Moto Collection
Facebook FMD Instagram FMD
Accueil - FMD - Fiches - Blog - FFVE - Livres - Clubs - Musées - Contact FFVE
 Yamaha - XS ( GX )
 Back to brands list

Yamaha D2-492-27-16
Photo ou archives : F-M. Dumas

Capacity : 500
Model : XS ( GX )
Production : 1976 - 1978
Category : (R) Street Bike


XS500 ·1976

Two-strokes bad, four-strokes better

The 1973 fuel shortage and the first antipollution measures enacted in the US sounded the death-knell of dirty, gas-guzzling two-strokes.

Yamaha Strikes Back

Yamaha, which up to then had specialized in two-stroke bikes, reacted swiftly. From 1976 it offered a coherent, yet diverse, upper range with single- (XT500), twin- (XS500) and three-cylinder (750) four-stroke power units. The XS5OO was an extension of the famous RD350, epitome of the mid-range sports bike. It incorporated a number of refinements rarely seen at that time, such as an eight-valve head. This oversquare twin was mounted in a frame of classic construction. with disc braking and the novelty of cast light-alloy wheels.

A Successful First Attempt

With good handling, a natural riding position and comfortable suspension, the Yamaha had a well-balanced ride. Its precise, fast cornering allowed for full enjoyment of the

engine's power. Though it suffered from poor pickup at low speed, plus a slight mid-range flat spot, the engine could quickly spin up to a spectacular rate of rotation thanks to its low inertia, and was powerful and quicktempered when the heat was turned up. For a first attempt, Yamaha had done really well, and the XS5OO established itself from the outset as a medium-displacement machine that was both well-balanced and brilliantly executed. Sadly, it was not always totally reliable.


Engine: 498cc (73x59.6mm) twin-cylinder four-stroke; internal balance shafts

Power Rating: 48 hp @ 8500 rpm

Valves: twin overhead-camshafts; 8 valves

Fuel System: two 38mm carburetors

Transmission: 5-speed, chain final drive

Suspension: telescopic forks (front); swing arm with twin spring/dampers (rear)

Brakes: disc (front & rear)

Wheels: 19 inch (front); 18 inch (rear)

Weight: 430 lb

Maximum Speed: 100 mph


With its angular lines, satin paint work and cast aluminum wheels, the Yamaha XS500 set new styling standards for high-perfomance twin-cam sports bikes.


Motorcycle encyclopedia Moto Passion, realised by François-Marie Dumas, include almost 2000 photos presented with an exhaustive history of the motorcycles exhibited.

This unique collection has been realised with the participation of many specialists. With many thanks in particular to Yves Campion, Michael Dregni, Didier Ganneau, Jean Goyard, Helmut Krackowizer, Michel Montange, Christian Rey, Bernard Salvat, Mick Woollett, etc

One can order here

  • Original cards on paper (in french)
  • High resolution scans or original documents presented and signed with my name.

Please contact me at for conditions and copyright.

© Tous droits réservés
François-Marie Dumas

Accueil - FMD - Fiches Moto Passion - Blog - FFVE - Livres - Clubs - Musées - Contact

Mentions légales