Posts by tag: Kenny Roberts

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Yamaha October 22, 2022 posted by

Two-fer of Angry Bees: 1985 Yamaha RZ350 (times two!)

Today we have a bit of a choose your own adventure situation. Assuming you find the RZ350 a RSBFS-worthy ride, what we have today is two different – completely stock and original – examples. One bike is a west coaster, residing in sunny California. The other is an Easterner, braving the Windy City of Chicago, Illinois. From a collector perspective, both are 1985 models, both are in the red/white livery, and both have the desired catalytic converter exhaust pipes (well, collectors desire them, at least). Let’s dig into these two and see what adventure awaits!

1985 Yamaha RZ350 (California bike) for sale on eBay

From the seller:
1985 Yamaha RZ350 This motorcycle belongs in a collector’s collection or a museum! It has 2694 miles on it all original right down to the Yokohama tires that it rolled out of Kenny Robert’s Yamaha Modesto, CA. There is a good article with more pictures at Raresportbikesforsale.com February 25th 2022,

To be candid, this particular beauty has graced the pages of RSBFS before; in February of this year, in fact (https://raresportbikesforsale.com/inflation-1985-yamaha-rz350). I might have missed that, but the seller was kind enough to remind me in his text. Back then we were amazed at the originality of the bike, and it doesn’t look like much has changed. In February the ask was nearly $30k in Buy It Now format. This time around there is a proper auction, although the starting line ask will cost you $18,500 with reserve in place. You can check out this CA bike here.


1985 Yamaha RZ350 (Illinois bike) for sale on eBay

From the seller:
Super Original. Needed a carb clean , now runs like it’s new.
There are a few minor nicks you will see pointed out in the pictures but it is so clean and original I don’t want to touch it. I’ll leave anything that it needs for the new owner. Nuts and bolts are still bright and Original gold color never touched since factory.
California model with ,yes all the restricted stuff on it. But I can emphasize enough how Original it is.

This second bike is located in Chicago, Illinois. It looks a lot like the first, although it does have more miles (nearly 6k), a little bit of damage on the right side of the bike (fairing, tail section and pipe), and the funkiest little red handgrips I have ever seen. Beyond that, the cats are in place as the EPA intended, and even the air injection and evap appears to be stock. Wow. Seller notes the carbs were recently cleaned, so this one seems to be more of a rider than the bike located in California above. This is a Buy It Now format sale, with the seller asking only $18k. I say “only” as that is the purchase price, not the opening bid like the bike above. Check out all of the details on this Chicago bike here.


Well, there you have it. Two pretty stock examples of Yamaha’s finest, but up for auction at the same time with a similar close date – even though they are located across the country from each other. If you are in the market for an RZ to collect, these appear to have all the right pieces in place. Good Luck!!

MI

Two-fer of Angry Bees: 1985 Yamaha RZ350 (times two!)
Yamaha July 20, 2022 posted by

I Love the Smell of Castor Oil in the Morning: 1985 Yamaha RZ350

Another beautiful summer’s day, another beautiful Yamaha RZ350. Every year – like clockwork – when spring has sprung the RZs pop up out of hiding like dandelions. Few bikes are as coveted as the last of the factory, street going two-strokes, and pushing nearly 40 years on in the US these are getting harder to find in good, presentable condition. Sure, they exist – but patience is a key implement in the collector’s toolkit. The find we offer up today is clean and complete, with light modifications compared to some. If you are in the market for a rider, this is definitely something to check out.

1985 Yamaha RZ350 for sale on eBay

RSBFS has probably written a million words about the RZ350 over our tenure, and within the ultra-plush offices of the RSBFS building (once again open after the pandemic forced us all into remote work situations) discussions rage over oil ratios; debates over castor vs synthetics are common. Sufficed to say, the RZ350 – known as the RD350LC in other regions – was (for the US) a welcome return and a last gasp of the legendary RD lineup. Offering modern technology such as oil injection, Yamaha Power Valve System (YPVS) moveable exhaust port, evaporative canisters and catalytic converters in the exhaust system, the parallel twin RZ350 was very briefly a street legal motorcycle in all 50 states of the union. Couple that with the star power of Kenny Roberts (initially only the yellow/black bikes bore his sig, but the 2nd year offered them on the red/white as well), and the RZ brought dreams of GP riding to the masses.

From the seller:
1985 Yamaha RZ350 KennyRobert. Top end job on it. Wiseco 2.5 MM over pistons, new rings, wrist pins,wrist pin bearings, circlips and gaskets. Power valves cleaned and new seals,Oil Pump Rebuild w/ new seals and gaskets, Performance exhaust, Fuel Petcock Valve Switch Assemblycleaned and new rebuilt. Bike is jetted highaltitude (also have standard jets) and runs great, starts easy and nooverheating problems.

