Author Topic: My 1983 VT500 Cafe Project Bike  (Read 5816 times)

BLIGHT

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My 1983 VT500 Cafe Project Bike
« on: December 18, 2014, 10:18:05 PM »
Hello... I'm sorry if I have posted here before.... I have signed up for a lot of forums over the years. Not sure if this was one of them. I have Harleys to Hondas and everything in between, so there are many forums of interest.

Anyway, I bought a Craigslist VT500 Ascot in halfway decent shape (mechanically) and decided to do a cafe racer version... but in basic black, like my old 1977 XLCR. I loved that project, well visually anyway, but not actually riding that bike with the solid-mount 1000cc v-twin... the vibration was horrible.

So, this smooth little 52 deg v-twin seemed like a perfect candidate for a lighter and more modern (by 6 years anyway) cafe bike.

Due to the odd frame construction near the steering head, there is not really a viable alternate fuel tank option. You could have a full-on custom alloy tank made, and that just wasn't in the cards for me, because they cost $2000-2500 for a good one.

I did some research and the old Benelli 360 (Wards) tank was attractive, and a tank that I could get for a couple of hundred clams.

The fuel tank interior was gutted just to get it into place. I moved all of the electrical junction boxes into the area under the faux tank. Vintage Honda wing emblems and a chrome cap complete the look.

I made a cardboard template fuel tank to fit in the area under the seat, after the huge airbox was removed. A friend of mine welded up a 3-D trapezoidal alloy tank to slip into this area and I fitted a filler cap and electric fuel pump. Pod filters on the rejetted carbs work fine.

A Honda GB500 seat was fitted with a modified Triumph Thruxton seat cowl, painted black lacquer like the faux tank. Side covers are Yamaha SR500, painted black with custom 3-D printed ASCOT emblems.

Up front: Clip-on bars are clamped to Honda VF500F (Interceptor) forks with anti-dive, CB400F front hub with dual 10" rotors & VF calipers, SS Buchanan spokes are laced to an 18" shouldered alloy rim. Ribbed chrome fender completes the vintage look.

At the back, a euro-spec VT500 Comstar hub was stripped of the slotted aluminum "flat flanged-spokes" and new alloy flange rings were fabricated, bolted on, and drilled for spokes. Another 18" (wider) shouldered alloy rim was laced to the new modular hub. IKON adjustable shocks make for a nice controlled ride.

The exhaust is made from stock VT500C (cruiser) chrome headers, a custom 2 into 1 SS collector, and a reverse-cone megaphone muffler.

The last item... added just a few days ago is a 1977 XLCR fairing and windscreen and smoked bubble. It just 'looks the part' on this bike.

This little VT500 is a total blast to ride, and handles and stops well. It's many pounds lighter than stock too. Definitely one of a kind.

The pics from the Quail Lodge show are with a CB400F handlebar.... I've since gone to clip-ons and the XLCR fairing in the last photo (cell-phone in a dark garage  :-[) It really looks better outside. I'll take a pic or two once it stops raining!

Enough talk... here are a few photos of this little jewel:

Cheers, BLIGHT















 
« Last Edit: December 18, 2014, 10:25:16 PM by BLIGHT »

J6G1Z

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Re: My 1983 VT500 Cafe Project Bike
« Reply #1 on: December 19, 2014, 05:29:44 AM »
Excellent results! That's a good looking Cafe bike!

When I first started to read your post & you mentioned Harley's, I half expected to see some chopped. Bobber looking bike.

I'd be real interested in learning your jetting specs. I have tried to remove the air-box & run a large UNI filter off the common plenum. Less than stellar results. I was not able to get the engine to accept throttle input without gagging on too much air. The bike would start & run just fine, but when you grabbed a handful of throttle it just wouldn't take it.

Thank you
J.

BLIGHT

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Re: My 1983 VT500 Cafe Project Bike
« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2014, 08:52:52 PM »
Thanks... the Harley I mentioned was the XLCR 1000cc cafe racer. If you aren't familiar with them they were pretty special, and quite the 'anti-Harley' of the time in 1977. Here's a photo of mine after I finished the restoration:



Jetting was simply a Sigma6 jet kit for the Ascot. I don't remember exactly which of the supplied pilot and main jets I ended up with, but it runs great. I drilled the slides per their directions too for faster throttle response.

