Honda CB250N – Thrive Motorcycles Indonesia | Bike Tests | Used Bikes
In the world of custom motorcycles it can sometimes be difficult to appreciate the work that goes into a finished project.
But nothing informs a builder of just how hard a certain model is to work on than taking one, getting their hands dirty, skinning their knuckles and cursing aloud at the moon.
The Honda CB250N was a great commuter bike of the early ’80s but rarely does anyone build a good custom from one; I spent a year trying and it wasn’t pretty. So hats off to Thrive Motorcycles for the work they did to produce the T9 Prototype, an incredible 1984 Honda CB250N.
The Indonesian company headed by Indra Pratama and Barata Dwiputra has been turning out impossibly cool machines, largely from commuter-based models, for a few years now.
In 2015 they were catching up with an old college friend over a few beers. The friend had become one of the country’s leading tattoo artists and was telling the lads about his love for the sci-fi movie District 9. He said he dreamed of owning a custom bike that wouldn’t look out of place in the flick.
Pratama knew where this conversation was headed, and after the meeting an exchange of emails led to a series of visits to each other’s shops, and eventually they agreed on a plan. Plenty of research was required – not only because such an extensive project has to be done right, but also because it would serve as the test bed for Thrive to develop a range of custom parts to be sold under the T/H/R/V name.
The CB250N was chosen precisely for the reason many avoid it: the unflattering engine shape and rear subframe. But as a small and super-reliable bike, it’s perfect for a new rider. With the donor bike up on the lift and completely stripped down, they could begin to envision where the changes had to take place.
“The design was pretty much inspired from the D9 weaponry, looks that gelled with our own taste and vision of post-apocalypse kind of vehicles,” Pratama explained.
Give us a brake
A new tubular frame is perfectly integrated into the stock backbone, shortened to expose more of the rear tyre. To create a visually cohesive rear end, the stock swingarm was used as the foundation of the new piece to support the monoshock.
The rear fender hovers out over the tyre with supports on just one side for probably the most incredible piece of engineering attempted on a humble 250N.
To really make the bike special, the parts that could later be sold by the company couldn’t be run of the mill, stretching the build time to 18 months. But looking at the sheer brilliance and exceptional craftsmanship of the tail-light and frame, the wait was worth it.
The fully integrated brake light and turn-signal combo is attached to underseat aluminium skirting that can be easily adapted for other models. It’s topped off with a matching leather seat that conceals the battery.
The less than sexy stock Honda tank was next on the chopping block, ditched for one of the coolest custom pieces you’re ever likely to see. The stealthy lines are fashioned from galvanised steel, so even years of Jakarta downpours won’t rust this baby.
But it’s the two new T/H/R/V parts that really take it to a new level. The gas cap was the first piece the team designed – the dry-break-style filler is straight from the world of motorsport, but this billet-machined piece puts many pro race teams to shame. The flush-fit fuel indicator is also out of this world, and being able to buy one makes the mouth water.
Having come so far, a single headlight would have been a crime and the over-under alien eyeball look is perfect.
To maintain the sci-fi-style lines, the hard edges have all been softened with aluminium front and rear fenders.
A perfectly sculpted bikini fairing and belly pan give that warp speed vibe even when the bike is standing still.
To add a classic touch, an old school single speedo was chosen and set on an all-new mounting plate, hand-formed by the guys to bolt seamlessly to the upper triple clamp. And the Dunlop K180 tyres allow you to ride the T9 in just about any conditions.
Now that the build is finished, all these small pieces of the puzzle come together to form an amazing machine – movie-inspired prototype, sci-fi movie masterpiece, test bed for incredible parts, and a stunning creation for a college friend.
This is the best CB250N we’ve ever seen and with its D9 guns ablaze it really lays waste to its custom competition.
WORDS MARTIN HODGSON FOR PIPEBURN.COM
PHOTOGRAPHY PUTRA AGUNG