Wednesday, 6 April 2016

My next project?

Regular readers of this blog may have noticed a glaring omission this winter – no projects! The Dyna is pretty close to where I want it and with the US-Canada exchange rate being where it is paying a 40-50% premium on discretionary parts and accessories from the US is a significant disincentive for any frivolous upgrades.

That’s not to say I haven’t been looking for something, but interesting and cheap motorcycles that I can work on and play with have been in short supply this year. Until now.

Honda VT500FT  1Back in 83-84 Honda had 2 versions of the 500cc Ascot for sale in North America. I had one of the single cylinder models – the FT500 – for a while, having bought it for the spousal unit to ride, but that turned out not to be a good fit and so it had to go. The v-twin variant, the VT500, was water-cooled and shaft-driven and offered significantly more power and had a better reputation for reliability. I don’t really care for the style but it would make a great café racer or dual purpose bike with a few mods such as better shocks, fork springs, and knobby tires. The downside is parts can be hard to come by and, as a result, tend to be expensive. Still it’s an option worth considering.

VT500 cafeA gorgeous VT500 café racer

Then there’s Plan B which trades utility for interesting. I’ve come across a couple of mid-60’s Hondas – the kind you met the nicest people on. The prices are good and parts are readily available as tens of thousands of these models are still on the roads in Thailand and other points East. Dead simple to work on these bikes won’t win any races but they have the fun factor in their favour.


What to do? Make a decision before some other buyer steps in and makes it for me.


  1. I am sitting on the fence here, because I really love a cafe racer, it was always my motorcycle dream, however those little Hondas (like the blue one) are cheap and indestructible. Very tempting, both projects.

    1. Sonja - I agree. As of now I've got an agreement on the blue one and am still negotiating on the red. But the blue one was the one I really wanted so if the red doesn't come through, not a big issue.

  2. I vote for plan "B". The café racer looks nice but seems less practical.

    1. Richard - Yeah, that's the way I'm going. I do like cafe racers but it's not a bike I would, or even could, ride so it would be a build to sell project. Whereas the small Hondas, I could see keeping them for tootling around.


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