Posts Tagged ‘vintage bikes’

A friend of mine sent me a link to a video that he thought I may like. Part of the reason he is a friend is because he happens to know exactly what I like. He was thoughtful enough to share with me so I thought I would share it with you.

My fascination with the garage is not always what is going on inside of it but also with the mechanicals that spill out onto the streets worldwide. For me, the following video by Giorgio Oppici demonstrates the serenity that binds people and machine together.

Giorgio Oppici was born in 1960 and since 1979 he has devoted most of his thoughts to communication. Today he lives, and works, in Valpolicella over the hills in the North of Verona, Italy. Apparently the wine is really good there.

The video was shot at the ASI Moto Show. It is the international event for classic motorcycles that has been organized for the past 13 years by ASI Automotoclub Storico Italiano. The event is held in Salsomaggiore Terme, a town and comune in northern Italy.

I could rattle on and write about all the aspects of the video that I like but I would rather you enjoy it in your own way. After all videos like this do not need explanations. Enjoy!

BTW: Thanks Doug!

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!

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.

153 Completed bike 22

153 Completed bike 21

153 Completed bike 20

153 Completed bike 19

153 Completed bike 18

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

153 Completed bike 17

153 Completed bike 16

153 Completed bike 15

153 Completed bike 14

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!

153 Completed bike 13

153 Completed bike 12

153 Completed bike 11

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.

153 Completed bike 09

153 Completed bike 08

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153 Completed bike 06

153 Completed bike 05

153 Completed bike 04

153 Completed bike 03

153 Completed bike 02

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 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 piston

A cyber friend of mine, Andrew, who happens to also own a Honda CB160 asked if I would be interested in performing a piston modification for his Ducati 160 Monza Jr. He had sent me a document that Tom Bailey wrote outlining changes that could be made to a stock piston for these engines.

The stock 160 piston came with an extra oil ring at the bottom of the skirt. I guess Ducati figured they needed a bit more control. In order to reduce friction and drag some owners opt to cut the bottom oil ring groove off. Once the skirt is trimmed the sides, just below the pin bosses, get a 1.5” radius machined into them in order to lighten the unit up. Once the machining is done the piston then gets polished in order to relieve any stress caused by nicks and scratches.

Since I am not a production machine shop I am not usually set up to perform custom modifications. I am, however, always intrigued by the challenge of figuring out how to accomplish the task. I agreed to give it a go and told Andrew that if I screw it up he’ll be on the hook for a new piston. I guess he figured it was worth the risk because he sent me the piston.

I am happy to say that the minor procedure worked out fine. No money mistakes were made and the piston is on its way back to Andrew.

The following is picture book format of the procedure. It’s nothing too exciting however it involves a piston, metal, and machining so how can that not be cool to look at!

Stock piston

Stock piston from the Ducati 160 Monza Jr. You can see the 4th oil ring groove on the lower skirt.

Trimmed skirt

Trimmed off the lower part of the skirt just to the point were the oil ring groove disappeared. Note how thick the casting is.

Trimmed pistion casting

Trimmed off the thick section of extra casting. I measured the stock piston and then machined the skirt to the identical dimensions.

Piston holding fixture

I built this fixture to mount to my rotary table in order to secure the piston perfectly in place for machining a 1.5″ radius into the skirt.

Skirt radius

Here the piston is mounted and one side cut.

The following is a quick clip showing the milling machine set up for radiusing the piston. The fixture was designed specifically for a 1.5″ radius.

Completed piston machining

Finished rough machining. Both side radius dimensions are identical.

Piston B4 polishing

Final step is to polish the piston up to relieve any stress fractures. This is the stock piston before polishing.

Piston clean up on lathe

I set the piston up on the lathe and give it a quick cleaning before I move onto a 3 stage buffing process using the polishing compounds and the buffing wheels.

Completed piston bottom

Sorry, no pictures of the buffing. Here is the completed piston underside.

Completed piston top

Completion stage, looks awesome. I need to blow this picture up and frame it. I could stare at this stuff all day.

Title bike shop

It has been awhile since I have posted the progress made on the 65 Revive CB160 cafe racer build. Things have not slowed down and lots of fab worked has taken place. It’s a slow, but enjoyable, process and much time has been spent staring at all the angles and mentally engineering the game plan.

