The FT500 is NOT shaft driven, and it's not a good bike IMHO.
It had serious reliability problems from new, and I still remember the comment next to it in BIKE magazine back then.
It was 'Buy an SR500 instead'.
There is no kick start, only electric start, but it was failing almost immediately because of a faulty design (a plastic sprocket!) and the only option was to push start it!
The engine came from the XL500R and it's OK generally except for oil leaks from the head to head cover and cracked heads around the spark plug area. There is no gasket there, the cover acts as the upper clamp for the camshaft. Th ethreads strip by themselves afdter the head cover is removed.
I know all this info because I had a CB250 RS and the engines had the same design and the same problems.
Plus it's ugly
I suggest you look for a Yamaha SR500 or a Honda GB500 , if you decide to go for a thumper, it's much better engineered, and lasts for ever. The FT falls apart almost immediately, and it isn't faster although it has a 4 valve head.
If you insist on byuing it, check that the previou sowner has installed a kick start (expensive operation, because the right engine cover doesn't even have a hole for it and it needs many XL500R Honda parts), and that there are no oil leaks. Check for loss of air from the spark plug (from the cracks) and the threads of the 6mm bolts on the head cover.
Here is a picture of the FT500 Ascot so we are sure we re talking about the same bike. It sounded strange that you mentioned it was shaft drive
for info on many singles.