Yamaha RZ350 Kenny Roberts

Discussion in '2 smokers' started by SonnyAK, Apr 19, 2021.

  1. eanth

    eanth We're all connected. (he/him/his)

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2008
    Oddometer:
    3,834
    Location:
    the Dirty South
    Quick backstory: about 10 years ago my father offered me my choice of his original Daytona Special (6700 original miles) or his restored Kenny Roberts RZ (about 31,000 miles, 0 since the Spec II build some years ago). Both bikes are stored at my BIL's shop in SoCal. I chose the Daytona but I always regretted the decision a bit. A week ago I told my Dad that I was finally going to bring the Daytona out to the Southeast where I now live to have it worked on and to get it in riding shape. He mentioned that he'd trade me the RZ for the Daytona. So, my BIL is working on the RZ tank and reassembly and I'll ship it soon. I found a shop in ATL that will tune it and look over all the seals etc. The Daytona sure is pretty though! All original except for the cans.

    upload_2021-5-15_11-22-57.jpeg

    RZ parts: that crack is unfortunate,.... but otherwise the rz is in great shape cosmetically and original (with exception of touch up on the tank, mirrors/signals, powder coated resets).
    upload_2021-5-15_11-25-14.jpeg

    upload_2021-5-15_11-27-24.jpeg

    I grew up riding 2 strokes but it's been a long while. It'll be a bit of a learning curve w/ respect to both riding and maintaining the RZ. Should be fun though.
    #21
  2. Florida Lime

    Florida Lime Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2008
    Oddometer:
    11,435
    Location:
    Florida, but soon fulltime in Robbinsville, NC
    Sending you a pm.
    #22
    eanth likes this.
  3. eanth

    eanth We're all connected. (he/him/his)

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2008
    Oddometer:
    3,834
    Location:
    the Dirty South
    Replied. Thx!
    #23
  4. SonnyAK

    SonnyAK Alaska Adventure

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2004
    Oddometer:
    94
    Location:
    Southern Illinois
    eanth, that's an awesome looking RZ! Congrats and I can't wait to see more photos!!

    I've been doing a lot of tweaking on mine lately and getting more of the little things in order. The more you look at them, the more little things you see to improve on. I took my Aprilia out for a long ride the other day (another bike I really love - the sound with the MIVV exhaust is intoxicating), so after the ride I did some good cleanup on these two and had to snap a photo of them together outside. IMG_3288.jpg
    #24
    zone47, dtysdalx2, Dirt2007 and 5 others like this.
  5. eanth

    eanth We're all connected. (he/him/his)

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2008
    Oddometer:
    3,834
    Location:
    the Dirty South
    I'll post some pics when it arrives. Cheers!

    eanth
    #25
  6. jethrocephus

    jethrocephus Most Honorable Right Minister of Folding Money Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2004
    Oddometer:
    915
    Location:
    In the Bonus Round
    685DC843-C79E-45B9-ABE3-C4F9CEC33CAF.jpeg

    Some two-stroke Yamahas were represented at TWO yesterday in Suches, Georgia. Two RZ350s were owned by some local guys who looked to be probably in their mid 20s, it really made me feel good to see some younger guys at this place and in particular their interest in the old two-stroke street bikes.

    Also, a couple of really nice Suzuki T500s and a Kawasaki 500 triple.
    #26
    zone47, TNWillie, Essbee and 3 others like this.
  7. radguzzi

    radguzzi The Journey is the Reward

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2005
    Oddometer:
    7,029
    Location:
    North East USA...
    Just finding this thread...

    I have owned this RZ since about 1998, last registered in 2001. One a these days I'll get her back out.

    Copy of a pre-digital print.

