Category: Yamaha

Yamaha TR2 in Italy

A reader sent this in, available from Oini Motors. What an amazing looking bike! Thanks for the forward!

If you have an amazing find, send your submission to me directly: dan@motoringblogs.com

dc

from the seller (translated):

€ 15,000

Yamaha TR2 YZR 350cc, fully restored, very professionally, truly museum-like perfection.
Frame and engine with the same number TR2 900570.
The bike is in perfect condition, all original, even the hub.

Share your knowledge in the comments below!

Last of the Air-Cooled Racers: 1972 Yamaha TD-3 for Sale

1972 Yamaha TD3 L Rear
Racebikes tend to have an unmistakably spare aesthetic, a mechanical pragmatism sadly hidden behind often garishly-painted plastics. And the endless march of progress sees older machines facing obsolescence continually updated, evolving to meet the threat of newer, faster machines. That’s the case with this 1972 TD-3, the last of Yamaha’s air-cooled, two-stroke production racebikes before the TZ series was introduced.  Yamaha actually pulled their factory 250cc World Championship machines out of competition after 1969, but the smaller machines were well supported by incentives and popular among privateer racers.

1972 Yamaha TD3 L Front Fairing

The TD-3 replaced, naturally, the TD-2 as Yamaha’s production 250cc racebike. Introduced in 1971, the bike featured a new dry clutch, lightweight frame, and six-speed gearbox. Slightly less oversquare bore and stroke of 54mm x 54mm matched the 247cc of the previous bike, with revised inlet and transfer ports to increase power. Producing almost 50hp, with just 231lbs dry to drag around, the TD-3 was plenty quick, with a top speed of over 140mph, depending on gearing and, of course, the rider’s weight…

1972 Yamaha TD3 Tank

From the original eBay listing: 1972 Yamaha TD-3 for Sale

This is a 1971 or 1972 Yamaha TD-3. The production racer years of production were not very accurate, but the TD-3 replaced the TD-2 in Motorcycle Grand Prix racing in 1971. By 1973, the TZ came out, which was a TD-3 with liquid cooling. This is a beautiful race bike which I raced for about 10 years. From about 1997 to 2006. I won the WERA Mid-Atlantic Championship with this bike in 2002. I have the trophy as proof! After 2002, work got in the way of racing and I could only participate in 3-4 races a year, so I was not able to garner enough points to be a contender, but the bike was very competitive. In 2006 I started the season, I only did a pre-race practice at Summit Point and decided to hang up my leathers. I had gained too much weight so that I did not fit comfortably in my leathers and was too heavy for a 250 class bike anyway. But, I had prepared the bike for the season in 2006 with new race compound Avons and I had put in next size new pistons and had lowered the ratios with a slightly smaller pinion as I felt that I was not getting enough power out of slow turns and my top speed was as high or higher than the Honda 4-stroke 350cc twins that were the main competition. Note: This was and probably still is a WERA Vintage 2 class race bike. The motor has chrome cylinders and the rebuild consists of installing the next size pistons and rings. I have a new pair of pistons and rings for the next size which I will include. A set of pistons and rings for this bike probably go for a pretty penny these days, if you can find them. This bike was racing relatively recently, so there have been class legal improvements made that the original race bikes did not have. It has a Penton PVL magneto ignition system which replaced the original Hitachi system, which I think I still have laying around. The bike does not need a battery. It has Works Performance rear shocks and an Italian Laverda SF front drum brake (Super Freno or Super Brake in English) and additional frame gusseting (to stiffen it) compared to the original. You will see a “MyLaps” lap timing transponder on the left fork leg which I think can be assigned to a new racer. The TD-3 has a dry clutch which you can see in the photos and a new set of friction discs were installed in 2006 and are unused except for a practice lap. As with most racers, the oil pump has been removed and it runs on mix. I have always used Silkolene Castorene. It will need a carburetor cleaning as the mix in the bowls will have varnished up, but it is out of the box ready to race. I have notes regarding jetting and the last jetting was for high humidity summer racing in the Mid Atlantic region. It has been stored in a dry trailer. 

