Posts by tag: RZ

Yamaha November 30, 2018 posted by

Buzz Buzz Buzz: 1984 Yamaha RZ 350

The last street-legal production two stroke sport bike officially imported into all 50 States of the US by a major manufacturer, the RZ350 holds a special place in the heart of motorcycle enthusiasts. It was Yamaha's valiant move to bravely keep the two stroke spirit alive and kicking in the face of tightening emission and noise regulations. It was both a brilliant success and an ultimate failure; a short lived lifespan that stirred hearts as technology passed it by. Enthusiasts who reside outside of the US may wonder at the American fascination with this bike - after all it had been in-market outside of the US for years and would certainly not be considered rare. But unlike grey market imports, this was one model that we could truly call our own. And with bold Yamaha bumble bee graphics and American superstar Kenny Roberts signing the fairing of every one, this one was ours. The RZ350, for all its shortcomings, is a legend.

1984 Yamaha RZ 350 for sale on eBay

If you look at the bloodline, you can see the DNA that evokes the Yamaha RD models that came before. But designed as a modern approach to the "less is more" philosophy, the RZ added liquid cooling to the familiar parallel twin. The two-stroke powerband was (partially) tamed by the introduction of computer controlled power valves, varying the exhaust port height depending upon RPM and throttle settings. Oil injection was standard, eliminating messy mix ratio cups and associated refueling hassles. And there was a secret weapon: hidden in the smart looking exhaust pipes were a complex set of catalytic converters, just like you would find on your car. With the cats (and some air injection), the RZ could sneak into all 50 States of the Union, including the super-picky EPA stronghold of California. Sure, the cans were heavy, they were expensive to replace (i.e. crash damage) and they did not perform nearly as well as expansion chambers and stingers, but they made the bike possible in the US. They were also easily replaced, which is what most everybody did. Immediately.

The RZ350 was intended to compete with the current crop of middleweights; likes of the Kawasaki GPz550, the Suzuki GS550, or even Yamaha's own Seca 550 and FJ600. In that space, the stock RZ was outgunned by the bigger four cylinder four strokes. But the little RZ had agility on its side, and once on the pipe could fare well. But it would never be a great all-'rounder, given the peaky nature of popcorn power. There were many aftermarket and tuner tricks to unleash the beast. Typical tricks of overbores, decking the head to increase compression, and porting were effective. The fact that the Banshee, a Yamaha ATV, utilized the same motor definitely helped with parts availability and knowledge base. But despite the potential, the little RZ was not to be long lived. After a scant two years (and only one in CA), the RZ was pulled from the dealer floors. The party was over, and the used party began. This is where we pick up the story on this bike.

From the seller:
Bought this bike in 2001. Have ridden this bike regularly for 17yrs. Always kept inside. Rebuilt engine because of mileage. I am over 60 yrs old AMI certified motorcycle mechanic for 41yrs. and ride like a grandpa and take care of my things the same way.

- Work Performance rear shock
- Engine Rebuilt 1500 miles ago
- .020 Pro-X pistons,windows cut to match intake
- TDR reeds
- stage 1 porting
- Toomey pipes
- stage 1 dyno jet kit w/2into 1 K&N air filter
- Wiseco Hot Rods crankshaft
- New clutch w/springs
- Full gasket and seal kit
- Race Tech front fork springs
- Chain and sprockets 1500 miles
- New seat cover and battery
- HID headlight
- Powder coated frame
- Bike Dynos out at 59.6 RWH on Dayton Dyno at my shop!
- Spec II Full race fairing
- Fuel tank has no rust, has small quarter size dent and touch up on right front side

Forty Thousand Miles. Let that sink in. Most RZs don't get to that point, having been thrashed, abused, modified, seized and crashed. This particular bike has an amazing number of miles, but looks great. It is clearly no museum collector given the mods, but from a period correct standpoint - hell, from a fun to ride standpoint - this one piqued my interest. The .20 overbore either means the engine had been refreshed once before, or perhaps it was necessary to go that deep due to scratches in the bore. Regardless, that means for bigger pistons and more power. The K&N filter and Toomey pipes are perfect add ons, as is the full Spec II fairing. This bike has been stripped and rebuilt, as evidenced by the powder coated frame. But that just means you are potentially getting a nearly new bike out of the deal.

If you can get past the mileage (40k!) and the non-standard mods, what you are looking at is a great rider. This is a bike that deserves action rather than parking in a museum - although I must admit it looks pretty good. And with a long term owner and a capable wrench (just an assumption, but how many owners out there have their own dyno??), this bike could well be good enough to fill the two-stroke void in your stable. The best part is the price: compared to 90% of what we see on RSBFS, this chainsaw is a veritable bargain. The opening ask started at a reasonable $3k, and bids are flying fast and furious. The Buy It Now price is a mere $4,500, meaning that this bike will likely sell before the auction is over. Check it out here, but better be quick about it. It might already be gone. Good Luck!!

