Honda FT500 Ascot Single Parts
Honda’s 500cc thumper was not for everyone. It had a praying mantis look to it that appealed to some, while others wondered if even its mother loved it. But the FT500 was an individual in a world of conformity.
Honda let its iconoclastic single loose on the world in 1982, prepared to compete for a share of the midsized street bike market dominated by twin-cylinder machines. Thanks to thoughtful engineering, the FT (Flat Track) was not plagued with the vibration issues that had beleaguered previous high-compression singles, and it offered advantages that should have made it interesting to riders within its niche.
Honda’s R&D side quelled the thumper’s natural vibrations through simple counterbalancing, which at first is counterintuitive. How do you balance a single? Honda elected to place weights fore and aft of the piston, one on its own shaft and one riding the transmission shaft. Linked via chain, this system brought the FT’s vibrations to unnoticeable levels at cruising RPM, and only slightly bothersome at the upper range of the power band.
The smooth-running FT could compete with the twins in the area of comfort, and it was lighter than most, coming in at a then-lithe 378 pounds. It made 34 horsepower at 6200 RPM and nearly 30 pound-feet of torque at 5000 RPM. Not stellar numbers even for the early 80s, but quick enough for sporty riding thanks to its singular thrust-to-weight ratio. Its engine was thoroughly modern, with an overhead cam and four valves. With its nimble chassis and ample maximum lean angle, Honda’s little thumper could run with many more purpose-built sport machines.
Inspired as it was by the flat trackers of the day, the FT500 was made for commuting, not racing. It was electric-start only in a time when sudden, inexplicable mechanical failure was common, and that made riders nervous. Its odd looks didn’t earn it many admirers either, and U.S. sales were weak from the start. For its price, though, it was near the top of the heap in terms of bang-per-buck performance.
The FT500’s meager sales mean it is rare today, but that lack of popularity also means pricing is earthly. If you can find one, they make excellent vintage Honda restoration projects. An agile bike that is friendly to the beginning rider, Honda’s roadster thumper makes an interesting addition to any classic Japanese motorcycle collection.
Randakk’s is one of the web’s best sources for vintage Honda performance parts and component. We proudly stock vintage Honda engine and carburetor parts, suspension and brake components, electrical parts, filters, grips and various performance and reproduction Honda parts. Catering to rarities with character like the FT500 fits our mold.
Every FT500 part you see listed on Randakk’s is in stock in our warehouse. Typically, your order will ship within 24 hours of completion, and we are happy to ship to all 50 U.S. states and more than 50 countries. Our mission: to preserve and improve classic Hondas. When you begin your vintage Honda restoration, look to Randakk’s for reproduction Honda parts. Randakk’s is here to provide the maintenance parts your Honda needs. Mile after mile, we’re in it for the long haul.
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