2022 Shannons Summer Timed Online Auction

1984 Yamaha RZV500 V4 Motorcycle



Passed In


Engine 499cc four-cylinder
Gearbox Six-speed manual
Colour White/red/black
Trim Black
Wheels Alloy spoked
Brakes Disc/disc


This lot is no longer available

A relative latecomer to the motorcycle market, Yamaha's first motorcycle - the YA-1 - was launched in 1955 and the company quickly proved itself through competition successes, both at home and abroad. The first four-stroke Yamaha, the XS-1, arrived in 1970 and the company gained a reputation for technical innovation through bikes like the RZ500, the world's first production bike to feature a liquid-cooled two-stroke V-4 engine. Derived from Kenny Roberts' 1983 championship winning YZR500 factory racer, the RZ500's motor boasted a twin-crankshaft arrangement with separate induction for both front and rear banks of cylinders plus piston reed valve in front and crankcase reed valve in the rear in place of the racer's rotary valves, making the street bike a lot more tractable. The gearbox was a close-ratio six-speed unit with wet multi-plate clutch and the brakes consisted of twin ventilated discs at the front, with a single ventilated disc at the rear. The front folks were air-assisted with rebound dampening adjustment, the rear brake and gear levers cast in aluminium as were the clip-on style handlebars. All of this sat in a significantly lighter hand-welded frame. The RZ500 was only sold for a brief two-year period from 1984 to 1986 and was the closest thing you could get to riding a Grand Prix bike on the road. The Australian, New Zealand and Canadian RZ500s, although mechanically identical to the European specification models, featured Yokohama OEM tyres instead of Michelin rubber. The RZ500 has acquired legendary status over the years and these race replicas are now cherished by collectors around the world.