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Honda Express Noped Build

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woodtickgreg

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#1
Since a question was asked about mini bikes and mopeds here's one I am working on and customizing to make it my own. I traded for it with a friend so I have no cost in it, all original and running. So I registered it and took it for a ride, tops out at 26mph indicated stock with my 200lbs on it. First impression was remembering how fun these little bikes can be! rode up to the frozen custard place for an ice cream. Second impression, these bikes had no suspension really, about 2 inches of hard springy travel, i felt every crack and hole in the road. Third impression, I can make this thing go a little faster and have more torque out of the hole with some engine mods and a pipe and carb. Fourth thought was to delete the stock fuel tank since the oil injection has already been removed and build a new fuel tank with more capacity, and rack for the bike that is integral with the fuel tank, tail light and turn signals will mount to it also.
Here's a pic as I got it 1980 honda express nc50
36 years old noped.
20160630_182009.jpeg
 

woodtickgreg

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#2
So my build plan is this, first have fun building it!
Ok really its fuel tank, suspension, lighting, and engine last.
Since I am a truck driver for a steel roll forming company I go to all kinds of metal fab and laser shops etc. I have done a lot of favors and made a lot of friends over the years, kinda comes in real handy when your doing something like this.
So this is kinda the direction I am going in with the fuel tank, and how it all started.

So I started out with some 10 gage 304 stainless, kinda heavy and over kill but it was free! Next have one of the guys roll it into a cylinder and tig weld the seam for me.
. 20160630_090539.jpeg
Then it helps to have a friend with a 600 ton press, lol.
20160630_131000.jpeg
Last time it will ever be round! In the press and ready to be squished!
20160630_131021.jpeg
Squishing started.
20160630_131155.jpeg
Squishing done, lol.
20160630_131501.jpeg
Not perfectly shaped but no one will ever notice that once it is on the bike.
20160630_131549.jpeg
Going to go for a brushed satin finish on it like on the right. Just a scotch bright pad on a 3" angle grinder.
20160630_131611.jpeg
 

woodtickgreg

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#3
Rough plasma cut out some end caps for the tank.
20160630_181733.jpeg
Left em a little over size so I could grind them to fit.A burr king sander made quick work of that.
20160630_181823.jpeg
Sitting on top of the original tank for a size comparison.
20160630_182058.jpeg
And next to the tank, kinda gives an idea of the direction I am going with it.
20160630_182432.jpeg
It will more than tripple the fuel capacity, should hold about a gallon of pre mixed fuel, I won't have to ever worry about running out!
 

woodtickgreg

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#4
I had to order a fuel tank cap and bung before the end caps could be welded on to vent the gasses while welding, I needed to know where to cut the hole for the filler cap bung. I found a nice stainless bung and brass vented cap on ebay for a motorcycle that will work just fine and look cool too!

So I got the cap and a friend in one of the shops tig welded it all up for me, he's a far better welder than I am!
20160727_131526.jpeg
I haven't brushed it all out yet.
20160727_131515.jpeg
Next I have to make new mounting brackets for it and get it all set in place so I know where to put the petcock so I don't have any clearance surprises.
I have a stainless bung for the new petcock. I'm happy with this so far. A stainless rack will be made for the top of the tank, the tank will be structural as well as functional. Tail light, turn signals, and registration sticker plate will all be mounted to the tank as well.
 

woodtickgreg

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#5
And while my friend had the tank for welding I found a shock on ebay for cheap that would be worlds better than what was on it! It's just a cheap chinese made shock but it has a reservoir, air adjustable, and preload adjustable as well. A couple of inches longer also raised the whole bike about 3 inches.

How it sat stock
20160630_182009.jpeg
New shock on and the old p.o.s. next to it. I had to make some bushings and round off the bottom of the new clevis for clearance with a few strokes of a file but no big deal.
20160714_201818.jpeg
Now it has some suspension travel and some cush for my old butt!
20160714_201945.jpeg
Next I have a new front fork for it that is hydraulic and will really change the look of it and further increase the suspension improvements. After the front fork is done I will need to make new motor mount brackets to level the engine out so the wet trans clutch doesn't get starved of oil, I'll have to lower it about 3 inches.
 

mikey

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#6
Very fun build, Greg!
 

FOMOGO

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#8
Pretty cool little scooter, and some nice mods. Mike
 

woodtickgreg

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#9
Pretty cool little scooter, and some nice mods. Mike
Lots more to come! I've been waiting for it to cool off here so I can be outside and not sweating buckets just standing there and doing nothing. I have the new fork for the front suspension upgrade and it's probably going to take some work to get it to fit, maybe some machining and turning on the lathe. But it is going to be so much better having a full hydraulic fork. Going to keep the stock front wheel for the speedo. I'm going to have to make some kind of stop for the brake drum backing plate as the fork was made for disk brakes, but that shouldn't be a big deal.
So while I was waiting for some other parts to come in I took care of something very important, the brakes! Everyone makes there machine go faster but seems they forget about stopping, lol. So while I had the wheels off to change the brake shoes I also installed new tires and tubes. Nice kenda 4 ply tires that are much stiffer than what was on it, it had 2 different tires on it. I will feel much better having some traction and better brakes, the adjusters where almost maxed out. I was waiting for the rear shock to come so this gave me something to do and still make some progress.
What the brakes only lasted 36 years?

I had to pull the muffler to get the rear wheel off, pretty dirty inside the brake drum.
20160710_144937.jpeg
The seal was still good, not oily just dirty!
20160710_144830.jpeg
New brake shoes to go with the new rubber.
20160710_145524.jpeg
Ahhh, nice and clean and new brake shoes installed
20160710_150155.jpeg
New tires and tubes front and rear. Scuffed up the drums with some emery cloth to help seat the break shoes. Much better tires, 14" wheels.
20160710_151303.jpeg
I'm having a blast playing with this thing and in the grand skeem of things it's pretty cheap too. Now when I get to the engine mods the cost will go up! The big bore kit, pipe, and carb will cost$$$
 

International-Harvester

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#10
I like your Honda Express. I very much prefer the classic styling of the earlier single-speed models- very iconic. The newer models ('81-'83) had plastic and looked like appliances. Is there an update on this build? I noticed you purchased the exact same shock I was going to get, the height issue is evident. Cheers to you for posting your results after installing yours. Take care, Sir.
 

woodtickgreg

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#11
I have done a few more things with it, i guess I'm way overdue for an update. I have been looking for another one because i have some ideas for a different kind of build with it.
 
Last edited:

wrmiller

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#12
Just 'discovered' your thread here Greg. Good stuff! :encourage:
 
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