The fan-cooled Yamaha Venture 500 XL was an entry-level 2UP touring snowmobile marketed from 1999 through 2000. Unlike the more powerful liquid-cooled Venture 500, the 500 XL was powered by an axial-fan cooled, 485cc engine that cranked out 58 HP. If you want to find out more about this iconic touring sled, this post is for you.
We at PowerSportsGuide have compiled all you need to know into this Yamaha Venture 500 XL review!
Yamaha Venture 500 XL Review
Yamaha introduced its touring Venture snowmobile line in 1991.
The first model in this family was the Yamaha Venture 480 XL (VT480).
This sled was based on the famous Phazer II and utilized a fan-cooled, 485cc 2-stroke twin engine. Standard features included an easy-to-use reverse, heated passenger grips and a 121” x 15” track.
Thanks to its excellent comfort, the Yamaha Venture 480 XL instantly became popular among riders. It was no coincidence that American Snowmobiler named this moded the “Snowmobile of the Year” in 1991.
Although Yamaha released the more powerful Venture 600 and 700, the entry-level 480 XL remained in production from 1991 through 1997. Surprisingly, this model wasn’t available in the 1998 model year.
By 1999 Yamaha had re-introduced the Venture XL, powered by a new fan-cooled 500cc engine. As a result, this entry-level model was often called a Venture XL 500 Fan.
The sled shared an engine and the chassis with the Phazer 500 but came with a 2-seater saddle, electric start, and a bigger 136” x 15” x 0.75” track.
The Yamaha Venture 500 XL engine was an axial fan-cooled, 485cc, 2-stroke twin rated at 58 HP. Compared to its predecessor, this single-piped power plant had many advanced features, which were as follows:
- Two Mikuni B38-32 carburetors
- Cylinder-mounted reeds
- Stronger crankshaft
- Relocated oil pump (it was moved towards the center of the engine)
- Electric Start
- YEIS (Yamaha Energy Induction System)
Just like Yamaha power sources in general, this engine was also known for its durability and reliability.
Regarding suspensions, the advanced independent trailing arms with 9-inches of suspension travel replaced the obsolete front telescopic strut suspension system.
The 500 XL also came with the adjustable ProAction Plus rear suspension with 11.5 inches of travel, which offered plush rides.
Because of its outstanding comfort, the fan-cooled Venture 500 XL was simply known as “the Cadillac of the trails.”
After the Millennium, fan-cooled snowmobiles became outdated, so Yamaha discontinued the Venture 500 XL after the 2000 season. However, the liquid-cooled Venture 600 and 700 remained in production until 2004.
Finally, the Japanese manufacturer marketed four Venture models around the 2000s, which were as follows:
- Yamaha Venture 700 (VT700) – Manufactured: 1998-2004
- Yamaha Venture 600 (VT600) – Manufactured: 1997-2004
- Yamaha Venture 500 (VT500) – Manufactured: 1997-2001
- Yamaha Venture 500 XL (VT500XL) – Manufactured: 1999-2000
Yamaha Venture 500 XL Problems
Every sled has its drawbacks, and the 500 XL was no exception.
Riders said that the biggest drawback of the Yamaha Venture 500 XL was its low-powered engine. Compared to its liquid-cooled brothers, this unit was far less powerful as it provided only 58 HP. In contrast, the liquid-cooled Venture 500 provided 88 HP, while the flagship Venture 700 cranked out a whopping 115 HP.
Although the Venture 500 XL provided moderate performance, it had poor fuel economy. The machine only got about 10-14 mpg, depending on the environment and the rider’s riding style.
Another common problem with the Yamaha Venture 500 XL was the malfunctions with the T.O.R.S (Throttle OverRide System).
Fortunately, this model didn’t suffer from Smart Carb issues, which were featured only on the triple engines.
Finally, it’s good to know that the 500 XL was considered quite heavy as it weighed 538 pounds.