 Mileage is unknown but an estimate is 10 laps at 3 miles for 6 average races a year = 1,800 miles plus practice = 2,500.
1972 Yamaha TD3 Engine
No display piece this, I only wish the seller had bothered to roll it out of his box trailer to take some nicer pictures! But even lurking in its cage, this little beast is obviously in good cosmetic condition and in excellent mechanical condition, with some upgrades that aren’t period-correct but should increase performance and reliability: the CDI ignition fitted to the TD-3 caused detonation problems when the bike was new, but this machine has a different setup. And that Laverda front brake is pretty state-of-the art, at least in terms of drum brake technology, and should provide impressive stopping power for this lightweight machine.

1972 Yamaha TD3 Front Wheel

While it is sad to see consumables being… consumed, it’s also great to see machines designed for racing actually being raced, instead of hidden away in garages. Racing a vintage motorcycle is obviously more about the sense of community and history than outright speed, since there are much cheaper ways to go fast. But if you’re looking to spend some time on track and like to tinker, a machine like this could be a lot of fun.

-tad

1972 Yamaha TD3 On Track

Origin of the Species: 1973 Yamaha TZ750 Prototype Road Racer #001

1973 Yamaha TZ750 L Side Front

The second of three very rare Yamaha TZ750 race bikes available this past week, this 1973 model is claimed to be a rare prototype machine. Fans of both ClassicSportBikesforSale.com and RareSportBikesforSale.com have proclaimed all three of these machines to be overpriced, but you can’t argue that they are very cool and very valuable motorcycles regardless of their asking prices. Yamaha’s TZ750 was all brawn and no brains, a power-mad beast of a bike that packed 140hp into a sub-400lb package good for 185mph, with basically terrifying handling when it was introduced. But that power came with reliability, and the TZ dominated AMA racing for years in spite of its lethally bad manners.

1973 Yamaha TZ750 L Side Engine3

This example is supposedly a “prototype” numbered #001, although I’d definitely want to consult with a TZ750 expert before plunking down my hard-earned cash. It’s certainly in impressive cosmetic condition and will undoubtedly look amazing on display. Early TZ’s used a twin-shock rear suspension as seen here, although later bikes moved on to a more modern monoshock set up that vastly improved handling from “scary” to “less scary” as the bike struggled to cope with increased power from the significantly revised powerplant that went from 700cc’s in early bikes to the full 750cc’s in the name.

1973 Yamaha TZ750 Bare Engine

From the original eBay listing: 1973 Yamaha TZ750 Prototype #001 for Sale

This is the rare only one built by the Yamaha Race department. It was finished in 1973 for Kel Caruthers to inspect and make final changes for the completion of the production TZ700/750 for release in 1974 for Daytona and European distribution.

What you see are some of the salvaged parts that were intercepted on the way to the crusher and torch. The main part being the frame and swing-arm stamped 409-100001.

This bike remained in the hands of factory rider Sadeo Asami until it was returned to Yamaha USA in the late 70`s. 

I sat in storage until 2012 when I was able to purchase the parts. A good friend and I spent 3 years bringing it back to as last race condition and another year to where it is now.

This is the bike that changed racing history.

1973 Yamaha TZ750 L Side Engine2

I would be curious, and I’m sure the seller can tell you, whether or not it runs. From the description, it sounds as if it does. This would obviously make a beautiful display piece and centerpiece to a collection, but racing machines I feel should always be kept in running condition, even if it’s only for parade laps and demonstrations. The Buy It Now price is set at $78,000 which, as stated previously, is very high for a TZ750. They’re pretty rare, but 600 were made and, even accounting for the attrition that naturally occurs during racing, it’s possible to find these regularly circling tracks in vintage racing events.

Regardless, I’m happy to see the bike offered up for sale, so we can all drool over it and think about how many extra kidneys we’d need to grow in order to be able to afford it….

-tad

1973 Yamaha TZ750 L Side

Bee Sting: 1975 Yamaha TZ750B for Sale

1975 Yamaha TZ750 L Front2

Looking like the world’s angriest bumble bee, complete with four stingers, this Yamaha TZ750B race bike is ready for a new life, terrorizing tracks in vintage racing classes. And “terror” is probably the right word: with as much as 140hp, the TZ750 was very fast and exceptionally reliable, although the concept of handling was still in its infancy and a “good-handling bike” was any motorcycle that exhibited cornering or straight-line behavior that didn’t involve a terminal death-wobble.

