Author Topic: VT500FT Ascot Gear Change & Performance...  (Read 28690 times)

cdntfindanAscot

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VT500FT Ascot Gear Change & Performance...
« on: April 22, 2014, 05:52:51 am »
J,

I got interested in the Ascot about a dozen years ago when my wife learned to ride by taking the MSF course.  They supplied motorcycles during training, but we needed to get her a bike of her own to ride after training.  I found a used Ascot, but she thought it was too heavy for her.  So I rode it a little and it just made a good impression on me.  It was pretty lively for a 500, handled OK, 6th gear was a plus, and I liked the shaft drive.  We sold it pretty quickly though and bought her a Honda 250 Nighthawk that suited her better.  But the impression stayed with me and I felt it would be a good, but unusual, platform to build an old style cafe bike.  So, some years later, looking for a project bike, I bought a used Ascot for a song and went from there.

It's fun to ride and always get a lot of comments from all types of riders no matter what their particular ride might be.  When I bought the bike it had a pair of mismatched brand tires on it, but almost new, so I rode those for awhile.  I finally installed new tires, Pirelli Sport Demons, and those tires transformed the handling.  Went from OK to pretty darn good.  Also, the fork tubes are moved up in the triple trees about 30mm to accommodate the clip-ons.  To partially compensate for that 30mm, the Hagon shocks are slightly shorter than stock, about 1/2" if memory serves.  The change to the forks/shocks quickened up the steering a bit so turn is faster.  It did not seem to affect high speed stability.  I also prefer the Shadow 500 rear end.  The bike is more relaxed.  I always felt the stocker was geared too low.  I used to start off in 2nd gear with stock gearing without having to slip the clutch.

Chris

Hi Chris
Could I ask which parts of the drive needs swapping out to change the gearing? is it just the rear 'hub', or hub and shaft , or complete drive? many thanks in advance
nev

J6G1Z

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Re: VT500FT Ascot Gear Change & Performance...
« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2014, 10:22:34 am »
Nev,

You might try sending him a PM. If that doesn't work, let me know & I'll see if I have an e-mail address for him.

I think that I would try to get the whole assembly from a donor bike. It is going to be a lot easier finding a Shadow drive vs. an Ascot drive, just due to the numbers of bikes built. Have you ridden the bike much with the higher gear ratio & determined that it just won't do for you?

Good luck
J.

cdntfindanAscot

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Re: VT500FT Ascot Gear Change & Performance...
« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2014, 10:52:42 am »
Nev,

You might try sending him a PM. If that doesn't work, let me know & I'll see if I have an e-mail address for him.

I think that I would try to get the whole assembly from a donor bike. It is going to be a lot easier finding a Shadow drive vs. an Ascot drive, just due to the numbers of bikes built. Have you ridden the bike much with the higher gear ratio & determined that it just won't do for you?

Good luck
J.

I have emailed Mr Trinorman using the envelope icon under the username, and it wasnt bounced back so I guess that it will go through.

All my riding has been done with the 18" wheel so I have not experienced it with the 'correct' ratio yet. I will just keep an eye on ebay for another drive, probably be a 500E one as they are the most common in the UK. They came with 18s like the Ascot so hopefully the same. Most listings on ebay seem to be for just the hub section and range from 10 to 50 quid with plenty to choose from, so will just wait till theres one at the right price or in the right place.

At the moment my motor is on the bench with its top off. The slight smoking issue got a bit worse so I am treating it to some new rings and seals, so will need to sort that first, then I will swap out the drive.

J6G1Z

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Re: VT500FT Ascot Gear Change & Performance...
« Reply #3 on: April 22, 2014, 01:07:06 pm »
Have you considered installing a pair of performance camshafts & doing some port-work?

Sounds like it would be a good time to do so.

J.

cdntfindanAscot

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Re: VT500FT Ascot Gear Change & Performance...
« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2014, 05:34:27 pm »
Have you considered installing a pair of performance camshafts & doing some port-work?

Sounds like it would be a good time to do so.

J.

Nope, I'm far to cheap for that  ;D

Buddy

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Re: VT500FT Ascot Gear Change & Performance...
« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2014, 09:27:52 pm »
Where can someone get these "performance cams" you speak of? I might like to try a set.

Buddy
83 VT500ft Ascot (x3)
09 Yamaha Venture Royal(Miss Vivian)
If ya can't dazzle 'em with brilliance, baffle 'em with B. S.

J6G1Z

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Re: VT500FT Ascot Gear Change & Performance...
« Reply #6 on: April 24, 2014, 11:15:03 am »
Let's start a new a new post in the Tech section. This one is getting off track.

Check here: http://ascot500.com/index.php?topic=260.0

Thanks
J.
« Last Edit: April 24, 2014, 01:10:27 pm by J6G1Z »

Lefty

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Re: VT500FT Ascot Gear Change & Performance...
« Reply #7 on: April 29, 2014, 07:28:07 pm »
Great thread! I am very impressed with the 16" rear wheel/tire on your ASCOW, WMVII. It really makes the bike! I've always liked the VTs, but I never saw one with a 16" rear wheel, and I truly believe Honda's R&D guys messed up with that bigger rear w/t set up. Your conversion is a real badass & I love that 16" rear wheel, it absolutely KILLS, I love it!

WmVIII

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Re: VT500FT Ascot Gear Change & Performance...
« Reply #8 on: May 01, 2014, 01:30:15 pm »
Glad you like it Lefty - thanks!

The beautiful part is its the identical wheel pattern to the 18" original wheel and it just swaps straight over and maintains a stock look. Even the Avon AM26 Roadrider tires I have on it come in both rear tire sizes so I can swap back and forth and keep the front the same and everything matches.