Up to this point I had the exhaust under control and it was time to turn my attention to the seat. I was dreading this section simply because there were many factors to consider and everything needed to tie in together. After much work I am happy to say that it appears to all be coming together. I am retrofitting a fibreglass solo seat to the bike. The rear frame hoop was going to need to be build and then all the electrical components would have to get hidden under the seat.

I’ll run you through the details using the following pictures. Much of the fab work never got photographed this time round simply because I was concentrating more on the job at hand then the blog. Anyway…the following gives you the highlights.

Starting mess

This is what I am starting with. Here is what the CB160 looks like, bone stock, under the seat. I planning to cram a lot into this space.

Tank mount has 2 go

The fuel tank mount is going to interfere with the seat placement. In order to maintain the look of the bike the seat has no choice but to tuck up clean to the tank. This means the factory tank mount will need to be relocated.

180 hoop

As I have collected parts for the CB160 I added an 180 degree seat hoop onto one of my orders. I wasn’t sure if I would use it so I decided to trim off the rear frame tabs and tack it into place to get a visual.

180 not working

I think it is fairly evident from this shot that the seat hoop will NOT work. I kinda figured so since the seat lines didn’t appear to be even close to the hoop lines.

Rear hoop template

Looks like I am going to have to try and build a seat hoop to fit. The plan is to bend a section of 7/8 pipe to match the shape of the seat. I needed to build a steel jig to wrap the steel around. I started by building a template of the seat hoop out of 1/8″ MDF

Baking sand

The seat pipe, that would need to be heated and ben,t was going to have to wrap around a fairly tight radius. The idea was to fill the pipe with sand first in order to prevent the pipe walls from collapsing during the bending. Since the pipe would be sealed during the heating process I wanted to ensure I had no moisture in the fill sand. I used some old baking sheets and heated all the moisture out of the sand using my powder coating oven.

Fillling seat hoop

I used a 7 foot section of thin wall 7/8 tubing and welded one end shut. I then filled the tube full using the dry sand.

Compressing sand

The other end of the tube got a 3/4″ nut welded to it. I then used a 3/4″ bolt and threaded it into the tube to compress the sand solid.

Clamped 4 bending

Here is what the bending jig looked like before I put the heat to it. You can see the steel template I built to resemble the shape of the seat. I cut it out of scrap 3/8″ steel plate using the previously built MDF template as a guide. The steel then got tack welded to the bench and angle iron was clamped in place to help hold the steel tube in proper location. The next step was all about the heat. using a oxy-acetylene torch I was able to get the pipe to bend like butter.

Bent hoop

And here you have it, the results of my bend attempt.


The hoop worked out fantastic. The wall collapsed ever so slightly however it will absolutely not be a factor. I was more then impressed with how well the whole procedure turned out.

Plugs and hoop

I trimmed the seat hoop up to proper length and then built some solid steel frame plugs to help secure the hoop to the factory frame rails.

Plugs mocked

Frame plugs in place and ready for the hoop.

Hoop welded

The hoop was TIG welded into place and the frame ground down smooth.

Hoop fit 1

I am fairly critical of my work but in this case I would say the fit is near perfect. The lines of the seat fit beautifully along the new frame hoop.

Hoop fit 2

Another picture showing the fitment of the seat to the hoop.

Rock guard trimming

I had bought a rear rock guard to help keep road debris away from the engine. Before I could build the seat pan the fiberglass rock guard required some trimming in order to allow for pan placement.

Seat pan shape

First step in building the seat pan was to create an initial template using a cereal box.

Seat pan template

Once I had my cereal box template I then cut out a plasma guide template from 1/8″ MDF. Here the template is clamped to the seat pan steel and ready to get plasma cut.

Seat pan bend

Some minor bending on the press gave it the right angle to allow it to snuggle into the frame rails.

Seat pan test fit

The seat pan fitment worked out great. Eventually it will get welded all the way around the frame however more fab work is needed first.

Power distribution mounts

This next picture may not look like much but the work actually took many hours. Much of the bikes life line systems need to be hidden from sight therefore mounting options are limited. Most of the systems will be hidden under the seat. It took hours of staring and planning to come up with a mounting sequence that would work. Even ended up doing multiple “re-do’s”

Power distribution mock up 1

And here is the gist of it mocked up. The components that are now mounted under the seat include the battery, starter solenoid, fuse panel, power supply relay, license plate lights, charging regulator, ignition module, seat mounting posts, and wire management studs. It fits!

