Project Ascot: Getting dirty with a 1983 Honda VT500FT

Discussion in 'Old's Cool' started by TwinDuro, Feb 27, 2016.

  1. TwinDuro

    TwinDuro Befuddled Adventurer

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    Thanks for the tip Charles! After digging around myself and coming up dry except for the rear wheel/hub from a Honda XLV750R (which parts might as well be a unicorn for on this side of the pond) I thought there was no possibility (short of having a custom hub made $$$) to put spoked wheels (especially the rear) on a VT500FT. After doing some digging it looks promising! The drive flange and wheel bearing size isYou are spot on about needing to use the matching rear drum for the VT800 wheel though as the VT500’s drum diameter is 146mm vs the VT800’s 181mm drum. I’ll see if I can source up a cheap VT800 rear wheel to do a test fit. It looks like there’s a few differences, like wheel bearing sizes, but most of that stuff can be overcome.
    #41
  2. ChopperCharles

    ChopperCharles Long timer

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    Having a custom hub made is not as expensive as you fear. If you count in all of the man hours to hodgepodge something together, it probably costs more to fabricate it from a different bike. Cognito Moto can make you a rear hub For under $500 probably. It cost me a lot less than that to have a front hub made, because it was a prototype for a bike but they did not yet carry, and they gave me a discount because of that.

    That said, there may be another option. If you can get yourself a Comstar wheel to fit the ascot, there are very inexpensive rings made by moto-synthesis that bolt to the center hub (after you disassemble the wheel) and have either a 36 or 40 hole spoke pattern.

    You might find a comstar with matching bearings and spacers and brake hub diameter, and that would greatly cut the expense of the project. The vt800 also has a very odd spoke count - 52 spokes I believe - so you’ll have to buy a custom drilled rim instead of using an off the shelf part.

    Charles.
    #42
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  3. ChopperCharles

    ChopperCharles Long timer

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    Here’s a pic of the bolt-on rings on my cx650 street scrambler, with a 17” warp-9 rim running a Shinko 705.

    E2EED3B8-37B3-4E61-A219-3F0F9EAC5054.jpeg

    They’re bolted to a cx500 comstar hub, gl500 swingarm and pumpkin. Buchanan has the spokes data for these rings and can make them for you for about $120.

    I have spare cx wheels off the bikes that I can take measurements of if you need them.

    Charles.
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  4. ChopperCharles

    ChopperCharles Long timer

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    The trick to the comstar wheel is finding one with the proper drive shaft flange. I’m guessing it has the male flange on the hub, like the shadows and mangas. The cx/gl has the female flange on the hub.

    Edit: it appears the ascot does have the male flange. This may be a show stopper for a comstar rim. The bearing sticks up too high in the comstar rim to fit the male flange. That’d take machining to make work.

    Another option is to have flanges like mine made out of aluminum. Put the stock rim on a lathe and turn off the stock spokes, then slide the aluminum spoke rings on and have them welded in place.

    That’s probably about the same cost as a Cognito Moto custom hub, possibly more, unless you have the tools to DIY.

    Charles.
    #44
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  5. TwinDuro

    TwinDuro Befuddled Adventurer

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    Excellent info, thanks Charles! The rear wheel on your CX Scrambler looks great!

    We’ll have to see as we continue the buildup which direction we go with the wheels, but by the sounds of it, depending on how deep we want to go, we’ve got options!

    Thanks again!
    #45
  6. Franmac100

    Franmac100 n00b

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    This update couldn't have come at a better time, meaning I'm in the middle of rejuvenating my brothers 83 after a 14yr slumber, any how parts got to steep and the tank has pin holes, he offered to sell it to me - for cheap, and with it sitting next to my XR250L I started thinking what my Shinko 805s would look like on it, I'm loving this build thread, lots of sexy inspiration to boot. Thanks

    Attached Files:

    #46
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  7. TwinDuro

    TwinDuro Befuddled Adventurer

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    Thanks for the kind words and glad we could provide some inspiration Franmac100! I’m loving your Ascot, you don’t see the blue ones very often at all, a rare color indeed! Nice XR250L as well, those are great bikes!

    I LOVE the Shinko 804/805 and so does my brother who owns the Ascot. They have exceeded my expectations both on road and off and are silent at highway speeds as well, something you can’t say about a lot of aggressive dual sport tires.

    If a person was just doing a mild VT500FT “dual-sport” build, I would totally recommend the Shinkos, 19” front wheel conversion (the 100/90-19 ront tire makes a huge difference over a 110/80-18 sized tire we were using previously) and longer rear shocks (15”) and you’d have a capable bike without the domino effect of the long-travel suspension mods. We’ve taken this Ascot up some pretty gnarly double track and some single track and with good tires and proper dirt-bike style handlebars and risers, it’s surprisingly capable considering it’s a early 1980’s street bike...

