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 Post subject: Operation: MOSQUITO CONTROL BIKE - Florida RZ500 Project
PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2012 8:34 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 20, 2012 5:12 pm
Posts: 61
Location: Florida
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FIRST OF ALL, LET ME SAY THANKS...

You folks are running a great website here with tons of information and lots of great helpful people. I'm sure I'll be calling on some of you as I work through this project bike and I want to thank you in advance. I tend to be a fanatic about documenting things and I will share as much detail here as I can to help others in return.

I'll apologize right now for a lot of boring commentary, but that is all part of the recording process. There should be plenty of pictures for those that don't care to read so much.

Okay, let's get on with my adventure.

AFTER SOME CASUAL SEARCHING, I FINALLY TOOK THE PLUNGE...

I just acquired an RZ500 for my small collection. Here are pictures right after we brought her home for the first time.

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Some of you may recognize this bike, for it appeared on the RSBFS website back in January 2012: RSBFS Link. After missing a different bike on ebay until it was too late to ask questions, I decided to save a search on my watch list, and only targeted local bikes. I actually didn't discover this one for sell until ebay notified me of it in November. Apparently, this is the third time it was offered there. I guess it doesn't really matter because the early offerings were well over my budget anyway.

Deciding to bid on the auction was a hard choice for me. Earlier, I had vowed to only buy one with a Florida title, but this one had a Maryland tag on it (Strike 1), in reference to baseball). At first glance, I wasn't real keen on the color scheme, but while waiting for the auction to end, I worked out a way to spruce that up a bit. It had a lot of aftermarket parts on it, and I normally gravitate towards keeping things factory stock (Strike 2). The seller disclosed that the auction reserve was set at US$4400 which boosted the bidding activity, and kept me interested.

The PO (Previous Owner) had provided a couple youtube videos to take a better look at the bike:
Link to 10 minute video
Link to 2 Minute video

These video generated a lot of questions, which the PO quickly answered - that also kept me interested and eased my apprehension about buying a big item on ebay. So it came to the final moments of the auction with the bid hanging at US$4500, with reserve met. I submitted a max bid for US$4650 and the auction ends with me taking the bike for US$4550. Not bad I thought - even if this bike is just a complete rat, there is not much invested. Sorry goes out to anyone on here that may have been bidding with me.

Let's rewind a bit. Prior to the end of the auction, I decided to pay for a vehicle history report before placing a bid and found one that had 22 "records" for a mere US$10 that I planned to buy later that night. Well, I get caught up in the heat of the moment and forgot to run the report, but remember to do it immediately after the auction. My heart stopped for a few moments when I downloaded it. On the pages of the report was the "Strike 3" that would have caused me to skip over this bike. Looking back, I'm actually glad I didn't see it beforehand. I think I got an acceptable deal, regardless of it's history.

The vehicle history report showed this one had once been rebuilt and was once titled as such. It revealed many other things, including the facts like it first came to the US through California, spent some years in Florida titled under two different owners, then titled in Utah, and finally ended up in Maryland with the PO. The funny thing was, the Maryland data didn't show it as a "Rebuild". There were a few moments were I planned to talk to the owner and back out of the deal. But I thought about it some more and decided to go through with it despite the blemish in its history. I figured the good news is the fact that it was titled in Florida before and that somewhat negated one of the "strikes" against it. (I have been apprehensive about titling one of these "grey market" bike since first beginning to research them years ago).

The trip to the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) was not without incident. As the DMV worker is processing my title transfer paperwork, she noticed something strange on her computer screen and was scratching her head - not a good sign when you're dealing with a bike that is not supposed to be in the USA anyway. After that, she talked to her manager, and then they talked to the site manager, and then called the State capital office. About 40 minutes go by and I'm sweating bullets thinking I'm not walking out of there with a tag/title in my name. The lady walks back to me finally and says "I've got bad news" - not words you care to hear in this office. She says "I'm sorry to tell you this, but did you know this bike was previously in the state with a rebuild title?" I was somewhat relieved it wasn't something worse. Of course I played dumb. She went on to explain the "Rebuild" classification and said the delay was due to them not figuring out how to add it back on and correct Maryland's mistake. I was really hoping to transfer a clean title from MD to FL, but that wasn't the case. The good news is, it's now legitimately titled in my name and fully legal to ride on the roads.

