XR500 Super Motard Plastics, Fenders and Lights, Oh My…!

Our next step is to acquire and mount some fenders, a modern looking headlight and a taillight. 

On the fenders side, we can either go with Super Motard generic fenders, NOS parts (new old stock), or replicas of new.  I first investigated the Super Motard generics and found a plethora of models to choose from Acerbis, UFO, Polisport and Cycra.  The catch is that unless you go with black, matching colors with the generics is a challenge… as I found out after ordering some front fenders from UFO and Acerbis.  Their red is a much more vivid red, lined up with the current Honda CR450F rather than the “old” Tahitian red of our ‘82 XR500.  The contrast is in fact so strong that these fenders cannot really be considered for this project — I had to return them. 

I then looked at NOS fenders, which can still be found, but at a price!  As I’m not willing to spend more on two fenders then the entire value of the motorcycle, I investigated replicas of new.  Battling this space are two great manufacturers, Maier USA and DC Plastics.  The finish on the Maier products is a bit nicer than what comes out of DC Plastics (different production technologies) and so I ordered a set of fenders from Maier.  Unfortunately, “red” at Maier is not Tahitian red but rather a much darker, almost Bordeaux red – go figure.  So with some disappointment I sent the fenders back and ordered a set from DC Plastics.  They came within days and ended up being a very nice match.  The only adjustment I had to make was to cut a couple of inches off the back of the front fender to provide the right fit for the CR500 Showa fork.

Front and rear fenders from DC Plastics dress up the XR500 Super Motard nicely.

View from the left side.

On to the headlight… here too choices abound and the selection is mostly a question of preference.  I don’t particularly like the look of the original XR500 headlight so I set my sight on products from Acerbis, Polisport, TrailTech, and Baja Designs.  I ended up ordering the Polisport MMX in black, which I think offers a good balance of new and vintage look.

The XR500 Super Motard with its Polisport MMX headlight.

Finally, for the taillight, I looked for something simple which here too would provide the right balance between new and old.  I ended up finding an interesting tail unit on eBay.

Taillight on the XR500 Syper Motard.

With the “plastics” now mounted, the final stretch for this project is to finish the electrics.  Then I’ll cross my fingers and hope to hear some vroom! vroom!

This entry was posted in Super Motard, Super Moto, XR500 Project. Bookmark the permalink.

38 Responses to XR500 Super Motard Plastics, Fenders and Lights, Oh My…!

  1. Hilde Fritzer says:

    Je trouve la combinaison rouge et noir fort jolie,c’est comme si tu combinais une lumière moderne avec une belle table ancienne. Si c’est fait avec goût ça réjouit l’oeil et c’est le cas pour ta XR500!!

  2. Roalnd Linder says:

    Salut, te voila enfin de retour d’avoir ete chez les Bikers!!!!
    Il est temps de finir cette moto avan que la neige n’arrive. Avec des clous cela devrait erte chouette.
    J’espere qu’elle demerera rapidement, ces moteur sont connus pour etre difficile a demarrer!
    Mange tes cerals avant de kicker…
    Salut a tous, nous on part demain pour Sea Island jsuqu’a Vendredi car le Raym vient ici.

  3. manelo gonzales says:

    excelent look catalog acerbis head lamp and handguards red

  4. Angelo says:

    wow! nice job…..got a honda 200R…also a motard….planning strip it down and start from scratch..
    very clean look..

  5. manelo gonzales says:

    when publish more articles……………….???????

    • Mike says:

      There has been additional progress on this project and I actually did ride the almost finished bike a few miles — was fun! — but haven’t had time to post the corresponding blog post and pictures yet. Sorry…

      • Tapparella says:

        Man… seriously, you need to finish the story here… at least post a picture about the final version. Six year passed and you stop the report almost at the end 🙂

      • Mike says:

        You are absolutely right, my apologies for the missing end. The bike is currently stored in a friend’s garage – 20 hour drive from my home – but I intend to pick it up and bring it back this Fall. I’ll take pictures then and will complete the reporting.

  6. Grego says:

    awesome project… the bike is looking great so far, can’t wait to see the finished product!!
    i’ve also got a XR500R that i rebuilt a while ago. i documented the whole build here http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=35075.0 if you are keen to take a look.
    best of luck with the rest of the project and keep the pics and updates coming!

  7. James says:


    I was wondering if you have any plans for an oil cooler considering the XR’s camshaft/Cylinder Head reputation? I found little information on how to modify an XR500 and thought I would get your input.


    • Mike says:

      No plans yet for inserting an oil cooler. There isn’t a lot of oil in the XR500 and thus we need to pay special attention to maintaining its quality (change oil often) and having the oil level never drop from close to full — neglecting either and one can run into wear which then leads into oil consumption, low oil level, high oil temperature, more wear, and you get the idea of where this is heading. Keep a fanatic eye on oil maintenance and the engine will be happy, and you too! 🙂

  8. Jordie says:

    Awesome bike mike.
    I have a Honda XL 500 R Project and you have give me new ideas for my project!
    You Can see my project on this link:http://www.honda-xl.nl/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=2508 I hope you like it.
    I am from holland and the site is in dutch language but you can use Google translate.

