GPM #3 - “The Brat” - CB350
Features and awards…
2nd place - All Japanese Bike Show Perth 2011
The pic below (click the pic for a 1024 x 768 wallpaper) is the end result of our hard work. Follow the build from start to finish to see what was involved. Please tell us what you think in the comment section at the bottom.
- 20th January 2011
I’d had a little Honda CB350 for a couple of years now and thought it was time to turn it into a “Brat Style” bobber
If you want to know what “Brat Style” is check out the original “Brats”
- To build a bike that will cruise around Perth and put a smile on my face. It does not need to have 100hp, twin discs with 6 pot Brembo’s and Ohlins suspension to do this.
- As the roads in Perth are flat, straight and well surfaced (read: BORING), front and rear suspension will sway more towards form than function.
- The bike will be ridden a few times a month so I’m not worried about fenders at the right angles etc. Again form wins out.
- It is an easy bike to kick start so I’ll remove the battery and save weight and more importantly give me “space” under the seat. Form wins again
- Velocity stacks are cool and I don’t intend on riding over any dirt or in the rain so she’ll be right ;)
- To show the bike at the 4th Jap Bike Show
I picked up the bike accidentally on eBay a couple of years ago for around $1,600. When i say accidentally, I bid and thought someone would bid higher. No one did and there was no reserve so I got it. I’ve done the same with an Aprilia RS250 and a Vmax. My wife isn’t buying that excuse anymore so I’m banned from eBay.
When I picked up the bike, it looked like this…
The bikes that i have used as inspiration for the project are…The Deus Swing Bob
When I first saw this in the Deus showroom, I was blown away because Deus had never built anything like it before. I loved the stance of the bike, especially the drag bars. With a flat seat and a dark paint job this would be close to bratstyle. They got the lines/aesthetics just perfect. It was a great bike to ride.
…a Brat Style W650
This is closer to what we’re looking to achieve with the CB. I’m going to drop the bike as far as it can go without the rear tyre rubbing on the guard.
I love the lines of this bike, especially…
- the Firestones are huge and look fantastic
- the indicators are small and out of the way
- the flat seat works really well
- the front light is small and at the right level
- the rear guard is minute
For much the same reasons as the previous bike, I just love the relationship between the seat, tank, rear guard and front light.
The project has been started and I’m confident we will achieve our goal and come up with a magic bike.
- 29th Jan 2011
The first thing we did was make sure we got the lines right. We put the drag bars and tyres on and lowered the front and removed the rear subframe. We also lengthened the swingarm 70mm to get the look right.
The CB350 has a pressed steel frame and is very ugly so off it came and tube frame went on.
Trying to get the rear guard lines right. We went lower as the seat must be flat.
View from the rear.
You can just make out in the above pic the placement of the speedo. We’ve dumped the tacho as I don’t need a redline to tell me when to change gears on this type of bike. The original speedo is quite attractive especially when we’ve spruced it up, so we’ll try and re-use it and stick it right between the risers. Frame and wheels are at painters, engine is being rebuilt this week.
8th Feb 2011
Here is the final position of the rear fender
The fibreglass seat base
The engine is apart and new pistons, rings, gaskets etc are on there way
Rear hub after blasting
Front drum after blasting and pattern cut out. We asked for five circles but I was pleasantly surprised when this came back.
Tank showing the hidden bog. Because of this we have given up on the idea of getting the tank engraved and have decided to paint. Meeting painter soon to decide on final pattern. Going for something that we’ve never seen before on a bike. It’ll be a love it or hate it type thing.
9th Feb 2011
Here are the parts back from painter
17th Feb 2011
Pics of the tapered steering head bearing conversion.
For a bit of a laugh we asked our mates on the Perth Street Bikes forum what they thought if we did the tank similar to this…
18th Feb 2011
Just got back from painter - Rod. Showed him the acid trip tank and believe it or not he had the exact same hexagonal stencil seen on the right hand side of the tank. He also said he had accidentally achieved the effect seen on the left of the tank once. He was willing to give it a shot but because it is experimental and I’m a perfectionist (read fussy prick) we won’t have time to redo it if it turns out wrong.
I took about 10 designs/ideas all of which were quite intricate. While possible, due to Rod’s workload, we went for something that is less time consuming although I fear (like last year) I’ll still probably only have the bike finished the day before the show.
Without giving too much away, we’ve gone for an asymmetric design that honours a Japanese bike, customized in a japanese style i.e. Brat. All parties are enthusiastic about the design and tank will be prepared next week.
This Sunday sees us put the engine together ready for paint. A few parts still to arrive from Japan and the U.S.A. Seat is under way and will see me sitting on 30mm of foam. Considering there is squat suspension travel, I hope the Firestones will soak up the bumps.
19th Feb 2011
Carbys were painted with spray can silver and were looking pretty crap but these have come up mint.
Nice and shiny
22nd Feb 2011
Have hit a problem. Finding it hard to locate new pistons, will either have to try some tricky machine work or maybe get some yoshi ones in from the states. That’ll blow the budget though.