Early TZ750s may not have qualified…

1975 Yamaha TZ750 R Naked

The earliest liquid-cooled two-stroke fours look suspiciously like they were built up from a pair of 347cc parallel-twins to make the TZ700. The later 750cc engine that debuted in 1975 supposedly shared no parts at all with the smaller machines and was essentially a bored-out 500 Grand Prix engine. Power predictably overwhelmed the bike’s rudimentary handling and primitive tires. Early machines used a twin-shock rear, although the frames were eventually updated to a more modern monoshock design as seen here: this particular bike was obviously ahead of its time and uses a rare Kanemoto frame, according to the seller.

1975 Yamaha TZ750 L RearFrom the original eBay listing: 1975 Yamaha TZ750B for Sale

Show Winner – Fresh Rebuild – Race Ready. Very Unique Early TZ750; C&J Mono-Shock Frame equipped, Raced in the 1976 and 1977 Daytona 200!

C&J made 4 special TZ750 mono-shock frames for Erv Kanemoto in the mid 1970`s. They were ridden by Gary Nixon, Freddie Spencer, and Gary Fisher. This particular unnumbered chassis was built using a 1975 TZ750B donor bike, and made it into the hands of AMA Pro rider Cory Ruppelt; he finished in the money in the 1976 Daytona 200 Roadrace on this bike.

Original period equipment includes: Morris Magnesium wheels, Lockheed front calipers, early Vesco fairing, and silenced crossover chambers. 
Modern KR series Dunlop racing tires, D.I.D. endless chain, and Boysen reeds make it track-worthy.

Rebuilt motor has 1 hour track time; tear-down inspection just completed. Un-numbered cases. Genuine TZ750D Master Cylinder just installed – carbs, ignition, controls, forks and C&J modified bodywork are original TZ. The bike is near exactly as raced in the 1970’s including paint. Has been preserved for 30 years on display before being brought back to a rider. Unrestored from the 1970’s, in “as-raced” condition.

The seller also includes some on-track video of the bike doing some parade laps here.

1975 Yamaha TZ750 L Rear Naked

Many classic racebikes are non-running display pieces with too much history for the owners to risk a crash, or because they cannot afford the upkeep on a rare, non-production machine more than forty years old. Luckily, this particular bike comes with period looks, unrestored paint, and a refreshed motor that looks like it’s ready to rock.

-tad

1975 Yamaha TZ750 R Front

Two-Stroke Racer: 1976 Yamaha TZ350 for Sale

1976 Yamaha TZ350C R Side

Although the RD400 was certainly popular with racers of the day, Yamaha’s track-only TZ350 was a definite step up in terms of performance, with water-cooling added to the engine to increase performance significantly. While the TZ bikes had certain general characteristics in common with their streetable cousins: two-stroke parallel-twin engines, twin-shock suspensions, they were pure, over-the-counter racing machines. And they were priced to sell: combined with the performance you’d expect of a track-ready racebike, the TZ250 and 350 were a dominant force in period roadracing.

1976 Yamaha TZ350C Cockpit

The 349cc, water-cooled two-stroke put out 60bhp and was matched to a 6-speed gearbox. Combined with a dry weight of just 250lbs, the TZ had impressive performance. Early bikes used a conventional twin-shock rear suspension and drum brakes, but the bikes continued to evolve throughout their production run. The later “C” models bikes, as seen here, used a monoshock rear for improved roadholding.

1976 Yamaha TZ350C Rear Wheel

Although the listing shows the bike as being in Portland, Oregon, the body of the listing clearly states that this machine currently resides in New Zealand, so anyone considering a purchase should start calculating shipping, taxes, duties, and whatever other headaches might be involved…

1976 Yamaha TZ350C R Bar

From the original eBay listing: 1976 Yamaha TZ350C for Sale

The “C” model, of 1976 was another matter entirely. Here was a radical departure chassis and running gear wise from the earlier TZ’s. Adjustable “mono-shock” (spring preload and rebound damping only) rear suspension, combined with twin piston front and rear disk brakes set the world on fire, with the new bikes selling like hot-cakes from Yamaha dealers worldwide. The retail price of around £ 1,550 including a comprehensive spares kit was incredible value for money and did no harm at all to sales. The clutch basket “boss” was improved by changing it’s method of attachment to a male / female spline system from the previous model’s “dog” type. The exhaust header picked up an additional o-ring and a new mounting system. Power jumped up slightly to 62bhp @ 10,000rpm.

