Ascot Forum

Second Generation Ascots => The V-Twin Years: Modified To Full Customs => Topic started by: Kettle One on November 29, 2013, 05:36:01 pm

Title: Off To The Races - the build begins
Post by: Kettle One on November 29, 2013, 05:36:01 pm
It all started a few years ago when my brother & I and a few close friends participated in a "650 Challenge". The rules were:
1. Acquire a motorcycle not greater than 650cc
2. Total budget for acquisition, repairs, etc not to exceed $650
3. Ride 650 miles in a weekend to meet up at an Irish Bar in WV (The Brazen Head, near Snowshoe)

One of the bikes was a 1984 Honda VT500 Ascot. I had never seen one before, and my first impressions were along the lines of "Jeez that looks ugly". But that motor did look good.
Fast forward to this year's Bull City Rumble in Durham NC. I was strolling around with a mate of mine who happens to be a custom bike builder of note. We came across a stock VT500 and I asked him what he thought of it. His verdict was that it would make a fantastic cafe racer.
So I called up my mate Bill from the challenge and mentioned that if he was ever thinking of selling I might be interested. Long story short I now own it.

First order of the day was to get all the bodywork off to see what we are dealing with. I haven't got a final concept fully baked yet, but if you stay tuned you will see how this will develop.
Title: Re: Off To The Races - the build begins
Post by: Kettle One on November 29, 2013, 07:37:55 pm
First step was to get all the main body work off to see what we are dealing with. I switched out the stock bars for an old pair of drag bars just to bring the handles down.
Title: Re: Off To The Races - the build begins
Post by: J6G1Z on November 30, 2013, 06:55:19 am
Nice Donor Bike! Be careful with those body pieces, side panels & gauge cluster. They are eBay gold.

Your exhaust was manufactured by MAC. I had the same exhaust on my first Ascot, but my pipes had the black ceramic type of finish. There is something wrong with the way that your top pipe is mounted. I think it needs to be raised in the back some. The mid section & lower section of pipe that comes out of the rear cylinder should have the two horizontal sections sitting flat & horizontal instead of angled like they are. I hope that I explained that clearly. I think by raising the very rear most portion of the pipe it should level out with the ground. MAC makes two types of baffles for these pipes. They have a street baffle which you most likely have & they have a race baffle. The race baffle is a straight piece of perforated pipe that runs from the down pipe exit to the end of the megaphone. Supposedly the race baffle with the proper damping material is a bit quieter & more throaty than the street baffle. According to MAC's online catalog, these baffles are still available. Please check out this post for more info: http://ascot500.com/index.php?topic=33.0

Good luck with your project. I can't wait to find out what your plans are.
J.
Title: Re: Off To The Races - the build begins
Post by: Kettle One on November 30, 2013, 07:05:22 am
Interesting to hear about the body panels. They will be sold at some point.....to fund this project! Thanks for the info on the Mac pipes. I don't plan on re-using them so they will probably be sold too. They are a bit rusty in places, but could certainly be rechromed or ceramic coated.
Title: Re: Off To The Races - the build begins
Post by: Kettle One on December 03, 2013, 11:14:17 am
Here's a couple of ideas of what I am currently thinking for this build. Pretty radical styling change but I think it's totally possible.
Title: Re: Off To The Races - the build begins
Post by: Kettle One on December 03, 2013, 11:25:51 am
I removed the lower exhaust pipe just to get an idea of what one pipe each side could look like. I borrowed a Ducati Supersport tank from a friend. It has a nice big hollow underneath and follows the line of the frame nicely but would need some mods to get it to fit down lower on the frame. It's also too wide at the front end so would interfere with the handlebars.
Title: Re: Off To The Races - the build begins
Post by: Kettle One on December 03, 2013, 11:29:52 am
Dropped the forks 3.5 inches in the trees and tried my Suzuki GT750 tank for size. Would be an easy fit but IMO does not look right for what I am after.
Title: Re: Off To The Races - the build begins
Post by: thumperdh on December 03, 2013, 06:28:53 pm
Dropped the forks 3.5 inches in the trees and tried my Suzuki GT750 tank for size. Would be an easy fit but IMO does not look right for what I am after.

I love that GT tank on there. I have a GT in that exact same color.
Title: Re: Off To The Races - the build begins
Post by: J6G1Z on December 04, 2013, 06:39:40 am
I wonder how an early CBR/Hurricane tank might look? I think they're more slender at the top.

Looks like you have to decide if you want a Super-Bike type of look where the top of the tank is fairly flat & the back of the tank drops down like the first picture.

