The Ascot VT500 is named for Ascot Park, a California track
where countless legends have been born and where I used to
attend motorcycle races in my youth! Wanted one of these when they
first came out but could't afford one! This is the second Ascot I have
owned and it is a nice one. Decided to trim my collection so now is your chance
--- You know you want it. Realistic reserve so please bid to own it!
You are looking at a very nice example of a super fun
motorcycle! I have ridden the bike on a couple fairly long day rides
and really enjoyed it. Runs, rides and handles very well - easily keeping
up with much more powerfull larger displacement bikes. Sounds great too --
always gets compliments. A real pleasure to ride. Bike has been in the
Pacific NW since new and has been well cared for! I believe I am the 4th
owner but not sure! Never damaged or abused. Accessories include very
spaciouse and nice looking quick release Tourmaster sidebags and National
Please fell free to contact me at
503-329-6555 Vehicle is located in Springfield Oregon (Pacific
Daylight Time Zone) RIDLEY'S
RIDES is a licensed & bonded Motorcycle and collector vehicle dealer in
the state of Oregon dealer #DA1236
BUYER IS RESPONSIBLE FOR ALL
ASPECTS OF SHIPPING INCLUDING ALL COSTS AND ARRANGEMENTS! RIDLEY'S RIDES
WILL PROVIDE SHIPPER WITH PICK LOCATION THAT IS ACCESSABLE TO LARGE TRUCKS!
TERMS & CONDITIONS
ALL VEHICLES SOLD AS-IS
RIDLEY’S RIDES reserves the right to cancel all bids and end an
auction early at any time, should the vehicle no longer be available for
sale. The following terms of sale apply to all of our auctions.
RIDLEY’S RIDES welcomes all dealers and individuals to bid on our
vehicles. Every vehicle we sell will have a clear title. I AM AVAILABLE 7
DAYS A WEEK to answer any questions you may have. Please call, KIM
RIDLEY @ 503-329-6555, email firstname.lastname@example.org . I look forward to meeting you in person or speaking
with you by telephone.
* Successful high bidder should contact RIDLEY’S RIDES
within 24 hours at 503-329-6555.
* Successful high bidder will submit a
$1,000.00 deposit in the form of a cashier's check, credit card, wire
transfer or Pay-Pal within 24 hours of the auction ending, unless other
arrangements have been made.
* This vehicle is being sold "as
is", unless a warranty is in effect from the vehicle manufacturer.
* All financial transactions should be completed within 4 (four) days of an
RIDES accepts cashier's
checks, certified funds, or wire transfers.
* The buyer is responsible for all
shipping charges. RIDLEY’S
RIDES gladly can help the buyer
arrange all shipping and transportation using only licensed, bonded and
insured carriers that provide door-to-door delivery.
* Every effort has been made to accurately
and fairly describe this vehicle. RIDLEY’S
RIDES discloses all information
known about this vehicle for auction. Please be advised that used vehicles
may sometimes have miniscule scratches or dings inherent to their age /
mileage and some mechanical parts could be subject to normal wear. RIDLEY’S RIDES
welcomes a buyer's inspection. If you plan on using a buyer's pre-purchase
inspection, please schedule your inspection appointment prior to the
auction ending. The buyer is responsible for any and all inspection charges
FUN FACTS/ SPECS FROM MCS
CYCLE WORLD 1983
The VT500FT'84 Ascot was sold in 1984 in one
of two colors: Black or Red. The side cover panel on the black bike was
silver, but on the red bike it was black. The gas tank wing decal was 3-tone.
The 2-into-1 exhaust system was black chrome. The engine was a 491 cc OHC
3-valve liquid cooled V-twin linked to a 6-speed transmission and a shaft drive.
The serial number began JH2PC070*EM100001.
VT 500FT Ascot
Liquid cooled, four
stroke, 52°V-twin, SOHC, 3 valves per cylinder.
71 x 62
34.6 kW @ 9000 rpm
42 Nm @
Speed / shaft
assisted telescopic forks.
fork dual adjustable shocks
280mm disc 2 piston calipers
sec / 94 mp/h
There are a
lot of ways to look at a motorcycle's performance, and in the rush to
record elapsed time, top speed, mileage, braking distance, comfort,
whatever, it's easy to overlook Fun.
Fun. All it
takes is a ride on the Honda VT500 Ascot to remember how important Fun is.
an identity problem. Make that two identity problems.
Ascot VT500 is named for Ascot Park, a California track where countless
legends have been born. Team Honda races at Ascot and has won there. But
they don't do either there with the Ascot VT500. For TT, Honda runs a
special-framed version of the XL600 Single. For the half mile, the factory
uses the CX500-based NS750 or the Shadow 750-based RS750. Despite what the
innocent may think they've seen on TV, the VT500 is not a racer, nor is it
related to the racers.
there's the Ascot VT500, as seen here, and the Ascot FT500, the same
styling but with the XL500-de-rived air-cooled, chain drive Single, that
is, two different bikes with a name in common. Next to the Ascot VT500 is
the Shadow VT500C, which shares engine and drivetrain with the VT500 Ascot
but looks like the VT750C Shadow, which in turn has a water-cooled V-Twin
similar in principle but different in nearly every detail from the VT500
There will not be a quiz, but for the sake of brevity, in this text
references to the Ascot will mean the VT500 version, ditto for the V-Twin,
unless otherwise noted.
us all, the styling department has done a more tidy job with this bike.