MI

Buzz Buzz Buzz: 1984 Yamaha RZ 350
Yamaha December 29, 2015 posted by

60th Anniversary Colors – 1985 Yamaha RZ-350 Kenny Roberts

Updated from the RD350 in 1983, the liquid-cooled RZ350 was a pint-sized powerhouse for the company, and though it wasn't sold after 1986 in the U.S., it stayed another 10 years in other markets.  Yamaha has returned to the Kenny Roberts-era yellow and black for their anniversary this year, but you'll need connections to get that signature on your new R1 or R6.

20151228 1985 yamaha rz350 kenny roberts left

1985 Yamaha RZ-350 for sale on eBay

20151228 1985 yamaha rz350 kenny roberts left front

20151228 1985 yamaha rz350 kenny roberts right rear

Putting a big fun factor in the small displacement end of the dealership, the RZ350 put 60hp under a 375 lb. motorcycle.  The two-stroke twin had oil injection and YPVS, Yamaha's electrically variable exhaust port which helped stretch the power delivery somewhat.  Each muffler had a catalytic converter, and a temperature alarm to keep the cats under control.  The frame had four light tubes around the engine, a forerunner of the perimeter frame to come.  The lightweight theme continued with aluminum wheels same size front and rear.  Forks are conventional with rear monoshock, and brakes are dual front disks of 267mm with single rear.  The bodywork is beautifully designed, handlebar-mounted bikini with chin fairing trying to send some air over those pipes.  Side covers and seat fairing stretch the color scheme to the taillight.

20151228 1985 yamaha rz350 kenny roberts cockpit

20151228 1985 yamaha rz350 kenny roberts engine

The RZ350 on offer looks great for its 30-plus years, with expansion chambers and Rizoma handlebars.  Bodywork appears undamaged and smaller plastic bits appear to be all there, must've been garaged a ways from the south Florida sun.  From the eBay auction:

WHEN ONLY THE FINEST WILL DO.  ABSOLUTELY STUNNING ORIGINAL 1985 YAMAHA RZ350 KENNY ROBERTS.  THIS ORIGINAL RZ350 IS AMAZING.  ORIGINAL PAINT.  NEW BRIDGESTONE BATTLAX TIRES FRONT AND REAR.  ONLY 17K ORIGINAL MILES.  STARTS FIRST KICK.  EVERY LIGHT, TURN SIGNALS, HORN WORK PERFECTLY.  THE ENGINE RUNS FLAWLESSLY.  TRANSMISSION IS SMOOTH SHIFTING.  SEAT IS PERFECT.  COMES WITH TOOMEY EXPANSION CHAMBERS.  ANY SPOTS OR MARKS YOU SEE IN THE PICTURES IS JUST REFLECTIONS, THERE ARE NO SPOTS OR MARKS.  TAKE A CLOSE LOOK AT ALL 24 PICTURES.  THIS MAY WELL BE ONE OF THE NICEST RZ350 ANYWHERE.

20151228 1985 yamaha rz350 kenny roberts radiator

20151228 1985 yamaha rz350 kenny roberts right rear wheel

At least looking lighter than the fully faired F1 model that followed, the RZ350 reviewed as a sweet handler and despite the YPVS, a little sleepy below 5000 rpm, but then pulled nicely right to the 9500 rpm redline.  The peaky Yamahas were wrung out on the street and track, and it's rare to see one in this kind of shape.  A bargain at more than double the 1985 MSRP, like you needed an excuse to go to Naples this time of year...

-donn

60th Anniversary Colors – 1985 Yamaha RZ-350 Kenny Roberts
Yamaha April 22, 2015 posted by

One Mean RZ: 1985 Yamaha RZV500R with California title

RZV_2

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

RZV_1

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!

MI

One Mean RZ: 1985 Yamaha RZV500R with California title
Yamaha September 25, 2013 posted by

Sacrificed For A Sink: 1985 Yamaha RZ500

rz right

We've all been there, the motorcycle is the first thing she thinks needs to be sold when there is a project that needs funding.  Unfortunately, we sometimes have to deal in reality and bite the bullet like this seller.

rz left

I hope the kitchen looks nice because this is a sharp looking RZ.

The depressing story:

I hope the kitchen looks nice because this is a sharp looking RZ.

you are bidding on a 1985 yamaha rz500. it is somewhat rare in the U.S. it is a 500cc v4 two stroke. if you are looking at this ad, you already know this. i am selling my pride and joy because the wife wants a new kitchen and doesn’t want to take out a loan. if you are married you understand. i bought this bike in 1986 from a midwestern dealer who had brought it into the country and had it on display it the dealership window. it had 300 km on it when i bought it and it now has aprox 8800 km. it spends the winter(oct-may) in my den. i have done a few upgrades over the years. i grafted on a complete R1 brake system with adapter by nigil kimber. i installed jim lomas titanium/carbon exhaust with an ivans jet kit, a race tail with custom subframe and of course a custom paint job(i always like the JPS paint scheme). it has new bt14 tires in the correct 16/18 tire sizes. all removed parts are included plus some spares i accumilated over the years( see pictures). please do not ask to buy individual parts. it has a clean florida title. the only configuration change is the bike now has an LSL superbike bar kit(i’m old). if the winning bidder wants it returned to clipons, i will do this , no problem. i really don’t want to sell this as i know i will never be able to replace it but swmbo is REALLY in charge. as this is a 28 year old motorcycle, there is no warrenty implied or otherwise. shipping is on the winning bidder. vehicle will not be released untill funds clear my bank. you will not be disappointed. happy bidding

rz close

A closer look at the custom paint.  She's got a 17 digit VIN with 52X in it.  I believe that would make it an Australian model originally.

