Tagged: RZ

Vintage Race Bike Week Continues: 1975 Yamaha RD350 Road Racer


1975 Yamaha RD350 Racer L Side

It’s raining race bikes this week! This example is a fully race-fettled, faired version of the popular, fast, and nimble Yamaha RD350. Streetbikes didn’t feature this example’s large, aerodynamic fairing, or that very interesting bladed trefoil tail section.

1975 Yamaha RD350 Racer L Rear

What streetbikes did feature was a lightweight parallel twin two-stroke that pumped out a genuine 40rwhp, making it a very quick middleweight sporting machine with good handling and reliability. The transmission contained six speeds, and the RD350 used an automatic oil-injection system so owners didn’t have to ride around with a quart of two-stroke oil in their backpack… Although this bike has had its suggestively-name “Yamalube” system removed in the name of simplicity and weight-savings.

1975 Yamaha RD350 Racer L Front Engine

Frames were similar to the TZ series of racebikes and the RD’s handling was excellent, although the RD was much heavier than the purpose-built machines. Many RD’s were used as club racers and the bike bucks the prevalent image of 1970’s Japanese machines being fast in a straight line only.

And while the brakes look a bit underwhelming compared to two-disc set ups, the system was powerful and well-regarded at the time.

1975 Yamaha RD350 Racer L Engine

From the original eBay listing: 1975 Yamaha RD350 Road Racer


This is a RD 350 set up for Vintage Road Racing.  I purchased this bike to fulfill an old dream of road racing.  I was 55 at the time.  I got my Motorcycle Competition License and headed for the track.  I only ran the bike on Track Days (a couple of times, maybe 20 laps).  I had a blast !  My mind was 18, but my body was not.  Track time proved to be too expensive.  I parked the bike in my house(well covered) drained tank and prepped it for storage. Now is the time for someone else to have FUN !   I just moved it to my shop and cleaned it up.  Bought new battery and added gas/oil mix.  It fired up in a couple of kicks.  Revs and runs fine. I’m the third owner that I know of. 

Now for the list of goodies that make this bike outstanding.  The bike was red when I purchased it.  I have painted it Classic Yamaha Yellow with black and white racing stripes(Basecoat/Clearcoat).  It has about 300 miles on the Top End, which was rebuilt with Genuine Yamaha parts by the previous owner.  It has not been ported.  Stock carbs with Boysen Power Reeds, 140 main jets(could go smaller), AirTech full TZ fairing and anti-draft seat and windscreen(with a few scratches), metal front fender(unknown origin), Raask rear sets, Spec II expansion chambers, Tapered steering head bearings, Brass swingarm bushings, NHK steering damper, ProFlo/K&N air filter, New aluminum clip-ons, Excel Aluminum rims, Dunlop K series tires(little wear), Nissin front master cylinder, New battery(under rear part of seat), Koni chrome steel rear shocks(not in production anymore), High Power coils w/NGK spark plug leads(new), Newly installed custom Sprocket Specialist 14 tooth front, 42 tooth rear for use with lighter weight RK XSO 520 Chain(all new).  The oil pump was removed by previous owner, I use 32:1 premix Yamalube.

These are very popular vintage rides, and only their high production numbers is keeping prices down. Set up for the track using quality components, this may not have the rarity or outright speed of a genuine TZ, but should be pretty good fun for less money, and the buzzy little 347cc motor can be hotted up to make significantly more power.

1975 Yamaha RD350 Racer R Engine

I’m sad to hear the rider doesn’t feel his body can keep up with his youthful enthusiasm, but his loss is your gain! This bike is no battered track-rat, and it looks nice enough to ride or display, although it seems to waste all that nice prep work by parking it up somewhere…

Any of our loyal readers know anything about that tail section?


1975 Yamaha RD350 Racer L Naked

Seeing Double: a pair of Kenny Roberts Yamaha RZ350s!