NOTE: This Motorcycle is “Not” located in the USA it is located in New Zealand and can be shipped world-wide. Allow and additional $1200USD minimum for most countries. Exact shipping price will be by quotation.

This bike looks extremely clean, although no mention is made of its running condition: the tires look basically brand new, so it’s a bit hard to tell if it’s set up for display or as a runner. With an opening bid of $12,500 and no takers as yet it’s not the first time we’ve posted one of these and seen a relative lack of interest. This one’s a bit more expensive than previous examples as well, which is a shame considering the condition and potential performance available for vintage racing enthusiasts.

1976 Yamaha TZ350C Front Brake

Here in the US, where this bike most explicitly isn’t, the TZ350 was a bike with nowhere to call home: there were classes for 250 and 500cc machines, but the 350 ended up having to run in bigger classes where it was at a distinct disadvantage in terms of power. These days, things may be different and organizations like AHRMA may give the bike more of an opportunity to shine, but limited appeal at the time makes these exceedingly rare here.

-tad

1976 Yamaha TZ350C L Side

Racer for the People: 1975 Yamaha TZ250B for Sale

1975 Yamaha TZ250B R Side

A production roadracer with no street-legal counterpart, the Yamaha TZ250 was a water-cooled update of the older air-cooled TD and TR bikes. Designed so that privateers of the era could pop down to a local dealer and literally buy a bike over the counter that they could expect to be reasonably competitive, the TZ250 cleverly used many production parts to keep costs down: some engine parts were shared with the RD350 and various suspension bits were taken from existing machines.

1975 Yamaha TZ250B L Side Rear

Unlike the often exclusive Hondas, the TZ was an everyman machine, with moderate pricing and strong support in the aftermarket and what it lacked in outright power, it made up for in user-friendliness. But keep in mind that “user-friendly” is relative: in spite of the small displacement, this is a very highly developed racing motorcycle and will require a correspondingly high level of attention to keep it running.

Luckily, it appears that, although this bike has been sitting a while, it appears to have been owned by a racer, not a collector, and the original listing contains tons of detailed information about what has been done to set up, modify, and maintain this machine.

1975 Yamaha TZ250B R Side Rear

From the original eBay listing: 1975 Yamaha TZ250B for Sale

In 1981 I was newly out of high school, bumbling around, partying, chasing girls and trying to figure out my life.  I desperately wanted to become a motorcycle road racer and was privileged to be offered a job as a mechanic at Cycle Works in Stamford, CT.  As it turns out, a year later they were out of business.

I say privileged because Cycle Works was one of the last “real” racing dealerships from the golden era of the nineteen seventies.  This was the kind of shop that you could walk into and see a TZ250 or a race prepped RD400 for sale on the showroom floor or a TZ750 in line for service and race prep, I was twenty years old and thought I had died and gone to heaven.  Years earlier, Mike Baldwin had worked there and had purchased and ran a TZ250.  This TZ250.  Learning to race on an RD350, I then graduated to this TZ250.

The TZ hasn’t seen much action in the last ten years and has spent most of that time in my living room.  A few years back, I redid the motor which included: a freshly plated “F” model cylinder, new pistons, rings seals, bearing etc…, crank rebuilt by Lynn Garland. It has not been started since.

Previously I relocated the temp gauge holder to the opposite side so it wouldn’t interfere with the cables, I have the original tang.  In early 2000, I replaced the original Koni’s with a pair of Works Performance shocks.  The Koni’s will need to be rebuilt.  Other than that it is a really nice example of an early seventies GP bike.  It will have to be gone through if you intend to vintage race, but it’s really to valuable to be ridden in anger. (It is really fast though!)  It also comes with a State of CT title, yes in 1981 you could walk into motor vehicle and register you race bike for the ride. Never rode it on the street though.

