Yamaha XT 500
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1978 Yamaha XT500
|Manufacturer||Yamaha Motor Company|
|Parent company||Yamaha Corporation|
|Assembly||Iwata, Shizuoka, Japan|
|Predecessor||None - This is the original Japanese, two-valve thumper|
|Successor||XT550 / XT600 / XT660|
|Class||Dual-sport, Enduro (TT500)|
|Engine||499 cc (30.5 cu in) 4-stroke single SOHC|
|Bore / stroke||87 mm × 84 mm (3.4 in × 3.3 in)|
|Top speed||145 km/h (90 mph) |
|Torque||3.8 kg·m (37 N·m; 27 lbf·ft) @ 5,500 rpm |
|Transmission||Manual 5-speed gearbox|
|Frame type||Half-duplex cradle|
|Brakes||SLS drum front and rear|
|Wheelbase||1,420 mm (56 in)|
|Dimensions||L 2,170 mm (85 in)
W 875 mm (34.4 in)
H 1,140 mm (45 in)
|Seat height||830 mm (33 in)|
|Weight||140 kg (310 lb)  (dry)
157 kg (346 lb) (wet)
|Fuel capacity||8.8 litres (1.9 imperial gallons; 2.3 US gallons)|
|Oil capacity||2.2 litres (2.3 US quarts)|
|Fuel consumption||55mpg Imp|
|Turning radius||2,200 mm (87 in)|
The Yamaha XT500 is a twin-valve single-cylinder enduro-adventure motorcycle made by Yamaha from 1975 until 1981. It shares its sturdy power plant with the street version SR500 and its off-road brother, the Yamaha TT500. All parts such as the transmission and chassis were produced in Japan.
The first XT 500 was shown at the US dealer convention in September 1975. Europeans had to wait till the summer of 1976.
The bike became an instant success and was produced until 1981 when it was replaced by four-valve engines. It laid the ground for the later range of XT bikes ranging from 125 cc (XT125) to the current 660 cc (Yamaha XT660Z Ténéré) and contributed largely to Yamaha's image.
The XT proved its performance and reliability by winning the first big African rallies, which were on the rise in the late seventies. It started with Paris–Abidjan-Nice and then the Paris–Dakar Rally, which confirmed the supremacy of the XT 500. In France alone, 62,000 XT 500s were sold from 1976 to 1990.
The 21-inch front wheel and the 18-inch rear with enduro-style tires make it fit for both on- and off-road use. Seat height and ground clearance are adequate and the machine features the typical dual-purpose handling characteristics, which makes it suitable for a wide range of duties, from crossing rough city roads to country lanes or paths. The engine proved to be extremely reliable.
The XT range debuted in 1976 with the XT500 single four-stroke "torque hammer". Later, other models followed, spreading from XT125 to the latest XT660. Both the XT and TT ranges represent the typical Yamaha model development consistency, with model refinements over a long period of time.
After 1982 the successive four-valve XT600s were sold in some markets in 500cc form until 1989, but this was not the original, classic twin-valve XT500.
- "XT500C Specifications" (JPEG). Brochure LIT 031089/51. Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
- "History: Dakar". Official website of the Dakar rally raid. Amaury Sport Organisation. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
- "Dakar Retrospective 1979-2009" (PDF). Official website of the Dakar rally raid. Amaury Sport Organisation. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
- "Product Planner Profile: Masahiro Inumaru". Yamaha Design Cafe English. Yamaha Motor Europe. 1 April 2002. Retrieved 18 July 2013. "His first project was the SR 500 and the TT500."
- "They did it their way: When the big thumper returned". Yamaha Design Cafe English. Yamaha Motor Europe. 1 March 2003. Retrieved 18 July 2013. "The times in the sixties where big singles touched the heart of enthusiasts were not forgotten!"
- Official Yamaha Europe XT125R page
- History of the XT range