Classic Motorcycle Mechanincs: Restored Yamaha XT500

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Last month our XT500 project was ready for the moment of truth — the great start-up. Rod Gibson refuses to be intimidated by the kick-starter. The scariest bit of any rebuild is that moment where you have no further excuses but to try and start the bike up. For that’s always the time when the worst possible scenarios run like a horror movie in your head. “Did I put those gear selectors in correctly? Are the oil lines the right way round? I did remember to fit both gudgeon pin circlips, didn’t I?” The only way to dispel the paranoia is to go for it, so with fresh fuel in the tank and a fully charged battery I switched on, turned on the fuel tap, flipped the choke lever up, and gently turned the XT over on its kick-starter until I felt the resistance of compression… Read more at
Video Rating: 4 / 5

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  1. flanneryged

    24 juni, 2010 at 23:56

    @minervastone There is a de-compression lever on the Handlebars.I have also had
    some very nasty jolts when not concentrating proper.This is not an Engine to take
    liberties with.I dread to think what it must be like without the De-Compression enabled.Try finding a internet web-site for this Bike there is bound to be at least one.

  2. beesdad

    25 juni, 2010 at 0:43

    That top-end is a bit rattly isn’t it??

  3. uudfourty

    25 juni, 2010 at 0:47

    Make sure your timing is correct and that you’re kicking at the proper point in the cycle.

  4. MortonsMediaGroup

    25 juni, 2010 at 1:06

    Thanks for the comment
    johndoerocks – it was a great loss to the community. Rob Gibson was a great guy to work with, and we had hoped to make many more fun videos with him and his restored bike projects for Classic Mechanics magazine.
    An Obituary for Rod is currently on our magazine site.

  5. johndoerocks

    25 juni, 2010 at 1:14

    rod gibson RIP ride free rod!

  6. ZomvieSurvivalLog

    25 juni, 2010 at 1:24

    I own a xt500 and well lets just say it’s seen better days. To start it we either have one guy sit in it while its in first and a few guys push him until it starts up or we drag it behind a car and do the same thing, it works but we can’t wait till we figure out the idling problem, and kick start problem, and many leaks…….

  7. greaserleo

    25 juni, 2010 at 2:04

    i just brought a 77 xt500 with an sr500 engine installed.
    gonna get it next week and wheelie over every speed bump.

  8. trimoto125

    25 juni, 2010 at 2:17

    very nice bike ! i have the same one but its tremclad black

  9. minervastone

    25 juni, 2010 at 2:27

    my xt500 kickstart kicks me like a donkey and has bust my ankle, Im gettin scared of it now should the kickstart kickback so violently after misfire? starts and runs fine when cold, thanks

  10. mhofkp

    25 juni, 2010 at 3:08

    i’m just starting a restoration project on a 1979 XT500. complete frame-out resto…

  11. gwsoldier1

    25 juni, 2010 at 3:38

    My dad has a xt500, and its just awsome

  12. bumdrips

    25 juni, 2010 at 4:14

    I had one for 4 years from new, loved it.. starting, no problem. just look through the little window on the top of the engine. kick, fire !

  13. carl2017

    25 juni, 2010 at 4:40

    They can be a pig to start sometimes. If it kicks back you’ll know all about it lol.

  14. lawless664

    25 juni, 2010 at 5:39

    hi i have a ttr 250 and was thinking about buying an old xt 500 when i can find the right one could you tell me the top speed and seat hight thanks lawrence

  15. 1969Moog

    25 juni, 2010 at 6:07

    I have one, in 100% perfect condition – Stunning and let me tell you this – They are a bitch to start when cold….. From somone who rides his daily

  16. libertydenied

    25 juni, 2010 at 6:43

    i own a xt500 myself: really easy to start. the “only one” i really have respect to are old harley engines!

  17. purklefluff

    25 juni, 2010 at 7:42

    haha. my dad has an XT500 as well!

    he also has a Royal Enfield Constellation… can’t remember the size of the engine… 750 maybe?

    maybe it’s a dad thing =). apparently they are quite rare though. cool stuff.

  18. beesdad

    25 juni, 2010 at 7:59

    They’re easy to start! Just over TDC, feel the decompressor lever rise slightly, let the lever go, and kick. I never had any problems on the two I had in 1980 and ’84. Took the 1980 one for a month long, 5000 mile tour of Europe – nearly crippled me! 630 miles in a day & half.. aaarrgghhh!!

  19. BuckToothPhooey

    25 juni, 2010 at 8:43

    Was that an HONEST kick start? Come on now, tell the truth! I was always under the impression [or compression] that this was a semi beast to kick over; beast being a Honda xr400 and above. Any secrets to proove I might be wrong. Go for it. It is not a court of law where everything has to be specicific. Only envious, don’t mind my sillineess.

  20. JamaikaManu

    25 juni, 2010 at 9:06

    Yah dude pretty cool.
    I like it verry much

  21. idunknow045387

    25 juni, 2010 at 9:25

    niceeeeeeee vidddd check mine out on meetyourfling(.Com)


  22. trionfale

    25 juni, 2010 at 9:59

    really cool!

  23. TimKGrimes

    25 juni, 2010 at 10:48

    That is one torquey motorcycle. Low center-of-gravity too.

  24. torbinho220890

    25 juni, 2010 at 11:07

    what a cool guy

  25. mat449

    25 juni, 2010 at 11:14

    my dad has the same one and he also has a 1978 mint DT 250 with colector plates:)

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