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HipsterKillerGarage
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6,484 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm picking one up for a project this week. It runs but could use a little love.

The million dollar question is, what the heck do I do with it?

I figured it would be fun to have a thumper so I am bringing it home, but really have no plans for it.
 

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Hack in a barn
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4,409 Posts
I bought one for $75 two or so years ago. It ended up being too far gone internally so I ended up parting it out.

From what I had learned about them is the starter system notoriously shitty. I forget the specifics, but the info is out there and easy to find. Biggest problem with it is that being a two year model the parts in good shape are getting tough to come by.

I ended up selling the whole starter system on ebay for $200, and that was listed as working condition of parts unknown. If that gives you an idea of how easy things like that are to come by.

I will say this, I looked into using a kick start off an XR500 from the same vintage, because they share most of parts motor wise. If I remember the hole for the shaft needs to be machined out on the ft500 case, then there are a few other hurdles, but nothing too crazy. Although it may be easier in the end to just swap in the xr500 motor. There is info on the kicker swap out there just look.

I do have a few random parts left over from that bike that I'd basically give you. If you need something just ask and I'll see if I got it. Pretty much all the motor parts are gone though...
 

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Just Here For The Party
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696 Posts
There was a really good website that detailed race-prepping an FT500 I found when I lucked into an FT500 motor. That was over 5 years ago, but apparently the force is strong with me today as I just found it (Ascot Forum). After reading a bit, I guess more than a few guys ran FT500s in WERA.

You can convert it to kickstart using XL/XR500 parts, but it's not easy, and really you need to crack the cases open to do it right. Honestly at that point, it would probably be best to just frankenstein the motor and pull the best from each.
 

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HipsterKillerGarage
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6,484 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I bought one for $75 two or so years ago. It ended up being too far gone internally so I ended up parting it out.

From what I had learned about them is the starter system notoriously shitty. I forget the specifics, but the info is out there and easy to find. Biggest problem with it is that being a two year model the parts in good shape are getting tough to come by.

I ended up selling the whole starter system on ebay for $200, and that was listed as working condition of parts unknown. If that gives you an idea of how easy things like that are to come by.

I will say this, I looked into using a kick start off an XR500 from the same vintage, because they share most of parts motor wise. If I remember the hole for the shaft needs to be machined out on the ft500 case, then there are a few other hurdles, but nothing too crazy. Although it may be easier in the end to just swap in the xr500 motor. There is info on the kicker swap out there just look.

I do have a few random parts left over from that bike that I'd basically give you. If you need something just ask and I'll see if I got it. Pretty much all the motor parts are gone though...
There was a really good website that detailed race-prepping an FT500 I found when I lucked into an FT500 motor. That was over 5 years ago, but apparently the force is strong with me today as I just found it (Ascot Forum). After reading a bit, I guess more than a few guys ran FT500s in WERA.

You can convert it to kickstart using XL/XR500 parts, but it's not easy, and really you need to crack the cases open to do it right. Honestly at that point, it would probably be best to just frankenstein the motor and pull the best from each.
I think you guys are right about the kicker conversion. I'm gonna research it some more. I don't mind some machine work and stuff but if it is easier to just pop an XR motor in then that's common sense.
 

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UnicycleMode
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7,580 Posts
Having had a non-RFVC XR500 from '79 I will say right now you might want to just avoid the stupid stock engine all together with kick start conversions and all that mess and find a RFVC 500/600/650 lump to drop into it.

Honda really buggered up the thing with a chain driven counter balancer on the engine AND transmission. Haven't found a replacement chain yet, NOS or otherwise. The carb on my '79 XR was sensitive to EVERYTHING too, when it was on, holy shit was it ON, but when it was off, you were not only going to deal with a bitchy warmup, but once it was hot and you shut it down, or heaven forbid you kill it trying to take off, you are sitting for 10-15 minutes waiting for it to cool down enough to restart.



Maybe my experience with the old non-RFVC XR500 engine is unique, I wouldn't be surprised if I am one of the few that ended up not getting along with them, but, I wouldn't buy another one knowing what I know now. Always hunted for an 'FT' Ascot to swap a larger, more reliable single into, but never pursued it that much due to the stock engine of my XR leaving me wishing I had an electric start, and the numerous times I kicked and kicked until my leg hurt, my foot was swollen, and I was about to rip the gas line off and light the thing up into a Honda torch and just start walking. :nuts:
 

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CAPTAIN AWESOME®
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30,269 Posts
I have had 2 over the years. One was a street bike that I eventually flipped for an srx600, and the other I ice raced. I stripped the electric start and went with a bump start roller setup. Lots of xr500 go fast stuff back then, and the guys at Motorcycle Performance in Madison WI helped me out with the head work

It was a pig compared to some of the other bikes, but it was reliable as fuck
 

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Hack in a barn
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4,409 Posts
Had to fab up a custom tow rig just to pop start the thing?
Told you the starters are shit....

:D :fu:

Nice man, interested to see what you do with it!
 

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HipsterKillerGarage
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6,484 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Had to fab up a custom tow rig just to pop start the thing?
Told you the starters are shit....

:D :fu:

Nice man, interested to see what you do with it!
Hahaha

I didn't want to pull it on a trailer. Makes milage suck.

Made that tow setup today to solve it.

I'm gonna pull the tank and tail tonight to grab some measurements and start on an alloy kit for it this week.

Something along these lines, but in alloy. Classic tracker styling.

 

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1 Posts
I'm picking one up for a project this week. It runs but could use a little love.

The million dollar question is, what the heck do I do with it?

I figured it would be fun to have a thumper so I am bringing it home, but really have no plans for it.
I bought the first one that hit the dealer in '82, I was in love with the looks and like thumpers. it was a great backroader and even did some 2 up trips on it after putting a windshield on, and used it to commute to work when weather was good enough. it had some small problems like the exhaust header being a dumb 2 layer design that came apart and rattled but I was able to fix that by just welding in a normal pipe. the starter was the only real bad thing. I took it apart and saw what was wrong and made new better parts and it worked fine after that. they must have rushed to get it to market and gave that job to the wrong guy. I sold it to get something else but wish I had it back, it was so good on corners.
 

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Is my bike ok?
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15,025 Posts
They are pretty solid engines, but the estarts are weak. Engine was taken from the XL500 / XR500 dual sport/dirt bikes. You can convert them back to kickstart, but I don't know how involved it is.

Quite fond of my XL500S. Great low rpm torque, cruises at 60+ mph well and gets 60+ mpg always. Thumpers don't get enough respect on the street.
IMG_20200628_140242490.jpg


148445
 

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And the stock front forks were known to break off under road racing conditions. IMHO, the perfect thing to do to an Ascot is swap the tank onto an XR560R.
 
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