  9. James says:

    Hi Mike,

    Thanks for your reply above about the oil cooler. I’ve read a lot about these engines being sold as a rock as long as the oil stays full and fresh…haha I’m trying to avoid spending too much money, so my plan is to keep a close eye on the oil level and ride.

    I was wondering what kind of throttle housing you installed on your XR. I’m in the market and wondering if there’s a nice aftermarket upgrade (something new) to the throttle be as responsive as possible. I’m not sure where or what kind is on there now, but it’s seen better days.

    Thank you

    • Mike says:

      I kept the original throttle housing, mainly because it seemed to work for me. The XR500 is an 80s bike and thus it is a bit of a challenge to still find aftermarket parts for it. Joker Machine has some interesting throttle assemblies — again make sure that you settle for one that will adapt to the XR’s double cable system. http://www.jokermachine.com/onlinecatalogoffroad2004.asp?CategoryID=63

      • James says:

        I appreciate the feedback. I don’t think the throttle body I have is original and has seen some better days. One of the thread adjuster screws is pretty damaged and won’t allow for adjustment. I’ll keep my eyes out for a used one on ebay. Thanks

      • Mike says:

        XR500 throttle bodies are regularly available on eBay. Make sure to get one which fits your carburetor(s) setting [single or dual carburetor]. Have fun!

  10. Bryce says:

    Hey mike,

    been looking at your posts for a couple years now, and found a great project bike for late winter 81 xr500, are you still working on the bike or is it finished? i havent seen any new posts on the bike since 2011 would you be willing to post some final pics of the bike?


    • Mike says:

      The bike is “almost” completed and I have taken it for a run — works great, is a lot of fun, easy wheelies, exciting cornering . The “almost” comes from the fact that I’m not happy with the harness I custom built and need to redo the electrical. It’s been indeed a while since my last post and I should create an update page with pics and comments.

      I took on another project last year, a BMW R100GS-PD which I took apart and rebuilt to then ride the Trans-America Trail (http://www.transamtrail.com). We covered “just” Colorado, Utah and a piece of Nevada — it was awesome and I’m modifying the GS with what I learned and want to have differently on the bike to do it again this Summer.

      Have fun with your project!

  11. Curtis Kauffman says:

    Great blog! I am looking forward to the day I can begin the restoration on my RX500R. Thanks for the detailed info and pictures.

  12. Dave R says:

    NIce Job !! I have a 1984 XR500. I retrofitted a read disc breake to it while still keeping the same drum brake wheel. First time posting here. Hope you get this.


  13. Jean says:

    Well done on your restoration, it seems as is everyone is hoping you finish soon and tell us the outcome. All the best!

    • Mike says:

      Thanks Jean. I actually completed the project a while back and owe a last post to the readers of this blog which shows the completed bike. It is a fun toy to ride!

  14. Ted says:

    Hi Mike,
    Great job on the build. I have an ’82 xl500 in similar shape to yours at the beginning of this project. Do you have any leads on top end parts in the Boulder area?

  15. Ted says:

    I decided to go with a Megacycle cams conversion. Its roughly the same price as a top end on eBay with the added benefit of needle bearings.

  16. shoshin says:

    Reblogged this on Honda with Zen attitude and commented:
    The work of an artist . . .

  17. Hoss says:

    Mike, enjoyed the read and how you walked us through the process. How about a few pics of the finished product. Thanks.

    • Mike says:

      Hello Hoss – Thanks for your interest. I’ve received quite a few requests for a last post with the finished product. It is due but I moved to Florida and the bike is still in Colorado. I’ll complete the blog posts though once the Super Motard is shipped here.

  18. William says:


    just today i started reading this from the start and amazed on the way. but the story is cut to its most exiting part the final LOOK. i too salvaged a 1983 XL 125 r, its gonna be my project. have a crisis on what look to achieve. im inspired with this.

    William, ph

  19. mark gold says:

    Hey Mike … Very nice quality build. I’m surprised that your rear fender looks so good. I bought one from DC, also for an XR, and felt that is was certainly not a good enough color and so had to refurbish an original one. Did you perhaps polish or paint the DC unit ?

    • Mike says:

      Hello Mark – rear fender is off the shelf, I didn’t have to polish or touch the color. It’s not a perfect fit from a color perspective but it’s close enough. Maybe the manufacturer did a new production run and in the process didn’t manage to match his previous color (?)

  20. Jonathan says:

    Mike! Currently building an 81 XL500 as a custom “scrambler” type bike. Your site keeps popping up and I appreciate all the organized information. Hopefully you’ll finish the blog one day!

    • Mike says:

      Thanks Jonathan – I indeed need to complete this blog. The XR is currently stored out of state – I’ll take pictures next time I see it and will post.

  21. Chad says:

    Hey I would love to see a some photos of the finished bike nice job.

  22. Mike says:

    HI there, my name is also Mike. Came across your thread while looking for 82 xr 500 r projects completed on the interweb. I love the look of the bike as posted and it started very close to the xl500r I have from 82. Only difference is mine ran when I got it. The last post here is quite old, but did you ever complete this project? If so, are there any final updates?
    Regards, another Mike looking to complete a similar project (82 xl500r street tracker)

  23. cmcgriddle0024 says:

    Wow, I have this xr 500 and have looked at your build many times, I hope to bring my xr to this point some day as well.

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