Back in 2020, all of us here at RideApart talked about what affordable classic bikes we’d buy if we only could. At the time, all I could think about was a beautiful 1985 Honda VF500F Interceptor that I’d unfortunately been slightly too slow to snag. Although that experience happened in 2019, it still stung a bit.
Now that we’re into the middle of November, 2021, I have news. I finally got my ’85 VF500F at the end of October! Since I live in Illinois, that’s given me just enough time to get to know and appreciate it a bit before tucking it away for the winter. It runs beautifully, and had a carb rebuild about two years ago according to the previous owner. The sound is SO NICE. The original exhaust has a few nicks, but is overall in pretty great shape considering its age. No rust, either!
Since this bike is nearly 40 years old, and it’s clearly been ridden and appreciated, it’s not perfect. That’s not what I would have wanted, anyway. I also didn’t want a total basket case, just a good, honest bike that could do with a bit of TLC. So far, it appears that’s what I’ve got, though of course doing small jobs on it will inevitably show more work that needs doing. I mean, that’s just how it goes, isn’t it?
It came with a standard lead acid battery, which I’ve now switched to an AGM. It also has a battery tender lead so it’s ready for winter. Unfortunately, sometime in the past, the front turn signal brackets were bent in so far that they actually interfered with the fork dust caps under compression, which we found out the hard way when trailering the bike home from the previous owner a couple states away. They’ve now been bent back out to where they should be, though. Funnily enough, that fix also made the turn signals less droopy! Bonus.
I’ve been gathering parts to tackle the other things that I know need doing over the winter. The brake lines need bleeding, and I’m also switching them to braided stainless steel and rebuilding the front master cylinder, as well. The pads and rotors appear to be in good shape, so they’re not a concern at the moment. All fluids will be flushed, I’ll clean and oil the K&N air filter installed by a previous owner, check valve clearances, change spark plugs, and also get the new tires this bike so clearly needs. The chain needs cleaning and lubrication, but it and the sprockets appear to be in pretty decent shape.
Cosmetically, I definitely want to get a new seat cover, because the one it came with has several rips. It’s not nearly as bad as some I’ve seen, but it still needs a bit of help. The saddle structure itself seems fine for riding, which is good news. I also definitely see a fork rebuild in this bike’s future, along with an exploration of Honda’s Torque Reactive Anti-Dive Control (TRAC) system. That’s something I haven’t dealt with before—but it’s also further down the list, so there’s plenty of time to formulate my strategy.
Time for research, time for bike parts, time for fun. What kind of winter projects do you have planned?