The Yamaha XT500 was introduced in 1975, and it quickly rose to supremacy among enduro/adventure bikes, winning African rallies like the Paris-Dakar and Paris-Abidjan-Nice, as well as motos in the 500cc Motocross World Championship. The twin-valve, 499cc single proved itself bulletproof, so it’s not surprise that some of these machines are still on the road.
XT500 Supermoto: In the Builder’s Words
Coming up in the Southern California motocross and road racing scene of the 1980’s played a big role in shaping my aesthetics. There’s a purpose driven purity to the two-stroke triples, 500cc GP race-bikes and four-stroke, single enduros of the period. Not encumbered by the computer controlled ignition systems, ABS and traction control of modern machines, the motorcycles from back then were a more direct expression of motor and wheels, and I find a beauty in that. (Editor’s Note: AMEN!)
My Yamaha XT500 Supermoto projects draws on those preferences. Combining elements of modern motard racing and the classic air-cooled look of late 70’s and early 80’s Japanese singles is where I found inspiration for this machine. While there was certainly a look I was going for, every build decision on the XT500 was made to strike a balance between real performance and period style. From working in an almost hidden LED headlight to the front number plate, to the over-sized, front and rear brakes disks, I wanted to create a real performance machine that didn’t abandon its heritage.