Yamaha XT 500 and HL 500

Yamaha XT 500 and HL 500
Tholes

Yamaha XT 500 and HL 500

Yamaha XT 500 and HL 500

Yamaha XT 500 and HL 500

Yamaha XT 500 and HL 500

14th photos

Yamaha XT 500 and HL 500
fact

1/14
In 1978/79 the Yamaha HL 500 gave a four-stroke interlude in cross-sport dominated by two-stroke engines.

Yamaha XT 500 and HL 500
fact

2/14
Lightweight construction, stability and great workmanship …

Yamaha XT 500 and HL 500
fact

3/14
… which, in contrast to the Reiger dampers used here, had no adjustment options.

Yamaha XT 500 and HL 500
fact

4/14
Original Öhlins or 1979 DeCarbon struts were installed, …

Yamaha XT 500 and HL 500
fact

5/14
The duplex drum brake was not standard at the time, but was retrofitted to this model. It only came to the two-stroke engine a year later.

Yamaha XT 500 and HL 500
fact

6/14
Retrofitting a deflector on the pinion was a very recommendable measure.

Yamaha XT 500 and HL 500
fact

7/14
The HL engine is largely identical to the XT 500 engine. Other camshafts, in combination with a .38 Mikuni and the open exhaust system, should provide 38 hp peak power.

Yamaha XT 500 and HL 500
fact

8/14
Intact motor housings are seldom found: The large distance between the pinion and the swing arm bearing required a large amount of chain slack. Because of this, and because of the bad leadership, the chain often came off.

Yamaha XT 500 and HL 500
fact

9/14
That was not generous in relation to the half-liter two-stroke engines, so almost all HL pilots tuned their engines with larger displacements. For the "Factory machine" a three-valve head was even designed at the end of 1977.

Yamaha XT 500 and HL 500
fact

10/14
Like all air-cooled crossers, the HL is extremely slim.

Yamaha XT 500 and HL 500
fact

11/14
The wheels, fork, tank and seat as well as many small parts come from the Yamaha spare parts warehouse for the YZ two-stroke engines.

Yamaha XT 500 and HL 500
fact

12/14
Japanese series parts completed the HL frames manufactured by Curtis and Norton in England.

Yamaha XT 500 and HL 500
fact

13/14
The Japanese had a total of 400 pieces assembled in Europe.

Yamaha XT 500 and HL 500
fact

14/14
… distinguish the Yamaha HL 500 everywhere.

Gert Thöles Yamaha XT and HL 500

First love

"When I saw the first photos of the XT 500 in MOTORRAD at the beginning of 1976, it was immediately clear: that one and no other."

I.Back then, I learned the reports by heart and scraped together every penny as a student, only to get hold of one of the first officially offered machines in Germany in the spring of 1977.

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Yamaha XT 500 and HL 500

Gert Thöles Yamaha XT and HL 500
First love

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The XT was awesome: 500 cc four-stroke, but with reliable Japanese technology, a robust off-road machine – and it just looked fantastic. Right at the beginning there was a moment of shock: at a traffic light the front wheel jerked up, I did an impressive wheelie across the intersection. Looked cool, but was completely out of control. Okay, well gone, backflip avoided, I was impressed by this sheer violence.

From today’s point of view, of course, you judge it differently, but back then the XT with its high-torque two-valve engine was something very special. I immediately wrapped my XT around the terrain: rough Metzeler Six Days, long Bilstein dampers, Tweesmann exhaust, plastic fenders; superfluous nonsense went in the bin.

Already at the end of 1977 the XT was pretty much overworked in off-road use, I switched to the Crosser HL 500. I raced with it for a few years. And I have remained loyal to HL to this day. Every now and then she still gets a run, in September the steam hammer will be allowed to shoot out of its megaphone again at the Classic Cross in Wietstock.

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