Posts by tag: V-4

Yamaha October 28, 2020 posted by

The Clean Side of Dirty: 1985 Yamaha RZ500

The legendary Yamaha RZ500 – the twin-crank, V-4, 500cc two stroke GP bike for the street – never officially came into the United States. By the late 1970s the EPA had their sooty little hands in, well, everything, and raucous power plants such as internal combustion two strokes were strictly off the list. Yamaha tried for a couple of years with the 500s baby brother, the RZ350, but ultimately shelved the clean air catalytic converter project. They didn’t even bother trying with the bad boy 500, and perhaps it was better that they didn’t. The RZ500 was a down and mean smoker, and never tried to apologize for that fact. It landed on the shores of North America and rolled on Canadian soil, but such was as close as it came for eager and lusting American riders. Thankfully many were unofficially imported into the US as used bikes, which brings us to this particular example.

1985 Yamaha RZ500 for sale on eBay

The seller of today’s bike has quite a bit to say, and I will let him pick up the tale from here:

From the seller:
Yamaha Other. 1985 Yamaha RZ500 2 stroke. Low miles. Speedo is in KM and bike has 5300 miles. I purchased this bike from the 2-stroke guru Rick Lance a few years ago before his passing. http://www.lancegamma.com He gave it a once over inspection and replaced the crank seals and gave it a tune up. Those who knew Rick can attest to his competence regarding two strokes and his integrity. He was aware of the history of this particular machine and stated he believed the engine had never been apart and was a great example of a stock, unmolested low mileage RZ500. I’ve seen numerous RZ500s over the years and have even raced them and this is one of the nicest, cleanest survivors. Upon receipt, I took it for a quick test ride to ensure everything was working properly. Lights, turn signals, horn, brake lights, etc. function as designed. The bike shifted through the gears and there were no mechanical issues. The bike even has the original tool kit and fuel tank service cable. The interior of the tank has no rust and the bike has new tires and battery. Because of the altitude of my location (4200 feet MSL),the bike did tend to bog and was in obvious need of a rejetting as it was running rich. After consulting with Rick, he said the bike had run clean at his altitude in North Carolina before shipping. Not having the time to work on it, I drained the float bowls and tank and put the machine into storage with the intent to rejet the carburetors and ride it in the future.

More from the seller:
Unfortunately due to work and personal commitments, I never did rejet and have decided to sell off several of my collector bikes. Not knowing where the machine would be shipped, I decided to leave the jetting for sea level instead of taking the time and effort to set it up for my altitude. Overall, this is a classic machine in great condition. It does not appear to have had any crash damage. Check out the YouTube link below of the bike running. It fires up on the first or second kick. Please feel free to ask any questions. When I sell on Ebay, I try to be as honest and forthcoming as possible. If you have a shipper, I’ll work with them on pickup or dropping the bike off at a location in the Salt Lake area. Please feel free to ask any questions. The bike has a clean Utah title. $500 non-refundable deposit required in 24 hours and full payment in 7 days. Bike is sold as is with no warranty although honestly, it’s in great shape and Rick Lance gave it a clean bill of health. The bike and title will not be released until payment clears. Thanks for looking.

If you doubt my earlier statement about “Ole Smokey” the 500cc two stroke, allow me to share the video created of this bike by the seller. I can practically smell the castor and revel in the sounds (and undoubtedly the lack of mosquitoes!).

This bike looks clean, clean, clean. The fact that it went through Lance Gamma’s shop is a real plus as few people knew and lived this era’s smokers like Lance. This bike has been wonderfully photographed, and shows its originality proudly. The miles are low, but I’m sure the riding smiles are off the charts! These big RZs are getting harder and harder to find in clean and original condition, and prices are definitely on the collector side of the fence these days. If you want one, the time to get in was yesterday – but better late than never. The current auction bid is up to $14k with reserve still in place. Check out all of the details here, and Good Luck!!

