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Formation Flight – 1985 Yamaha RZ500 with 4,600 miles !

With a pair of 250cc engines driving a common output shaft providing two power strokes on every revolution, Yamaha’s RZ500 pushed nearly 200 hp per liter, even in street trim.  This sharp Michigan example has been in storage but was recently freshened up for riding season.

1985 Yamaha RZ500 for sale on eBay

The RZ’s engine is almost a cube, with four 26mm Mikuni carburetors looking out to the side-mounted airboxes from the valley of the 50-degree V.  Individual expansion chambers wend their way back, with the upper cylinders’ pipes tucked into the seat fairing.  88 hp was available at a wailing 9,500 rpm, with the torque band was stretched by the YPVS power valve system.  The chassis was steel tubing and the forks were right-side-up, though the monoshock was underneath the engine to make room for the exhausts.

With just over 4,600 miles, this RZ had to be in storage before the present owner.  Just some stress cracking on the chin scoop is apparent, with none of the usual garage rash and corrosion.  The seller waited seven years to re-commission it for the road, and has the following comments in the eBay auction:

New Battery
New Tires
New Chain
New Wheel Bearings
New Tapered steering head bearings
Changed transmission Oil
Cleaned float bowls on carbs
New Shut off valve for fuel
New front Brake Pads
Amsoil Dominator Synthetic injector oil
New fork seals, Race tech Springs, Gold valves, Modified damper rods (per Race Tech) 20 wt oil
With modifying damper rods the Anti Dive units are inactive (left them for stock appearance)
This is a very nice mostly all Original RZ, Starts first kick most every time hot or cold, shifts and clutches fine, pulls all the way to redline.
All lights work, horn, blinkers, brake light, gauge lights

The RZ500 waited more than 10 years to hit the streets after the YZR500 race machine’s 1973 introduction, but by then the U.S. and a good part of Europe had declared two-strokes unwelcome.  So every RZ500 seen will be a gray market import with limited history, and a KMH speedo with MPH sub-titles.  This one’s about as nice as they come without claims of a collection or museum, and the auction’s at $11K with five days to run.  With recent sales in the low $20’s, a lot of us will just be watching, at least to see where the reserve is set.



  • I suspect.there will be a lot nice 2 strokes coming up for.sale soon in coming months. The covid19 economy is gaining momentum.

  • Yup. I have two in the garage that I was just thinking might need to go this morning. And then I started thinking, hey, I need more than one bike!

  • I have 5 plated 2st : 2 rms 97/125,98 250, 02 250exc, mc28 nsr 96, and lastly a cr250 powered 02 rs50. Will sell my 17 wr250r before all but rs50 first. 4st are about to be really cheap coming up. I will be buying the plated 2st when I see them. Specifically dirt bikes with plates. Luv them! Been blasting Berkeley/Oakland hills on my rm125 last few.days. I wake up with smile every morning since!
    Not going for rz/gamma 500 street bikes because I know my limits.
    Two strokes for the smiles & smell of.pre-mix!

  • I wouldn’t be too concerned, the RZ500 is one of the most overrated street 2’s out there. The engine is great but, as a older race friend puts it, they are one of the few motorcycles they were able to make twitchy yet slow to turn. They didn’t handle well and the motors were highly detuned from the more true-to-gp RG. It will be nice to see prices comes down as things are far too heated (as an owner not a wannabe) right now. Bikes are still cheap relative to cars!

  • eBay shows sold for $18,099!


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