Post Sale Update: After 7 bids on eBay, this XL350 sold for $2,250.
The specificity and history of the enduro/off-road motorcycle market is quite different from the road bike market. It starts the same, with essentially British brands that dominated the scene in the 1950s with four-stroke 350s and 500s. Then the Spanish arrived with brands like Ossa and Bultaco and their very minimalist two-stroke bikes, engines that Yamaha used as well when they entered in the world of enduro. In 1969, Honda tried to get into the market using a two-cylinder four-stroke engine, and released the SL350. Unfortunately, the bike was more appreciated by road riders rather than off-road riders. So in 1972, Honda adapted its offering and released a lighter and smaller mono-cylinder bike, the XL250. Two years later they released the XL350, adding a bit more spice to the machine.
An enduro bike is fundamentally simple, and that’s what the XL is. There was no electric starter, only a kick starter, but where British bikes needed the carbs tickled, or having the decompression lever pulled, or finding top-dead center, the Honda simply needed a good old kick and a bit of choke for a cold start. The 350cc mono engine was actually a re-bored version of the one used on the XL250. The bike was 30 pounds heavier compared to the 250 but it had another 3 hp, which permitted the bike to cruise around 55 mph. Priced at less than $1k when sold, the bike was a success. Honda clearly targeted casual riders rather than competition riders but still made it easy to remove every superfluous part for serious enduro racing. One of the major criticisms was a header pipe that risked to be flattened in rocky paths due to its configuration. You can find some more good information about the XL with this Retrospective from Rider.
The XL featured here is in very good condition for its age. The seller claims it has been partly restored in the past and kept garaged for the last 10 years, something that seems logical when you see the bike. The only work that should be done is to coat the tank and install a new fuel shut off valve. What is pretty interesting with the sale is the amount of spare parts that comes with it that seem to have been well kept, and therefore in very nice condition.
Find this XL350 for sale in Flushing, Michigan with an opening bid of $2,000