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Titled Champ: 1985 Yamaha RZ500 with title

Update 4.22.2012: First listed in January, the seller has come way down on price to $6500 buy-it-now. Getting closer to what those in the comments suggested for value. Links updated. -dc

For Sale: 1985 Yamaha RZ500

Todays two stroke wonder is yet another re-bodied RZ500. There seems to be a run on these models lately! Do I hear anybody complaining? I didn’t think so.

The standard RZ500 was released in the early 1980s as a replica of the GP racer piloted by the legendary likes of “King” Kenny Robers and “Steady Eddie” Lawson. It was a V-4 design, and featured liquid cooling, YPVS valve in the exhaust port and four separate exhaust chambers all poking out of the bodywork at the rear.

Today’s example has been modified from stock with the addition of new bodywork, fresh paintwork and some performance mods (such as aftermarket expansion chambers). There is no doubt that the new skins look clean and the painwork is indeed bright and sunny. Am I seeing some Swedish influence here?

From the seller:
1985 YAMAHA RZ500.

As you can see these aren’t the original body parts. The two rear pipes that are tucked in under the seats are also not the stock heavy pipes with heat guards but rather they are competition expansion chamber pipes. The Fiberglass body parts are of competition design but not sure where they came from. Shortly after I purchased the bike, I spent literally $2500 addtional for the fiberglass restoration (not major) and professional painting. The colors and design were my own and I worked with the guy who actuall did all the work.

Shortly after this was done (up in MD) I moved to Florida and would be better off with something practical for daily use. These are rare and the chances are too great for this to get stolen if I attempt to use it as a daily driver. Also note that I would not recommend using this in traffic jams where your are stopped with no air movement through the radiators. This bike has an extra radiator installed in front of the standard radiator instead of the stock forced air electric fan that would turn on when the coolant temp reaches a certain level. No problems with overheating unless you sit there in dead heat of summer with no air movement. This modification does appear to be professionally done but I’m not the person that did it. Also note that the Odometer is in kilometers and not Miles. So 40,000 km = less than 25k mi. Also I am fairly certain the engine was rebuilt just before I received it because of the claim of the previous owner that parted with it before he was able to complete his restoration. I can’t say this is 100% true because I did not tare the engine down to confirm it to be true. However, I can say that it runs stronger than what I would expect for a bike with 25k mi.

I believe this bike was set up for actual racing but I can’t imagine it was ever raced when you feel the motor compression. These bikes were also kick start and not electrical start. They were designed for professional moto GP and The United States of Dictatorship hates to let people have any real fun so when they were first allowed into the US back in 1985, our wonderful government (I say that with the utmost extreme sarcasm) stopped the import of these at the end of 1986. I can’t say how many are still legal in the US but this one is and it’s in South Florida. Clear title in hand (still MD tags with MD title). Remember I just moved recently so no funny business.

So looking at the good: Here is a relatively rare two stroke model never officially imported into the US. It looks reasonably clean and has some mods to help keep performance up to date with more modern machinery. 25k in mileage is not necessarily a detractor here, as a stroker has less complicated needs in terms of maintenance and fewer parts when it comes to rebuilds.

There may be potential downsides hidden under that pretty new bodywork, however. As with all bikes posted here, it is our recommendation that you do your homework and ask the seller lots of questions and request lots of pictures. While it is unknown on this particular bike, paintwork and skins are oft replaced as the result of damage. On the other hand, we have seen some nice hot-rodded RZs lately and this one might have been modded with intent – not out of necessity.

The seller has a $10k OBO number on this particular bike. For more info and details, click the link and jump over to the auction. Good luck!



  • Love the paint scheme

  • The seller spent $2500 on the bodywork and paint, but did such a tasteless job that he devalued the motorcycle by at least $2500. Even with the title, it’s worth many thousands less than the $10K asking price- realistically it’s a $5K bike. I’ll bet there are indeed some costly, ugly surprises underneath that nasty exterior. This is clearly one any smart buyer will run away from.

  • 100% with jasonB on this one… i was going to be generous and say that this guy won’t get any more than $7k, but $5000 is a fairer price. this seller is funny, too. as if he doesn’t know if the engine’s been rebuilt or not… c’mon. that’s going to be pretty important knowledge when this bike passes hands. if you don’t know? then the answer is, “no.”

  • No funny business. Zip ties holding the front fender on. Fiberglass from where. Aftermarket pipes by who knows. New paint, but the chain is dripping in grease and crud, more zip ties holding grips on, missing bushings on important hangers, Ohlins sticker on swingarm, is there an Ohlins product there on the swingarm.. Forks are oxidized, and, can’t believe it was raced because you should feel the compression, what, 2500 for bodywork and fiberglass, but we can’t spend 20 bucks for a compression guage or borrow one for ten minutes? And we don’t know if the engine was tare down, can we presume one or more gears and synchros are shot and we can’t be sure because we never pulled the engine and cracked the caes? No more factory fan, but a second radiator? Looks like a crashed bike, probably with a bent or dented frame, new bodywork and a ‘second’ radiator, probably held on with zip ties too, with a trashed gearbox and shellac in the carbs. No funny business. OK, gotcha.