Or the more traditional CAFE or Tracker look where the tank is flat along the bottom & the line extends back to the seat/tail-piece section.

I think the second option would be easier, but it is also the most common. I'm surprised that you are finding tanks that have a large enough tunnel underneath to clear the backbone framework of the Ascot.

Of course the original Ascot tank has very clean & attractive lines to it, but that pretty much locks you in to a Tracker look.

Keep up the good work.
J.
Title: Re: Off To The Races - the build begins
Post by: thumperdh on December 04, 2013, 07:56:45 am
I found this old picture of an FT racer a while back that reminds me of the direction you're looking to go.

(http://i.imgur.com/qRWF68Q.jpg) (http://imgur.com/qRWF68Q)
Title: Re: Off To The Races - the build begins
Post by: Kettle One on December 05, 2013, 07:24:32 am
Looks great! I wonder what forks those are. I would like to keep the stock wheels so would be good to know what forks would be compatible.
Title: Re: Off To The Races - the build begins
Post by: J6G1Z on December 05, 2013, 07:47:41 am
Those are probably Honda Hurricane forks. They fit into the original FT500 triple clamps. Those wheels look like Hurricane wheels.

J.
Title: Re: Off To The Races - the build begins
Post by: Kettle One on December 09, 2013, 07:42:00 am
I mocked up a front end configuration using a friend's Suzuki SV650 forks and the stock front wheel. Aside from the different front axle size, the SV forks steering stem is about an inch too short so they wouldn't work. I have two choices for forks now:
1. Look for forks that will fit the Ascot triple clamps (37mm). I'll look into Honda Hurricane or similar.
2. Find something with a longer stem.
The research continues!
Title: Re: Off To The Races - the build begins
Post by: J6G1Z on December 09, 2013, 08:11:55 am
Check out the All Balls Racing web-site. http://www.allballsracing.com they have a conversion page that gives you a better idea of what fits what & which bearings you will need. http://www.allballsracing.com/index.php/forkconversion

You should probably try to stay within the Honda family if you can. Another favorite swap is GSXR forks. They seem to be more available than any of the other modern front ends. You want to try & source the whole thing from the wheel to the clip-ons/handle-bars & hand controls. Later on you can sell what you don't end up using.

Here is a listing of fork tube, steering stem & axle sizes: http://www.customfighters.com/forums/showthread.php?t=29199
Here is another potentially helpful post: http://www.customfighters.com/forums/showthread.php?t=5747

Good luck, I'm real interested in what you end up using.
J.
Title: Re: Off To The Races - the build begins
Post by: Kettle One on December 09, 2013, 08:30:11 am
Thanks for the links. I had the AllBalls conversion site bookmarked from previous builds, but it does not consider steering stem length. So I've found Axle Diameters, Steering Stem Bearing sizes and fork stanchion diameters, but nowhere can I find a list of steering stem lengths. That would be the last piece of the puzzle!
Title: Re: Off To The Races - the build begins
Post by: J6G1Z on December 09, 2013, 08:38:49 am
The first generation Honda CBR Hurricane has 37mm upper fork tubes if I recall correctly. The complete front end also has the correct fork tube spacing to slide right up into the earlier single cylinder FT500 Ascots triple clamps. I do not know if the VT500FT & the FT500 share the same triple clamp spacing.

There are a few specialty companies that will press the original steering stem out of the lower triple clamp & press it into the new lower clamp if the diameters are the same. If the steering stem diameters are not the same, you will either need to turn it down or bush it up to fit the new lower triple clamp. Then you may need to bore out or bush up the top triple clamp. Most any "good" local machine shop should be able to perform these fairly simple machine operations. You need to approach them with cash & try to speak to the owner directly. Casually mention that you will pay in cash & do not require a receipt. Many times a shop owner will take on some small one off job for cash that he can put in his pocket.

Good luck
J.
Title: Re: Off To The Races - the build begins
Post by: Kettle One on December 09, 2013, 08:51:57 am
J, could you measure the distance between the triple clamps on your FT and let me know? If you measure from the top surface of your lower to the underside of your upper, then I can compare with the VT. Thanks!
Title: Re: Off To The Races - the build begins
Post by: J6G1Z on December 09, 2013, 08:52:36 am
The VT500FT sure has an elegant looking engine!

Do you have any plans in trying to remove the swingarm, or to swap a Shadow rear-end on to your project? The Shadow came with a 16" rear wheel & has a slightly higher gear ratio. Some guys swap the Shadow rear-end onto the Ascot with the 18" rear wheel to pick up some more top end speed & a better cruising speed.

