Posts Tagged ‘Glass from the past’

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 muffler

The planning of the next phase for the 65 Revive project continues to take place. When I build projects that require raw materials, like metal, I can usually obtain everything I need locally and therefore the collecting of the materials do not consume much of my time. In the case of the CB160 cafe racer build I find myself having to work 3-4 weeks in advance since many of the components need to be ordered and shipped.

GFTP Parts

GFTP order. The “ears” on the front fender will get trimmed up.

Rock guard placement

Rock guard set in place. The portion that extends above the frme will get trimmed down.

Well I am getting closer to being able to cut, grind, and weld since most of my crucial “fit” components have showed up. Previously I had done my “best guess” as to the proper seat dimension required to give the “cafe racer” look but also ensure that the bike fits me and is comfortable to ride. I had put in an order from Glass From The Past for an upholstered seat, a front fender, and a rear rock guard. The parts arrived and passed initial inspection. The fibreglass finish is fairly rough and will certainly require some high build primer, and maybe even some glazing putty, to smooth things out before painting. The front fender and rock guard will also require some trimming to give them the required “look”. I had chosen to have the seat upholstered and spent the extra few dollars for the genuine leather cover. The upholstery work looks great, super clean, and nice lines. I am not qualified to critique stitching however I have no negatives to report.

Seat upholstry

Seat pad unbolted

The seat pad unbolts from the fiberglass seat pan to allow for pan body work and painting.

Part of my planning process involved spending lots of time mentally designing the custom exhaust. The plan is to change the factory dual exhaust into a full custom 2 into 1 setup. When it comes to planning out angles I do much better if I can physically work with the components to make them fit. Unfortunately, in the case of the exhaust, I need to order all my bends therefore I did what I could to design the system using Vise-grips, angle gauges, and protractors. I did the best I could to pre-determine all my required angles and then took a deep breath and put in an order with Columbia River Mandrel Bends. I opted to go for 16 gauge stainless steel pipe. The plan is to build a race style system and leave all the TIG welds exposed to give the set up a real raw look to it. All my exhaust components showed up as ordered. It will be interesting to see if my grey matter design will turn into a reality.

SS mandrel bends

My complete order of 16 gauge stainless steel mandrel bends. Hope I guessed right.

Another crucial component required to finish off the exhaust is a muffler. I stumbled onto Megs Mufflers website and was immediately sucked into all their products. They offer everything in order to build your own custom mufflers and look to supply quality components. The CB160 will eventually have to go through a mandatory government inspection before I will be able to register it. Part of this inspection involves the muffler and its noise level. My intent with the bike is to make it 100% legal as well as have a finished product that won’t annoy my neighbors. I opted to go with Megs “Quiet Core” Street Series muffler. It is the quietest one they have plus it sports the “look” I want. It’s a brushed 304 Stainless steel unit. The build quality looks great and the size should match the bike great.

Megs muffler

Megs quiet core muffler. 18 inches over all length.

So as I was waiting for all my orders to show up I decided to start working on the first actual bike modification. The center kick stand is going to interfere with the way the exhaust system is going to be routed. I expelled a substantial amount of mental energy trying to come up with a solution that will allow me to maintain clean lines yet still serve a purpose. In the end I decided that the center stand has to go and get replaced with a side stand. Unfortunately the CB160 lacks the typical “down tube” that most bikes have. The down tube on my Honda is the actual engine therefore custom building a side stand and welding it to the frame was not an option. Instead I decided to incorporate the old foot peg mounts on the lower engine case casting. Since I am relocating my pegs the original cradles on the engines underside were no longer required.

Side stand components

Roughed out side stand components.

So away I went with not much of a game plan. I have never custom built a side stand and therefore needed to brush up on the physics surrounding the operation. Once I knew what requirements would have to be met I started to cut, grind, and mill. Normally I would have dedicated a complete blog post to the build however my head was more into building than picture taking. So basically all you get is a glimpse of the unfinished side stand. There are still some angles to figure out and final welding to do but it all seems to be coming out fine. The stand looks as though it will tuck up out of the way very cleanly yet still be allowed to maintain full functionality.

Side stand mock up

Kick stand idea

Still lots of work to do on the stand.

So it looks like the new year will allow me to make some progress now that I have the necessary material to perform the tasks at hand. I am looking forward to seeing the bike begin to morph into my own creation. I welcome the challenges that will come and the hurdles that will need to be jumped.

Seat resting rear

Seat resting

Title headlightLife has gotten busy for me lately, the garage projects, and blog, have both been suffering. However the lack of bike building and metal work has been exchanged for other things that are necessary to maintain a healthy and balanced life. Christmas time is busy and unfortunately many of life’s needs cannot be fixed by welding or machining. Anyway…hopefully January will provide me with cleared schedule that will allow for a bit more metal in my life.

With the CB160 engine rebuilt it was time to turn my attention onto the remainder of the bike. There is much to accomplish with the entire bike requiring rebuilding and it was time to take a serious look and what is the procedurally correct approach to take. A job well planned is a job half done so I figured I would cut my work down 50% by giving the tasks at hand some serious thought.


