1977 Yamaha XT
Price: $14 500 ≈ €13482 ≈ £11551
Item location: Chicago, Illinois, US
Seller notes: Please take a look at the photos in the photo section as well as the description section of the ad. I've tried to take as many photos as possible to accurately represent the motorcycle as honestly as possible. If you would like photos of any other part you don't see or would like clarification on, please let me know and I will be happy to email them to you. Please contact me with any questions you might have! Thanks for your interest!
1977 Yamaha XT500 "D" Enduro
Frame Number: 1E6-110226
Engine Number: 1E6-110226
0 miles, Never Ridden
Brand New Old Stock Survivor
If you're looking for a brand new 1977 XT500 that has never been ridden, this is the one. I don't know of any other machine in this condition like this one.
The cosmetic condition of this machine is exactly as it looks in the photos, if not better. Every finish on the machine is original. No part of the bike has been painted, re-finished, or replaced.
When I found the bike, it had been in dry storage since new and had never been started or ridden. It had also been coated by the factory with cosmoline, a petroleum based metal corrosion inhibitor and preservative applied by the factory and usually removed by the dealer as part of their “prep” before a sale. A lot of time was spent on the detailing of the bike and removing all of the cosmoline from the various surfaces, including the inside of the gas tank. All motorcycles have at least some type of mileage on the odometer, usually the result of being pushed around a warehouse before delivery or a showroom before sale, so no motorcycle has “0” on the clock. I do know for sure the bike was never stated before I acquired it (there was no way it could have been), so what you see is what you get, and the way it was for the past 43 years.
After the detailing, the entire bike was gone over and ensured it was in running condition, which is flawless, starting immediately on the first or second kick.
Everything on this motorcycle is original, from the gas tank to the wheels, the cables to the seat, the engine finishes to the tires. The original Yamaha tool kit is also present and brand new, and is so fresh that even the wrench hasn't been put together. The machine has been started but never ridden.
As you can also see from the photos in the photo section, the machine has had absolutely no restoration performed to any part of it. The condition is exactly what it looks like in the photos. I've never seen a more original and untouched enduro from this period, and especially one with no miles on the clock.
All of the mechanical components have been checked over to ensure they work properly including the clutch and brakes. The carb was completely gone through and functions perfectly, and there is a new battery installed (I have the original battery as well). The original Bridgestone tires are in time warp condition, and are still soft and pliable, with no dry rot or cracks evident, and the Takasago rims are in beautiful condition. There is absolutely nothing you will have to do to this motorcycle to ride and enjoy it this season, or just enjoy it in your collection.
The fuel tank was completely drained of gas, then washed out and dried to ensure there was absolutely no moisture present. That is how it will be delivered to the new owner, unless they let me know otherwise. It will run and ride with absolutely no issues, should the new owner wish to actually ride it.
If you'd like any additional photos of any particular part of the motorcycle, please let me know. I'm happy to email or text it to you. And if you would like to inspect the bike or ask any questions, please email or contact me by phone or text at SIX THREE ZERO, FOUR THREE ZERO, THREE EIGHT FIVE FIVE anytime. I have a video of the motorcycle starting and running I for the first time in 41 years I am happy to email or text.
This particular bike has been part of my collection for a while. I also have a motorcycle collection made up of Italian, American, German, and Japanese big bore motorcycles, some of which I will be selling soon. If you have specific questions, just want to learn more, or are looking for something in particular, please let me know. I'm also always looking for other vintage motorcycles to add to my collection, so if you have something interesting to share, please contact me.
The description of this motorcycle is written to the best of my knowledge. However, I am by no means an expert on vintage Yamaha motorcycles. This motorcycle is being sold as is, where is with no warranty, expressed, written or implied unless there is a warranty in effect from the factory. Please don't hesitate to ask for more photos and, if possible, come and look in person before the auction ends. ALL SALES ARE FINAL. If you have any questions, please contact me before the auction ends.
If you have any questions, please contact me. If you live close to Chicago, I encourage you to come and inspect the motorcycle in person.
Thanks for your interest!
For more on the XT500, please read on past the photos…
The Yamaha XT500 was the original Yamaha thumper, and an instant sales success. This enduro bike was produced for 15 years, eventually leading to an entire range of “XT” bikes of varying displacements and cementing Yamaha's reputation as a quality dual sport maker in the American and European markets. Sharing its very reliable engine with the SR500, the XT500 was capable of 90 miles per hour, as its 499 cc engine produced 31.5 horsepower and 27 pound feet of torque – more than sufficient considering it weighed just 310 pounds dry.
