Honda XL500 a Waste of My Time and Money?

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

  1. SubaruJohn

    SubaruJohn SoobLuvr

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2008
    Oddometer:
    15
    Location:
    Eugene, Oregon
    Hello All..I'e been running a 79 XL500 For several years now....I had a 250 when Younger, and Have always Loved One Lungers....I just bought a Set of the Progressive Rear shocks as well, I bought stock heighth at 16.5 ....Mine had finally given up last fall...
    I'll be installing them in 2 weeks when I get to play with my stuff for a change....I checked out the link someone posted about large cap. Tanks, Does Anyone know what My Stock tank Holds...? I want to say it is around 2.5-2.7gals. I'd love to get the 4.7 or 5.0 for the XR600, but am not sure it would fit my bike without mods to the frame..?

    Mort, You are Local here in Eugene....? you get to ride that XL/XR much...?

    Once weather gets nicer, We run To Cottage Grove at least once a month and ride the Mines....Lots of nice billygoating to do down there...And it's pretty Country as I am sure you know...Pm me if you would like to join us.We usaully have 2-3 of us trailer down there on my flat bed.

    AS for the rest of You, I'll post here once I ride on my New Shocks....

    Chat soon, John
  2. MortimerSickle

    MortimerSickle Semi-Adventurer

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    You are right-on about the tank; it is 2.6 gal. with a half-gallon of that in reserve. If you are wondering about range with the stock tank, you should be safe for 70-80 miles off road, and 125 or more on the pave without needing reserve. I once did 100 mostly-fireroading-a-little-bit-of-trail miles without hitting reserve.

    I got an XR600 a little over three years ago, and have had the 500 out only a couple of times since. I keep it mostly for sentimental reasons.

    I have ridden around Eugene only on the pavement. I live in the Portland area, so Cottage Grove would be a pretty long haul for a day ride on the trail. I do almost all of my dirt riding in the Tillamook Burn. You might want to look up peterman; he probably has memorized every inch of dirt in your area.
  3. mtn500

    mtn500 bush jumper

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2006
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Floyd, VA, Edenton, NC
    so i received and installed the progressive 13 series shocks. I like them. they are WAY better than the stock shocks.

    hey mort, would you mind giving some details on the chain tensioner that you made; chain slack is definately an issue with mine at the moment. thanks
  4. MortimerSickle

    MortimerSickle Semi-Adventurer

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    I am headed out the door right now, but I will post pics later. Let me prepare you though by saying it is crude, but effective.
  5. MortimerSickle

    MortimerSickle Semi-Adventurer

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    Crap, I seem to have lied about having pics to send, and the bike is now in storage at my son's house. So, I won't have any pics of the finished tensioner until I get over there again.

    Here is a pic of a leftover scrap of the plastic I used.

    [​IMG]

    I got it at a local plastics wholesaler. I don't how much it would cost, because it was a piece of scrap they had in a barrel marked... "scrap." I was there on other business, and when I asked the price of just the one chunk they said, "Just take it." That was cheap enough for me. :D

    I will give you a rough description of what I did (Please pardon the imprecise measurements. I will have to measure and photo it one of these days.) After a little head scratching over what I expected would be a complicated project, I realized that it would actually be surprisingly simple.

    I cut a piece probably about an inch by maybe 1/2" or 3/4" and about a foot or so long (the leftover shown is about 13" so maybe it was that.) Then, I cut a piece about the same cross-section by about an inch or an inch and a half long (I don't remember whether I cut this from the foot-long piece, or if that is what made it a foot long.) :norton I then cut a trough in each of the pieces the width of the chain. I think the trough on the longer piece ran only a few inches on the rear end and a shorter distance on the front. I just jammed the end of the tensioner in between the bottom run of the chain and the frame (I think at the swingarm pivot.) I pushed it in until the end was at the front sprocket. A frame web near the front sprocket had a hole already in it. I drilled a hole in the tensioner to line up with this hole, and ran a bolt through to hold the tensioner in place. I then used hose clamps to secure the shorter piece of plastic upside down on the rear end of the tensioner. That keeps the tensioner aligned with the chain.

    I know all this sounds incredibly flakey, but it isn't quite as ugly as it sounds, and it works very well. The single-bolt mounting secures the unit just fine, and binds it over the frame in such a way that it has just the right amount of upward force on the chain.

