18 Aug 2014

My new project, the Honda VT500 Ascot!

What happened to my SV650 project you might ask...? Crashed it 3 times in a year so I had the feeling we did not make a good match, ha.
So I decided after the last crash, some weeks ago, that I would stop Project SV650. Still waiting for some parts to fix it. Selling it asap.

So I needed a new daily ride. My gr650 is still a work in progress, not running at the moment and that's not gonna change any time soon. I fucked up the Super 100. My fault. Did not check the oil level in time... Stupid, I know, shit happens. Waiting for a new engine. I started looking for a new daily ride that I could build in something rad on a low budget. I checked marktplaats, speurders, autoscout, etc. everyday. Could not wait any longer. Summer's almost over and I'm missing all the fun so I decided I needed a new bike, and I waned it ASAP!

I wanted a low budget, reliable light single or a twin. The budget was 700 euro.
Would love to own a dr350, xs650, GB500, SR500 or XT500 but they are to expensive over here.
My plan was to buy a XL500R but than I found out the 17" rear and 23" front rim have these rare tire sizes. That means very limited options for the tires so I changed my mind. Almost bought a GN400 but I was to late, someone else bought the only one I could find just before me.

Than last Thursday a VT500Ascot popped up on speurders. Always thought they would be a great starting point for a custom. 

They are light for a V-twin, have a great sound, cool 2 in 1 exhaust, fantastic looking 18" rims, narrow, nice looking frame and they are relativity fast for a 500 twin. It's got the reliable VT500 shadow engine so that means lot's of cheap spare parts.
On the downside they have a hideous headlight plus the electrics are hidden below the headlight...? The front forks air-assisted 37mm front fork have a strange rake and are to soft. It's got a (heavy) shaft drive, and it's water cooled so that means it's got a radiator up front, don't like that very much. 
The VT's have a double tube backbone that allows the air cleaner tract to run up to the carbs. The Fuel Tank tunnel is very wide so the options for swapping a tank are very limited.

No bike is perfect and "problems" can be fixed so I decided to try it. I did a short test drive and I instantly knew I wanted to own the Ascot. It's a lot of fun! It sounds just like a mini Ducati and it sort of looks like a mini XR 750 Harley :) With a new exhaust this thing will sound amazing.
Bought it for 500 euro from a man who fixed it up for his wife. He told me she did no like riding a motorcycle after all so she stopped using it and he needed to sell it again. If that's a true story or not, I don't know but the bike looked to be in great shape for 500 euro. The bike runs great, he repainted the wheels, and some parts parts he painted red, don't ask me why. It's not the same colour red and it looks horrible so I'll have to repaint that. Here's the original honda VT500 Ascot commercial and a picture my new ride.


fuque said...

Underneath it looks like a cool little bike, but the rectangle light, mirrors and instruments kind of look like the designer was mad at somebody. Curious what it looks like without tail section and side covers

Craig NOS said...

Good choice, Lennard.
this bike has a good reputation for reliability and enjoyment.
Never seen the ASCOT version in France, maybe not imported.
Except the headlight, the line is successful.
I hope you will publish your progress on bubble visor.

Hugo said...

It looks good, try to keep it in one piece, please! Thank you

capnsimo said...

Nice one Lennard, sound machine for an interesting project should go well and with the right imagination look really great, so will it head sideburn or el soliatrio as milestones, look forward to completion of the dreams...

Bubble Visor said...

Thanks guys!
HAHA! Here is a pic of a VT500ascot without the side covers
that one also has sandblasted rims, looks very nice!
Still not sure if I'll sand blast the rims or powdercoat them black..

@craig NOS
I think all the ASCOT's that are for sale here in the Netherlands are imported ones from the USA.

@HUGO I'll do my best! :)

not sure yet!
At the moment I'm thinking Jeff Wright x Hidemo x Red Hot Motorcycles, ha! Or a superbikers/speedway inspired bike.
or a dessert sled...
Probably a mix of everything but whatever it will be it will be very much inspired by low budget amateur racers from the past. That's where the magic happens :)

I started working on the ascot yesterday.
Dropped the front fork 4 cm, so I'll have more pressure on the front wheel. It felt a little light..
Painted some of the red stuff.
Tried some different handle bars.
Did not like the stock(?) tomaselli bar. To high and I did not like the angle.
Changed it for a classic dirt bike Handlebar.

And found out the front fork has some dents in the chrome...
When I bought the bike it was raining so I looked at the bike under a roof. Not the best light over there... I also missed the the fact that the engine and exhaust pipes where painted probably with a rattle can in a different black than the rest of the bike. Done without removing it from the bike so it has a gradient in black going from the original shiny black to the rattle can matte black.. Yikes! I'll post an update soon

Chris & Julie said...

Wow nice find. Looks good as is and a few tasteful mods could turn it into a right looker.

Here in the states these have a certain cache because of their roots
in american flat track when big H conquered HD's XR750.