All in all, I'm a happy new owner. I discovered long ago that life is not perfect and you must roll with whatever it throws at you. I would love to own a pristine, unblemished factory stock example of one of these bikes, but that wasn't what I was seeking on this go around. Prices for those are not in the plan right now as major funds (and time) are still going towards building my dream shop, appropriately called "The Asylum" (click to see). (There are some links to publicly available videos in the first post if you don't want to join the forum to view pictures). What I wanted was a runner with some potential, and of course it had to have US title so I could legally ride it. I was prepared to settle for a bike with flaws. Mostly, I just wanted to try one out to satisfy my curiosity without a bunch of money tied up in it. I love to see what makes things tick, as the saying goes.

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!!!
I am thrilled to have one of these great old bikes.

SOME MAY BE ASKING " WHAT DOES THE THREAD TITLE MEAN?"

For those that don't know, in our region we sometimes have trucks come through fogging the neighborhood that attempt to control the mosquito population. They look something like this:

Image

Well, I had the RZ500 idling in the driveway the first day home and my wife comes out waving her way through the cloud of smoke. We joked a bit about the mosquito fogging trucks and the name stuck. If you squint at that truck, it kind of looks like a red/white loaded up RZ cleaning itself out at WOT (j/k) :smile:.

Much, much more to come...

_________________
"TSN" the Two Stroke Nut - Proud new owner of a 1985 RZ500
Link: Operation: MOSQUITO CONTROL BIKE - Florida RZ500 Project


Last edited by TwoStrokeNut on Fri Feb 08, 2013 11:04 am, edited 12 times in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2012 8:36 pm 
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Posts: 61
Location: Florida
A LITTLE BACKGROUND ON MY TWO STROKE STREET HISTORY...

Since I didn't see an introduction section in this forum, allow me to do it here. If there is one, please point me in the right direction and I will move this historical stuff out of this thread.

I grew up riding oil burning dirt bikes. So when it was time to start riding street bikes, I naturally gravitated towards the two-stroke variety. They just felt right for some reason - maybe I was just use to the peaky powerbands or something, I don't know.

In high school before I got my driver's license, I lusted after my neighbor's hopped-up 1975 Kawasaki H1, appropriately named "Triple Threat", and dreamed of someday owning it. I remember lying in bed listening to him coming home late at night - on a still night, you could hear that distinctive sound from miles away.

When I was ready for street riding in 1982 the bike wasn't for sale so instead I bought a 1974 RD350 from a buddy that needed a new engine for his car. It was still in bone stock condition with the factory dark purple paint job. For some reason, I can't find an original picture of it, but if I ever do I will add it. At that point with all the fully faired bikes being introduced, the old RD starting looking real old to a high school kid, so I made a custom fiberglass chin fairing, front fender, and tail section, and also bought an aftermarket cafe fairing to bring it more up-to-date in cosmetics department. I simply loved the yellow/black paint scheme on the Yamaha dirt bikes and decided to go with that theme. Below is the final result before selling it. The shades were really off in this old scanned photo, but the color matched the Yamaha competition yellow of the '80's.

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About a year down the road, I find out that the neighbor wants to sell that nice H1 so I worked out a deal with him and find a buyer for my RD. This is what it looked like the first time I rode it home.

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Back to the fiberglass molding I went and transformed it later into what you see in the following picture.

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Not long after I had it mostly finished, it was stolen from the parking lot where I attended college. I was heartbroken and I'm sure I would still have this bike to this day if someone wouldn't have taken her from me. Oh well, life goes on.

Next to enter the scene is a 1975 GT550, filling the void left by the stolen H1. I bought it from my roommate and it was in great condition. It was way down in power compared to my old H1, but at least it still smoked. I do remember thinking the gear indicator was pretty cool.

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While still owning the GT550, I ran across another 1975 H1 for $125 and snapped it up. It was pretty ratty, but most (if not all) of the bits were there. This is what it looked like when I hauled it home.