    I can now be fairly lax in my chain adjustment, and have not had the chain jump off once since installing it.
  6. MortimerSickle

    MortimerSickle Semi-Adventurer

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  7. cajun66

    cajun66 Glutton for punishment

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2008
    Oddometer:
    8
    Location:
    Sportsman's Paradise
    I thought I was the only one with an XL500R. :D I put mine together from a crate a couple years ago, sold it, missed it, bought it back. Ride it all over the place. Put over 5000 miles on it the first 2 months I had it. My only complaints are no seat options (painful on long trips) and it needs valve stem seals. Very torquey. I've owned 6 bikes in the last 2 years and the old XL is my favorite.
    How it looked when I got it:
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    How it looked a couple months and 300 bucks later:
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    How it looks now:
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  8. jakejackson

    jakejackson n00b

    Joined:
    May 5, 2008
    Oddometer:
    2
    I'm new to ADVrider so I would like to say what's up to everyone.

    Question: does anyone know if the gas tanks on the '82Xl500R and the '83 (or later) XL600R are interchangeable?

    And: does anyone have any oversized tank manufacturer suggestions for an 82Xl500R?
    -J
  9. Chad M

    Chad M A full head of air.

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2006
    Oddometer:
    906
    Location:
    N49, W4
    Here is an '84 XL600R Clarke tank on my '82 XL500R. The short of it is, it can be made to work. I had to modify the decompression lever on the head and make a bracket to support the rear of the tank. The lock to lock on the steering head also has to be adjusted to keep the triple clamp out of the tank. Lastly the seat needs to be modified, mine is two seats hacked together, and recovered / reworked. It's a lot of work for a few extra litres of fuel. The biggest difference is that the '84 has the oil in frame which is totally different then the earlier bikes.
  10. jakejackson

    jakejackson n00b

    Joined:
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    Thanks for the pic and the answer. Sweet XL.

    I was more curious to know if a stock XL600R tank fits on a 1982 XL500R, or not. I tried the part #'s but they are different so I'm gonna have to actually try the tank. I'll keep you posted.
  11. Chad M

    Chad M A full head of air.

    Joined:
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    I would say you would face the same basic issues, except maybe not with the decomp. lever to fit an XL600R tank on an XL500R. The rear mount positioning relative to the front mounts are very different. That said, I've never done it so I'd be curious as well.
  12. 84cj7lt1

    84cj7lt1 n00b

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1
    I just unloaded from my truck a 1981 XL500. Comeplete bike, just needs a rebuild. Glad to see that there are others that have kept or have rebuilt their honda.
  13. Bowersbum

    Bowersbum n00b

    Joined:
    May 25, 2008
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    Location:
    Ellensburg, WA
    Hey all, I have finally gotten my hands on a 1979 Honda XL500S. A friend of a friend sold this one to me for $600! It runs great and for the most part the body is in great shape. It needs some work on the turn signals as they are currently inop. So far i've been on it about two hours and am in love.:clap
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  14. MortimerSickle

    MortimerSickle Semi-Adventurer

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    Holy crap! :eek1 It looks practically new.

    Congratulations. :thumb
  15. Bowersbum

    Bowersbum n00b

    Joined:
    May 25, 2008
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    Ellensburg, WA
    Thats what i thought too. It only had one owner prior to me and he only used it on his ranch.
  16. skeptic

    skeptic Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2006
    Oddometer:
    296
    Location:
    SoCal
    What a steal!! Beautiful. I think the low end torque of my xl500 was better than my 1983 XL600R.
  17. Big B

    Big B Luft Kopf

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2006
    Oddometer:
    242
    Location:
    Victoria Down Under
    I had 2 1980 XL250 and XL500 loved them wish I still had them.
    Only down point was the 6v system it sucked!!
  18. tdrrally

    tdrrally Long timer

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    Oddometer:
    3,505
    Location:
    doing hard time in charleston,wv
    i too had one 1981 as i recall loved it
    the 23" tire was a pain
    other than that a great bike
    watch the rocker cover some times the threads strip


    edward
  19. Jersey Dave

    Jersey Dave Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2008
    Oddometer:
    23
    "Free" bike, '79 XL500s one owner... motor locked... 6,000 original miles... all parts are there... optimistic at this point though. I'll try to post pics or link later. Wish me luck!:1drink

    BTW why is it that I am not happy unless I smell like old gas and beer??
  20. MortimerSickle

    MortimerSickle Semi-Adventurer

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    This should be good. Keep us posted.