I have an '80 XL500s that I'm rebuilding right now. I have been collecting parts for about a year to get it back on the road. I bought it from an uncle who couldn't kick start it anymore for $150. I rode the heck out of it in years gone by but it's only got 3,300 miles. I kept a watch on ebay and was patient and picked up shocks, tailight, turn signals, speedometer headlight bucket and bracket, and front wheel all cheap from bikes being parted out. I also found a new replacement BSM muffler from David Silver Spares in the UK. All told i'm into it less than $500 and it will be like new condition...even if it doesn't quite look like it. Note that the front wheel is 23" and there aren't many tire choices (can you say log-hopper!!).
This all comes down the the age old question of which bike. Most of the miles i've ridden on this bike were dirt and gravel roads and mild to moderate trails. I also had an '81 XR500r at the time and I could go anywhere on the XL that the XR would go...perhaps more because I could ride it to the trails too!
The only thing I'm really missing is a replacement seat foam but I've about given up on that and may just build my own. I did find a new seat cover though. Have fun...it's a great old bike! This one will have to be my adventure bike until I get my new KTM 950 or GS12 Adventure or Vstrom or whatever...haven't decided yet...too many cool choices.
Oh...one other thing. This one was a cold blodded bastard for many years. I dropped it off at Carl's in Boise last year when it pulled it from storage and they managed to tune/adjust it to make it start on the first kick...it wouldn't do that when it was new!! I have no idea how they managed it.
2006 DL1000K6...The fast dark red one...
2005 XR650L...latest addition
2005 TW200...wife's bike
1977 CT90...an original adventure bike