1983 Honda VT500F Ascot
Imperfect perfection. Reliable and well behaved
Exhaust rot (30 years old).
Rumors of faulty coils with age (not experienced by me).
That's it on the list of common mechanical problems, so they're stone reliable.
V twin water cooled, 6 speed OD, shaft driven, svelte comfy bike that does nothing exceptional, yet has zero quirks, which in itself I guess is exceptional.
One very exceptional thing worth noting, and seldom seen in reviews of the day, since reviewers tend to beat the heck out of their loaners, is if ridden sanely, I can and do achieve 65+ MPG often. Spirited riding nets me 55, and all out beating > 50 MPG.
I did have to reshape the seat to give it less slide into the tank effect.
80's Honda's embody a perfect timing in motorcycle evolution. Gone are the points and condensers for electronics, and shaft drives and water cooling is more common. Disk brakes are standard (front at least), and six speed overdrive transmissions appear. This alternator puts out an unheard of for its time 370 watts for additional electrics before they were common.
The only questionable components that show their age are the spindly 36mm air assist forks, but I don't know why I bring it up, because they're comfy and have 6" of travel.
Biggest warranted complaint I have has to be Honda's decision to go with a 2.5 gallon tank. Beautiful as it is, it runs out long before I do.
I know it's relative, but for this 175lb 5'9" guy it is the following:
Fast enough, entertaining motor enough to be fun, stops well, never a jarring from its less than perfect suspension, ridiculous MPG figures. Large enough that it doesn't look small and make you look too big, yet relatively light and small or manageable feeling. A really OK bike.
Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 2nd January, 2013
Interesting that you point out the "sliding into the tank off the seat" syndrome. I rode this same bike back in 83 when I was going for the next step up from my CB350, and noticed the same thing. Although I loved the styling and found the bike pleasant to ride, I didn't think it had any more power than my CB350, although maybe it was the leaking mufflers that made the CB sound and feel as powerful. At any rate, it was that uncomfortable continuous sliding of your crotch into the tank that made it a no-buy for me. I bought a CX650E instead, which I still have almost 30 years later.