  • I’m completely behind the preceding comments. When it comes to 500 class GP replicas, I’d only consider ones that are either original time capsules or that are cheap enough to serve a the basis for a higher spec replica project. This one is not original, but runs and is titled, so $5-6k max.

  • If you guys are serious my good friend has an ’85 model that came from Germany it is WA titled with the 11 digit vin the negative is the chassis is not together fully it is a rolling chassis state with FZR750R front end and swingarm rear wheel modded to fit the RZ frame and yes it’s the OW fzr parts. But that is where the chassis part stopped the motor is totally rebuilt!!

    For the longest time his excuse was it needed new center cases in threw a upper right rod and cracked the engine cases. A couple years ago I got him a set of very nice RZV 500 cases and about a year ago the motor was rebuilt. Motor is not stock he said it was Tom Morgan modded for 100 HP so yes it’s been ported and head some anti friction wear coating done to the cylinders which are stock bore. Some anti friction coating done to the tranny gears some other stuff. Brand new top ends cranks bearings seals etc! His orginal idea was to upgrade the body work to like R6 stuff or put the motor in that chassis but he lost interest and time and motivation.

    No body work though was thinking about asking for 7 grand obo for it or trade for a titled 250 smoker preferably a later model TZR.

  • “If you guys are serious…” LOL- are YOU serious? Good grief. That project/parts mix/mongrel that you’ve just described easily sounds worse than the original bike here. You’ve just shown us another perfect example of an RZ500 with stories NOT to buy!

  • The days of finding a mint orginal RZ 500 for less then 5 grand have long since passed!! You guys need to wake up and get off your high horses! But it’s easy to be a keyboard commando and talk S4hit

  • Nobody here expects to buy a good RZ500 for less than $5K, and never said so. You’ve missed the point entirely, and your attitude loaded response tells us that you’ll never understand the realities here. What we are pointing out from experience, is that buying an RZ500 like this one (or your “friend’s” that you spammed us with) is a huge mistake financially, not to mention the time wasted. You’re much smarter waiting for a good example with original bodywork, that’s close to stock, has maintenance records, documentation/known history. An RZ500 that’s been crashed/blown up / modifed/changed/has lots of stories is a money pit and a regretful mistake most only make once. Weak sauce.

  • smokingjoe… seriously? nobody in their wildest dreams on this site has EVER said that they wanted to find “a mint original rz500 for less then (sic) 5 grand.” c’mon, man. if you’re going to post here at least make some sense.

  • RZ500 restoration is an expensive undertaking. One must either spend $10,000+ on a good condition original biek that needs very little to become cosmetically perfect, spend $15,000+ on a no quesiotns asked perfect example or spend $12,000+ “restoring” a $5,000 basket case.

    There is no such thing as a “cheap good condition RZ500”.

    Even modded ex-race bikes need to come from known sources with verifiable history or youwill be spending more money than just manning up and buying a $15,000+ perfect stocker.

    This is the reality.

    The same can be said for the NS400 and RG400/500’s.

    Good condition “no nonsense” RZ/RG/NS’s do not come cheap.

    Period. 😉

    Hell, I am getting close to being $20,000 into a YZR replica that was based on a well sorted ex-race bike.

    Has I wanted a stock RZ500 I would never have tried to “restore” a basket case – i would have just bitten the bullet and source a perfect one.

    Cheaper in the long run.

    This blue and yellow bike is a $5,000 at best. And then it will be another $8,000 to get it back to pristine stock condition, so you may as well chase a YZR replica for that money….

    Assuming the motor is perfect.

    If the motor is not perfect then it is a $3,500 bike at best.

    Now someone buy this damn bike and get to riding it 🙂

  • OK – just reviewed the Youtube of the bike. What a pity the bike was modded the way it was. It sounds decent and is well done and has a trick CRG billet clutch lever and what look like Toomey upper pipes etc. Good paint, what looks ot be an Airtech YZR500 tail piece and an Airtech OW76 style upper.

    But the mods as well done as they are really add nothign to the bikes value. If the effort spent had been done to make it a pucka YZR replica or get it back to stock the value would have been maintained or enhanced.

    It may be $10,000 worth of bike but it is not a $10,000 RZ500. I think if the bike where reskinned in NOS RZ500 body work (they can be found) and given a stock paint job it would be worth the $10,000 asking price as a decent restoration – but not in its current guise.

    It maybe a diamond int he rough for the right buyer but I would not want o spend more than $5,000 to $7,000 thousand on it, as there is another $5,000+ to go to get it back to stock or turn it into a YZR with decent forks, swingarm, wheels, brakes and Jolly Moto pipes etc.

  • There you have it. One has to be realistic here, or be willing to put $8K+ in to this “project”. What are the chances that underneath that awful bodywork lies a mechanically sound, no surprises, all modifications done competantly, no money needed, RZ500? ZERO.

  • This bike should be a quick seller at $6500.00

    Right on the money.

    Someone is going to get a very fair deal.

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