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Dirtgrain 03-31-2006 11:53 AM

Honda XL500 a Waste of My Time and Money?
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:

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?

BikePilot 03-31-2006 12:05 PM

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.

tbirdsp 03-31-2006 12:48 PM

For 500 bucks I would buy it. I had a XL600R and it was a good bike.
XL stuff here

mr openroad 03-31-2006 01:07 PM

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

Wings 03-31-2006 01:29 PM


Originally Posted by tbirdsp
For 500 bucks I would buy it. I had a XL600R and it was a good bike.
XL stuff here

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.

rick danger 03-31-2006 03:56 PM

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

VHRAM 03-31-2006 06:19 PM

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

Donkey Hotey 03-31-2006 07:38 PM

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.

BikerDave 03-31-2006 08:01 PM

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

Dirtgrain 04-01-2006 04:27 AM

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

oldasdirt 04-01-2006 07:15 AM

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

Gregster 04-01-2006 08:18 AM

Try here:

Here's what a good condition XL500 should look like:

You can download a manual here:

The XL500R:

Donkey Hotey 04-01-2006 09:02 AM


Originally Posted by Gregster
It's kind of strange how North America never got the XL500R, but went straight to the XL600R.

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.

BikerDave 04-01-2006 10:36 AM

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

DRconvertible 04-01-2006 12:23 PM

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.

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