A two-seat 250 scrambler, perfect for small trips to the Greek islands…
When Honda introduced the XL250 in 1972, it was the world’s first mass-produced four-stroke enduro, laying the groundwork for the big four-stroke enduros and dual-sports to come. The four-valve motor made 24 horsepower at the rear wheel, the bike weighed 288 lbs wet, and it soon began racking up race wins in scrambles and enduros such as the ’72 Virginia City Gran Prix, beating fields of Huskys, Maicos, Beezers, Ajays, and more.
In 1982, the XL250 lost its signature 23-inch front wheel in favor of a conventional 21-inch spinner, while gaining 12-volt electronics and Honda’s “Pro-Link” rear monoshock setup. Later, in 1991, came the Honda XL250 Degree, a liquid-cooled successor with disc brakes, 6-speed transmission, and more. A popular bike in Europe, it was expensive and over-engineered for its time — the perfect donor for a modern custom.
Enter Custommade C.A., the three-man team out of Greece whose Honda NX650 “Dominus” we featured last summer. Chris and Antonis, a mechanical engineer, have been customizing bikes together since their childhood BMX bikes:
“We would ride all around our town on ramps, dirt trails, etc. And today we ride motorcycles, cruising all around Europe!”
After moving their shop into a small garage, they asked their friend Fotis, an aircraft engineer, to join the team. Says Chris:
“Our goal is to build motorcycles that can be used both on a daily basis and give the rider a big smile in any circumstance.”
This project was built for their friend Angelos, whose father-in-law had a ’91 XL250R that he’d left for many years in storage, in the seaside town of Preveza. It was rusty for disuse, but the perfect donor for the project. The Custommade C.A. crew tore the bike down and rebuilt it from the ground up, replacing every last bearing and seal, working to transform the bike into a vintage-style scrambler, perfect for short trips to the Greek islands.
We especially love the hidden mounts for saddlebag brackets, welded under the sub frame, and the long, lovely diamond-stitched two-person seat — essential since Angelos is married. The bike is nicknamed “Constantine” in honor of his father-in-law, Konstantinos. Below, we get the full story on the build, as well as some stunning photos from Lykoudis Vasilis (@lykva).
Honda XL250 Degree Scrambler / Tracker: Builder Interview
Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.
We are Custommade C.A., a three member team with love for motorcycles and especially custom ones. Chris, a motorcycle enthusiast, and Antonis, a mechanical engineer, started building their first motorcycles in a house backyard and everyone fell in love with them. After a couple of builds, we decided to move into a small garage and also asked for our aircraft engineer friend, Fotis, to join the team and help us with his knowledge and ideas. Motorcycles is our bond and our passion. Since then, we try everyday new things that will make our builds better. Our goal is to build motorcycles that can be used both on a daily basis and give the rider a big smile in any circumstance.
• What’s the make, model, and year of the bike?
The bike is a Honda XL250 Degree from 1991.
• Why was this bike built?
Having already searched many sites with bikes for sale, and talked with friends for old bikes to implement our vision, Angelos, a coworker of Chris, remembered that his father-in-law had an old motorcycle abandoned in his storage. The bike was located in Preveza, a coastal place — it hadn’t been used for a long time and it had tons of rust. The moment we saw a picture of it, our next project began.
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
Since the bike was a Honda XL, we decided to go vintage style, like the first XL250 with a round headlight, a very slim design with only the necessary parts and also, a two-seater because Angelos is married. Furthermore, we kept the off-road appearance with big wheels and fenders, but with a more new wave coloring on the fuel tank and vibrant details as the seat.
• What custom work was done to the bike?
Due to the lack of use, rust took place in every moving part. The bike was all taken apart and every single bearing and seal was changed. We designed a new subframe with hidden electric box under the seat and added fenders to give a more wild look. A new instrument from acewell with lots of functions was connected, since the bike was water-cooled and we wanted a temperature gauge.
We used a brand new fuel tank with custom mounts and made a new exhaust manifold to relocate the muffler near the swingarm.
We gave the seat a vintage look with diamond stitching and used the same leather on the grips. Finally, a brace that mates the fender and the headlight on the triple tree, a brace that mounts the exhaust, and a fork brace were designed and CNC manufactured in-house with our router.
Under the seat we placed a lithium battery with all the electrics of the motorcycle and an alarm system. The most parts were sandblasted, welded and powder coated. We used the old trick to add preload to fork with some washers and a bit thicker oil.
Stainless steel brake line was installed which along with the fork brace upgraded a lot the braking of the bike. Hidden mounts were welded under the sub frame so saddlebag brackets can be installed easily, since the bike is ideal for small trips to Greek islands. A small coolant reservoir tank was created from the same materials we used on the exhaust manifold with a custom plastic cap.
• Does the bike have a nickname?
The bike was named Constantine after the name of Angelos’s father-in-law, which is Konstantinos.
• How would you classify this bike?
This bike could probably be called something between a scrambler and a tracker.
• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
A few parts were manufactured for this project on our small CNC router. The custom fork brace that was made, was a challenge for us for two reasons. Firstly, it’s a part that couldn’t be purchased from the factory since it didn’t have one and secondly, it was a great improvement on the road bike’s behavior. Also, the design mirrors the subframe lines and make it unique.