Archive for the ‘CB160’ Category

154 Title photo shoot

So I am not trying to blog this CB160 thing to death however there was one final step to complete before I could lay this project to rest. I figured the 65revive rebuild deserved some decent photography so in keeping with the theme of “garage built” it was only fitting to set up a photo studio in the workshop.

I decided to call upon my brother, Brian, who does photography as a hobby. He does fantastic work and enjoys unique challenges just as I do. One Thursday night we hauled all his studio lighting and backdrops over to my place and set things up. The next evening we spent about 4 hours shooting the bike.

154 Photo Shoot 2

The pictures turned out fantastic thanks to my brother’s ability to not only shoot great pictures but also his extensive experience with digital darkrooms. No touch ups were made to the bike itself only to some flaws in the backdrop along with a few other blemishes (not to mention cropping of the kickstand) It is fun to see how “pro you can go” in your own little amateur space and in my case I am content with the level of quality in both the bike build and photo shoot. Thanks Brian!

154 Photo Shoot 1

The pictures posted below are part of a gallery so if you click on one picture you will be able to scroll through a larger format. Enjoy!

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153 Title bike

The momentum has not slowed and the finish is in sight. Reassembly of the CB160 continues to go strong and steady. It has taken me many years to learn how much time I need to budget for project completion. In the case of the 65Revive project I had already planned out a reassembly timeline back in September. I am please to say that I am on track and may even be slightly ahead of schedule. I am looking forward to the riding season and want to ensure that the bike is 100% complete before the spring melt off.

I last left off with a rolling chassis and an engine bolted in. Since that time I have been able to reach approximately 98% completion. I have already started fearing potential empty nest syndrome. Like previously posts I’ll take you through the process with pictures.

153 Hardware never ends

The powder coating seems to never end. I am hoping this is the last bit of hardware I need to coat, here the the final parts have been blasted. My objective was to NOT use one spec of spray bomb on the bike, I am pleased to announce I have succeeded.

153 More baking

Last bit of baking, this round ran me out of hanging wire.

153 Lic bracket

As much as no one wants to run a license plate it is required. I set up some 6061 aluminum on the mill and machined out a nice simple holder. Once complete it was powder coated matte black to blend it in.

153 Seat fitment

The lines of the bike are very crucial therefore fit and finish are a priority. I spent awhile building adjustments into the seat in order to allow it to sit perfectly with the rear frame hoop.

153 Hiding wires

One of the main build objectives was to hide all the wiring. In the case of the handle bars the wiring all got run inside. Holes were drilled and grommets installed to keep things clean.

153 Rat's nest

The factory wire harness was of no use to me. Almost every electrical component on the bike had been upgraded or moved. The entire wiring harness was built from scratch. I initially drew out a rough plan on paper but in the end I ended up building it as I went along. Many of the connectors were upgraded to weather pack connectors. All splices were soldered and wrapped with heat shrink.

153 Cleaned up

I am a big believer that even components that are not seen need to be clean and have the same attention to detail. The custom wiring harness cleaned up well in the end and everything tucked in beautifully.

153 Packed in

Here you can see everything I packed into under the fuel tank. Horn, coil, and a couple of relays.

153 New chain

I don’t know why I am posting this picture. Look everyone! I put a new chain on! Whooooopppppppeeee!

153 Bike tuning

With most of the bike complete I spent some time tuning the carbs and checking the timing. I set it up near the garage door and ran an exhaust hose out so I wouldn’t choke out on the fumes.

153 Carb sync

Was able to sync the carbs beautifully.

153 Base timing

Base ignition timing came in at 12 degrees, good enough for me.

153 Full advance

Full advance? 42 degrees! Nothing like getting a jump on that power stroke.

Below is video proof the the bike is alive. It starts great and runs. The custom exhaust and muffler sound good.

153 Cover swap

With tuning done and ignition timing confirmed I was able to swap out my timing cover for the NOS Honda stator cover.

153 Completed bike 23

From here on in it is basically a picture show. The bike is complete. There are a few details that need to be addressed but I need to wait until I can ride it before I can evaluate what needs to be done.

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I opted to mount a super clean button in my steering stem that allows me to cycle through my instrument cluster menus.

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Instead of using the factory starter button I chose to mount one next to the ignition switch. I turned the factory starter button, on the throttle housing, into my horn button. I like to think of it as my security system. If someone tries to start the bike they will end up sounding the horn instead of cranking the engine. Ha!

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153 Completed bike 10

I spent forever obsessing about the rear brake switch. I wanted something clean. I finally came up with the idea of using the rear brake lever stop as the switch. I Machined some plastic bushings in order to insulate the stop. Then using a single ground wire and a 5 pin relay I was able to turn the stop into a switch. Worked great and is almost undetectable.

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153 Completed bike 01

So the main work is complete and I need to turn my attention to getting this thing insured and registered. It is not that straight forward and I need to jump through hoops almost every step of the way. I have budgeted a month to deal with the paperwork and hope that things will work in my favor.

CB160 right side

151 Title speedo drive

I figured it was time to post some garage updates. Things have not slowed down and the garage continues to be just as active as it has always been. So busy that it is hard to put down the tools in order to update the blog. Well today is the day that I was able to upload a pile-o-pics to show what kind of work has been taking place on the 1965 Honda CB160 rebuild.