With its small gas tank, flat seat, integrated side panels and sleek tail
section, the Ascot looks like a track bike, in the blazing red shown here
or is it related to the racers. the optional nearly black blue.
is as successful and as interesting. The VT500 is off the same drawing
board as the VT750, although there are no shared parts.
A 90° Vee
has natural balance. A 45° Vee is compact and has an, um, traditional look.
Honda and Yamaha are busily reinventing the V-Twin and both are looking for
ways to get good balance and traditional compactness. Yamaha is using 70°
Vees and going to counterbalances when the engine is designed to rev beyond
traditional speeds. The Ascot has a 52° angle between the cylinders, not
for vibration control.
cure for imbalance is development of another idea, the offset crankpin.
Har-ley, Ducati, Moto Guzzi and Yamaha Vees have both connecting rods on
the same throw. The fore-and-aft Honda Vees have a throw (pin) for each
cylinder, spaced according to a formula that makes the connecting rods and
pistons think they're spaced more widely than the cylinders are. They're
also spaced side by side and that introduces another source of vibration,
the rocking couple, but as we'll see Honda's solution is workable if not
perfect. The crankshaft itself is a one-piece forging, with plain bearings
and two-piece connecting rods.
more innovative engineering in the cylinder heads. To start with, the Ascot
has three valves, two intake and one exhaust, packed into a heart-shaped
combustion chamber. The shape would push a single spark plug off center, so
to speak, so there are two plugs per cylinder. Lighting the fire two places
at once shortens flame travel and that means the engine will tolerate a
high compression ratio with so-so fuel and moderate spark advance. We sort
of hoped for a Twin version of the radial four-valve heads on the new Honda
Singles, but the factory reps say the two engine families are done by
separate design teams. But, as with the offset crankpins, the three-valve,
two-plug head gives good results. The heads are low, rather than no,
maintenance: the single overhead cam works the valves via rocker arms and
clearance is adjusted with screw tappets. The timing chains tension
Top gear in
the six-speed box is 0.931:1, i.e. speeds up the output shaft, allowing
Honda to fit another one of those "OD" lights on the instrument
panel. Final drive is shaft, with the usual bevel gears.
two 32mm Keihin CV carbs are linked to a single push-pull throttle drum and
are fed by a horn-shaped chamber which fits between the frame backbone
tubes and connects the carbs to an under-seat airbox and filter. The
exhaust pipes both exit on the right side of the engine and meet in an
expansion box under the swing arm pivot, in front of the rear wheel.
Exhaust gasses exit through a single, large muffler. The exhaust is
finished in black chrome.
is round steel tubing with dual front downtubes and twin backbone tubes.
The steel swing arm runs in tapered roller bearings and is rectangular
box-section on the right and round on the left, since the left side
encloses the driveshaft. There are two rear shock absorbers with adjustable
axle forks have 37mm stanchion tubes and individual air caps. There's a
forged aluminum brace bolted between the two sliders, and the lower triple
clamp is steel.
triple clamp is forged aluminum, and the steering stem rides in ball
narrow radiator mounts between the frame downtubes and a compact electric
fan sits behind it. A section of the right downtube unbolts to ease engine
removal and installation, but doesn't carry coolant as similar tubes do in
some Hondas. Instead, metal tubes and rubber hoses link the cylinders with
the water pump and radiator.
headlight is rectangular, and a plastic cover just below the headlight
hides the single horn. The handlebars are short, with little pullback. The
instruments are housed in a square-edged panel. There's a mechanical
120-mph speedometer with odometer and re-settable trip meter, a mechanical
10,000-rpm tachometer (redline is 9500 rpm), a coolant temperature gauge,
warning lights for oil pressure and taillight failure, and indicator lights
for turn signals, neutral, high beam and OD. The ignition switch and fork
lock is mounted with the instruments, while the choke control lever is
built into the left handlebar control pod.
pressed-together combination of a cast aluminum hub and spokes and a
hollow, extruded aluminum rim. The front wheel is 2.15 x 18 in., the rear
wheel 2.50 x 18 in., carrying a Bridgestone 3.50-18 L303 and a Bridgestone
4.25-18 G504 respectively. The single front disc brake has a twin-piston
caliper. The rear brake is a mechanical drum.
is in the hunt, especially if factors like retail price and ease of service
are added to the equation.
more to the Ascot than numbers and some of what goes beyond numbers appears
contradictory. Vibration. True, vibration is relative. Ride the Ascot after
time on a Really Big Twin and the little Vee is smooth as a baby's cheek.
