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One Mean RZ: 1985 Yamaha RZV500R with California title


When it comes to 500cc GP bike replicas, the Yamaha RZ is king of popularity. It may not be the outright favorite two stroke out there (far too many Gamma fans to walk out onto that ledge), but it was built in reasonable numbers and seems to be a readily available model for those seeking smoke. This particular RZ is a “V” model – meaning it has the coveted Japanese market aluminum frame. And while the stock RZV was de-rated in power for the home market, this one seems to have quite a few mods thrown at it (although no mention made of removing the restrictions).

1985 Yamaha RZV500 for sale on eBay

From the seller
1985 Original RZV 500cc, V-4, 2-stroke, Stock RZV Aluminum Frame, Stainless-steel Lomas pipes , Marchesini Rear Wheel, 5.5 x 17, Marvic Front Wheel, 3.5 x 17,1992 FZR1000 Front End, Sunstar rotors, Galfer brake lines,Honda Hawk 650 Swingarm, Works Performance Rear Shock, Under seat oil tank, Air filter is a Unifilter in stock air box, Stainless allen bolts throughout the chassis, California Titled and Registered, 4311 km


These two pictures are all we have of this rare, California legal beast. The bike looks sharp and obviously has had a lot of parts thrown at it in an artful sort of way. The tail section is clean and purposeful, and really shows off that single-sided swingarm. Don’t get me started on those chambers, as I could stare at the welds all day long. I like the beefy forks and triple clamps as well. Nice stuff. Check it out here if a whiff of castor oil starts your day on the right foot. Bidding has been spirited and this one is already over $13k with a few days to go. How high will this one run? Check it out and let us know what you think!



  • At last one of the decent correctly modded and well cared for 500’s comes up for sale.

    The price that it ends at will be a better measure of 500 worth than those crazy basket case auctions that come up every now and again.

  • 2 days left. What are your guesses for final selling price? This bike is absolutely sick and personally I’d much rather own this than any stock example, as I’d actually ride it as it was intended..

  • Interesting build! The only thing I’d change would be the need for passenger pegs and brackets, and he kind of lost me on the Honda Hawk swing arm conversion. I’m guessing it’ll go $18K as it appears to be high quality, but value is pretty subjective, of course.

  • Well, the Hawk swingarm is a bit left-field, but I think that it works. I’ve ridden Hawks and the swingarm seems plenty rigid, and maybe it was an easier mod than other choices… Not sure. I do know that the stock swingarm is dogshit, so any improvement there is a good thing.

  • It’s just not working for me, I wouldn’t have made the choice myself is all. Reasoning: it’s a pure Honda assembly on a Yamaha. It looks like a Ducati 916 style wheel mixed in visually as well. Not appropriate historically: vintage Yamaha two stroke race bikes never had single sided swing arms. Wish the seller would have shown and explained the fabrication done to make it work.

    If it were mine, I’d adapt or fabricate a pure Yamaha race swing arm that looks as close to Wayne Rainey’s YZR500- a boxed sheet/cast aluminum design. Anodized or painted black. That, or cheaper alternative would be to adapt an R6 swing arm to match the front end. It’s possible.

    Just personal choices, worth what you paid for them! I really like lots of things about this bike and would love to see it up close, and ride it to see how it works, feels, and sounds.

    • This bike is well documented and has no secrets. All the folks involved in the various fabrication aspects are known in the 500 community – and the build thread is probably still somewhere on the RZ500 forum.


      I should imagine he did the single sided swinger as his own touch.

      Yamaha did use a single sided swinger on a couple of period 750 endurance 750’s, so Yamaha and single sided swingers with 3 spoke Magnesium wheels are not totally out of place.

      As for choosing a Honda donor swinger, if the part does the job why not – my RZ500 track bike uses an NC29 swinger.

  • damn those pipes are smexy

  • I think its a sexy beast. Personally although having a stock example is usually best for collection value, I think this bike is a real head turner.

    Hawk GT/ NT 650 swingarms are plenty rigid. I have a Hawk GT and the handling is exceptional for what it is.

    Bikes like this are why I am addicted to this site… and why my bank account should be afraid…very afraid.

  • Sixthgear, I think you meant that you’d have the swingarm reflect the style of Randy Mamola’s Lucky Strike Yamaha, but I get what you’re saying 😉

  • The bike’s tre-cool, hopefully it comes with the stock parts as well.

  • Already at $20K 20th reserve not met? Starting to smell a little funny…….

  • too many elitists… if it works who cares what manufacturer made the parts the bike was modded with

  • Nice job on the build here.

  • Ive seen the bike in person at Laguna Seca and have met the owner. Its an amazing, no expense spared build by a true RZ enthusiast. I can’t believe he’s selling it; someone is going to get a very sweet, well sorted bike.

  • I sold the RZV 2 years ago to the current owner. I’m currently building an RG500 naked street fighter, again with a single sided swingarm because its different and I like how they look. Just a personal thing. Apparently he just copied the text from the RZRD500 Owners Group website, because it was upgraded to the 2006 R6 front end with the stock R6 front wheel and stock rotors, Fox shock.
    I appreciate the kudos!

  • I sold the bike to the current owner about 2 years ago. He copied the text from the RZRD500 Owners Group website, not knowing most recent upgrades. The front end is a 2006 R6 with the stock wheel and rotors. The shock is a Fox shock.

    I am currently building an RG500 naked street fighter with another single sided swingarm. This time from a 1996 VFR750, I like the single sided swing arms, its a personal thing. Its been a very slow process but it can be seen at:

    Thanks for the kudos!

  • Welcome to RSBFS, Nick. Thank you for sharing the links and info – that is one fantastic looking RZV you built. Good luck with your street fighter build!


  • Great bike, personally, if I were modifying the bike to that degree, I would go with 500cc replica bodywork. Probably Marlboro livery since it is a Yamaha.

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