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Christmas Green: 1985 Yamaha RZ500

‘Tis the season for seasons greetings, wish lists and good old fashioned commercialism. RSBFS tends to see a lot of great bikes in the week prior to Christmas, and this RZ500 is no exception. With clean plastics, upgraded suspension, a Rick Lance rebuild and an impressive list of updates, this particular RZ promises to be one of the better examples viewed this year – provided you are OK with what can best be called a resto-mod instead of a stone-stock specimen. The upgrades may be a downside for some, as it has been well established that collector machines have the greatest potential when 100% stock. For those that ride, however, some mild breathing spices up the sauce that makes these bikes so special. Intrigued? Read on!

1985 Yamaha RZ500 for sale on eBay

Regular readers of RSBFS will already know the stats, specs and strengths of the RZ500. Still, a bike of this class deserves a quick, remedial refresh: 500cc of two stroke power, arranged in a V formation and sporting twin cranks (think of it as a siamesed pair of 250cc twins), reed valve induction, and individual tuned exhaust pipes for each of the four cylinders. On the chassis side, the RZ offers a mild-steel perimeter frame (aluminum look silver paint notwithstanding), a mono-shock rear suspension, adjustable front forks and the GP-requisite triple disk brakes. All of this is wrapped in sexy plastics with Yamaha racing stripe livery. Touted as a GP bike for the street when it was introduced, the big RZ is one of the prime imports that remain the lust of the American riding set.

From the seller:
1985 YAMAHA RZ500
Offering from my collection ( 2Stroke Passions) one of my best…
I am a true enthusiast and have been for over 50 years . I am not a soulless flipper … All my motorcycles are stored in a climate controlled dehumidified facility and i ride them.

1985 RZ500 V4. 2stroke complete rebuild and upgraded to better then new . No stock ones problems. Less then 1000 miles since acquired 2012 (20,050 actual before Complete rebuild ). ***Notice I use the word rebuilt not restored I will not abuse or miss use that term . To me restored means to make as news and (original) as possible. This RZ has been made better then new , dependably usable . No expense spared … Anyone that truly knows RZ500’s know that stock ones were a good place to start they have issues . This one doesn’t :). All proper maintenance and upkeep up to date… Rode last weekend for annual children’s toy ride , ran perfect… big smiles…

More from the seller:
This bike is of Canadian vintage and is Titled and registered here in the States (Arkansas). The motor is freshly rebuilt and performance tuned by the premiere RG/RZ 500 specialist, Lance Gamma (Rick Lance)). The motor is at factory first overbore and assembled with all correct and OEM stock Yamaha parts with modestly ported cylinders and milled heads new gaskets,seals,hoses,. The exhaust system is a beautiful set of Tommy Crawford chambers which are over 30 pounds lighter than stock and have a seamless power delivery with quiet tone. The shock is a premium Wilbers unit with adjustable ride height helping the bike to turn sharper along with a front end overhaul firming up the notoriously soft forks. EBC HH pads improve the braking performance and a Lance Gamma Supplemental Radiator helps even out temps front to rear and keep the motor cool. Manual Fan switch. Stock Petcock fix. Much more. No issues… If you are looking for a stock collector piece to keep your other mildly interesting bikes company, move along. There’s nothing to see here. If however, you are wanting to discover for yourself what all the hoopla was about at the release of these bikes some 32 years ago (you remember, GP bikes for the street? What were they thinking??), this is one which will bring you up to speed, so to speak. It simply begs to be ridden. Runs great,wonderful machine. More pictures and Videos available …

This seller appears to be a true enthusiast, and has built himself an awesome looking RZ. Employing the likes of Rick Lance ensures performance AND reliability, and the listed modifications enhance the overall function of this rare machine. This is very clearly a rider, despite the clean appearance and sano presentation. It’s hard to find anything not to like about this one – that fact that it has been properly imported into the US and titled is even better. If I had to pick any nits, it is the lack of mileage information and/or pictures of the gauge cluster. The eBay listing notes zero miles, but that is obviously not the case. The rebuild/refurb does roll back the clock a bit, but it would be nice to know more of the history of the machine.

This is one of the better RZs we have seen this past year. As a result it should be no surprise it is also one of the most pricey RZs we have seen. This seller is looking for top dollar here. From a rider perspective, I can live with the $25k ask. From a collector perspective, this bike represents one fewer of the dwindling number of original RZ500s left in existence. And while that might raise the bar for the remaining stock examples, what does it mean long term for collecting a non-original specimen? I would imagine that there will be no lack of lust for the RZ500 in the future, and one that looks (and likely runs) like this one will continue to grow in value; great will always be worth more. Check this one out here – and note that the seller is open to offers. Good Luck!



  • The incorrect “RZ500” decal font on the lower fairing detracts from an otherwise nice bike.

  • Already off Ebay…wow that was fast! Gotta be quick for the good ones.

  • Anyone paying $25,000 for an RZ500 is the proverbial fool that is parted from his/her money and just has money to burn. I love them and I love mine but the RZ500 is not a $25,000 bike. The same way the RG500 is not a $25,000 bike.

    These “collector” prices are just insane. The prices may represent the current market, but in no way reflect a value at the price and the sellers are the ones laughing all the way to the bank. The buyers are now stuck with a bike they need to sell for yet even more in order to move on to their next conquest. Eventually you run out of fools that are willing to over pay.