The last update showed that the bike finally got torn down and the fabricating continued to take place. Eventually it got to the point where I had to direct my attention to the bodywork and painting. Both things that I do not have a high level of confidence in performing. However I have no choice. My goal is to prove to myself that a decent bike can be built all within the confines of my 4 garage walls. So I trek on and tackle the aspects that require a certain amount of learning on my part.

I finally was able to paint all the components. I spent an entire weekend setting up my collapsible paint booth and spraying everything that required paint. It was a huge step that I completed and which also got me 1 step closer to the reassembly phase.

So I have posted the pictures and provided captions to help show what I have been up to over the past couple of months. Things continue to move along and progress is smooth. Enjoy the show.

151 Lower triple mod

The lower triple initially had the steering lock tumbler mount cast into it. My original plan was to keep the steering lock however the tumbler was to far gone to save therefore I opted to remove all evidence that it ever existed. I cut and ground the casting off on in the center of the triple. In order to mount my aftermarket steering stabilizer I needs to mill a flat surface on the triple for the stablizer bushing to mount flush on. My mill chuck was to big to get the job done so I used the drill press to clean up the surface.

151 Triple thread repair

The stabilizer mounting threads were stripped out so I ended up performing a thread repair. Years ago I got onto Time-Sert kits and have fallen in love with them. I will never go back to a Helicoil again.

151 Speedo drive adapter

In a previous posting I outlined how I was going to use a GPS based speedo signal. Part of the reason for doing so was to eliminate the front speedo drive cable. With no cable I no longer need the speedo drive which mounts onto the front axle. Since the drive also acts as a spacer I needed to machine a new spaacer to take its place. I could have made a fairly plain, yet functional, drive fairly quickly however I wanted to give the new component some good looks. I opted to machine a rounded, concave, cosmetic groove into it using my rotary table and my mill.

151 Finished initial cut

A pile of shredded aluminum was what I was left with once I was content with the groove depth.

151 Finishing speedo on lathe

The remainder of the adapter was finished up on the lathe.

151 Completed speedo adapter

On the left is the original speedo drive and on the right is the freshly machined spacer intended for taking the drives place. Still needs powder coating.

151 Throttle housing 5mm thread

Back in the sixties Honda built there bikes using a JIS (Japanese Industrial Standard) thread pitch for all of their bolts. Some of the thread pitches were different then what eventually became an industry standard years later. The 5mm bolt is one of the threads that changed. Since I updated many of the fasteners on the bike I opted to update the thread pitches as well. I installed a couple of industry standard 5mm Time-Serts in the throttle housing so that I could now use readily available SS socket head bolts.

151 Frame blasted

So with much of the fabrication work completed it was time to shift my focus to paint. The frame mods had all been done and therefore it was time to start the paint prep work. As much as I like to keep all my work “in-house” I opted to send the frame out for blasting. The simple fact is that I could not fit the frame in my blast cabinet and I was not about to blast it outside as the mess is not worth it. The company that performed the blasting did a great job.

151 Fiberglass prep

Bodywork is not one of my strong points however it was not going to happen on its own so I just sucked it up and did it. Once I got into it the progress clipped along at a good pace. The aftermarket fiberglass components purchased from Glass From The Past were in good shape. There were some minor pinholes that required touch up using glazing putty.

151 Centering front fender

I had forgotten to trim the fender mounting holes prior to tearing the bike down. I was forced to temporarily rebuild the front end in order to trim the fender up to ensure it would be centered on the front wheel.

151 Prepped for paint

Here are all the components (minus the frame) that are going to recieve the paint. All ready to go into the paint booth.

151 Liquid supplies

I am shooting 2 colors. Some of the components will be getting sprayed with Hot Rod flat black and the tank and seat pan will get some color put on them.

151 Primer shot

With the primer coat applied I was able to confirm the fibergalss parts were in very good shape.

151 Fixing pinholes

I had missed a few pinholes on the seat pan during my initial prep. Since the pan is such a huge player in the look of the bike I opted to touch things up and respray the primer before it went in for the base coat.

151 Frame flat black

Here is the frame and front fender hanging in the paint booth with a fresh coat of flat black applied. No runs!

151 Retro brown

The retro brown color was mixed up and the tank and seat pan were about to come alive.

151 Brown seat

The brown sprayed on great. Each component got three coats of top coat. The plan is not to apply a clear coat as the vintage/retro look is what I am going for.

151 Brown tank

The lighting in the paint booth is great for painting but not so good for photography. At least you can see the results of the sprayed tank.

151 Brown cowl

I am very happy with the seat cowl, it looks like glass.

151 Painted matte black

After a weekend of work I was able to get all my components painted. Here are all the flat black components. I will post more on the colored parts later.

151 Powder coat pile

With the painting complete I still had to make a few more powder coating runs. Here is yet another pile of components getting coated.

151 Swing arm getting powder

I opted to powder coat the swing arm instead of painting it. Powder coating is so much more durable. I was intially concerned that my flat black powder coat may be a slightly different shade then the Hot Rod flat black sprayed onto the frame. It turns out the colors are incredibly close to the point were you can’t see a difference.

151 Powder coating hardware

Some parts fogged with powder prior to baking.

151 Powder coated pile

Here is one pile of completed poweder coated parts.

151 New balls

With 90% of the refinishing complete there was nothing left to do but reassemble. The steering head recieved all new, OEM Honda, inner/outer races and ball bearings.

