Yamaha trademarks RZ250 and RZ350 nameplates

As Yamaha RZ250 and RZ350 trademarks are filed, we wonder how the brand might revive two of its most iconic models

Yamaha RD350LC YVPS

THE Yamaha RZ250 and RZ350 models were two bikes that live long in many riders’ memories. Sold in the UK they were of course known as the RD250 and RD350, and they were and still are some of Yamaha’s most cherished models.

And we have (possibly) good news for all you rose-tinted motorcycle fans out there, as last month Yamaha protected both the RZ250 and RZ350 monikers in its native Japan. As Japan was one of the markets where the Yamaha RD was sold under the RZ banner, with a little bit of squinting and a fair amount of coffee, it’s not hard to get excited at the thought of a possible return of the two models. But is that actually going to happen?
Sadly for us, it’s highly unlikely. First up, should Yamaha want to unleash a two-stroke road and track weapon upon the world, it’d have to jump through so many emissions hoops that the final product would be fairly watered down, and possibly quite expensive to cover all of that development work.

It’s more likely that what is happening here is Yamaha looking to the past to help shape its future, and would like to use the RZ name on some of its conventionally powered four-stroke models. Not only would that appeal to older riders looking for a modern bike with a retro twist, but when it comes to buying a bike for your newly-licenced offspring, parents will likely be drawn to a name that conjures up memories of their own riding youth. We saw a similar thing with the recently released Yamaha R7. For many, the name meant the return of an in-line four 750cc sports bike built for and honed on the track. The product we got was very different, although equally as entertaining to ride on the road and track!

There is a final, and slightly more boring reason these names could be in the news, and that’s simply because Yamaha doesn’t want to lose the rights to two very famous models. ‘Use it or lose it’ is how the phrase goes, and that’s the same when it comes to trademarks on things like model names for products. It’s quite possible that Yamaha is simply doing some housework to make sure no other manufacturers can use the name and piggyback on its historic legacy. 

Yamaha Niken GT Review (2023)

Yamaha Niken GT Review (2023) | Testing the latest Niken in Sardinia | Visordown