Power distribution mock up 2

Here is another angle of the set up. You can se the 4 aluminum posts that support my seat. The posts thread onto 8mm studs and therefore I am able to unscrew them and machine them down on the lathe in order to allow for precise seat fitment.

Power distribution mock up 3

I bought a lithium battery for the bike which allows me to mount it any way I want. Here you can see the power hook ups I built out of aluminum. To the left is the one side of my 2 piece custom license plate light I machined out of aluminum. In a few more pictures you will see what the light looks like from the exposed side.

Seat knob 1

I wanted to ensure I could remove the seat without any tools so I machined this knob out of some scrap I had. It is weighted very nicely to allow for quick spinning on and off.

Lic light and plate mount

Here is the rear underside of the seat pan. The license plate light housing will eventually get powder coated black. The tab to the right of the light is my license plate bracket holder.

Seat support

This is what the underside of the seat looks like. I built steel plates to fit precisely on top of my aluminum posts. The center section is my seat hold down.

Seat fit 1

Here’s an overall view of the rear tail section showing the fitment of the seat to the frame rails, the installed brake light and how the license light and license bracket is tucked up underneath. Super clean.

Seat knob 2

The seat hold down knob sits in the center section and does not protrude below the frame rails therefore is hides out of sight but is still very accessible.

Seat lines

Final shot with the seat mounted, adjusted, and secured with my power distribution hidden away. It was a long process however highly successful.

Title belt sander

I feel like I need to state the obvious, this kick stand project is dragging on. I can make excuses but what’s the point? The only person that is affected by the lack of progress is myself. I have collected many parts that are tempting me to switch gears to a different fabricating aspect on the bike my head is telling me to get through the kickstand and reach completion before moving on.

Milled for mounting

Mounts TIG welded

Although the main support shaft looks to be built from 1 solid piece it is actually a hollow section with the two ends welded on. My main concern was to keep the weight low.

I had previously worked at getting all the angles figured out. I do not possess the skills to be able to create a 3D working model in a CAD program and so I needed to rely on old school methods and just had to puzzle it out. The project was at the point where the previously built components required welding and the addition of known components had to be built and the stand cleaned up.

Pivot stop

Pivot parts joined

So I started to tack components together so that I could do some preliminary test fitting. The kick stand itself went together nicely however the mechanical aspect of the over centering spring had yet to be determined. I had plenty of hours into trying to make things work. The pictures I have included in this blogs posting do not tell the whole story. There was plenty of trial and even more error.

Stand stop

Stand cleaned up

This extra tab is the stop for when the kick stand is in the lowered position.

I had initially planned on building the over centering aspect based on the millions of other kick stand designs. What was the point in trying to reinvent the wheel? Well it turns out that I positioned the pivot point of the spring in the wrong location. The kick stand would snap down into the lower position but it would not stay in the retracted position. I know why it didn’t work however trying to change it so it would function was not easy.

Stand test fit

2 inch foot plate

Building the kick stand “foot” using 2″ solid round bar.

I was very cramped for space. I am trying to build the kick stand as cleanly, inconspicuous, and self contained as possible. I struggled with finding a solution to position my pivot points correctly. It was time for a total re-think. A new approach was needed and thinking outside of the box had to come into play. In order to make room for the over center pivot point I was going to have to abandon the conventional methods. Typically an expansion spring is used which requires the over center pivot to be placed above the kick stand pivot. In my case I decided to explore the idea of using a compression spring and therefore I would be able to place the over centering pivot below the kick stand pivot where I would have more room.

Stand alone set up

Bike lean

I am unsure what is standard as far as bike lean goes. My stand allowed for just under 5 degrees. It looks right and hopefully it will be enough so that a wind gust won’t knock the Honda over.

So as I played with this idea the plan finally came into clear view. It was about time! I was able to track down a short version of the typical hydraulic struts used on automotive hoods as the hood props. I found a short version that is used on Porsche Cayenne SUVs that return the park brake pedal to rest position. The length was perfect and the tension felt adequate.