151 New rear sprocket

The rear wheel recieved a new 38 tooth aluminum sprocket from Sprocket Specialists.

151 Swing arm install

Swing arm installed.

151 Rear sets installed

Rear sets installed.

151 Rear detail

Rear wheel and rear suspension in.

151 Rear end supported

Finally got the bike to stand on one leg.

151 Ready for an engine

Front end is installed and now the bike waits for the engine (sitting on the bench). I had previously fabricated a different kick stand which bolts to the lower engine case therefore the bike won’t have a “third leg” until the engine is in.

151 Taking shape

With the help of a couple of friends we were able to slide the engine in place creating no damage in the process.

151 Engine installed

So here it is, progress keeps going. I continue to go full steam ahead. I will try and not wait so long to get the next installment of the 65Revive project posted. Stay tuned.

Title frame

I continue to struggle keeping up with the blog posts. The work in the garage has not slowed down however writing about it has. Work and family life is busy and something had to give. I was, however, able to find some time to put together a post outlining what has been going on lately.

The work on the CB160 Cafe Racer continues to take place. My goal is to have it completed by spring and therefore progress needs to continually take place. I think I will be in good shape to make my deadline however there is always more work involved then one may expect. No time to start slacking.

My plan from the beginning was to perform as much of the fabrication work as possible while the bike was still in one piece. Once I went as far as I could I would then strip the entire thing apart and start the refinishing, and rebuilding, process. Well this time has come; I have come to the point where all the finishing needs to take place therefore the bike has to come apart.

Although the following pictures leave out a lot of detail they will at least provide the highlights of what has been going on in the garage. So I invite you to scroll through the following pictures and bring yourself up to speed.

Brake linkage

I am really going for the minimalistic look on the bike so stripping everything off that isn’t required is a priority. If I could get every cable off the bike I would however I have to stay realistic. I had already machined and tack welded a new rear brake cable support onto the frame (top right corner) however after rethinking things I decided to try for mechanical linkage for rear brake actuation. You can see my mocked up linkage from my rear sets to the rear drum. The pedal feel is much better and the linkage really cleans up the look. I will have to wait till the bike is at reassembly stage in order to figure out exact linkage length since chain adjustment will come into factor.

B4 disassembly

So here you have it. I think I have done as much fabricating as possible with the bike assembled. At this point the entire thing gets stripped down. Everything will then start to get prepped and refinished before reassembly will begin.

Under tank electrical

Something I never blogged about was the under tank electrical. The original horn and coil has been done away with and I added a new Dyna Coil with new mounting. The horn has been replaced with a high pitch one off a Porsche Cayenne and then I added a couple of relays to handle some of the new electrical.

Central electrical

The central electronics have all been moved, and hidden, under the seat. Components include the electronic ignition module, charging system “regulator”, power supply relay, fuse block, starter solenoid, and battery.

Tear down

Time to start tearing things apart. Strapping the bike to a saw horse provided enough stability in order to get the wheels and suspension off.

Torn down

So here it is, the bare frame. Not a single nut, bolt, or clip is left on it. Time to start laying down some final welds and clean up some existing ones.

Organized components

All removed components were separated into indivduals bins to help keep things organized. A bin for powder coating, a bin for chroming, an electrical bin, and then a misc. bin.

Prepped 4 chrome

I am not a huge fan of lots of chrome however since one of the distinctive features of the bike include the factory chrome tank covers I felt it was necessary to bring some chrome highlights into the bike. I chose some hardware, brake linkages, axles, and fork seal housings to join the tank covers in their display of bling. I had a local electroplating company strip the old chrome first. I then performed some touch up on all the parts and sanded out any rough casting marks. Once prepped the components were sent back to the electroplaters.

Completed chrome

Here are the freshly chromed bike components. If you look at everything to the right of the tank covers you will see that there is not a lot of chrome on the bike, just enough to help blend the tank covers in with the whole package.

Tank covers chrome

The tank covers turned out fantastic!

Original fuel cap

The fuel cap is stainless steel so I opted to polish it up myself. Here is the before shot.

Polished fuel cap

And here is the after shot and the results of 3 stage polishing.

Fuel cap rebuild

The tank cap is pressed together but I was able to “blow” it apart using compressed air. I then was able to clean all the old varnish and rust from the internal components. I was successful in pressing it all back together.

Fork rebuild

Something that had been weighing heavy on my mind was the front fork rebuild. I was unsure if they would come apart easily and I suspected I may have seal issues. Turned out getting them apart was a bit of a challenge. I needed to machine a tool in order to spin off the fork seal housings. Also trying to slide the rams out from the lower housing was not easy as they did not slide smoothly out the bores. More on this later.

Fixing fork nut

The front fork lowers have 4 threaded spacers welded onto them, they all support the front fender however one is the nut that secures the front brake drum arm. This one was broken off at the welds. Needless to say the front brakes do not operate without the arm securing attached to the fork assembly. I used the original threaded spacer and TIG welded it back on.

