CB250 Custom: The Beginning

The starting point. a 1998 Honda CB250, with 92,000km on the clock. Nothing special about this little guy

The starting point. A 1998 Honda CB250, with 92,000km on the clock. Nothing special about this little guy

A Spare Bike

With the addition of the Honda Firestorm to the ranks of vehicles at our abode, I found myself wondering what to do with the O’l Honda CB250 I’ve been riding for the last 5 or so years. The logical thing, of course, is to sell the bike. That was the original plan when I got the new bike.

The bike is OK, it runs pretty well, and has been a reliable bike over the time I’ve had it. However, a year or so ago, I noticed it has a relatively small oil leak around the cylinder head. I’m not entirely sure if that’s a sign of future failure or not, But I’d feel bad selling the bike to someone, and having it die on them shortly afterwards, even if it was just $1000 for a bike with almost 100,00km on the clock. One possible solution for this is to re-torque the bolts holding the head on. That MAY fix it. I’ll probably give it a go in the event I get the engine out of the frame. Otherwise, its going to require a lot more effort, the removal of the head, and probably a bunch of proper mechanic-ing, which would be fun, but I think is probably beyond my skills right now. It would be interesting to know the state of the internals of the engine though…

The Project Begins

With that in mind, and my interest in getting my hands dirty, I thought this might be an opportunity for a project to have some fun with, and learn some things I wouldn’t do to my main every day runner.

First things first, this bike will be as close to 100% done by myself. Its going to be a learning experience.  I’m confident I’ll be able to handle most of the non engine related work that I can forsee, and hopefully will be able to have a go at doing some deeper mechanicals on the engine itself. Also, by doing things myself, and not throwing things at a shop to do, I’ll be able to save money. This is going to be a budget build, and I’d much rather do something myself, investing my own time into it, then buying something off the shelf, or paying someone to do stuff.

Speaking of time, this is going to be a slow project. The plan is to make this bike a summer rider. 3 months rego over summer gives me 9 months of of f time to do serious stuff between seasons. That is, after this year. I am giving myself  until November / December this year to try and get Iteration One one the road.

A Plan in the Sand

Now, I have an idea for a  project. What am I actually going to do? CHANGE EVERYTHING! that’s what. As I write this, The ideas keep expanding, as I think of things to do / change. This list is by no means exhaustive, and I’m not locking myself into doing all of them straight up. Some of the more involved things may have to appear in future revisions of the project (or never at all). Cost is also a consideration. some stuff will be more expensive than other stuff, so that will also influence what gets done, and when. (as I said before, this is a cheapskate project, so the cheaper stuff will get done first)

  • Clip on handle bars – Probably my starting point. shouldn’t be too difficult. I hope.
  • Fuel Tank swap – This will need to be done before much else happens. It probably should be done before the handlebars even.
  • Custom seat – Wood, metal, fibreglass, with leather or  vinyl upholstery. Hopefully I’ll endup with a basic, but classy looking seat.
  • Chain and sprockets – These needs doing anyway
  • Fork Gaiters – A relatively simple addition that adds a lot of attitude to a bike
  • LED blinkers – something lower profile, and a little more custom I’m thinking.
  • Custom style brake/clutch leavers – The leavers on the bike now are a bit beat up, so something nice and shiny would be cool
  • Replacement gauges – either a digital unit, or an all in one analogue gauge unit. will probably be decided what I can find nice and cheap, that still fits the bill.
  • Removal of Air box / Fitting Pod filter – Looks. If I can find a way to make the air box look better, it would mean I could leave it, and reduce the need to have the bike tuned.
  • Exhaust Wrap – It looks pretty cool, having heat shield wrap around the pipes on the bike. I think I’ll be going with this on the bike!
  • Painted Muffler – The current exhaust is a bit beat up. If I tidy it up with the above wrap, and some high temp paint on the cans, it might look pretty cool until I can do:
  • Custom Exhaust – This might be tricky, but the rewards would be satisfying. Looking at some neat exhaust that I’ve fabricated myself.
  • Led headlights – I didn’t realise that LEDs had progressed so far as to be usable in headlights, but they apparently have, which is pretty cool
  • Make custom chain guard – You’ve got to keep things out of the chain, and the old plastic just won’t do.
  • Metal rear fender – Again, the original plastic just won’t cut it for this. Something neat, and worthy will have to go on the rear!
  • Clutch to hydraulics – This would be a bit of a “because I can” thing.  doesn’t look too hard, but the kits I can find are either really cheap,or really expensive.
  • Re-painting of everything painted – Its going to need to get some fresh paint (or powder coating for suitable things like the frame)
  • Painting of the Engine – I like the look of the black painted engines, with the edges of the fins polished up. High temp paint will have to cover this guy
  • Polishing of engine parts – To contrast the black of the engine, some engine parts and covers may be polished. It will depend on the state of most covers how much gets painted vs polished.

Documentation Starts Here

I plan, through out the project, to to keep the world updated on how this progresses. This will happen primarily on this blog, and likely through a forum post at the CanberraRiders forum. Direct link will come just as soon as I get it sorted. I plan on taking lots of photos through out. The photos will have dual purposes, to held document the project, and to help me remember where everything goes when its time to put it back together.

I thought it might be nice to have some video documentation of the project. This may a series of progress report videos, or a single video at the end of it all, or both. I haven’t decided how exactly I’ll do this, but I’ve been meaning for a while to get into producing some videos. I mean, I probably should do something to use the media degree that I’m half way through completing. If the videos happen, I don’t want them to be the usual webcam quality stuff you see all over YouTube. I’ll be aiming for a reasonable level of quality from it.

Well, that’s probably enough for one epic post of Ideas, and some very rough plans on what I’m thinking of doing. Now just to start doing! Expect some more thought posts as I continue actually doing some proper planning, and get some spanners out to get my hands dirty.



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