Brakes completelyrebuilt front and rear, rebuilt Master cylinders, calipers, and new stainlesssteel brake lines. The oil injection pump cleaned and rebuilt, is hooked up andfunctions. Fuel petcock rebuilt with new diaphragm and seals. There is a singleK&N air filter with the two into one intake, there is a tool kit that isnot stock, just something I put together for the bike.

If you like the sound ofa two stroke on the pipe, you will love this bike, there’s nothing like it. Ifyou have any questions or would like more pics, let me know.

Fast forward to today, and many of the mass produced RZ350s have been trashed, hooned, raced, modded, and destroyed. As values on the bikes fell, they became disposable transportation for squids everywhere. Today these are legit rare motorcycles when found in decent condition. Common mods include all the usual two-stroke tricks: replacing the cat-equipped exhaust with proper expansion chambers, re-jetting and opening up the breathing, porting, milling the head for increased compression, etc. This bike has some mods which would preclude “all original” museum style seekers, but looks to be complete and a fun rider. It certainly looks to be in great condition from the pictures. Here is a video from the seller – we apologize but RSBFS can do nothing about the supplied video orientation.

This auction runs through the end of the weekend, has a nominal number of bids, and at time of writing is still well below the $10k mark. That is very much “in the ballpark” money currently, and it remains to be seen if this will turn into a bidding frenzy before it is all over. Check out all of the details here, and Good Luck!!

MI

I Love the Smell of Castor Oil in the Morning: 1985 Yamaha RZ350
Yamaha May 13, 2022 posted by

King’s Livery – 1985 Yamaha RZ350 Kenny Roberts

Hardly a week goes by that a new* RZ350 doesn’t pop up these days !  While not a show bike, this example shows the Kenny Roberts colors nicely and has a bunch of NLA period updates.

1985 Yamaha RZ350 for sale on eBay

Yamaha knew that the two-stroke legality wouldn’t last forever, but kept updating the 59 hp, 320 lb. model – and it kept selling.  Liquid cooling made conformance to EPA exhaust and noise regs plausible, and the Power Valve System made the torque band wider than before.  Slotted discs were sized for the middleweight mission, and the fairly conventional chassis sported an early monoshock rear end.

On consignment for a long time customer, this RZ has been on display so might need a little help re-awakening.  Vintage Toomey chambers, intake, and battery box are of interest – especially since the factory take-offs are included.  Matching left and right tank dents are stickered over, and the handlebar fairing looks to have led the way into a couple of close shaves.  But the finishes are in good shape and the fork brace is a nice addition.  Comments and a list of upgrades and spares are in the eBay auction –

The bike has been very well maintained and is in excellent condition for the year with low mileage and a slew of upgrades and spare parts that come with it! The bike runs excellent and the electric start works, but there is no battery in the bike, as it is stored correctly in a collection and almost never ridden. The factory power valves have been rebuilt by the owner. There are two small dents in the gas tank on either side from the handlebar switches on the bars bumping into the tank over the years which is very common on the bikes (they are covered by the bullet stickers you can see in the pictures). Aside from that, please refer to the pictures for the most accurate description of condition. Aside from the upgrades, this bike is numbers matching and nearly all original OEM, the paint and decals are original and the mileage is true and correct.

-TOOMEY PIPES (VINTAGE 80’S – NOT NEWER PRODUCTION)
-TOOMEY INTAKE (VINTAGE 80’S – NOT NEWER PRODUCTION)
-TOOMEY BATTERY BOX (VINTAGE 80’S – NOT NEWER PRODUCTION)
-FORK BRACE
-BRAIDED STEEL FRONT BRAKE LINE
-STOCK CARBS REJETTED FOR EXHAUST (ONE SIZE UP PILOT AND 420 MAINS)
-TWO SPARE SETS OF OEM EXHAUST (PICTURED)
-NEW SET OF SPARE TIRES (PICTURED)
-OWNER’S MANUAL (PICTURED)
-MANY MANY MORE SPARE PARTS NOT LISTED (PICTURED)
-MANY MORE TASTEFUL PERIOD CORRECT UPGRADES NOT LISTED

More red/white models are in RSBFS recent history than bumblebee’s, and for Yamaha fans of a certain vintage the signature model is the one to try for.  Those same fans might be surprised at the bidding with eight days left to run, and further that the reserve is still unknown.  But even though the model has had a nice season so far, no more being manufactured, and this one has a nice combination of miles, patina, updates, and spares.

