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Author Topic: Nighthawk 250 cafe build  (Read 263 times)

Offline chicagobob

  • Posts: 8
Nighthawk 250 cafe build
« on: Jul 10, 2018, 22:55:21 »
Here's a build I recently finished and sold.  I'd always thought the Honda Nighthawk 250 has a classic configuration and would make a good cafe racer, especially for a young rider.  I also wanted to try the new Chinese tanks and seats that are so inexpensive on eBay.  The Nighthawk 250 is a laughably simple bike - only one carb, no oil filter, drum brakes.

The result looks and handles great, but with only 16hp, it's no rocket.

I primarily worked to reduce the bike's weight as much as possible, although I saved the stock exhaust, since the pipes on my project bike were so pristine.  In addition to the tiny Chinese tank (advertised as "CB125), I used a four-cell Ballistic battery and a pod filter.

Here's the bike stripped of its factory bodywork.  I've already bobbed the front fender in this photo, but the frame is still whole.  I sold the tank, seat and headlight on eBay.


Working on the seat/tail-loop.  This seat cost only about $35, is comfortable, and weights next to nothing.  Shocks are also eBay specials, a little longer than stock for tighter handling (I also dropped the forks about an inch):


I made custom aluminum plate mounts for the rearsets, which were designed for the XS650.  I rejetted the carb to take advantage of the pod filter (still not much power, but at least the bike runs smoothly):


Here's the cockpit.  Chinese clip-ons with bar-end turn signals, stock speedo mounted on a custom aluminum plate, custom aluminum and brass headlight ears and a classic bullet headlight bucket.  Much lighter than the factory stuff:


The tank came painted and with a petcock and locking cap.  No modern conveniences like vacuum shutoff or overflow protection.  It's 1972 again.  I modified the bike's tank mounts to hold it, and it works as advertised.


Nice lines and profile.  Tires are Bridgestone Battlax, giant on the rear for appearance, in spite of the extra weight.  I made a small plastic electrics box for under the seat and mounted a tiny dirt bike taillight to the back of it.  The license goes either on a shock mount or on an aluminum splash guard that zip-ties to the frame rails ahead of the rear tire.



Thanks to my intrepid test rider.  The bike is much faster when the rider weighs only 105 lbs: