Author Topic: "Calamity Jane" - my vt500ft and her past, present, and future  (Read 2549 times)

gonzoguy

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Hello, this forum is new to me, I was glad though to find a dedicated forum to the ascot. I was on shadow forum.net and the yahoo vt500 enthusiasts group, both are great.

This will be my build thread for Calamity Jane, my 1983 Honda VT500FT. I got her from a man in Alexandria, La off eBay for the sum of $1200, would have been $1000 but the bids kept going up. She would be my first bike, and I was excited. When she arrived to me she ran very rough and wasn't in too good of shape. The original red was repainted a pearly blue, the tires were dry rotted, and it had a load of electrical problems. I immediately picked up a clymers and took care of her.

 For a year I loved her, she took me everywhere I wanted to go. At the end of that year I tboned a car that pulled out in front of me, the damage wasn't too bad, and I was fine. It led to another makeover, this time black to hide the imperfections. Half a year later the cooling fan stops on the highway, I had no gauges so wasn't aware of the tempeture rising, which led to a blown head gasket. And for two years she sat in the garage. I had owned two other bikes to take her place: a 1974 Honda CB750 "the beast" that was beautiful, and a 1991 Kawasaki Klr650, both were awesome bikes that I enjoyed, but I held on to my ascot. And now, I've finally pulled her out and decided to give her what she deserves, the full treatment.

J6G1Z

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Re: "Calamity Jane" - my vt500ft and her past, present, and future
« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2014, 07:44:23 AM »
Hey GonzoGuy,

Welcome to the forum. I hope you enjoy the group of folks that we have gathered here. We enjoy pictures & build threads. What's going on with those upside down handlebars? :o They look kind of goofy on an Ascot... Just giving you a hard time. ;D

Glad to hear that you weren't injured in your accident. Those types of things often change your life, & not for the better. How bad is the bike after the accident? Are you using a "special" battery, or is it just the way it looks in the pic? Do you have a left side, "side panel"? If you are looking for one, I think I might have one.

Do you have working gauges now? If not, you might take a look at the offerings by Trail Tech. They make a nice motorcycle computer that has the speedo, tach & temperature gauge all in one package. They are made in the USA & are not very expensive. Here is a post on some of the many gauge options. http://ascot500.com/index.php?topic=72.0

What are your plans for your Ascot now?

Good luck
J.

PS. That sounds like a nice bike stable that you have going there. A dedicated road bike & a do-it-all bike. I used to own a KL600 long ago. That was the model before the KLR650. It was an ill handling beast in the sand & pretty much had a mind of its own as far as picking a direction. It was fun to ride around town & hard dirt though.

gonzoguy

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Re: "Calamity Jane" - my vt500ft and her past, present, and future
« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2014, 07:46:30 PM »
Thanks J

I had to replace the handlebar and bought some clubmans to see how they looked. The steering at speed felt nicer but I could hardly turn at stand still cause of the tank.

The accident wasn't too bad, the fork tubes are slightly bent and I still need to fix them, mostly cosmetics. I managed to ride her back.

The battery was an AGM from autozone and had it on its side to fit using the stock battery box.

I don't have either side panels, the left was never there and the right flew off on the highway, you know the deal with those grommets. Thanks but I won't need either, she will be a one-off specialty suited to me.

I removed the gauges because A: they didn't go with the look, and B: because the speedometer spring was bad. I've seen the vapor tech lineup. I don't know though what gauges I will use. My focus is to build up around the engine, those things will be last on my list.

I can't say much as to what she will look like, I'm not putting her into any specific style. A couple things I know for sure, like the side stand is coming off. The tank is junk with dents and holes on its sides, instead of cutting out the double backbone to use a different tank, I'm going to cut the sides off retaining the middle section and weld new sides with either diamond plate or stainless. Or may just build a custom tank. The fairings will more than likely be custom fiberglass. Not many stock parts will be used again.

I started on this last weekend and would like to share further progress. Is there another way to attach photos besides the tool at the bottom, my photos are well over the maximum individual limit. Its no fun reading a build without  photos.

P.S. I don't have either of those bikes anymore, sold them both. I agree though, they are amazing bikes.

J6G1Z

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Re: "Calamity Jane" - my vt500ft and her past, present, and future
« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2014, 07:35:38 AM »
Sounds like you have some bold plans. Do you have any sketches or anything like that, or do you just work from the picture in your mind?

Here's a basic tutorial on posting pics: http://ascot500.com/index.php?topic=2.0
It's real easy once they are sized correctly. I've tried a few sizing programs, but keep coming back to XAT.com. It allows you to grab a whole batch of pictures, set the KB limit at 128K & the physical size at 800 wide with the length adjusting accordingly & in seconds it spits them out into whatever destination folder you choose. I can help walk you through it if you'd like. To the best of my limited computer knowledge, using the attachment feature at the bottom of each posting window is the best way to attach pics to the forum. It will allow 4 pics at 128K each to be posted in each window. That way the dreaded red "X" is avoided as so often happens if the pics are hosted off site & linked to your post.

I was wondering how well your bike's handlebars cleared the tank at slow speed turning. Usually those types of bars will put your hand controls into contact with the tank unless the tank is long & skinny. I have one bike (RD350) with "clubman" bars, but the seat height has been lowered about 4-6" from original so you're not pitched forward as dramatically.

Please let me know if I can be of any more help.
J.

gonzoguy

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Re: "Calamity Jane" - my vt500ft and her past, present, and future
« Reply #4 on: April 09, 2014, 09:47:37 AM »
I'm going to sketch out some designs soon.

I'm using my phone, can't resize the pictures, to my knowledge.
When I find a way I'll continue my progress reports. May just have to link in until I get to a computer.

Big dreams indeed. She deserves it.  8)

J6G1Z

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Re: "Calamity Jane" - my vt500ft and her past, present, and future
« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2014, 01:20:58 PM »
I'm going to sketch out some designs soon.

I'm using my phone, can't resize the pictures, to my knowledge.
When I find a way I'll continue my progress reports. May just have to link in until I get to a computer.

Big dreams indeed. She deserves it.  8) 

If you can e-mail the pics, I can re-size them.

J.