What you can expect to pay for an XT500 in 2008
These have always been very popular, very poorly treated motorcycles, so the condition determines the price. Not the mileage. I have one and I think it is great. They have enough ‘personality’ to be your favorite bike. They cost more than the same technically capable bikes go for and can even fetch a lot more money than a much better bike.
Excellent as new shape: $5000 to $8000.
Good running and maybe one very small ding in the tank: $1800 to $3000.
Beaten and battered that runs well: $600 to $1200.
Not running, modified, parts missing: $350 to $600.
The best bikes tend to be from places where they are garaged in winter (Illinois, Ohio, etc.) The ‘sun states’ –Texas, California, and especially Arizona is where the cheap bikes are that have been left outside for 20 years, in the hot summer sun and rust creating winter rain.
The condition of the tank tells all. The tanks are polished aluminum with decals, and some painted parts. The tanks alone are worth $500 to $1000 in as new condition. I have seen one go for $1400 on ebay. Unreal. Since it was very popular to replace the very small stock tank with a larger aftermarket tank, there are quite a few, very good condition tanks people find on their shelves that end up for sale on ebay.
The (steel) rear fender also expensive $50 for a dented and rusted one, and $200 for a perfect one.
Engines are cheap. A whole engine goes for $100 to $200, and weighs about 100 pounds so shipping it is about $100 USD around the USA.
The weak link for the 1981 models (6 V alternator/ CDI versions) is the CDI coil epoxied into the alternator coils. These ‘stators’ go for $200, which is coincidently the cost of having them rewound by RM Stator in Canada.
A crankshaft, with rod, goes for about $100.
Gears and gear sets are cheap, they rarely break.
Frames are about $100 to $200 plus shipping. Pretty cheap.
Forks including top and bottom triple clamps are about $20. Cheap.
Original wheels with aluminum rims are about $40 to $80 each (front or rear).
The engine drive-chain guard seems to be increasing in price daily. A year ago you could get one for $20. Today it would more likely $50 or $70.
Carburetors are about $40 to $80. Since tuning the carbs was/is very popular, you will not probably have the stock jets. The complete carb-kit, except the accelerator pump diaphragms is about $24. And this will fix your leaking overflow carb bowl too, since about half of these leak at this age. They leak only with the engine running, from the vibration causing the seal bounce off its seat.
Seat covers that staple on the plastic seat pan (will not rust with age) are about $30.
One of the most sought after parts is the guard for the off-road only, TT500, headlight. This one little part goes for $150 and up.
The XT500 was manufactured from 1976 to 1989. It was sold in the US from 1976 to 1981 (1980 – 1981 US models are CDI), and it was sold in France and Germany until 1989. Its street version, the SR500 is still manufactured and sold in Japan in 2008 (as a smaller SR400 –for tax reasons), and celebrates 30 years of production.
For any level of wear and tear, used XT500 have starting to stop falling in price and starting to rise in price as a ‘classic’.
Expect to pay about $2500 for a (good condition for a 20 to 30 year old) bike. They were about $1500 new in 1978.