The Honda GB250 is one of those small bikes with a big heart—in this case, an air-cooled single that pumps out a healthy 30 bhp in stock form. The GB250 tips the scales at less than 130 kg (280 lbs), and thanks to low gearing, is capable of out-dragging much more powerful machines at the traffic lights.
The downside is somewhat anonymous looks. But with this new build, the Australian shop Ellaspede has revealed the potential of the humble GB250—and boosted the performance even further.
“Our client Brendan was just getting into bikes, and chose a GB250,” says Ellaspede’s Steve Barry. “He didn’t know a lot about bikes, but the semi-cafe look appealed. And he figured that a Honda should be a decent bike—which it is.”
Ellaspede focused on the cosmetics at first, tidying up the headlight and front end before moving on to the seat unit. But then they discovered an oil leak that needed addressing, which led to further mechanical work. Before long, Brendan was halfway through a complete custom and mechanical rebuild.
“It’s not uncommon,” says Steve. “You start doing one thing, which leads to another, which then makes the bits surrounding look shabby, so you decide to do a bit more, and so on…”
The engine was given a complete overhaul. Not that it really needed one, but it was already out for painting, and no engine lasts forever. After struggling to find a rebuild kit for a GB250, a friend of Ellaspede rescued the situation with his fluent Japanese and contacts in the East.
Ellaspede’s mechanic Phil put the little mill back together, along with a port-and-polish, a cleaned flat-slide carb and a K&N air filter—making for a very handsome powerplant indeed. A stainless steel reverse-cone muffler on polished standard header pipes added the the finishing touch. The forks and front caliper were rebuilt, along with new bearings everywhere.
After trying a Nitrohead cafe seat, Ellaspede swapped it out for a shorter solo Nitrohead seat. It’s tidied up the rear end very well, helped by a custom fender and a strip-LED taillight. The frame, swing arm and wheels were powder-coated in satin black, with the surrounding hardware prepped and painted to match.
The tank and fenders were finished in gloss black with a solid ivory central stripe. Firestone Deluxe was the client’s choice of rubber, “with the extra profile requiring a little adjustment here and there for good fitment,” says Steve.
A lowered 6” headlight, Posh indicators and aftermarket gauges round out the electrics; the battery tray was repositioned to make room for the K&N filter. Other goodies include Biltwell grips, bar end mirrors, and refinished switch blocks and levers.
It’s one of the tidiest 250s we’ve seen, and according to Steve it rides as well as it looks. “It feels new, and you don’t always get that with a bike of this era.”
It’s certainly better looking than most new 250s currently on sale—and I know what I’d rather have in my garage.