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I eventually sold the GT after sprucing up the H1 a bit and this was the result.

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I still own this H1 along with another basket case 1972. The '72 is about 5 parts from being complete, so that one may be back on the road someday.

Yamaha introduced the RZ350 to the US about the time I sold the GT550, but I was a poor college kid so there was no way I could afford a new bike back then. I knew someday, however that I would own one.

Fast forward to 2004 after really not doing much riding for several years with a new career getting started. My wife and I were getting back into cycling again and both owned big-bore thumper dual-sports. One weekend during a leisure country ride, I spotted an RZ350 sitting along the road for sale. We made a deal right then and there and I hauled it home the next day. The owner even had both tail sections. Unfortunately, the black/white stripes were painted on and don't match the stock decals, but that can always be fixed.

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It wasn't quite to my liking, so I striped it down to the frame for a repaint and a good once-over. This was the result of my Phase I restoration.

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I since have acquired stock chambers (US catalytic and Canadian versions), along with a stock swingarm, and front and rear rims. That will be Phase II, when I get to it.

To be completely honest, I didn't even know that the bigger RZ500 existed until I started researching 350 parts and stumbled on it. I figured I would eventually get one so I collected manuals and scale models to psych me up over the 8 years or so.

_________________
"TSN" the Two Stroke Nut - Proud new owner of a 1985 RZ500
Link: Operation: MOSQUITO CONTROL BIKE - Florida RZ500 Project


Last edited by TwoStrokeNut on Sat Sep 27, 2014 12:13 am, edited 5 times in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2012 8:36 pm 
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Location: Florida
FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF THE NEW PURCHASE...

A WORD ABOUT THE COLORS:
From the initial photos and videos I saw of the bike, I was a bit turned off about the color scheme. Before I even bid on the bike, I doodled on MS-Paint and figured I could spruce it up a bit just by doing something with the white stripe. First, I tried just a simple black pinstripe at the transition points. Next, I took it a step further and converted those white stripes to the Yamaha racing stripes of the proper period. I also think some "RZ500", "V4", and "YPVS" decals could finish it off nicely. Here's the progression:

As Is:
Image

Black pinstripe possibility:
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Full Yamaha race stripe possibility:
Image

The bike actually looked much better in person, and that was a pleasant surprise (and relief). The blue was much darker than I thought and both colors reminded me of Yamaha's bike colors back in the 1980's (think YZ's and IT's). Even my wife, who really wasn't thrilled with what she thought was baby blue, gave a thumbs up when seeing it in living color.

Somewhere along the way, it dawned on me I'm surrounded by these colors in my shop and I like the combination there.

Image

Eventually, this bike will be painted in a similar color scheme as my yellow RZ350. In a way, the aftermarket bodywork and paint lends itself well to doing whatever I want - I would really struggle with the decision to paint over a stock color scheme if it had one.

TIME FOR AN INSPECTION:
It's time to evaluate exactly what I bought here. Until I start diving deep into it, I really won't know what surprises are lurking under that plastic (well, fiberglass in this case). But let's start with what I initially saw and witnessed during a short 4 mile ride to get acquainted. The green text is good, red italicized items need attention.

ENGINE
- Starts easily with a couple kicks and choke when cold. Takes one kick when warm.
- Some rigged safety wire is the pull loop for the choke and you have to hold it while kicking. Fortunately there is no safety switch on clutch lever which leave one hand feel to do it. But that missing switch is probably a bad thing too. It looks like just the lever is broken off and all four cables and housing are still functional.
- Kick start lever is in good shape. Pivot is tight; detents work properly.
- Runs strong - quite a bit more power than my RZ350
- Stock Air Boxes. Will see what air filter is installed when tank is removed.
- Stock Carburetors. Actually look pretty clean on outside.
- Carburetion seems great at mid/high rpm. Seems very low on power in 2-4K rpm range and throttle/clutch needs to really be finessed to not stall upon launch. This seemed to be getting better as it warmed up. PO did warn about pilot jets not being cleaned properly. Throttle plates are push/pull design, but cables are only pull type.
- Original fuel petcock in place and working. Has new looking chrome face plate. Just a very small hint of gas in the garage after sitting 2 days. Wife hasn't complained yet, so no problem.
- Oil injection working. All parts appear to be there (upper/lower bottle). Low level switch working.
- YPVS working (at least, once running). Can't check initial cycling yet w/o battery
- Expansion chambers appear to have no leaks. Top ones are wrapped in insulation as they pass through under seat. A couple of dents in the lower ones. Silencers are not dented and look to be rebuildable. Bike is reasonably quiet for what it is.
- Cooling system works. No leaks. There is something strange going on, however. OP said there are two radiators installed but no fan. And the overflow bottle is missing. Pressure cap/fill neck appear to be OEM. Original radiator has dented top tank at position where fork tube would hit it.

