Warning!This post is in our archives. Links in this post have been updated to point to similar bikes available to bid on eBay.
Update 4.24.2018: This bike is SOLD, and to an RSBFS reader as well! Congratulations to buyer and seller! -dc
As far as two strokes go, the RZ350 (also known as the RD350LC in some geographies) needs no introduction. Available in various markets and configurations between 1983 and 1995, this peppy two stroke was legally imported the world over – including the United States. And while U.S. readers might be most familiar with the bumble-bee black/yellow Kenny Roberts commemorative edition – or even the red/white Yamaha racing livery – there is a very special and very rare in the US model that was released in Yamaha blue. This 1990 RZ350 out of Canada is one such example.
Featured Listing: 1990 Yamaha RZ350 in Canada
As is undoubtedly known, the RZ350 is really the last of the factory imported two strokes when it comes to the US market. Born of a time when air-cooled 550cc four strokes ruled the roads, the RZ350 was a generational evolution of the older RD350 smokers. With a liquid cooled parallel twin cylinder format, the RZ350 introduced Yamaha’s first exhaust power valve – which helped to quell the peaky nature of two stroke power delivery. And unlike the US which was blessed by exhaust chambers that contained catalytic converters (read: restrictive and heavy), the rest of world models made due with more standard – and powerful – expansion chambers. Talented riders able to keep the RZ on the pipe could wreck havoc with riders of heavier four-stroke machinery. And with a trellis-style perimeter frame, decent suspension and triple disk brakes, the RZ was a delight both in the canyons as well as on the racetrack.
From the seller:
I am selling my 1990 Yamaha RZ350 after purchasing it in April of 2011. The bike is located east of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and the odometer reads 20,610 km., or 12,806 miles. To my knowledge that reading is accurate. There might a handful of miles more because I replaced the odometer cable after noticing the original had expired on my way back from a ride about five years ago.
Again, to my knowledge, the bike is bone stock, and hasn’t experienced an engine refresh, nor has it been raced or used for track days here in Ontario. The bike starts and runs perfectly, and the tires have fewer than two hundred miles on them, and has received a recent battery.
More from the seller:
The previous owner admitted that the bike has experienced the ubiquitous driveway tip-over, and I have tried to document the resulting scratches in the photos. Having said that, the bike presents very well, and the plastics are in very good shape. One of the mounting tabs was broken and when I bought the bike a large washed held the inside of the right fairing to the frame. I have since used a fairing repair plastic to repair that blemish, which I show in a couple of the photos. The decals on the bike are all there however, because of the way Yamaha chose to put the mounting holes through the side decals they have shifted in a couple of small areas.
There are about four pin-sized chips on the gas tank, but because they’re so small I have no idea what could have caused them. The fairing, while complete and sound, has a couple of small stress cracks which can’t be seen unless during a thorough inspection. There are two small areas (about the size of a quarter) on the fairing where it almost seems like the paint has worn off, but there are no cracks or abrasion there.
More from the seller:
The right side mirror, while replaced (I’m told) after the tip-over, had lost its collar where the mirror swivels. Because a new mirror is now unobtainium through Yamaha Canada I attempted to repair it with the same fairing repair plastic I used to fix the fairing stay. It looks OK, but if you can source a new or good used one, I leave that to the buyer. There was a crack at the tip of upper cowling where it meets the windscreen which I repaired with the plastic compound and a small strip of fibreglass. It is painted and not noticeable under normal scrutiny.
I rebuilt the front brake master cylinder in 2012, and has not needed maintenance since. The
radiator has been topped up with Water Wetter, and the bottom end has been drained and refilled with
fresh lubricant. The bike also has new spark plugs installed
I won’t attempt to review the history of the RZ350, as there are many sites online that can fill you in on that. However, this is the last year Yamaha made this model, and it wasn’t exported to the U.S. It’s odd, but even Yamaha Canada doesn’t have a record of this model in spite of the fact that they clearly were imported into Canada.
The bike, while not perfect, is a very good example of the model.
Price: $4400 (USD)
So what you are looking at here is a strong example of the RZ lineage. While the US only received the RZ in 1985 and 1986 (and California only in 1985), the rest of the world continued to enjoy this stout little smoker for many years thereafter. There were not too many changes to the hardware or output after the late 1980s, but the bones of this bike were so good that the model continues to be sought out to this day. This bike appears to be honestly presented by a fellow rider, which is always a benefit in a world full of short-term flippers. Purists will be quick to point out that the 1985-86 models are the most collectable from an investment perspective, but when it comes to riding finding a later variant that has been ridden and cared for is much more important. This sub-13,000 mile example ticks all the right boxes when it comes to a rider. No, it is not a museum piece or garage queen. Yes, it proudly wears the scars of some use. But most importantly, it is priced competitively for what it is. If you are looking to bolster your fleet with something that is worth hanging onto, this might just be your lucky day. Ping Brent if you are serious – and blue smoke and a silly grin will be just a few thousand RPMs away!