    I’m looking forward to getting back into this project in late fall (currently residing on Maui for a long overdue Vacation) and more fabrication will commence along with a later style, much improved wiring harness swap from a later ‘85-‘86 shadow. Stay tuned!
    #47
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  8. Franmac100

    Franmac100 n00b

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    Thank you, Love this little XR, especially with all the "Gordon's Mods" I did to it.
    I definitely have the gears turning for this winter's "Ascot project"
    And Honda only made the Blue ones in 83.
    +1 on the Shinko's, so quiet in comparison to tires twice their price, it was well worth doing the research on them b4 purchasing.
    Can't wait to hear back from this post. Enjoy your Vacation.
    #48
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  9. papakopp

    papakopp n00b

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    Just want to say thanks to Twinrduro again for the inspiration and the research legwork for the 19in front wheel upgrade. Just did it as well as upgrading to Nighthawk 700s rear shocks. I went with tubeless Heidenau K60 Scouts, 100/90-19 front and 120/90-18 rear. The larger rear tire is having trouble holding air along the rim. The tire installer recommended Slime so I'm gonna try that.

    Generally it still needs some work, one of the CDI boxes needs to be replaced so I haven't gotten to take it for a ride yet but I think it looks pretty dope. Also deciding between the OEM front fender or a dirt style high fender. IMG_0088.JPG
    #49
  10. TwinDuro

    TwinDuro Befuddled Adventurer

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    Awesome Ascot papakopp and happy to help! It looks mean with the K60s, bodywork delete and VT500 Euro tank along with the red clutch cover! I also like how you tidy'd up the rear, very nice! Did you end up making a new right-side spacer for the front wheel conversion or just trimming down the stock spacer? I think you'll find the CB700SC rear shocks a huge improvement compared to the stockers when you get it back on the road.

    Also, for your leaky rear K60, did you have the valve-stems replaced when the tire was changed? I know you mentioned it leaking along the rim, but before we switched over to tubed-tires on the Asshat project, I found that the factory, pushing 40 year-old tubeless valve stems were definitely leaking a small amount and also that the valve cores themselves were sensitive to sealing up and leaked profusely when pushed from side to side. Might be worth taking a look at them if you haven't already, even if it turns out to be unrelated to your leak issue.
    #50
  11. Franmac100

    Franmac100 n00b

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    Papakopp, nice ride...
    Personally I'd go with Ride-On tire sealant and balancer over the slime...it does what it says
    #51
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  12. papakopp

    papakopp n00b

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    So as far as the front spacer goes I ended up very carefully trimming the stock spacer. I don't plan on going back to the old rim so I figured I would just use what I had. It wasn't too bad, but took a lot of filing and test fitting before I got it right.

    I did end up going with the Ride-On product and it initially sealed the bead leaks after spinning the wheel by hand and sort of massaging the tire. Once I got the ebay CDI box installed I went to take it on a test ride and as soon as I got on the road the tire popped off the bead. I don't have an air compressor and have had a hell of a time trying to seat beads in the past so I think I'm going back to the tire shop to see if they can help me out again. Unfortunately this is the smallest rear K60 Heidenau makes so I might have to switch to a different tire if this doesn't work.
    #52
  13. TwinDuro

    TwinDuro Befuddled Adventurer

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    Papakopp,

    Gotcha on the spacer. Contrary to popular belief, just about anything can be built with a hacksaw and a file, it just takes time, which always works for me!

    So, it may be totally unrelated, but when was installing big ADV tires on a regular basis, the only one that ever gave me issues was the Heidenau K60 rears... Why? I don't know, but all I can think of is that the bead design on them is slightly different from other tires and is particularity sensitive to the fillet of the rim. I never had that issue with any of the other major tire brands. It shouldn't make a difference, but for some reason it did in my experience.

    I understand wanting to stay tubeless, it certainly makes life a bit easier with the ability to plug a hole on the roadside.
    #53
  14. SlipChip

    SlipChip Adventure Commuter

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    Just wondering if you guys are familiar with the OG Adventre VT500?
    https://advrider.com/f/posts/4811965/

    Unfortunately the pix are all gone but the Geek tells a pretty good tale. No real build thread but if you search back a bit there are some pretty good ride reports...
    #54
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  15. TwinDuro

    TwinDuro Befuddled Adventurer

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    Very cool SlipChip! We'll have to read these ride reports. Too bad the photos are gone, but that's OK!
    #55
  16. SlipChip

    SlipChip Adventure Commuter

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    Maybe if we call out @Geek he will post some pix?
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  17. 62hsr

    62hsr Been here awhile

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    I just enjoyed this thread with my Sunday morning coffee, while putting off getting in my cold garage to work on my own bike! Transforming that Ascot with ongoing modification is certainly inspirational. Thanks for posting!
    #57
  18. TwinDuro

    TwinDuro Befuddled Adventurer

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    Thanks for the kind words @62hsr, we appreciate it. Glad you're enjoying the build and stay tuned for more. We'll b going to go into full-fledged fabrication mode here after the holidays. A new fuel tank (modified CB700SC tank to keep the original Ascot vibe), a custom seat (I'm an upholster by trade, specializing in motorcycle seats, so you guy's will see it from start to finish) and custom pannier racks are the next orders of business.

    Another VT500FT ascot also may be joining the fleet here soon. It's a very special bike with a lot of custom touches (including a handbuilt, oversize fuel tank) that a friend built about 20 years ago.
    #58
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  19. thumpism

    thumpism Between bikes

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  20. thumpism

    thumpism Between bikes

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