The first thing you notice about Sideburn Magazine’s project bike is the paint: a take on Ishihara color test designed and applied by Death Spray Custom. Then you notice that this isn’t a high dollar C frame or even a beat up Jawa race bike, it’s a 1983 Honda FT500C Ascot. Ouch.
Photos: Paul Bryant
Gary, Sideburn’s editor says:
"This is Sideburn's Project FT, the cover bike of the current issue of the magazine."
"The idea was to build a good looking bike from a donor no one in their right mind would start with. We chose a £370 1983 FT500C. It ran. That was about it."
"We had a lot of help. Mainly from Carl at CFM, a self-employed bike mechanic who works from his garage in Lincolnshire."
"When I say we, I mean everyone who helped us, but mainly Carl."
"So 'we' kept a lot of the original bike: The engine (though it needed a expensive NOS starter and a new rocker cover, both bought from America); wheels, triple clamps (bored out to take different forks); most of the exhaust; carb; headlight; rear brake caliper; chain and sprockets. The main frame was kept but the seat rails were cut off and raised to ensure the tank bottom was level (because the headstock is so high and top spine is so steep)."
"But we ditched a lot. And used parts from the following models:" Yamaha R6 Yamaha TDR250 Honda CRF450 Yamaha YZ450 Benelli TnT1130
"And the paint. Of course the paint."
Of that paint, the famously verbose proprietor of Death Spray, David, says:
"It's based on the Shinobu Ishihara colour blind test. It works, colour blind people can't read the numbers on the number boards (58 - SB)."
This FT is featured on the cover of Sideburn Issue 6, a flat track fanzine that’s also full of content like a Roller Derby contest between a Minx and a Honda Bros, the story of reborn Hungarian brand Danuvia and the hottest brunette you’ve ever seen ride a Triumph Chopper. You can order Sideburn 6 here.