Friday, September 7, 2007

The Yamaha RX-50



This is the motorcycle that started my infatuation to 50cc bikes- a 1984 Yamaha RX-50. Looks kind of like a Virago cruiser, doesn't it? That's not surprising if you know the history of the bike. According to CycleChaos, Yamaha released the RX50 in 1982 as part of a promotion for their much larger displacement Midnight Special motorcycle line, in red and black. Each dealer received one RX-50 2-stroke cruiser to raffle off to customers as a sales incentive to bring people in to see the larger bikes.

Despite the tiny engine, this bike is a screamer. The engine and transmission are shared with the Yamaha YSR, an entry level road racer. Red line is 10,000 RPM, although tuned engines can go a little faster. Peak power is around 7.5HP, and top speed is around 60-65 MPH. If you shift at around 8-9,000 RPM, this bike is a rocket.

And yet the RX-50 is a great beginner's bike. It's small and light (under 200lbs), and easy to handle, and the low power and narrow power band forces the rider to learn good shifting and clutch technique. In first gear, you can you can ride at a walking pace, which makes it easy to give instruction to a beginning rider.

It's easy to start, too; mine has seldom needed a second kick, even when cold. And the brakes are probably the best ever put on a bike this small. The huge front disc will stop this bike in short order.

The RX-50 was only imported for two years, 1983 and 1984, and only in two colors, red and black. It's kind of a rare bike, but thanks to the popularity of the YSR, engine and transmission parts are easy to come by. I've seen bikes in running condition go for anywhere from $250 to $1600, depending on condition and geographical location.

78 comments:

Smokeyclothes said...

THANK YOU! My neighbor gave me that exact bike, she knew little about it besides it came from AZ and had no title or keys. I've been trying to figure out what it was, no luck till I saw this in an image search. If you have any resources you could share, drop me an email or post here, I'll track it. THANK YOU!
Ryan in Colorado

Jason said...

i just got one today for 60.00 it dont run but is complete,anybody please email me as much info as you can on this bike, it would be helpful,thanks a lot!jason,roanoke,va email jmartin3369@gmail.com

Stanley said...

I have a 1982 Yamaha RX-50.
It only has 135 miles on it. I have kept it in storage for twenty years and I am now willing to sell it. If you are intersted in this collectors item please contact me at the following
standinone43@hotmail.com

Stanley

todd said...

I have one and ride it nearly daily to the shop to avoid my truck! Bought it on ebay nearly two years ago and sunk more money into restoring it than I want to recall. All in good fun however as I'm asked "wanna sell it?" quite often.

My only correction here may be that 60-65mpg is correct but there's no way it goes 60-65mpH. Tops out about 55 depending upon which countershaft sprocket you run and of course your weight. At about 175lbs I can pull a tow behind an SUV to about 53mph and come near redline. I'd suggest the larger 13t sprocket be used as I do to keep the revs down a bit for long life. Yes the 12t may pull a bit more but at 50mph you'll be at 10k.

Lots of fun and sure to be more rare as time goes by.

Nick said...

I have an RX-50 and am trying to find a new carborator for it. Everything on the bike is in tip top shape but the carb housing is shot. Anyone know where I can get one? All the shops I've found online don't have them available.

james said...

I have a L32 Maconey carb. the housing is good but the quts are ?? not. Still interested let me know.

Ebay said...

Yes, my dad bought one in Lomita, CA 1983 at the Yamaha dealer. It sat and sat, never rode by him and his dog(s) tipped over and got a dig in the tank. I got it now< just need the front tire? 2.50 x 19" ? huh? Anybody know here i can get the tire? What other tire size is there? I'm might sell it. contact me funrex00@gmail.com

D said...

Hey Mike nice meeting you at the library last night....that rx 50 is awesome....Dan O'Leary

Zazu310 said...

I just got one of these and the petcock leaks like a sieve --- anyone know here to buy one for it???? Also, the bike tires seem like an odd size and are dryrotted -- I would love any help I can find.
You can send any and all information directly to Zazu310@aol.com

Zazu310 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
TopherJ said...

Hey i just got an rx 50 and there is a small oil leak somewhere and i cant find it. Any ideas on what it could be from? Also it has trouble starting when cold. Eventually starts but takes a long time. Any thing helps, thanks.
Chris

Anonymous said...