Immediately after its inception, the XT proved its mettle by winning the Paris-Nice and Paris-Dakar rallies, lending a tremendous amount of credibility to the bike. The only difference between the race bikes and production versions? A larger fuel tank, and a rear rack to carry tools and jerry cans for fuel.
*The preceding article courtesy of Bike-Urious, August, 2013
Retrospective: 1976-1981 Yamaha XT500 Enduro
By Clement Salvadori, August 31, 2018
With this model the Yamaha boys at Hamamatsu took a good long look at the trail-riding concept, which had become a profitable piece of the motorcycling pie. This new type of motorcycle, often called an enduro, was adequate on the pavement, OK on a dirt road—a play bike that extended one's horizons.
The current description would be dual-purpose, as these were not full-on competition machines by any stretch of a rider's imagination. Yamaha had actually broken new ground in this essentially untapped market back in 1968 when it introduced its bestselling DT-1 250cc two-stroke single…but two-strokes were on their way out.
In 1974 Honda came out with its four-valve, OHC XL350 single, and that was attracting buyers among riders who wanted a fun bike that could happily go along the highways and byways until the turnoff onto the million or more miles of dirt roads the country had to offer. Yamaha America told Japan it wanted in on that market, and the engineers back in Japan had to decide whether to go forward with impressive technical advancement, or stay with good, understated design. Decisions!
Basic won out! The single cylinder used a two-valve head and a chain-driven overhead camshaft, letting the engine run up to 7,500 rpm—although maximum power, some 28 rear-wheel horses, was found around 6,000 rpm. The engine design was almost square, with a bore of 87mm, stroke, 84mm; 499cc in all. In a successful effort to make the engine as compact as possible, smaller flywheels were used, providing quicker revs when accelerating but still a bit of that big-single torque.
Using a dry sump reduced the engine height, with lots of oil (2.6 quarts) moving around to make sure all the moving bits got properly lubricated. Oil circulation was done via two pumps, the larger of which brought the oil up from the sump and into the backbone reservoir, the smaller making sure oil got to all pertinent places, like the crankshaft and camshaft. Lots of ball bearings were used rather than having plain surfaces, with metal moving on metal; the bearings eased the lubricating problems, as less pressure was required.
Considering the tipovers such a bike was sure to experience, to keep the oil supply safe the engineers built a frame that would house the oil in a big backbone. This allowed the rubber-mounted engine to sit lower in the cradle frame, with a major skid plate warding off the rocks and such. The engine cases were split vertically, just as the English had done, but the castings were made extremely well and leakage was non-existent.
XT ownership demonstrated a certain virility, which was always pleasing to the masculine mind, as it used a kickstarter. Kickstarting a big single, like the infamous BSA Gold Star, was never an easy task—except Yamaha made it as simple as possible. Intelligent gearing had reduced the amount of effort needed to kick the engine over, with a compression release fitted to the left handlebar. Even a newcomer could fire up the beast in two or three kicks, hot or cold. To ease matters even more, on the '77 model a tiny little window on the cylinder head told the rider when the piston was at top dead center.
An air cleaner with a washable foam filter sat high and under the seat, while the mixing of air and gas took place in a 32mm Mikuni carburetor. In the cylinder head this mixture was compressed nine times, then fired by a spark from the flywheel magneto. Exhaust went out a single header pipe…although some misguided engineer had a low pipe going to a high muffler on the original '76 model, which inevitably got a bit crushed after a few laydowns. The next year the header pipe was raised considerably to diminish this problem.
Straight-cut gears ran the power a bit noisily back to a wet clutch with 15 large plates that was designed to absorb a lot hard use. Granted, most buyers were not expected to go plowing through deep sand, but there would be some. The tough transmission had five speeds, and the overall ratio of 5.49 in top gear allowed, theoretically, a maximum speed of 100 mph…although having a little downhill helped.
Chassis was good, with a nod toward trail riding, but more attention focused on getting to the trails. The 36mm fork had 7.6 inches of travel, with a 30.5-degree rake, 5.3 inches of trail. The Kayaba air/oil shock absorbers at the rear had preload adjustability, and were long and inclined forward nearly 45 degrees, offering more suspension travel, about 5.5 inches. (The photo bike uses Progressive shocks.) Complaints about them being too stiff were addressed early on. Wheels were 21 inches at the front, with a 3.00 tire, 18/4.00 at the back, with somewhat adequate brake drums fore and aft. They were OK when used delicately on unpaved surfaces, but a bit weak at highway speeds. Distance between the axles was 55.7 inches.
