Japanese/Swedish – 1979 Yamaha HL500

In Japan, Off-Road by Mathieu Guyot-SionnestLeave a Comment

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Post Listing Update: This HL500 did not get any interest at the opening bid of $6,500 or the BIN.


The HL500 finds its origins in the brand new XT500 that Yamaha released in 1975. Despite being overweight for enduro, the bike caught the attention of two Swedish motocross legends, Torsten Hallman and Sten Lundin. Both of them worked for Yamaha Sweden, so they asked to get a XT – Yamaha refused as the bike was supposed to be sold in America only. Hallman ended up buying one from a Six Days Trial competitor in 1975. Even though two-stroke engines were the most successful at the time in enduro, the two Swedish wanted to experiment a bike with a perfectly tuned XT500 engine.

With the XT500 as a base, Hallman and Lundin stripped down the bike completely, keeping only the engine. The 499cc single’s stock output was about 30hp, but the two Swedes were able to bump that to around 50hp with a good tuning. Once they had the engine, they had to find a light frame for the bike. Quickly, the decision was made to take a Husqvarna motocross frame and modify it to include the massive engine. Husqvarna was one of the best OEMs in motocross at the time and had the benefit of being Swedish which probably made it easier to source frames for prototype testing. The final result was called the HL500, which stood for Hallman-Lundin 500. Once the prototype was created, Hallman and Lundin sent the modified frame to a company called ProFab so they could build proper frames from the prototype they had created. Following this, the HL actually became a DIY bike, as ProFab only sold the frame. Owners would have to install the engine in the frame by themselves, and choose components such as the suspension to suit their own tastes.

Although Yamaha was skeptical at first, when the HL500 was used for the 1977 Motocross MX Grand Prix season with Bengt Aberg as a pilot, the company benefited from great visibility and publicity for the 500cc engine. Aberg managed to take its 4-stroke engine bike to the 9th overall position, and even won the Luxembourg GP. From there, the HL received the nickname of “Aberg Yamaha”. Following this success, in 1978 and 1979 Yamaha produced about 400 HL500 race replicas. However, these replicas disappointed riders, notably due to a lack of power. To get more information about the HL, please read this article on PulpMX.

The HL500 presented in the article (VIN: 1T1-101132) is one of the 12 HL500 replicas built by Rob Phillips of Husky Restorations. It’s being offered by the original owner, who acquired it for $15,000 – which is the starting cost to have Rob build you a new one today. This specific replica features a custom frame with aluminum swingarm, high travel 38mm front forks, 540cc piston, Ohlins piggyback shock, aluminum tank, Excel rims with stainless steel spokes, and a whole lot more. Stunningly, the bike has never been used or raced, and just stayed in storage ever since it was built.

Find this HL500 in Denver, Colorado with an unmet opening bid of $6,500 or a BIN of $10,500

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