Yamaha XT 500 impressions

Yamaha XT 500 prints

The legend strikes back

Autumn 1975. In Las Vegas, Yamaha presented a 500 cc single cylinder in the all-terrain chassis. Against all trends, against all common sense. The XT 500 vibrates, is spartan and wants to be conquered. Requires and gives that very special kick. The macho creed is changing: a real man has to be able to build a house, plant a tree and start an XT in his life.

The man remains tough. If the flies are waving off my face with my passport, pointing with a finger at the completely overloaded motorcycle: "Drive," he says succinctly. "No stamp without a test drive." It’s the year 1987. My pants are torn, dust and sweat cement my face, the machine he absolutely wants to take a test drive on is an XT 500. My XT 500.
Dented, bruised, filthy. I’m not at the TÜV, but at the border crossing to Burkina Faso, northern Africa. The air is heavy with heat and dust, the uniformed man has power. Two minutes later a blue calf too. And my XT has one more bump. Small teeth oven ?? together but still a bump? adorn the tank. Autograph his fist, his frustration with the kickstarter kicking back.
Today, a good thirteen years later, I look at the bump, smile at it, and sink into memories. Countless kilometers, a real friendship. Stored in the heart as well as in an old barn. At least once a month I reveal my no-frills girlfriend, theatrically pull off the protective tarpaulin, blow down the layer of dust, lift my Yamaha slightly, the metal side stand hits the stop. It can be pushed into freedom in a playful way. 155 kilograms. Full tank, of course. Sunbeams dance over the paint, caress the matt cooling fins of the engine and are reflected by a small sight glass on the valve cover. A glass that has legends. ("Hello, have you got a lighter?") The magical eye that has stuck in my memory since I bought it. Because it signals security.
1983. "Pumping Laaangsaam with the Kickstarter." The salesman is self-confident, instilling confidence in me. What I don’t know: His experience has been read. XT 500 manual. Start chapter. "At some point you will notice a slight resistance," he continues, and his eyes are fascinated by the ups and downs of my foot. Almost as if a miracle was about to happen. The slight resistance is achieved, my right foot rests on the steel starter, which, so the story goes, is capable of tearing muscles and breaking bones like matches. My left index finger pulls on a lever. This is connected via a Bowden cable to a mechanism that slightly opens the exhaust valve in the engine, thus reducing the compression to zero. Now just a little kick, about five centimeters down, thereby balancing the piston above top dead center, and you can already see a yellow mark in the sight glass. Provided that the ignition point is correct and gasoline is in the carburettor, the following brisk kick is rewarded with a sonorous, dull sound from the exhaust. Provided.
“There is a trick to timing the ignition of the XT 500,” an experienced single-cylinder expert told me days later. I hobble after him into his workshop, where he unpacks a strobe light to check the ignition of my newly acquired machine. "You have to flash about two millimeters before maximum ignition above 3500 rpm." Sounds Chinese. But honestly: After this ignition correction, setbacks were over. Definitely.
XT drivers are screwdrivers. That’s part of it. Just like the mega shock when you find a piece of metal in the oil pan for the first time. As wide as a thumb, as long as a box of matches, as thick as a dime novel: the kickstart pawl guide. Chinese? No, just the thing that loves to break off when the stop on the starter shaft slams back violently. Most of the time it ends up in the strainer of the oil pan, lies there until the day it is unscrewed and panics the XT owner. The said attack had probably been floating in oil for years when I saw it. An over-tightened drain plug was the reason to remove the small oil pan, the find prompted me to dismantle the whole engine. Feverishly searching for its origin. All in vain: The thing sits right behind the right housing cover.
There’s something about an XT 500 engine. A maximum of 33 hp, weighs 43 kilograms, two valves the size of a flat of five and ten marks, a piston the size of a whiskey glass, a crankshaft with marine diesel character, the gearbox suitable for driving oil drilling heads on platforms. Can be used as an emergency power generator all over the world. So at least the legends of the fan base. The greatest advantage of the engine: even if it is mechanically struck, it almost always brings its driver home. Just like me from the Sahara back then. After enjoying a handful of sand ?? Hole in the air filter with the associated grinding out of the cylinder ?? he switched to mixed lubrication. 16 liters of oil. From Tammanrasset to Gottingen. 3500 kilometers, mix ratio 1:11. That was fat.
I would love to understand the language of machines. Then when my little one encounters the Hardenduro group at traffic lights or at meeting points. Between each piston stroke, it seems, a sneering laugh escapes you from the worm of the exhaust. Catalytic converter, balance shafts, five valves, water cooling, electronic ignition, electric starter. "What should be hard about the newest generation of colleagues?" She will ask herself. Most of them will never be where they were. Only with half the horsepower. Only with half the spring travel. But with the irrepressible will to get there. Like at the Dakar rally back then. Won the XT twice right at the start. The Austrian water heads needed countless attempts before it worked.
Okay, on the subject of lighting, the Japanese technicians went on excursions into the Middle Ages. Of the meager six volts, often only five or less saved themselves in the lamps. But you knew what to do. Homemade turn signal reflectors made of aluminum paper conjured up a glow from the glow, a self-braided cable harness was supposed to lure the stray volts back on the right track.
Braking was also a sensitive issue. Somehow the brake lining and drum liked each other. Snuggled together like new lovers. Not a trace of friction. We started sawing. Check pattern in the brake pads? so that dirt was removed. And to sand. So that the topping and the drum found a hold. Ultimately, however, only one thing helps: anticipatory driving.
If I switch from a modern motorcycle to the XT today, I have to radically get used to it, the legend comes up with a bicycle feeling: light, narrow, petite, clear. Soft bench, wide handlebars, easy instrumentation. Africa is everywhere.
And for me only 14 kilometers away. AT jagged quarry is our common weekend destination. Soft sand, rocks, huge puddles ?? Enduro Eldorado. Here we cut ditches in the surface with the delicate 4.00-18 tire, break up the brown broth and let it spray meters high. In order to throw the sludge further back, all that is required is a small surgical intervention in the suction nozzle. The 500 cubic meters, which are tied to 27 hp for Germany, are already breathing more freely, releasing 33 hp to the rear wheel. Enable speeds in the red area above 6500 rpm. Hardly anyone interested in it, yes, who could possibly abuse it as a barrel organ. No, the XT is more of a handy tractor. You can playfully circle around boulders, bravely fight your way up inclines, swirl stones behind you like a speedboat swirls spray. Okay, trials are sometimes difficult, because she doesn’t like speeds below 2000 rpm at all and then often dies defiantly.
But it doesn’t matter. No other single cylinder starts as reliably as the XT. Correctly adjusted, of course. And no enduro vibrates more enjoyably, lets you participate more intensely in the up and down of the piston, the revolutions of the crankshaft. On the handlebars, in the footrests, on the tank flanks. At every stop at traffic lights, the thin 36 mm fork in conjunction with idling speeds of around 1000 rpm ensures that the front wheel bounces. The XT is alive? and communicates it to their environment.
She is the most faithful companion through mud, snow and other difficulties. And maybe that’s why it’s so popular with women. You won’t find a die-hard motorcycle fan over thirty at regulars who haven’t ridden them at least once. A legend that stays alive.
Many bikes cut through the world like a foreign body. Driving the XT 500 is somehow connected to the earth. It gives you time to experience nature intensely and to feel like a part of it. And still lets the front wheel rise when you turn the handle.
Genau 127446 XT left the production halls between 1975 and 1990. I’ll be with one of them forever. Until death do us part. About the house and the tree is not so important.