1975 Yamaha TZ250B Engine Detail

1974 saw the introduction of the TZ250B, but it was nearly identical to the “A” that was introduced in 1973. The later “C” of 1976 saw the frame changed to a more modern monoshock setup, but this twin-shock bike certainly has plenty of period charm.

With no takers yet at the $13,750 starting bid, this machine is obviously overpriced for the market, or just hasn’t managed to find its audience. Luckily for us, the seller took some very nice pictures for us to drool over as we indulge our own vintage racing fantasies…

-tad

1975 Yamaha TZ250B L Side

Widowmaker: 1974 Yamaha TZ750A for Sale

1974 Yamaha TZ750A L Front

As is so often the case in motorsports, the power generated by Yamaha’s four-cylinder TZ750 racing machines far outstripped their relatively primitive handling. Putting the 140hp of a modern sportbike into a twin-shock, spindly-framed motorcycle with bicycle-skinny tires was a test of the most skilled reflexes and, combined with the vicious powerband of a two-stroke, made these professional-grade motorcycles in every way.

1974 Yamaha TZ750A Clocks

This was the bike to beat during the 1970’s and even newer bikes from Kawasaki and Suzuki couldn’t reliably compete with the TZ. Powerful, reliable, and eventually even nimble, the TZ750 was ridden by men brave enough to hang on while the Yammie dragged them, kicking and screaming, to victory.

1974 Yamaha TZ750A Engine

Interestingly, while the bike is listed as a 1974 TZ750, the 750 was actually introduced in 1975 and featured a sleeker look that eventually included a monoshock rear suspension that made the power more controllable and the bike overall less terrifying to ride. The early bikes were reportedly built up from a pair of liquid-cooled 350 twins to make the TZ700, which is supported by the seller’s mention of the “347cc” stamped into the side of the engine.

1974 Yamaha TZ750A L Rear

From the original eBay listing: Yamaha TZ750A Road Racer for Sale

Engine and Frame Number: 409 – 000191.

HISTORY:
This motorcycle was imported to the USA (Los Angeles) in the first batch of (95) TZ750A models for the 1974 racing season, per the Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. Shipping Invoice No. A-1547.
It was initially raced by Denny Fox and Bill Betts and entered by Syl Kulaga of the “Twin K” Sport Center in Mt. Clemens, Michigan.
The Yamaha has since been stored in temperature controlled conditions for more than 30 years.

IDENTIFICATION:
Matching numbers are stamped on the Engine and Frame, as shown in the pictures 23 & 24.
The Cylinder Barrels have the following identification cast on the rear: “40900” on the Left side and “347cc 409000” on the right.
The Mikuni 34SC carburettors are lightly stanped L38 on #1 and B3X on the other 3.
The tires are Goodyear Motorcycle Road Racer 3.25-18 & 3.75-18.

ORIGINALITY:
The Yamaha was restored using the TZ750A Parts List and is original in almost every detail except for the following:
1) The troublesome original exhaust pipe support band has been replaced by a compression spring and bracket design, which is shown in many of the pictures. The original support band is available with the motorcycle (Part Number 409-14715-02).
2) The front brake flexible hoses do not have a matching appearance.

CONDITION:
The fairing, fuel tank, seat, front fender, frame, swing arm and attaching black parts have been professionally painted to the highest standard.
However, this is not a 100% restoration because some of the replacement metric fasteners are “non-Yamaha” and a few of the components are not perfectly plated. Also, the screen has some lower area imperfections which are concealed by it’s installation inside the fairing.
The rubber grips on the footrests, handlebars, gear and brake levers and the seat cover are intentionally left unrestored to give the Yamaha a “previously raced appearance”.

1974 Yamaha TZ750A Engine2

So while you won’t be taking this to the track without some work to get it running, it is otherwise impressively clean for a 41 year old motorcycle that was designed to do one thing and one thing only: go really fast. Racing motorcycles are generally not designed to look good up close and are used ruthlessly by teams and riders to win races, and the life span of most racebikes is very short. Considering that hard life, this bike looks beautiful and although it has been on display for most of its life, it was originally used in anger, and many race fans will pay shocking prices to get this close to such a legendary race bike.