MI

The Clean Side of Dirty: 1985 Yamaha RZ500
Honda September 18, 2020 posted by

Come In For a Test Drive – 1987 Honda VFR-750R / RC30

A ( if not The ) classic superbike at this juncture, Honda’s RC30 has beauty and real-world capability.  This example is slightly under-documented but has collectible looks.

1987 Honda VFR-750R / RC30

The RC30 was designed and built for the Superbike World Championship, which it won with Fred Merkel aboard the two first years.  The version found at the showroom had 112 hp available, with just 400 or so pound to push.  Endurance racing aspirations dictated the single-sided swingarm and quick release front axle, and the era required staggered wheel sizes of 17 front and 18 rear.  The RC30 always seemed more than the sum of its parts, the alloy chassis and big-bang V-4 not quite accounting for its well-balanced presence.

Seller Eurocycle appears to be a new outfit, with locations in Sonoma, Reno, and Vegas.  No history is offered but the condition is excellent for its nearly 24K miles.  Finishes and tires look fresh.  Besides new and used bikes, Eurocycle’s website shows rentals ( no the RC30 wasn’t listed ) and some kind of club membership – maybe a knowledgeable reader could chime in.

Eminently collectible, an RC30 was reviewed as not hard to ride, and might be an inspiring occasional rider for a small stable.  More history or perhaps some catch-up maintenance might be expected before sending this V4 out on a mission.  The ask is a little shy of what might be expected for a nice example, but as with so many things this year, all bets are off.

-donn

Come In For a Test Drive – 1987 Honda VFR-750R / RC30
Honda June 20, 2020 posted by

Cleaniac – 1996 Honda RVF400R / NC35

Honda’s lightweight RVF400R has had a bit of a resurgence here on RSBFS lately, suspension updates making it the ultimate small V-4.  Here’s a Houston edition that looks unfettered and super clean.

1996 Honda RBF400R for sale on eBay

Honda couldn’t do much to improve the 399cc’s power and stay within the law, and the chassis dimensions, remain the same as the VFR400R.  Still carburetted with four 30mm Keihin’s fed by the fresh air tubes from in front of the mirrors.  The tires got a little wider and are both 17’s, and forks are now upside down, with a hair less trail than the VFR.  Bodywork was modernized, with fox-eye headlights that were more Fireblade than RC45.

Just a little history on this RVF, though it evidently hasn’t been ridden on the road by the seller.  Very sharp for almost 11,000 miles and a quarter century.  From the eBay auction:

Excellent condition all stock original condition with few minor blemishes from normal use.  It have 17,520 Kilometers runs and shifts great with smooth and powerful V4 Honda race engine.  Those are rare superbikes and this bike was imported from Japan and I did not ride it much since it was part of my little Honda collection and it was never abused, red-lined, raced or tempered with.  I changed the battery (Yuasa) changed oil (fully synthetic) and new Honda filter.

Can’t take anything away from the current small-sport singles, some are even racier and lighter, but lack the symphony of gear-driven cams, 360-degree crank and 14,500 rpm redline.  No fairing mounted speakers required for these tunes, just a twist of the wrist.  Without the usual wear and dirt, the buy-it-now per pound is pretty high, but might be worth pursuing.

-donn

 

Cleaniac – 1996 Honda RVF400R / NC35
Honda June 10, 2020 posted by

Dust Bunny – 1992 Honda VFR400R / NC30

Not born on a construction site, but this vintage VFR400R may have acquired permanent resident status.  Propose to this beauty and whisk her away to the country ( roads ) of your choice.

1992 Honda VFR400R / NC30

A staple in the domestic market, the 400 cc VFR got great attention from Honda and the model was produced from 1986-1993.  For the third generation NC30, a 360-degree crank was introduced, and the redline raised slightly to 14,500 rpm.  Unrestricted power is closer to 68 hp, more inkeeping with the Nissin brakes and staggered 16 and 18-inch wheels.  The alloy twin-spar chassis accepts the right-side-up forks and the race-derived single sided swingarm.  Twin headlights in the RC30 lookalike fairing fool many a fan until they’re close-in.

