Bringing you the world's best cafe racers, trackers, scramblers, bobbers & custom motorcycles.

ALIEN TECH. A Radical ‘T9’ Honda CB250N by Indonesia’s Thrive Motorcycles


Posted on December 1, 2017 by Andrew in Bobber. 54 comments

Written by Martin Hodgson

In the world of custom motorcycles, appreciating the skill required to achieve an incredible result can be a difficult thing to gauge. But one thing is for sure, nothing informs a builder of just how hard a certain model is to work on until they take one and get their hands dirty, skin their knuckles and often are left cursing aloud at the night’s moon. The Honda CB250N was a great commuter bike of the early ’80s but rarely does anyone build a good custom from one; I spent a year trying and it wasn’t pretty. So I bow down and worship at the feet of T9 Prototype by Thrive Motorcycles, an incredible 1984 Honda CB250N that just might be the best I’ve ever seen.

The Indonesian company headed by Indra Pratama and Barata Dwiputra has been turning out impossibly cool machines from largely commuter based models for a few years now. But in the middle of 2015 they were catching up with an old college friend over a few beers who turns out to have gone on to have great success of his own as one of the country’s leading tattoo artists. Mulie Addlecoat of Thinking Tree Tattoo was telling the lads about his love for the Sci-Fi movie “District 9” and how he dreamed of owning a custom bike that wouldn’t look out of place in the successful flick.

Indra knew where this conversation was headed and after the meeting an exchange of emails and visits to each others shops and the idea was set to become a reality. Plenty of research was required as such an extensive project had to be done right and would also serve as the test bed for Thrive to develop a range of custom parts to be sold under the T/H/R/V name“ But we think that’s the exciting part, since we personally enjoy the movie like he does, and probably a project like this will not happen twice in our real life so we decide to take it further with experimenting a special custom parts for this bike.”

The CB250N was chosen precisely for the reason many avoid it, the unflattering engine shape and rear subframe, but small and reliable it was perfect for a new rider. With the donor bike up on the lift and heavily striped down they could begin to envision where the changes had to take place. “The design was pretty much inspired from the D9 weaponry, looks that twisted with our own taste and vision of Post Apocalypse kind of vehicles,” explains Indra. The funky subframe gave the perfect excuse to hack it off and also make the change to a single shock rear.

The new tubular style frame is perfectly integrated into the stock backbone, shortened to expose more of the rear tyre. To create a visually cohesive rear end the stock swing-arm was used as the foundation of the new piece to support the mono shock and again tubular steel was chosen. The theme even runs to the rear fender that hovers out over the tyre with supports on just one side for easily the most incredible piece of engineering attempted and achieved on a humble 250N. With the heavy fabrication work finished the entire frame was pulled down and all smoothed out and the factory tabs removed for a clean finish.

To really make the bike special the parts that could later be sold by the company couldn’t just be run of the mill and this stretched the overall build time to nearly 18 months. But when you take a look at the sheer brilliance and exceptional craftsmanship of the rear tail light design that now calls the new subframe home, the wait has been well worth it. The fully integrated light and turn-signal combo is attached to under seat aluminium skirting that can be more easily designed for other models. It’s all topped off with a leather seat to match made in-house that also acts as a perfect place to conceal the battery.

With the tail end sorted the less than sexy stock Honda tank was next on the chopping block and it’s been completely ditched for one of the coolest custom pieces you’re ever likely to see. The stealthy lines are fashioned from galvanised steel, so even years of Jakarta downpours won’t rust this baby out. But it’s the two new T/H/R/V parts that really take it to a new level, with the gas cap the first piece the team designed. The dry brake style filler is straight from the world of motorsport, just that this billet machined piece puts many multi-million dollar race team operations to shame. While the flush fit fuel indicator is out of this world and the thought of being able to buy one just makes the mouth water.

But the bodywork wasn’t finished there, like with many of Thrive’s builds the T9 features a frontal exoskeleton that further adds to the futuristic feel of the ageing ’80s steed. Perforated steel is used to create the effect over the front quarter with the same tubular bar as the rear used to tie it all together. Having come so far a single headlight would have been a crime and the over-under alien eyeball look is the perfect addition. To maintain the Sci-Fi inspired lines the hard edges have all been softened with aluminium front and rear fenders, a perfectly sculpted bikini fairing and belly pan all giving that warp speed vibe even when she’s standing still.