rs right rear

With only a few days remaining on the auction, the price is hovering around $7,500.  It's going to have go higher than that to make the Mrs. happy roaming the isles of Home Depot.

Check out the auction here.

Ian

Sacrificed For A Sink:  1985 Yamaha RZ500
Yamaha July 9, 2013 posted by

Retro Refurb: 1985 Yamaha RZ500 in Phoenix

RZ500_1

RSBFS generally only posts rare bikes in outstanding condition. Occasionally there are specific models that are so desired and popular that we will risk posting a less than pristine version on these pages. While not a museum-quality example, you can think of this as a pound puppy - it may not be full-bred with papers, but deserves a good home.

RZ500_9

Like many of the big RZs we tend to find, this one has probably had a hard life. With nearly 8k on the odometer, it has clearly been ridden. And like most older bikes of this vintage, there is little by way of verification concerning the miles. Speaking of concerning, the cause of the plastics replacement/repair and the rash on the pipes might be something to dig into deeper (new chambers can't be cheap). Do other issues lurk beneath, or is this just a cosmetic job away from RZ awesomeness?

RZ500_11

From the seller:
***NO RESERVE***
For sale: 85 RZ500 with clear title in my name.

I purchased this bike one year ago with the intention of restoring it to new condition. Unfortunately, things didn't work the way I've planned. I'm out of work now and I'm in the middle of restoring my RZ350. The bike runs very good and fast, all lights and instruments work. The fairings had a few cracks but I sent to Phillips Plastics and got them welded professionally. The belly pan is fiberglass after market. Both lower pipes have a small dent and the turn signals have minor scratches. It needs cosmetic work. Speedometer shows 12273 kilometers = 7626 miles, witch I can't verify.
Please see the picture and video(Use the links below), and feel free to ask questions. The bike will be sold as is.

Does it run? Here is a video of the actual bike:

The market for RZs is nothing short of HOT (like Phoenix in the summer). There was a time you could hardly give one away, and a few grand could score you a rideable beater. Those days are long gone, my friend. This bike has great potential and many questions. Still, bidding has gone up to $6,800 as of the time of writing, and will certainly cross the $7k threshold before long. Is this a RZ bargain in the making, or a market-priced work in progress? Check it out here and let us know what you think!

MI

Sport Bikes For Sale February 25, 2012 posted by

Bad Knees= No Reserve Auction: Custom 1985 Yamaha RZ500

Bad Knees= No Reserve Auction:  Custom 1985 Yamaha RZ500

You hate to hear about anyone having serious medical problems but when it comes to road going two strokes for sale you have to look into any opportunity to purchase..  This seller has had the misfortune of having six knee surgeries in the past ten years so the cramped RZ has to go.

I'm sure you have already determined this isn't a collector type RZ500.  This owner has built an RZ500 to his liking and that includes a lot of items off different bikes.  They include a VFR750 rear end, a FZR600 front end and a CBR600 shock.  We sure seem to see a lot more custom RZ's than RG's.  I remember seeing some modded RG's at the Gamma Gathering but overall it seems like the Yamaha's get more attention in the custom modification department.

An interesting use of ram air ducts.

Here is the info on it:

 Custom rz 500, many mods.
VFR750 rear end
fzr600 front end
cbr600 shock
Mikuni flat slides
ported reed cages
Jolly moto pipes, ceramic coated
Dyna coils
fiberglass bodywork
new topend supplied by Bill Wilson with NO time on. Has not been put in gear since rebuild.
Braided brake lines and lots more I am likely forgetting.

I have owned the bike for 13 years and can no longer ride it. I have had 6 knee surgeries in the last 10 years, 5 of them on my left (ACL reconstructions) I am also 6'4" which compounds matters.

I don't know a lot about shipping to the States but I think the bike being over 25 years old streamlines the process? Do your homework. I am about 2 hours north of the Sumas border crossing. I would prefer pick up but will work with you if you want it shipped, but you will have to do the legwork.

Looks a tad unfinished from the rear but an ass shot of a two stroke never looks bad.  If you were curious, the bike is located just northeast of Vancouver BC.  An easy drive for any RSBFS readers in the northwest.

 

The bike has been up for auction now for almost 3 days with no action.  Is the $7,000 starting bid too high for a modified RZ500?  Sometimes bike's like this are hard to sell because everyone has their own tastes on how they would modify a bike.

 

Click for the auction and bring it stateside.

Ian