Very nice bike smokey. Great to go to the shops on.

glen valino said...

Thanks for the info..mine is almost the same with yours' except that it has a mag wheels and the front wheel is bigger, the wheel is 19 inch. in dia..spare parts are mostly available here..like the other comments, I am also in difficulties of finding replacement for the carburetor and the manifold..if you want I can send you a picture of my bike...this is the last one running in our city of calapan Philippines...

cpoerschke said...

I have a Yamaha RX50 I want to sell.
Lots of new mechanicle and running parts. Runs great. Ridden frequently untill last fall. Some dents.
E-mail cpoerschke@comcast.net

cabman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
cabman said...

I had one of these bikes as a kid and would like one for my son, any info would be appreciated.

email: tidwellcabinetry@msn.com

Henk said...

Hi Im from south africa and picked up one for next to nothing and it is stil standard think it is the only one in south africa and would like to hear from other people in sa that might have one. The carb is the same as the one they use on the rz 50

Henk Bosman
henk@onsiteservices/co.za

brandon said...

Hey does any know of any forums where I can do troubleshooting or maybe one of yall can help. I just bought this RX50 last night. It was righting great when I was test spinning but when I got it home and rode it a little more it started killing over on me when I was riding it and wouldn't start. I pulled the plug and cleaned it and started and worked for a little bit then it went out again. Any tips on this or a troubleshooting guide would be awesome. Thanks from Houston!

brandon said...

Hey does any know of any forums where I can do troubleshooting or maybe one of yall can help. I just bought this RX50 last night. It was righting great when I was test spinning but when I got it home and rode it a little more it started killing over on me when I was riding it and wouldn't start. I pulled the plug and cleaned it and started and worked for a little bit then it went out again. Any tips on this or a troubleshooting guide would be awesome. Thanks from Houston!

kingfish600 said...

I downloaded the Yamaha YSR manual. It uses the same components. it's only a 12 mb pdf file do a google search for it.

Mason said...

I have a rx50 i want to sell it is in great condition. for pictures or questions please email me at copper.mason@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

I have one with only 949 miles on it and it is in really nice shape that I will sell. My email addy is gregdtanner@hotmail.com Put RX50 for subject or I wont see it in my junk mail

shortyeddyo7 said...

I just bought a RX last night, killer deal I might add. I am having trouble finding a forum to discuss mechanical issues with other owners. Figured I would ask here and perhaps people might have an answer. The bike idles what I would consider fairly high ( between 3K to 4.5K ) My liter bikes idle at 500 rpm or so. I adjusted the card a bit and was able to bring down the idle into the 1K to 2K range but I noticed it has a hard time going from a dead stop. This made me wonder is the high revs are normal for bike since that is where the power begins to come in. Any help with this is appreciated. I'm also in houston. email is help.unlock@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

hi yamaha heads. greg here and i own one of these sweet things.i gave a 1982 honda urban express i had bought for 85bucks.even trade. :) very awesome for me.i have some info on it and may be able to help with some problems u may have.i love mine and ride it when i can.it goes over 60 with my 120 pd.son on it.

Tim said...

I have a 1983 YamahaRX50 Special in Black. It has 1003 miles and is currently registered in CA. It screams and is complete. Anyone intereseted in purchasing for 1k.
Email trottersnetflix@gmail.com

tom davis said...

where can i get new tires and tubes for my rx 50

michael edelman said...

Re tires: Cheng Shen makes inexpensive tires that fit. I got mine from J.C. Whitney.

Dustin said...

I have a yamaha rx 50 all original except for new battery with 271 miles on it almost showroom condition runs perfect. I would like to sell it for $1800 obo i can send as many pics as wanted. I would be willing to do some trading for anything ov value, partial trades or full trades. My email is bigdean90@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

do you need an endorsement for one of these

michael edelman said...

Generally, yes. Most states specify that a moped cannot have a gearbox, or go over 35mph, or produce more than 5HP, or some combination of the above.

Leigh said...

