Long awaited CB200 Build


Been Around the Block
Hello, :)

So I've had this bike kicking around for what must be 4-5 years now. I bought it full of good intentions and of course life got in the way and the bike project of got shelved.

I don't know a lot about engines, and am slowly working my way through reading the 'Doing it right' thread and picking up a load of tips. I'm fairly technically minded, though construction is my field rather than automotive, but I'm hoping I can pick things up and learn a lot on this project. I ride on the road and track frequently, so if nothing else I feel I OUGHT to know more!

Managed to get the bike running when I first bought it, which is great, then I tore off all the electrics and a few other bits.

I generally have some aesthetic intentions, and obviously want to upgrade the performance where possible rather than just do a cosmetic job. Not knowing much, it's difficult to even know where to start, literally what to do first, and it's tempting to just start with the easy bits like tarting things up, so help me out here please with what I should be focusing on because I don't just want to try and make it look pretty and the bugger runs terribly at the end of the day :)

A few things on my mind at the moment:
- rusty parts like forks, engine casings etc... polish up? send off? I tried polishing a bit of casing before to see and it didn't improve dramatically.
- engine parts - should I get them all shot blasted and then painted/chromed etc? I don't think I'll be able to clean them all up manually.
- brakes, best to keep as drum and understand them better, or upgrade to discs? Looking at my manual my front brake looks different to what it's showing anyway, so thats confused me already?
- forks - I'm guessing just rebuild with new internals. Cosmetics to outside.
- engine generally - my biggest trouble I guess - strip down, try to see what might need replacing and where improvement can be made? Try and understand how it actually works...
- wheels - these I was just going to get new ones, mounted on refurbished hubs?
- clocks/headlight/handlebars etc want to change the lot. Lamp with integrated speedo, clip ons etc.
- air filter pods, though I've read about issues with frame clearance and can see its an issue.
- frame, tidy up with grinder and weld on some parts for seat brackets/rear sets etc (with help of a welding friend)

There's just so much to consider - any tips on what items to start with, like a list? Concentrate on the engine?

Here's a few pics of the bike - sorry not great, I'll post some better ones in daylight.


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well looks like you are missing a few things, maybe you have already taken them off. If I may suggest.

Read some restorations on this board, I recommend Swan who has done a number of 400cc hondas but much is the same
Make a friend or friends IRL (in real Life) who might let you watch them work or would at least come take a look every once in a while
Buy a book, a shop manual or a repair guide and flip through that before tackling a section or system
Try to resist the urge to improve things at the beginning. I find it easier to learn how it is supposed to work before i try to "make it better"

This can be a very helpful place and it seems you have the right attitude and i bet it will be Awesome!!

Also last tip, you can search each individual board for specific makes (honda) and models (cb200) to help answer questions.
Thanks for reading and for the advice. I've got some friends who really know their way around bikes, mostly Ducati's, so I'm sure I can get some advice and watchful eyes to take a look every now and then!

I've got a manual, and have just found online a workshop manual and an owners manual, happy days (got links if anyone needs a copy for CB/CL200). I also took ages when I bought it drawing up the standard wiring loom from the manual as a colour cad drawing, with each circuit set up on switchable layer, though I'm still trying to remember where I saved it having changed computers a number of times since...doh!

Any suggestions on what to tackle first, for example, get the engine out and take it apart for cleaning and inspecting, cleaning carbs etc? Or something like doing the forks?

Thanks :)

Slightly better pic of the little bundle of rust this morning :D

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So I had a bit of time today and set to work on the tank to make a start with something.

I don't have the key for the bike anymore, or at least not anywhere that I can find it. I got the seat off by undoing the hinge, and then got the tank off. I took off the metal strips and leather pad, neither of which I'm planning to reinstate.

Never stripped paint before so wasn't sure what to expect, but it seemed to bubble up nicely and most of it came off, still more and the underside to do but I had to go out.

Can anyone help with a few questions.......
What do you do next when it's all at this stage to get it down to completely bare metal? Is it just patience and sanding? The paint stripper didn't seem to work on the very last fine layers.

There's also some surface rust as you can see, what is the best way to remove that?

I'm planning to fill in the top recess on the tank - is it best to use the polyester filler stuff and then sand it down? Also planning to hammer in some knee dents when I build up the courage! :)

I started, yay!

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Coming along. Getting a new rear subframe made up to take the seat I have.

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Work in progress making a new subframe:







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Today we finished up the rear of the frame and the diagonals. Really happy with it so far.




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l\nice fab work
what shocks are you using and have you worked out the clearnce at full bump ? that loop is exactly in the wrong spot
May be slightly misleading in pics, or maybe not, but I'm pretty happy there's decent clearance. Albeit no not worked out yet as only just got it together and the back wheel had to come off for the last bits of fabbing. Shocks wise looking to see if I can get something from Hagon or Nitron that will do the job.

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That sucks of course, I've never built a bike before, so there will be mistakes no doubt. I'm not sure how to accurately work out full bump.

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did you take a measure so you get the swingarm angle back to stock ? full bump is just that shocks bottomed out hard it is a dead simple thing to do but a vey important clearance deal
I think the swing arm angle won't change, because the swing arm is still the original and the pivot points are exactly the same, same wheel diameter/hub height etc. I can't measure shocks as I don't have any yet, although the height of the hoop isn't a lot different from the original frame so I'm not thinking it will be an issue. You may of course be right and it could be close but I don't think it's any problem.

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The pic in Post #5 shows a steeper swingarm angle than stock. I think that's what he's referring to. You show shocks in the first pics, so assuming those are stock, anything you buy should match that length. The stock frame has a crossmember that stiffens the frame and mounts the rear shock. Your modified frame ends at or near that member, except it's at least 2 inches lower than the top of the member. Just with those things considered, you reduced your clearance by at least that much.
Still not sure I get you - why do you think the swing arm is steeper than stock? Except perhaps for a bit of a flat tyre it shouldn't be - it's not been touched. Although it's falling apart with rust underneath so I have a replacement.

The stock shocks are not long enough and slightly longer ones are needed, though the resulting angle they lie at is much the same as stock, the mounting points are a bit higher.

The new frame will get cross members to brace it too.

Granted clearance may be a bit less but not in any major way.

Appreciate all the comments. Not sure what I'm missing.... :-/

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HOW did you maintain the stock ride height ? did you document or witness the exact ride height ? (stock)
you should have done this and gotten the shocks FIRST and then build
if you change the rear ride height even an inch from stock then you start to maybe adsversly fuck up the handling
the rear wheel goes upand down when you hit bumps this is another factor and where clearance comes in at full bump
Hey relax, it's just a bike :)

Of course you're right about changes having adverse affects but it's all part of the challenge. If I didn't want to take any risks I would just leave it stock and pig ugly and then why bother with the build at all.... It's supposed to be a learning curve.

Almost every build I look at changes the ride height by simply changing seat units or similar. The more adventurous ones start chopping frames, dropping forks, etc etc and completely changing ride height, position, everything. It's a different bike in the end that will need some work to 're-handle'.

Comments and advise always appreciated of course.
Cutting templates to cap off the frames.




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At full compression, on the stock bike, the tire traveled up between the frame rails. That's why there is concern about clearance with that flat frame loop.
This is how I built my subframe:

And I checked it at full compression with the spring removed from the shock:

Hope you have clearance in the tank tunnel, now that your subframe rails occupy that same area.
You are very ambitious, and that's a good thing. Just take heed when people are questioning your decisions.
Carry on.
Yes all appreciated for sure. Will be checking it out soon and fingers crossed all is good. If not lesson learned and I'll definitely know this for next time around :)

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