Return of the Cafe Racers - Honda CB250 Brat Tracker

Honda CB250 Brat Tracker

Nothing pleases me more than learning about a new Australian custom motorcycle builder. Last week Matt Hipsley from Salty Speed Co. dropped me an email with some shots of the first bike to roll out of his New South Whales based workshop. A civil engineer by trade, Matt turned his interest to rebuilding cars and now bikes thanks to the support of a family filled with automotive passion. His ’72 Honda CB250Brat Tracker ticks all the right boxes for neck-snapping style and good time grins which I suspect will be an ongoing trend with Salty Speed Co.

“I’ve been working on cars since I was 16, however I’ve only been into bikes for the last 18 months. I was originally looking for a moped to ride to the train station, but thankfully my mate Sam convinced me to buy his CD250U instead, and from then on I’ve been hooked on custom bikes. I soon devoured blogs such as PipeburnReturn of the Cafe Racers (aww shucks!), and BikeExif and quickly jumped on eBay to look for a project bike. I located a ’72 CB250 not far from home, picked it up the next day and had it stripped down to a bare frame the following day.”

“The frame and wheels were sent off for powdercoating whilst I tore down the engine, treating it to a reconditioned head and fresh gaskets. I tried hard not to run pipe wrap on the headers, however it was too costly to purchase new pipes, and minor pitting on the originals meant ceramic coating was ruled out. The stock rims were relaced with stainless spokes and fit with oversized Firestone ANS tires, 4.00 on the front, and 4.50 on the rear, inspired by the Holiday Customs CB450. Both the front and rear fenders were chopped down, with the rear being mounted slightly lower, and the front receiving water cut alloy brackets to suit the larger rolling diameter wheels.”

“A neat touch is the custom Honda badges that I drew up on CAD and had water cut and engraved. The badges, engine covers, chain guard and the various water cut alloy brackets are brush finished with scotchbrite. The tank and fenders were sandblasted and then coated in Jeep green with original style graphics before being hit with several coats of clear. I fabricated a sheet metal seat pan, shaped some foam and then had it trimmed in leather by a local upholsterer.”

Some of the other trick parts Matt has added to the Honda include a Daytona speedo, indicators and mirror, some Posh grips, a Dime City Cycles taillight and levers, Bates style headlight and custom switches. Matt is”super stoked” with the result of his first Salty Speed Co. build and is selling the bike to fund his second build, a Yamaha YB100.  I can’t wait.


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