The RZ was introduced in 1984 and was arguably the first production race replica. Built to emulate Kenny Roberts’ YZR500 factory racer, the RZ500 was the closest thing two-stroke enthusiasts had to a GP competitor for the road…as long as you didn’t live in the United States of America. Emissions rules put in place by the EPA prevented Yamaha from selling the RZ500 in the US, so the select few we get to enjoy had to be imported (typically from Canada). But the RZV is extra special, as it was a bike for the Japanese market that had some distinct changes.
There were minor ones – a switch that converted the water temp gauge into a fuel gauge, fork preload adjusters at the top of the forks, or the deletion of the self-canceling turn signals. But the reason RZ fans covet the RZV500R is because it also came with a hand-welded aluminum frame, which helped the bike weigh 20 pounds less than its international siblings. This helped counteract a power cut – Japanese regulations required an output of no more than 64 ponies, which Yamaha enabled by restricting the exhaust and changing carb jets. Both things can be easily addressed and to unlock the potential full claimed 87 horsepower.
This example (VIN: 51X-001773) has 2 kilometers from being pushed around, the seller states that it’s never been started. The slae includes the mirrors, manual, two keys, tool kit, and spare OEM windshield as the one on the bike has some peeling paint. The sale also comes with a factory build sheet in Japanese, which I’ve never seen for one of these bikes.
It’s a little sad that this bike has never been ridden, so let me share a video that Nathan put together of me riding a RZV500R. No voiceover or narration, just the sound of the bike:
Find this RZV for sale in Suisun City, California with bidding up to $26,600 and the reserve not yet met or a BIN of $95,000 here on eBay.