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There is just something awesome about this bike.
I have only had 3 bikes in my life but out of those bikes the XR500 is the most fun to ride. I got the bike for free so that may have something to do with it.
Great power, nice suspension (a little too soft though) and always runs. Its a 500 but doesn't ride heavy, especially compared to my last bike which was a DR650. I liked the DR but I would take the 81 XR500 over the DR any day.
I find it strange that some have commented on how this bike is hard to start. I can usually fire it on one or two kicks.
I've seen a few XR500's for sale lately and if I could get it past the wife I'd pick up another one!