The XT500 is a big-single model dual-purpose that catered the needs of fanatical off-road enthusiasts that enjoyed riding on the wild open terrain and deserts. It incorporated epoch-making innovations in all areas, including – in a first for off-road vehicles – a forward inclined upside-down rear suspension. Its highly durable engine had strong torque and its robust, lightweight, slim chassis could handle the vibration of such a power unit. This combination made it an all-rounder, capable of being used for everyday errands as well as touring, making it a popular choice. The model became an instant big-seller. Also, thanks to the passion of the late Mr. Jean-Claude Oliver, at that time an employee of Yamaha’s French importer Sonauto and who later became the president of Yamaha Motor France, who saw the “Adventure” potential of the model to ride vast, unknown expanses of the African continent. Consequently, the XT500 participated in the first Paris-Dakar rally where Cyril Neveu and Gilles Comte took a 1-2 finish. Of the twenty five motorcycles that participated the following year, eleven of them were XT500. And moreover, XT500 riders, again with Cyril Neveu as winner, swept away the top four places of the race, sparking a desire for adventure with customers.
Engine / Frame
The XT500 was a 4-stroke, OHC, 2-valve, single-cylinder motorcycle with a torquey engine and a lightweight, slim chassis.