Yamaha RD500LC 1984-1986
499cc liquid-cooled, reed-valve, V4 two-stroke with YPVS
The original 500GP replica. Less full-on than the RG, and arguably a better road bike for it. Tuning potential isn’t as great as with the RG though, but the RD’S appeal remains strong due to its trail-blazing design, V4 configuration, and Roberts replica link. Values now: £7000-£12,000
Honda NS400R 1985-1987
387cc liquid-cooled, reed-valve, V3 two-stroke with ATAC
An 111cc deficit was always going to back-foot the NS against the RD and RG, but the Honda’s exquisite chassis and impeccable handling go a long way to bridging that gap. Build quality and attention to detail is typically peerless HRC spec, but it lacks the Gamma’s bite and bullish reputation.
Values now: £3000-£7000
Kawasaki GPZ600R 1985-1990
592cc liquid-cooled, dohc, 16v inline-four No GP rep, but the 600R appeared at the same time as the RG offering comparable performance for similar money in an advanced four-stroke package. Despite kick-starting the popular 600 class, the GPZ has never achieved the cult status of the Gamma – its modest values reflect that.
Values now: £700-£2000
Suzuki RG400 Gamma 1985-1987
397cc liquid-cooled, disc-valve, square-four two-stroke with AEC
Downsized variant of the 500 built to suit Japan’s stringent licensing laws. Although visually almost identical the 400 has a number of differences from the 500. Performance is much reduced, however, hence the significantly lower values.
Values now: £3000-£6000