CONTROLS/ELECTRICAL
- Headlights Hi/Low working. Switch feels fine. Hella lights.
- Aftermarket brake light working. But needs to be brighter.
- Turn signals only working at low RPM. Switch hard to cancel.
- Ratty non-stock wiring to all rear lights and front signals.
- Gauges working (Speedometer, Odometer, Trip Meter, Tachometer, and Temperature)
- Dash indicator lights working (Oil, Neutral, High beam, Turn)
- No horn installed, but PO claims wires leading to it show 12V when button is depressed.
- Ratty grips.
- Clutch lever somewhat hard to pull. Cable looks bone dry. But there is a cool, fully adjustable CRG leverand perch installed.
- Bar-end mirrors are mounted, but are tiny (2"/50mm diameter).
- Throttle works well and snaps back sharply. Cable and throttle tube lubrication should lessen the effort a bit
- Shifter linkage rattling and loose causing hard shifts
- Two ignition switches installed. I asked about this after seeing it in the video and story is that the fork lock wasn't working on the original switch so a replacement was purchased and installed in the proper spot. The only problem was, the wiring for the new switch wasn't long enough to reach the main bike harness. So the original switch is mounted to the side of the gas tank on the air box switch. It gave the PO the ability to run the bike and lock the fork until it could be sorted, which didn't happen.
- Matching key for old ignition switch, gas cap, and helmet lock. But only one, and it is rough. New ignition switch has 2 new keys.
- Battery shot. But box is there with heat shielding intact.
- Side stand switch cable-tied to lower frame tube. Not sure if switch actually works or what it’s connected to anymore.

BODY/CHASSIS
- VIN plate and stamped steering head numbers match
- The paint is in good shape and is glossy. There are some cracks in the body panels and some minor chips.
- Frame support near windscreen base bent down on one side.
- Side panels get very hot from top expansion chambers. Paint appeared to be discolored until bike cooled back down.
- Looking from rear, all bodywork appears symmetrical (excluding upper fairing with that bent stay bracket already mentioned).
- Round Yamaha decal peeling off on right side.
- Seat pad is simply dense/hard closed cell foam with no vinyl covering. Not sure if that’s the way it's supposed to be, but it seems satisfactory at this point.
- Frame tubes appear to be straight, from what I can see with the fairing on.
- Unused tabs on frame have not been cut off.
- Slight rust on some bolts and brackets, and general dinginess of frame.
- Stock helmet lock installed and functional.
- Decent looking chain, lots of adjustment left on axle (chain pitch not measured yet)
- Tires look nearly new and are matching Continental Road Attacks
- Ohlins rear shock with remote reservoir by front engine cylinders. Spring part number 01093-64/160
- Missing chain guard.
- Aftermarket fairing, tail section, and front fender.
- OEM rear inner fender.
- Left side fork seal leaking.
- Fork sliders have several cable scuff marks.
- Fork tubes not pitted, good chrome plating condition.
- Front brakes work great. Disks okay. SS brake lines. Need to check pad condition. Adjustable lever.
- Rear brakes work great. Disk okay. Possibly original brake line though. Need to check pad condition. Boot ripped at master cylinder pushrod.
- No brake leaks.
- Right side footpeg flips up and locks up as it should for kick starting.
- Side stand pivot very loose and a very weak spring is installed.
- Passenger peg mounts cut off of both lower chamber brackets. Probably doesn't matter since it is a solo bike anyway.

