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‘80 Honda CB250 – Old Empire Motorcycles


Posted on October 16, 2013 by Andrew in Bobber, Brat. 17 comments

A quick stroke of the drafting pencil. That’s all it took. Some poor, overworked Japanese designer probably thought he’d had a pretty good day at work. And he had – but for that one fateful decision. It was, after all, the 80s. Plastic was all the rage. Could one little modification to the bottom edge of a gas tank really mean all that much? The answer, with 30 years hindsight, is a resounding ‘yes’. That design feature and it’s total inability to exist independently from that ugly plastic sidecover has caused so much grief for modern builders that the guy is probably living in hiding. But we forgive you, designer-san. We forgive you because of builders like Alec and the team at Old Empire Motorcycles. Their deft hands have taken your tank and done this with it. Come back. All is forgiven.

“The Honda Superdream has been on our list for a long while,” say Alec Sharp – owner of Old Empire Motorcycles. “Then a good friend brough one in and before he could leave we had managed to strip the bike down, a state in which it stayed for quite a while.”

“Month after month bits were welded on, then quickly removed as the design changed. Turns out that it was for a very good reason that we had not as yet seen a decent custom Superdream. The frame is very wide at the back creating difficulty in the narrowness of the original tyre on the rear wheel. The ugly top tube and centre post are eye sores, as is the void left when removing all the sidepanels. Skinny long forks made the whole bike very ungainly-looking and the stance of the bike was way off.”

“Out cometh the grinder and eventually after careful consideration and some Dutch courage it was chopped and chopped until we lost 3’’ on the forks, removed the rear rails and replaced them with a single loop welded inline with the other down rails either side. Knee indents were cut out and clip ons made up. Short, stumpy exhausts and some handmade leather satchels were mounted to fill the void the platic sidepanels left.”

“And Voilà! A motorcycle we think has the stance and styling that the original was always lacking. Considering the effort put into the fabrication and design it seemed a shame not to have the paint up-to-scratch as well, which is why Flying tiger paintwork were enlisted for the matt-finished ivory white paintwork and artwork. Yes, it’s an absolute bitch to clean but we think it looks subtle, clean and it ties in beautifully with the black tooled leather bags and brass fittings.”

“This may not be everybody’s cup of tea and it swings away from a our usual vintage styling – although we have tried to incorporate some touches within the build. We wanted it to be a showcase of what could be done with an example of a bike not readily used for customisation; something that is plentiful, cheap and reliable.”

“Its an extreme example of what can be achieved through plenty of thought and consideration. Hopefully it will provide inspiration for others to follow suite. Keep a look out for our nearly-finished Superdream CB400 which we have taken a similar yet original approach to.”

“The Hunter (as we ended up calling it) is a build of one, but we hope to take inspiration from it to build a run of 5 similar bikes at some point in the future. Thanks goes to Flying Tiger Paintwork, Demeanour Customs, TEM Sport, Aerocoat powdercoating and Ekquire Motorcycles.” Oh no, Alec. As far as we’re concerned, the thanks all go to you.








  • Sbaugz

    Nice bike but I wonder how it runs with those stumpy little mufflers and the pods – which are nearly impossible to tune correctly with these stock carbs

    • sbaugz

      Oh, and I think your header is wrong on this bike. Pretty sure its a CB400T and not a CB250 like it says.

      • sbaugz

        don’t mind me, its early in the AM. retract my last comment about the cb400t. I stand corrected that it is a 250 superdream but I still question how this bike runs.

  • itsmefool

    I’d prefer a little more tail (on the bike), but those wheels almost make me forget about the backside! Great work.

  • revdub

    Some really cool things going on with this bike. I like the tank a lot and the leather side cover satchels are a nice touch as well. I’m also becoming very partial to square headlights. While it’s true that this might not be my “cup of tea,” I still appreciate the workmanship and ideas represented here.

  • Mike

    I’m sure they figured out how to run it properly, but either way; This bike is drop-dead gorgeous. I would love to take her for a spin through the hills of California…

  • Tyler

    nice! the front and rear view of this bike look sweet.

  • coldsunshine

    Cool. Bursts of flame warming your toes.

  • Lewn

    Ewwie, nasty migraine inducing torque-robbing headers on a fairly underpowered motor and ‘orrible leather bag. But the rest is OK.

  • bostonshocker

    What head light is that ???

  • Fantome_NR

    anyone know where to get those LED bolts installed into the top clamp for the warning lights?

    • Стефан ‘Dobermann’ Петров

      Check ebay.

  • Jay

    I am buying this bike. End of.

    • Matt

      How Much is it?

      Sign me up…

      • Jay

        i dont know but whatever it is im paying it and will get there before you. that’s my bike.

  • Old Empire Motorcycles

    Hi guys, sorry only just saw these comments, the bike is up for sale for £7,000 and if you would like to see it running check out our film

    • Jay

      The video says you delivered the Hunter to a customer? is it still for sale ? Did he not keep it ? You had more than two made ???