Additional photos of this Yamaha RZV500R are available here for your perusal.
We know you guys and gals love the Yamaha RZ500, so here’s something that’s even harder to find – a Japanese market RZV500R!
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 are easily addressed and have been taken care of on this bike so you’ll get the full claimed 87 horsepower.
The seller also notes that the current lithium battery is not the correct size for the battery box, so the next owner may want to change it for a better fitting one (or a traditional lead-acid unit). Thanks to a recent service with new spark plugs, coolant flush, and a brake fluid flush, the seller says this RZV “starts on 1-2 kicks when cold and 1 kick when warm, it runs as good as it looks!” Abhi got the chance to verify that this weekend as he took this bike out for a spin. It starts easy and runs great!