England’s magnificently named Old Empire Motorcycles have crossed over to the dark side. Known for their classy Royal Enfield makeovers, they’ve just finished this vintage Honda CB250—complete with a plush ‘Chesterfield’-style buttoned leather seat.
OEM describe the bike as a mix of cafe, brat and bobber styles. It’s nicknamed the Vulcan, after the Avro Vulcan jet—one of Britain’s principal nuclear defensive weapons during the cold war, and a machine with a similarly angular design.
OEM’s Alec Sharp details the build: “The Honda was stripped completely. We only kept the most pleasing of parts, which turned out to be the wheels, frame, engine and tank. Then we converted the front end to the shortest and most suitable USD forks we could find—those from an Aprilia RS125.”
The original tyres were levered off, and a set of chunky Avon Mk2s fitted. The CB250 now has a more aggressive stance, accentuated by a minimal tail section designed to match the triangular headlight. Smiths supplied one of their new Chronometric electronic speedos, which OEM machined into an insert in the top yoke—along with the warning light LEDs. After a complete rewire, the battery was hidden in a custom leather satchel. The grips and pegs are wrapped with leather cord and rubber bindings for a comfortable but detailed finish.
And what about that Chesterfield seat unit, mimicking the kind of armchair to be found in a Victorian gentleman’s study? “It’s covered with a special leather to imitate wear,” says Alec, “and crowned with little leather buttons that had to be covered individually.”
In contrast, the paint has a raw and industrial feel, with a dusting of black over bare metal, then lacquer and polish on top—“to create a sort of smoky bare metal finish.”