Stripped seat and fender


Whenever people are faced with a “restoration” project the initial reaction is to start ripping and tearing into it. I had the same urge but then decided to slow it down a bit. I wanted to get the frame stripped down and start to detab it, clean it and modify it. The issue came in that modifications are dependent on many factors. New exhaust requires proper clearances, seats and foot pegs require proper positioning, and modified handlebars require proper placement. All of these things will be very difficult to place once the bike is stripped down to nothing.

So I decided to start the project backwards. Before I strip everything apart for cleaning and rebuilding I decided to make my modifications first while the bike is still intact. Riding position is crucial and, as I learned, there where sacrifices to be made. I’m converting the bike to a cafe racer therefore many of the existing components are going to get removed from the bike and the riding position will be getting modified. I suspect there are many complexities involved in engineering the correct position to ride in for both performance and comfort. Certain angles work and certain do not. When moving the foot pegs I am concerned that the leverage involved in shifting and braking stay within realistic, and comfortable, positions. Handlebar placement is important to ensure that not too much of the body weight is uncomfortably supported by the arms.

Flipped bars

So what it came down to was a lot of time spent staring at the bike and reverse engineering the frame geometry tying to teach myself what the people who built the bike were professionally taught. I had a certain image in my head of very specific things that I wanted to incorporate however experimentation would show that what I wanted and what was practical were two different things. I like the look of short, stubby, cowl style cafe racer seats. Well base on my own observations it would appear that these seats only work for bikes with long fuel tanks. In the case of the CB160 the tank is “average” and certainly not long. Installing a short seat on a bike with a short tank compresses the riding position to the point of major discomfort. My policy has always been “function over fashion” or “function first” so as much as I wanted a stubby seat the fact is that the bike would be too uncomfortable to ride.

Mocked seat

So it came down to addressing three main factors. The handlebar position, the seating position, and the foot peg position. I knew that I would be running clubman, or clip on, style bars so I unbolted the original bars, flipped them 180 degrees, and turned them 180 degrees to simulate the new bars best as possible. The new foot pegs will be placed very close to where the rear pegs already are so this was a no brainer, I just used the rear pegs. Next was the seat, I really struggled with this one. I debated building my own cowl style seat. It would be a major learning experience for me, which I welcome, since I have very little experience with sheet metal shaping. I have much respect for those individuals how can shrink, stretch, shape, and “feel” sheet metal however my lack of experience has me second guessing myself. Perhaps building a cowl style seat may be a bit too ambitious for my first project. So I opted to purchase a fibreglass seat. After much internet research I decided to do business with Glass From The Past as many of their products are geared towards the CB160.

Tester set up

I spent way too much time on the GFTP website reviewing all the seat dimensions trying to determine what would work. Well after doing lots of measuring it came down to having to build a mock up seat and actually trying it out too see if the angle and dimensions would suit my riding position. So I build a seat, based on a GFTP seat, out of scrap plywood and 2x4s. With the handlebars flipped, the rear foot pegs installed and the tester wooden seat installed I was able to actually sit on the bike and get a feel for the riding position. This is where I discovered that a stubby seat will not work. The riding position was way too cramped. The bike would be rideable but it would not be fun, nor would it feel as though the rider was tuned with the rest of the mechanics. So I built a mock up seat based on dimensions that were not my first choice but where more suited to the existing bike geometry. Well it turns out that a longer seat was the way to go, the angles were great. I had my brother, who rides a GSXR1000, try out the seating position and he described it very close as the feel of his Suzuki. The longer seat with the dropped clubman bars and the rear mounted foot pegs seemed to suit a great, and comfortable, riding position; the angles are sporty and feel fantastic.

Clubman bars

So with the geometry figured out it was time to start ordering up some parts. Foot pegs, bars, and a seat were on the list. My plan was to start performing the frame modifications before stripping everything down. Again, my parts research led me to a few suppliers. The first one being Motobits which is a company that manufactures rear sets specifically designed for racing application CB160s. The quality looks good and the option of having full adjustability is more than enough reason to make a purchase. Ordered! The handlebars where a challenge. Originally I had my heart set on a set of clip on bars but as I looked at more images and performed more research I decided that a set of clubman bars form Lossa Engineering was the way to go. Lossa Engineering has built multiple CB160s with the clubman bars so I knew they would work for my application. The final purchase was made from Glass From The Past where I ordered their VINBTB seat. I am not completely comfortable with the way the seat cowl angles up as I really like the lines created by a straight base however life is comprised of comprises.


So at this point in time I have received the rear sets from Motobits and the clubman bars from Lossa Engineering. The design and quality of both products are great, no complaints and nothing but positive comments. The seat will take awhile before I see it since I opted to splurge for the optional leather upholstery. Anyway…t he geometry all seem to be coming together which puts me one step closer to turning bolts counter clockwise and applying 120psi to a bag of sand.

Leg geometry