You will need a special tool to remove the swingarm retention nut. It's a castellated nut & requires a special castellated socket to engage it to remove. Here is a post on that tool: http://ascot500.com/index.php?topic=140.0

Good luck
J.
Title: Re: Off To The Races - the build begins
Post by: J6G1Z on December 09, 2013, 10:42:13 am
Well I tried to take some accurate measurements off my FT500, but I had to eyeball it a bit due to parts of the bike being in the way.

The distance between the triple clamps from bottom to top varies depending upon where you take the measurement. Along the left upper fork leg looks to be about 6" & 5/8ths of an inch from the top of the lower triple clamp to the bottom of the upper clamp.

The distance between the forks inside to inside is approximately 5.725" on my "el cheapo" 6" digital caliper.

As I said... There was a bit of eyeballin' going on, so these may not be 100%. If you need any other measurements or pictures, just let me know & I'll see what I can do.

Good luck
J.

PS. How well does that Bike Lift work for you? How high does it lift the bike & do you recommend it? Been thinking of picking one up from Harbor Freight.

Title: Re: Off To The Races - the build begins
Post by: Kettle One on December 09, 2013, 10:55:31 am
J, many thanks for this info. It will be close enough I believe. I bought the lift from a friend of mine who upgraded to a Kendon. I find this one very useful. It will raise the bike about 2 feet when you have it under the motor. I also made a timber "platform" with wheel chock and I use the lift under that to get the whole bike up to a good working level. If you look closely at the pic you will see two arrows which are the guide marks to get the lift in the right place.
Title: Re: Off To The Races - the build begins
Post by: J6G1Z on December 10, 2013, 07:27:44 am
Nice looking RD project. I have one of those also. They are my other "favorite" bike.

Pretty cool bike lift you put together. I might have to try something like that. Sure beats being hunched over all the time.

J.
Title: Re: Off To The Races - the build begins
Post by: Kettle One on December 10, 2013, 07:41:18 am
Once you have it up on a lift you will never want to work on another bike at ground level! HUGE difference in ease of working. My setup was quick, dirty & cheap. I'm keeping my eyes open for a Kendon though :)
Title: Re: Off To The Races - the build begins
Post by: Kettle One on December 10, 2013, 09:00:29 am
Got some measurements off the steering stem. It is quite a bit longer than the FT. I can't find these corresponding dimensions for other bikes listed anywhere online so it might be a case of carrying a measuring tape around at the next bike meet! I could also have the VT stem remounted in a different lower triple clamp.
If anyone knows of other bikes that have a similar long stem I would be delighted to hear from you!
Title: Re: Off To The Races - the build begins
Post by: J6G1Z on December 10, 2013, 10:57:51 am
Are you looking to go with the new style inverted forks, or the old style standard forks?

I think I would look for either a CBR, GSXR or Ducati/Aprilia front end & have the steering stem swapped. I've seen some good prices on Ducati front ends on eBay. Most of the Sport Bike forks are a few inches shorter & will not only lower your bike, but also quicken the steering some.

What is the spacing between the forks?

J.
Title: Re: Off To The Races - the build begins
Post by: Kettle One on December 10, 2013, 11:57:24 am
Between the forks is 145mm (5.71 inches). I'm thinking about sticking with old style forks. I think they will fit the overall look better. Would likely also be less expensive.
Title: Re: Off To The Races - the build begins
Post by: J6G1Z on December 10, 2013, 03:52:40 pm
I wonder if the Hurricane forks will fit in your Ascot triple clamps. The inside measurement seems very close to being the same.
Just a thought.

J.
Title: Re: Off To The Races - the build begins
Post by: J6G1Z on December 12, 2013, 09:35:33 am
Check out this listing.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/380785759994?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1438.l2649#ht_155wt_896

For some reason unknown to me, I've seen better deals on Ducati or Aprilia front ends than Japanese front ends. Wierd.

Good luck
J.
Title: Re: Off To The Races - the build begins
Post by: Kettle One on December 14, 2013, 09:34:00 am
After a lot of research I've decided to keep the stock triple trees and go for Honda Hurricane forks. Another option is Ninja 500 if Hurricane is scarce. Stay tuned!
Title: Re: Off To The Races - the build begins
Post by: J6G1Z on December 14, 2013, 09:49:52 am
After a lot of research I've decided to keep the stock triple trees and go for Honda Hurricane forks. Another option is Ninja 500 if Hurricane is scarce. Stay tuned!