Your filter choice and muffler+header type will make a big difference as well. No 2 bikes are exactly alike. I do have quite a LOT of intake honk and need to install a muffler of some sort on the noisy intakes!
BLIGHT

J6G1Z

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Re: My 1983 VT500 Cafe Project Bike
« Reply #3 on: December 20, 2014, 05:35:45 AM »
That's not a bad looking bike! I remember those bikes somewhat. I'm not very up to speed on all things Harley. In my younger years, I made fun of them. I've only ridden three HD bikes. Harley Davidson used to send a semi truck & trailer full of demo bikes to my old town once a year. All you needed was a motorcycle endorsement, sign a waiver & go ride a bike. I rode a 1200 Sportster & an FXR. Took me a few blocks to figure out that riding a HD is much like driving a diesel powered vehicle. They're not built to rev like a Japanese bike. They're built for low end torque & short shifting. The FXR was real nice & comfy. I have also ridden an 883 Sportster & it remains as the slowest, most ill handling bike that I've ever ridden.

I would like to build a 1200+cc Sportster based Street Tracker. I think the HD XR750 is one of the most attractive bikes ever built. Here is one of my dream bikes: http://www.mulemotorcycles.net/video.html

J.

BLIGHT

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Re: My 1983 VT500 Cafe Project Bike
« Reply #4 on: December 20, 2014, 11:07:22 AM »
Here's my other Harley.... 2010 XR1200:



I added 17" Buell wheels & wave floating rotors, custom exhaust, and removed a ton of unnecessary junk.
With my modifications I dropped 80 lbs from the bike so it's right around 500 lb wet.
It's pretty fast (100hp) and handles & stops very well indeed.
It's butter-smooth over 3K, and has a 7500 rpm redline and pulls hard to it.



BLIGHT

J6G1Z

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Re: My 1983 VT500 Cafe Project Bike
« Reply #5 on: December 20, 2014, 12:33:32 PM »
That's a very cool bike! I've always wanted to ride one of those.

J.


Bucko

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Re: My 1983 VT500 Cafe Project Bike
« Reply #6 on: December 22, 2014, 12:26:20 PM »
Nice!

Here's a similar one (but I like the black better).


thumperdh

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Re: My 1983 VT500 Cafe Project Bike
« Reply #7 on: December 27, 2014, 06:00:18 PM »
Wow an amazing looking VT and two of my favorite Harley's. Nice collection you got going there.
1982 FT500
Conti Classic Attack tires
Foam filter mod
Round headlight
Rejetted carb
Progressive springs
Supertrapp muffler
Thumperstuff header

J6G1Z

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Re: My 1983 VT500 Cafe Project Bike
« Reply #8 on: December 28, 2014, 06:06:14 AM »
Just curious... What does a clean XR1200 usually sell for?

Thanks
J.

BLIGHT

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Re: My 1983 VT500 Cafe Project Bike
« Reply #9 on: December 29, 2014, 02:33:50 PM »
Around central coast California they go for $7500 to $10,000... depending on condition and mileage, and seller's motivation.

I got my XR1200 in 2010 (used with 300 miles on it, seller had a bad back) and paid $7500 for it then.

I can sell it for more now, which is rather unusual for a motorcycle!

BLIGHT

J6G1Z

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Re: My 1983 VT500 Cafe Project Bike
« Reply #10 on: December 30, 2014, 04:59:08 AM »
Thanks. That's about the price range that I was thinking.

It's nice to have a bike that gains in value.

J.

Joe D.

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Re: My 1983 VT500 Cafe Project Bike
« Reply #11 on: January 17, 2015, 08:53:51 AM »
Nice bikes  ;D

MarkInOhio

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Re: My 1983 VT500 Cafe Project Bike
« Reply #12 on: March 25, 2015, 06:56:49 PM »
Nice bikes. Can you hook me up with the 2 into 1 part of the exhaust? I want to shed pounds and a 2 into 1 with a supertrapp reverse cone megaphone would save a huge amount of weight.  thanks for your time. good luck with your builds.