XL500R 1982 (C) USA
Introduced in 1979, in response to Yamaha’s XT500 this single overhead camshaft engine with a four valve twin port head bought big 500cc four strokes right back to the position they once held with the British machinery of the 1950’s.
With a full 31bhp @ 6500rpm and weighing a fairly stealthy 131kg this big thumper soon became a top seller, and not just in North America, the model found favour, just like the XT 500 Yamaha in Europe and the U.K as well.
Development took it closer to a full out competition enduro machine, and in it’s penultimate 1883 from adopted a far more efficient disc brake, which it sorely needed, the old expanding drum not being up to the job of slowing this charger when blasting down a steep incline. It bowed out in 1984, giving way to the new XL600,