Honda XL 500R


Make Model

Honda XL 500R


1982 - 83


Four Stoke  single cylinder, OHC, 4 valve per cylinder


497 cc / 30.3 cu-in
Bore x Stroke 89 x 80 mm
Cooling System Air cooled
Compression Ratio 8.6:1


Single 32mm Keihin carburetor


Starting Kick

Max Power

32 hp / 23.8 kW @ 6500 rpm

Max Torque

3.8 kgf-m @ 5000 rpm


5 Speed 
Final Drive Chain

Front Suspension

Leading axle coil spring forks

Rear Suspension

Pro link. adjustable for preload.

Front Brakes

140mm Drum

Rear Brakes

130mm Drum

Front Tyre


Rear Tyre


Dry Weight

139 Kg / 306 lbs

Fuel Capacity

10  Litres / 2.6 US gal

Standing ¼ Mile  

14.8 sec

Top Speed

101.2 mph
Service Manual Honda XL400R  XL500R



Before you finish an enduro you've got to face some pretty tough obstacles.

Jagged rocks. Bone-jarring whoop de-doos. Rain ruts. Stutter bumps. Fallen logs. Not to mention some pretty determined competition.

The four-stroke that can survive all this is something special. The one that can give you a chance to win is even better.

Pro-Link suspension, a new way to travel.

If you follow motocross, you're going to recognize the technology on the left.

The Pro-Link rear suspension system, was developed on Honda's World Open and U.S. Open Championship racers and now it's ready for the wide open spaces.

Conventional double (and single) shocks systems have a fixed ratio of shock piston speed relative to rear wheel movement.

Roll over a gentle whoop and feel the suspension, which gives you a better chance to be on time at the finish.

 But go off a jump and they don't change their response rate significantly.

The Pro-Link suspension, on the other hand, features Hondas unique link age between the single adjustable remote-reservoir gas shock and the rear wheel. And because of this, the spring and damping action between the suspension and the rear wheel becomes progressive—on both compression and rebound.

Now when you jump that jump, the suspension works more efficiently to absorb the impact.

No matter how rough the terrain, the rear wheel spends more time on the ground.

Honda's new double leadingshoe front drum brake.

Handling with care.

Pro-Link suspension isn't the only way Honda has improved handling on the XR500R, however.

In front, there are beefier 37 mm forks, now air-adjustable so you can tune them to match the way you ride.

And in back, a new box section swing arm that pivots on needle bearings for less flex.

Because Pro-Link suspension uses just one shock instead of two, the XR500R is slimmer and easier to flick through turns.

The location of this one shock also helps to centralize the bike's mass and lower its center of gravity.

You'll also find new double leading shoes on the front drum brake.

Because stopping in an enduro is just as important as going.

The big engine that could.

From California's deserts to Maine's woods, Honda's OHC 498 cc four-stroke single has a reputation for two things:   Stump-pulling torque and power, and rock-like reliability.

It's got Honda's advanced Pentroof head with four valves, instead of two, for efficient combustion, capacitor discharge ignition for hot sparks with no maintenance, and dual counter-balancers to smooth out vibration on those 100-milers.

And this year, the XR500R arrives with a Honda reed-valve-assisted induction system. This reed-valve is placed between the carburetor and the intake valves to provide quicker low speed throttle response and more usable low and mid-range power than ever.

Time for some tricks.

The XR500R comes with a whole set of trick features to keep you riding more, fiddling less.

Like the primary kick starter that eliminates searching for neutral. Or the automatic compression release that makes starting easier.

To help you start on a hill, there's a manual compression release for quick bump starts. The rear wheel uses a new design for quick release.

And there's even a lightweight polyurethane gas tank with an extra large filler neck for extra fast fillups.

With all this going for the XR500R, it's not hard to see that the 1981 model is going to be a lot more than just competitive.

In fact, with the XR500R between you and the ground, there's a strong possibility there won't be anything between you and the finish.

The Honda XL500R, or the case of dual-purpose invisibility.

You might think a nice, bright, deep red paint job would increase a motorcycle's visibility. It hasn't done much for the XL500R; the XL has been a victim of dual-purpose invisibility or maybe a dual-purpose identity crisis.

You must understand that dual-purpose bikes exist between a rock and a hard place. In the beginning, dual-purpose putters were small street bikes, glorified by upswept exhaust systems and tires with pebble-grained treads. Alas, that was too street; dual-purpose riders wanted real dirt bikes.

Meanwhile, enduro machines proliferated, two-stroke and four, and the more enterprising riders managed to street-license enduro bikes that technically weren't street-legal. This left a lot of dual-purpose motorcycles (manufacturers must obey the law) stranded in the showroom.

Guys who wanted to squirt down country trails 10 or 20 percent of the time thought enduro-looking dual-purpose bikes too tilted toward off-road duty. What a pity. The XL500R is street-engineered; for instance, counter-rotating balancers produce a very smooth-running big single for the street. Fluid power comes out of this 500cc single, producing a street trip completely different from a 450 twin's. You roll along atop a melodious rumble. Long-travel suspension (8.5 inches front; 7.5 rear) works grandly on the pavement, and the XL has an air-adjustable fork, no less.

Since the XL500R weighs about 75 pounds less than a 450 street twin, the 500 is easy to maneuver in the garage or on the boulevard. The kickstarter-ac-tivated compression-release eliminates the need for the old "ease-her-over-TDC-and-gorilla-kick." An educated twinkle-toes can start the XL500R, and he won't need to jump down in his concrete-filled motocross boots, either.

The tall saddle (about 35 inches from the ground) may be the largest single drawback for street service. Long legs are useful.

Eclipsed by the 1983 radial-four-valve XL6Q0R, the evergreen and ever-red 1982 XL500R Honda has increased visibility thanks to a price slashed to $1693. Street riders looking for a fun-time, round-town tooter should get their wallet pockets glowing red.

Oh, yeah, maybe later those XL500R street riders can discover a new realm in motorcycling. It's called the dirt.

Source Cycle 1982