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sr500 what to look out for?

Discussion in 'Bike Reviews, Questions and Suggestions' started by thecptn, Sep 7, 2006.

  1. I have this desire to return to simplicity of motorcycles, im starting to see you dont need over 100 hp at the wheel to have fun, ive always had a thing for retro bikes and old school, I originaly fell in love with the srv250, how ever, 250 is too small, why Yamaha didnt shoe horn in the 535 virago motor is beyond me, so ive turned my sites on the sr500, a thumper in true form, give me 2 valves per cylinder! give me a kickstart! give me old school! ha! ive seen some awesome examples of them turned into cafe racers, looks horn, any thing to look out for in the srs? any models to avoid or get? im more leaning on the late 70s sr500.


  2. Dont expect too much in the handling department, as I recall they were not too flash in that respect
  3. And don't expect to be able to sit for hours on 120 on a hot summers day, they'll overheat.

    On the plus side there is a fairly active owners club, I've been along to the SR rally a couple of times... good weekend that is :)
  4. You might want to get in touch with the SR500 owners club, they should be able to provide all the info you could ever want :).
  5. PM "chairman" - he knows everything there is to know about SR500s.
  6. Chairman, come in Chairman......
  7. *rolls out red carpet*
  8. I'll tell you what you can look out for.

    You can look out for crazy old bastards riding a customised cafe racer SR500 with little or no exhaust to speak of buzzing you while you are half asleep on your fancy Japanese sports bike.

    Speak to the Chairman.
  9. Yep go to agree with VtrElmarco, the sight of Chairman filling your mirrors with the angrySR500 at full noise is something to be experienced.
  10. Here, here. there was a XV400, but it was more like the triumph bonny.

    The sr500 is getting a bit long in the tooth. Be prepared to folk out a lot of money for the conversion and get very dirty hands.

    There was the Honda gb500 and gb400 (imports). The 500 is the pick, because the engine is the same family as the xl/xr 500/600/650.

    The 400 engine is not meant to be related to anything, though I suspect the xr400 may be related.

    Unfortunatly the 500 is hard to get, because of the lisencing regs in Japan. The 400 is easier and cheaper, but because of the odd engine the parts may be harder to get. Plus, it's only a 400 single and thats getting a bit hard to swallow.

    Maybe get a gb400 with a cactus engine and put a warmed over xr650L engine in it.
  11. Why didn't you tell me this 2 years ago??????
  12. Hey, you owned one... I expected you to know that :p

    Having said that... overheat and seize aren't the same thing, I didn't expect yours to seize :shock:
  13. Very true. Another option you might want to consider is the SR500s replacement, the SRX-600. It's still kickstart in all but the very last models and can be brought in as a grey import from Japan (though even those will be around 20 years old).
  14. I agree that the SR isn't quite the technology of today, but it is a robust and well-behaved design that has the appeal of simplicity. And there aren't many bikes that offer the "I left my guts behind" torque of the SR, or the great fuel economy. This is a very cheap bike to own.

    Things to look out for:

    Well, I don't think the bike has any fundamental design faults. Handling isn't its forte, but remember, this is a tourer/soft chopper, not a racer. It does vibrate in a vigorous fashion.

    Anyone buying one should modify the oil delivery. The standard setup delivers oil directly to a splash reservoir near the inlet rocker, but relies on thrown oil pooling in another reservoir for the exhaust rocker - which is arse-about because the exhaust is a damn sight hotter and needs the oil more. So get the conversion kit (or make your own) to deliver pressurised oil to both rockers. Easy job - about 30 minutes with a couple of spanners if you buy off-the-shelf. I made my own and it has doubled the time between tappet adjustments (now about every 10,000km)

    The bike would like an oil cooler - probably blanked over for winter but good for long summer trips if you plan to run fast. Any wrecker should have one of a recent model bike. The oil-in-frame design makes it easy to add the cooler as the front frame tube feeds the sump - just unbolt the fitting put and the cooler in series with the existing oil pipes. Having said that, I've taken mine to Warnambool (~300km) at ...ummm...a brisk clip in midsummer without trouble. There are thermometers that replace the oil filler cap (just behind the headstem) to keep the dial-tappers happy.

    Changing the gearing is a good idea. Standard is 46:16 (I think) and the bike will take 40:17 without trouble. The result is much lower revs on the freeway and a happier engine.

    Performance can be improved very cheaply with the "Minton" or "Vonderhey" mods - these are just alterations to existing parts, not fancy bolt-ons or custom bits.

    It will run quite happily without a battery - just replace it with a big capacitor. Less weight and one less thing to go wrong.

    Any other problems (won't start, won't stop, won't turn) are either operator malfunctions, or 2006 expectations being laid on a 1978 bike.
  15. Just make sure you return the favour - sitting behind one like this sends compression waves directly at your head.

    Still a damn fine bike to see out there though.
  16. Wow, thank you all, thanks chairman for that advice, much appreciated.
  17. The GB500 is extremely rare here- but Honda made another Cafe 500 single at the same time-
    The XBR500.

    Very good bikes, much better than the SR500 in every way in stock form (though looks are subjective, the XBR500 is a very nice looking bike). It ran reliably at higher mileage than the SR500, had an electric start as well as a kick, didn't have the electrical problems of the SR500, handled better , faster more powerfull engine... Basically everything.

    They're cheap to buy too- $2500 will get you a fine roadworthy example. More common than GB's, so not too hard to find- and you don't have to ride a lousy 400 single.

    Buy an XBR. Wish I hadn't sold mine.
  18. had a google of them, all I can say is im very impressed, looks horn! thanks mate. :grin: problem is I cant seem to find any for sale on any sites.
  19. See one every few months on ebay, like SR500's or GB's they were never very common bikes.
    That said, I've seen more XBR's than SR's for sale.