Ride the Ascot after time on a Nighthawk 550 and the Twin feels like the
washing machine sounds when one leg falls off and the washer starts running
around the garage.
class, the Ascot is normal for its type and size. Ever since the invention
of the internal combustion engine there have been certain laws and limits,
as in one cylinder is more difficult to balance than two, two are more
difficult than four, etc. Cylinders have been put in different places; side
by side, in a variety of Vees, opposed to each other. There have been counterweights,
rubber mounts, opposing crank pins, shared pins and now offset pins.
which has come to prove that what matters most are the size of the pistons
and the state of engine tune. The VT500 doesn't shake things off, it
doesn't blur the mirrors.
like the sensation. Lets you know it's an engine. Good vibes, as they used
to say. At the same time, despite no scientific measurement, we suspect
that the Yamaha's low-stress Virago 500 and counterbalanced Vision 550
vibrate a bit less.
Honda offers all those other models 250 and 600 Singles, 450 and 650 Twins,
Twins with automatic transmissions and Twins with turbochargers, right down
to the Shadow VT500C, the same internals in a different body, Honda gets to
make the Ascot VT500 a definitely single purpose machine.
purpose is sport. The seat is firm and sloped to keep the rider snug
against the tank. The bars are narrow and low. The pegs are high. There is
only only riding position, borderline cramped, adding an immediacy and slightly
frantic quality to the rider's position, the same sort of no-frills
quick-response seat and controls relationship found on a racebike.
with a 2.5-gal. gas tank and that narrow-narrow engine. There isn't a lot
of mass before the rider's eyes. Maybe it's a case of out of sight, out of
mind, but convincing an Ascot rider of the hard facts is difficult unless
that rider mans the tape measure and scale himself.
isn't the most comfortable motorcycle in the highway, mainly because of the
seating position. The suspension plays a role here, too, being tailored for
sporting use and also being non-adjustable except for shock preload and
fork air pressure within the range of 0 to 6.0 psi. The forks work well
enough, but the shocks are not as compliant as we'd like over small bumps
in the road surface, and that's a compromise forced upon a sporting bike
without adjustable suspension.
Suspension. We nearly forgot to mention the shaft drive. We nearly forgot
because it's not noticed. The Ascot doesn't leap up under power or crouch
when the throttle is rolled back. The engineers have used the correct swing
arm length and swing arm pivot position and tuned the suspension damping to
achieve what the others have said couldn't be done. Okay, the Ascot doesn't
have great fistfuls of power and that helps not create driveshaft symptoms,
but even so, the only time the Ascot's drive-shaft comes to mind is when
the chain doesn't need lube.
clearance is excellent and the rider has to work to drag the early-warning
footpeg "feelers," which extend downward from the ends of the
high, folding footpegs. The bike is stable in a straight line and in all
sorts of corners. About the most distressing thing it ever does is hop the
rear wheel slightly if the throttle is chopped going into a sharp corner.
country roads the Ascot is at home, the rider busy running up and down the
gears and setting up for this corner or that. It will pull at low rpm and
plonk through city traffic, but the Ascot is happiest reaching for the
red-line, making good power over 6000 rpm and best power be-
rpm and redline at 9500 rpm.
reached 104 in the half mile and is geared for 107 at redline in 5th gear,
which is the gear used for the top speed runs. Sixth, which Honda calls
overdrive, would be good for 123 at redline if the engine had the power to
pull it, which it doesn't. The advantage of that tall top gear is that the
engine spins slower at cruising speeds, as in 4600 rpm at 60 in top.
Just as the
Ascot feels lighter than it is, so does it feel more powerful than it is.
This isn't a complaint, because the bike is certainly fast. Instead, it's
surprising when cruising at speed to arrive at a grade or meet a headwind,
reach down for more throttle and discover there isn't as much left as you
thought: oh yeah, it's only a 500.
some genuine complaints. The key switch is recessed below the instrument
panel and it's awkWard to reach with gloved hands. The tank is smaller than
it looks because of the wide tunnel needed for the hose from carbs to air
box. Some of the crew didn't like the bend of the bars although because
they're conventional style they can be swapped. The slick rear side panels
shield the frame tubes so there's no place to attach luggage. (The grab
handles recessed into the panels have tiny studs for bungee hooks, but
that's not enough.)
accommodations are impossible. The muffler is high so the passenger pegs
are higher still. The rear portion of the seat is thin and short. It's
legal but barely possible for a human being to perch there.
the intangibles. The Ascot VT500 isn't the bike raced at Ascot. Honda's
offset crankpins don't undermine the laws of physics. The suspension is
stiff and the riding position cramped.
handling is crisp, the controls delightful and the engine responsive beyond
its numbers. The Ascot is quick and sure and rewarding. The hype and
compromises somehow fade away.
is fun. B!
Cycle World 1983