Looks like this owner has carved out a spot in a larger garage to work on his VFR, and while not without some miles, it looks very good.  Just a couple of comments accompany the eBay auction:

1992 Honda VFR400R NC30, 18,000km or 11,000 miles, new tires, new brake pads, new fork seals all original fairings, de-restricted. Vermont registration, can be registered in any state in USA 

Bike runs very well

The VFR400R wasn’t sold far and wide, but along with its track manners and geared cam soundtrack, has a loyal following.  The ask is up in superbike territory, but a V-4 400 is rare and getting more so.  This Honda red example looks worth pushing the Make Offer button, at least to start a conversation.

-donn

Dust Bunny – 1992 Honda VFR400R / NC30
Honda May 20, 2020 posted by

Fox Eye Lady – 1999 Honda RVF400R / NC35

In many ways a template of the Superbike RC45, the middleweight RVF400 ( NC35 ) had its own character and predatory facial expression.  This Wisconsin rider looks very good despite some prodigious miles.

1999 Honda RVF400R / NC35 for sale on eBay

Honda made a substantial update to the VFR400R, with a new chassis, inverted forks and 17-inch wheels front and rear.  Changes to the carburetors and valve timing could improve the torque curve but power was legislated to be 59 hp.  Air scoops and tracts over the handlebars deliver fresh if not ram air.  Forks and monoshock are adjustable for pre-load and rebound, and 269mm brakes are Nissin branded.  From down the block, the styling could fool you into an RC45 sighting.

Though it has seen 37K miles, this RVF shows nicely and has just a few wear marks to show for it.  Un-faired photos show the beauty to be more than skin deep.  From the eBay auction:

Clean and titled low-mileage 1999 Honda RVF400 (NC35). Registered and plated in Wisconsin. Clean title on hand. Some history on this bike: This bike is the little brother to the legendary RC45. The NC35 is a classic for collectors or exotic bike enthusiasts. As an evolution to the VFR400 (NC30), the NC35 comes with upside forks and 17” rear wheel for improved handling. Other unique features include a lightweight aluminum frame, and single-sided swing arm. Not to mention Honda’s V4 bullet-proof gear-driven engine with its distinctive rev whine. I purchased it from a private collector and have ridden it regularly. Bike starts right up and runs flawlessly. This bike has only seen non-ethanol fuel.

It is currently kept on battery tender and Pitbull front and rear stands. Cosmetically in great shape. OEM fairings show signs of age, but was very well maintained. The paint/decals throughout are still glossy. A couple of minor blemishes from prior ownership: tank has a small chip which was touched up. Details shown in ad photos. No other cracks or blemishes that I am aware of. Again, I rode this bike for many years. It is not in pristine show room condition. I’m happy to provide additional pictures if desired. Minor modifications I added to the bike – steel braided brake lines, CRG levers and a carbon fiber pipe (original canister available). Overall bike condition is very clean and well cared for; with some normal signs of wear for twenty-one year-old bike. It is a blast to ride and a conversation starter as many have never seen this bike.

The NC35 might’ve been considered a beginner’s bike here, but it was offered only in Japan and made its way around the globe in the gray market.  Lighter race riders have embraced its handling and build quality.  Unlike the racy singles being proffered today, the RVF400 has an exotic V-4 engine with a soundtrack provided by gear-driven cams.  While a collector could keeping shopping for less miles and patina, a rider might be happy it’s not perfect.

-donn

Fox Eye Lady – 1999 Honda RVF400R / NC35
Honda May 8, 2020 posted by

Unequivocal – 1990 Honda VFR750R / RC30

Having graduated from nascent collectible to crazy-to-ride museum piece, Honda’s pre-eminent VFR750R / RC30 continues to appear for auction with exotic car-level reserves.  This Michigan example appears in a collector’s warehouse and looks superb.

