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The XS500, despite attracting all the right kind of attention at its launch back in 1972. The combination of an air-cooled eight-valve head, 180-degree crank, double overhead cams, electric start and two CV carbs made for an extremely smooth and fairly poky middleweight twin.
Due to its uninspiring appearance and unreliability it was held back from success. The first models had some problems with warping valve seats, so later cylinder heads were changed to round exhaust ports to help the heat dissipate. Heat remained a problem, frequently causing the head to fracture. The balancer and camchain arrangements needed regular attention. The XS offered good handling, but it was no lightweight so hardly came into the tarmac-tearing "road burner" category. When it went out of production in 1979 there were few who mourned its passing - and fewer still today who consider it to be wildly desirable.
The XS500C was the revamped-for-1976 model and came with something resembling style and - even better -- something else, resembling durability.