I was given an 83 Yamaha RX-50. I don't know if it's the Midnight Special one or what. I live in California...and now that I have resurrected (partially) this bike, registered it and been riding it for a week, I get a letter from the DMV telling me to surrender my plates. Something about it's not street legal without the emissions label. The only label on my bike is on the front fork, and barely legible. How do I go about getting a replacement label- if that's even possible?
All comments/suggestions welcome- I'm at a loss on what to do!
Please email at: blu_eyez_ca@sbcglobal.net RE:RX50

Unknown said...

The Midnight will have black chrome on it whereas the regular bikes have normal chrome bars etc. The registration thing, at least in AZ, can allow the bike to be registered as a scooter and should not require an inspection (or even a license here) to operate. Rather than doing the MC title/reg see what they tell you trying to do so as a scooter. *Had mine for a number of years now and have put over 7000 miles on it, still dig it!

pepper said...

im looking to buy a rx 50 for my daughter.she is 10 yrs old, has ben rideing since she was 5.this will be her first street bike but it is only for her to ride in the neighbor hood with me and her brother.her brother is 17 and just got his first street bike(honda shadow 750) so he dont ride dirt bikes with her much any more.thought this would be great for keeping them doing things together.i rode a rx 50 when i was about her age and i loved it,sure she will too.if youhave one for sale or know of one please email me with pictures,location,price,etc. at jands.remodeling@gmail.com P.S- I live in the houston,tex erea

rich said...

I just can across one of these bikes, but the piston is seized up. Does anyone have a online repair manual for this bike. I sure would like to get this thing running, and would really appreciate any help. Thanks

Anonymous said...

Rich- the basic solution for a sized piston is to start by removing the plug and pouring in some penetrating oil. Let it sit over night, and then try rocking the bike in gear. If that doesn't go it, remove the crankcase cover and put a socket wrench right on the crankshaft.

Tony said...

I have the shop manual in pdf if anyone needs it i'll e-mail it or something.

Tony said...

I have the Shop Manual for the Yamaha RX-50 in pdf format e-mail me and i'll send it to you

Tony said...

I just bought one to and the engine is seized like richs I had already read about the penetrating oil (bought some Friday) but I also heard to could modify a spark plug by breaking the end off drilling and tapping the inside of the spark plug so you could hook it up to a grease gun and pumping grease in.

Tony said...

I have uploaded the shop manual here.
http://www.megaupload.com/?d=R49T6839

Rodney said...

i have this little yamaha 50cc black perfect condition 270 miles anyone interested give me a call at lrhall@wcrtc.net

Tera said...

Hi all I bought my Midnight Special last June. I'm so in love with it! But I have a serious oil leak I'm just about to tear it apart I have a service manual but I have never done this kind of thing before. I am however mechanically inclined any advice before I dig in would be wonderful.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I´m very interested in buying a Yamaha rx-50 for my son. I had a very similiar one in the early 80´s but it wasn´t this model although it was indeed a Yamaha. Anyone want´s to sell please contact me at kumungus@hotmail.com

biker63 said...

Hi I came across a 1983 rx 50. it doesnt run btu it has alot of parts and I am interested in seeling it. please email me if interested.

k.martone@sbcglobal.net

I Play Too Much Starcraft said...

I could definitely use a manual

Anonymous said...

dug mine out a buddies garage and had it running the same day. original title, paperwork AND owners manual... keeping a good battery when it only gets out a few times a year is tough.

Markk said...

Anybody know how much fork oil these things take?

Anonymous said...

Onesch02@yahoo.com

Chris said...

I have a 1983 yamaha rx-50 and I'm looking for another one just for parts. What I really need is the front brake assembly. ( caliper, all bolts, rotor, lever. ) pretty much all of it. If anyone is selling one or knows of someone who is please contact me at:

Cringer805@gmail.com

ThAnks

levi wallin said...

I am leaking gear oil like crazy . It leaks from left side of bike. Could i get a copy. Thanks in advance. leviwallin29@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

I have a 1982 I know they say it was made in 83 and 84 but that's what the bike says on it I need a fender for front tire and a key switch my electrical doesn't work so I really could use some feed back on it id really like to get it running mine has 1460 miles on it and runs great also need a kick start lever the parts in the motor are still there just need a lever any feed back would be great thanks you can reach me at killazinc17@yahoo.com

Tidcab said...