I was being pretty critical while creating this list and to me, this is mainly a bunch of little items that will be easy (for me) to sort out. Major things will be upgrading the cooling system so I can occasionally run this thing in city traffic, a thorough revamping of the lighting system and wiring, and maybe some carb work. I don't see any of this being a huge drain on my wallet moving forward and what's nice about it is I can do the fixes as time permits and still ride a bit in between jobs. So far, so good. I hope, however, removing the bodywork doesn't reveal any major item to add on the list. We shall see shortly.

Here are random pictures showing some of the details (mainly defects):

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Next, a little research.

_________________
"TSN" the Two Stroke Nut - Proud new owner of a 1985 RZ500
Link: Operation: MOSQUITO CONTROL BIKE - Florida RZ500 Project


Last edited by TwoStrokeNut on Mon Jan 28, 2013 2:33 pm, edited 11 times in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2012 8:38 pm 
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Posts: 61
Location: Florida
A LITTLE BIT OF RESEARCH REVEALED THE FOLLOWING...

Obviously, there is a multitude of non-factory RZ parts on this bike. I tried to identify some of them in case spare parts are needed. Help or comments would be appreciated.

-Front fork, rim, and brakes appear to be from FZR600
-Rear rim from FZR600 (???). Appears to be stock swingarm.
-Bodywork:
..Tail Section Bodywork: AirTECH Streamlining - YZR5005
..Front Fairing: AirTECH Streamlining - RZ5002 OW70 (but with two round headlights instead of one rectangular)
..Front Fender: Unknown
-Expansion Chambers: Unknown
-Supplemental Radiator: Lance Gamma RZ500 Kit

Here's a quick shot of the extra radiator from the Lance Gamma website:

Image

So it's time to start addressing some of the issues...

_________________
"TSN" the Two Stroke Nut - Proud new owner of a 1985 RZ500
Link: Operation: MOSQUITO CONTROL BIKE - Florida RZ500 Project


Last edited by TwoStrokeNut on Mon Jan 28, 2013 2:52 pm, edited 8 times in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2012 10:59 pm 
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Ok well no fine
Great write up
;))

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 2:42 am 
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You are a crazy man.

Welcome and thank you for the post.

Enjoy it in the asylum ;)


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 9:00 am 
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OK you clearly have verbal-diarohea, you are relentless and excessive with your posting of pictures and there is a strong chance you may be just a little mentally-unstable...I love you and would like to buy you a beer :grin:
What a great post, very refreshing.
I have to confess that I'm not sold on the blue at all either but like you said, maybe it looks better 'in the flesh'?

I await further updates with great interest.

Welcome!


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 9:14 am 
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Hello and welcome :cool:

Great post,i look forward to following this project.

Steve


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 9:15 am 
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If you would like to know a lot more about the service history of your specific bike, contact me at (828) 777-4076.

Looking forward to the conversation.

Rick Lance
http://www.lancegamma.com


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 10:46 am 
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Andrew - Thanks for reading it.

Duca - Crazy? My wife was once again reassured of this after buying this potential money pit. But I wouldn't have it any other way! Thanks for replying.

Blackshaheen - HeHeHe - You had me going there for a second with that opening line. You're on for that beer, and I'll buy the second! Thanks for following along.

Jackson.40 - Hi there. Please don't be shy - point me in the right direction if you see me headed astray. I really don't know very much about these bikes (yet!)

Rick Lance - You must be crazier than I asking a silly question like that - OF COURSE I WANT TO KNOW MORE! (But only if it's good. j/k :)). I suspect the news can't really get much worse than it already has. I can only hope you played even a small part in any rebuild process (beside offering that trick aux rad).

I will be in touch, with a notepad handy of course. Thanks so much for the offer.

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"TSN" the Two Stroke Nut - Proud new owner of a 1985 RZ500
Link: Operation: MOSQUITO CONTROL BIKE - Florida RZ500 Project


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 3:04 pm 
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TwoStrokeNut wrote


Quote:
Hi there. Please don't be shy - point me in the right direction if you see me headed astray. I really don't know very much about these bikes (yet!)



