The Honda FT500 Ascot is a rarity these days, an early 80s thumper styled after the Class-C flat-trackers. In fact, FT stood for Flat Track, and Ascot was a reference to the famous California dirt track. No wonder builders have been turning these lesser-known Honda singles into street trackers.
“Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery…”
Enter Sean Skinner of Motorelic, who built this incredible 1982 FT500, featured on Pipeburn earlier this year. The bike, decked out in Honda racing colors, was a big hit in the customs world. Recently, we heard from Sjoerd Veenstra of Motolifestyle, who had shot a bike that looked strikingly similar: this Honda FT500 street tracker by Tim Olgers of The Netherlands.
As it turns out, Tim–a paramedic in The Netherlands–loved Sean’s FT500 so much, he decided to try his hand at building such a bike for himself. Once we realized the close resemblance, we were wary of running the bike, but Sean and Tim worked it out. As they say, “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”
Below, Tim gives us the full story on how this bike went from a non-runner to the beauty you see here.
Honda Ascot Street Tracker: In the Builder’s Words
A few years ago, after a divorce, I started over in another town and with another job as a paramedic on the ambulance in The Netherlands. We have workshifts of 24 hours and after that we are free for a few days.
As I had a lot of time, I decided I could build a motorbike for myself in my little shed. I built a cb350f cafe racer, and from that day on i never stopped building bikes. The last one is this Honda FT500 that I found via marktplaats, a kind of Craigslist in the Hague in Holland.
I was looking for this particular bike because I had seen Sean Skinner’s FT500 build, and I would like to have such a great bike for myself! These bikes have never been sold in the Netherlands so finding one wasn’t as easy as I hoped, but I found one at the other side of the country. The guy I bought it from was a sixty year old former architect, and now that he lost his job, he was in motorbikes and surfing all day long.
The FT was a non-runner and the guy told me that while riding the bike he suddenly heard a loud bang and that the engine was revving very high after that happened. After that he couldn’t start it again and as he was not able to fix it he sold it to me. Together we threw the bike in the back of my car and the adventure began…
I stripped the bike and when I removed the head of the engine I saw that something had been in the combustion chamber that didn’t belong there…a lot of damage was done to the head, piston, and valves, and I found a few pieces of metal of which i didn’t have a clue where they came from… Later on I found out that it was the butterfly valve of the carburetor that had been sucked into the engine!
As there was so much damage, I decided to port and flow the head and put in new valves and a Wiseco forged piston. As the carburetor has seen better days, I swapped it for a brand new Mikuni vm38 with a uni filter. The whole engine was cleaned and new gaskets and seals were fitted and the worn starter engine system and pinion were fixed as these are always broken on these bikes. The engine was sprayed with cast iron paint.
In the meantime, I welded a rear hoop on the frame and got rid of all the tabs on the frame that I didn’t need. I stripped the frame and after a few layers of 2k primer it was painted black. Then I started making the seat and sidepanels out of alloy sheets and made a seat which was formed to follow the lines of the gas tank and rear. I chose a Honda XL gas tank that I adapted to the FT frame.
I lowered the front fork for about 4 inches internally, mounted the steel brake lines and after cleaning I painted the wheels gold. I made a 2-into-1 header out of stainless and fitted a small muffler at the end. A set of cross footpegs were fitted, and I made a front number plate out of alloy and some tubing and fitted two did bi-xenon headlights with halos. Sounds easy, it wasn’t…
I fitted a lipo battery, new sprockets and chains and sorted out the electrics. At the hoop, I fitted a LED strip rear light with integrated signal lights. I painted the bike in HRC colors with rattlecans and put a 2k clear coat on top that I polished to perfection.
When I finished the bike, I went for a test ride at the woods and was laughing all the time! This thing pulls like a rhino and turns like a butterfly! Woehaahahaah it’s a great handling bike and a real head turner and I had a great time building it!