I can remember having some great times on that bike, I would like to have one for nostalgic reasons.Does anyone have/know of one sell.

Contact me: tidwellcabinetry@msn.com

Anonymous said...

I picked up 1 of these bikes it is complete with 197mi on it I changed all fluids rebuilt the carb got a new Batt had the gas tank cleaned & sealed professionally bike is very fun I have a shadow & I have more fun riding this bike its a 1983 mid night special black the engine is not I am willing 2 sale the bike if any 1 wants it email me at lancefisher5907@gmail.com the bike is mint

Madeleine Potgieter said...

Hi there. I got rx50 3 days ago. Front brake locks up, and oil leaking like crazy. Will you mind sending me the manual, if you still have it? mpotgieter788@gmail.com

SEMI SON said...

HI!!! i have a question, i am really thinking about buying this bike but i wanted to know, I live in Maryland and we have to get a M license for motor scooters and mopeds 50cc and under. and anything else 51cc and above needs a M License. do you think that i would have to get a Motorcycle License to ride this around even though it is 50cc? I tried searching for the answer but i cant seem to have a solid one, i even tried to contact the MVA (DMV) here and onone could answer me. -__-

please help.

semison@ymail.com

tazzbo said...

I'm looking for one of these great little bikes for sale in the Portland, Oregon. Condition is not too important. I've aleady got one and just love tinkering around with it. Recently came across a Kikker 5150 hardware kit that I'll be installing. Will make one sweet little Bobber. Anyone out there able to help me out?
tazzbo@myway.com

Tony said...

I'll look tommorow and see if I can find the manual and post it on dropbox.

RobbyLMP said...

I have one of these rockets for sale. I'm about to put it on Craigslist and or EBAY! I'm a Harley person, I picked this one up about three years ago, did some cleaning and rebuilding. Have original Owner's manual. Bike has 780 miles on it. One kick and it starts. Runs great, everything works and it's a real looker. Whenever I pull to a light all eyes are on it. Feel kinda silly on it but love two wheelin! Looking for around $15 for it. Contact me - Rob, if interested. LicPlbr@optonline.net ...I'm in Long Island NY.

Robbie Soares said...

I just bought a 1984 RX50 for my daughter. I could really use a shop manual for it. If someone would be so kind as to share a copy I would be most appreciative. Please email akdrums907@gmail.com if you have any information on this manual. Thanks, Robbie.

john hudson said...

Me too.
ii have owned this rx for years. i am the third owner and all the bike has done was train people to ride and to get their liesence on. i would really like a pdf manual if one is out there. tony from 2011 sept had one but i dont know how to reach him. my bike has 2300 miles on it and runs every day as a transporter around our airport. people come by just to ride it. i would like to totally restore it and will do the painting and start parts replacement soon. runs like a race horse. can anyone help me out.
john at. jhudson4545@yahoo.com

Julia Cushman said...

Ready to resurrect the family heirloom and would appreciate a copy of the manual and also need a replacement front fender.
julia.cushmman@laverne.edu

Steve Higgins said...

Tony!!! Anybody !!! Tried the megaupload link and it didn't work. I really could use the Shop Manual also. I would be in your debt if anyone could get that to me @ partsteve@hotmail.com. If anyone has side covers that they will come off of at a reasonable price I'd be interested. Just picked one up for my Son 3 days ago and had it screaming it he next day! What a cool little monster these things are!!!

Unknown said...

The service manuals are on eBay for as little as $20. And there are plenty if them. Side covers without damage are much harder to come by.

Shan Clark said...

I'm about to buy one of these bikes as sort of a training/point a to b ride. Never ridden a moto before and figured this'll be a great start. If anyone knows any good places for aftermarket parts or anything I cam put on it to up the horse power please email me. Shanclark.cc@gmail.com

Love to just have a chat about this bike with anyone who owns ome as well.

Todd TCE said...

Man....buy it and enjoy it as is. Don't try to turn it into a hot rod it never will be. Harder and harder to find good ones. Leave it stock and retain the value.

Adam LaBarre said...