Related articles

  • Time travel Yamaha XT 250 and WR 250 F

    Time travel Yamaha XT 250 and WR 250 F Strong A good 20 years of Enduro development lie between the two half-powerful 250s from Yamaha – a small…

  • Yamaha RD 350 – The famous classic car

    Final: Yamaha RD 350 The famous old-timer from Yamaha Three tuning forks cross each other in the logo of their brand, their two two-stroke cylinders…

  • Impressions: my 41 liter tank

    Impressions: my 41 liter tank My tank – my freedom This tank. That damn tank . In his mind, UNTRWEGS editor Michael Schroder dumped 41 liters and…

  • Review Yamaha WR 250 X

    Review Yamaha WR 250 X Single cylinder of the future With its sophisticated technology, the Yamaha WR 250 X shows the way into the future of sporty…

  • Test: Yamaha SZR 660

    Test: Yamaha SZR 660 Yamaha SZR 660 No nonsense: single-cylinder 660 cubic meters, poured out in a sporty way, don’t worry? What Heinz Schenk, Reno…

  • Kawasaki KH 400, Yamaha DT 400, Yamaha RD 400

    Kawasaki KH 400, Yamaha DT 400 and Yamaha RD 400 On the move with 400 two-stroke engines Content of The air-cooled 350s were in a class of their own for…

  • Yamaha XJ 900 N printing

    Impression Yamaha XJ 900 N As before An encounter with the ex: editor Thomas Schmieder had the opportunity to ounce again drive the exact same Yamaha XJ…

  • Printing: Yamaha HL 500

    Printing: Yamaha HL 500 Time Machine MOTORRAD editor Gert Thole, 46, dared a journey into his own past: almost 25 years after his racing debut, he…

  • Review Yamaha YZ 250 F

    Review Yamaha YZ 250 F Screech saw She hisses and roars ?? the small four-stroke crosser YZ 250 F soon wants to saw the aggressive two-stroke 125 cc with…

  • Comparison of the Yamaha XV 535 and XVS 650 with 34 hp

    Comparison of the Yamaha XV 535 and XVS 650 with 34 hp Natural resources Here the dainty, cute XV 535, there the heavy metal Drag Star – related, united…

Related articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *