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My 82 XL500R - Questions

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Hey there! I just found this forum while looking for some info on my 1982 XL500R.

I've had this bike for some time and really enjoy rippin' about the city on it... kinda like driving a monster truck downtown :lol: it's just so much fun. However, and this is the issue, I'm starting to get interested in doing some day trip exploring around this area (Calgary, Canada) and possibly (dare I say it?!) some adventure touring. I have no desire to get into hard core off roading (at least not on this bike) but rather explore the off highway vehicle areas, fire roads and some "Lite dirt". What do I need to do (cheaply!) to this old girl to make her somewhat tour worthy? Here's some specific questions but I'd be most interested in the best and most common upgrades/fixes for the 500R:

1) Gearing. The highways that I'll need to run to get to the forestry service roads and such are 120kph... 'bout 60mph. I need to replace the chain and sprockets anyway... what's the preferred gearing for running at this speed? I'm not interested in hard core dirt so I'm thinking a higher gearing off road won't really matter.

2) Any jetting issues? I hear these bikes run lean and hot.

3) Any good sources for handguards that will also protect the clutch/brake levers?

Thanks for any comments! I'm a Gixxer/Guzzi guy comin' off the street onto the dirt and need help :applause:

Chris.

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Hey,can't be of too much help but I'd use the stock gearing(mine works fine)..and for the bars I like my renthal 31.5" and aluminum brush guards(renthal),if you can avoid the big plastic guards,do it..they do help the hands in bush country,but take away from the view also.

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Have your dentist tighten your fillings, that thumper is gonna shake them out!

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Thanks for the comments! I'll check out the renthal stuff as the riding I intend to do will not involve much if any brush. I just don't like tipping over and breaking a lever.

Hey! The XL is actually quite smooth... all things considered. Keep in mind my main skoot for years and many long days (800 miles +) is a bored out 1986 gsxr1100 :applause: Not exactly a smooooooth operator :lol:

Oh yeah... what about the stock bash plate... any thoughts? Good, bad, replace right away..?

Thanks

Chris.

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I would try the stock gearing. The easy thing to do if you want to try other ratios is to get a few different front sprockets. I think that the stock front sprocket is a 15 tooth. Try and get a 14 and maybe even a 13. It's quick to swap out. JT makes fronts from 13 to 16 and rears from 38 to 53. If I remember correctly stock is 15/43.

I had an 81 XR500 with basically the same motor and my bike ran very hot. I always ran it a bit on the rich side to help cut the heat.

The best chain for the money is a Rocky Mountain X-ring. They have sprocket kits, but I think that your bike is a bit too old for them on the sprocket side.

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