The Honda’s colour was something that was carefully considered but in the end all felt there was really only one option, “We chose to cover the bike in black satin finished with the pale gold stripe on certain areas and vaporised the aluminium parts. Oh and we also put the Thinking Tree’s Logo on left side of the gas tank. The engine was powder coated with the satin black and texture sands.” That engine has been given more than a subtle boost thanks to the gorgeous wrapped and shielded high-rise pipes that finish out each side in Thrive’s own T/H/R/V end cans. A vintage petcock feeds the fuel while turned out Daytona filters do their best to draw fresh air from beyond the header pipes.

Making the CB250N a pleasure to ride are a set of T/H/R/V Odipus A rearsets, giving a far superior action to the vague stock units. Up front custom clip-ons get Mulie out of the wind and wear B-Rock grips and soon to be released T/H/R/V bar end indicators. To add a classic touch an old school single speedo was chosen but the mounting plate is all new, hand formed by the guys to bolt seamlessly to the upper triple clamp. A set of Dunlop K180 tyres mean you can ride T9 in just about any conditions but in the end they’re just a small piece of the puzzle that now finished reveals the most amazing machine. Movie inspired prototype, Sci-Fi movie masterpiece, a test bed for incredible parts and creation for a college friend. Forget might, this is simply best Honda CB250N I’ve ever seen and with D9 guns ablaze, it will clearly lay waste to the competition.

[ Thrive – FacebookInstagram | Photos by Putra Agung ]








  • the watcher

    Despite the lack of cubes, it still had me bugling like a moose.

  • Greybeard1

    C’mon, have pity on me old eyes!
    WHITE background!!
    Some seriously interesting details and craftsmanship coming from Indonesia, enough so the photogs should show some respect to the subject.

    One practice of late that has to be the dumbest thing since politics is the gas level indicator. What’s to keep some dope from walking by and slashing your tank dry?

    • Kevin German

      Many bikes have rubber or plastic fuel lines, anyone could slash your
      line where it enters the carbs as well…

      • Greybeard1

        I changed all mine to “aerospace grade, heat treated billet titanium” as we’ll have none of that hooliganism around here!
        Oh yes I did.
        Was going to fit green wires and Claymores to the stock ones but I rather enjoy my ‘nads as they are.

        • Don’t let yr nads stop you.

          • Greybeard1

            Wanna’ buy my bike?

      • Exactly.

      • Greybeard1

        OK, the point is, to some personality types the presence of such a device would present a challenge to the not yet fully matured psyche.
        Why offer these individuals a perplexing dilemma?

        • Al

          I get your point, it’s’ like: “Oh, look at that (‘that looks tempting’), I wonder if it will come off easy, it’s just like a handle…” pluplupluplup…

    • AB

      You need to move house.

    • SGossardDesign

      Chopper guys have been running those sight gauges on their tanks for years.. I’ve never hear anyone worrying about anyone slashing them.

      • Greybeard1

        Oh, shit, you’re right, I totally forgot about “chopper guys”!
        What the hell was I thinking, especially when chopper guys are noted for their well reasoned choices?

        • And flawless engineering, style be damned!

        • SGossardDesign

          We can all agree that “chopper guys” don’t make the practical choices on their builds, but that doesn’t change the fact that they have been doing this for years..

  • Many, many cool, different ideas and “touches”. However, saving up one’s various ideas and brainstorms over a period of time and then pouring them all into one bowl and stirring it up usually results in a bike like this. Fifty different styles all crashing into each other and competing for your attention. Hate to use a Ducati for an example, but take a Ducati for example. Lots of trick parts, ideas and components that all work in harmony for a smooth cohesive whole. That’s what “Styling” is all about.

    • Greybeard1

      “Design diarrhea” you figure?

      • Andy Rappold

        Exactly my thoughts! Asian design can be conflictive at times

    • I agree – sometimes less is more. But also, sometimes MORE is more. 😉

      • Also important to remember that if your design aesthetic is ‘post apocalyptic sci-fi’, then ‘smooth & cohesive’ probably isn’t on your wish list…

        • Greybeard1

          ‘post apocalyptic sci-fi’ ?
          Andrew…it’s only a movie.
          NO such thing as zombies.
          It’s only a movie…;o)

    • SGossardDesign

      Couldn’t have said it better myself. Nice little things here and there, but over all cohesiveness is just not there.

