The Honda CR250M had a 2 stroke 29 horsepower engine, and weighed in at 229 pounds (104 kg).Designed by Soichiro Miyakoshi, the prototype production machine began testing in Japan in 1971, and on California motocross tracks in 1972.The CR250M was Honda’s first two-stroke production race bike, the first competition dirt bike that Honda built from scratch instead of adapting a street bike and the first production Moto cross A chome-moly frame, aluminum bodywork and plastic fenders contributed to its light weight, even after restyling when initial tests showed the frame to be too fragile, potentially bending after less than an hour of riding
ABOUT THE LEGEND
After winning in 1966, Honda pulled out of GP racing 1967. That left a team of very talented and energetic engineers without much to do. At the time, Mr. Honda hated two-strokes and publicly said that his company would never build one. But the engineers knew that the two-stroke motor was the way of the future and set about building one secretly. To this day, it’s not known how much Mr. Honda himself knew about the project. In August 1971, the team took the prototype to a National race in Mine, Yamaguchi, hoping not to attract much attention. Unfortunately, the bike was photographed by the Japanese press, and soon Honda’s two-stroke was out of the bag. Soichiro begrudgingly gave the go-ahead to make the machine an official Honda project, at first called the 335c. Two years later, the Honda CR250M arrived in dealers, and Honda won its first U.S. National Championship with Gary Jones. That first year, the Honda 250 two-stroke was a complete game-changer, and it set off a frenzied era of hyper evolution in the MX world.
This 2-stroke was one of the first of its class, and set the bar high for two-stroke development. In 1974 and 75 the CR250M didn’t change much. Which gave the upper hand to Suzuki and Yamaha 2 strokes which let them design and develop better dirt bikes than Honda. In 1978 Honda released its newer version of the CR250M. They renamed the bike the CR250R. The “R” in the name stood for Race.The fire engine red bike was a real eye opener. This was what everybody remembered about the CR250R this year. When 1981 came around Honda was trying to put better technology into their bike, They wanted to put new suspension on the bike but didn’t know much about the new technology. The suspension didn’t work correctly at all and the bike had reliability issues. They tried to put too much technology into the bike and it came back to haunt them. 1984 was really the next big year for Honda and the CR250R. This was when the bike caught up to the technology that had been installed in 1981. They did add new features such as a hydraulic front disc brake, and new type exhaust valve.All the way up to 1990 the CR250R had virtually stayed the same except for a couple little changes such as hydraulic rear brake, front suspension, and a bigger carburetor. 1992 was when the CR250R took on a newer more aggressive look but had some downfalls. One of the biggest downfalls was the amount of power the new engines were producing and the weak steel frame. Many riders told Honda to change the frame to something stronger. But successful riders who were sponsored by Honda such as Jermy McGrathy had preferred the old stiff weak frame. 1997 was when the aluminum frame was introduced. Many racers liked this frame but casual desert riders weren’t buying the bike. So Honda had to go back to the development department and rethink the CR250R. The year 2000 was the year that Honda perfected the aluminum frame. It was it. It only got better from here. In 2003 the only real change that was made was the electronic power valve. The Honda CR250 had a 249cc liquid-cooled single-cylinder engine that made about 45 HP.It has a five speed transmission with Showa suspension and a two-gallon fuel tank.In 2007 Honda said they will produce no more two-strokes after that year.
THE RACE SIDE
In terms of championships, the Honda CR250 is the winningest dirt bike in U.S. history. Here are some facts:
Supercross championships: 15
Outdoor national championships: 12
First title: Gary Jones, 1973 250 National Championship.
Most recent title: Ricky Carmichael, 2003 250 National Championship.
The catalog of riders who won on the CR250 is a who’s who of American motocross: Gary Jones, Marty Tripes, Marty Smith, Bob Hannah, Donnie Hansen, David Bailey, Johnny O’Mara, Rick Johnson, Jeff Stanton, Jean Michel Bayle, Danny LaPorte, Chuck Sun, Jeremy McGrath, Doug Henry, Mike LaRocco, Ricky Carmichael and many, many others. In fact, it’s interesting to note that since Honda switched to the four-stroke CRF450R as its mainstay, the factory team has only earned one outdoor national Championship: R.C. in 2004. So it goes.
On the off-road side of the coin, the Honda 250 was incredibly successful on local levels, but not nationally. Honda never promoted the bike for off-road use, instead concentrating on the XR line for GNCC and Baja racing. The only time CR250s got attention on the National Enduro scene was when Kevin Hines raced them under the CRE name, which lasted a number of years in the late ‘90s.
Predecessor Honda CR250M
Engine 248cc liquid cooled two-stroke single
Top spees 75 mph (121km/h)
Ignition type CDI
Transmission 5 speed constant mesh, chain drive
Suspension Front: Showa, adjustable compression and rebound, – Rear Showa, adjustable preload, compression and rebound.
Brakes 240mm (9.4in) single disc, front and rear
Tires Front: 80/0-21, Rear: 110/90-19
Rake,trail 26.5°, 110mm
Seat height 942mm
Weight 96.6kg (213lb)
Fuel capacity 7.57l (2.00USgal)
Even though the final years of the CR250R were not its best, they still do well on the track. In the used-bike market, they proved to be almost unbreakable. The electronic power valve, it was found, was driven by an underpowered motor. On the works level, Honda quickly found out how to make the motor sing, but the change was never put into production.