Kar Lee’s amazing take on an updated Yamaha XT500.
Scramblers are seeing something of a resurgence recently, with Ducati’s remastered version of its 1960s single-cylinder classic (in L-twin format) leading the charge. The one we’d love to see a return of though is the legendary XT500. Classed as an enduro bike, it also sits neatly into the scrambler niche, being a simple, stripped-down concept with a decent performance to get from A-to-b regardless of terrain. The XT built up quite a cult following since its introduction in 1976 before the two-valve motor was replaced by a four-valve engine featuring other modern touches like monoshock rear suspension and water-cooling in the latest 660cc supermoto and trailie. It’s the Scrambler version we’d sell off granny for though, let’s hope that Yamaha can take a little nudge with our virtual version.
The obvious donor engine is the single-cylinder four-valve 660, though to earn the 500 badge there’d have to be a down-sized 500cc version. While the original made just 32bhp, we’d expect a modern equivalent fuel-injected water-cooled motor to make in excess of 40bhp. The 660 would easily top the 50bhp mark, which is plenty for jumping over cows and popping wheelies down bumpy B-roads. It loses the aesthetics of the cooling fins from the original, but if Yamaha were to bring it back they’d have Euro 4 to deal with, which is no easy task even for a single-cylinder thumper.
Simplicity is the key when it comes to the frame, which is based on the existing 660 steel diamond type. Our XT wears a 17in rim at the back and an 18in wheel at the rear, mimicking Ducati’s effort. A big single disc up front keeps unsprung weight down and the original twin shock set-up moves with the times to monoshock, though rumour has it a dual shock version might be on the cards. A bash plate protects the sump and fork gaiters and a simple round headlamp completes the look.
In true scrambler style, excess fat is trimmed clear off the bone, hence our bike has the simplest of fuel tanks and plastics. If it can do without it, it will. A single clock shows revs and speed: there’s no multiple fuel maps, ABS or traction control settings to fiddle with – just get on and go. After all, isn’t that what it should all be about?
What do you think? Is this what Yamaha should be building for us right now? Let us know!