  • guvnor67

    For some reason, when I opened the page I thought Confederate, and I mean in a good way. I like confederates, they’re bonkers, mad, totally ott, and sorta have a look only a mother could love. This little beast could be their attempt at entering the small cc bike market (except Confederate is now gone to be reborn as Curtiss Electric sickles). Yes, it’s busy, but it started life as a reliable but dull commuter bike, not any more! Bloody well done I say! (and good choice in movie).

    • martin hodgson

      Totally agree, sometimes I love that designers throw all the rules out the window and just go for it. Let the imagination run wild and see what transpires. When Confederate were at there best was when they just went balls to the wall… to me this does the same thing. Goes for it and definitely pulls it off!

      • guvnor67

        Absolutely!

  • The T9 is certainly an impressive amalgamation of the tried-and-true, cutting-edge and experimental. I’d like to get up-close and personal with her to see what she feels like on the straights and twisties. While I appreciate the highly professional studio photography, I have to agree with Greybeard that the Photoshop enhanced black seamless background makes it a tad difficult to discern all the delicious detail.

    • Did you try clicking on the image to get the larger versions? LOTS of details there… 😉

      • Really no complaints about this pro photography Andrew. Each image will make a stunning poster or the collection – a slick Coffee Table Art Book. I think what’s maybe happening here for me (and Mule perhaps) is that (it seems) everything about the build and the recording of it with highly dramatic studio photography communicates an underlying message that there was a check mark in every box of the “Checklist of Coolness”. Again, Iove the bike and dig the photos. Kudos to all involved.

  • AB

    Considering it started as one of Hondas most boring, overweight bikes, this is quite the transformation.

    • guvnor67

      Yup!

    • martin hodgson

      Completely agree, it’s one of the things that makes this build so special imo to start with one of Honda’s most boring ever machines and end up with this cool creation is a huge effort!

      • When I look at a bike like this, I think back to when I was sub-13 years old building model cars. It gave me the opportunity to make mistakes, try stupids ideas or color combos, body modifications, etc. If, the next day or week it looked bad or didn’t make sense…it didn’t matter. I throw the pile away, mow another lawn and go buy another $1.50 car kit. Fast forward to today and the new generation of builders are doing what I did with model cars, except with complete motorcycles. People don’t want to make a guy feel bad after he put all that work and money into a project. It’s like reverse Darwinism. The sick, weak, mindless, non-functional are rising to the top in this new evolution.

        • Greybeard1

          MEDIC!!

  • Dave Coetzee

    I reckon this bike will be ideal for Wikus, the main character/producer/director of the movie District 9. Who knows, it might even bring about a sequel where he gets to ride one of these FYC’ s (fine young cannibals)
    https://goo.gl/images/ix5icJ

    • James K

      Dude I was thinking of District 9 too. Wicked film, wicked ride

  • Al

    Somebody should start a new trend of taking photos in the pitch black…

    • Al

      Just realised that could be read as a criticism of this bike…it wasn’t meant that way.

      • I hear you, but I also understand the challenges of shooting bike. Sometimes, there’s a balance between making it look good, and revealing its details in microscopic detail.

        • Al

          I can imagine ‘Greybeard1’ sitting there with his nose on the screen, saying: “What the hell is that?”

          • “‘In my day…!”

          • Andy Rappold

            Ooh boy 😀

          • Greybeard1

            Yeah…mock away!
            I’ll have the last laugh when you emerge from puberty!

          • Greybeard1

            Until I’m dead this IS my day.
            Don’t forget there’s really nothing new in this world so we quit it LONG before you hit it.
            ;p~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
            Giddy up!

          • Greybeard1

            Actually, with +2’s I can lean back quite comfortably and say the same thing.
            “…the hell IS that?!”

  • Ant thoughts on the brake light? I kinda though it was the highlight of the bike. Yes or no?

    • Andy Rappold

      Sorry but no…looks more like this old infrared lamps my granny had 😛

      • Greybeard1

        Yeah…she was hot too!
        JKJK ;o)

      • Thrive have an on-going Start Wars theme in their bikes. I think this bike is a continuation of this. I.e. brake light looks like a spaceship engine to me….

    • Al

      Jeeee, that’s a bright photo, blinding.

    • Greybeard1

      Mind the background!

      • You guys…

        • Greybeard1

          …keep the place lively, eh? ;o)

        • Al

          …and ‘non arty farty’ ❤

  • James K

    There are a thousand things I love about this bike, and one thing I hate – that it’s not sitting in my garage