A screaming Yamaha RZV500R restomod from Championship Cycles


Yamaha RZV500R two-stroke restomod by Championship Cycles
Solely obtainable in Japan and restricted to only 1,600 items, the mid-80s Yamaha RZV500R is as uncommon as it’s iconic. Based mostly on the RZ500, the Japanese-market RZV500R sported a handful of upgrades—probably the most noteworthy of which was an aluminum body.

The RZ500 was a fascinating machine in its personal proper; a four-cylinder two-stroke race duplicate that mimicked Kenny Roberts’ YZR500. However its 88 hp output was an excessive amount of for Japanese laws on the time, so Yamaha restricted it to 64 hp and swapped the metal body for a lighter aluminum unit to compensate for the drop in energy. It was rebadged because the Yamaha RZV500R and offered out inside the first week of its launch (or so the legend goes).

Yamaha RZV500R two-stroke restomod by Championship Cycles
Regardless of its attract, Mike Vienne reckons that the RZV500R has room for enchancment. He runs Championship Cycles in Los Angeles, California, the place the philosophy is “much less is extra—as a result of extra is heavy, and heavy is sluggish.”

“The unique RZV500R from Yamaha had many quirky options baked into it from the manufacturing unit,” says Mike, “like a longitudinally mounted rear shock, anti-dive linked entrance brakes and forks, and solid 16” entrance and 18” rear wheels. Moreover, it was hampered by emissions constraints, after which, so as to add insult to harm, it weighed in at over 400 lbs. All of it totaled as much as a quite lackluster spec machine.”

Yamaha RZV500R two-stroke restomod by Championship Cycles
When this 1985-model Yamaha RZV500R rolled into Championship Cycles’ workshop, the preliminary discussions revolved round making a Wayne Rainey Marlboro duplicate. “These have already been carried out many instances earlier than,” says Mike. “I proposed an alternate design—one which recalled the GP bikes that ran the Daytona 200 within the early Eighties.”

“The idea was to include a mixture of recent, period-correct elements along with {custom} fabricated components, influenced by the design of these 80s-era race bikes. We steered clear of contemporary anachronisms like upside-down forks and radial brakes. and as an alternative opted for absolutely adjustable standard forks, axial calipers, and a pair of custom-made full floating rotors that seemed like they belonged on a mid-Eighties race machine.”

Yamaha RZV500R two-stroke restomod by Championship Cycles
The RZV500R’s hand-welded aluminum body was too good to disregard, so Mike used it as a jumping-off level for this pseudo-restomod mission. New entrance and rear subframes have been fabricated, together with a billet aluminum swingarm and rear-sets, all of which echo the triangular design of the primary body’s gussets. Properly-known fabrication guru, Mark Atkinson, was chargeable for the jaw-dropping CNC work.

“Yamaha had some fairly wild engineering going again within the day,” Mike provides. “The exhaust routing on the unique bike basically displaced the shock’s typical vertical format and relegated it to a longitudinal place beneath the bike. Though that function was retained on the construct, all the authentic heavy solid linkage and relay arms have been remade in billet aluminum, and paired to a brand new fully-adjustable Nitron shock.”

Yamaha RZV500R two-stroke restomod by Championship Cycles
The Yamaha’s new forks are from Nitron too, and are held in place by a set of billet aluminum yokes that function a extra up to date width and offset. The RZV’s authentic 16F/18R wheels are distinctive—however they’re additionally heavy and exhausting to search out tires for. So Mike swapped them out for a beautiful set of basic racing-style three-spoke solid aluminum hoops from Dymag.

Though the donor bike’s engine was operating, it was in tough form—unable to place out even the measly 64 hp that it supplied from the manufacturing unit. “As soon as it was opened up,” says Mike, “we discovered that three out of the 4 pistons have been totally different sizes, and the heads seemed like a chopping block.”

Yamaha RZV500R two-stroke restomod by Championship Cycles
Wilson Efficiency rebuilt the motor, upgrading it to the tune of 100-plus horsepower. The transmission was modified too, and the Mikuni carbs have been changed with new single-circuit metering rod carbs from Sensible Carb.

A two-stroke superbike is nothing and not using a good set of pipes, so Mike referred to as on Wayne ‘Wobbly’ Wright in New Zealand to blueprint a set of {custom} chambers to match the contemporary motor. Fellow Kiwi Bryce Meads then rolled and welded dozens of titanium strips collectively to finish the extremely mild—and really horny—exhaust system.

Yamaha RZV500R two-stroke restomod by Championship Cycles
Identical to on the OEM setup, two of the RZV’s 4 exhausts exit by means of the tail part. Mike constructed a brand new carbon fiber rear cowl to accommodate them, pulling inspiration from the aesthetics of early Yamaha race bikes. The tail is a two-piece unit, held in place by quick-turn fasteners.

There’s extra carbon fiber work additional ahead, the place a {custom} gas cell mimics the bike’s authentic traces in a slimmer kind issue. A billet endurance-style dry break gas filler does responsibility up high.

Yamaha RZV500R two-stroke restomod by Championship Cycles
The race fairings are closely modified period-correct Yamaha components, made out of fiberglass. Mike particularly began with a three-quarter fairing design to show extra of the RZV’s screaming engine. A single offset headlight provides one other dose of basic endurance racing model.

A {custom} sprint sits behind the windscreen, internet hosting a Motogadget speedo and a water temperature gauge. Clip-on handlebars put on a Brembo brake management to match the up-specced brake system, with a hydraulic clutch grasp cylinder mounted on the other aspect. Extra weight-saving measures embrace a Lithium-ion battery, a pared-down wiring loom, an aluminum radiator from PWR, and extra aluminum, titanium, and carbon fiber than you may shake a stick at.

Yamaha RZV500R two-stroke restomod by Championship Cycles
“Regardless that we didn’t go to full race bike extremes, we have been in a position to lose over 100 lbs of weight,” Mike tells us. “The entire bike is an outright sensory expertise to journey. The quartet of pipes ringing and popping with surliness; it simply needs to be unleashed and it’ll flip any enclosed area right into a hookah lounge immediately.”

“In fact, there’s no mistaking the odor of pre-mix because it unlocks primitive reminiscences of shenanigans and hooliganism. It looks like two 250 cc motors strapped collectively—which it sort of is—however with extra guts down low than you’d count on from a two-stroke.”

Yamaha RZV500R two-stroke restomod by Championship Cycles
“The whole lot is quite tame-ish under 7,500 rpm, then two issues occur concurrently because it will get on the pipe: the revs rise extraordinarily quick and the entrance wheel reaches frantically in direction of the sky. Shift, rev, repeat.”

Championship Cycles | Instagram | Photographs by Shaik Ridzwan of The Mighty Motor

Yamaha RZV500R two-stroke restomod by Championship Cycles