Author Topic: FT500 Vintage racer  (Read 238 times)


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FT500 Vintage racer
« on: June 16, 2020, 03:04:14 am »
While my other project is not even finished I am going to start a new one.
I stumbled acros a very cheap FT500 donor bike, it's a stranded flattrack project by the previous owner and it is perfect for what I intend to do with it.
I want to build a small racebike to compete in vintage demo races here in the Netherlands.
These races are on street circuits and ranked on consistancy instead of outright speed so it also means I can keep the engine relatively stock (and cheap).
The whole build will be on a small budget to keep it fun.
I already have a set of CBR600f Hurricane forks and wheels for it.

What needs to be done:
- Get the bike running
- Mount CBR600F Forks and wheels
- Make and mount a seat
- Make and mount front fairing
- Brace the rear swingarm (in the class I am running the swingarm itself needs to be stock)
- Fix exhaust or make one out of stainless
- New rear springs
- Rearsets for ground clearance
- The bike will be build as a racebike without lights or anything, there is registration on the frame though so I am contemplating to have removable lights to be able to test the bike on the street.

I've added 2 pictures of the style that I am aiming for.

Any tips and tricks are greatly appreciated.
I know the FT500 was used in AHRMA championships quite a lot so any racing upgrade knowledge would be great


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Re: FT500 Vintage racer
« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2020, 06:02:11 am »
Had some spare time yesterday evening so started to look at the state of the donor.
Man it is dirrrrty!
There is a thick layer of caked crap everywhere on the bike. Started to tackle that with some old rags and decreaser but I have a long way to go.
While I was at it I thought I would testfit the CBR forks.
One thing lead to another and now the full CBR front end is in.
Length difference is quite significant.
I still have to put the clipons on instead of the handle bars and I do want to lower the forks a bit further on the tripple tree.
Next in line is cleaning the carb, giving the starter mechanism some maintenance and reinstalling the wiring harness, after an oil and filter change I would like to see if I can get some noise out of her.


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Re: FT500 Vintage racer
« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2020, 12:59:54 am »
I had to remove about a 1" section out of the side stand after the CBR swap. Beware of the oil sump now sitting lower when you go over a speed bump, etc. I used Honda CR type motocross handlebars. I retained the OEM FT triple clamps & slid the CBR fork tubes into place.


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Re: FT500 Vintage racer
« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2020, 01:57:42 am »
Mounted the clipons, brakes and rear wheel of the CBR today.
The rear wheel does rub a bit on the right hand side of the swingarm, might be because the chain is a bit short (it's still the old 530 chain) and the wheel is very forward in the adjusters now.

After that I sprayed some primer on the tank to prevent rust.

Doesn't look half bad.

I also tried to clean the carb which went reasonably well. Biggest problem was that I can't get the jets out. Soaking them in penetrating oil now to hopefully get them out.


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Re: FT500 Vintage racer
« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2020, 09:38:20 am »
Got the jets out today!
Soaked them in penetrating oil for some days and they actually came out pretty easily.
With the carb cleaned I turned my attention to the electric system to diagnose any problems.
I hooked up the loom that I got with the bike. Connected everything up and first checked if I had power.
Ignition on and yes we have power!
Disconnected the pinion solenoid. Pressed the starter button and the starter motor works.
Disconnected the motor and connected the pinion solenoid, pressed the button again and this also works!
Connected the pinion solenoid again but took the sparkplug out.
Pressed the button and the engine cranks over, even better the sparkplug has a nice and strong spark!
So naturally I couldn't resist.
I reinstalled the sparkplug, got some starting spray and had the bike running for the first time in quite some years. (Without exhaust or air filter... Sorry neighborhood)
Not on gasoline yet (didn't hook up the tank) but great to know most of the engine seems alright.
Next step is to change the oil, hook up the tank and the exhaust and see if I can get her running on gas.


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Re: FT500 Vintage racer
« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2020, 02:56:10 am »
Nice work.
What brand/type of starter spray did you use?


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Re: FT500 Vintage racer
« Reply #6 on: July 02, 2020, 05:08:50 am »
Brake cleaner....
almost anything flammable will work TBH.
Would even use deodorant spray on my mopeds back in highschool (always nice to have your moped smell like a teenage boy)

Ordered a bunch of parts to start overhauling the bike.
There is a lot of RTV everywhere, someone tried to RTV the leaking cam O-rings so will be taking it apart after I've tested it a bit.
Total list of ordered stuff:
- Upper engine mount (was missing)
- Lefthandside CBR600F rearset with shifter pedal
- Tank rubber mounts
- kickstand spring
- Plug for the rev drive hole (will run electric rev counter)
- TDC check cover
- Exhaust studs (Do not order the ones from CMSNL. they are m6x35 while the FT needs m6x45!)
- Overhaul kit for the CBR front forks (dust seals, oil seals, bushings, everything)
- Full gasket set
- Exhaust gaskets
- Brake lever
- Throttle tube because mine was internally broken.

What I am still looking for:
- Proper jets for the carb (Keihin N424-26 jets are almost unobtainable here. I can get n424-21s but those are too long)
- Airfilter, looking at a foam style filter
- Exhaust muffler (need to clean and repair the original rusted out one that came with the bike
- seat (looking for a classic endurance style seat)
- Half fairing (same as above)
- lights
- rear springs (cb750sc)
- tires (bridgestone s10)
- chain and sprockets
- front brake discs as these are worn
- braided brakelines
- small stuf I will surely find when working further on the bike


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Re: FT500 Vintage racer
« Reply #7 on: July 06, 2020, 04:44:35 am »
Got all my parts in before the weekend so took some time to install some of them.

Fitted my old rusty exhaust without muffler (muffler coming soon). Also fitted the CBR600 rearsets, some fab work required to the frame but think they will work great.
With the fully cleaned carb I wanted to try to get it running on actual gas instead of starter spray.
Hooked up the tank of my other FT as this has some relatively fresh gas in it.
She runs really good!
No strange engine sounds whatsoever.
Also ran her through some gears while on the stand and everything works as intended.
« Last Edit: July 09, 2020, 01:54:37 am by FT500R »


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Re: FT500 Vintage racer
« Reply #8 on: July 08, 2020, 11:00:22 am »
Looking good, thanks for the update!


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Re: FT500 Vintage racer
« Reply #9 on: July 08, 2020, 04:06:29 pm »
Very cool!


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Re: FT500 Vintage racer
« Reply #10 on: July 09, 2020, 11:12:10 am »
Got a new airfilter and a new second hand exhaust today.
For the airfilter I went with a foam (double layer) filter. This should filter nicely, at least much better than those cheap mesh filters, and because it is foam you can easily fit it in the cramped space.
For the exhaust I was able to get a second hand Megaton exhaust for cheap. They are cheap exhausts anyway so I don't expect too much from it. It did come with multiple DB-killers so hopefully I can make it somewhat quiet.
Will be a bit of an effort to fit as the rearsets limit room for a link pipe.
I am also playing around a bit with possible seats. My original plan was a NSR250 seat but those are from the early 90s while the organization of the demo races I want to participate in want to have a more 70s/80s vibe.
Best option that I could work out in paint looks to be an altered Laverda SFC750 seat.