-donn

King’s Livery – 1985 Yamaha RZ350 Kenny Roberts
Yamaha February 25, 2022 posted by

Inflation: 1985 Yamaha RZ350

The collector world is on a tear. After years of pandemic caution, the floodgates are open and trading has resumed with gusto. With that activity comes excitement, renewed interest in classic models, and the commensurate rise in pricing. Yes, values are going up; and that is not just conjecture. As Blair, Tootie, Jo and Natalie will tell you, it’s the facts of life. At the sharp end of the market shift is the RZ350. Always popular with readers and riders, the RZ350 highlights the post-pandemic collecting frenzy with $20k + auction results as proof. As a result, we are seeing more and more RZs on the market, with all sellers looking to ride the pricing wave.

1985 Yamaha RZ350 for sale on eBay

Rather than regurgitate the same details and specs of the RZ, let’s highlight some model differences and what makes a collector bike a collector bike. We have seen a TON of lesser quality examples in the past, and even these are enjoying a pricing boost. But the $20k and above examples need to be clean, low mileage and *original* specimens. With the RZ350, the opening performance surgery to be done was to drop the heavy and restrictive catalytic converter mufflers and replace them with a lightweight set of performance expansion chambers. This required some upstream changes in the form of air filter and jetting. Often the oil pump was disengaged or completely removed, reducing parasitic mechanical drag and forcing the bike to run on pre-mix. Heads could be milled for greater compression, ports could be massaged, bores could be increased. All of this boosts HP, and all have a serious impact on long-term values for collectors.

From the seller:
This is my 1985 Yamaha RZ 350 that is unrestored and original right down to its Yokohama tires that it rolled out of the showroom on! Seriously a quality Museum motorcycle, It has 2694 miles on it and has not been ridden since 1987! Original unused tool kit in tail section, I have the two original keys one on a Kenny Roberts key fob from Modesto, CA. It also has a Kenny Roberts license plate frame! This RZ was purchased at Kenny Roberts Yamaha in Modesto, Ca.! I have the original manuals and a Brochure.. I have a clean California title in my name, It has been non-popped since 1990… Very Collectable and definitely a quality addition to someones Man cave….

Perhaps the most rare of the RZs are the California models. CA requires additional evaporative canisters and fuel tank plumbing to minimize the environmental impacts of any internal combustion petrol engine. (Say what you want about the complexity and power-robbing functionality – but Los Angeles air is noticeably cleaner since the California Air Resource Board mandates). The CA-required pieces are often the first to cast off the bike. That raises the stakes for a CA bike that claims to be 100% original. And THAT is what makes today’s bike so interesting. A very clean 1985 model, this CA bike looks to be complete as if from the showroom, including all CA emissions equipment and stock exhaust. And with just 2,694 miles on the clock, the seller claims the tires are original as well!

A great looking, original condition California bike, I expect this particular example to pique the interest of those looking for this model in preserved condition. The seller notes that this bike has been sitting since 1987, which is echoed by the overall condition. The obvious caveat for those who want to ride the rails off of this thing is that it may require some re-commissioning in the form of a leak-down test (for crank seal condition) and tires as a starter. But that is minor work that would surely be worthwhile for an RZ in this stunning condition. Pricing is directly in line with condition, along with the 2022 premium based on past auctions and high aspirations. If the near $30k Buy It Now ask seems too high, the seller is open to offers. Check out all the details here, and then let’s sit back and watch how far the market has moved upwards on clean and pristine RZs. Good Luck!!

MI

Inflation: 1985 Yamaha RZ350
Yamaha December 23, 2020 posted by

Almost Famous: 1985 Yamaha RZ350

How much does star power help with motorsport sales? It helps if the figure connected with the sale is related to the vehicle in question. And in the case of the RZ350, the connection is very, very good. Sporting the signature of “King” Kenny Roberts, the RZ350 came emblazoned with the bumble bee livery that made Yamaha famous on the race track. As the last factory two stroke to be imported into all 50 US States, the RZ350 is held near and dear as a truly special bike from a bygone era.

1985 Yamaha RZ350 for sale on eBay

For those that have been living in a cave without AOL dial-up, let’s go over the basics: Take the spiritual heart of a RD350/RD400 – namely the two stroke parallel twin – and throw go-fast technology at it in the form of liquid cooling and a computer-adjustable exhaust port that enhances the typically peaky two-stroke power curve (YPVS). For those that like to breathe, the RZ came with an exhaust system that incorporated catalytic converters and air injection to prevent mosquito fogging the street/canyon/track with bllue smoke where these bikes played. The rest of the gear was fairly conventional, including a mild-steel frame, a single shock rear suspension system and triple disk brakes.

