Honda FT 500 Ascot Custom by Revival Cycles


Build story by Revival Cycles

A client who is a new rider wanted a lightweight, fun to ride motorcycle with just the right amount of flash and lots of subtle custom features. Starting with the underrated Honda FT500 Ascot was a big challenge, but it offered electric start, a big 500cc single cylinder thumper engine with lots of torque, steady reliability, and it's lightweight. Most of all, it is perfect for a new rider as it’s nimble and super easy to fling around.

Team Revival had an old Ascot laying around that another hack builder had ‘started’ to customize by cutting the frame backbone and then simply never finished. With a good motor, a title and some determination we set out turn it into something pretty….which is no easy task as the Ascot wasn’t exactly beautiful to begin with.

The first task was to fix the awful stamped steel frame lines, which quickly escalated into building an almost entirely new frame from scratch instead of trying to fix what was there. It is almost impossible to tell that there is more than just a modified rear subframe section until you look towards the frame neck, lower backbone and downtube of the frame. Revival doesn’t just guess at rake and trail, for proper handling they utilize CAD to determine steering angle, trail and swingarm pivot points based on kinematic models to ensure a great performing motorcycle before a single tube is welded. Using conventional Suzuki GSXR forks kept the classic look with upgraded performance of modern suspension and serious braking power, just ask Ian Berry of Falcon motorcycles who got to flog this bike all over the hills of coastal California for “testing” and gave it two thumbs way up. The ratio of miles to smiles is huge with this little beast!

Revival used a Suzuki SV650 swing arm due to its mounting width being ideal for the FT engine, and dual progressive shocks were added for a vintage look with custom shock mounts fabricated. The last step of the rolling chassis was fabricating adapters to use Yamaha RD400 mag wheels with 18” rims front and rear for the right stance and Pirelli Scorpion tires. For the electrics, only the best would do, so a MotoGadget M-unit was installed along with a MotoGadget Motoscope mini and dual 4-cell Anti-Gravity batteries to allow the cleanest packaging of the electrical system as possible. A full wiring harness was built from scratch and the ignition system and charging system were upgraded as well with modern components.

With the rolling chassis sorted out, a Benelli Wards Riverside fuel tank was heavily modified to fit over the frame and engine providing very smooth curves and shapes without being forced to build a full custom tank. A hand formed alloy seat pan was fabricated and then wrapped in a black leather all done in-house at Revival Cycles.

For Color choices, Revival went with a Porsche Cayan blue with metallic gold pinstriping the tank, and Geyser Grey was used on the frame, suspension and fuel tank. With a final wet weight of 289 pounds, modern suspension, brakes and a very neutral riding position this bike is a blast to ride and sounds tough as nails. The entire project proves that a budget custom can still be subtlety complex and still appear simple. Nothing simple here though.

Source Revival Cycles