In truth though the bike seems to handle a bit better with the 18" wheel (thats the way it is right now) but I can change it up in half an hour on a whim.  Even though the 16" wheel has a larger/taller tire, it is notably smaller in diameter - enough that Honda gave the Shadow's hub slightly taller gearing to compensate which provides a nice overdrive with the 18" wheel, but the reduced diameter of the wheel means the bike sits back a bit and evidently changes the rake/trail because with the 16" wheel on it it will headshake a little if you let go of the bars at city street speeds (easy fix = just don't do that!).  Raising the fork tubes to lower the front end to compensate would be another possible easy fix - I should try that next time I have an hour of play time :-)




hondapartsman

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Re: VT500FT Ascot Gear Change & Performance...
« Reply #9 on: May 03, 2014, 04:27:11 am »
John,

I'm the owner of the cafe Ascot that you started this thread with.


Chris

Hi Chris I cut all the rest of the original post but I just wanted to say how nice this is. It was what I had in mind myself once, only I was going to start with the UK version but as always time/space/money and other things means it remains in my mind only. Nice to see something like I wanted to do in the flesh. Maybe one day things with me will change and I'll be able to think about it myself.
On the road since 1977 ( with breaks for various health problems)
1998 XJ600N (soon to be sold.
1984 VT500FT
1981 CB250RSA (x2) One from new.
1979 CB250N (not currently rideable legally)
1972 CL175K6 (project)
http://notabikeramotorcyclist.weebly.com
If you want to do it, can do it. then do it!

Trinorman

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Re: VT500FT Ascot Gear Change & Performance...
« Reply #10 on: May 07, 2014, 02:35:45 am »
Hello Nev,

Just catching up and saw your post re changing the rear drive ratio.  I bought a whole rear drive from a VT500C Shadow on Ebay for about $30.  They seem to come up frequently (at least when I was looking).  The trick is to find a good one.  I just looked at the photos, description, and hoped for the best.  Fortunately I got a good one.  You will need the whole rear drive that bolts up to the swing arm.  No other modification is necessary.  If you try it, I think you will like the change.

Hondapartsman,

Thanks for your comments.  Hope you get to your project one day!

Chris

cdntfindanAscot

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Re: VT500FT Ascot Gear Change & Performance...
« Reply #11 on: May 07, 2014, 05:28:52 am »
Cheers Chris :)

J6G1Z

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Re: VT500FT Ascot Gear Change & Performance...
« Reply #12 on: May 07, 2014, 11:59:27 am »
Hey Chris,

Thanks for dropping by & clarifying that information.

How much difference did you notice by swapping to the Shadow rear-end?

Does your Ascot still have plenty of off the line acceleration?

Do you recall what RPM range you're running at while cruising at a steady 80mph?

Thank you
J.

WmVIII

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Re: VT500FT Ascot Gear Change & Performance...
« Reply #13 on: May 08, 2014, 03:39:22 pm »
Hi J,

I actually worked up a spreadsheet a while ago to calculate all of this, below are the highlights.  Before I get to that, my 'seat of the pants' accelerometer suggests you won't begrudge the switch to higher gearing as its still got a good bit of snap to it. Unless you're drag racing it (and why would you) anything you lose on the launch you're going to make up for by going faster in a lower gear.  FWIW - I'm so used to it now that the stock Ascot feels almost ridiculously low-geared anymore. 

The Ascot has a final drive ratio of 3.35 with a rear wheel diameter of 26.6"
The Shadow has a final drive ratio of 2.94 with a rear wheel diameter of 25.4"

Stock, the Ascot revs ~5,800 at 80mph, with the Shadow's 2.94 hub it brings revs down to ~5,100.

Switching this around, calculated speeds at 5,100 rpm are as follows:

Stock Ascot = 70.51 mph
Stock Shadow = 76.72 mph
Ascot wheel with Shadow hub = 80.34 mph

(and just to be silly - say you wanted the best setup for burnouts & wheelies  :-\)
Shadow wheel with Ascot hub = 67.33 mph

Cheers,

Bill

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Re: VT500FT Ascot Gear Change & Performance...
« Reply #14 on: May 08, 2014, 08:13:42 pm »
Bill,

Thank you for that info. That makes it look like a worthy gain. I might have to start looking for a Shadow rear-end.

J.

Trinorman

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Re: VT500FT Ascot Gear Change & Performance...
« Reply #15 on: May 11, 2014, 01:42:20 am »
J,

Bill worked it out for you mathematically.  I can tell you from my perspective that I would be hard pressed to go back to the stock rear drive.  The bike just has more legs and the first 5 gears all seem more useful.  You will find yourself using 6th gear less unless you are on the slab.  Most of my riding is in the twisties so not used too much.  Plenty of acceleration.  I don't think you would be disappointed and the cost is minimal to try.

Chris

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Re: VT500FT Ascot Gear Change & Performance...
« Reply #16 on: May 11, 2014, 12:21:29 pm »
Hi Chris,

I've been giving this swap some serious thought. It goes along with my theory on building power & going faster. I believe that it is easier to build an engine that produces large amounts of low end torque, then gear it higher to gain the speed.

My worries are the twisties & the coming off a corner. Does the bike still have the acceleration to pull from a corner well?

Thank you
J.

Trinorman

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Re: VT500FT Ascot Gear Change & Performance...
« Reply #17 on: May 11, 2014, 04:27:47 pm »
J,

Yes, for me it does.  You've still got plenty of juice.  I have the stock airbox with a K & N filter and a more open exhaust. It now has Norton Commando peashoters on it which are straight through.  They are about 9"-10" longer than the Emgo shorty megaphones I had on it originally.  By my butt dyno they feel like they are better in the low to mid range, while the Emgos hit harder on top.  I prefer it with this current setup.

Chris