Tag Archives: XL500

Where To From Here

Having lived with the XR for a while, and being a bike I built myself, I’ve had some time to reflect on what I did, what I did wrong and if given the chance, what I’d do differently.

Now that it’s back on the workbench, there’s a chance to redo some of the things that have been niggling away at me in the back of my mind.

I know it’s a cafe racer, but I’ve been getting this desire to return to a more upright seating position. Part in due to the comfort, but also in part to the added control you get from sitting upright. And such I’ve been looking at smaller tanks in order to bring the seat forward. I quite luckily stubbled across this ’79 or ’80 XR/XL500 tank that was a good price and importantly, in good condition.

XR500 Tank


One thing I learnt from building the old tank is that hacking and rebuilding the tank takes enormous amounts of work and time, and with my limited resources, simply is not worth it. With a few new mounts, this new tank will fit right up. I also like the idea that 20 years later, the grandson has inherited the tank from the grandfather.

My concern of course is that I can’t get 250km to a tank, which is what I ideally need for practicality. Doing some sums I was getting an average of 23.2 km per litre. The new tank is a theoretical 12L capacity, which *should* get me 278 km from the tank. Cutting it pretty fine. Too fine for comfort!

Next is to size it up and see what else needs to change.

XL500 Cafe Racer

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This early model XL500 has had a lot of work done to it, and the workmanship is fantastic. Also check out the original build thread for some updated photos, as he’s been messing with shock geometry at the back.

XL500 1 XL500 2

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