Forks have seen significant improvements over the last two decades and one of the first item I want to swap for the Super Motard transformation is the XR500’s fork which design and technology descends from the 70s . Fortunately Honda used the same 26mm triple clamp stem diameter and length on several of its bikes until the early 90s. So I picked up a ‘90 CR500 cartridge Showa fork on eBay. This fork is a bolt on swap for the ‘82 XR500, no modifications needed. I also purchased the CR500 front disk brake system to replace the XR500 anemic drum which in emergency situations produces the ultimate sphincter tightening experience! No thanks.
The cartridge Showa fork offers measurably better handling with reduced fork flex and twist. Its tubes are 45mm, significantly beefier than the original XR500 37mm. The Showa’s triple clamps are also stiffer with an improved design.
To have the Showa fork and the rear shock perform at their best, I had both rebuilt with grade 5 oil and new seals by Marvin Rosencrans at RMK – Marv is a magician when it comes to rebuilding and fine tuning suspensions.