Fork hone

So here comes the story of why the forks had trouble coming apart. I knew that when I welded the spacer back onto the lower fork tube that the inner bore of the tube may distort. It turns out I was right and after TIG welding the spacer on the fork ram, and bushing, would not slide down into the housing. As I inspected a bit more closely it would appear that the factory welded spacers also distorted the tubes which is why I suspect the bushings were so hard to remove from the fork lowers. I am guessing that the factory must weld the nuts on after the rams are installed, this seems odd to me however I can not determine how they could have installed the rams into distorted fork lowers. I had to come up with a solution to help everything go together, and slide, smoothly. The fork lowers have a second tube in them to allow for spring support. This made for cleaning of the inside bore difficult. In the end I decided I would machine a pipe down enough to fit into the fork lowers. I then glued sandpaper onto the pipe to turn it into a hone.

Honing the fork

Here you can see me honing the side of the fork lower which has the nuts welded onto them. I was able to take off just enough material on the inside of the fork to allow the ram to slide smoothly. Lucky for me these forks are 1965 technology and they do not possess, or require, the precision of modern engineering.

B4 and after ram

The fork rams received a good polishing to clean up some of the old wear and tear. The rams inspected to be in good order with no major nicks. The upper fork is original and the lower is one that has been cleaned up.

Polished fork bushing

These are the bushings that need to slide smoothly into the fork housings. You can see the scoring on the upper bushing that was caused upon removal. I was able to clean up the scoring and give them a good polish before reassembly.

Seal compare

I have pretty much sourced every single part I needed for the CB160 project. I think I have only failed on 1 part and that is the fork seals. I was able to find a supplier however the logistics involved in actually performing the purchase transaction made it too difficult to obtain the seals. I opted for improvisation. The CB160 had 2 different fork seals. 1 for the early model (which is mine) and 1 for the later model. Turns out the later ones are still available from Honda. The difference between the 2 different years is the outer diameter of the seal. Lucky for me the inside diameters appear to be the same. The later models have a smaller OD which also turns out to work in my favor. So in order to adapt the later model smaller OD into my early model forks I opted to machine a press fit spacer as an adapter sleeve for the different seal. The top seal in this picture is the original. The bottom left is the newer seal with a smaller OD and the right is the completed spacer I machined to use as an adapter.

Fork seal bushing 1

I used a 1.750″ seamless pipe with a .250 wall thickness to machine the adapter from. It was hard to measure down to the thousandth of an inch in order to accommodate a press fit.

Fork seal bushing 3

This is the new style seal with the completed bushing.

Fork seal bushing 2

And here is what the seal looks like pressed into the bushing. I did not post pictures of the installed assembly into the fork tube however the press fit turned out great! Hopefully no oil leaks around the OD of the seal or bushing.

Seal housing o-rings

One other part I failed at obtaining was the O-rings required to seal the fork seal housing to the lower fork tube. They are a 38 x 2 mm o-ring and are no longer available. With some searching I found that VW uses the same size seal on multiple engine components including fuel pumps. I ordered a couple up from VW in hopes they would work. Turns out the fit was perfect. Problem solved.

Coating fork lower

So with all of my fork issues behind me all that was left was to perform the finishing touches before reassembly. The fork lowers got sandblasted and powder coated matte black.

Fork ready 4 assembling

Here are all the refinished components. Seat housings chromed, rams polished, lowers powder coated, housing honed, and seals installed. All ready for reassembly.

Forks assembled

Completed forks with aftermarket bellows added to them. Another “to do ” item checked off the list.

Blasted tank 1

It is getting to the point where I need to get some main components refinished. I started by glass bead blasting the tank. The clean up turned out fantastic. It was stripped of all the old paint and rust and upon inspection it would appear the tank had no dents or damage. There will be very little body work required.

Blasted tank 2

The underside of the tank cleaned up great too. Totally stripped of all 1965 color.

Polished tank filler

I thought that polishing the filler neck would give a more finished look plus it will tie in nicely with the polished fuel cap.

Tank repair kit

The tank had a lot of rust in it and was going to require some serious attention to get it all cleaned up. Earlier I had ordered a POR-15 fuel tank repair kit knowing I was going to have to attack my problems with chemicals. I used the kit however not exactly as the directions stated. Here was the sequence I used to achieve fantastic results;
1. Rinsed that tank with Marine Clean for 15 minutes
2. Rinsed the tank with CLR for 15 minutes.
3. Added approximately half a cup of glass beads and 2 cups distilled water and shook vigorously for 15 minutes.
4. Rinses and pressure wash the inside of the tank
5. Added another half cup of glass beads and halve a bottle of Prep and Ready and shook again for 15 minutes
6. Rinsed and pressure washed
7. Added straight Prep and Ready and soaked for half an hour while repositioning.
8. Rinsed and pressure washed.
9. Dried the tank for 4 days which included multiple sessions with a heat gun
10. Coated the tank with a sealer.
The whole process took time however the results were great. The tank cleaned up inside to bare metal and there were no leaks before, or after, the sealer.

Prepped frame

Although this picture is not overly exciting it shows the results of hours of work. I ground lots of the old, ugly, factory welds and redid them with TIG. All the crucial visual areas got ground and sanded smooth. The frame is now ready for sandblasting, a bit more touch up, and then paint.

Cleaned up downtube

This is one of the highlights of the bike. The down tube. For me this section of the frame needs to have a very clean look to it. A lot of the factory holes were filled in and then the welds were sanded smooth.

Title headlight on

I continue to get all the fabrication work done before the entire bike gets stripped down for finishing. I started at the tail end and worked my way to the front. With all the under seat and under tank work done it was time to move onto the gauge and headlight mount. As I mentioned in my previous post I decided to abandon the factory headlight and gauge in exchange for something a little more advanced and cafe designed.