Machined ball

Hydraulic and balls

So off to the lathe I went to machine up the pivot balls required for the mini strut to snap onto. After lots of fitting and mocking up I was able to determine where my pivot points had to be and proceeded to build the brackets. Knowing I may have to scrap the whole idea if it doesn’t work I tack welded everything together and proceeded to perform a full function test. Awesome! The pivot point turned out to be perfect. The kick stand both lowers and rises into its rest position on both ends of the scale. It is secure and safe.

Drilling the stand

So finally I have reached a point of satisfaction. Not only is the kick stand fully functional but I think it also looks fantastic. The strut is hidden in behind the rest of the stand and the complete assembly tucks up out of the way. Nothing is obtrusive or ugly and having the strut on the stand gives it a super cool “trick” look to it all.

Ball fitted

So for now I am going to check this on off my list. The stand still requires powder coating however I am holding off until the exhaust is complete. There is a chance I may need to weld a support for the exhaust to the stand. The difficult part is complete I can finally move forward with more exciting aspects of the project.

Completed kick stand 2

The completed kick stand in the retracted position. Nice and clean.

Completed kick stand 1

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

Taking on my CB160 65 Revive project has introduced me to others, in the cyber world, which are owners of the same bike. One of those people is Andrew who has his own garage project in the works with his own CB160. His bike, Lucille, is getting an engine overhaul this winter season to freshen things up for the next riding season. If you’re interested in checking out his progress you can visit his blog Meet Lucille.

I felt as though I have done my CB160 rebuild coverage to death on the blog lately. It’s too bad because I have a long ways to go yet. Anyway…in an effort to get back to fabricating I opted to perform a small machining task for Andrew in order to help make a small contribution to his project.

Andrew has planned to get rid of the electric starter on his bike and rely solely on the kick-starter (or push start). My original plan was to do the same thing with my bike however the rear sets were going to interfere with the kick-starter therefore I opted to get rid of the kick-starter and keep the electric start. I wasn’t happy with the decision to maintain the extra pounds associated with the starter however the bike needs to be practical and streeteable.

Here is what the factory starter looks like installed on the CB160 engine.

So where is this heading? Well when the starter is removed permanently you need to be able to fill the empty hole with something that will keep the dirt out and the oil in. These items are known as starter block off plates. I am unsure what is available for block off plates in the aftermarket world; I never looked or researched it. I already had one mentally designed for my bike but then never got the chance to build it. Well I looked back in my brains archives and found the engineering drawn still filed away, I figured it was still there since the archives typically don’t get trashed for 2 years or so.

So with Lucille in need of a plate and me with an idea I figured it was time to unite the two and make something happen. The plan was to build a plate that required no modifications to the engine, look clean, stay put, and seal the oil. The material of choice was a section of solid 6061 aluminum round stock. Lately I have been telling my stories through pictures so I will continue the format this time as well. Follow along.

In order to machine the block off plate for Lucille I used my mock up engine that is currently installed in my bike. The hole on the left side is what needs to be filled. The idea is to machine a plug that gets installed from the inside of the side cover. The side cover bolted on is what will prevent the plug from backing out and a landing machined onto the plug will keep it from falling out from the other side. Confused? Just look at the pictures, you’ll get it.

Here are my collected necessities. My spare starter for taking measurments, a chunk of 3″ 6061 aluminum and an assortment of O-rings in hopes that one will work.

The overall depth of the plug is aproximately 1.600″ so I started by cutting off a 2″ section of aluminum to chuck up into the lathe.

This is the visible end of the block of plate machined down to spec. The diameter is the same as the factory starter housing diameter.

I machined in a groove in order to fit the o-ring seal. I made the groove just a hair wider the the o-ring thickness in order to allow for the compressing of the ring.

Here I have the other side of the plug turned down to spec. This is the side that will contact the side cover. The plug is getting parted off to within a few thou of its final dimension.

Here is the completed block off plate. You can see the landing that was machined into the center section. This landing is what will prevent the plug from coming out of the case.

Since the plug is going to be installed from the inside, the case needed to be cleaned up. The sharp edge was smoothed out, using a flap wheel, in order to prevent the o-ring from being cut while being installed.

Here is the installed position from inside the case. A little bit of white lithium grease on the oring and the plug slid in beautifully. You can now get a better idea of how the side case cover, once bolted on, will keep the plug put.

And here is what is visible from outside the engine. It looks super clean which is just how I like it. Hopefully Lucille will appreicate the addition.