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In a New York Minute: 1985 Yamaha RZ500

For Sale: 1985 Yamaha RZ500

From the seller:
99% of these bikes are a mess… if you want a good one with some extras, this may be your bike.

These words from the seller regarding this ONE OWNER bike really do say it all. Located in NY, this looks to be an honest RZ500 find with a title for that state.

Here is a bike that has been fawned over since birth by the same guy. Here is an advert that reads of not wanting to sell. Here is a bike and spares that would make grown men weep. THIS is exactly the sort of bike that RSBFS loves to post. The seller knows the bike, and is happy to explain what has been done to it as well as point out the flaws. There are tons of pictures, and lots of detail. This is eBay shopping heaven!

This RZ500 is not stock. Who cares?! I don’t think that I would ever have the restraint NOT to want to change something on a smoker. Let’s face it – as delivered from the factory, these bikes had great potential, as well as a lot of EPA and other regulatory baggage. Uncork those pipes, let ‘er breathe, and hold on as the tach sweeps through the range. That is what these legacy two strokes are all about.

From the seller:
1985 1/2 Yamaha RZ500RN (1GE)

I am the original owner of this bike, I bought it in January 1986 when I was 26 yrs. old. I have all the manuals (owners, setup, and service) and documentation, sales brochure, magazine articles, un-opened 1/12th scale Tamiya model, original bill of sale, and clean New York title in my name.

This bike has been part of my life since 1986 and I have always had strong emotional attachment to it (This was my first new bike). It has always been kept indoors in a temperature controlled environment.

Being a professional motorcycle mechanic for most of my adult life, I decided when mileage reached 23,000 kms, to give it a top end freshening with genuine Yamaha 0.25mm pistons and rings, and anything else that needed attention…. Worn YPVS linkage parts…. Bearings, gaskets Etc…. all genuine Yamaha.

New fork seals and fresh oil
New front brake rotors (old ones are included here)
Remove steering head and grease bearings. (tapered bearings are standard)
New chain and sprockets
(there are a few extra front and rear sprockets included here – for gearing changes if so desired.)

There were a few extra non-stock things that I decided to do at the time which included:

Jolly Moto race pipes – High temp black powder coat – I liked the original look
(Original immaculate condition pipes are included with bike)
All tuning for the pipes is done by me, and the carbs have my jet kit installed.
(I will include the original carb needles with the bike)

Mill heads .040” (1mm)

Replaced metric KM speedometer with UK spec RD500LC MPH speedometer.

Ohlins rear shock – (Original is also included)

I also did some of the Yamaha race manual modifications (also included with bike) which include:

Slot stator housing and advance timing 5 degrees

Remove split gears from crank gears
(Originals are included with bike)

This was all done back in the winter of 2001….. the mileage shown is what has accumulated since then…. The whole bike was gone through with a fine toothed comb… anything that was worn or ugly was replaced. I have a lot of spare parts that I have accumulated over the years including spare body panels as well as mechanical parts and wear items – Please see photos.

The seat cowl has a plastic weld repair on the left side and a crack that needs to be repaired on the right – see photos.

Also, there is another crack by one of the tail cover screws – see photo.

There are fresh (April 2012) Avon radials on the stock rims.

The minimum price that I will accept is the opening bid – there is no reserve.

The seller has pointed out the good and the bad. It is my duty to point out the UGLY. Prices are rising on these oil breathing monsters, and this one is right up at the pointy end of the scale. The seller is looking for a STARTING bid of $22,500. There is no reserve on this auction, but looking at that starting price, there really is. Is this a $20k+ bike to you? Check out all of the pictures and details here, and then check back and let us know. A one owner bike with some pretty thorough knowledge of the state of the machine PLUS a boatload of spares…… I would consider that for at least a New York minute…..



  • The distinction between rare rideable bikes and rare museum collection bikes often gets obfuscated when the seller has also been a life-long owner. The Jolly-M pipes and motor rebuild and spares are nice assurances for a 26 (and a 1/2) year old bike, and this seller is certainly looking to get paid for them.

  • 22K for that, Ivan knows how to tune a bike but he needs to learn how to price one, I say 10K max, I have owned 5 and followed their prices since the 80’s.

  • This is exactly the kind of owner that you’d want to buy this bike from. Unfortunately, he’s still too in love with his machine and priced his opening bid at least $10,000 above current market values. It isn’t going anywhere.

  • Great bike , but the price is unfortunate. If this bike was a RZV with a 1/4 of the mileage it might fetch 2/3 of the starting bid.

  • I am more of a 4 stroke guy , but from a mechanical standpoint and wanting to know who & how many hands it’s passed through , it certainly looks like a winner . Will he get his price …only time will tell . But , I so wish him luck . And if he gets it …just like good real estate ……all your RZ500 realestate will go up another notch in value . And that’s my 2 cents worth ! 🙂

  • $22K? nEVER. epa GARBAGE? nEVER – The bike never set foot under an EPA regulation legally.

    I must have missed the part where th ebike came from the UK or Canada back in the day.

    Any way – $22k?

    3 words.. WTF?In immaculate perfect no cracks museum condition it would be hard presxsed to fetch $12k.

    GLWTS hehe

  • The more I think about this, the funny it gets.

    I have 10 RZ500 cranks, 2 super stroker cranks, 4 stroker cranks and 4 stock cranks, 4 sets of cases, 10 heads, gaskets up the wazzoo, sets of carbs(26mm, 28mm and 38mm), 3 spare frames, 1 modded RZV framed bike, 1 modded TZ250 framed bike, 5 sets of 1992 YZR500 bodywork in fiberglass, 2 sets of 1984 YZR500 body work in fiberglass, an actual 1984 GP YZR500 fairing, TZ250 alloy tanks, 3 sets of mag wheels, RS250, TZ250, TZ125 swing arms, manuals parts books, posters, sales brochures, every magazine article published, probably 10 unbuilt Tamiya RZ and YZR kits – and even I realize that this treasure trove of spares really does nothing to enhance the value of the bike that gets sold along with them… why do folks always think the supporting cast carries the sale?

    Its the bike that carries the sale – and in that light there is no way that this RZ500 is the $22,000 RZ500. We need a true perfect museum refugee to come along to be THAT RZ500. Maybe Mick Doohans original camo race bike could be that bike.

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