Original headlight

Original CB160 headlight with an integrated speedometer. Was originally going to use it but in the end decided to abandon it.

I struggled coming up with a unique way to mount the gauge and new headlight. Typically the headlights are mounting using clamp on ears that are secured to the upper forks. Although I think this design looks good I wanted to build something that didn’t look like it was a universal fit. I tried to mentally blueprint the design but nothing was working so I opted to start cutting metal and would wait to see the direction it would start to take.

The end design turned out to be one piece. In order to avoid clamping to the upper fork tubes I opted to secure the entire setup with O-rings. This way it was not only secure but it was also, technically, rubber mounted. The Motogadget gauge is supposed to be shielded from excessive vibrations and I suspect the 60 watt halogen bulb filament will also benefit from not getting overly shaken.

As in the past I’ll let the pictures do the story telling. In the end I was happy with the design. Things always look better when they are finished so I suspect the bracket assembly will all come together once it is powder coated.

Before after verts

So the point was to come up with an unique way of mounting the headlight and gauge to the upper fork tubes. Didn’t want to builtd something weird or awkward and tried for clean. I started with some 1.50″ DOM tubing and cut windows in order to show off the upper fork rams.

Slotting the verts

I started by milling out a 1/2″ slot on both sides of the tube.

Vert half way

Cutting the window

Next it got clamped down in the band saw and the window was cut out.

Completed verts

The windows come out perfectly square with clean rounded corners.

Vert concept

The idea is to be able to slide the bracket assembly down over the forks with the upper triple clamp removed.

O-ring mounting

What is going to hold the assembly solid is 4 O-rings. 2 on the bottom and 2 on the top. The height of the bracket tubes are trimmed perfectly to allow for the O-rings to compress and therefore hold the bracket assembly solid. I needed to take into account my steering head adjustment, including new bearings, as this plays a factor on the overall height.

Cluster bracket mocked up

With the vertical supports fabricated I turned my attention towards the gauge mount. The mount needs to be as small as possible in order not to be seen but also allow for enough support in order to hold the entire bracket together. I used the upper triple clamp as a guide and then plasma out the rough shape.

Might work

The mocked up mount looks good. Time to sand and grind the edges to clean up the lines.

Gauge holes

4 holes where drilled. One center one to allow for the gauge wiring and then 3 more to accommodate the gauge mounting.

Welding gauge mount

With everything test fit and squared up it was time to TIG weld the bracket together.

Headlight ears

Next it was time to figure out how to build the headlight bucket ears. I wanted everything to flow and integrate. I didn’t have a clear plan as to how to execute the mounting so I decided to just start playing. Here I took a section of 2″ flat bar and gave it a nice clean 180 degree bend.

Ear trimming

Next the bend was cut in have in order to give me 2 ears. I traced out some shapes that seemed to visually work and trimmed the ears up with the plasma.

Ears roughed

After getting sliced up and then worked over on the belt sander the ears started to take shape.

Mounted ears

Test fitting them on the new headlight shows that the clearances are going to work.

Welding ears

Time to TIG everything together and hope that the heat doesn’t twist it out of shape.

Roughed headlight bracket

Here is my “non-vision” of a bracket coming to life. Not much to look at off the bike however it’s sole intent is only to serve a purpose.

Welded ears

The ear mounting worked out well, it looks as though ears were peeled out from the 1.500: DOM tubing.

Headlight mount in place

The test fit shows that everything is square and the install is smooth. Note the upper clamping O-rings are not currently installed.

Headlight and gauge

And here it is with the headlight and gauge roughly installed. The lines are clean and the fitment looks good. Clearances are tight but not too tight. I had previously powered up the headlight in order to get a bead on the alignment which, in turn, helped me decided the placement of the ears.

Gauge view

The new Motogadget gauge is cradled perfectly in the upper triple clamp. Super clean!

Mocked up fork bracket

Title Motogadget

Over the past numerous months I have wasted too many hours trying to come up with a plan regarding the CB160 instrument cluster. It is not as easy and straight forward as one may think. I am torn between keeping the factory headlight integrated cable driven speedometer and replacing the instrument, and headlight, with an aftermarket assembly.

Here is my dilemma; the factory speedometer is just that, a speedometer. I would love to have a tachometer paired up with the speedo. Second issue is the speedometer drive cable coming off the front wheel. I am working toward a fairly clean looking bike and I have a hard time coming to terms with that speedo cable drooping towards the front hub. I realize I have a brake cable too that shows however that one is a keeper. In the case of the speedo cable there are options. The third issue is the factory gasket that seals the factory speedo into the factory headlight. The one I have is in average condition considering it’s almost 50 years old however it is far from perfect. New ones can’t be had. I could come up with a different solution however this is one more reason to explore the aftermarket option.

I feel as though I have looked at every aftermarket motorcycle gauge that exists. I am now very familiar with the fact that Harleys only need a tach that reads to 8000 RPM, knowing that I can usually figure out that I am on the wrong website fairly quickly. I have a lot of criteria that needs to be met in and aftermarket unit. First it needs to look retro, it also needs to use an electronic speed sensor and not a mechanical cable driven one. If the speedo is analog it cannot read too high, the CB160 maxes out around 130kph and therefore a 200kph+ gauge would not “fit” the bike. The engine revs to 10500RPM and therefore if I find a tach it would have to fit that range. Proper size is an issue as it needs to suit the bike as well as depth is a factor.