    [​IMG]
    #27
    zone47, Dirt2007, busa1300 and 4 others like this.
  8. SonnyAK

    SonnyAK Alaska Adventure

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2004
    Oddometer:
    94
    Location:
    Southern Illinois
    That's pretty awesome! Yeah, it's always great to see some younger guys having an appreciation for the older bikes! So many these days just want the latest/greatest tech out there and have zero desire to step back in time.
    #28
  9. SonnyAK

    SonnyAK Alaska Adventure

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2004
    Oddometer:
    94
    Location:
    Southern Illinois
    Great looking RZ radguzzi! Hope you get it back on the road soon!
    #29
    radguzzi likes this.
  10. Essbee

    Essbee Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2009
    Oddometer:
    371
    Location:
    East Coast, South Africa
    The "like" button on this thread is not emphatic enough, not by a long shot.
    #30
    Dirt2007 and EricV like this.
  11. Canyon Rider

    Canyon Rider Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2009
    Oddometer:
    671
    Location:
    Fl. & NM
    Selling my 85 KR to a friend of mine. Not too many that are totally stock minus the windscreen.

    040.jpg

    Keeping my 84.

    001.JPG
    #31
    zone47, dtysdalx2, TNWillie and 7 others like this.
  12. SonnyAK

    SonnyAK Alaska Adventure

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2004
    Oddometer:
    94
    Location:
    Southern Illinois
    Great Looking bikes Canyon Rider! I'm sure you buddy will be thrilled to have it!!
    #32
  13. Canyon Rider

    Canyon Rider Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2009
    Oddometer:
    671
    Location:
    Fl. & NM
    Thank you, Sonny!

    He is very excited. He's the PO of your bike.
    #33
  14. SonnyAK

    SonnyAK Alaska Adventure

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2004
    Oddometer:
    94
    Location:
    Southern Illinois
    That's awesome! Tell him congrats and glad he's getting another one!
    #34
    Canyon Rider likes this.
  15. concours

    concours WFO for 50 years

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2008
    Oddometer:
    8,533
    Location:
    NH USA
    My neighbor's son, 30yo, has been bitten by vintage. Wanted an RD400, but this followed him home. 9D4ACDB1-D686-4C9D-AEB7-545532631A9A.jpeg
    #35
    SonnyAK, Florida Lime, Mark G and 4 others like this.
  16. zone47

    zone47 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2021
    Oddometer:
    32
    Location:
    Kent Ohio
    I loved em! My friends in TX were crazy about them too. Two friends, Joe and Tim bought them new while I was in love with the original Kawasaki GPz bikes. My love for the GPz quickly faded when I found out about the amazing engineering behind the Yamaha FZ750 and snagging a nearly new one of those was the ticket to move over to Yamaha. My friend Tim decided to move to Colorado and sold me his 84 Kenny Roberts RZ for $500. It sat out in the sun and rain, he didn't care for bikes like I did and it needed the paint detailed and hardware to be serviced, so I brought it back to nearly new looking again.

    It was cool but really needed some pipes. I had too many other things I was working on to put much more time into it but I saw the magic over the RD series of Yamahas.

    [​IMG]


    It was years later when my buddy Joe decided to sell his red and white RZ. By that time I was up in Ohio but his wife's relatives were in Ohio so he arranged to trailer it all that way.
    He was very meticulous with his equipment and kept the RZ new looking. I think I paid $2500 for it since the prices were going up.

    [​IMG]

    If I can later remember the name of those pipes, I'll add it in here ... they didn't hit like the Toomeys but were certainly better than stock. It also came with a Fox rear shock, Metzelers and Boyzen reeds if I remember right. I really should have kept that one.

    So then around the early 2000s I found this KRR, an 85 that has been breathed on a bit. He said the motor was apart and had some port matching and other goodies, Toomey pipe too.
    This thing was a little rocket. It would loft the wheel a bit in 2nd gear under power ... much like a dirt bike because it hit pretty hard. Yeah, I should have kept that one too. It wasn't quite as clean as the last one but not bad either.

    What a completely different feel from the 4 stroke bikes at the time. A different kind of drug I guess you might say>

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I had a chance to buy a RZ500 around Y2K for $4500 but it seemed a bit complex overall and I didn't know how much dealer support there would be in the US with something like that if any at all.
    #36
  17. pdxjim

    pdxjim Two Stroke Terror

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2009
    Oddometer:
    281
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    I also see at least four RZ's. a TZR250R 3XV, an early Suzuki RG250 Gamma, and a X6 Hustler in that pic.
    #37
    simmons1 likes this.