For a certain kind of rider, the 1980s were it. Whether you consider them an entire state of mind, or more importantly, an entire state of motorbikes, there’s a particular chord that decade struck. Fans of the two-stroke era, for example, can (and probably will) talk your ear off about bikes like the Yamaha RZ350.
With a liquid-cooled two-stroke engine good for a claimed 52 horsepower at 8,750 rpm, the original RZ350 was deemed an exquisite track weapon at the time. It could, of course, be taken out on the street as an exceedingly fun little runabout, but the track was its natural home. Some bikes, then as now, are just like that.
So, why are we talking to you about the glory days of the Yamaha RZ350 in 2023? Not because a rare one is up for sale, and not because someone just did an incredible restoration or custom build with a prime vintage example, either. No, it’s because Yamaha just applied for a couple of new trademarks with the Japanese patent office—for both the RZ350 and the RZ250.
Yamaha Motor Corporation submitted trademark applications on April 12, 2023, which were then published on April 20, 2023, which seems like an impressively short turnaround time to us. The trademarks seem to apply to names, rather than specific logos.
While they don’t give any information about the specific details of any planned models that could use the RZ250 or RZ350 names, the class designation on the trademark gives a few hints as to possible outcomes. Since 1973, many international intellectual property organizations have used the Nice Classification system (as in Nice, France, not as in “nice work, my dude”) to classify items by universally recognized categories.
In this case, Yamaha applied for trademarks under class 12. According to the World Intellectual Property Organization, that includes:
- Motors and engines for land vehicles
- Couplings and transmission components for land vehicles
- Air cushion vehicles
- Remote control vehicles, other than toys
- Parts of vehicles, for example, bumpers, windscreens, steering wheels, tyres for vehicle wheels, as well as treads for vehicles
Parts of non-land vehicles are not considered to qualify for this classification, nor are rubber tracks for heavy-duty machinery (like construction, mining, or agricultural equipment). Similarly, trikes for kids are also considered toys, not vehicles—and therefore, cannot be categorized under classification 12. (It’s not clear where such classification would place an electric balance bike, though.)
It’s clear that Yamaha is resurrecting these legendary names from the two-stroke era because of the nostalgia they evoke—but what is Team Blue planning to do with them? Will they come back on a pair of new combustion machines, or will Yamaha use them to help usher in some upcoming electric models? At this point, it’s all speculation—so we’ll have to wait and see what the future holds.