Another XT500 build


Been Around the Block
As stated over on my XS750 Tracker thread the XS was sold off to fund the next project a 77 XT500 Enduro. I have some riding buddies who love to play in the dirt and my poor Bonneville has been getting slightly abused and the realization that the XS was never going to keep up I needed something else. However I was none too excited about picking up a modern Dual Sport ... it had to have a little vintage flair. Enter the XT500 ... I will admit I was still playing on my big wheel when the XT was in its hayday and although I have seen pleanty of SR500s I didnt even know the XT and TT existed.
I picked up this bike from a Guy who I meet when helping a friend buy a CB750 SOHC it was in pieces and covered in dust in the corner. Seller was mostly positive it was complete...and he was correct... after a fashion. Seems it may have been used for serious off road work in the past as the Frame and engine says XT but many parts in the boxes came from TT's... since this is not a restoration, it will be used and abused on the trails I wasn't concerned about putting it back origional... I have the freedom to do my own kind of mix of vintage and modern.

As I bought it...

I also have thread over on an XT dedicated board but I thought some here my be intrested as well. Plans are to reassemble, find out what's missing start a mockup and mod... clean and paint... since this is a working bike function will be given preference over form and since I have kids to put through school there will be no fancy powder coating and boxes of fancy CNC'ed bolt on parts.. shes going to be a dirty girl and most of the fab work will be done with scrap I have around the garage.


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Initial Mock up.. quick stock.. missing original airbox and inner mudguard. Looks like TT upper tripple (no guage mounts) and an XT lower Tree (has horn mount). TT front wheel as its missing the left side integrated speedo and has the right side TT speedo option kit. Mis matched guages ( not sure ill use either tack has the engine side plugged and speedo has no odometer or backlighting so its off a later model TT as well)

Bypassed wiring harness and made a mini ignition harness to test. Bike runs... but running poorly.. main Jet is a 320 stock sbould be 230.. pilot is stock 35... Stock jetting and and K&N filter ordered.


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Stock Jetting and K&N installed along with timming set has the bike starting well. That's good enough for now, moving on to running gear and cosmetics. Mock up of instrument bracket that will double as a flyscreen mount. Mocked up with the TT speedo and ignition only... flip flopping about the tach... and looking at mini speedos with intigrated idiot lights and an LED headlight. Will go with a 12v conversion and all LED lighting with a kit from Rex's Speed Shop.
Plastics are for a TT and the rear doesn't fit very well as the rear sub on the XT and TT are slighy different... so I made up a little bracket to mount it.. this will also anchor a bracket that will run down the underside of the fender to better support the tail light and a plate mount Ill need to fab. Stripped the old vinyl off the seat, shaved the foam and reaised the rear tank mount to give it a more modern line.
Cleaned and painted the header, dry fitted the muffler and got some stainless fastners for the heat shields. Made a cardboard pattern for the header heat shield.


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Another update... Sandblasted many parts and repainted...cleaned up one of the rear shocks however the other is leaking and since they are not rebuildable it was a waste of time looks like Ill need to replace them with something new..

Modded up an old rear rack that's been sitting around the garage from a 70's Suzuki, made a simple header heat shield


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Ohhhhhhh it’s an xt500 build off!!!!!!

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Hahah only joking, it’s looking great! Keep it up. And keep the posts coming. Will be keeping a close eye on this one. At least yours starts and runs!! Haha

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Hah will do... Runs for now but it has a nasty hesitation just off idle and it dosenr want to start after its warm... but problems for another day! ;)


Keeping an Eye on your build as well, looking good.

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Speaking up updates... Started mocking up a crashbar/skidplate... Not sure where its going or if I like it but well run with it for now and see where it leads us to. Also picked up some Marine Vinyl for a new seat cover..


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Look good! Mine won’t start when it’s warm either.

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Well spring is just around the corner so its time to start getting things ready for project season. Picked up a parts bike for my Sons Ninja 500 project so thats 1st priority so he can ride this summer with me ..asuming he passes the driving test!.. However the XT is not forgotten. I have a new fuel petcock on the way as well as a 12v conversion kit for the electrical coming from the UK. The diy seat project did not turn out as well as Id hoped so it went out to a local guy and I have to say it was the right choice as it turned out better then expected!
Next projects are redoing the instrument cluster and headlight mount and finish the bash plate/ engine guard!


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Nope tank has earned those "scars"' the aluminum is beautiful, might get a colored stripe like factory to match whatever color I paint the plastics but other than that she is staying the way she is.


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12v conversion kit arrivied from Rex's speed shop in the UK...


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Well its been a busy Spring but Im back on the XT project. Rear swing arm off for bearing inspection cleaning and fresh grease also installed a new swingarm chain glide.
Next touched up the paint on the rear sub frame and tore the front end apart to rebuild the forks....reinsatlled with new seals and gators.

Front end back together and fabed up a prototype guage mount...

On to the muffler... Cut off the rusted out cat or whatever that was and welded up the hole... Should save so e weight...

Next is fab an inner fender and get the wiring harnes back in and working...


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Plate mount fabed up and mounted along with the rear tail light and exhaust... Ended up having to make the rubber isolators for the pipe's mid mount out of chunks of rubber left from another project. Wiring is progressing slowly... Setback with a bad ..brand new Motobatt battery.. Hopefully Amazon comes good for it! Custom inner fender mounted... Needs some further tweaking but should keep the K&N filter dry.. Still need a crankcase breather filter...Shes getting close to rideable....


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Headlight ears shortend and chrome sandblasted in prep for paint. Diy inner fender ver 1.0... May get some tweaking down the road but for now shell do. Amazon is coming through with a replacement battery so back to the wiring.


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Well she's alive. Got enough going to hit some trails. She isn't road legal yet.. Headlight and dash lights are not wired yet and no Signal lights but it running and riding. Here is her maiden voyage!

Tasks left..
Finish wiring!
Finish Bashplate/engine guard
Finish luggage rack
Get it inspected and registered.


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