-tad

1974 Yamaha TZ750A R Front

Barn-Find Racer: 1975 Yamaha TZ750 for Sale

1975 Yamaha TZ750 L Side

A combination of big-bore, two-stroke power and rapidly evolving handling made the Yamaha TZ750 the bike to beat during the 1970’s on racetracks in the US and abroad. Early bikes shredded tires and scared the bejesus out of even experienced riders, and twin-shock rear suspensions gave way to mono-shock setus as power increased from “plentiful” to “terrifying.”

1975 Yamaha TZ750 Gauges

The original bikes actually displaced 700cc’s, exactly like a lashed-up pair of 350 twins might and, although the four used much of what Yamaha had learned racing their 350, it shared no parts with its little brother, and appears to have been based on a bored-out version of their 500GP machine, making it very exotic indeed, although handling on the first bikes was fairly suspect.

1975 Yamaha TZ750 R Front

This early example uses a more conventional twin-shock rear suspension: later bikes featured thicker tubing and a much improved monoshock suspension that redirected suspension forces to the steering head and created a much more stable platform for the four-cylinder, two-stroke animal lurking under the bodywork. That liquid-cooled lump featured reed-valves for a wider powerband, likely around 90hp here, although later bikes put a slightly terrifying 140hp through the bikes six-speed box. Combined with decent handling from the later monoshock frames, it made the TZ750 the bike to beat during this era.

1975 Yamaha TZ750 R Side Engine Detail

The story behind this bike is included over at the original eBay listing. It rambles a bit, but makes for an interesting read: 1975 Yamaha TZ750 for Sale

Now I really had to think about how far down do we take this project, we could do a frame off complete restoration or just clean?

Well the answer is; They Are Only Original Once! We just cleaned it and got it running. Now the old guy told me that even though it was in storage in his garage that he would once a year spray WD40 in the cylinder and after inspecting the lower end I believe him. We removed the head and cylinders to inspect the lower end, we also scoped as much as we could. The crank looked perfect and clean. So we cleaned the piston rings and wrist pins and put back together.

Please note that we have only run this bike a couple of times so we are mixing the fuel very rich, that is why there is so much smoke in the video. Also the video was shot on May 6 of this year and it was the first and only ride on this bike. My tech is the rider and it stalled on his first run because he was trying to find first gear. The video (we will be posting soon) and pics speak for themselves.

As you review the pictures note that the bike still has most if not all of the original safety wire from its race days. Also note that is bike has most if not all of the original factory cable and hose clips or clamps. These items are usually missing on most of the TZ bikes I have seen.

I did not try to mount the fairing as it seemed to fragile from sitting in the garage but is mostly complete.

Some Notes:

The frame number is 409-000327

The Engine number is 409-000327

Bike has a clean green Michigan Title

Original paint bike (I would say about 98% original as I did repaint the head, exhaust and some misc bracket).

Original safety wire still intact from the track

All original cable clamps and clips

All parts that had to be replaced are OEM Yamaha (even the hose clamps)

Rebuilt Stator from Rick Shaw, the owner at Rick’s Electrics

Rebuilt CDI Box in original case from England

New exact duplicate radiator from England

New grips and shift rubber

Rebuilt all brake calipers w/ OEM Yamaha parts

Removed head & cylinders, cleaned rings and wrist pins, scoped and inspected crank. Crank and lower end was perfect.

Cleaned carbs

New tires, however they are road tires not track tires.

Race fairing with new replacement wind shield (this windscreen will need some alteration however was the only replacement available). 

1975 Yamaha TZ750 Tank Detail

And no, your eyes aren’t playing tricks on you: that is a rear-view mirror, tail light, and a headlight on there: one of the previous owners set the up for road use! Kids, don’t try this in California… And yes, although it is a big rough around the edges, it does run, as can be seen in this video here. I love how hard-edged that two-stroke crackle is here, sounding pretty far-removed from the typically agricultural sound of an idling smoker.