From the seller:
1985 Yamaha RZ 350 Kenny Robert’s edition. The most desirable year of the most desirable color combination Yamaha RZ 350. Very low original 6809 miles. Runs well, idles perfectly, fires up first kick. Stock oil injection system remains intact. Stock carbs, rejeted for the Toomy pipes and 2 into 1 K&N air filter. It is stock bore with new high performance pistons. I pulled the top end just to inspect and check everything, replaced the pistons because I had an extra set.

This bike came from The American Pickers in LeClaire, Iowa and was on of their shows. It was purchased locally by a motorcycle collector, and I purchased it from them. I have the bill of sale from Iowa.

The bike is in over all in decent rider quality condition, it has the normal nicks and dings as it is a 35 year old motorcycle. This bike would be a great candidate for an easy restoration or enjoy as is.

Like most RZs, this particular example has shed it’s restrictive, heavy catalytic converters in favor of some old-school expansion chambers. That is one way to really wake up an RZ. The air filter mod – in conjunction with the exhaust swap – requires changes to jetting, since the motor is now able to flow more air. Racers usually disabled the oil injection system in favor of mixing oil right into the gas (again, old-school), but street riders will appreciate the ability to fill up the tank without the use of a mix-rite cup.

This particular bike was apparently featured on the TV show “American Pickers.” I’m not really sure if that adds any value, but does prove that many people think the RZ is cool. Pictures show a bike in pretty good condition. This is not a meticulously spotless museum piece by any means, but nor is it a thrashed, crashed and trashed example asking for an outrageous price. With no reserve and a single bid at time of writing, this RZ is in the $6,500 zone – which is close to where you might expect. There are a significant number of folks watching on, though, so you might see some last minute activity on this auction. Check out all of the details here, stay safe and good luck!!

MI

Almost Famous: 1985 Yamaha RZ350
Yamaha November 27, 2020 posted by

Been There Done That – 1985 Yamaha RZ350 with Just 1,972 Miles !

Introduced in 1982 as the closest thing to a race bike on the road, and certainly one of the last two-stroke street bikes available here, Yamaha’s RZ350 can be found in all prices and conditions.  With its sights set on the top of the hill, this later Fla. example has impossibly low miles and almost flawless condition.

1985 Yamaha RZ350 for sale on eBay

The early -80’s brought the Yamaha Power Valve System to their two-strokes, and it helps the engine run just fine around town.  But the 55 rated horsepower are available up at 9,000 rpm, requiring a more advanced set of rider skills.  Racey looks are helped by the perimeter frame and drop-in fuel tank, just like real racers of the day.  Dual front disks were new on a lighter-weight machine, and compensate for the lack of engine deceleration on a smoker.  Suspension wasn’t fancy, just preload adjustable but good quality like the rest of the build, and the gold-trimmed alloys had a light look.

An expert might be required to find something to quibble about on this RZ, and you’d suspect an odometer rollback if not for the museum condition.  Factory pipes look sharp and dispense with the catalyzer.  Comments from the eBay  auction:

Kenny Roberts Edition purchased from original owner earlier this year. Great condition very little patina  two small little touched up chips one on tank and fairing smaller then pencil eraser in front of gas cap the blue stripe is starting to shrink I don’t know if its from gas or what but that’s the only complaint I have with the bike because the rest of it is killer front forks are clean with very minimal rash the rims and controls are in great shape and look awesome. I have original pipes and tool kit look at the pics they tell the story look at them well please ask any questions or more pic’s if needed and the bike runs great . Miles are 1975 and the bike is all original not restored and shows extremely well for a 35 year old bike that hasn’t been monkeyed with and adult owned and cared for.

Like real estate, they’re just not making any more RZ350’s, so this owner can wait until his whopping buy-it-now seems sensible or someone makes an offer.  Not sure this year is CARB legal even with the original exhaust, but a knowledgeable reader will likely sing out.  The alternate livery doesn’t scream Kenny Roberts like the yellow, but it’s there.  You can usually hear me groan about bikes destined for the carpet, but this one is really too nice for anything but an occasional spin around the block.

