Honda XL500 a Waste of My Time and Money?

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

  1. Hosebag

    Hosebag Difficult but Useful

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    I'm setting up my '81 XL500 for a Baja trip next fall. Anyone know of a big (gas) tank option for the XL500?
    #81
  2. MortimerSickle

    MortimerSickle Semi-Adventurer

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    #82
  3. Hosebag

    Hosebag Difficult but Useful

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  4. fadingfastsd

    fadingfastsd Looking for riding partner near Fort Collins, CO!

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    Hey guys, I just recently built an 82 Honda XL500, same bike. I got it locally for $550. It runs like a champion.

    My problem is starting this thing. I've kicked it the day I bought it and it started in 2-3 kicks from cold no problem.

    The last 2 times I've started it, its kicked back and nearly broke my ankle.
    It does not have a decompression lever on the bars, just the auto decomp operated off the kickstarter.

    What is the correct starting procedure for this bike? Please help! It runs great, I've just gotta figure out how to start it reliably without breaking my ankle. I already made the mistake of starting it in tennis shoes the other night, and it took most of the skin off of my heel. Its better in boots, but my ankle can't take much more of those kick backs!

    Heres some pics:

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    #84
  5. MortimerSickle

    MortimerSickle Semi-Adventurer

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    Roll over the engine with easy strokes until you feel it come up on the compression stroke, then give it a good jump. It takes some practice to get the feel of it. Make sure the carb is in good working order and properly jetted.
    #85
  6. mtn500

    mtn500 bush jumper

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    also, make sure that the choke is used when the engine is cold; sorry if that is obvious.
    I have a 1980 xl500s and you definately have to watch those bikes because they will snap back and bite you hard. another thing, do you have a clymer manual for the bike? it could be possible that the auto decompression isn't adjusted properly; its worth checking out if all else fails.

    your rear turn signals need some viagra
    #86
  7. MortimerSickle

    MortimerSickle Semi-Adventurer

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    Also, watch out with wet boots on that chrome kicker. (Slip, jab, Ouch! Two days off work. :bluduh)



    Edit: Oh, your's isn't chrome- probably still slick though.
    #87
  8. mtn500

    mtn500 bush jumper

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    so, for those xl500s owners who have put aftermarket shocks on their bikes, which ones worked the best?
    im looking at the progressive series 13, but they are cheaply priced compared to worx shocks. are the progressives crap or are they a good compromise between cost and effectiveness?

    anybody care to give a review of the progressives or any other available rear shock for the xl500?

    also, anybody ever rebuilt the factory shocks? are the new aftermarkets better than rebuilding?

    thanks
    #88
  9. MortimerSickle

    MortimerSickle Semi-Adventurer

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    :eek1 You can still get shocks for them? Wow!

    My Works Performance have worked pretty well for a long time. But, they are a hundred
    years old now, and getting a little boingy. Maybe I'll get around to rebuilding them someday. :D
    #89
  10. mtn500

    mtn500 bush jumper

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    yeah a few places sell progressive shocks and springs for it. dennis kirk sells springs for ~$75 a set. they have xr500 shocks for $174; don't know if they will work on the xl500.

    [​IMG]
    #90
  11. MortimerSickle

    MortimerSickle Semi-Adventurer

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    The XR and XL models had few differences back then, and I don't think suspension was one of them. I can't say for sure, but I think the shocks should interchange.

    I should mention that some aftermarket shocks have longer travel than stock. My WP shocks added 1". I put in a Terry fork kit to add a matching inch on the front. Also, if you add travel, chain adjustment becomes very critical. If you use the factory slack measurement, it will bind hard when you hit a whoop. I pull loose one shock from the top mount, then compress the suspension, using a tie-down. I then adjust the chain to have just a little slack- maybe a half inch. If it is any slacker than that, it is too loose when it is at ride height. If it is tighter, it will bind. I finally made a chain tensioner to allow me to use more slack without having the chain jump off. Now, the adjustment is not so critical and is much easier to deal with.