1975 Yamaha TZ750 Engine Detail

Just 111 TZ750’s were built during 1975, making each and every one a highly-desirable collector’s item. Bidding is very active on this bike, and is currently up around the $25,000 mark with plenty of time left on the auction. I’d expect the buyer to return this to track-only specification and hopefully take it vintage racing, but I can imagine the temptation to take it out on the road might be very hard to resist…

-tad

1975 Yamaha TZ750 R Side

Collectible Racer: 1973 Yamaha TZ350A for Sale

1973 Yamaha TZ350 L Side

Jeez, as often as these TZ’s have been popping up of late, you’d think they were common or something… Yamaha’s TZ350’s were pure racing motorcycles and had no roadgoing derivatives directly related to them. Which is a shame: “race bikes for the road,” while often very narrowly-focused, lousy for roadtrips, and entirely lacking in passenger accommodations for that cute girl you met at the bar last night, can be terrific Sunday morning canyon-dance partners, allowing owners to get more use out of them than they otherwise might when restricted to track-only riding.

1973 Yamaha TZ350 R Front

The affordable TZ350A introduced water-cooling to Yamaha’s over-the-counter two-stroke parallel twin GP machine, and the bike evolved progressively through to the final TZ350H model. “A” versions like the one for sale this week featured a dual-shock rear end, although later versions changed to a monoshock rear suspension.

1973 Yamaha TZ350 Dash

The twin made a smoking 64bhp and at under 300lbs dry, these were competitive right out of the box, although they were bikes without a class here in the USA and generally were forced to run against larger machines.

1973 Yamaha TZ350 Engine

From the original eBay listing: 1973 Yamaha TZ350 for Sale

Up for auction is a piece of Yamaha, Daytona, and AMA racing history! This 1973 Yamaha TZ350A was ridden by rookie expert Jim Evans to third place in the 1973 Daytona 200 for sponsor/owner/tuner/dealer Mel Dinesen. (Don Emde had won the 200 outright for Dinesen the year prior aboard a Yamaha TR3.) This privateer TZ350 finished the 1973 200 behind World Champions Jarno Saarinen and Kel Carruthers on Yamaha factory team TZ350s in what was the first major race for Yamaha’s new water cooled TZ family of GP series production racing bikes. The new TZ350s outpaced and/or outlasted both four and two-stroke machines of up to 750cc in that year’s contest.

The late Stephen Wright found and restored this bike in the early-90s, before selling it into two successive private collections. Wright is well known as having been curator/chief restorer for Steve McQueen’s motorcycle collection, starting with work for McQueen’s Solar Productions in the 1960s, as well as for his excellent books on motorcycles and motorcycle racing in the United States. His restorations are extremely well-regarded. 

Condition:

This TZ350A has been in two private (climate controlled) collections since being found and restored by Stephen Wright in the early 1990s. In the interest of full disclosure, there is some minor shelf wear (a few paint chips and a scrape along the primary side of the fairing from a tie down buckle during shipping), the rubber band mount for the oil temp gauge is split, and the Goodyear racing slicks show some dry cracking on the sidewalls, as you would expect from age. That said, the bike remains very clean. The paint finish is excellent and the colors are sharp. Take a look at the photos to see for yourself. The nice thing about the bike is that the 20+ years since the restoration have given the bike just the right amount of patina. Overall, this bike is stunning and beautiful; people gravitate to it.

The bike was mechanically and cosmetically restored to full working order and correct appearance, then prepared for collector ownership (i.e. all fluids were drained and the engine was fogged). Any attempt to run the machine should follow a full recommissioning. The brakes, clutch, and throttle all operate as they should.  

1973 Yamaha TZ350 L Rear

There are four days left on the auction, with bidding north of $15,000 and the Reserve Not Met. This is in absolutely gorgeous condition, considering it’s basically an ex-race bike. There are a few minor scrapes that, to me, don’t detract at all. And while discs are generally better and more reliable means for stopping, that huge front drum and drilled rear hub are beautifully sculptural.

It’s obviously not in ready-to-run shape, so if you’re looking for a bike to ride in AHRMA events, you’re better off looking elsewhere. If you’re looking for a beautiful collector’s item that has been properly prepared for a life on display, this could be your bike.