For Sale: 1984 Yamaha RZ 350 and 1985 Yamaha RZ 350

It’s really hard to miss these bumble bee yellow RZs. With their bright Yamaha / Kenny Roberts graphics and twin cylinder, 350cc two stroke engines and boy racer good looks, they continue to be very popular on this site and over on RSBFS. Here we have not one, but TWO nice examples of the breed.

This ’84 model bike is very clean, and looks to be quite original. It still has the original exhaust system, which has catalytic converters hidden in the exhaust pipes to help it squeek past the EPA. Those pipes are heavy and far from the optimal expansion-chamber shape for maximum power, so they are usually the first casualties when the modification man comes to visit. The bike has 17k on the odometer – which is more than we usually see on these bikes – but the condition is such that one wouldn’t really notice it; the cleanliness speaks for itself.

From the seller:
This is a clean original 3 owner1984 Yamaha R350 Kenny Roberts Edition in excellent condition with 17,490 miles and runs excellent. This bike is in 99.9% OEM condition, the only parts not OEM are the stainless steel braided lines, the carb vent hoses, fuel lines, a fuel shut off, and the “warning” sticker is missing from the wind screen. The carburetor was completely rebuilt with new internal parts including OEM metal reed valves, floats, hing pins, needle valve sets etc…. In addition to this, all of the coolant lines have been replaced, the rubber inserts in the foot pegs were replaced, I replaced the handle bars because the black coating was rubbed off, the rubber on the kick start was replaced, and any clamp or screw that was not perfect was also replaced. All replacement parts were Yamaha OEM parts and I have ALL of the parts that I took off the bike. The power valve controller along with the ignition module both work flawlessly. The bike speaks for itself. This bike runs strong and the engine has not been rebuilt. Every cable and hose is run properly per the Yamaha OEM spec and every zip tie, hose clamp, rubber bands, vent hose, etc is run per the Yamaha OEM specification. The fairings look beautiful, the tires are near new with virtually no wear. I will also include a 3 ring binder with the Yamaha micro fiche copied for this bike, the original manual under the seat, and the Yamaha Factory Service Manual.

The flaws: the coolant lens on the dash has 2 small cracks in it, the paint around the brake master cylinder is partially missing from coming in contact with the fluid, there are 3 small paint chips in the gas tank (one on each side and one on the top).

While there is no doubt that this RZ is in fine looking shape, there is an anomaly with the appearance of the engine: The cylinder jacket on this particular bike is unfinished, where on a stock RZ it is painted black. Often, this is the result of an engine teardown and top-end rebuild. The seller claims that a previous owner “cleaned” off the cylinder, but I will leave the judgement up to you. Aside from that issue and the loads of spare parts (seems odd to have that many mods and “spares” for a 99.9% OEM correct bike), this looks to be about one of the best RZs that I have seen in a while. For more information, more pictures, and a chance to own this beauty, check out .

The second RZ today is also a yellow/black model, but is from 1985. Not much changed on these bikes over the 2-year span of their existence in the US, but this bike is a little different than the first. Note the aftermarket exhaust system, which places the bike in a higher state of tune. If done correctly, the carbs will have also been re-jetted to take advantage of the pipes’ breathing ability. Note also that this one has a solo seat cover, which does give the bike a more sporting look.

From the seller:
The bike we are offering here came from a collector in his early 60s. He never raced the bike and always kept it out of the elements. It has 12,000 miles on it and runs and rides magnificently! Cosmetically it is beautiful. There are some small paint checks under the decals (very common for these). These are getting impossible to find that haven’t been trashed. Great investment!

This bike also looks great. The expansion chambers are a period correct modification, and really make a substantial difference in power. The solo seat was a factory/dealer available option if I recall correctly, and enhances the bike’s looks and value. This one also has some engine curiosities, however. Note on this ’85 bike the engine is painted entirely black – which is how it came stock – but the head has also been painted black. Normally, there is a white rectangle with the letters “YPVS” (Yamaha Power Valve System) in black, but here they have been painted over. Again, this points to a possible top-end rebuild somewhere along the line, although not a guarantee. Those interested should contact the seller directly for more information.

