Sweet 250cc roadster from Sydney, Australia…
In 1978, Honda introduced the CB250N Super Dream, a 27-hp air-cooled parallel twin touted as a modern incarnation of the original 1960 CB72 Dream. At 249cc, the bike satisfied the L-plate requirements for UK learners at the time, and the CB250N became the best-selling bike in Britain, topping 17,000 units in 1980.
While the 250 was no superbike, it had big bike look and feel, 12% more power than its predecessor, and never-say-die reliability — evinced by its popularity among moto-couriers:
“70k left UK showrooms over eight years and many were still being abused in the City of London a decade later. Whilst I took the obvious choice of Honda’s ‘Plastic Maggot’ to deliver my packages, the smart money went round the clock with half the cubic capacity on a parallel twin that just simply couldn’t be ignored; or broken!” —Classic Motorbikes
Enter the boys from Sydney, Australia’s Sabotage Motorcycles, who specialize in pre-1985 bikes:
“We spend our time creating highly customised vintage motorcycles. Our aim is to design the bikes with a nod to their vintage roots, but with a modern and funky twist. We do almost everything in-house, making as much as possible from scratch, or modifying parts to suit.”
The bike you see here is an ’81 CB250N, which they received as a “partly done” custom job, which translated to “atrocious” wiring, missing parts, and more. However, the bones were good, and the Sabotage crew worked with their client to make sure the finished bike would suit his vision and riding style:
“When people ask for a ‘cafe racer’, they tend to not actually mean a cafe racer. Our client wanted that look, but also wanted it to be comfortable and practical. We steered him away from clip-ons, but the rest of the bike got stripped-down, lightweight details and parts.”
Lines and proportions are especially important to the Sabotage crew, so they spent a lot of time getting everything just right, raising the rear of the tank and fabricating a tubular subframe that better matched the shape for the build. They rewired the bike, storing the fuses and battery in a handmade box beneath the seat, and the engine received a new set of Mikunis and a custom stainless exhaust system.
One of their favorite parts of the finished bike is the sound:
“With one of our stainless exhausts on it, it sounds clean and crisp, not too loud, but for a little 250, it sounds staunch!”
Below, the Sabotage crew gives us the full story on the build, and we have Andrew Jones of Machines That Dream to thank for both the interview and the gorgeous photos. Enjoy!
Honda Super Dream Custom: Builder Interview
– Tell us the latest about you/your shop.
We’re a Sydney-based custom vintage motorcycle shop. We specialise in pre-’85 bikes and cover everything from fabrication, wiring, restoration, exhausts, and service work. Whilst we have a passion for anything from those decades, we’re particularly fond of Japanese bikes, BMW’s, and more recently Harley’s.
– What style of bike is it? (cafe? scrambler? other?)
Hmm, “other”. Our builds tend to span across multiple typical “styles”. Our client here was after a traditional cafe racer, however we felt the bike didn’t lend itself too easily to that style, so it’s probably a cafe racer crossover Brat style.
– What make, model and year of bike is it?
1981 Honda CB250N. Usually most loved by the Bōsōzoku culture; but this one came to us already with a 1974 CB250 tank, so the direction was pretty much set.
– Do you have a name for the bike?
– Where did you find the bike?
It was brought to us barely rolling. A “part-done” customisation that the previous owner gave up on; atrocious wiring; parts hanging off; etc. But, the engine, wheels, and frame was good, so for us, that meant a solid base.
– What was your inspiration for the build? (100 words)
When people ask for a “cafe racer”, they tend to not actually mean a cafe racer. Our client wanted that look, but also wanted it to be comfortable and practical. We steered him away from clip-ons, but the rest of the bike got stripped-down, lightweight details and parts.
– Can you run us through the build process?
A lot of attention was spent at the rear end. The lines of the frame on these 250N’s don’t lend themselves very well to cafe racers and the horizontal lines that are needed for that style. We corrected this by lifting the back of the tank and creating a new tubular subframe on top of the existing subframe. Underneath is a handmade aluminium box for the battery and all the wiring, which was completely re-done from front to back.
Then a hand-made aluminum rear guard holds the brake light.
The engine got new Mikuni carbs, and a custom stainless steel exhaust with chrome mufflers. Then up front, new headlight, handlebars, speedo, etc etc.
– What was the hardest part of the build?
Getting the overall lines right, especially with the rear end. Proportions and lines are extremely important to us. We think that those are the details that make or break a custom motorcycle. With the limited budget on this build, we think we got it just about right on this 250.
– What do you like best about the finished bike?
The sound! With one of our stainless exhausts on it, it sounds clean and crisp, not too loud, but for a little 250, it sounds staunch!