Honda XL500 a Waste of My Time and Money?

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

  1. CodyY

    CodyY ADVenture Capitalist

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    I think he means that they never "got it". Not that we couldn't buy them here. And yet latched onto the idea of the xr600, and it's sales figures showed that.

    ...but i'm just a newb.:ear
    #41
  2. slip

    slip Been here awhile

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    That's right, that big front wheel. I bought a brand new 1980 model. I loved that bike. I would wheelie at every stop light. :rofl
    #42
  3. patracy

    patracy Broken...

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    To bump this thread up...

    I picked up an 81 XL500S last weekend. It runs, but needs a lot. I've been toying with the idea of fixing it up.

    [​IMG]

    For $50 I didn't think it'd be wrong to. I also got a roller 86 CR125.

    It does burn oil. But it's got good compression and power. There's a lot wrong with the bike. Rusty all over. But it all works. The biggest problems I have is the transmission. 1st kicks back out instead of staying in. The exhaust needs to be replaced. (it's too loud) Needs a choke cable, front brake lever, entire decomp system. (it's been cut up and disabled)

    Anyone know how much of a PITA pulling the engine and fixing 1st gear would be? (And cost)

    Also how would I go about adding a headlight and brakelight to it? (It doesn't have a battery)

    I'm acutally suprised. I bought it thinking I bought a boat ancor. But I dumped the decade old gas, poured some fresh into the tank, sprayed it with a little starting fluid and BRRRRRAAAAATTTTTTT she came back to life. I really should pull the carb and clean it. As it doesn't want to idle much. But I'm going to run a half tank of gas with carb cleaner and see if it improves.

    Back to the CR... I assume the front would be sprung to light to graft onto the front? I only ask because it has a 21" tire (the XL has a 23") and disc brake. I also thought about trying to retrofit the rear swingarm and mono shock off it too.

    Thoughts?
    #43
  4. patracy

    patracy Broken...

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    Oh yeah, if I did pull the engine to fix first, I'd hit the frames rusted sections with a wirebrush and coat the entire thing in bedliner paint.
    #44
  5. 919rider

    919rider Been here awhile

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    Why can't I ever find those deals?
    #45
  6. patracy

    patracy Broken...

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    Just gotta keep your eyes open and ask around. :)
    #46
  7. MortimerSickle

    MortimerSickle Semi-Adventurer

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    I bought mine new in 1979, the first year they were made. I put over 14000 street miles on it before XRizing it. I run it hard on the trails and fireroads, and after 27 years it is still running strong. I get a little puff of smoke now and then, but hey, the engine has never been touched.

    I am still waiting to find out whether it is indestructible.

    [​IMG]
    #47
  8. patracy

    patracy Broken...

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    Anyone have any info on how to wire up lights on this bike? From what I gather it only has a 6V system. I wouldn't mind running LED brake and turn signals to save some power. Or even slapping a gel battery on it to run a decent headlight during the night and allow whatever charging system the bike has to "trickle" charge the battery during the day/off road.

    Also anyone have any ideas on springs for the CR front end I have? I'd like to graft it onto the bike for the 21" front, Hyd disc brakes, and better forks.
    #48
  9. JStory

    JStory Long timer

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    I'd give my left nut for that tank.
    #49
  10. Sniper X

    Sniper X De Oppresso Liber

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    You'll love it and don't worry about the thing about parts being expensive, that is why EBAY exists! XL500Rs are a blast to ride and the longer you own it the more you'll want to keep it. Just learn the XR/XL starting drill and it'll be in your garage for 11dehundred years!
    #50
  11. MortimerSickle

    MortimerSickle Semi-Adventurer

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    If you want a scan of the wiring diagram for a 1979 model, PM your email address to me, and I will send it as an attachment.

    As for the 21" wheel, you might want check out what that will do to your steering geometry. Period articles said that going to the 23 incher was not as simple as just changing wheels. They said that the geometry had to be changed to make it handle properly. I am guessing that using the 21 without changing anything else will be much like raising the forks in the clamps.
    #51
  12. patracy

    patracy Broken...

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    I've got a XR600 front end I hope to win on ebay now. It's a bolt on job from what I found out. :wink:
    #52
  13. patracy

    patracy Broken...

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    OY!

    Found out why it didn't smoke like all the other XL's I've heard about. Something to do with it only having about 1/2 a quart of oil! I changed the oil and started it up. What a smokeshow! It put out more smoke than I can make with my SS' back tires! So it looks like I'll be doing the top end while I've got it apart to fix first gear. (That and the valve cover leaks like crazy!)

    Anyone know the cheapest place to get a complete gasket set, piston, valve seals and guides?
    #53
  14. WestRider

    WestRider Been here awhile

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    That's a great deal for a great bike. I've got an '80 XL500s that I'm just starting on the rebuild. I used to ride this thing and finally picked it up from my uncle when he couldn't kick start it anymore. I've been collecting parts for several years and am just now tearing into it. Mine needed shocks, headlight bucket and bracket, speedometer, cables, tail light, turn signals, and a pipe and tons of small stuff. I found most of the stuff on ebay but picked up the pipe new from David Silver Spares in GB. It's a BSM pipe so I have no idea yet how loud it will be. Original pipe is rusted out and any decent ones from ebay were outrageously priced. Kinda like trying to find a pipe for my SL70...but I finally did!:clap

    BTW...the springs are easily shot on this bike and I notice in the WPS (Western Power Sports) catalog that you can buy replacement shocks for it. Works makes them too but they're really expensive...like more than the bike's worth! I may also go with some progressive springs in the forks...too many projects...:D

    I'm trying to get this XL fixed up to complement my big Strom and it's my winter project. I probably have some duplicates in parts by now and i've been researching replacement stuff so pm me if you need something and can't find it.

    I've kicked the idea of turning mine into a SM but for now I'm just going to get it mostly back to original...pipe excluded...and get it back on the road for some spring rides.

    Good luck!!
    #54
  15. patracy

    patracy Broken...

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    I actually like it what little I've been able to ride it. I can flat foot it no problem and it has ground clearance with the tires. I've been calling around, looks like I can rebuild the engine with new gaskets and a piston, fix the transmission, and replace the chain/sprockets, and fix a few other little things and still have less than 500 in the whole thing. HMMM.....
    #55
  16. patracy

    patracy Broken...

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    #56
  17. pookiebear

    pookiebear Soylent Mayhem

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    Nice motard xl500 on supermotojunkie notice drum front and back. Guy that did it did his own powdercoating.

    Attached Files:

    #57
  18. Mercury264

    Mercury264 Once you go Triple...

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    Me too.

    Course...mine's in bits :cry
    #58
  19. Takiasen

    Takiasen n00b

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    I also got one of these one year bastard bikes. Cam pitting is a problem. Had the cam reprofiled and followers hard faced by megacyclecams. Supertrapp with 12 discs, street legal assault bike! Top end oil leak is usually due to stripped out threads, had to put 3 heli-coils in mine, along with a metal head gasket instead of the cheesy factory one.

    http://www.bikepics.com/members/takiasen/82xl500r/
    #59
  20. patracy

    patracy Broken...

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    I need some help with my VIN. I'll be tagging my XL in a couple of weeks. The frame has the continuation of the VIN stamped into it starting with the letter P. However it's only 14 digits. On the tag of the neck theres a J at the beginning. The letters/numbers between are rubbed off it. I believe the first couple of characters in the VIN show manufacture, year, and model? Does anyone know what they'd be for my bike?
    #60