I had looked at the German built Motogadget gauges awhile back but as soon as I saw the price I promptly exited the website. Well it turns out that after exploring all of the other options out there it was time to reopen the Motogadget site, take a deep breath, and continue to keep an open mind.

As I continued to research it would appear that the Motogadget line of gauges fit most of my crucial criteria. I was able to get a tach unit with an electronic speedo. Now I realize that the electronic speedo goes against the retro look however the display is dark and very inconspicuous. The digital speedo solves my problem of having too high a max speed showing which is what I would have with an analog gauge. The second thing to consider with the Motogadget tach is the available RPM ranges. You can purchase 8000, 10000, or 14000 rpm units. At first I considered the 14000rpm option thereby allowing me to use all 10500rpm the engine was designed for. After further thought I decided that the 10000rpm option would be the way to go as I would be able to use the entire RPM range of the gauge and the giggle factor of watching the needle whip about was too much to pass up. That would mean I would be 500 rpm short of redline but sacrifices sometimes need to be made.

This brings me to my 3rd crucial necessity in a gauge. The electronic speed sensor signal. The CB160 did come with a mechanical cable drive off the front wheel. As I mentioned I want to do away with the cable. So in order to keep a clean look to it all I started to explore GPS based sending units. There were three that I looked at, the SkyDrive, one that VDO gauges distribute, and the Veethree. There is too much information for me to cover so I’ll jump to the end. After much research and many emails I was unable to determine if the Motogadget gauge would work with a GPS based sender. Even after all the research it still came down to a gamble. The worst part is the gamble included a very expensive gauge that would become useless to me if I couldn’t get the electronic speedo to work. Anyway…more on all this later.

It finally came down to crunch time. Either I needed to stick with the stock set up or suck it up, roll the dice, and order up some components to see if I could make things work in my favor. I decided that I would put some more wear on the Visa card and therefore place some orders. Even though I was prepared to commit, my problems were still not over. It was clear that there are not too many reputable suppliers of Motogadget products in North America. I could find no one that I felt comfortable placing an order with. I opted to visit a local Harley Davidson dealer as they were listed as a supplier. They were able to supply me the gauge, special ordered, however based on their estimate they provided it was clear that I was being taken advantage of. I continued my online search. Just when I thought I was going to have to place an order with a “questionable” supplier I stumbled upon Revival Cycles. Fantastic! Revival Cycles is a smaller custom motorcycle shop based out of Austin Texas. I enjoy dealing with the smaller shops as the people who work there are typically just as passionate about bikes as I am. They perform modifications similar to what I have got myself into as well as they supply parts including Motogadget. Plus their pricing on the gauge was more than reasonable.

So the order was placed with Revival, the communication was great, the transaction smooth, and the product showed up right on time. I had also ordered the Veethree GPS sender from a different supplier. Once I had both the gauge and the sender in my greasy hands I was able to see if all my research, and gamble, paid off. Well read on…

I do not typically do product reviews on the blog however I am making an exception this time. The reason being that I could not find the information out in the cyber world that I am providing here. Some of the information, and repetitive looking pictures, that are to follow may not be very exciting to many of you. What I am trying to accomplish is the relieve others of the painful amount of research that I forced myself to undergo. I am not going to cover everything, there is to much. If you have questions or want clarification just send me a comment. Specs can be found on the manufacturers website. The pictures will do the explaining. I also included a couple of fun videos just to try and some excitement to an otherwise mundane picture posting.

Motogadget gauge

Motogadget’s Chronoclassic 2004060 gauge featuring a 10k RPM scale, dark display and polished rim. There are 2 LCD options available, green and dark. Motogadget states that the dark may be hard to read in direct sunlight. I opted for the dark in order to hide the fact that I have modern technology on the bike when there is no power. The gauge incorporates 4 lights. Turn signals, high beam, neutral, and an optional red that can be tailored to your needs. I believe the red can also be programmed as a shift light, I still need to read up on this.

Veethree GPS

Veethree instuments GPS speed sensor. The company is tailored more towards marine applications. This particular sensor they offer is a 8/16 pulse sensor which is similar to standard electronic speed sensors. The sensors can be wired either as an 8 pulse or 16 pulse depending how 1 wire is connected. The company states the gauge can be mounted in multiple directions and even under dashboards. In my case the sensor will be hidden under the seat cowl section.

Gauge back

The rear of the gauge is easy to work with. It comes with three drilled and tapped 4mm mounting holes. The harness is hard wired into the back of the gauge and incorporates 2 connectors to hook up to the bike harness.

Gauge width

The width of the gauge was a another crucial feature for me. I need a shallow gauge and at just over 1.250`deep the Motogadget should fit nicely.

Backlight display

This shot is taken purely to demonstrate the backlight. It’s a clean white light with just the right amount of glow. Ignore the LCD display as it is overexposed purely due to the photography. The LCD is very clean to read.

Hacked test wiring

Since I wasn’t sure if this was all going to work I decided to wire the gauge and speed sensor up to a standard 12V power outlet plug. This way I could drive around in my car and test the gauge, sensor, and functions. The computer functions of the gauge are accessed through a momentary switch connected to ground. I used a window switch I had laying around as my temporary “select” button.

