1976 Yamaha XS500 from United States of America


Faithful warhorse


Bike was thoroughly trashed when I got it (paid $50), used as a field bike, then (by the looks of it) purposely 'killed' by removing tappets from the valve rockers and running it. Required reassembly and replacement of the timing chain, none of this was the bike's fault.

Poorly cleaned pilot jet resulted in lean running condition, partially melting the head near the spark plug. Again, no the bike's fault.

At 42k, during a cross country trip from NY to CA, intake valves had built up enough carbon deposits to not seat properly, causing loss of compression. After cleaning off deposits (with Crest toothpaste) and reassembly, the bike was back to normal.

Upon return from trip, the previously melted head finally gave out and the sparkplug threads stripped. Replaced head with used one from junkyard.

Recently required replacement of balancer chain (replaced with junkyard motor chain)

Currently has 52+ k miles on it, burns a bit of oil, nothing serious though.

All in all, no issues that weren't caused by age or high mileage, or neglect and abuse.

General Comments:

A faithful old steed. Not very quick, even when you rev it out to 9k, but handles beautifully, the frame is very stiff. Brakes (front and rear disk) and excellent.

Runs great with regular and loving maintenance. Very easy to work on, high quality Allen bolts abound.

Gets 45-55 mpg depending on riding style/location.

Looks/sounds fantastic in black with gold pin striping and new 2-1 MAC exhaust. Perfect college campus cruiser.

Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 14th January, 2010

14th Jun 2014, 01:57

I bought mine in 1978 in Okinawa. It was quick (faster than me) and nimble, and got 69 MPG with a 4 gallon tank. I would not want to take it on long trips, Va to NY cured me of that, but would easily take my wife and I with power to spare. I would think about restoring it on a nice spring or fall day, but it hasn't happened yet. Like most old vehicles, the memories are probably better than the reality.

1977 Yamaha XS500 from United Kingdom


There are evil men in this world; they built this THING!


Nothing went wrong with the machine. It was pretty reliable and cheap to run. I was borrowing it from a friend, as I was without transport at the time.

Wasn't he kind! Eight months on a borrowed death trap.

General Comments:

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear!

Worst bike, in the world, ever, bar none. What were Yamaha thinking! The XS500, truly ghastly! It was a Harley wannabe. But who'd wannabe a Harley Davidson?

The machine was two tone, a sort of sandy gold and brown or may be green, I'm colour blind but even in my deficient eyes, horrible!

The XS was just that, XS weight and XS-ively nasty.

The bike, if that's what you'd call it, actually made you feel fat! It did, honestly, I kid you not. I was about ten stone at the time and nearly went on diet as a result of a bike induced feeling of fatness.

The performance was atrocious, I think a wheezy Superdream would have out dragged it. The shear mass and 'greased pork belly' handling made the machine a nightmare.

The semi-chopper design only added to its plethora of horrors. The wind shield wasn't standard, and flapped wildly above 40mph. Not that that mattered too much, the 'alleged' motorcycle could barely break the national speed limit, and had totally run out of steam at 85.

The riding position was classic 'Easy Rider' and oh dear, oh dear!

The engine was hewn from marble, but did actually sound quite nice 'pig PIG pig PIG pig... PIIIGGGG'

The seat was very comfortable and being low, dead easy to get on and off... fall off mostly.

I don't wish to sound ungrateful, but I used to kick the bike every time I was about get on it, and then again when I dismounted.

I was so happy when my fortunes changed for better, and I was able to return Satan's ped to its rightful owner.

Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 24th June, 2008

23rd Aug 2008, 13:36

Totally untrue, it must have been an XS250 re-badged he was riding. I bought an XS500 in '79 and still have it in my garage with my Fireblade. The XS clocked 16,000 miles and I rode it to various race meetings in Ireland in the company of 600's and bigger and never felt slow, you can cruse at 80 mph all day.

I fitted double disks at the front and a Ducati 888 fairing and never had any problems.

It is now on my list to restore it back to the original and use it as a fun bike.