Custom: Metric Motorbike CB200

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Metric Motorbike is a new shop in Portland, Maine specializing in practical, reliable, appealing customs based on old Japanese bikes. This Honda CB200 is their first build and a good indication of where they’re going; it’s sweetness personified, but practical and affordable too.

Photos: Tom McPherson

Update: an HFL reader purchased this bike last night.

“I’ve been riding and working on old bikes since the late ‘80s when I bought a ‘74 RD400,” says Scott Link, the man behind Metric. “A year later I picked up a ‘70 Triumph TR6 and have had zillion bikes since then. A few years ago I started building custom bikes from the ground up after a buddy gave me an old CB750 basket case. The hobby has started to develop into a business as folks have started to ask me to build for them and some of the things I’ve learned to do along the way have become increasingly valued as vintage bikes and custom vintage bikes are on the rise.”

“This bike is a 1974 Honda CB200. I went on kind of a buying spree in the summer of 2009. That season I bought about 7 bikes in varying states of disrepair. That little 200 sat in my garage leaning against a wall until Christmas eve of that year. I couldn’t figure out exactly what I wanted to do with it and I let it sit there while I worked on a couple of other bikes.”

“I finally decided that a cafe based build was what I wanted to do. A sleek little bar hopper or very stylish commuter bike. I was definitely building this for resale as I’m 6’1” and 210lbs. There was no way I was going to be able to ride this comfortably for very long.”

“I tried to be mindful that being a 200cc bike this was most likely going to be starter bike for someone or maybe a great bike for a very cool girl to ride! With that in mind I didn’t want the full clip-on and rear sets cafe treatment, but a more comfortable modification of that using drag bars and the stock foot position to keep it comfortable but still give it an aggressive stance.”

“The rest was all about styling and reliability. I wanted to keep the cost down a bit so I did not install electric ignition but opted for Mikuni vm20 carbs which combined with spot on timing give the bike first kick dependability. And again the cool factor of having a kick start bike that someone of smaller stature can kick without risk of being hurtled through the air if they miss!”

“Christmas eve that year was a balmy 60 degrees which here in Portland, Maine is a treat so I took the opportunity to dig in to it right then. I built the bike slowly finishing up in August and early september.”

“I created a fiberglass seat that was designed to mimic the lines of the classic 200 tank and provide room for battery relocation under the seat bump. I loved the old Honda silver and red racing color scheme and gave it my own twist by darkening the silver to a metallic smoke gray.”

“I hand drew the tank decals using the Norton font, this has been done before but I love the look of it.”

“The biggest challenge with the build was the camshaft meltdown after reassembly due to top end oil starvation. After this happened I learned through researching that it is a fairly common problem with these motors as well as the 160s and 175s. I learned to never trust the manual!!”

“The mechanical front disc brake proved a bit challenging to set up and get right but works quite well once finished.”

“The bike was 100% stripped and built by me with no outside work done at all. I had a lot of technical help and moral support from the great folks at DoTheTon.com and HondaTwins.net.”

“I am currently building a ‘74/’75 CB360 “brat tracker” that build and whatever else is going on in the shop can be seen in my blog. I am also selling the fiberglass seats for those that are interested and have a line of t-shirts that I have asked local artists to design with the vintage bikes in mind.”

The best part? This bike is on sale for just $3,200.

Metric Motorbike

  • http://www.thisblueheaven.com Mark D

    $3,200? $3,200?! ::maps out distance from Boston to Portland::

  • ike6116

    Consider me brimming with New England pride, I think I might want to take a ride up to that shop should this god damn snow ever melt.

    Maybe instead of buying a new bike I could have em restore / customize my 92 Seca II

  • http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=305107 stickfigure

    Damn. Wrong Portland.

  • stephan

    anyone have their contact info? the site seems to not load that page

  • http://greatjoballweek.blogspot.com/ Case

    If a girl showed up at a bike night on that bike I would ask her to marry me. If it were a dude I would probably just try to get his number, see if he wanted to hang out some time.

  • slowtire

    I love seeing these types of builds. Nicely done Mr. Link.

  • 2ndderivative

    Someone gin up a Norton wing logo.

  • Scott

    Hey Guys Thanks! this is all pretty exciting! Web site is still under construction so here’s contact info;

    Scott Link
    metricmotorbike@gmail
    207.650.5078

    working on a CB360 “brat tracker” now ready in a month or so, you can follow through the blog at the website if interested. Anyone that wants on the mailing list just emai me and we’ll keep you updated.

    Thanks again, and, yes, I often dream of the girl that would ride in on this little machine!

    • Ted

      GREAT work. Is the seat pan all glass or does it have a metal frame?

  • David

    Congratulations on the article, Scott!

    I have seen (and sat on) this bike in person, and I will say that despite the awesomeness of these pictures, they do this bike no adequate justice. The paint must be seen in person to truly be appreciated, and there is absolutely no substitute for the sound of the scrambler-style pipes on this thing.

    Amazing build; I hope it goes to a good home!

  • Michael

    Has anyone bought it yet? I think I might haveto give them a call tomorrow. It’s awesome.

    • stephan

      can’t wait for may ;)

      • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

        Nice!

  • Scott

    This one is sold, but I have another 200 in house and can do a build to your specs.

    • Michael

      Cool Scott, thanks! I have this place – http://www.classiccarclubmanhattan.com….I think it would look awesome next to our bar, when I’m not riding it!

      MP

      • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

        I agree, with the added benefit that Michael will let me ride it!

        • Scott

          Lets talk! I’ve got another ratty 200 just waiting to be loved! When I come to NYC can I drink at your bar?

  • stempere

    Amazing bike, makes me painfully aware that in france you wouldn’t be able to get one of theese registered as street legal… shame.

    Congrats on the build, looks like a blast to ride, and the price is almost as impressive!

    • Scott

      aside from directionals and mirrors, what would it need? those straight pipes have baffles in them. I made them out of copper tubing and steel wool. they sound great! still loud but on the tolerable side of it. especially next to a harley.

  • Ray

    Go Little Portland, Go Tom McPherson! See you all this summer.

  • DoctorNine

    Simplicity is its own reward. Well done.

  • bluegrass

    I have an old Honda Twinstar sitting in the back of my garage right now. This is kind of inspiring to see what can be done.