Yamaha Venture 500 XL Specs Chart
For your convenience, we’ve compiled the key specs of the Yamaha Venture 500 XL into these charts:
Yamaha Venture 500 XL Engine Specs
|Engine type||Axial fan cooled two-stroke, 7-port|
|Cylinder arrangement||Parallel 2-cylinder|
|Bore x Stroke (“)||2.83 x 2.35|
|Idle speed (r/min)||1300 +/- 100|
|Carburetor||Mikuni B38-32 x 2|
|Engine oil type||YAMALUBE 2-cycle oil|
|Fuel type||Unleaded gasoline. Pump octane (R+M)/2; 88 or higher|
|Starting system||Electric and manual with recoil starter|
Yamaha Venture 500 XL Dimensions
|Ski tread (“)||42.1|
Yamaha Venture 500 XL Weight Chart
|Dry weight (lbs.)||538|
Yamaha Venture 500 XL Track Features
|Track type||Molded rubber, fiber glass rod reinforced|
|Track Dimensions (“)||136 x 15 x 0.75|
|Track deflection (“)||0.98-1.18 / 100 N (22lbs)|
|Length on ground (“)||37.2|
|Suspension type||Slide rail suspension|
|Drive sprocket||Quadruple polyethylene, 8 teeth|
Yamaha Venture 500 XL Electric Features
|Spark plug type||BR9ES (NGK)|
|Spark plug gap||0.028 – 0.031 in (0.7-0.8 mm)|
|Battery capacity||YB16AL-A2/12 V 16Ah|
|Battery max. charge rate||1.6 Amperes/hr for 10 hrs|
|Headlight||12 V 60/55 W x 1|
|Tail/brake light||12 V 8/23 W x 1|
|Meter light||12 V, 1.7 W x 2|
|Indicator light||12 V, 1.7 W x 2|
Yamaha Venture 500 XL Transmission
|Type||Automatic centrifugal engagement, infinitely variable 3.8:1 – 1:1|
|Sheave distance (“)||Approx. 10.57|
|Sheave offset (“)||Approx. 0.78|
|Engagement speed PZ500 99-00 (r/min)*||3700|
|Shift speed (r/min)*||7250|
|Drive chain||Silent chain enclosed in oil bath|
|Reduction ratio||39/21 (1.86)|
Yamaha Venture 500 XL Features and Accessories
|Suspension type||Slide rail suspension|
|Break type||Hydraulic disc brake (ventillated)|
|Track||Molded rubber, fiberglass rod reinforced|
|Break operation||Handle lever (left hand)|
|Throttle operation||Handle lever (right hand)|
Source: Yamaha Owner’s Manuals. These charts are for informational purposes only! For exact specifications, please refer to the factory manual.
Yamaha Venture 500 XL Top Speed
Under ideal conditions, the top speed of the Yamaha Venture 500 XL was about 65-70 mph on radar or GPS.
Yamaha Venture 500 XL Fan vs. Liquid-Cooled Venture 500
Let’s compare the engine specs of the Yamaha Venture XL 500 fan with its liquid-cooled brothers head-to-head!
|Model||Yamaha Venture 500 XL||Yamaha Venture 500|
|Engine type||Axial fan cooled two-stroke, 7-port||Liquid-cooled, 2-stroke, 7-port|
|Cylinder arrangement||Parallel 2-cylinder||Parallel 2-cylinder|
|Bore x Stroke (“)||2.83 x 2.35||2.68 x 2.68|
|Horsepower||58 (Approximately)||88 HP (Approximately)|
|Idle speed (r/min)||1300 +/- 100||1600 +/- 100|
|Carburetor||Mikuni B38-32 x 2||Mikuni TM36 x 2|
|Engine oil type||YAMALUBE 2-cycle oil||YAMALUBE 2-cycle oil|
|Fuel type||Unleaded gasoline. Pump octane (R+M)/2; 88 or higher||Unleaded gasoline. Pump octane (R+M)/2; 88 or higher|
|Starting system||Electric and manual with recoil starter||Electric and manual with recoil starter|
Vintage Yamaha Venture 500 XL For Sale
Although the 500 XL was less popular than the liquid-cooled Venture models, you can still find many of them running on the trails. Let’s face it, this vintage machine is far more affordable than the newest sleds and also much easier to maintain.
So, if you are in the market for a lightweight and easy-to-handle second sled, you should consider a fan-cooled Yamaha Venture 500 XL. Thanks to its low-powered engine and simple features, this snowmobile could be an excellent choice for beginners and younger riders.
If you’re considering buying one, you can find a vintage Yamaha Venture 500 XL for sale on Craigslist, Snowmobiletrader, eBay, Sledswap, Snowmobilesoup, and other snowmobile ad sites.
Also, you can’t go wrong by visiting some Yamaha Venture forums and Facebook groups!
Takeaways – FAQs About the Vintage Yamaha Venture 500 XL
What year did the Yamaha Venture 500 XL come out?
The Yamaha Venture 500 XL was revealed in 1998 and was available from the 1999 model year.
What years was the Yamaha Venture 500 XL made?
The fan-cooled Yamaha Venture 500 XL was only manufactured for two short years, from 1999 until 2000.
What size was the Yamaha Venture 500 XL?
The 1999-2000 Yamaha Venture 500 XL was 116.9 inches long, 47.2 inches wide, and 51.2 inches high, with a ski tread of 42.1 inches.
What was the track size of the Yamaha Venture 500 XL?
The official track size of the 1999-2001 Yamaha Venture 500 XL was 136” x 15” x 0.75”.
How much did the Yamaha Venture 500 XL weigh?
The dry weight of the Yamaha Venture 500 XL was no less than 538 pounds.
What kind of engine was in the Yamaha Venture 500 XL?
The engine of the Yamaha Venture 500 XL was a fan-cooled, 485cc, 2-stroke twin featuring two Mikuni B38-32 carburetors.
How much horsepower did the Yamaha Venture 500 XL have?
The Yamaha Venture 500 XL offered a moderate 58 HP, powered by this single-piped, axial fan-cooled engine.
How fast did the Yamaha Venture 500 XL go?
The top speed of the Yamaha Venture 500 XL was about 65-70 mph under ideal conditions.