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Honda CB250N cafe race

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  • Honda CB250N cafe race


    I'm new here and this is my first bike and first build, I'm from Sweden so my English is not the best but I hope you understand me. I bought the bike with a broken engine for about ten mounts ago and the plan for the bike was to make a cafe racer, I know that I'ts not the easiest bike to build a cafe racer from but I gave it a try.

    When i took apart the engine I found a broken inlet valve and a broken cylinder head bolt, while I was waiting on parts to the engine I started to figure out what to do with the bike. When the gas tank dosen't have the classic straight cafe line I started to think to do a seat that fit to the rear of tank and I done a cardboard template of what's was coming.

    After thinking about the first plans for the build I took the bike apart for cleaning it up, after geting the dirt of the frame it show it was so good that I decide to not do anything about it just now. When I finally got the engine running I stated to fabricate the new seat, I choose to do it from 1 mm thick iron plate, I started to make the front part that fits to the original rubber part that hold the gas tank and the upper part of the seat. Then I made a plate for the rear fastening brackets that I unscrewed from the original seat, like this I can easy take away the seat like you can do with the original seat and the original seat will also still fit on the bike.

    With this done I started to do the upper part of the cuts, I decided to try to make the rear side of the cuts to match the rear part of the gas tank and tac welded it in place on the seat. Then I made a cardboard template for the sides of the cuts and started to fabricate the the sides of the cuts and tac weld it to the seat, and put in some supports to make the seat stiffer. With this done I trimmed the under line of the seat

    A new rear frame was build to hold new mini turners, licence plate, licence plate light and a red reflector. This rear frame was made and fit in to the original bolt holes in the frame and the licence plate light was made from 5 mm warm white LED:s and some resistors.

    After this was done I started to look at the ugly, big plastic meter house, side covers and a new exhaust, a pair of new mufflers and a 38 mm diameter pipe was bought and I welded new pipes between the down pipes and the muffler. A friend of mine who also got a CB250N made a pair of new cups to put the original meters in. A new control panel for the signal lamps was made and 5 mm LED:s is used as control lamps.

    New side covers was also fabricated out of 1 mm metal and I used the screw holes for the original side covers brackets to screw the new side covers in place.
    Next I was to get of the black paint of the aluminium parts around the handlebar and after a lot of grinding and polishing it was looking good.

    Next step was paint the panel and new meter houses black and mount it on the bike

    Then I started to prepare the gas tank for new paint, before I striped the paint of the gas tank I was clean it from rust on the inside with lemon acid but when I strip the paint I got a some holes on the upper side, so I called a friend who do tig welding and he cut out the top of the tank and changed the whole area around the gas cap and I ordered a new flip-up gas cap. Then an other friend paint the parts with 2K epoxi primer before starting to put filler on it, I first use fiberglass filler to fill the deepest parts.

    To get a better riding position with the tt-style handlebar I decided to move the foot pegs backwards, and to do that I order a rear set on eBay. I designed new fastening plates in AutoCad for the foot pegs and the plates was laser cut in a local shop. An mockup with threaded rods was done to get the correct measure of the brake and the gear shifter rods.
    I design new Honda logos for the gas tank and racing stripes to the gas tank and the cuts and a friend of mine did the printing of those at his company that do stickers and other advertising stuff but It was hard to decide if I should have white and black or white and orange graphics so I order both.

    A new tail light was made from a flush mount tail light and an other tail light that I bought on eBay. This was done because the flush mount light had festoon bulbs so I could not have both tail and brake light in the same rear light. I try to experiment with festoon bulbs and big effect resistors and festoon LED:s and smal resistors but with LED I don get an nice looking light from the rear light.

    After a lot of work with filler and grinding I finaly got the seat, gas tank ready for paint, the color is an VW color called urban grey. A friend of mine did the paint but I have done all the work with filler and preparations before paint by my self.

    A new shorter aluminium front fender was bought on eBay and I will fabricate new fender brackets out of 3 mm thick aluminium. I think this fender looks better than the long stock one but I hope it's still enough long to do the work as a fender to protect you from getting dirty in bad weather. Unfortunately must the new front fender will wait because I broke my left wrist so I can't finish the fender mounting brackets with just one hand.

    A new the new rear brake switch was placed behind the foot peg bracket to hide is as much as possible and here's the rear set painted and in place on the bike with the new laser cut fastening plates

    The valve cover and the left engine side covers was stripped from clear coat and polished to get some shine.

    A seat bottom was made out out of 6 mm thick nylon and bent with help of a heat gun. The upholstery made of sleeping pad waiting that's glued together to a thickness of 40 mm and glues to the nylon seat bottom now a friend of mine shall make a black ribbed seat cover to the seat.