I did study the photo`s thinking you might have missed something but you have it all covered :cool:


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Being sent to the asylum never appealed to me before, but I'll come along quietly now! :smt023
BTW, I'd say you got a good deal at the price you paid.
Sincerely, Gary P.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 3:37 pm 
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Hey TwoStrokeNut - welcome to the group! :cool:

Quite the detailed first post, I must say... keep it up :smt023


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 2:42 pm 
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Congragulations,Youve discovered a great new toy. Its kind of ironic you werent aware of the existance of 500s,and now you have stumbled upon a bike than has quite alot of potential :smt023
Seriouslly,once you get all the lil things,and any major things sorted hopefully there isnt a big $$ engine expense hiding in disguise ,you have some great time proven mods done to your toy,with alot of custom touches. Ive viewed that bike before ...somewhere quite a while ago,cant say where :smt017 not in person...but probably E-bay or some site???

You stated your not to sold on the paint,I can understand that ...LOL:smt064 I'm assuring you that once your bike gets sorted and you really want to make the bike just jump out and say WOW!...its all going to be in your paint,it can be as simple as repainting white and utilizing stock graphic decal kits,or race replica decal kits there easily available and with your bike,bodywork and upgrades it will just look as awesome as you know it is anyways. You said you like your yellow RZ...so better yet KEEP THE STOCK graphics the viynl decal companies can do the colors in black/white and it would look almost factory,for just the cost of paint and vinyl! It would literally transform your machine.
I dont mean to spend your money nor paint a dark cloud over your existing paint,just trying to be helpful as I can see a massive "visual"potential for very little effort on your part just waiting to jump out :smt031 I realize paint isnt exactly cheap,and I dont know your abilities just some helpful advise from me,its just my area of enthusiasm,Im a stickler for visual details...thats one special new toy you have there no matter what you do enjoy it and have fun :smt038 :smt023

Check out Rogers Wicked Motorsports,he I beleive :smt017 has the same front fairing as you,you can get an idea about how the paint looks. Its quite hard to beat the stock graphics,Yamaha really got it dead right! but like I said with the viynl companies now,you can almost do any look you can imagine at a fraction of the prices one used to pay

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2012 11:25 pm 
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jackson.40 - Thanks for taking the time. I’ll get some naked shots soon for all to take a look it.

Gary Papesh - With 350,000 views on that Asylum build thread, I guess there are a few others that want to be "committed" there!

So far, I haven't found anything major wrong so the price still seems acceptable to me. And finding out the motor was possibly rebuilt professionally and it has a trick radiator setup is just a bonus. Thanks for your feedback.

rztom - Glad to be here and looking forward to making some good friends here that share my passion for these two-wheeled mechanical marvels. I think it was your opening page with this image that provoked me into seeking a RZ500 in the first place. My 350 just seemed so inadequate after that :-)

Image

I do not know whether to thank you or curse you! (Just kidding!)

this old rz - Thanks. New paint is realistically a couple years down the road. I provided a link above to where it appeared on RareSportBikesForSale earlier this year. Perhaps there or on earlier ebay auctions is where you saw it.

With some quick decal work, I can live with the current paint for a few years. In fact my buddy was off running with the Mosquito Control Bike theme and sent me this just for kicks.

Image

Too funny! Of course with all those toxins being released into the air, he also thought I needed a custom "Poison" symbol (with a motorcycle twist) to apply somewhere.

Image

But seriously, I'm sure I will stick with more traditional Yamaha RZ type decals.

Eventually, chances are high that it will get a Yellow/Black paint job and it's likely I will do it myself with reasonable results. Those graphics packages will certainly make it easy to give it that finishing touch.

I might be calling on you for some opinions in the "visual details" department when the time comes. I want to do it right the first time, when that time comes.

_________________
"TSN" the Two Stroke Nut - Proud new owner of a 1985 RZ500
Link: Operation: MOSQUITO CONTROL BIKE - Florida RZ500 Project


Last edited by TwoStrokeNut on Sun Apr 28, 2013 9:08 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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