The long, flat saddle was capable of carrying two people, but for any fun on the dirt roads, one-up was preferable. Up front the six-volt system used a sealed-beam headlight, in case you got caught out after dark. The gas tank held 2.3 gallons, good for about 100 miles on the street, somewhat less in the dirt. Dry weight was just about 300 pounds.
Good fun! Sold well at $1,400—even better in Europe than in the States. In 1979 a much-modified XT500 with a French rider won the Paris-Dakar race. Yamaha couldn't resist futzing, and delivered the bored-out XT550 to the U.S. late in 1982, with a four-valve head and other complications.
Yamaha XT500 Road Test
January 27, 2012
Thumping Good Fun…
The 70s was a time of great technical advancement within the Japanese sector that left the rest of the world struggling to keep up. Yamaha turned the clock back a few years with one particular model however and, in doing so, started something really big.
There is something unique about the Yamaha XT500. Being a really basic and understated machine, in a sea of late 70s technically advanced and ground breaking machinery, it successfully captured a new audience with its stomping ability while also catching the eye of the old Brit iron brigade. It lacked social graces like an electric start, making it a real riders machine and created a whole new generation of multi-tasking two-wheelers, a genre that lives on strongly, many years on. Now every manufacturer has a large capacity all-rounder in its line up and, in more recent times, the class of Adventure Tourer has been created to accommodate the more complex of these machines, all tracing their roots back to the original XT500 concept and its many developments over the last 30 years. It also, arguably, spawned a series of simple roadsters, the Yamaha SR500 being little more than a tarmac focused XT, and a style much copied since its introduction during 1978.
The big single, once started, is a delight to be on although off road, it isn't as sure footed as on the road and at speed across anything other than smooth terrain you do feel as if you are taking a back seat in the control department, the big lump of a bike does handle the bumps and jumps well, it is just that you have little say in how or where it goes afterwards.
Ground clearance too, off road of course, is a major problem with the tall engine sat low in the steel single down tube cradle frame so as not to make the bike too top heavy. This is helped greatly by having the engine oil stored in the frame down tubes reducing the need for a dirty great sump but still the big bottom end gets in the way should you find some low speed lofty bumps. Thankfully, on the 1977 specification machine onwards, the team at Yamaha chose to fit a thick aluminum bash plate that saves all but the heaviest encounters with terra firma. Not surprisingly the XT in standard trim is more at home on the roads and dirt lanes, rather than any serious off road stuff, a terrain best left to the swarm of two strokes from the period, with their more favorable power-to-weight ratios. On the dirt it does adopt a rather bullish attitude, and it is this pig headedness that sees it through obstacles that would stop the two-stroke trailies dead in their tracks. The XT bounces off big rocks, and rushes up steep inclines in a rather ungraceful manner but, you tend to emerge unscathed, yet rather out of control looking, on the other side of such obstacles.
On the move the XT500 is a very well balanced bike lending itself to some silly corner speeds, particularly on trail tires and is a great machine for getting about on. Thanks to nice little weight saving touches like motocross specification forks and suspension the bike is a real sweet performer. Adding to this sugary ride is that thumping big single engine feels far more powerful than the mere 32bhp it puts out, as does the midrange torque which, at 29 ft lbs isn't excessive but the riding position makes it feel double that. By the time those horses produced at the crank get to the rear wheel they have dissipated to around 28 at the rear wheel but the combination of spot on carburetion and cam shaft timing combine to produce a flat torque curve between 3000 and 6500 rpm making the most of the power at hand. This makes the XT500 a doddle to ride, and the need to be in the correct gear for the speed you are going, becomes of no particular consequence, providing you pull away in the first two, you would never notice which ratio you were in at any time. It doesn't make a lot of difference if you rev it to pull away or simply dump the clutch at tick over, the mighty Yam will just get on with covering your ham fisted approach and probably pull a minger of a wheelie for you as well. Carburetion wise, and typically Yamaha, the set up is so good that no matter what rev range you decide to open the taps, the engine subserviently pulls away. In later models, this is aided by the accelerator pump, but to be fair, the very first, none pump assisted, version was equally as good in this department.