Motogadget tripmeter

So here we go. The following wack-o-pics is demonstrating many of the gauge screens in the order they are displayed. Primary screen consists of 2 line display. Top is always speedo and the bottom can be changed with a push of the button. I am pleased to say the speedo works great with the GPS sensor. It took some work to get it calibrated. The Motogadget is designed to be able to enter in wheel diameter and pulses per revolution. It also has a separate function that allows you to put it into self calibration mode. This consists of driving at 50kph for 10 seconds. In my case I used my Garmin GPS and set the vehicle cruise control to 50kph to perform the 10 second calibration. After calibrated the Motogadget speedo reads identical to my Garmin GPS. This is the first screen showing the bottom display with the trip meter. Easily resettable by holding the selection button down for a couple of seconds.

Motogadget odometer

Next menu selection is the odometer. Not too much to say here. When I initially hooked up the GPS sensor I had the gauge calibration wrong therefore the speed indicated approx. 250kph when I was only going 30kph. So needless to say the odometer racked up the mileage quickly. There is a function for resetting the odometer to 0.

Motogadget trip time

3rd menu item is trip time. Again resettable just like the trip meter by holding the selection button down for a couple of seconds.

Motogadget voltage

This menu item makes me giggle. I am thrilled to be able to monitor system voltage. The Honda CB160 has an archaic type charging system. I have been very carful when adding non-factory electrical components to the bike to ensure that the electrical system will be able to handle the load. With the Motogadget I am able to monitor the charging system, this is the screen which most of my riding will be done with.

Motogadget air temp

There are optional sensors available that are not included with the gauge. This one obviously being air temperature. I haven’t decided if I am going to add one yet. The gauge can be programmed to switch from Celsius to Fahrenheit.

Motogadget oil temp

Next optional sensor being oil temperature. I won’t be adding this one.

Motogadget oil pressure

3rd optional sensor is oil pressure. The gauge can be programmed to switch from Bar to PSI.

Motogadget accel and decel

This function is sort of cool. It measures the speed of acceleration (+) and deceleration (-). It works purely off the vehicle speed sensor and reads in meters per second squared. The gauge can not be switched to G Force however mental calculations aren’t bad. 9.81 m/s2 is the speed of gravity and therefore equates to 1G.

Motogadget tach

If you choose to the engine RPM can also be read from the second line. Not nearly as cool as watching the needle whip about.

Motogadget average speed

Here the average ground speed is recorded during all trips since last reset. Again, reset is done by holding the selection button down for a couple of seconds.

Motogadget 0 - 100 time

Here comes the fun part. 0-100kph acceleration times. When this menu item is selected you can have the gauge automatically time your 0-100kph. With the vehicle at a standstill holding down the selection button for a couple of seconds puts the option into “ready” mode. Once the gauge senses vehicle speed the timer starts and then automatically stops at a 100kph. The time is then stored.

So this brings us to intermission where the half time entertainment will begin. Just for kicks I thought I would video some 0-100kph runs. I built a very crude holder to mount the gauge and a GoPro video camera to and then took the setup out in a couple of vehicles to see just how well this Motogadget function works. So let`s start first by watching a couple videos, I`ll then recap. BTW, turn the volume up and open the videos up to full screen. You`ll want to watch the LCD readout of the Motogadget gauge, having it on full screen helps to see it. I will apologize now for the glare off the gauge glass. I did what I could, it`s not great but it works. One thing to note about the speedometer in the 2 videos is how smooth the reading is. I like that the speedo cycles fast and clean through the speeds and doesn’t jump in increments with quick acceleration or deceleration.

Crude GoPro mount

This is my crude mount I whipped together as fast as possible. This way people won`t get nauseous from camera shake.

So there you have it, a brief demonstration of the 0-100kph feature. Now wait! DO NOT send me any comments about how the feature isn`t accurate. I know the Porsche does not do a 2.8 second 0-100 (it is spec`d at around 3.5) and I realize the speedo starts to register late after the launch. Here is the issue (I think)…the Veethree GPS sensor samples every 1/10th of a second therefore the accuracy that would be required for fast runs just isn’t present with the GPS setup. I would be interested to know what results could be had from the same tests but instead of using GPS use a factory electronic speed signal or the magnetic reed switch the Motogadget is supplied with. Anyway…I didn’t purchase the gauge for the 0-100kph function and will only use the feature for fun so the decreased performance I get from using the GPS is not a factor for me.

Motogadget max speed

The last 4 menu items consist of a memory function which stores maximum data. In this case the maximum speed is displayed and stored until it is reset.

Motogadget max engine speed

Here you get maximum stored engine RPM. I have yet to hook the gauge up to the tach function. I suspect the 838RPM that is stored here was from factory testing.

Motogadget max accel

Maximum positive acceleration. Like I mentioned earlier 9.81 m/s2 is equal to 1G.

Motogadget max decel

Maximum negative (braking) deceleration. There is one more menu that can be added which is a gear indicator. It displays gears 1 to 6 on the left hand side next to the ground speed. This feature is added using the parameters setup menu. What is cool is that this function is pure mathematical as it calculated the gear based on ground speed and engine RPM, no external input to the gauge is required.

Motogadget set up menu

So up to this point all the user functions from the home screen have been covered. The following pictures all show behind the scene sub menus used for customizing and calibrating. To enter this menu the selection button needs to be pressed for around 3 seconds. Once in this menu the selection button is again used for navigation and programming. I am not going to cover everything in the next few pictures rather I’ll just offer a brief overview of what is available.