1990 Honda VFR750R / RC30 for sale on eBay

Sharing V-4 engine architecture with the roadgoing VFR750F, the -R was mostly different inside the cases and pushed 118 ponies.  Titanium connecting rods greatly reduced rotating mass and defined unobtanium.  Crank and cams were geared to provide a power pulse every 360 degrees, improving rideability at racing rpms.  The all alloy chassis and peeks out behind the fiberglass fairing, holding 41mm right-side-up forks and ELF’s single-sided swingarm.  Trailing throttle torque was tamed by the factory slipper clutch.  Single seat and five gallon alloy fuel tank had their focus on the race course.

Said to be hosted by only its second owner, this RC30 looks outstanding and reports 7,037 miles.  If the new owner elects to ride there will be time to go over any needed repairs and recent maintenance, but they aren’t discussed in the eBay auction:

  • One of the modern era’s few immediately collectible classics
  • The RC30 was created for one reason – to win the World Superbike Championship! 
  • The seller is the second owner of the bike
  • First owner was Nick Helyer who purchased it in Orlando, FL in 1990
  • Nick was a British gentleman that apparently did some WEC racing in the late 1970s, early 1980s
  • The bike notably includes the owner’s manual, tool kit and two keys

Success came early and often to the RC30, taking the two first Superbike World Championships under Fred Merkel, as well as Formula TT wins with Joey Dunlop and Carl Fogarty aboard.  Not to mention a handful of World Endurance Championship wins and AMA Superbike victories.  Though this is “merely” the streetable VFR750R, it would make a singular afternoon.  Hopefully the next custodian will be able to arrange it.

-donn

Unequivocal – 1990 Honda VFR750R / RC30
Yamaha May 1, 2020 posted by

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.

-donn

Formation Flight – 1985 Yamaha RZ500 with 4,600 miles !
Honda April 22, 2020 posted by

Band of Horses – 1996 Honda RVF400R / NC35

Honda’s diminutive V4-400 has almost a cult following here, and it was never actually offered for sale anywhere but Japan.  This fine example looks to have just a fraction of km’s showing on the odometer.

1994 Honda RVF400R for sale on eBay

As the last in a long line of small V4’s, and had the commensurate goodies on board – in addition to 59 ponies, the gear-driven cams brought music to every twist of the throttle.  The alloy chassis had upside-down forks up front and 17-inch wheels at both ends.  Nissin brakes are right-sized at 269mm, with black calipers matching the black painted alloy wheels.  Graphics took their cues from the RC45, though the more modern fox eye headlamps were particular to the RVF.

Sounds like this RVF owner picked a nicer example and worked to keep it that way, a couple of stress cracks but find another lightweight sportbike from a past generation without them.  Kudos for using the ignition key without the house keys, and the red wheel reflectors look great day or night.  Comments from the eBay auction:

As for this bike. I purchased it from a private collector last summer, and have ridden it regularly for about 500 miles on short weekend rides. Bike was fully prepped and all fluids replaced prior to my ownership. Bike starts right up and all mechanicals function flawlessly. Currently ridden on non-ethanol fuel only, and kept on battery tender. Miles will go up marginally with the occasional warm up.

Cosmetically in great shape. No dings on tank, OEM fairings with no rash or touch up paint, no signs of bike ever been down, and very glossy paint/decals throughout. A couple of minor blemishes from prior ownership: tank extension has small scratch on upper right corner, minor stress crack on upper left cowl, and small stress cracks on lower side fairing and tabs (reinforced with plastic cement on inside). Details shown in ad photos and I’ll be glad to provide additional pictures or videos if desired. Minor modifications that came with bike: silver bar ends and steel braided brake lines. Reflective wheel tape added for night-time safety. Overall bike condition is very clean and well cared for; with some normal signs of wear for twenty-four year-old bike.

As a baby superbike, the RVF400R had a lot of differences with its big brother RC45, but shared the family build quality.  Pretty racy for the segment, the high MSRP warded off the bean counters and the really junior riders for which it was theoretically intended.  This one has been taken care of nicely and will reward the next owner with plenty of power for its low all-up weight.

-donn

Band of Horses – 1996 Honda RVF400R / NC35