Hello,
My name is Adam and I have a midnight special that looks just like the bike in the picture if anyone can give me some information of where to find a carburetor for the bike I would appreciate it. Or if anyone knows what size thw carb is so I can order and aftermarket one.

Ross OConnell said...

I just bought one of these the other day from a guy who had it sitting in a shed for years in Indiana. this is my first bike and am about to start tearing it down for a complete rebuild. I have noticed some things missing ( gage cover, side covers, backseat cover) and obviously it needs some things replaced like, front brake master cylinder. miscellaneous screws here and there. ignition tumbler and keys. probably the whole gage cluster. other than a few things here and there and what was missing the bike seemed complete. motors turns over so I thought I was getting a good deal @ $240 dollars. but I could be wrong since im new to this. if anyone has a good cheap source to get parts for this bike please share with me Rooster121384@gmail.com
im also open to any kind of tips to the trade to help me along.
the bike shows mfg date of 1982 so I think this os one of the more rare versions of the rx50. since all my research says they were imported from 83-84. hopefully the rarity wont crush my wallet.

Anonymous said...

I GOT A BRAND NEW 1983 RX50K IN SEPT1983 FOR MY 15TH BIRTHDAY..WAS I HAPPY..NOW DAYS 15YEAR OLDS START OUT ON 600-1000 CC BIKES.. SOUNDS LIKE A DEATH WISH.. BETTER TOO LEARN ON A LOW HP BIKE..ANYWAYS LOVED MY OLD YAMAHA TOO DEATH

arnold frantz said...

!I have a 1983 RX50 Black for sale.
Needs front fender, lid for the trunk.

Anonymous said...

I have a RX50 for sale it's black.
Needs a front fender an the lid for the trunk. New battery does run.

Anonymous said...

did you find a yamaha rx50 yet? I have one and it only has 700 miles on it. pretty good shape all original parts.

Anonymous said...

I have one and just ordered a part from Power Sports in G.R. MI. Phone no 616-855-3660. mine have 700 miles on it and is in great shape. I'm considering selling it but I don't know what it's worth. I've seen them for $3000 they are highly collectible

Tim said...

I have one that i have recently cleaned up and got running again. I am going to sell it. Anyone interested can email me at tfstephens@charter.net. It is pretty clean and in green primer waiting for the paint of your choice. Make me an offer. Runs good. Email me for pictures
Tim

Thomas Moll said...

Have a red 83 that I'm trying to bring back to life. Copy of the pdf manual would be sensational! Right now trying to find float level directions. The YSR uses a different carburetor so need to be actual RX50 spec.

Any help appreciated. fstswede@gmail.com

gergo said...

Would you be so kind to send me that user manual in PDF ? That would be wonderful
thanks gergo

gergo said...

Did you find finally the user manual? Could you send me drop box link ? That would be great
Thanks

motormike said...

Found a '83 Yamaha RX50MK in a garage that has sat for 32 years.
Grand total of 118.3 miles. Easily the lowest and cleanest existing example that can be found. Cleaned the tank, rebuilt brakes and carb, tires and battery, petcock kit,
air filter, few other smalls. Rode the True Grits Fun Run this year in north Georgia.
I will be enjoying this bike as long as i can, even though the offers have been getting higher. It's a shame to negate the historic status of this bike by putting the miles on it. Only thing worse: if I couldn't ride it. By the way, I was looking for any factual information about the bikes existence when I found this blog, so i will add this. The "Midnight Special" model is extensively appointed with black chrome handlebar, exhaust, and engine cases, and black hubs, rear shocks, fork lowers, grab bar, carb is black painted. The trim on the tank is gold, sidecovers trim is gold, headlight ring gold. One item to be noted about OIL LEAK: Yamaha included a gearbox "dipstick" in the tool kit that measures less oil than the .8 liter capacity listed in the owners manual. If .8 liter oil is put in gearbox, it will leak from the shift-shaft seal. With the oil level set by the dipstick, no leaking.

Ben Piff said...

This is just what I'm thinking about! My Rx50 hasn't been happy with my commute home from work (45mph flat then a long Hill) and I wonder if I can change the rear sprocket to take my RPMs down without losing all acceleration.

Unknown said...

Hey I just got a 83 Yamaha special Rx50 I was wondering if anyone no a good website to buy parts ???