-donn

Been There Done That – 1985 Yamaha RZ350 with Just 1,972 Miles !
Yamaha January 10, 2020 posted by

Winter Blues: 1984 Yamaha RZ350

As many parts of the United States are deep in the throes of falling frozen water, riding is an activity that must wait for warmer weather and more favorable road conditions. There are locales, however, where riding can commence year ’round. The southern states on both coasts serve as a great example. And it is from one of those states where we find this immaculate 1984 Yamaha RZ350, ready to ride. If you are snowed in and looking for that winter project that might require TLC and lots of mechanical know-how, stop reading now. This particular bike looks to need nothing but high RPMs and silly grins. If that is your idea of a winter project, read on!

The RZ350 is well known as the last of the factory 50-state street legal two strokes. Known as the RD350LC in other geographies, the RZ was the continued evolution of the parallel twin RD lineup, but with a healthy dose of modern tech thrown in. Sure the chassis was mild steel and not aluminum, but that did not stop the RZ from sharp handling. Brakes were triple disks, rear suspension was of the new-fangled single shock design, the venerable twin was now liquid cooled for tighter tolerances and greater power, there was a computer controlled bridge attached to the exhaust port to spread the notoriously peaky powerband around some, and the exhaust pipes were fitted with catalytic converters to help the dirty two-stroke meet EPA emissions. In most ways it was a toned down version of itself, but the beast within was woken up easily with a few common two-stroke tricks. The party only lasted two years, but it remains a very memorable party indeed.

From the seller:
1984 YAMAHA RZ350. Bike has less than 500 miles on a total renovation. Stripped to frame, wheels, bodywork all painted. Original exhausts go with the bike. Brand new Original CDI Spare also goes with the bike. The bike does not need anything. I never ride it anymore to many other things going on. Clear title, the bike is in ORMOND BEACH FL.

I have a reasonable reserve for this bike in this condition. Please do not message with silly offers. The bike sits in my climate controlled building and is available to view anytime. Everything works as you would expect. The gas cap area has been treated with an epoxy to resist any gas overflow from affecting the paint in the silly recess around the gas cap. (yes I have overfilled it) Not much more I can say. If you are looking for an RZ that requires nothing but a rider then you know what you are looking at.

There is a fair bit of interest in this particular RZ, and the eBay auction has a good number of followers. Bidding history shows the relatively quick escalation from $2k to the current bid of $7,400 – but we can be pretty certain it won’t stop there. The seller indicated that there was a reasonable reserve set for the bike, and that is clearly the case; the reserve has already been met. Whatever happens from this point forward, this bike is going home with somebody. Check it out here and let us know if this isn’t the cleanest RZ you have seen in quite some time. It has some aftermarket expansion chambers (great for waking up the beast) and the seller will even throw in the original pipes with the deal – which is great for someone looking for an original collector. The RZ is a constantly sought-after machine, and we anticipate prices to continue to rise. If you are in the market, best jump in while prices remain somewhat sane. Good Luck!!

MI

Winter Blues: 1984 Yamaha RZ350
Yamaha December 13, 2019 posted by

King Kenny’s steed: 1985 Yamaha RZ350

The Yamaha RZ350 lived a pretty short life on these shores, eventually leaving us in the face of EPA fleet emissions regulations and sales that paled in comparison to its bigger four-stroke stablemates. But, if you were serious about roadracing, or were a serious fan of the 500cc Grand Prix races of the time, the RZ was your mount. The little parallel twin leaves none of its inspirations to the imagination, wearing the signature of American 500cc ace Kenny Roberts front and center on its red, white and blue frame and bodywork.

1985 Yamaha RZ350 for sale on eBay

With just about 45 horsepower, none of which was available until about 6,000 RPM, the 375-pound RZ rewarded momentum and bravery over raw power and speed. Still, even with limited horsepower, the thing managed to click off a 13-second quarter mile at 100 mph in the hands of CycleWorld. That is musclecar shaming performance in a package that will turn with aplomb when you ask it to.

This 1985 Yamaha RZ350 has a few tasteful mods and has covered just under 12,000 miles in its 34 years. It is in very nice condition, with just a few scratches, dings and touch ups on the frame and body work.

From the eBay listing:

1985 Yamaha RZ350 Kenny Roberts

NO RESERVE

11,983 Miles
Fox Shock
New Battery
Powder Coated wheels
New Fork seals and oil
Brakes completely gone through
New EBC rotors and yamaha pads
KN y-boot filter
Hard to find Stock pipes
Tank is clean and rust free inside
Great condition ready to ride
Few minor scuffs as seen in photos
Touch up on frame

Buyer pays shipping (I can assist with shipping) Local pickup in Sarasota, FL area

With no reserve, this thing will sell come hell or high water. With the best part of a week to go in the auction, we’ll be curious to see what this pretty little smoker fetches.

King Kenny’s steed: 1985 Yamaha RZ350