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Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Old Flames: Part 2 (and 5)

After a couple of years with the CD 175, I was given a Honda CB 200. I can't remember the whole story, but it was a bit dodgy. It was a bit scabby and a non-runner, and the owner couldn't afford to fix it, so gave it to me. He didn't give me the logbook, and a while later I found out that he had reported it stolen and claimed on his insurance.

In a bit of a panic, I stripped the bike down, dumped the frame and rebuilt the engine with a new set of crankcases. (To lose the stolen bike's engine number). I rebuilt the bike into the CD175's frame and ran around on it for a couple of years. Smoother and more sophisticated than the CD, it was a nicer bike to ride, but suffered from the notorious Honda cable operated front disc brake. When it worked it was OK, but the 'automatic adjuster' always failed, meaning you were regularly stripping the caliper to adjust it.
As I was 19 and an idiot, I fitted acebars and homemade rearsets and tried to turn it into a (very slow) cafe racer. To that end I fitted a 2 into 1 exhaust and gave it a crap paint job with aerosols.
I finally wrecked it by buying a 250cc 'big bore kit' from Jock Kerr (anyone remember him?) and 'gasflowing' the head with some ordinary files and reading an article in 'Motorcycle Mechanics'. Needless to say, it never ran properly again and ended up being given away after I'd saved enough money to buy my first 'big bike'. Read about that in Part 3.
Part 5: Some years later, I bought another CB200 to commute on to save my bigger bike. It had the same rubbish front brake, but by now I was sensible enough to know not to muck about with it. I just serviced it and slapped Hammerite on bits as they got rusty. I made a pair of small panniers out of plywood, and panniers frames out of old industrial shelving brackets. I ran the bike for a few years, then moved house within walking distance of my work. Not needing a commuting bike it lay in my back garden for a while until I gave it away.
It wasn't a bad bike and served its purpose at the time.

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