Honda Ascot VT500 (1983)

Sept 2016 - July 2017

Mohawk River - Lock 8 Nov. 2016

How I got this bike

  In the fall of 2016, my friend, Andy was looking to buy a small 70's or 80's Honda dirtbike.  While checking out a Fantic 200 Trials bike in Glenville, we stumbled across an excellent looking 1983 Honda XL 200 with low miles and he bought it.  This had me thinking of getting a similar vintage bike but something more to my taste, street oriented.

  The next day I saw this bike posted on Craigslist and called 8 minutes after it was listed and made an offer. The seller got so many calls that I had to increase my offer, but being the first to call, the bike was mine.  We picked up both bikes that same day.

After Cleanup - Oct. 2016


  While it looked undamaged and unmolested, it didn't run and there was no key or title.  I was told was that it had been sitting for three years after the key was lost.  Having the seller get the title was part of the deal.  He'd removed the helmet lock and gave it to me so it was easy for a locksmith to use the code on the back to make keys.  I was taking a chance on this, but I believed the basics of the info from the seller.  Two weeks later, I have the title and the bike is registered and running.


Carb Work and New Plugs Oct. 2016


  It is remarkably original with 9,716 miles.  Aftermarket shocks and a braided brake line in the front are the only modifications.  The gas tank is exceptionally rust-free.  Unweathered-looking but there are some rusty spots.  I'm certain it will clean up easily.

Low Miles for a 33 Year Old Bike

What was needed

Bike was running after these items:

  • - new battery-
  • - carburetors removed and cleaned (new pilots jets, #38 but the old ones might have been fine)

Additional work:

  • - clutch adjustment
  • - oil and filter (K&N 202)
  • - spark plugs (4)
  • - final drive oil (80-90)
  • - cleaning and paint touch-up
  • - repair wires to tail light
  • - float valves and seats ($55, kit #18-4707 Jets R US))




Carb work


  In just two weeks I am riding the bike.  The carb cleaning seems to have worked well.  Clutch feels fine. 

  The ride is light.  The handling is good.  The engine revs to redline and pulls nicely.  I've hit 85 mph and there's more power available.  The 6 speed overdrive transmission keeps the revs down at high speeds.  Brakes are good so I don't need to replace the front pads but I do anyway.

  Front forks seals are leaking but that is a future fix.


New Float Valves and Seats


  The carburetors leaked gas into the crankcase, so I removed them again and replaced the float valves and seats.  The right side carb did have a stuck spring in the float valve and maybe some dirt on the seat.  This fixed the problem.

Schenectady County Community College May 6, 2017


The Last Day - July 23, 2017

  I had decided that I wasn't enjoying the ride on this bike for more than short distances.  And, it had served it's purpose of getting Christine riding. (She'd progressed to riding this bike around Schenectady and the Ninja 650 in Queensbury).

The Last Day


  Then I bought the 2006 Sportster which pushed me over the limit of the number of bikes I wanted to own.  I listed the Ascot starting at $2,150 in July, but I reduced the price to generate more action.  When I got a solid offer of $1500, I sold it.  The bike went with the helmet lock and the extra brake pads that I had just replaced that had very few miles on them.

  Rode it to the buyer's house for the last ride on July 23rd.  Total use was 400 miles.  (In Sept. I see the bike listed on Craigslist for $1,650).



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Edited Dec. 16, 2022