ATV PROJECT: ’99 LAEGER’S TRX250R REBUILD

ANDREW HUMPHREY’S ’99 HONDA TRX250R GETS REBUILT

By Lane Lindstrom, Photos by Ken Hill

Owner Andrew Humphrey says his favorite feature on his project bike is the Pro-Trax T-pin front suspension. It rails in the woods!

’99 LAEGER’S TRX250R REBUILD

From his first ride on a 1987 Honda TRX250R to his latest ’99 Laeger’s Racing 250R project bike, quads are in Andrew Humphrey’s blood. Even so, he had been absent from the ATV scene for nearly 14 years. He decided it was time to get back into the sport in a really big way from the looks of his new project bike. Time for Andrew’s newest project: ’99 LAEGER’S TRX250R REBUILD.

His jump was precipitated by watching his cousin Adam Johnson buy a TRX250R to restore and build. “I decided to build the machine I could never afford in my younger years,” Humphrey said.

His objective and pre-build budget were well-defined when the 37-year-old started his project bike build in July of 2018. He explained, “I wanted to build an updated interpretation of a pro-level cross-country 250R that could have competed up through the 2003 season.” The final product shows Humphrey was right on the money.

Custom Axis ProAir triple-adjustable shocks offer Humphrey consistent control through the woods on his ’99 Laeger’s TRX250R.

’99 LAEGER’S TRX250R REBUILD

As for being right on the money with the money, the objective of a $15,000 budget was a more difficult target. Rather than settle for any part that would fit, he worked hard to find the period-correct parts and accessories he envied in his youth to complete the bike. He was serious about realizing his dream of a project bike, almost regardless of the final price tag. In 2018 he sold his 2017 Shelby GT350R Mustang, “A car I had worked very hard to get,” and at that time made up his mind he was going to build a top-level race ATV.

This project bike utilizes an ISF Racing billet ’91 geometry CR500 linkage and a Galfer Wave rear brake rotor, along with Galfer brake pads.

FOUND: MINT FRAME

Humphrey acquired a mint ’99 Laeger’s narrow Pro-Trax frame/flip-top subframe with A-arms and swingarm in the summer of 2018. He was excited about it because it had no repairs and was in excellent condition. Then, after talking with K.W. Czemerda, who knows a thing or two about quad builds, Humphrey decided to reach out to Craig Greenwood at Barnhart’s Honda. That conversation resulted in Humphrey making the trip to Barnhart’s in southwest Pennsylvania, where he was able to get several parts to further the build.

Back home in Louisville, Kentucky, and with his stockpile of parts, Humphrey went to work on his project bike. Barnhart’s Greenwood oversaw the re-plating of all the project bike’s existing chrome parts, and also soon started the engine build, which would bring the bike to life.

Humphrey’s ’99 Laeger’s 250R, which features Laeger’s chromed A-arms, is a thing of beauty. The skid plates are stainless steel.

’99 LAEGER’S TRX250R REBUILD

With Greenwood focused on creating a potent engine, Humphrey was busy with the rest of the build. That included ordering parts that aren’t easy to find or obtain. Steve Buchinsky at Missouri-based ISF Racing rebuilt the spindles to like new. Buchinsky also sent Humphrey some other components he would need for the build.

Custom Axis built a set of Pro Air Triple adjustable front shocks, along with a single-rate triple-adjustable rear shock setup for the CR500-linkage rear suspension.

To accommodate a larger 4-gallon fuel tank, Laeger’s built a new stem that is 2 inches taller and three-quarters of an inch forward.

’99 LAEGER’S TRX250R REBUILD

When sourcing components, Humphrey appreciated Facebook groups, specifically the Honda 250R Owners for Life group, where he was able to obtain hard-to-find parts like the mint-condition OEM airbox, boot and coolant tank. He was also able to find the NOS PWR radiator and parts.

Most of the remaining parts came from Craig (Greenwood), who either had them hoarded away or was able to order new or refurbish them. Other things took more time. The chrome shop took seven months to complete the stripping and chroming of the flip-top subframe, tie-rods and A-arms.

DAMPER KEY COMPONENT

Laeger’s no longer makes frames, but the California-based company did make a +2, 0.75 forward stem for the bike. A Precision Racing Products damper was an essential component as the steering is extremely light. The damper allows Humphrey to ride without fear of the handlebars being jerked out of his hands.

Titanium hardware was used where it made sense and new OEM parts when and where available. Unusual for such an eclectic array of parts and an aftermarket frame, everything went together smoothly.

More than a little over budget, but Andrew Humphrey said his project TRX250R is worth every penny.

MAGIC FOR THE MOTOR

After a year, Humphrey had a rolling chassis ready for an engine. Greenwood had been hard at work as well. He cleaned and inspected the main cases, then glass-bead blasted the cases and powder coated them. Humphrey added a powder-coated Hinson quick-change clutch case, rebuilt the counter-balancer and inspected the transmission and ASF gears and components. He then assembled the bottom end with new OEM bearings and seals. Next he installed a Hot Rods long-rod crankshaft, modified the shift detent for more positive engagement, installed a Hinson billet clutch basket, new OEM clutch hub, OEM fibers, steels and springs with an ‘89 updated clutch pressure plate and new clutch lifter arm.

Greenwood installed an LED Performance XC300 top-end kit, which utilizes an ESR cylinder that LED Performance engine guru Arlan Lehman ported for XC, added a Cool Head with a fuel dome and a Wiseco piston. He added a 2000 Honda CR250R motocross ignition with ESR timing plate and modified stator wiring. Finally, he made a wiring harness with an added second kill switch provision.

Every detail is perfect like these OMF rims with ITP tires bolted up to billet Baldwin Motorsports front hubs.

’99 LAEGER’S TRX250R REBUILD

Humphrey explained the decision behind going with LED Performance’s 300 package: “Smaller engines like the 300 that have a good radiator tend to run cooler than some of the big-bore choices, and they still make plenty of rideable power to shoot between trees.”

The engine was finished off with an UPP Racing intake, Moto Tassinari VForce 3 reeds and 36mm PWK carb. According to Humphrey, this carb helps build better bottom-end to mid- transition power and is more suited for tighter tracks like that of the GNCC’s of the 1990s and early 2000s.

Shortly after Greenwood delivered the complete engine, the build was completed. After local rider Graham Segal diagnosed a small wiring issue, the machine fired on the first kick. The best part of the project for Humphrey was meeting so many cool people, getting to ride it for the first time and it performing flawlessly since.

Other TRX250R fans online helped Humphrey source obscure parts like this unobtainable coolant overflow bottle.

 

’99 LAEGER’S TRX250R REBUILD

HOW IT WORKS

You’ll remember that Humphrey had $15,000 in his head for the budget. With Laeger’s frames alone running from $2,000–$4,000, without any suspension components, he realized that he had to increase the budget. In the end, his budget doubled, but he really had no regrets, as the bike was everything he dreamed.

When asked about his favorite feature on the bike, he singled out Laeger’s Pro-Trax T-pin front suspension. “This was a revolutionary front end when it was introduced in the early 1990s,” Humphrey said. “It absolutely dominated in the hands of Gary Denton on the motocross side and later in the hands of Barry Hawk in cross country. This is bind-free and considered by many to be the only true long-travel front end. It also eliminates the chance of any ball-joint failure. It takes minimal effort to steer and is extremely precise.”

With a project build of this size and magnitude, it’s not surprising the list of players Humphrey wanted to thank is nearly as long as the parts list. He starts with his cousin. “I have to thank Adam for pulling me back into the sport,” he said. “Craig (Greenwood) at Barnhardt’s for all of his assistance with the build and helping me realize my dream quad. Also, K.W. Czemerda and John Angles for all the help and countless photos to assist me while I assembled the machine­—and Graham Segal and all the others who helped along the way, both with parts and technical assistance.

“It has been an incredible experience over the last two years with this quad. It turned out to be much better than I ever had hoped.” Humphrey said he is planning on enjoying his current project bike a little longer before he strikes out on another project bike. Future plans might include building a Laeger’s Pro-Trax Banshee!

Even by modern standards, a TRX250R with an LED 300cc engine kit is quick. It accelerates hard, but also stays cool under pressure.