    Then again, folks that sold their used 1963 Ferrari GTO’s for $6,000 or $7,000 in the early 1970’s are wishign they had kept them for antoehr 30 years to be able to realize the current $10 to $20 million they change hands for now.

  • I have owned 2 RZ500”s, and 2 RZV500”s. Stock bikes are terrible. They rev slow, are heavy, handle worse than a parade float, and have terrible brakes. I agree with the upgrades on this bike, as I did similar upgrades on mine ( pipes, shock, motor rebuild, brakes, supplemental radiator, etc). It made the bike enjoyable to ride. I had one I kept stock, never ride it, ended up selling it because it took up space. The new owner will enjoy and appreciate these upgrades, along with a fresh motor rebuilt by one of the most experienced, Rick Lance. It’s a nice bike, and in spite of a few opinions on this forum that these bikes are worth $6000, and less every year, this is not reality. The opposite is happening here, they are going up in value and cost every year. Nice examples, stock or not, are getting expensive. The new owner will enjoy riding this bike, how is that a bad thing? Calling them a fool?

  • Jeff, having owned over 10 RZ’s I completely agree with your definition of a “stock” RZ500! The best “modified” RZ500 I had the pleasure of owning was Artist Munsons build. It was a correctly balanced suspension and brake package and the engine taken to the build point of extra HP but still reliable, not a grenade.
    It was truly a pleasure to ride not, do I have to ride the RZ today.
    Now I am the custodian of the “red” Marlboro Beloruski built ’91 YZR500 replica. It has a 200 mile Rick Lance built engine that he termed as “mild”. It has a large amount of extra power with the longevity you would expect from a stocker and tuned to perfection.
    As far as values, i completely agree with you. I sold my 5K mile 100% stocker RZ500 for 12K a couple of years ago. It was all the market would bear at the time. I have seen them sell high and low over the years. But, they are only stock & original once!
    I’m not going to even bother addressing the other posters comments as I have seen them before.
    Merry Christmas!

  • The bike (and any RD/RZ/RZV500 really) is not worth the $25,000 paid.

    Not sure how that equates to valuing it at $6,000 though. I paid $10,000 for a well prepped track only RZ500 8 years ago, that was a reasonable value considering the parts used and proven track record of the sum of those parts.

    People may pay $25K because they just have to have it, thinking if they don’t buy it now another one will never come up for sale again – which is of course absurd logic. Or better yet they may think they can flip it for $30K next summer. LOL

    But at $25K it does not represent a value purchase at all. $25,000 is more than what you will pay for a well prepped late model TZ250 with spares and race provenance.

    I have about $50,000 worth of YZR500 odds and ends purchased over the years that eventually will become a YZR500, so I know a thing or 2 about over paying just to get obscure bike stuff. I just had to have that set of 1985 YZR500 CNC prototype forks – a very poor value purchase. But going in I know that I need to find that “one other guy” somewhere in the world that just has to have them if I ever tried to sell them. To the open market they are just 35 year old used race parts.

    The point is that if you buy into an RZ500 at $25,000 then you would reasonably and probably want to get out of the bike at $25,000+.

    But, selling on a $25,000+ RZ500 that has more miles put on and is that much closer to a rebuild becomes an exercise in trying to find the NEXT person gullible enough to pay MORE than $25,000 to get into an RZ500. And the idea that a 2 or 3 or 5 or 9 year old “place RZ tuners name here” rebuild adds some sort of magical value is another absurd thing – the motor is subject to the same wear and tear no matter who rebuilt or tuned it. Seals and rings have specific and finite tolerance to use and abuse no matter who put the motor together – the only time a rebuilt or tuned motor is worth “extra” is the day it is delivered.

    This bubble will burst just like the muscle car bubble burst. Not every 1970 Mopar is worth $150K, but people where paying $150k for any Mopar 7 years ago – many of which have shrunk back down to their real $45k values.

    The same will happen with the RG/RZ/NS trinity. They are $10k to $15k bikes at best and they will settle back down at that inflation adjusted value in due time.

    If not, then some poor sap will be paying $38,000 for a 25,000 mile old RZ500 in 7 years time because that is what the seller has to get out of it.

    Top tier modern sport bikes that keep getting more expensive may influence these older bikes values somewhat, but the difference is that a $25k Honda SP2 or $30K BMW HP4 actually has the value built in by way the very complex and capable components – not so much for a 35 year old street bike with an every shrinking pool of consumable parts.

  • There’s no way of knowing whether the bike actually sold for $25k because there was an “error in the listing.” Right. I believe this seller put a huge price on it just in case someone was foolish enough to pay it. His real intent was to sell off bikes in his collection by listing a bike that would generate the most attention, along with pictures of his other bikes, and then publishing his phone number with an invitation to call and talk bikes. Let’s face it, if you want to reach the most potential buyers, Ebay’s the place.

  • It’s worth whatever someone will pay. Buyers determine prices, not sellers. If I had a buyer for my RZ500, RG500 and NS400R and was offered enough $$$, they’d be gone. Ownership is wonderful, but everything has a price.

  • A fool and his money will soon form an opinion….

  • Hi I have 2 bikes for sale but no sure what selling price is?
    1984 YAMAHA RZ500
    1985 SUZUKI RG500
    any advice appreciated.
    Thank you.

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