Honda XL500 1979
This 1979 Honda XL500 is finished in Tahitian Red, the only colour offered for that year. Showing just over 5,000 miles on the clock it is in very good condition for the year. Our technicians in the US have been over this bike so we know quite a lot about it already.
The bike runs and rides excellently, it needs a few extra kicks when it’s cold but then again, how many times will this be ridden when it’s cold? Plastic and paint are nice, with just a few small dings in tank showing some patina. The rear tyre is fairly new but the front one could do with being replaced.
We would say the choke cable needs some work, possibly replaced but it might just need oiling, we’ll know more when we get to it. The exhaust has a small hole at the rear underneath but is still very quiet so could be left or this would be an easy fix for an average welder. The remainder of the exhaust system is very solid.
Brakes all work just fine but the headlight bulb needs replacing.
In other words, for some small project work, this is a chance to secure a very rare bike ay a very good price. If you don’t believe us, just look at the prices of these bikes in the market!
The Honda XLs were a series of trail bikes (also known as dual-sport or enduro motorcycles). They first appeared 1972 and continued until 1987. During that time they went through many changes and several variants were produced.
Up until that time, two-stroke motors had been the order of the day for off-road bikes with Honda bucking that trend with the SL series of bikes featuring twin cylinder motors from bikes such as the CB175 and CB350.
The Honda XL250 is widely recognised as the first modern four stroke enduro to sell in large numbers. When it was introduced in 1972 it received a great deal of praise from the press. Compared to the other bikes of the day it performed well, producing good acceleration from its torquey motor. It was also quite a good looking bike with a purposeful styling and a good standard of manufacture.
The 500 was a single cylinder four stoke using a four-valve overhead cam motor driving a 5-speed gearbox. The engine produced around 32 bhp which, with a weight of less than 300 lbs, was enough to make the bike interesting if not fast. Fuel capacity was limited, as might be expected, with a maximum of just less than 2 gallons. The bikes were simple but fairly rugged and certainly reliable.
Many other variants were added to the range going up to 600cc and including the 500cc variant offered here. Styling changed through its life of course but the essentials remained the same, a lightweight, single cylinder, reliable 4 stroke trail bike which would provide a lot of fun and enjoyment for not a lot of money.
Today these bikes have become collectable, possibly because they were a bike from the days of someone’s youth or because they offer a simplicity and classic styling not really found in the modern bike market. They cry out to be ridden and enjoyed though so we hope not too many will be tucked away because, perhaps oddly, they attract more attention outside the coffee shop then many more expensive road bikes do!