    Here is a pic of the shocks. Note the block under the now-too-short- kickstand.

    [​IMG]
    #91
  12. mtn500

    mtn500 bush jumper

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    damn mort, your xl is sweet.

    the wp shocks are nice, i've been checking them out. got a set priced to me from a local bike suspension shop for $520.

    the progressives are ~half price.

    anyone know if the progressives are rebuildable?

    anybody have them? like them/hate them?
    #92
  13. MortimerSickle

    MortimerSickle Semi-Adventurer

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    :D
    $520 :yikes

    I don't remember what I paid for mine, but I'm sure I could have gotten four sets for that and had money left over.



    Of course, that was about 25 years ago. :gerg





    Thanks, but I should mention that the pic is kind of old. The bike has since had a few years of Adventure, and is beginning to show it. For instance, the time I resculptured the gas tank with my knee. :D
    #93
  14. Badger

    Badger Been here awhile

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    Just picked a '79 XL500S up from the wrecker yard. One of the guys siad it was running two years ago and it got put up in the storage shed since then and forgotten. All the lights and controls are gone or damaged, but it will kick over and looks as if all the mechanicals are there, even the comp/release. Going to run arond a little tomorrow to scrounge parts....Whoo Hooo:clap
    #94
  15. mtn500

    mtn500 bush jumper

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    good bike badger, you're gonna love it
    #95
  16. mtn500

    mtn500 bush jumper

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    mort, what is this terry fork kit that you speak of?

    is it critical that you raise the front end if you put on shocks that are longer than stock?

    i decided and purchased a set of progressives that are advertised at 17.5". i measured my stock shocks and they were 16". other than the kickstand not being long enough, im hoping they are gonna work without too may problems.
    #96
  17. Badger

    Badger Been here awhile

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    I'm gonna need new shocks before long, any suggestions/resorces? The ones on there now are about 17" long and marked "Stroker".

    Also, what's the deal with a 6volt battery (need one of those too), how do I run the lights? I want to go with LED's because I'm starting from scratch anyway.
    #97
  18. mtn500

    mtn500 bush jumper

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    well i just bought a set from dennis kirk for a 79-80 xr500 that are 17.5" long. shocks + springs = $233 delivered. they are progressive 13 series shocks and are not rebuildable like the works performance, but are half as expensive; if you don't race or ride really hard, they should be fine.

    the deal with the 6V? it sucks....thats the deal. cheapest place i've found for a 6v battery is jcwhitney, $14 for 24 month battery. signal and brake lights run off the battery, headlight runs off of stator when bike is running.

    keep me posted on how you get leds hooked up; i would like to add some alternative lighting to mine.
    #98
  19. MortimerSickle

    MortimerSickle Semi-Adventurer

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    The Terry fork kit raises the front one inch, and I am not sure whether it gives more travel or just more height. I don't remember what parts were in the kit, but they were few and simple. You have to tear down the forks to do the job, but it is just a little more involved than to change fork seals (do this too, while you have it apart- if they are not leaking now, they will be soon.)
    I don't know whether the kit is still available.

    If you raise only the rear, the handling will probably be affected to at least some extent. From what I have heard, it would quicken the steering, but I don't know whether it would be a problem. It might just make it turn in easier, or it might make it twitchy.



    6 volt battery:

    The engine will run without a battery, so probably the only reason you need a battery at all is to keep the lights from dimming at idle. I pulled my battery and lights many years ago, when I XRized the bike, so I am sure the engine will run, but I don't really know about the lights.

    You probably could convert to 12v by getting a 12v regulator, ignition coil, and battery, and of course changing your bulbs, but I am just guessing about this part.



    Edit: I got to thinking about the 12v stuff, and remembered the CDI. That might be a problem too. Dunno.
    #99
  20. mtn500

    mtn500 bush jumper

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    i saw that dennis kirk has a 12v ignition coil for xr500 for $10; its aftermarket so im not too sure of the quality, but for $10 its a step towards 12v for the bike