Here are some pics of recent work. We decided that replacing the ugly standard fuel cap was too hard/time consuming etc but it kept staring at us and it bugged us so it was removed.
Bracket for the speedo. We ditched the tacho. Decided to keep the original speed as it aesthetically pleasing and works well. I have plans to modify it. It’ll be a nice detail / feature
Beautiful velocity stacks. I think they really suit the style of the bike. Nice find.
Tank is being prepared for paint this week.
24th Feb 2011
Found these cool little finned tappet caps that match the finned velocity stacks. Finding all this stuff is half the fun eh!
Here is tank and fender ready for paint
Engine built now so it is all coming together nicely.
- 28th Feb 2011
Going for a nice clean look up front
- 4th March 2011
Sometimes in a build, not everything goes to plan.
The original plan was to paint the inside of the wheels satin black and leave the edges chrome as is common in the brat style (below)…
…however the painter did such a crap job that we had to buy new wheels and because of time constraints are going with them as is.
- 7th March 2011
Pics below of the Firestone tyres on the wheels. Have about 1mm clearance between the tyres and the forks. We went for 450’s as they were the largest we could squeeze in.
- 9th March 2011
Some updated pics of the brat
I’m glad the engine looked crap after blasting as it meant we had to paint it and now it looks great!
Here is the seat showing the red stitching.
We have a new black chain going onto the old (less than 1000kms) sprocket that cleaned up well.
Template for side mounted number plate holder
- 10th March 2011
The brat is effectively a rigid. The stock shocks were quite soft when it was standard but because we lengthened the swingarm, the standard shocks seem to work quite well in the current set up. We’ll just take the ugly guards off and painting the springs. If the tyre hits the rear guard, we can change the shocks later.
The intention was to keep the headers (as i like the shape) and fit looooong straight through pipes that reached at least the end of the frame but preferably the end of the rear tyre. Similar to the pic below but the pipes would be the same diameter the whole way and they would be loooong. I was then going to have them wrapped in black heat wrap with some pretty sexy exhaust tips on the end.
Andy from Andy Leong Photography was kind enough to help out with some Photoshopping of the pipes.
We decided to go with the middle option - LONGER
These were going to be the tips…
but we’ve changed our mind and are now going to use these tips from lowbrow.
- 16th March 2011
Mounted the rear light / number plate bracket
Headlight is positioned as close to the bike as possible
We’ve gone for vintage wiring all round
The beautiful velocity stacks from Maund
The loooooong exhausts.
As you can see these actually go about 100mm past the rear tyre so might shorten them a bit. It does raise a few challenges as there is a lot of weight hanging so a special bracket will need to be made.
I promise it’ll look better than this…
- 17th March 2011
I just measured the straight sections of the exhast and they are 1m long!
Here are the latest updates
Can you believe the Australian distributor brings in every colour chain except black?
- 22nd March 2011
The bracket needed to keep the exhaust from dragging along the ground.
Wrapped exhausts to make Mule happy ;)
Should have wiring finished tonight and get the tank, rear fender and speedo back from painter. Might have time for a quick shakedown before polishing it and the two W650’s (Garage Project #1 & Garage Project #2)
- 23rd March 2011
A few pics of the wiring. We had to route the side mounted rear light wiring underneath the swingarm. You’ll have to look closely to see it in this shot.
The cable ties in this shot are holding the rear light wiring in place. If you look closely you can see the exhaust bracket painted black.
- 27th March 2011
Today was the day we had been working towards - The 4th annual Jap Bike Show
We entered the Brat into the Bobber / Chopper / Cafe Racer category along with Garage Projects #1, #2 & #4 and there were about five other cafe style bikes in the class.
The Brat came second and Garage Project #4 - SR250 Cafe Racer came first. The Brat was probably a little to “out there” for the Perth audience who have never seen a brat style bike before.
Some of the comments we got about the bike at, and after the show…
- "Nice work mate looked good today" - Billywhizz
- "Went to have a squizz today at the bike show and wow! Love the tank. the Nanami work suits it perfectly..
and the little details…the levers, the sticker on the headlight, the cool speedo gauge plate, the mirror on the front fork..and were the frame plugs at the rear indicators?
Very very nicely done mate" - vbroom
- "Looks killer!" - El Skitzo
- "bike looks awesome Rex!
wicked job particularly in such a tight time frame. Must have pulled a crowd over there on the weekend.
Love the lines, the stance is great with that swingarm stretched a little. great work!” - brethren22
- "That is one Awsome looking Brat, Rex top marks to you” - Tbird tracker
- "Looks rad, i love it." - valvolux
- "Really..really… like the paint on the tank!! very orig!! Like a Jap ZERO!! but not…
A lot of this kinda stuff going on lately… like the TRX850 cafe racer.com guys… really bringing back some old school/new school kinda awesomeness…
nice work!!!” - Slipin
20th April 2010
For our first photo shoot, we decided to do a night shoot around the streets of Leederville on a Saturday night. First stop The Manor nightclub.
We then hit the streets for a few more shots…
A big thank you to Andy Leong Photography. He did a great job with these pics. Thanks mate.
