Yamaha XT500

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by TimberlineAdventure, Mar 29, 2008.

  1. TimberlineAdventure

    TimberlineAdventure Maine Thumpah

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    Mar 24, 2008
    Oddometer:
    380
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    Portland, ME
    Anyone here have a XT500? My buddy and I have a few MINT MINT MINT xt500's and are about to switch over to a HUSKY 610TE. Still keeping the XT's, but am wondering if anyone else here has one
    #1
  2. thumperbill

    thumperbill Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2008
    Oddometer:
    11
    Location:
    Scappoose Oregon
    Love those old Thumpers. Have had a bunch of them with no real problems yet. Got my fist TT back around the mid 80s and have been hooked ever since. Almost always have several in the stable. Great bikes but they dont compare to the newer dual sports but are still quite capeable bikes when ridden within their limits.

    Currently building a street legal flat track style bike using bits of a TT500 XT500 and SR500. Here is a pic of my XT and the project bike.

    Congrats, nice ones are harder to find every year. Lets see a pic of yours.


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    #2
  3. sonic reducer

    sonic reducer Been here awhile

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    Aug 19, 2007
    Oddometer:
    257
    Location:
    Seattle WA
    the XT and TT aluminum tanks are bar none my favorite factory tank ever.
    #3
  4. scootertrash

    scootertrash Mobile Homie

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    "My leg's tired, let's live here."
    Had three '78's, two XT's and a SR. LOVE that engine! Would love to get another XT 500..

    EDIT: Here's my old SR:

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    #4
  5. Sycamore

    Sycamore d00b

    Joined:
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    Dubai, United Arab Emirates
    I also had 2 XT's and an SR, which I modified a bit. Same engine, basically.
    The XT was was a great bike, IMO it was a kind of a legend. First Japanese big single, Yamaha took a chance and opened up a whole new market. Stone reliable.

    Here's one of my XT's in South Africa at the start of an 800 mile road trip on Christmas day 1980 (girlfriend left me, and I was so pissed I left town for good - true story) and some pics of my modified SR which I still own.

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    and here's a TT500 (offroad cousin of the XT) I saw yesterday...

    http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=326172


    and here's the XT again after the first few hundred miles - crazy high handlebars (what the hell was I thinking), army sleeping bag as backrest, seat cut down to an inch or 2 which was also pretty stupid in hindsight.

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    #5
  6. Hektoglider

    Hektoglider One with Life

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    Jun 10, 2006
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    2,536
    Location:
    Lone Pine Ontario (or travelling)
    [​IMG]
    I picked this one up last fall with 7700km original nice shape..........super low price, had to buy it.
    #6
  7. montesa_vr

    montesa_vr Legend in his own mind

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,909
    The old fashioned mechanical ignition points didn't have the moisture resistance that new solid state ignitions have. After four days on the ferry back from Alaska, the bike spent the night outside in the foothills of the Cascades, and the next morning I kicked for a long time without gettting a pop. Finally pulled the ignition cover and gave everything a shot of WD-40 and then it started right up.

    We take a lot for granted today. The XT valves were very easy to adjust, but they loosened with miles and made a racket to let you know it was time to snug them down a little. Oil changes were a bit of a process with the oil in the frame and various filters. It really preferred premium gas. The starting process was pretty intricate until you learned where the piston was by feel and didn't need to stand on your head to look at the little window in the cam cover any more. No counterbalancer, so you knew what a big single felt like -- more shake than buzz.

    I never again owned a bike that was as easy to ride long wheelies as my XT500. I'd own one again just for that.
    #7
  8. Sycamore

    Sycamore d00b

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    Dubai, United Arab Emirates
    [​IMG]
    #8
  9. TimberlineAdventure

    TimberlineAdventure Maine Thumpah

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    Portland, ME
    I will post a few pictures this evening of our XT's
    #9
  10. Jolly705

    Jolly705 Long timer

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    SLC
    Here is a pic of my XT500, if I could get it to run right that would be amazing!!

    [​IMG]
    #10
  11. TimberlineAdventure

    TimberlineAdventure Maine Thumpah

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    What is the problem with her running ?
    #11
  12. TimberlineAdventure

    TimberlineAdventure Maine Thumpah

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    I must be inept at pulling wheelies, even with you are saying is the best Wheelie machine around... What is your method, I have ridden for twenty years, have a modified bike, but certainly suck at the wheelies...:huh
    #12
  13. Jolly705

    Jolly705 Long timer

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    It starts when it feels like it and cuts out when it does run. The carb was pulled apart and cleaned, points in spec, the whole bike has been through but still won't run right, it is driving me or shall I say my father crazy. He has the bike in his garage now and have been messing with it for months now. It has us stumped!

