Hondas did not drip oil on your garage floor, they didn't fling oil on your pants, the electrical systems were marvels of reliability and the fit and finish were worlds superior to every other motorcycle on the market. Honda also cranked up their national racing team efforts at a crazed pace during this time frame, making instant legends out of numerous riders. The forks reach their limits a little easier than the rear shock; however, suspension action is well balanced overall. For its day, the specs were awesome: 7. They retain the rocket red looks and incredible attention to detail.
After we performed our cures on the forks and did our best with the rebound damping, we lit out on the trail. Most recent title: Ricky Carmichael, 2003 250 National Championship. Plus, the valve angle is reduced to a super-narrow 20. Soichiro begrudgingly gave the go-ahead to make the machine an official Honda project, at first called the 335c. Within a few seasons, the new front suspension design was accepted. But it was like 1981 all over again.
In the used-bike market, they proved to be almost unbreakable. It was a little too much too soon, and this actually became a rare year not to own a Honda. All documentation, bought from original owner. On a 250 this can be tough, especially in the slower corners. Some say that we got the legendary lemon, but we rode others and remained in the full yawn mode. So use every advantage you have, because you know what? Honda himself knew about the project. McGrath had gone to Suzuki by that time, and so had Roger DeCoster, even though he was still writing stories for Dirt Bike.
It also shook the steering head like a snake on a hotplate, stalled easier than a window fan with a shoe stuck in it, had a shock that faded riding to the starting line, confused jetting, no horsepower, limp forks and a gearbox that shredded gears like popcorn. People started to think in two different directions: there were motorcycles ugh! Everything, even the motor was fire-engine red. My quote in the last paragraph of that test was strong enough to get us in big trouble with other manufacturers: Honda is left with only one problem: How are they going to make enough of them? A wider aftermarket axle is necessary to get the most out of the R on a motocross track and was a common mod back in the day. The Test To put the legendary machine to the test, we needed a good running 250R in nearly stock condition, and a rider willing to push the old machine to its limits. Along with improving corner exit speeds, the wider, longer setup of the Lone Star products slow the transition a bit before you cross the tipping point. The 249cc Unicam engine uses battery-less fuel injection and is known for pumping out great all-around performance. Many a rider stripped it down, put on knobby tires and ended up with a great street-legal trail bike.
And the public went wacko! In that 34-year run, the Honda evolved through many forms, completely changing its identity several times. The following year, the 250 was spared the 23-inch front wheel that came on the 125 and several other models. While they were busy increasing the travel of the shock, Honda put the magic wand on the wheelbase and coaxed another 3. With the box-section front downtube and the addition of a lightweight, rigid chassis, the old world theory of a fat four-stroke has been reduced immensely. Honda figured out early in the game how to capture customers at the introductory levels and it paid off. The stock axle is adjustable but only wide enough for trail use, letting you choose between two levels of instability. No doubt there will be mistakes, as well as some brilliant models.
The bike was not well received. It was a six-speed four-stroke single with no bad manners and a deceptively good powerband. In retrospect, it was a sad day; another era that had passed. We just want to make them get better! The tried-and-true 250 was a machine designed for the play rider with its docile motor and average suspension units, and it did the job it was intended to do. To keep things even, Honda also produced some real losers. It looked sleek and very works-like and riders beat each other with clubs to get the first ones on the showroom floors. I have way to much of my time and money invested into this to complete everything that I want.
Rebound damping is still handled by the original rebound circuit found in the damping rod. This is the bike you want to ride. Within a few years, the team had achieved all its goals. One reason for this is because it's gutless. The test report was even more caustic: If you put a wrench on the engine twice a year, it will last forever and ever.
Even the dealer network was different. Roger DeCoster came to work for Dirt Bike Magazine a few years later and explained what had taken place behind closed doors at Honda. Once again, Honda lost its edge in the 250 class. It allows unrestricted oil flow at the piston, preventing mid-stroke harshness, For our rear shock, Race Tech replaced the stock piston with their high-flow Gold Valve. That tells you the original package was right on target. The action of the clutch and tranny is flawless, but an inconsistent starting pattern had us confused. If you give an inch on the track, there are 20 or 30 other guys waiting to eat your lunch and use you for traction.