Were you able to determine if the Fork spacing is the same?

Here is something to taunt you depending upon where you live.
http://salem.craigslist.org/mpo/4216815462.html

I have a 91 cbr rolling frame with motor. bought the bike to restore it but it is a bit past my expertise. motor looks like it may have got water in it. this would be a great parts bike or if you are good, could be a runner again. no plastics. or tank but but everything else is there. 300 obo. call david. 503-9 three one-2263.

Good luck & let me know if you want to try to purchase this bike. I may be able to help.
J.
Title: Re: Off To The Races - the build begins
Post by: Kettle One on December 23, 2013, 07:18:25 am
Picked up a very nice set of Hurricane forks off eBay. The stance is much better now. I can also use the Hurricane front axle by switching out the wheel bearings which is what I will be doing this afternoon after the mail delivery!
Title: Re: Off To The Races - the build begins
Post by: J6G1Z on December 23, 2013, 07:50:22 am
Cool! That looks nice! Supposedly the Hurricane fork tubing has a thicker wall thickness to make the forks stiffer.

What year Hurricane forks are they?

What is the difference in length between the original forks & the new ones?

How well does the OEM wheel & speedo drive fit & do you need to make new spacers?

How about mounting the brake caliper?

Any other information that you can add to assist any future readers?

Keep up the good work.

Thank you
J.
Title: Re: Off To The Races - the build begins
Post by: Kettle One on December 23, 2013, 08:26:24 am
They are off a 1990 Hurricane CBR600F. I believe the 88-90 forks are all the same. They are about three inches shorter measured from axle center to top of stanchion. Regarding the spacers, brakes, etc I haven't got to those parts yet but will post when I do. I am keeping the Ascot front wheel and single disc (at least for now). I will have to modify the brake caliper attachment but more on that to follow.
Title: Re: Off To The Races - the build begins
Post by: J6G1Z on December 23, 2013, 11:31:37 am
Have you seen some of the "adapters" various guys have whittled out of 1/4" to 3/8" aluminum plate to mount the caliper to the fork leg?

I think I'd try to make one out of MDF wood first. Then when that design is finalized, transfer it to the aluminum.

Here's a few pics that I found earlier of what one guy did. (Hope you don't mind the pics in your post)

Good luck
J.
Title: Re: Off To The Races - the build begins
Post by: Kettle One on December 27, 2013, 01:17:59 pm
No worries J. Thanks for the tips/pics. The CBR600F front axle (20mm diameter) arrived today. It was a nice deal....came with the right side spacer and the speedo drive. I replaced the wheel bearings with Allballs replacements for the CB600F. The outside diameter is exactly the same as the Ascot so that was lucky. I found a suitable spacer in my spares drawer. So everything fitted up nicely except that I have about 1mm of space to fill (marked with the red arrow). I'll get some shims to take up the slack. Unfortunately the CBR600 speedo drive will not work with the Ascot wheel without some modification. I'm probably not going to use it anyway so it is in place as a spacer for now. Next step will be to see about fitting up the front brake caliper. I might just buy a used CBR600F left front caliper and see how that might work.
By the way, Santa brought me a Kendon lift (just fantastic) so its much easier to get at stuff without having to bend over!
Title: Re: Off To The Races - the build begins
Post by: J6G1Z on December 27, 2013, 01:45:47 pm
Very cool how everything is going together for you. Real nice how the bearing sizes worked out.

Hey Santa brought me a lift also. It's one of those Motorcycle, ATV utility jacks that fit under the engine. Should be quite helpful on my back.

Good luck
J.
Title: Re: Off To The Races - the build begins
Post by: Kettle One on December 31, 2013, 02:33:29 pm
Made an interesting discovery yesterday. The VT500E (European model) has different forks (center axle) than the VT500FT (leading axle). I also like that tank better than the FT offering.
Title: Re: Off To The Races - the build begins
Post by: J6G1Z on December 31, 2013, 03:11:37 pm
It also looks like the bike has dual exhausts.

Nice looking bike, but I prefer the original Flat Tracker look.

J.
Title: Re: Off To The Races - the build begins
Post by: Kettle One on January 05, 2014, 02:00:46 pm
Spent the last few days tinkering with the front wheel/brake setup. I flipped the front wheel around because I think it will be easier to mount a caliper on the right side of the Hurricane forks, not to mention the fact that the disc will look better on the right side. Through some detective work on Partzilla & eBay I managed to find a right side caliper to match the one from the left side of the Ascot. I'll ditch the speedo drive and go for an electronic setup.
I bought a tank off a Suzuki GS1100 which should arrive tomorrow. It has a pretty wide tunnel so will see how that looks. Stay tuned!
Title: Re: Off To The Races - the build begins
Post by: Whata on January 30, 2014, 01:20:55 pm
Cool project going on there !