-tad

1973 Yamaha TZ350 R Side

Sharp Vintage Racer: 1978 Yamaha TZ350 for Sale in Australia

1978 Yamaha TZ350 R Side2

Although Yamaha’s TZ bikes had certain broad characteristics in common with their RD line, they were far more than just hotted-up versions of those bikes: they were pure racebikes designed for Grand Prix competition, and had no roadgoing direct equivalent.

The introduction of water-cooling to the two-stroke twin in the TZ allowed for much higher outputs and, at a competitive price point, they were dominant when new. The bikes developed progressively from dual-shock “A” models to later, mono-shock “C” models and on through to “H” models, although some models featured more drastic changes than others.

1978 Yamaha TZ350 R Side Engine

The “E” model featured here included an updated frame and other, relatively minor changes before the introduction of the more radically-revised “F” that followed. By now, many examples with campaign history include elements from different iterations: racers of the period wouldn’t have been a very sentimental bunch, and fitted their older mounts with whatever updates they could afford to keep their machines competitive in the ruthless grind of racing.

With a claimed 64hp from the little smoker and tires that look like they’d be more at home on a bicycle, this should present some very entertaining challenges for track-junkies weaned on modern-day, 190-section tires and 4,000rpm-wide powerbands to pull them out of trouble…

1978 Yamaha TZ350 L Side

From the original eBay listing: 1978 Yamaha TZ350 for Sale in Australia

Yamaha TZ350 E is a beautiful and very fast light road race bike.  Highly sought after by collectors and racers alike. Yamaha made a very small batch of road race bikes each year for sale through selected dealers and the demand was always greater than supply. 1978 was the last of this particular chassis shape and featured a few modifications over prior years.

Fully rebuilt from the ground up to go racing in the 350cc Forgotten Era P5 class in Australia, F500 AHRMA and similar classes with other race organizations. New pistons, gaskets, seals, rebuilt crankshaft, OEM six speed close ratio transmission with air cooled clutch and self generating Motoplat ignition (mag).  It has not been run since the rebuild.  It does come with a few spares, a drum of 100 Octane race fuel and an Accu-Mix jug to get the right fuel to oil ratio.

Upgraded front forks with later model damper rods and Gold Valve Emulators. This is an excellent example of this model water cooled Yamaha production road race bikes.

Aluminum tank with high flow petrol tap and stock or later model fiberglass race seat.  Scitsu electric tachometer and Daytona digital temperature gauge comprise the instrumentation.  No digital dashboards back in the day.  This is a race bike built for the race track but would look at home in any private collection of period race bikes.

My son raced this bike for a few years with a later model fairing and TZ750A reed valve top end (available separately).  It is being rebuilt with stock 1978 fairing and pipes and the correct piston ported cylinders. The cylinder head is in the shop being machined to as-new condition and if the bores on the 350 barrels are less than perfect, a set of NOS 350 barrels and pistons will be fitted.  Most of the pictures are as it was raced and the last one is a borrowed picture, but that is basically how it will look before it leaves the shop. It comes with a few race spares including 250 and 350cc barrels. It will have the original OEM fairing with alloy belly pan as shown in the sample picture.  I think I have a spare original belly pan somewhere too.

The TZ350 is slightly forgotten here in the U.S. as there was no real category for them to run in, although they were obviously allowed to race in the larger classes.  In fact, the last couple I’ve seen for sale have hailed from Austrialia. This example is in Melbourne and, as a pure-racing machine, importing it to the States shouldn’t be too much of an issue, aside from the drum of racing fuel…

1978 Yamaha TZ350 On Track

Vintage roadracing bikes are a bit of a strange breed. When new, owners would have been riders looking for a speed-fix, and bikes would have been modified in any way possible to eke out a few extra horses to punch harder out of corners, or squeeze out a few more mph on the straights, originality be damned. But the collector market seems to prize perfectly preserved machines above all else, although obviously racing history and period modifications are acceptable and even desirable, depending on the bike in question.

Bidding is only up to around $2,200 right now, with what seems to be a reasonable reserve set at $10,000. I’d prefer a few more pictures, but the description suggests a well-maintained bike in great, appropriately updated condition.

-tad

1978 Yamaha TZ350 R Side