Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Father Son Project

I set a goal to get all my vehicles running this summer that included the Honda. Here's the bike as it sits now. Its a bone stock, clean but not perfect 1974 Honda CB200.

Here are the goals for the project:
  1. Get it running.
  2. Update the look with Cafe Racer / Bobber styling accents.
  3. Maintain all the stock pieces so it can be returned to original condition.
  4. Have fun, ride it!
These little bikes have a couple of unique features including an electric starter and mechanical front disc brake. With a whopping 17hp these are a great bike to learn on or to use to ride to Lowes to by a bag of screws or anything else that will fit in your pocket.

The great news is my son (now 21) has decided to help me with this project so it'll give us a few excuses to hang out in the garage together.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Common Modifications


Clubman or Clip-on style bars will give the bike a more aggressive riding position. If you go to these style bars you may need to go to rear-set controls.

Note: We've installed Clubmans and it didn't require rewiring or replacing clutch/brake cables.

Tire Sizes:

90/90H-18 Front 110/90H-18 Rear

Note: I used 90/90H-18 Front 100/90H-18 Rear. Both fit with no rubbing on either fender except I had to move the rear brake stay to the outside of its bracket.

Air Filters:

Some people like to try pod filters. Be sure to keep your air box for when you decide to go back to stock. Pods can be difficult to tune and OEM air boxes can be hard to find.


  • 24mm carburetors from the Honda SL350K1
  • Keihin PE24 race carbs


  • Megacycle Street Camshafts #135-X1 for stock pistons (1974-78)
  • Megacycle Race Camshafts #135-x9 for 1mm over race pistons (1974-78)


Monday, September 28, 2009

Before you Start

If you are going to fix-up/restore a CB200 visit these forums first. Go into each forum and search CB200 and you will find a wealth of information.
Here's a couple of great blogs to see what others have faced:
Buy this book:
  • Clymer Honda 125-200cc Twins 1965-1978 - Chapter one, general information: manual organization, service hints, tools, expendable supplies, mechanic's tips, safety first. Chapter two, lubrication and maintenance: engine tune-up, clutch, brakes, steering stem bearings, wheels and tires, battery, drive chain, fork oil, oil and filter, swinging arm. Chapter three, troubleshooting: operating requirements, starting difficulties, poor idling, misfiring, flat spots, overheating, backfiring, engine noises, piston seizure, excessive vibration, clutch slip or drag, poor handling, brake problems, ignition system problems, charging system, electric starter problems, lighting problems, horn problems. Chapter four, engine, transmission and clutch: service hints, engine removal, preliminary engine dismantling, clutch and oil pump, shifter mechanism, cylinder head, cylinders and pistons, cam chain tensioner, crankcase, crankshaft, transmission, shift cam and shift forks, final engine reassembly, engine installation. Chapter five, fuel and exhaust systems: carburetor overhaul, carburetor adjustment, miscellaneous carburetor problems, carburetor specifications, fuel tank, exhaust system. Chapter six, electrical system: ignition system, charging system, electric starter, lights, headlight, tail/stoplights, horn, battery service, wiring diagrams. Chapter seven, frame, suspension and steering: handlebar, fork top bridge, steering stem, wheels, front fork, brakes, rear suspension, drive chain.

Download this FREE CB200 Service manual:
  • Honda CB200 Workshop Manual - This workshop manual has been prepared as a “ service guide” for the mechanics responsible for the upkeep of the Honda CB200 and CL200. This workshop manual is compiled into six sections and summarizes the procedures for disassembling, inspecting, repairing, and reassembling the components of the machine. This manual is based on CB200, with added explanation and photos on CL200 except for minor differences. All information, illustration and specification herein are based in the 1973 model. The workshop manual is divided into chapters covering discussion on service precaution, inspection and adjustment, engine, electrical and service data of the motorcycle model.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Cafe Bobber

I started digging around the internet and found a few cool CB200's that others have modified into mini-cafe bikes. I think this is a perfect treatment for these bikes and we decided to use this as the inspiration for our bike. This is my photoshop mock-up of the "goal".

Thoughts on this design:
  • We will use Clubman bars instead of clip-ons to keep the hand position up and back a little more.
  • I want to build the seat on an original pan so they can be swapped for 2-up riding. (no farther than around the block after-all its only got 17hp.)
  • As a tip of the hat to the bobber style I like the red rims. Deal with it.
  • I think I'm going to keep the front fender and I think I want to fabricate a matching rear fender that is mounted to the shocks/swingarm. I haven't seen one done like this.
Since we want to maintain the "possibility" of returning it to the original condition I will be leaving a lot of the stock items on the bike that most people would strip off. In addition the items that need to be modified I will try to buy "duplicates" so I've got a box of original parts to go with the bike. My wife told me this is a sickness and I need to have my head examined.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Any color you want as long as it is gold or silver.

Check out this list of 75 CB200 facts
  • Also referred to as CB200T0
  • It came in two colors: Candy Gold Metallic and Custom Silver Metallic
  • The fuel tank and side covers are the basic color
  • The "CB200T" side cover emblem was white and yellow
  • The front disc brake was cable operated.
  • The engine was a 198cc OHC parallel twin linked to a 5-speed transmission
  • The serial number began: CB200-2000001

Friday, September 25, 2009

You meet the nicest people on a Honda

This is the background on this project bike. In the summer of 2003 I was in Sturgis, SD for the annual rally. I was working for a custom motorcycle manufacturer who was displaying at the event. While we had a tractor trailer full of shiny new choppersbut I found myself without a bike to ride in a town that was bumper-to-bumper traffic. So I did what any red-blooded hard-core biker would do... I bought a Honda CB200 to ride around town all week.

I picked up this little beauty for $1200. The same number of miles on the ODO. It was a one-owner, stored in a garage, all original and recently serviced gem. I bought it from a dealer (Biker Bob) who was there working our display.

The most fun I had all week was waiving to people and getting the thumbs-up all over town. It seems everyone has owned or ridden a small Honda in their riding career. (Me too, my first bike was a Honda mini-trail I rode all over the neighborhood.)

I brought the CB200 home from Sturgis, rode it around the neighborhood a couple times, let my 15 year old son tear up the street on it and land it in the neighbors hedge and then I parked it in my garage for six years.