Click here for an instaVIN Motorcycle History Report on this 1984 Yamaha RZ500, which is located outside of Minneapolis, Minnesota.
A full photo gallery for this RZ350 is available here for your perusal. Please let us know if you require additional images.
In the 1980s, tightening emissions requirements started to kill off the two-stroke motorcycles we knew and loved. Yamaha’s last gasp was the RZ350, which was able to sneak through thanks to the industry’s first inclusion of catalytic converters integrated into the exhaust system. US models were offered in 1984 and 1985 and were specifically marketed as Kenny Roberts replicas with the legendary “speedblock” livery and Kenny’s signature on the front fairing.
Note the YPVS acronym on the engine: that stands for Yamaha Power Valve System, a computer-controlled valve that could adjust exhaust port timing. This enabled increased torque at low RPMs while maintaining horsepower higher up in the rev band, resulting in over 40 horsepower at the rear wheel. There wasn’t much in form of competition for the RZ in the mid 80s, and Cycle World called it a ‘perfect 10 on the fun scale’ when it was their cover bike in July of 1984.
Estimated production of these bikes was around 20,000, 9,900 of which were built in 1984. The seller has included several photos and a video up above, and he notes that “this is one of the best original Kenny Roberts version RZ350s left in the world.”
Per the seller:
The odo is showing 6,9xx miles (I am riding it a little), and the bike looks and feels like it is genuine. It was owned by well known classic RD parts supplier HVCcycle of Lincoln, Nebraska who sold it to someone who owned it for 6 years. I then acquired this bike because I only look for bikes with excellent original paint on the bodywork and frame. They hold their value much better due to the rarity. The fairing wasn’t perfect enough for me, so I found a NOS fairing (in Alaska) and NOS decals at a cost of $1,200.
The tank is perfect inside. Only the barrels have been painted (the original paint always flakes off). The original 48H pipes have been ceramic coated and came out beautifully. The small emissions pipes on the headers (not now used) have been capped with high temp silicone caps. No marks or dings on the bodywork except for a pea sized, very shallow dent (paint not broken) at the neck of the tank that can’t be seen and a tiny mark next to the Yamaha decal on the front of the fairing, shown in the photo album.
The only mods made are not readily visible: emissions pipework and canister removed (I don’t have it). Airbox replaced with K and N filter and Y Boot for better breathing. Dynojet needle kit fitted. Main jets increased to 420 (240 is stock which shows how much the Y boot improves the breathing). The 48H features the same barrels (same porting) as the higher power Euro 31K version but the stock US airbox and jetting restricts the engine to 52bhp. This bike probably makes more than the 59BHP of the 31K model due to better breathing. Diaphragm fuel tap replaced with conventional type. Carbs have been ultrasonic cleaned and set up by me. New float valves and jets. Fueling is perfect with no flat spots or hesitation. Starts and idles perfectly. Plug color is great.
I fitted new plugs, gearbox oil, and EBC brake pads. I checked the oil pump. Motobatt sealed battery. New brake fluid and fork oil. I was told that Race Tech cartridge emulators have been fitted but I have not inspected to confirm, however the front end feels very good and not undersprung for my weight (200lb). Compared to an RD400, these feel like a much bigger and more solid bike. Bridgestone BT45 tires.
The rare single seat is fitted (these were an optional extra). Also included is the stock double seat tail (also original paint) and grab rail. Both tails use the same seat. Buyer pays for shipment of tail. Also included is the user handbook, Yamaha shop manual, and complete original toolkit.
This bike truly looks and rides like a new bike. if you have been looking for an RZ350 for a collection, yet is still great to ride, this is it.
P.S. The seller’s photo album includes some of his other bikes so you can get an idea of his standards. Abhi has worked with this seller before and will personally vouch for the quality of his machines. Here, the seller rides his early Kawasaki Z1 (#265) with Abhi on the new Kawasaki Z900RS for a comparison:
Got any RZ350 stories or have any questions? Let us know in the comments!