I’ve only recently become an acolyte in the Church of Smokers. Growing up, I mostly heard them in the context of dirt bikes ripping up and down our street, and the angry, mechanical-insect noise isn’t really the sexiest… But I’ve opened my mind to the antisocial little things, and this bike might make a great introduction to two-stroke ownership.
Sold between 1984 and 1985 in the US, the YamahaRZ350 was powered by a liquid-cooled, two-stroke parallel-twin that displaced 347cc’s. This long-serving powerplant was introduced in 1983, with variants finding home in select Yamahas until 2006.
Evolved from the RD350, the RZ added liquid-cooling and Yamaha’s torque-enhancing power-valve technology dubbed, originally enough, “YPVS.” Can you guess what that stands for? This computer-controlled system helped to smooth out the traditionally peaky power delivery of the two-stroke, plumping the mid-range for improved street usability.
A terror on back roads of the time, the RZ350 was literally one of the best-handling bikes you could buy at any price. Remember, this was before the GSX-R750 was introduced, and while many bikes made more power, they were usually correspondingly heavy and unwieldy: the RZ was light and nimble, with a powerband that needed chasing and a gearbox that rewarded the rider for doing so, a real enthusiast’s motorcycle.
Fresh Paint about 5 years ago
Frame was powder coated
Couple of chips in front fender and a couple of nicks in stickers but otherwise paint is sparkling. Looks like a new bike!
DG – Pipes
K&N Air filter
Aluminum battery box
In the family since 1990
Bidding is active and there are just a couple days left on the auction, with the Reserve Not Met at $3,900. These can really run the gamut in terms of quality and state of tune. This one is largely stock and has been repainted, but ridden, which is as it should be.
The RZ is the epitome of a “useable classic:” these are fun to ride, with plenty of power. They’re striking to look at with a strong community of experts and amateurs to help you keep your little bumblebee buzzing. Parts availability is excellent and includes a wide range of updated parts, owing to the long production run of these two-strokes into the modern era, with many parts easily retrofitted to improve reliability and performance.
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!!!
Fresh from last week’s posts on a few nice RZs (see Two for Tuesday here), comes this beauty – pointed out by a sharp-eyed RSBFS reader. From the number of cool bikes we have been seeing up for auction lately, it is clear that the winter doldrums are behind us and spring is here!
A good indicator of an RZ’s overall condition is the top of the tank. The black stripe tends to fade easily, and any errant gasoline spills only make this condition worse. This particular bike has been resprayed in classic Yamaha colors, and the results are certainly worth the effort! Readers with better eyes or bigger monitors might be able to make out the mileage in this photo; this information was not provided by the seller.
From the seller:
This is a 1985 RZ350 that has been professionally restored. All components have been rebuilt or replaced with the intent of making it a reliable weekend toy and a show at my house.
Here is a list of some of the notable upgrades:
Braided lines and new brakes
New Dunlop tires
Showa rear-shock upgrade
GP suspension fork rebuild
Pre-mix only conversion
New Yamaha Yellow paint w/pearl clear
Professionally cleaned and coated fuel tank
This bike is stunning and has been part of the International Motorcycle Show display, Corazzo Advertising campaign, and local art shows.
If you are looking for a stone stock RZ350, then this is not the bike for you. There is no doubt that it has been modified in many ways. The resulting package is very pleasing to the eye; this does not appear to be the ordinary rat-bike that we commonly see. And while a lot of money and effort went into making this RZ really rip, it is not likely to have a marked impact on the overall sale when compared to a more stock model. Still, this bike does have great curb appeal – which should really help it sell.
This auction just started, so here is your chance to snag a really nice two-stroke for your collection. This is a bike that you can ride the wheels off today, and it will still look like a collectable classic years later. When you think about it, that’s not a bad deal!
For your chance to bid on this RZ – or just to look around – . Tell ’em you saw it on CSBFS!
Back in 1984, for the equivalent of approximately $3900 USD, you could walk into your local deal (as long as you were not in the US) and purchase the closest thing to a real GP bike: a Yamaha RZ500. Born as a no-excuses sportbike, the biggest RZ sported a 50-degree v4 configuration, reed-valve induction and liquid cooling. All told, these bikes produced approximately 80 horsepower – while pushing about 430 lbs of bike.
The chassis of the RZ was novel, if not spectacular. Created of mild steel (only the Japanese market RZV had an aluminum frame), the perimiter frame allowed for a compact and tidy package. The front end contained the latest GP-inspired fads: a 16″ front wheel and an anti-dive control (thankfully, neither of these items plague more modern machinery). The forks were sizeable in their day, but laughably small and willowy by today’s standards. And with the v4 and ancillary YPVS hardware, the radiator plus four expansion chambers all taking room inside the bike, the rear shock was relocated down to the bottom of the bike, working in compression.
From the seller:
YAMAHA RZ500 1984 (20 000kms)
THESE BIKES ARE GETTING VERY DIFFICULT TO FIND – ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE TO FIND IN THIS CONDITION. THIS BIKE IS NOT NEW BUT ITS NOT FAR OFF.
THIS BIKE HAS BEEN RESTORED TO ITS CURRENT CONDITION. BIKE AND FRAME TOTALLY RESPRAYED AND HUNDREDS OF PARTS REPLACED WITH YAMAHA NOS STOCK. THE BIKE WAS IN EXCELLENT CONDITION WHEN I PURCHASED IT BUT I WANTED IT IMMACULATE AND SO STARTED THE RESTO WITH MANY THOSANDS OF DOLLARS AND MANY MAN HOURS.
THE LEFT HAND BELLY PAN STRIPE DOES NOT QUITE MATCH (ABOUT 3MM OUT – yes i am that pedantic) SO IT IS BEING RESPRAYED TO MAKE IT PERFECT AND WILL BE DELIVERED THAT WAY TO ITS NEW OWNER.
Our readers over on RSBFS seem to love these bikes – and we are all too happy to find them and post them! For a few examples of previous postings, see HERE, or HERE, or HERE, or HERE. See what I mean. And that is not even all of them.
But what’s not to like? Limited numbers, great performance, outstanding curb appeal and the sort of cachet that only a race-bred two-stroke can offer you. Which is why these bikes can bring good money on the used market. Previous examples have generated significant interest, with some crossing the $10,000 USD mark. This particular bike, with its reasonable mileage (20k km, or about 12,000 miles) and great condition should push that range in the right auction conditions.
This bike is available now on eBay Australia. The current bid is only $5,100 AU (with no reserve), which if my currency calculator is correct works out to be a mere $5,300 USD; a real bargain.
For more pictures, details and your chance to own this beauty, click on the link and . Good luck!
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.
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 !
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!
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