

-donn

Uncompromised – 1989 Yamaha FZR-750R – OW01 with 2,900 Miles !
Yamaha January 23, 2021 posted by

Why Not the Best ? – 1994 Yamaha YZF-750SP with 3,251 Miles !

While a WSBK title wasn’t in the cards, Yamaha’s 750cc FZR built on the OW-01’s designs and homologated newer ideas for next year.  If you see one it will likely be a gray import, but this rare SP has an MPH speedo and is in sparkling condition.

1994 Yamaha YZF-750SP for sale on eBay

Yamaha packed a lot of tech into the new FZR-750, with 5-valve heads, 11.5-to-1 compression, and the EXUP exhaust management resulting in 125 hp – hard to beat in a 750.  The SP had updated cams, 39mm Keihin flat-slide carburetors, and a close ratio gearbox the superbike racers needed.  Suspension on the SP was fully adjustable and somewhat stiffer, plus it shared the scary-good 6-piston 320mm brakes with the R.  The SP only came in a monoposto, and the seat subframe was quickly replaceable. 

Seeming to be ready for its next display spot, this SP is surprisingly free of even shelf wear.  A good deal of work awaits a riding collector, but it certainly looks worth the effort.  From the eBay auction:

Very rare , and collectible 1994 YZF 750SP.  Bike is mint, museum quality with all the factory warning label stickers still on it.  Only 20 of the SP version were ever brought to North America.

Heaps of competition from the other big three in those days, though the YZF did well in endurance racing, and the quality build helped many privateers riding affordable machinery in the later 1990’s.  This one has seen none of that, and hardly looks to have even done the miles on the odometer.  The ask has me wanting to title the post Fund Factor, but maybe a reader can propose an offer and we’ll keep our fingers crossed.

-donn

Why Not the Best ? – 1994 Yamaha YZF-750SP with 3,251 Miles !
Yamaha December 23, 2020 posted by

Almost Famous: 1985 Yamaha RZ350

How much does star power help with motorsport sales? It helps if the figure connected with the sale is related to the vehicle in question. And in the case of the RZ350, the connection is very, very good. Sporting the signature of “King” Kenny Roberts, the RZ350 came emblazoned with the bumble bee livery that made Yamaha famous on the race track. As the last factory two stroke to be imported into all 50 US States, the RZ350 is held near and dear as a truly special bike from a bygone era.

1985 Yamaha RZ350 for sale on eBay

For those that have been living in a cave without AOL dial-up, let’s go over the basics: Take the spiritual heart of a RD350/RD400 – namely the two stroke parallel twin – and throw go-fast technology at it in the form of liquid cooling and a computer-adjustable exhaust port that enhances the typically peaky two-stroke power curve (YPVS). For those that like to breathe, the RZ came with an exhaust system that incorporated catalytic converters and air injection to prevent mosquito fogging the street/canyon/track with bllue smoke where these bikes played. The rest of the gear was fairly conventional, including a mild-steel frame, a single shock rear suspension system and triple disk brakes.

From the seller:
1985 Yamaha RZ 350 Kenny Robert’s edition. The most desirable year of the most desirable color combination Yamaha RZ 350. Very low original 6809 miles. Runs well, idles perfectly, fires up first kick. Stock oil injection system remains intact. Stock carbs, rejeted for the Toomy pipes and 2 into 1 K&N air filter. It is stock bore with new high performance pistons. I pulled the top end just to inspect and check everything, replaced the pistons because I had an extra set.

This bike came from The American Pickers in LeClaire, Iowa and was on of their shows. It was purchased locally by a motorcycle collector, and I purchased it from them. I have the bill of sale from Iowa.

The bike is in over all in decent rider quality condition, it has the normal nicks and dings as it is a 35 year old motorcycle. This bike would be a great candidate for an easy restoration or enjoy as is.

Like most RZs, this particular example has shed it’s restrictive, heavy catalytic converters in favor of some old-school expansion chambers. That is one way to really wake up an RZ. The air filter mod – in conjunction with the exhaust swap – requires changes to jetting, since the motor is now able to flow more air. Racers usually disabled the oil injection system in favor of mixing oil right into the gas (again, old-school), but street riders will appreciate the ability to fill up the tank without the use of a mix-rite cup.

This particular bike was apparently featured on the TV show “American Pickers.” I’m not really sure if that adds any value, but does prove that many people think the RZ is cool. Pictures show a bike in pretty good condition. This is not a meticulously spotless museum piece by any means, but nor is it a thrashed, crashed and trashed example asking for an outrageous price. With no reserve and a single bid at time of writing, this RZ is in the $6,500 zone – which is close to where you might expect. There are a significant number of folks watching on, though, so you might see some last minute activity on this auction. Check out all of the details here, stay safe and good luck!!

MI

Almost Famous: 1985 Yamaha RZ350