For more information, more pictures, and details on how to contact the seller, check out .

Since these were not terribly expensive machines, most of them have been thrashed within inches of their lives. It is nice to find two great examples still around. Prices are definitely on the rise for these little screamers, so if you are in the market to collect one this might well be your chance. Good luck and don’t forget to stock up on 2-stroke oil!!!


Two for Tuesday! A pair of Yamaha RZ350s for sale!

For Sale: Yamaha RZ350 Kenny Roberts Edition

From two different parties come these two fantastic Red/White 1985 RZ350 two strokes!

The RZ 350 was the spiritual successor to the RD series two-stroke lineage. Powered by a parallel twin, liquid cooled two-stroke with Yamaha Power Valve System (YPVS), the RZ350 was originally released in Yellow/Black livery with Kenny Roberts’ signature on the fairing. Long regarded as the last major two-stroke imported into the United States, the RZ came stock with catalytic converters hidden in the twin exhaust pipes to try to squeeze the bike through EPA testing. As these pipes are heavy and impede performance, they are often the first to go; it is rare to find an RZ complete with the original OEM exhaust system.

In terms of performance, the RZ was admirable – but not exceptional. It struggled to keep up with period 550cc middleweights of the day. Modified bikes (porting, carbs and expansion chambers) pull far stronger than stock, however, making a well-tuned RZ a potent performer despite the diminutive displacement.

It all ended too soon: the EPA choked off the last of the factory two-strokes after only a short 2-year run in the US. While other countries and regions continued to enjoy the RZ (also badged as the RD350LC) for several more years, the RZ is relatively rare in the US. There were a fair number of them sold during their brief heyday, but to find one in decent condition today is difficult. As a result, values on the RZ continue to slowly rise. We have seen RZs on our sister site RareSportBikesForSale.com to go between $3500 and $9,000 depending upon conditionn.

Bike #1

The first RZ in today’s post is a 1985 Yamaha RZ 350 in the red/white color scheme. Sporting some minor modifications (note the steering damper on the left side as well as the aftermarket exhaust), this bike has less than 13k miles on the odometer and looks to be in very clean shape.

From the seller:
Great little bike,fast. Frame number JYA48H000FA012575,Engine number 1WT016510. Everything works. Clear title in hand.

You will see that the seller made a mistake and listed this bike as a “Kawasaki RZ350.” That apparently has not stopped the rabid RZ fans from finding it – there are already more than a dozen bids on the bike at the time of this writing! The current bid is just above $2,500 (reserve not met) and the BIN is set at $4,295. Both numbers are entirely reasonable for the current market. For more details on this bike and to see all of the pictures, click the link and jump over to the !

Bike #2

The second RZ in today’s lineup is another 1985 model in the same Red/While livery. Again, this bike has been modified from stock via the addition of Toomey exhaust – and likely has some jetting changes as a result. The aftermarket for the RZ was initially very big, and Toomey was one of the top brand pipes of the day. Sporting less than 12,000 miles on the clock, this RZ appears to be well taken care of and ready for a new riding partner.

From the seller:
Super Clean, all original 1985 Yamaha RZ350 Kenny Roberts Special. This bike has been carefully stored and maintained. The bike runs perfectly and carbs have recently been cleaned, you will not be unsatisified! There are only two small scratches on the bike that were diffuclt to photograph but are available upon request. The motorcycle has less than 12K miles on itand a Toomey Racing Pipe Kit. This 2-Stroke street machine is a thrill to ride and offers a ride that is difficult to equal.

This bike is also available now via auction, and it has also proven to be popular with bidders. At the time of writing, the bike was at $3,500 with no reserve – so this one is going home to some lucky buyer! There are more details and pictures available. Click the link and jump over to the !

We hope you enjoyed our Two for Tuesday selection this week. Don’t forget to tell ’em that you saw it on CSBFS!