Yamaha TT500, the quick rebuild

It had taken me longer than planned, but after picking up the bike in February, it had been a stop / start affair, which had seen battles with the wheels and rims, understanding that the suppliers who service the (once) buoyant XT / TT restoration industry are a little short on facts at times, and that restoring one yourself brings the love and affection, and satisfaction.


With this little orange beauty love comes gently, and as Swiss Toni starting a TT500 is like making love to a beautiful woman. Don’t start it like a two-stroke as it will bite back. From cold, flick down the choke on the Mikuni, but keep the throttle shut. Find TDC and go just a bit further and you should manage to start it. Open the throttle and you’ll get a healthy kick back. When warm, no choke required (and no throttle).


I have replaced the vacuum Mikuni, with a standard VM34 and this made an immediate difference, probably as it was a new one from Allens Performance. For any project, getting a new carb, is a great investment and removes a lot of headaches. The ignition is still on points and I’ve heard poor feedback on some of the electronic replacements, though the Power Dynamo unit looks good, but is expensive.


Gone for road legal enduro tyres and will get an MOT later this week. Dating letter etc all done, so will hopefully be good fun on a couple of the trails. Will take it to the North Devon Atlantic MX this weekend to see how it goes. It’s not going to win anything, but should be good fun up the hill.

There are plenty of mods and engineering exercises for the TT500 and whilst there are some great Aberg HL reps etc out there, I like something original with the patina (and smell) that goes with it. Excellent.

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