Motogadget screen set up

The SCREEN menus allows the user to turn off or on any of the main screen displays. For example I will not be installing an oil temperature sensor therefore I can turn that display off allowing me to cycle through only the menu items I choose. This menu also allows you to add a second trip meter if desired.

Motogadget LCD setup

This menu allows the user to change the contrast of the LCD screen in steps from 0 to 6.

Motogadget motor setup

The damping menu allows the user to fine tune the analog pointer. If the analog indicator is oscillating strongly the damping feature can be changed in steps from 1 to 9.

Motogadget parameters

This menu allows the user to enter many different parameters. There is a total of 9 submenus in the parameters feature. One includes setting wheel size and number of impulses per wheel rotation. In my case I didn’t have to mess with this as my GPS is dead accurate independent of gearing and wheels. Other items in the parameters section include tach programming, speedo km or miles, gear indicator teaching, redline teaching, and gauge software info.

Motogadget sensors

This menu allows for customizing of all the sensors displays including bar or psi, Celsius of Fahrenheit. You can also choose how many digits you want displayed.

Motogadget reset

Here the master rest function can be accessed. In my case I will perform the complete reset once the gauge is installed and the bike is ready for the road. I suspect I will need to reteach my GPS speed input.

Veethree mount

Mounting of the Veethree GPS speed sensor will end up in the tail section under the seat cowl.

Motogadget cluster mock up

Title rear wheel

The game plan with the 65 Revive Honda CB160 cafe racer build was to perform as much of the fabrication work before tearing the entire bike apart. Lots of people choose to strip the bike down first then perform the modifications. I want to keep the bike together as much as possible therefore I can ensure everything will work in harmony with one another and that way there will be no unwanted surprises during final reassembly.

The finishing stage will be the final chapter in the rebuild however in the case of the wheels I was forced into performing the detail work now. The reason is that fender mounting requires that I have the proper, and properly inflated, front tire on the bike. Since I didn’t want to mount up my new tires on old rims I opted to tackle the rim rebuild at this stage in the game.

The plan was to abandon the factory chrome look of the rims. The hoops and hubs will get powder coated matte black and then will be laced back together using stainless steel spokes and nipples.

I have already collected all my parts including tires, tubes, rim strips, spokes, nipples, bearings, bushings, and brake hardware. Therefore all that was required was some time and labor.

I’ll run you through the details using visuals. The rims turned out fantastic. The powder coating went as well as I could have expected. Some parts had some minor flaws however the result equalled my experience. The hoops trued up and tensioned up and I was able to mount the tires without causing damage to the finish. Now I can continue on with more fabrication.

OEM front wheel

Here it is, the stock front wheel. The plan is to powder coat the hoop and hub matte black and then replace the OEM spokes with stainless steel Buchanan spokes.

Front de-laced

Front rim getting de-laced. The hub and hoop both inspect to be in good shape.

Front drum touch up

Set the drum up on the lathe to clean up the brake friction surface. No cutting required, light sanding did the trick.

Hoop blasted half n half

Initially I thought I would have to strip the chrome from the OEM hoops before powder coating. After doing some research I figured there was no reason I couldn’t powder over top of the original chrome. None of the factory chrome was flaking off and it was still all intact. I took the sandblaster to the bare hoop to rough, and clean, the original chrome. The left is sandblasted and the right is factory.

Wheel prepped 4 powder

All the wheel components have been prepped and blasted. Just need to be cleaned and then the power fogged on.

Hoop jig

The 18″ hoop just barely fits in the powder coating oven. It needs to be held at just the right angle in order for it to fit. I constructed a crude jig to hold the rim just right for baking.

Hub fogged

Here the front hub has been fogged with matte black powder just before it gets placed into the oven.

Hoop baked

You can see the tight fit of the rim in the oven. The rim has been baked and is now in cool down stage.

Hubs matte black

Completed front hubs. Looks good.

Buchanan's

I was in the area of Azusa California so I took the opportunity to stop in at Buchanan’s to order and pick up my stainless steel spokes. Great service and great product. Very helpful staff.

Buchanan's spokes

Spoke set for the CB included double butted spokes with stainless nipples. Front and rear rims use the identical spoke lengths.

Front rebuild

Starting to lace and rebuild the front rim.

Front laced

Initial lacing complete, onto the trueing and tensioning.

Front trued

The rim trued up and tensioned up beautifully. Worked out great.

Before and after wheels

New matte black front rebuilt wheel compared to the OEM rear wheel.

Cutting out bushings

With the front rebuilt it was time to complete the rear wheel. The sprocket is mounted into rubber bushings and I had new ones to install. The factory bushings are pressed into a blind hole. I opted to mill the old bushings out.

Pressing in bushings

With the rear hub prepped and powdered I was able to press in new sprocket bushings.

4 new bushings

Rebuilt rear hub with new bushings and new bearings.

New factory brakes

Front and rear both got a new set of brake shoes. I was able to score some NOS shoes for the rear.

New tires

The rubber was harder to find then I initially expected. I settled on some Duro tires which had similar tread patterns to the factory tires. I went with a 2.50-18 front and a 3.00-18 rear.

Rear wheel complete

The completed rear wheel with the new rubber mounted.

New wheels

Final shot of the wheel rebuild. I had to sweep out the shop so the bike got to see daylight for a brief period.