Are you going to tune the engine also or will it remain stock ? I'm curious how much further this 'lil engine could go  ;)


Wouter
Title: Re: Off To The Races - the build begins
Post by: Kettle One on April 15, 2014, 05:27:57 am
Hello all and apologies for the radio silence. Regrettably my resources (financial & otherwise) have been re-directed lately so I've decided to abandon this project. I am putting the bike back together as I got it and will offer it for sale. If there's any interest let me now. She is a runner and the motor sounds very good. Great project or restoration candidate but alas not for me right now.
Title: Re: Off To The Races - the build begins
Post by: J6G1Z on April 15, 2014, 07:16:33 am
Sorry to hear about your need to re-direct. I have been doing the same in a sense. Been working on building a greenhouse for the little woman & racing the weather, as spring is here. I'm hoping to be done in the next 2 weeks or so & then I can get back to working on the bikes.

Please consider posting a Ad in the "Classified" section if you are serious about selling. Make sure you include your general location. You might also want to post an Ad on the Yahoo VT500 Ascot Owners Group.

Good luck
J.
Title: Re: Off To The Races - the build begins
Post by: Kettle One on April 15, 2014, 07:21:49 am
Will do J. Thanks for your advice & support. As soon as I get her reassembled I will take some more pics and put in a classified listing. I would really like her to go to a Forum Member. I am in Cary, NC.
Title: Re: Off To The Races - the build begins
Post by: J6G1Z on April 15, 2014, 07:24:23 am
No problem. Just make sure that you hang on to that RD that is in your collection. I'm itching to take mine out & get a good dose of two-stroke power band.

Good luck
J.
Title: Re: Off To The Races - the build begins
Post by: AscotDog on May 18, 2014, 09:04:57 am
I know from build threads on the cx500 forum that newer Honda Cbr front ends fit most older hondas without modification. Apparently Honda has not changed the headset diameter for the vast majority of their bikes in ages. Every writes "check the All Balls website" apparently there is a cross-reference chart between bikes. However because of this, and the popularity of cafe racer builds, the price of Cbr front ends is now higher!
Title: Re: Off To The Races - the build begins
Post by: Joe D. on June 22, 2014, 07:40:30 pm
This was exciting to read and I'm bummed it ended.
Title: Re: Off To The Races - the build begins
Post by: J6G1Z on June 23, 2014, 08:40:40 am
This was exciting to read and I'm bummed it ended.

Yes, me too.

That's the way it goes with projects. Sometimes you need to cut one loose.

J.
Title: Re: Off To The Races - the build begins
Post by: obriencj on July 21, 2015, 02:10:27 pm
I'm the fellow that ended up with this bike (after someone else bought it first).

Just to keep you up to speed, so far I've:

When I first got her, she was running hella rough, the clutch slipped terrible even after adjusting, and her front brake didn't do much (weak pressure and badly fouled pads). She's running solidly again currently, though I'm having some issues with the battery. She sat through the winter, and I've only recently got back into working on her.

I've found an exhaust that still had the collection chamber (when I got her the collection chamber had been chopped and welded over). Bits of the tabs are rusty so I'll have to take them to a machine shop to see about having those bits removed and re-welded.

The wiring situation... is terrifying, but I'm slowly working on it, haha!

There's a bit of noise in the final drive on the shaft. It's on my todo list to dump that out and regrease. Or maybe it's just low on oil, I haven't even checked that yet. Todo!

I actually really like the unpainted tank, and I'm thinking of just cleaning it up a bit, hitting it with a protective clear coat, and sticking a pinup decal on.

Anyway, just thought you guys might want to know that the bike is alive and functioning, though it hasn't seen much road time since Kettle One sold it off.
Title: Re: Off To The Races - the build begins
Post by: veetee500 on June 09, 2016, 01:16:48 pm
Sorry...
 
Title: Re: Off To The Races - the build begins
Post by: veetee500 on September 10, 2016, 12:31:20 am
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Title: Re: Off To The Races - the build begins
Post by: veetee500 on September 10, 2016, 11:12:20 pm
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Title: Re: Off To The Races - the build begins
Post by: veetee500 on September 19, 2016, 05:49:10 pm
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