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Honda VT500 Ascot

Quick Profile - Honda VT500 Series

by Guy 'Guido' Allen (June 2020)

We spotted a rare-to-Australia Honda VT500 Ascot for sale recently and thought it worthwhile assembling a quick profile of the VT500 series

Honda VT500 Ascot

The bike in question was advertised via Bikesales (above), and is a 1983 model priced at $5500. So far as we know they were never imported to Australia.

Honda VT500E brochure

However its VT500E Euro sibling (above) was imported on a limited basis by Bennett Honda (the old Bennett & Wood) in New South Wales - even that wasn't available nationally. It was priced at Au$3130 plus ORC and sold 1982-84.

The platform for the VT was an inline 52-degree liquid-cooled V-twin four-stroke with three valves per cylinder (two inlet, one exhaust) and claiming around 37kW (50 horses) at 9000ropm. Peak torque was 42Nm at 7000. A close relative of that engine later made it into the 600 Transalp, XLV750 and many other models.

There was a six-speed transmission and shaft final drive. Both the Ascot and Euro claimed a 180kg dry weight. The Euro claimed a 17lt fuel tank while the Ascot's was more like 9.5

Honda VT500E

Braking was by disc front and drum rear. The disc on the VT500E (above) was an enclosed unit and not Honda's brightest idea, we have to say.

Honda VT500C Shadow

Of course there was also a VT500C, as in Custom (above), aka the Shadow, with a 12.5lt fuel tank. That's another model we didn't see in Oz.

Honda FT500

The Ascot meanwhile was named after the dirt track race circuit in the USA. That name was also used on the FT500 single (above) which was sold here, albeit in very modest numbers. And speaking of name-sharing, Ascot also appeared as the model name for a Japan-only Honda car.

While we haven't ridden the Ascot V-twin, we have ridden the Euro, which was a delightful thing to be on. It liked a few revs to get going, then showed a very solid midrange an d respectable top end. The slim profile and neutral seating position combined to make it very confidence inspiring to throw through a set of curves.

Honda NV400SP

Just as an aside, there was also a Japan-market variant, called the NV400SP (above), which seemed near enough to identical to the VT500E, bar the engine capacity difference. There's an enthusiast website devoted to VT500s - see hondavt500.com




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