Pip's Honda CJ423
By Anthony van Someren - 19 Nov 13
Pip Davidson is 42, and from Thatcham in Berkshire where he works as a Landscape Gardner, but we're here to celebrate his skills as a shed-builder, having got his first bike project off the ground, and it looks spot-on. What we also love is that the running total on the bike and build so far is just £1,923. (...which is almost exactly US $3,000.) "It all started in the middle of September when a 1978 Honda CJ250T was on auction on Ebay. No one ever wants this model as they all want the CB. It had been stood for 10 years and was a non starter, no MOT or Tax, and old log book and I won it for £311. She was totally standard 8k miles with a rear rack ! This was the start of my No Smoking bike." ...So, we can thank Pip's plans to give up smoking for the bike, as he needed a serious distraction and the bike project was perfect, taking up six weeks worth of evenings and weekends, shopping on Ebay and building. Pip's goals were simple; to build a "poor-man's cafe racer" with a budget of just £1,500 all-in with as many parts sourced from Ebay as possible. After stripping and delugging the frame he had everything powdercoated, re-using the original seat hump to fabricate a new seat. "I got some help from Allen Millyard with welding the brackets on to accommodate a set of slabside GSXR rear sets that I got for £34 on Ebay (I have one of his custom Kawasaki KH 5 cylinder bikes). On picking up the bike I fecking dropped her off the van and snapped the near side rear set, and guess what, the 1987 GSXR rear-sets are a bit rare to find, and made of magnesium, so no chance of welding ! But manage to source another one from the US." Pip did have to buy a few new parts, though, including a set of new rear shocks from Hagon, and a pair of RamAir filters which he fitted to a pair of Mikuni VM30 carbs. Some parts were Chinese cheapies, including the rear LED light, the levers and switches, and the 3D decals came from Thailand for a tenner. Pip tried a set of clip-ons but preferred normal bars, turning the bike from the traditional cafe stance he had started with into more of a modern-retro hybrid, added to further by fitting a set of chunky Avon Distanzia tyres. Pip's smartest move was to upgrade the engine from a 250cc bore to 423cc using VFR pistons in a bored-out a set of CB360 cylinders - with more help from Allen. As we all know, there is no substitute for cubes. "I would describe her as a semi-off-road cafe racer. I still need to do the seat properly and maybe add a different exhasut can. The bike rides really easy and loves the corners. I took her for an MOT last week and she flew through, and taxed, so all legal. Boy she has turned into a monster, sounds like a performance engine after an increase in cc by 70%. ...makes you grin from ear to ear!" It's a great looking budget build and we're very impressed with Pip's efforts. Thanks for sharing with all of us at The Bike Shed, and please show us what you build next.