Easy rider position?? Not an XS, I owned one of the first 76 models and later bought, rode and sold a second and looking to reclaim my youth by getting a third. The bike was not like a Kawasaki 2 stroke triple, but it would do 100 mph.
The monster pig bucket I rode had been badly 'tinkered' with. An XS500 doing a hundred!! Must have been assisted by gravity.. in the form of a long vertical drop, that or a speedo was calibrated in KMPH.
I rode a 1974 XS500 for several years. The bike was reliable and not like a stone at all. The riding position was standard and nothing like that of an easy rider. It had average acceleration and was very comfortable. I rode it with larger displacement bikes and had no problem keeping up.
I had an XS500 back in the late 70's and it was a very reliable machine, which as I recall was well worth the £450 it cost me from new. I kept it till getting a car and had no problems.
This prompted me to buy a 1989 machine back in August last year, and it has reawakened my love of bike riding after stopping 25 years ago, and I now love my "new XS500"
Although there are many rumours to the contrary, I have found my 1076 XS 500 to be a very reliable and pleasant motorcycle to own. I have nearly 30,000 miles on the bike, have owned it for over ten years, and never hesitate to take it anywhere.
Anywhere includes 2 round-trip junkets from Minnesota to the East coast. It's very smooth, reasonable quick for it's displacement and weight, cruises effortlessly at 80 mph, and returns decent fuel economy in the bargain.
There has always been very slight seepage from the cylinder head gasket on the right side, but never enough to cause contamination of clothing or soiling of the rest of the bike.
Continental tires have served me well over the years, and maintenance has never been much of an issue... points and plugs now and then, and one sprocket and chain set at about 20,000 miles.
The only reservation I ever had was the singularly unattractive paint scheme... a muddy brown with horrible pin-striping in white as an accent. I remedied this problem with a lovely gun-metal grey paint on the fenders (plastic), side-covers, and tank.
Since it is the least expensive bike in my somewhat limited stable (1998 Triumph Sprint Sport, 1978 Yamaha XS 11, and a newer Kymco 50cc scooter) it will be the last to go, should the need ever arise. Long live the XS500!!! Mine rocks!!!
Just a brief update on my 1976 XS 500C... following a recent tune-up (points, timing, carb sync...) I went for a 240 mile blast with friends in the area immediately West of Minneapolis this past Sunday. 29,000 miles on the clock, and somehow I managed to hold my own against 3 BMW 1200 GS's and had a wonderful time in the all-too-infrequent sun here in the Twin Cities this spring.
The bike was running between 65 and 80 with extended stretches perched at 6200 RPM hovering right around 80. Perfect!!! No noticeable oil consumption during the day and the motor is downright symphonic at 6000 RPM and above! All this on a bike with very little maintenance and nothing open on the engine ever except and valve, clutch, and points covers. (Still original clutch too!).
I try to match RPM's well when shifting, but by no means do I baby this bike... just good clean fluids most of the time and the proper application of the throttle and clutch cables.
I have been contemplating the purchase of a 2009 Bonneville Black for a year, but am less and less enthusiastic about spending $7699 for something only slightly more satisfactory than the XS 500. Do I really need to cruise at more than 80 MPH... probably not. Long live the XS500 C!!!
I'm 50 and owned plenty of bikes when I was younger; Honda 500/4, Suzuki GS750, among others and a '76 XX500. I loved it! I worked as a motorcycle dispatch rider in London and my XS500 never let me down.
I recently returned to biking, and nearly bought a restored XS500b for £700 (about a quarter of the cost of a similar Honda 500/4, which I love as well), but decided on a modern bike, a Suzuki SV650, great engine, plenty fast enough, but SO uncomfortable. Numb bum after half an hour! Also, I didn't like the look of it, so I sold it and am now searching for an XS500b, which I should have bought in the first place!
I personally love the look of the earlier XS500b. I remember people back then asking if it was a British bike, due to the lovely sound it made and the styling. Anyone got one for sale?! Mark, now living in Wales.
Oh the memories. The XS500 was the bike I had when I met my wife, but you can't blame Yamaha for that! Yes it may not have been the most reliable bike in the world, nor the fastest, nor the most chic, but it regularly took me from London to Newcastle with no aches and pains, cruising for long stretches at 80MPH.
Don't forget how many crap bikes were around in those days. On the whole the engine ran sweetly, the brakes worked (if you gave them long enough), and when the (now) wife wasn't looking there were enough girls that thought you were the business riding one.
Excuse me while I lose myself in a sea of nostalgia...
I have owned 4 1978 XS500's. They have been nothing but fun and very durable. I have gone on long roadtrips, road raced and drag raced these old turds. Still have one, runs low 12's at the strip too.
Jim in Oklahoma/Kansas.
I owned a XS500 for 2 years. I took a long 450 mile trip and maintained 100 miles per hour all the way there and back. The next day the valve bent on my way to work. It still got me home.
I recently sold my beautiful black beauty to someone else so it could be restored. I want another in the near future.
I have a 77 XS500 with no baffles. It's the model with 9.6:1 compression, and it will throw you off the thing. Sounds like a Harley and a rice rocket in a blender. Had some carb and timing problems, but, really reliable. Love it, will never let it go.
Was the first road bike I owned when I was 17 years old back in 1980. Mine was a 1978. Bike never gave me a problem, in fact I just purchased one today (May 10) for $290.00 with 29,000 miles on clock. Hope to bring back some old memories!
Can anyone tell me what the code is for the XS500C 1978 oil filters please, as I have looked everywhere and can't find it.
It sounds more like a thrashed 'XV500'. I don't mean an XV535 Virago or a XS500. Those are very different bikes, and I don't want to misrepresent them.
The XV500 has more of a chopper look, and a 90 degree v-twin sound (nice), but they don't hold up well to thrashing at all from what I've seen.
The XS500 I have heard can have oil leaks on the earlier ones with 2 piece heads? They were 1 of the first with 4 valves per cylinder. That, and they have an awful chain driven balancer I think. Re-jet and/or re-time to prevent burnt valves. Just going off what I remember from UMG. Double check bike bandit or someone else with microfiche to see how they're put together or to get parts.
The XV535 doesn't even have a place on this site but they should, I've heard they're tough. They based the new 650 off of them, so they better be! Hope this helps.