The Honda VTR250 is a special bike, with a V-twin engine and a trellis frame just like a little Ducati. The owner of this 1999 model asked me to “tidy it up,” but I’m naturally going to give it some of the meticulous attention to detail known to come out of my shop. The canvas is clean on this build, so let’s see what can we do here.
This little VTR was nicknamed “Victor” by its owner way back when. It has a 249cc, liquid-cooled, 4-valve V-twin that develops 34 hp in stock trim. The chassis spec is quite high, with a 43mm Showa fork, 3.5 and 4.5-inch rims, Nissan calipers with Sunstar brake rotors, trellis tubular frame, box-section swingarm and much more!
The brief here is to rebuild/refinish the whole bike with new red paint on the bodywork; glass blast and refinish the frame, swingarm & handlebars in silver; glass-blast and powdercoat the subframe black; glass-blast and refinish the wheels pale gold; glass-blast and refinish the fork sliders and outer engine covers as original; glass-blast and repaint the crankcases & cylinders silver; aqua-blast the oil pan and carbs, zinc plate all the hardware and fasteners; refresh the motor; rebuild front & rear suspension, rebuild brake systems with new seals etc. And the owner says “ make it sound like one of your bikes, Paul.” Hmmmm, really? Looks like I’ll have to do something on the exhaust system before it goes to get ceramic coated.
One last thing……..the owner wants to know can it be ready for next week end? 😂🤣😂🤣😂🤣
With the “ready next weekend” challenge firmly in focus, the bike is fully stripped out now. The chassis, wheels, forks, engine covers etc are all completely stripped out. There’s going to be a busy day tomorrow running the blast cabinet to prep the parts for refinishing.
All the parts for zinc plating are gathered up ready for delivery. Bodywork and parts orders are ready to submit to vendors tomorrow am.
So, as expected, this morning I media-blasted all the chassis components that are to be powdercoated, then delivered them to our fine partners at Impact Coatings for refinishing. The list of parts is lengthy; wheels, frame, swingarm, subframe, fork sliders, engine covers and more than two-dozen smaller chassis components.
There are four different colours to get shot onto the VTR: Gold (wheels), bronze (engine covers & fork sliders), semi-gloss black (sub-frame, handlebars, sidestand etc.), silver (frame, swingarm, fork yokes, etc). Due to the current work load at Impact, it’s unlikely that my parts will be ready for pickup this week, but this will not stop me progressing as planned with this project.
The hardware was also delivered to get a fresh coat of zinc plating applied, thankfully scheduled to be ready on Thursday coming.
The seat on the bike will need to be cut down then have a gel pad fitted to suit the owners petite stature! This too was dropped off at the upholsterers, due back on Thursday too!
I submitted the OEM Honda parts order, most of which are due to arrive on or before Friday. The new head gaskets are like gold dust here in North America apparently, so I’ve ordered from my old friend, Carl at David Silver Spates UK. The delivery time is expected to be one week, thank you very much!
To finish off play today, I completed the tear down of the motor by splitting the crankcases then stripping out the internals. Everything looks absolutely sweet inside after inspecting the little motor, so it should only need a freshen-up job with all new seals, gaskets, etc., after having the cases media blasted and repainted. All the fasteners are getting re-plated.
Looking forward to a bright and early start tomorrow. The expectation is to clean all the engine components to make ready for reassembly later this week. The engine cases should be media blasted and painted by close of day tomorrow too.
As scheduled, today I achieved my goal of fully stripping out, de-greasing then media blasting the crankcases, heads, oil pan, coolant pump etc. This is a lengthy, time-sapping task, as the blasted parts then go through a very serious cleaning to remove EVERY GRAIN of media from the parts before moving forward to the next process.
On the VTR, the lower crankcase is not a painted part ,so in this build, I have left the crankcase & oil pan in the aqua-blasted finish. Assembled on the lower case, it will all look top class when completed with the newly plated fasteners.
After completing all the casings, I got to finish cleaning and inspection of all the engine parts. With 20,000 km on this bike, the engine components are still in mint, as-new condition. Other than new gaskets and seals, the motor will need only to be re-assembled.
Finally, the carbs were also stripped out for cleaning today. Like the rest of the motor, they are otherwise excellent with the exception that they have been dormant with stale fuel lying in them for more than years. The hardware for the carbs is also out for re-plating, which is due back on or before Friday.
Tomorrow, the remaining motor parts will be cleaned and made ready for assembly, then the focus will be on preparation of the bodywork before getting re-painted.
The seat is due back from the upholstery shop on Thursday, same for the zinc-plated hardware. The OEM parts order is due on Friday, so there should be good progress on assembly before the weekend arrives.
The motor is built up to the cylinder head surfaces, now waiting on head gaskets and engine cover gaskets to arrive.
The bodywork is wet sanded down to #400 grit, ready now to do some plastic welding repairs to the fender before cleaning out the inside of the tank before spraying on some primer.
Not sure if I’ll hit my goal of a full rebuild in seven days, as some of the OEM parts are on back order. Still, keeping focused to have as much as possible completed within the time slot.
Another great day on the VTR job today! Totally focussed, scheduled and productive.
The plastic welding repairs to the front fender were completed this morning before I delivered all the bodywork to the paint shop. As this is a single-colour paint job, it should be very straight forward. Hoping to get the bodywork back from the paint shop ASAP. No pressure Mitch, no pressure!
The lowering of the seat unit is due to be ready tomorrow and all the zinc plated parts are ready for pick-up too!
And the great news is that the frame, wheels and other parts being powder coated are going to be ready for pick up tomorrow before close of day! I just love it when a plan comes together!
Finally today, I have 95% of the cycle parts cleaned, inspected and ready for assembly.
As usual, I can’t wait for tomorrow to come around ! If I should happen to wake up at 3am in the morning, I’ll not be lying around! Stay tuned for tomorrow’s “Day 6” installment!
Another terrific day today on the littlle “Miniceptor” VTR250. This morning, I did a full tear down of the carbs, inspected and cleaned everything then aqua-blasted the carb bodies. When these are built with all newly zinc plated hardware, they will look like new!
This afternoon, I picked up the seat from the upholsterer. The riders seat has been cut down and a gel pad fitted before replacing the OEM cover with a custom made cover to suit the alterations. A big shout out to Volker Urban for another outstanding piece of workmanship.
The zinc-plated fasteners were also collected this afternoon and again, superb quality from my partners at Centennial Plating.
The final collection today was picking up the powdercoated parts; the frame, swingarm, wheels, cycle parts etc. Excellent quality and service from the people at Impact Coatings.
With today being Day 6 of this build, it looks like I will not be able to achieve my goal of a Seven-Day Restoration. Unfortunately, I have not yet received the cylinder head and other engine gaskets from Honda overseas. The engine will be the first component to go into the chassis, so at this point, the best I can do is to build all the sub-assemblies to prepare for the eventual final assembly when the remainder of my parts arrive. So bummed about the timing, but c’est la vie!
The seven day restoration actually took 8-1/2 days to complete!
The hold up some weeks back when I started this job was due to problems getting OEM engine & head gaskets from Honda, apparently due to a crash in their distribution system. However, the parts did eventually appear which allowed me put the bike back into the schedule for yesterday morning.
After a late night in the shop last night, the bike is now fully assembled and today I spent some time on the finer adjustments and tuning of the little V-twin motor.
Earlier this morning, I got to take it out for a shake down and now I can’t take the grin off my face! This little thing is a peach!
In all honesty, the photos don’t do it justice!
Anyhow, that’s only my opinion on the build. Take a few minutes to study the photos, watch the video and post your thoughts on the VTR!