F111 VCX - The Haydon RD500
Every Yamaha RD500 out there is special. Whether it’s one that’s still being warmed up and carefully used to collect a coffee from Box Hill, or is wrapped up in the back of someone’s garage, Yamaha’s very own V4 Grand Prix bike for the road could never be classed as dull.
Some, however have lived a more interesting life than others and in the case of F111 VCX. Former 500cc Grand Prix racer James Haydon bought this bike twenty years ago when he was racing for Yamaha in BSB. He has been the custodian ever since.
As you look through the detailed images, we think you’ll agree that it is in excellent condition. Even the original toolkit is present and there’s an extensive file of paperwork to support the mileage and condition of this matching numbers example.
As a child I was massively into Grand Prix racing and when the RD500 came along it felt like it was the closest we were going to get. When I was 12 or 13, there was a mechanic near my grammar school that had an RD500 in Marlboro colours. He ran it on Castrol R, used to do wheelies past my school everyday and was my absolute hero. Seeing that Marlboro bike clearly had quite the impact on me.
In 2001 I was racing for the Virgin Mobile Yamaha team in the British SuperBike Championship, racing an R7. I’d lusted after RD500s since I was a little kid, it was simply my dream bike and it made sense to find one while I was racing for Yamaha.
This one came up with low mileage and was a lovely, original bike. I had to have it. I bought it privately, from the lounge of the previous owner where he kept it on display. The chap was the fourth owner of the bike and was an avid RD man, he had badges and hats and posters of RD500’s everywhere and in the middle of his shrine sat this bike. When I saw it in there I just thought ‘Superb, I’m having this one’.
Embarrassingly, over the years I haven’t done that much with it. It was placed on display in Brackley Yamaha, a dealership owned by a friend of mine in Northamptonshire. I rode it sparingly and then it moved into my house and took pride of place in my hallway.
I spent significant money on it a year or two ago having it refreshed, I asked Andy Sawford and his team at St Neots motorcycles to go through the bike with a fine toothed comb and when it came back it felt super fresh. Steve was a national level two-stroke racer back in the day. They’ve handled a number of two-stroke restorations and I’ve always been impressed with their work. When I got it back it was a much, much nicer motorcycle to ride.
It would be fair to regard the condition of this bike as excellent. One look at the switchgear draws you in, further inspection of the choke lever and mechanicals hidden behind the fairing panels shows that this particular bike has lived a life of luxury.
A tiny blemish on the front mudguard from a dealer sticker and a repair to hairline cracks around fairing mounting screws (common on RD500s) are the only blots on an otherwise perfect machine. Neither of which stand out, but must be mentioned. The market for RD500s is gaining in strength, we’ve seen examples with significantly more miles and carrying a few battle scars sell for north of £21k. Those that are worth the money seem to disappear off the market almost as soon as they’re advertised, indicating a market that is healthy and active. This RD500 attracts a guide price of £19,000 to £22,000.
A V4 two-stroke for the road, with those beautiful exhausts poking out from under the seat. It wasn’t until the Ducati 916 came along a few years later that anyone did anything like that. The highlight of owning it for me has simply been that at any moment I can enjoy the smell and the look of the bike. It conjures up amazing childhood memories for me. These bikes love being used and the work that I’ve had done on VCX was so that it could be ridden, but I just don’t have the time. I’ve absolutely loved my time with F111 VCX. When you read in adverts for a bike about how the current owner feels that it’s time for someone else to enjoy owning something, that’s the position I find myself in.
Former SuperBike magazine editor Tony Middlehurst summarised his first ride on the RD500 perfectly in the October 1984 issue of the mag:
“Despite the lurid stuff you might have read elsewhere, the RD500 is not deadly, dangerous or scary. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. There’s nothing safer than a bike that’s nimble and powerful, so long as the chassis and brakes are capable. For that reason alone, the RD500 is worth whatever people are willing to pay for it. Racers are already mixing it up with Pukka RG500s aboard standard RD500s, that’s the kind of stuff legends are made of. The only way the competition are going to upstage this one will be to produce their own works replicas and that’s exactly what they’re doing. Yahoo!”
F111 VCX has covered just 7308 miles in total. Far from being unrideable and in need of any work, it has a fresh MOT and is ready to enjoy today.
All UK-registered road-going motorcycles on SuperBike are validated via an online HPI check. This vehicle shows no insurance database markers for damage or theft, and has no finance owing.