Honda XL500 a Waste of My Time and Money?

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by Dirtgrain, Mar 31, 2006.

  1. Dirtgrain

    Dirtgrain Been here awhile

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    A friend will sell me his 1980's Honda XL500 for $500. I rode it several years ago a few times. It needs brake work (drums on both wheels), it could run without work, but I'm tempted to try and rejet it an get a new pipe (if I can find the parts). It sags bigtime when I sit on it, so I'm wondering if the suspension is crap. I only rode it on city streets and a few dirt roads.

    Is this bike more trouble than it's worth? I couldn't find much on my two favorite sites, ADVrider and ThumperTalk. There aren't any forums dedicated to this bike that I could find, other than a German site: http://www.xl500.de/hauptseite/xl500rd.htm.

    Have any of you had one, or still have one? What do you know about it? Also, are there any other sites where I could maybe find more about this model?
    #1
  2. BikePilot

    BikePilot Long timer

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    I never owned one, but used to ride with an ex-ama pro who loved them. He had two of them and did everthing from street touring to motocross on the (no joke, the guy actually raced at Budd's Creek national MX park, even cleared the "big gulp" without trouble.

    The brakes are simple and will be cheep and easy to return to working order.

    If it were local to me I'd probably buy it. Good solid bikes, not all that different from an XR600/XR650L.
    #2
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  3. tbirdsp

    tbirdsp REMF

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    #3
  4. mr openroad

    mr openroad Target Fixated

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    thats funny not 5 minutes ago I saw a 81 for sale close to me with 1600 miles and for a minute I thought maybe til I saw they wanted 2600 for it:cry but for 500 you should go for it:1drink
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  5. Wings

    Wings marmaduked

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    Ditto. It was too heavy for me to play in the dirt with, but it was a great adventure/exploring bike and I did several long trips on it.

    [​IMG]
    #5
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  6. rick danger

    rick danger Off the wagon

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    I had one. It had a 23" front wheel:huh Wheelie bike for sure:clap
    #6
  7. VHRAM

    VHRAM Been here awhile

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    Ive got a 82 xl500 and love it and have spent way more money rebuilding than i could ever hope to sell it for. Just remember honda will rip you a new one for any stock parts. I supposedly got the last 2 new side panels (plastic) in the world for $120.00:freaky
    #7
  8. Donkey Hotey

    Donkey Hotey De Jo Momma

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    Sometimes the motorcycles that are the most fun are the ones we get cheap. No worries about it getting stolen. Yeah, most things on it suck but hey, it was $500 for a running motorcycle. How many things can give you that much fun for $500 in today's world? If it looks like fun to you and you have the room for it and time to ride it, do it.
    #8
  9. BikerDave

    BikerDave Greybeard Rider

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    I've got an 82 XL500R.....paid $900 for it two years ago in mint condition. I love it! I hadn't ridden a dual sport in about 20 years ...and dayum! I forgot how much fun they are! I run Kenda 761's on it and it will handle the mountain roads up here like a roadracer! All kinds of torque and best of all.....it was CHEAP!!! For 500$....go for it!!:nod
    #9
  10. Dirtgrain

    Dirtgrain Been here awhile

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    Thanks for the replies. I'm going to have to buy that bike. Hoo-ah!
    #10
  11. oldasdirt

    oldasdirt Been here awhile

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    That 23 inch front wheel was absolute magic for wheelies. I damn near never wore out a front tire on the last one I had, it spent most of it's time just on the rear. oldasdirt:clap
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  12. Gregster

    Gregster Been here awhile

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    #12
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  13. Donkey Hotey

    Donkey Hotey De Jo Momma

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    Are you sure about that? It's been a lot of years but I thought there was one bastard year that was a 500. It was the first year of the ProLink. I know I wanted an 86 or 87 XL600 and I thought the 84 or 85 was a 500. No? I can't remember for sure.
    #13
  14. BikerDave

    BikerDave Greybeard Rider

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    Honda did have the XL500R here in 1982. I have one and you're right, it is an orphan bike....uses some XL500 parts and some XL600 parts....still a very nice riding bike!:1drink
    #14
  15. DRconvertible

    DRconvertible Lurking in SoCal

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    The only bike I don't have anymore and that I wished I would have never sold was a 1982 XL500R. Felt lighter than it was and rode good on the freeway. If I could find another in salvagable shape, I'd jump on it.
    #15
  16. IslandR

    IslandR Awkward Silence Producer

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    This is my 82 XL500 it took plenty of time and money.

    Well worth it

    [​IMG]
    #16
  17. nachtflug

    nachtflug infidel

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    one on EBay right now.
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  18. mr openroad

    mr openroad Target Fixated

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    how much??
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  19. Gregster

    Gregster Been here awhile

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  20. WestRider

    WestRider Been here awhile

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    I have an '80 XL500s that I'm rebuilding right now. I have been collecting parts for about a year to get it back on the road. I bought it from an uncle who couldn't kick start it anymore for $150. I rode the heck out of it in years gone by but it's only got 3,300 miles. I kept a watch on ebay and was patient and picked up shocks, tailight, turn signals, speedometer headlight bucket and bracket, and front wheel all cheap from bikes being parted out. I also found a new replacement BSM muffler from David Silver Spares in the UK. All told i'm into it less than $500 and it will be like new condition...even if it doesn't quite look like it. Note that the front wheel is 23" and there aren't many tire choices (can you say log-hopper!!).

    This all comes down the the age old question of which bike. Most of the miles i've ridden on this bike were dirt and gravel roads and mild to moderate trails. I also had an '81 XR500r at the time and I could go anywhere on the XL that the XR would go...perhaps more because I could ride it to the trails too!

    The only thing I'm really missing is a replacement seat foam but I've about given up on that and may just build my own. I did find a new seat cover though. Have fun...it's a great old bike! This one will have to be my adventure bike until I get my new KTM 950 or GS12 Adventure or Vstrom or whatever...haven't decided yet...too many cool choices. :clap

    Oh...one other thing. This one was a cold blodded bastard for many years. I dropped it off at Carl's in Boise last year when it pulled it from storage and they managed to tune/adjust it to make it start on the first kick...it wouldn't do that when it was new!! I have no idea how they managed it.
    #20
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