’99 LAEGER’S TRX250R REBUILD:

PARTS LIST

AC RACING: www.acracing.com

Pro Peg nerf bars: $140

BALDWIN MOTORSPORTS: (440) 224-2734, www.facebook.com/baldwinmotorsports

Front wheel hubs: $489.95

BARNHART’S HONDA POLARIS: www.ridebarnharts.com 

Glass bead/inspect/PC cases: $125

Keihin 36mm PWK carb: $270.56

UPP Racing intake manifold: $69.95

Honda inner clutch hub: $75.40

Honda fibers, steels and springs with 89 clutch update: $79.95

Counter balancer rebuild: $79.95

Billet water pump: $50

OEM 2001 Honda CR250R ignition: N/A

Craig Greenwood custom race wiring harness: call for options

Engine assembly: $350

Numerous difficult to find NOS parts: Market price

CUSTOM AXIS: (610) 375-6180, www.penskeshocks.com

ProAir front shocks: $2,495

Single-rate, triple-adjustable rear shock: $1,100

DUNCAN RACING: (619) 258-6306, www.duncanracing.com

Chrome front bumper: $230

DURBIN MACHINE: Gil@durbinmachine.com 

Pro-Trax clevis: $125

Pro-Trax clevis bolts: $30

FOURWERX CARBON: (262) 501-9696, www.fwcarbon.com 

Carbon duct hood: $190

Carbon rear master cylinder guard: $40

Seat cover: $186

Titanium A-arm bolts: $150

Carbon stator cover: $130

GALFER USA: (805) 988-2900, www.galferusa.com 

Front brake lines: $71

Rear brake line: $32

Front wave rotors: $98 each

Rear wave rotor: $100

Front brake pads: $34pair

Rear brake pads: $38

HINSON RACING: (909) 946-2942, www.hinsonracing.com

Billetproof clutch basket: $259

Billet rear brake pedal: N/A

Hinson quick-change clutch cover black powdercoat: $480+core

HOT RODS: (515) 402-8000, www.hotrodsproducts.com

Hot Rods crank and rods (long rod): $266.60

IMS PRODUCTS: (800) 237-9906, www.imsproducts.com 

4-gallon fuel tank: $274.95

Dry break receiver: $263

ISF RACING: (941) 773-4942

A-arm bushings: $110

Stainless shrouds: $99

CR500 billet linkage: $400

Pro-Trax rebuild kit: $335

Pro-Trax hardware: $15

Pro-Trax tie rods: $100

ITP: (909) 390-1905, www.itptires.com 

Holeshot GNCC 21×7-10 front tire: $86.88

Holeshot GNCC 20×10-9 rear tire: $100.88

LAEGER’S RACING: www.laegerracing.com

+2, forward 0.75 anti-vibe steering stem: from $250

LED PERFORMANCE ENGINES: (503) 522-2465,

300XC top end kit: $1121.65

250c hand-coned adjustable pipe: $449

Silencer: $195

MOOSE: www.mooseracing.com 

Flex ARC brake lever (TRX450R): $69.95

Poly case saver: $55.95

MOTO TASSINARI: (603) 298-6646, www.mototassinari.com

VForce 3 reeds: $158

NAC’S RACING: Not available retail

Stem clamp: N/A

Brake block off: N/A

Airbox snorkel plug: N/A

ODI: www.odigrips.com 

Cush grips: $12.95

OMF PERFORMANCE: (951) 354-8272, www.omfperformance.com

Billet center super lite bead lock wheels: $249 each +options

PRECISION RACING PRODUCTS: (209) 365-1850, www.precision-rp.com 

Pro Steering damper: $559

PRO-BOLT USA: (855) 272-5682, www.probolt-usa.com 

Misc. titanium hardware: Varies

PRO GEARZ: (951) 719-9392, www.progearz.com

Accelerated surface-finishing of transmission components: $450 

PRO TAPER: (951) 736-5369, www.protaper.com

EVO handlebar (woods high): $89.99

Profile clutch perch: $69.99

PROTECT FABRICATIONS: (317) 467-1701, protectfabrications@gmail.com

Laeger’s stainless belly skid: $130

Rear skid stainless: $165

RPM: (928) 771-9363, www.team-rpm.com

Dominator II xc axle w/race hub: $465

Chromoly rear hubs: $389.99

Anti-fade axle lock nut/brake hub: $219.45

Axle bearing carrier: $207.96

SPIDER GRAPHIX: (317) 996-5555, www.spider-graphix.com

Custom graphics kit: $265

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