1984 Yamaha Other on 2040-motos
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1984 Yamaha RZ350 Kenny Roberts.. 14k miles.. In great condition considering how old it is . Runs greats. Needs a collector..
History: The two 1984 USA models were yellow and black (Kenny Roberts Special) and a sparkle red-white and blue model that had different graphics and no Kenny Roberts signature on the upper cowl. In 1985, the red-white-and blue versions had identical graphics to the yellow and black "bumble bee" Kenny Roberts version, complete with signature, but they had a red frame. There were also the leftover models with revised graphics that somewhat resembled the 1983 UK versions, but had gold rims and a Kenny Roberts signature, that were sold as RZ350NC2 in California only from late 1985-6. Estimated RZ350 production for the USA is about 20,000 motorcycles.
At least in the USA, the two-stroke engine was winding down in the mid-1980's, as the State of California ratcheted down emissions, and the Federal Government applied the fleet concept to motor vehicle manufacturer's emissions. The final few years were a hodgepodge of catalysts and evaporative emissions canisters, but the sweet handling bikes were quite memorable in their light weight and peaky powerplants.
One of the first perimeter frame motorcycles, the RZ350 has no center backbone, the frame tubes follow and support the bottom of the fuel tank as they progress back toward the swingarm pickup points. The 347cc engine is cradled in between the bottom tubes and generates 60 hp. At the small end of the Yamaha line-up, the RZ350 had plenty beside the 9500 rpm redline to interest experienced riders. Yamaha's Power Valve System has motorized control of the exhaust port height, extending the torque band substantially. Fairly conventional front suspension with monoshock rear. Brakes are triple 265mm disks, and tires are the same front and rear - 4.10 x 18. But the low weight is what helps all those features work better, with half fuel the bike weighs just 371 lbs.
Two-stroke fans here have found slim pickings in the last 20 years or so, but it wasn't always that way. Back in the 1980's, that glorious era of neon, Nagel prints, big hair, and slightly ridiculous motorcycle acronyms, two-strokes were still popular, and enough people cherished their RZ350's that they're some of the most accessible sports two-strokes available here in the US. Sure, there are some thrashed bikes out there, but it's not too hard to find well-preserved examples if you look.
Which is especially surprising, considering they were produced only between 1984 and 1985. The bikini-faired sportbike was powered by a 347cc two-stroke parallel twin that was evolved from the RD350, but added liquid cooling to the package, along with Yamaha's YPVS which, as you can probably guess, stood for "Yamaha Power Valve System."
At the time, the RZ350 was a serious back road tool and was one of the best-handling bikes available at any price, and required rider involvement to maximize the two-stroke powerband.
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Moto blogFri, 30 May 2014
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