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You are here: Home --- Reliable Used Motorcycle Buyer's Guide --- Honda

Honda FT500 Ascot, VF500FT
Back to Honda Reliable Used Motorcycle Buyers Guide Index Page

Manufacturer: Honda...........TOP
Model: FT500 Ascot, VF500FT
Years Made: 1982 - 1984
Style: Standard
Engine Type: 499cc Single/V-Twin
mm/ "
Weight: 350lb HP: 35
Top Speed: 95mph MPG: 55
New Cost: $2,149 (1982) - $1,899 (1984)
Average Used Costs:
Low $462 Medium $739 High $1,210

MR says: 1982-1983: The FT500 Ascot was named after the famous California dirt track. The engine is a modified version of the XR500 unit; a single cyclinder with balancing shafts, automatic cam chain tensioner, CDI ignition, CV carburetor and electric start. The Ascot utilizes an integrated tank, seat and tail section design, has cast aluminum wheels, and disc brakes with dual piston calipers. The Ascot has a 5 speed gearbox and chain final drive.
Weight is about 370 lbs dry, power about 33bhp, and torque 28.9 lb/ft.

MR says: 1983-1984: The Ascot V-Twin, introduced a year later than it's single cyclinder sibling, was styled to resemble dirt track race machines. The Ascot engine is a 52 degree 'V', with offset crankpins to ease vibration. There are two intake valves and one exhaust valve in each cylinder, in a heart shaped combustion chamber. There are two plugs per head. The timing chains are self adjusting for low maintenance. There is a six speed gearbox, with sixth being an 'overdive' gear. Claimed power is 47bhp@9000rpm, with torque of 46lb/ft@7000rpm. Weight is about 420lb dry.

UMG Says: Big singles are easily designed wrong. It's getting the mix of vibration absorption and power right that's so difficult. The FT messed up completely, ending up with the same power as a 350 thumper and the same vibration, especially once some wear got into the balancer, as an old Brit single. The engine also suffers rapid top end wear and a clunky transmission. Upgrading the suspension fixes most of the handling problems.

UBG Says: Engine based on XL/XR, with less power and bigger flywheel. Has balance shaft, but evidently only partially effective. Most parts from XL or XL will fit. Not a great success for Honda. Main problem was electric starter drive on 1982 models – and there is no kick-start. Valve gear wear not uncommon too. Known as Ascot in USA, quite popular for racing (FT stood for flat track). Mods are mostly confined to improved front forks.
C1 £750, C2 £300, C3 £150

IGM Says: (FT500, VT500 Ascots) These are two very different bikes - the FT uses an air-cooled, single-cylinder engine derived from the XL500 dual sport, while the VT uses a liquid-cooled V-twin lifted from the 500 Shadow - but both make excellent first bikes. For some reason, perhaps because of the increase in interest in thumper streetbikes, the price of an FT has actually climbed a bit in recent years.