Tipping the scales at all of 149kgs dry the 500 isn't a lardy machine by usual standards and this shows when being punted around the road but once the tarmac has been left behind that weight becomes more noticeable and certainly a liability when pitched against other trail bikes. At times on the dirt the XT's torque and the fast way it picks up power from way down in the rev range does over power the closely treaded trail type rubber and would probably benefit from a more aggressive MX tire certainly on the rear but then the superb manners its displays on the tarmac would be lost forever and this would be a shame.
The selection of the gear ratios in the five speed box is also a work of genius, if you rev the engine to peak power around 6200rpm and then change gear the engine revs after that shift are, as if by magic, bang on peak torque at 5300rpm, absolutely spot on stuff and evidence of the thought and work that went into designing the big single.
XT500 Model history:
In 1975, Yamaha responded to a request by Yamaha America for a big powerful trailie and, as such, originally intended the XT solely for the US leisure market. The idea behind the concept was to combine the very best features of the sorely missed classic British single, with its slightly over square engine configuration, with an all terrain, enduro like capability, a pastime that was becoming a very popular Stateside.
At first the Japanese designers were reluctant to turn the clock back with such a project, Shiro Nakamura was the man responsible for the XT power plant and later went on to create all of the Yamaha four strokes of the 70s and 80s. At first he tested several hitech options including oil cooling and a DOHC head, but in the end reverted to a basic and simple design. The US got the XT during 1975 but once released to the rest of the globe during the summer of 76, it was the Europeans that really caught onto the appeal of the single cylinder design.
Yamaha made significant changes to the XT500 throughout its life, the very first specification XT500 came with a rather obtrusive exhaust down pipe that ran the same course as the frame down tube, all the way around to the swing arm pivot, before threading through the frame and exiting just below the right hand rear indicator. This low-slung exhaust became a nuisance every time the bike lay on its right side, no matter what the speed, as the total weight of the machine then lay on this hot and fragile piece of tubular steel, eventually flattening it.
What the XT500 did get bang on from the onset was the design of the engine with all shafts and spindles spinning on ball bearings instead of plain metal ones, this was another smart move by Yamaha who realized that this type of design required considerably less oil pressure to lubricate the bearings, and was also cheaper to manufacture and repair. One other clever feature was the use of the frame tubes to hold the engine oil, saving a good few inches in engine height due to the lack of a sump.
Yamaha XT500 Specifications:
Engine – 4-stroke single-cylinder air-cooled SOHC
Capacity – 499cc
Bore/stroke – 87 x 84mm
Power – 32bhp @ 6500rpm
Torque – 29ft-lb @ 5400rpm
Carburetion – 32mm Mikuni
Transmission – 5-speed wet-clutch chain-final-drive
Frame – Steel single down tube
Suspension – 36mm telescopic forks, hydraulic/pressurized nitrogen rear shocks
Brakes – 160mm single leading shoe, 150mm single leading shoe
Wheels – 3.25 x 21 4.00 x 18
Weight – 149kgs
Top speed – 84mph
Wheelbase – 1415mm
Fuel capacity – 8.8ltrs
Yamaha XT500 Timeline:
The first XT500, the 1E6 model appeared. Easily recognizable by its low slung exhaust, later that year the European spec 1N5 model also appeared, identical in many ways the biggest difference being the lack of spark catching silencer.
A total revamp saw the introduction of the 1U6 model; it retained the look of the original XT. A new high-rise exhaust system kept the pipe work out or harm's way while the sump was hidden behind a hefty alloy bash plate.
Beefier fork yokes held the front end in place, while a longer chain guard stopped the chain oil flying all over the pace at speed.
Larger engine fins aided cooling, as did vents in the rear portion of the front mudguard.
Extensive work to the steering head and front forks saw the road handling improve and the front wheel spindle moved to its new place on the front of the fork legs. The XT goes all posh too with a polished alloy tank and gold anodized wheel rims.
Cosmetics apart, this model was identical to the previous years' version, the following year its successor, the XT550, made it appearance followed by a whole succession of ever larger capacity trailies. The XT500 would remain in the Yamaha line up, and in its original form too, for the next five years until the 12-volt equipped XT500 was introduced. This model was still around in 1990, some 14 years after the first XT.
I have had a few questions about the year of the motorcycle. Unfortunately, I made a mistake in the listing title and stated it as a 1979. It is 1977 model, manufactured in April of 1977, as shown in the photo of the VIN tag. I apologize for the confusion. Thanks for your interest!