A few more comments we have received about the bike…
- "Beautiful pics!!" - El Skitzo
- "yeah great shots andy. bike looks awesome. good to finally see some quality shots of the finished product! well done rex and crew!" - brethren22
- "My favorite project bike so far!
Great effort Rex and great pics too!” - Christo
- "so nice, I havent seen this until now - beautiful work in a really tight timeframe.." - Lorenz
- "Ahahaa that’s awesome! BRAT on ya number plate… Looks a bit like Melbourne with the graffiti and all. Dig the build, it’s got a edge to it with the seat and the exhaust. Good lines as well. How’s the feel on those tracker bars? Wicked photos btw. Love the braided wire.” - hummingbird
- "Rex….. This is magnificent. Just found it, is the 750 still coming?" - ordercameras
- "very nice and good job" - lippy
- "I love your custom bike, especially the pipe wraps and your choosing to go with alternative artwork." - Jomac
- “Mate that rebuild is awesome” - bug_71_63 (Glen)
- “"The Brat" looks great, what a ride. I’m going the traditional route for this one but have a Kawasaki KZ650 which you may have inspired a change in but that is for the future.” - pdojsmith (Paul)
- "Good luck with the next project, you’ve changed my mind on some aspects of the reno’s, cheers" - pdojsmith (Paul)
- “Cheers and best wishes from Tasmania, PS your bike looks great.” - David Boarder
- "Hi Rex, was just looking through your 350 brat build and what a machine. Your work is truly inspirational rex, hopefully i can get my bike done by next years all jap bike show." - xwolfkvltx
- “Nice work!! Hey mate, I just wanted to say that I LOVE your CB350! I checked the thread when you had just started it, but haven’t been here on PSB for ages. What a surprise to come back to see how amazing the bike looks! Your seat is like a piece of art. I’ll just say again, the bike looks bloody fantastic!” - Michael
- "well done on the bike exif write up. despite all the potential for haters to hate there’s really not that much negativity going on in the comments section either!? with comically oversized tyres, zero rear suspension travel and all that stuff going on too, who would have figured!
Top work lads, keep it up!” - brethren22
- "How could you hate on it. It’s a work of art, beautiful." - rgvlee
- "It’s crap!!! …only cause I don’t own it!
Well done bloody love it!!” - olyflyer
- "Holy moly that thing is fucking beautiful! STUNNING work guys, you should be well proud. Not many "Professionals" could produce something like that (By professional, I mean people that get paid to do it, your work is obviously very professional)." - Desmo
- "Looks trick. I like the Cowdroy goldfish on the tank." - BigTim
- "That Brat is fecking nice mate. I spent more than a fair amount of time having a good look over it. Well done." - Hewie
- "I absolutely love this bike and admire the hell out of you for building it. I only found this thread after I had seen the bike on Bike exif. I loved the write-up there!
I especially liked seeing the bikes you showed as your inspiration. Well now your story has inspired me. I just bought a Suzi GS1100 to turn into a brat. It will be a big brat! I may even ask you for help at some stage, seeing as you have so much time. :-)
Also loved the shots in Leederville. I recognised the locations and they are well chosen indeed. So impressed. Well done. Sure, some bits I may have done differently but then that’s what’s so cool about these bikes. If we all did the same thing it would get boring real fast.” - JimmyR
- "Its funny, was at the motorcycle exhibition on the weekend, and out of all the bikes there - big to small, chopper to dirt bike, this was my ( and apparently alot of other peoples :> ) favourite, was hard to even get close to this bike.
This bike is even more beautiful in the flesh than in the pictures, and what an inspiration. Well done.” - Vosy
- "A few folks asked me if the brat was for sale. It was a personal favourite of mine along with hewie’s R7. Hope you guys get some more business out of it." - Speed3
- "Yep - the Brat was a high point in the show Mr Havoc, splendid job!" - Griff
- "It was great to see the Brat in the flesh so to speak- absolutely fantastic job! I especially love the tank paint job design, looked even better in real life! Really cool bike" - Chaos-incarnate
- "I was stoked when I got to see the brat at the show. Made me want to do unholy things to my own bike - if only I had the ability! Great job." - mpfl
- "This was a real standout for me at the show, made the sport bikes around it seem a little "samey" even :-P
Well done.” - Bendito
- "Your GARAGE PROJECT #3 - "THE BRAT" - CB350 is a work of art…a true masterpiece" - Matt White
7th September 2011
Here are our recent a studio photo shoot pics.
The above artwork is actually a copy of my favourite artist - Nanami Cowdroy's Kintoto Blot . I emailed Nanami to see if she would be interested in creating a special piece for our project but unfortunately we never heard back from her. (I’m guessing she was had more pressing issues with her family in Japan at the start of 2011).
We did the next best thing and asked the best airbrusher in Perth (and some say Australia!) to recreate Kintoto Blot.
We’d love to hear what you think about the bike so leave a comment below.
If you would like to feature the bike on your blog or in print media and would like hi-res pics please email me garageproject at live.com.au