Doing more with less, a small Honda built my way.

Alan F.

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A while back I bought a titled basket case CB250 Nighthawk US model with spoked wheels and started a custom build.
A few months later I picked up two more rolling parts bikes and the creative juices began to flow. I'm thinking big fuel tank, very comfortable seat, storage room, and of course a Windjammer and maybe a set of lowers.

The bike starts out stock dry at just under 300 lbs. I fully expect to finish this one under 400 lbs. Wheelbase of the bike stock is 56.2" small but not too small for a solo bike.
Any modifications will require fabrication, I'm no stranger to that, personally I prefer bolt-ons so a bike can be returned to stock.

Years ago a friend was a fiend for Kawasaki's ZG1000 Concours, I think he had four or five of them at one point. I was always in awe of that 7.5 gallon fuel tank and imagined the range it could afford on a little bike. Well after casually browsing eBay for a few years I finally found a rust free example with just a few small dents for a price I couldn't pass up.
With a little more research I found that a GPZ900 (Top Gun bike) seat will mate up to the tank flawlessly, the GPZ 5.8 gallon tank and the ZG 7.5 gallon tanks are apparently interchangeable. The stock Nighthawk tank holds 4.5 gallons, the additional fuel should add less than 20 pounds.
Later that week I found an amazing deal on a well loved Corbin seat for the GPZ900, it arrived the other day but I have yet to mock them up on a Nighthawk frame.

I have a complete front end from a 78 CB400T, simple 33mm damper rod forks with a 180mm TLS front drum brake and 19 x 1.85 front wheel. I'll swap steering stems with a NH triple and bolt this front end up with tapered roller bearings of stock sizes. And I'll find some nice 13" shocks for the rear.
The rear drum hub will be spoked to the Nighthawk's former (front drum hub) 18 x 1.85 rim. I'll spoon on some tubed and narrow touring tires to roll around on.

My plan is to eventually fit this combination with a nice Windjammer 3 which I currently have. I may need to modify the fairing to fit this tank as its 18" at its widest point, my plan there would be similar to the way knee dents can be put into a fuel tank, by cutting out two identical areas then swapping them side to side and welding them back in place. From everything I've read the Hotcha kit will handle this perfectly. I expect to reduce internal fairing storage, but I still expect the pocket openings to remain untouched.

These are my plans, what do you think?
Horsepower is listed at 17 or 19 depending on the source, wheelbase is 56.2".
Mr. Vetter did state that he thought his early fairings would be great on the smaller Japanese bikes, but everyone bought them for bigger and more powerful bikes, and that was that.

What if he was spot on? (Again)
 
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Alan F.

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Anyone..... Anyone?

I had some time to mock up the tank and seat on a 250 Nighthawk I'm building.
The front mounts for the Concours tank are a full 2.6 inches wider on each side than the Nighthawk's tank mounts, and the tank sits quite a bit higher on the frame than the stock tank does. The rear tank mount will be easily adapted with a simple adaptor plate, for the front mounts I'll probably fab up a one piece horse shoe shaped adaptor that sits over the top of the frame and clamps to the stock mount pegs for stability.
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Two"85s"

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Good luck with the build. Looking forward to the Vetter fit up!
 

Scott-E

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Anyone..... Anyone?

I had some time to mock up the tank and seat on a 250 Nighthawk I'm building.
The front mounts for the Concours tank are a full 2.6 inches wider on each side than the Nighthawk's tank mounts, and the tank sits quite a bit higher on the frame than the stock tank does. The rear tank mount will be easily adapted with a simple adaptor plate, for the front mounts I'll probably fab up a one piece horse shoe shaped adaptor that sits over the top of the frame and clamps to the stock mount pegs for stability. View attachment 2621View attachment 2622View attachment 2623View attachment 2621View attachment 2622
I acquired a 1982 Honda Rebel 250 rolling frame. I was going to build a Sidecar with the swing arm and rear tire but I can't bring myself to cut up the frame. It has no damage at all. It was a "lost title" bike but now that frame is so old a title is no longer required for it in my State. It's engine was removed to go in another Rebel. I've seen several Rebel frames with a Harbor Freight Predator engine and Comet CVT transmission installed.
 

Alan F.

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These engines are mostly the same starting with CM185 in 1977 or 78, on to the CM200 and CM250. Points ignition and 6 volt electrics were on the earlier models but halfway through the CM200's years they went to 12 volts, CM250 was 12v and CDI ignition. One cool point to mention is that you can retrofit the kickstarter from any of those engines onto a 250 Rebel or Nighthawk. There's a thread on it over at the HondaTwins forum.
 

Alan F.

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Finally an update to make on this thread! I picked up an original single downtube mount in a deal with a Vindicator and a fairly nice old backrest.
Today I brought the mount down to the workshop and test fitted it to the 250 Nighthawk I've been slowly working on.
The saddles on the mount have a 1.75" radius and the NH front downtube is 1.25" so that will have to be overcome. But in general it fits and I'm calling it a win. The tabs that bolt up aft of the frame neck have 2 spacers on each side, the pinch-weld at the bottom of the frame here is just pinched between the two sets of spacers as I didn't want to drill a bolt hole in the frame just yet.
I was a bit concerned about the steep angle of the top mounting rails, but after a look around it seems normal.

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Dave Ireland

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Interesting stuff on the tanks for this project.
I have an XS650 that does an average of 60mpg (UK gallons) and I was seriously thinking it would be a hoot to put a bigger tank on it than the standard one - iirc, that's about 13L or so. I picked up a 17L tank from an XS250 that's in really good condition and a seat from a smallish Kawasaki (a ZZR250 I think) and they go together very well, as if made for each other. However, I'm still tempted by the idea of a much larger tank, say around 25L, much like the GS850 tank I'm used to. That would make the XS into a 300 mile bike, easily.
Now you've got me thinking about Connie tanks...
Otoh, the spare WJ fairing I was planning to put on the XS eventually will definitely fit the GS tank... trouble is I need that for the other GS.
Most GS850 tanks available now are showing signs of rot so it's a crapshoot on ebay. I might just go for something later that won't have rusted its guts out yet.
 
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This is an interesting cool project you have going Alan. I have seen a number of Windjammers on smaller bikes over the years. Personally the smallest I have put one on is a 550. But..... there is a Vetter knockoff on Prince's CM400a. Thats a small bike.