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A very unusual 1981 XR500R

XR500R 1981 very special EF.jpg

This bike came across my path through a Discussion Forum in 2008 while I was looking for a parts bike. It was a sweet and unexpected deal. There are a few interesting things about this bike. In fact there are a few EXCEPTIONAL things about this bike. This is why I bought it.

This is the way it looks now, in 1982 guise, I just happened to have the right headlight and cover sitting around.

It was a bit of a mess when I got it though, in particular the electrics were cooked, the magneto rotor was damaged and the cylinder had a weld repair from a hole made by a poorly tightened cam chain. The frame has been sawed off at the back, but luckily the piece had been kept safe. A lot of work, but it turned out to be well worth it.


White Brothers aluminum swing arm. Now, this is a super rare piece of kit. It is about 1 inch longer than the stock arm and does not have a chain tensioner.

Ohlins monoshock. Here is what it looked like when it came back from the Ohlins factory after rebuild.


Trick exhaust header from White Bros also. Only ever saw one other of these.

There is always something really exciting about a motor firing up after it has been abandoned for some years, rebuilt with care. The uncertainty of the outcome (at least for me, a DIYer) makes the victory all that more sweet.

On this video, the bike still has its Simons fork. The fork eventually came back with me to the USA to fit another project.

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The Supertrapp muffler IDS2 from a XT600 was almost an immediate fit and was convinced to fit and look perfect. Sound note and level are also spot on.

The 38mm Simons fork that came fitted to this bike was a nice addition. However, I felt that a 43mm 1982 CR480R would be more fitting.

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Thank fully, I had a few parts lying around that could be put to good use and make this bike look like a complete motorcycle.

The engine had a number of problems. The most obvious one were a damaged  rotor and stator that needed to be replaced.

The piston was sufficiently scored to require replacing but the cylinder bore was simply rehoned.

But most interesting was the damage to the wall of the cylinder jug inside the cam chain well. It seems that the chain rubbed the aluminum through and the hole was weld-repaired... Fascinating.

Unusual 1981 model: Our Products
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