    #13
  14. Rusty Rocket

    Rusty Rocket Life behind "Bars"

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    Practice practice practice.... go to a sloping grassy area and practice. By learning on a hill, you get help from gravity when you have to back off. Also you don't have to get the front end as high to ride a wheely for a distance. Riding a wheely for a long distance is a thrill everyone should experience. It's like a video game, put in enough quarters, (buy enough rear fenders :D ) and you'll get good at it.
    #14
  15. TimberlineAdventure

    TimberlineAdventure Maine Thumpah

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    Portland, ME
    I am no mechanic, but I have one that is a surgeon on these bikes. I will speak to him, and worst case scenario, bring it to Portland, Maine and I will have Lou fix it in a weekend, no matter what the problem is.... Have a few Lobstah's, and go home with a perfectly running bike.
    #15
  16. TimberlineAdventure

    TimberlineAdventure Maine Thumpah

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    Portland, ME
    Are you saying going down a hill ? It drives me nuts that I have ridden so much, and still havn't played the video game..... Do you do this in first or second gear, the bike will climb a tree in almost any gear... And do you pop the clutch or just lean back and pray ?
    #16
  17. montesa_vr

    montesa_vr Legend in his own mind

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    Well, I learned on a Hodaka Ace 100B, which was very light and very slow. I did wheelies in 2nd gear and every time I flipped over backwards I just ran along behind until I could get the front wheel back down. 2nd gear on an XT500 will rev out to 45mph and you don't want to loop at that speed.

    Rusty Rocket is right -- the easiest way to learn to wheelie is going up a hill. The advantage is that the balance point is the same regardless of the slope, so when you are going up hill you don't need to lift the wheel very far to hit it, you're part way there already just because you're going up hill.

    My technique in the beginning was to ride up a nice smooth hill in second gear, throw your weight forward to compress the forks, open the throttle and throw your weight backwards as the forks rebound. I never ever used the clutch. It took me hundreds of tries before I could even consistently get the front wheel off the ground, and many hours before I had any control of how high the wheel was going up. It helps if you have a bump to launch the front wheel off.

    One glorious day I punched down the forks, opened the throttle, rocked back, and found myself riding along on the back wheel. It was only a few feet, but I was balancing on the back wheel. Once I knew what that felt like I was addicted. From the first time I felt the balance point to my first 100 yard wheelie was only a couple of weeks.

    Learning to balance a motorcycle on the back wheel is probably easier than learning to ride a unicycle, but what they have in common is that the earliest tries are so discouraging that it's hard to stay with it long enough to get that first feeling of success.

    I would never try to pass myself off as some kind of wheelie master. I never learned to use the rear brake while doing wheelies, and I never learned to shift gears while doing wheelies, and I never felt safe wheelying my XL500 because the engine kept making more power the higher it revved and I always feared going over backwards.

    I would suggest learning on something really light and really slow. The XT is way too tall, heavy, fast, and easy to flip to be a safe rig for learning.
    #17
  18. Inane Cathode

    Inane Cathode Cheated Anion

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    I can almost guarantee you its the points gap or the condensor. The bike *will not* run right without the proper gap in the points, it should be between 12 and 16 thousands wide open.
    Theres no real way to test a condensor, other than to look at the points, if a condensor has failed to ground or sumply stopped being an effective condensor, your points will be shooting sparks like a chinese new year.
    #18
  19. Chad M

    Chad M Been here awhile

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    Jan 11, 2006
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    N49, W4
    I would also make sure the float level is set. The bike will foul plugs and die if it's too high.
    #19
  20. Tiger_DFT

    Tiger_DFT West Aussie old fart

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2007
    Oddometer:
    38
    Location:
    Perth Western Australia
    Back in the 80's I had a mint XT500, my first big bore!!

    Loved riding and even liked starting it once I got the knack.

    One very memorable ride had me sliding it like a 1/2 mile dirt tracker, I couldn't believe how long I held a feet up slide coming out of a side street onto a main road. I thought I should get off the throttle and straigthen up a bit but when I closed the throttle it started a new slide .... what the!!!!

    Turns out the seal behind the countershaft sprocket popped out and engine oil (under pressure) sprayed out all over the back tire....the perfect additive for a huge slide!

    Moral to this story is to center punch periphery of the seal to ensure it stays in!!

    Have fun on those XT's those of you lucky enough to still own one.

    My Husky TE 510 is a modern day equivalent!!

    Cheers
    Daved from Perth, Western Australia
    #20