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HONDA CB250N SUPERDREAM.

BIKE OF THE WEEK!


Wetdream, or Supercrud as we called it in our house. Haha! Zing! Anyhoo, I come not to bury Superdream, but to praise him, as Shakespeare once almost said.
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Gorgeous and Docile!
Where to start then? The gorgeous CB72 of the 60s? The docile 250 G5? Well, long story short is this...

Amazing and Beautiful!
Honda made an amazing and beautiful 250, then some boring and clonky ones that nobody really liked, then they brought out the 250T Dream in 1978 (this was basically a Superdream in tubby form). Soon after this, Honda did something exceptional - they restyled the bike specifically for the European market- a first from a manufacturer which previously had its eyes firmly set on the U.S market.

Insanely Popular!
Thus in 1979 the insanely popular CB250 (and 400) N were created.

I can well remember seeing the first pictures in MCN and thinking, in my 14 year old way,
“Demon! Magic! Honda have made a futuristic bike!” To me, then, it seemed daringly modern looking.

To give you an idea what a success these “new” models were, take a look at the sales figures-
Every single bike sold between 1979 and 1981 was a Superdream. Well, not really, but it did seem like it at the time.  My brother Steve, for example, went down the classic path of Fs1e- Superdream-CX500-GS750. Which virtually sums up that era of biking.

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Here's one with a sidecar and a happy owner David Stokes on its way to Poland
Every street had one, usually silver or blue, usually with a caravan sized white topbox and “L” plates. Our local Honda dealer, John Fisher, must have wheeled a ton of them straight in and out of the showroom because they were everywhere you looked.

Passenger Pigeons?
Then, as the years flew by, having previously become all but invisible due to their ubiquity, one began to notice them again and all of a sudden it became apparent that they had pretty much disappeared! How strange.. but of course due to the law of scarcity, if something is common it automatically loses perceived value and is deemed worthless. So, a bit like the old Passenger Pigeon, it's curtains for the ubiquitous.

Objectively, the Superdream is a far better bike than any James Captain or Sunbeam S4, but still can be got for relative peanuts, and there won't be a queue of gazumping desperadoes fighting for it either.

Star Trek shirts
Perhaps, like Star Trek shirts, the very act of making them look “modern” has dated them too much for the "modern" rider, and they aren't retro enough for the classic nerds to inflate the price too much. It's a bit like an MZ in that way I suppose. At the moment, it's in Limbo.

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Problems? Between a rocker and a hard place
Well, Steve's had a broken rocker arm, (frosty morning on start up) and there are stories of soft cam tensioners and balancers whizzing apart. Although to be honest I reckon learner bikes were not maintained as well then as they are now. Sweeping generalisation!

One thing that really was a problem (as on the CX500) was the rotting away of the exhaust collector box under the engine. It was cleverly made of thin mild steel with a faint layer of black paint. This was mounted right in the way of all the salt, muck and water from the front wheel..genius! A new OE part from Honda at the time cost around £30,000, and you could buy the Duchy of Cornwall with that...and get major tax breaks.

So they all ended up with a Motad 2:1 exhaust system, which looked alright on one side, and a bit weird on the other. Other popular modifications included chrome crash bars (remember them?) and huge barn door fairings for the “get to work brigade”.

Techno-nerd-stats...
4 stroke twin, balancers,
3 valves per cylinder,
28mm CV carbs,
OHC,
CDI ignition,
6 gears,
27hp,
90mph,
tubeless tyres on comstar wheels,
single disc at front,
twin discs on the 400.

That's it..it's a normal bike that works well and on the whole is well made and decent quality.
Detractors could say (and they did and do) that the 250 is overweight and too big, but then again, that's why they sold so well - any learner stuck with a 250 wanted it to look as big and meaty as possible, even if it compromised performance. The 400 was what the bike was really designed for, and was an all round good egg, still under-rated today.

How are the mighty fallen
A contemporary Honda ad began with the fact that “During the last two years over 25,000 people bought the CB250N Superdream.” The DVLA now list a hardly credible less than 100 on the road...

The Superdream has been overlooked until very recently by the customising community, but finally there are some nice things being made from such humble clay. With the prices of almost any oldish bike going steadily upwards, the Superdream may even find itself a new niche!

Personally, I quite liked the solid and smooth feel of the machine, and if you like a nice big soft seat and sensible riding position you'll fall in easily with this workhorse. One of the benefits of having a once common bike is the parts availability - Wemoto for example (ahem) list 231 parts, including OE style exhaust systems, complete seats and virtually anything else to keep your future classic running and looking good.

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Here's one from retro bikes Croatia
I say YES!
Could the Superdream really become a “collector's bike”? I say yes. By virtue of being so well known (see Fizzy) and common (see BSA Bantam) but also the fact that it has become an uncommon, even rare sight out on the road in decent condition. It will happen, bet you 10p.

Do you own one? Have you ever owned one? Do you want to own one? If so tell us about it: news@wemoto.com or tweet us or comment on facebook





14/09/16
Here's a picture submitted by one of our readers of him and his wife's bikes. Thanks for sharing!

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Posted by Jerry Rulf
for Wemoto News on 03 April 2014 in Features

Edited By: Daisy Cordell

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