    The bike what it's looks like now, what's missing now is decals and seat cover. I got more pictures of details if someone is interested of something

  • #2
    Nice work busse !
    Looks very tidy
    If you don't learn from your mistakes then they are just mistakes


    • #3
      Thank you!

      Now I try figure out if I shall have white and orange or white and black racing stripes and Honda logos, I like that the orange graphics give som e color to the bike but I'm not sure that they really will "merge" to the rest of the bike. I think that the black and white will fit the rest of the bikes colors better but is more clean and boring. What do you think, what color looks best on the graphics?


      • #4
        Nice bike mate.
        Would normally go for orange, but as you say they don't suit the bike, shud be black ( in my humble opinion )


        • #5

          I think I figure out why the orange stripe don't work, I think it's the side covers black color. If the side covers have been gray I think the orange stripe have work, maybe with a thinner orange stripe on the covers but with black side covers the orange looks strange and orange strips will not fit on the black side cover.

          If I go for black racing stripes I think that maybe some kind of white smaller graphics will work on the black side covers, something like "Cafe 250". The reason I choose black color on the side covers was to trick the eyes to get some of the straight "cafe line" under the seat like Triumph done on the newer Thruxton 1200R. I want side covers when I don't wanted remove the air box and start to re jet the carbs to get the bike run properly.


          • #6
            Now have I done the most on the bike for this seson, a friend of mine did the ribbed seat cover, I put on new Dunlop K81 TT100 tires on, a black and white racing stripe and Honda logos where fit on the gas tank and cut and changed the rear mirrors to a little bit bigger bar end mirrors that i bought on eBay, I not sure if they looks better but they are easier to see what's behind you with this mirrors.

            What left to do is to rebuild the fork, it's very soft and leaka bit, I will do this fork repair when the new fork sealers and fork gaiters will arrive, I also will polish the aluminium parts on the fork when it's apart. Mabye I also will finish the aluminium brackets to the front fender and change the front fender to the new shoter aluminium fender that I allredy have bought, but it's depend of time it can also be next winter.

            This is what It was looking alost finish on the first test ride with two different rear mirror and no Honda logos.

            And here what it's looks like now


            • #7
              I love that seat hump. The bike looks great. Good work.


              • #8
                I must say, good going, busse. Very interesting the way you shared every detail of this project here.
                Keep Rocking! Cheers!


                • #9
                  Thanks to you all!

                  I pretty happy by the way the bike looks now. There's some small things that I should done different if I should built the bike today but It it's easy know that now. This is my first built and I'm after all satisfied with the bike. Some one said about a cafe racer building that you should calculate that spend three times more money and time against what you expect and in my case it's pretty right


                  • #10
                    Very nice 👍


                    • #11


                      • #12
                        Thanks to all that likes the bike

                        This is the last update, I made a heat shield from 1.5 mm aluminium to protect the exhaust wrap from wear because the left foot will touch it when I shift gear. The rod on the gear shifter and also the brake rod should be changed to new ones made out from a 8 mm steel rod when my friend got his metal lathe that's broken fixed.

                        I also repacked the mufflers with new and more damping material, the bike got al lot quieter and better sounding with a darker sound. I was not much damping material in the mufflers.

                        Next thing to do on the bike is to rebuilt the fork with new oil sealers and fork gaiters and put on a new shorter aluminium front fender. But I'm not sure if I have time with that this summer because we going to move and I now totally repair the kitchen in the house we are going to move in to.


                        • #13
                          Now I started to make up some plans for the comming winter, I got a Suzuki GS450 gas tank and I have looked at this bike alot I found some other pictur of a CB400N cafe racer with a stock rear frame that I liked but I dont like that the seat vad placed on the frame. I deside to make a rough picture in paint of what a CB250/400N with a GS gas tank and the stock rear frame covered by the seat and cuts will look like.

                          If I do this projekt I still would use side covers so I can hide the original airbox because I don't want to spend alot of time to get the bike run propperly with pods. I will also keep the original brackets to gas tank and seat so I easy could change to my current seat, side covers and gas tank if I like that.

                          What do you think about something like this?


                          • #14
                            Check out my mate's 400 twin cafe, might help you see what can be done

                            My Honda CBX550 project here:!


                            • #15
                              Nice looking CB400 and it seems to have a very good finish on the details. I really like the gas tank and front end of the bike. Do you know from what bike the gas tank come from? Is the front end lowered with some distances inside the forks?

                              The only thing I don't really like is the gap between the rear frame and the seat, if you could get the seat lower so it lay down and follow the rear frame or have a "higher seat" but not mounted any higher so the sides of the seat goes down just a bit outside the rear frame would make the bike perfect in my opinion. Don't take this criticize wrong it's a nice bike.