PROJECT MACHINE: Honda 250R Rebuild Pt. 2
What if Honda or another manufacturer released a new two-stroke sport quad today? Would that be enough to rejuvenate the industry and make quads as popular as they were in 2007? Well, if the EPA has anything to do with the idea, it probably won’t happen. However, that may not be all bad, because you can build your own. There are thousands of older Honda and Suzuki 250Rs, Quadzilla 500s, Banshees and Blasters on the used market that any of us can pick up and build a great machine with. Furthermore, the investment would probably be less than the cost of a brand-new machine. This year we choose to build a classic Honda 250R and assemble it as close to how we think Honda would build one in this day and age. We want to keep the classic look, using very rare stock plastic and a stock engine. For suspension, we are making some needed upgrades but are not going overboard.
In part one of this project we showed you the dis-assembly of the machine and noted what parts were broken and what needed to be replaced. In part two we are working on getting things fixed or brought back to stock and laying out what components will finish it off and bring the project to life.
To start, we stripped the frame of all components and sent the engine to the experts at CT Racing. CT has been fixing and modified 250R engines for decades and know their stuff. On this engine we removed the big 310 cylinder in exchange for the stock 250cc cylinder that came with our basket-case purchase. Before assembly, CT ported the cylinder, re-chambered the head and used a brand-new 254cc piston that costs $495. While the 310 cylinder was still good, we wanted this machine to be close to stock in case we use it to compare to a modern sport quad in the future. Most of the work on this motor was done on the bottom end. CT split the lower cases and put all new guts inside. They installed a new crankshaft, connecting rod and main bearings (two at $27 each) from Hot Rods for an additional investment of $256. During the process the counterbalancer was rebuilt for $75. Try spending under $1000 on a full four stroke rebuild and see what that gets you. While apart, CT sand-blasted the cases and repainted them stock black, just like the factory, for $150. When we put the engine back in the frame, we installed a complete CT exhaust system and silencer for $379.
That stock frame needed a lot of work before things started getting bolted back up. First, we sandblasted it entirely and began counting cracks. There were at least a half-dozen cracks in different parts of the frame and a few tabs had broken off. While we were welding those up, we also welded in a Bare Performance flat steel plate and gusset kit. This is a 17-piece kit that strengthens all the known weak areas of the stock frame. The company supplied a detailed template and photos showing exactly where every piece goes. In total, the kit adds about 3 pounds to the frame and will set you back $80. After the gusset kit was welded up, we took the frame back to Aires Sandblasting in Lancaster, California, and had them powdercoat it Honda red for $200.
Before we started reinstalling the parts, we ordered up a $50 250-piece Maintenance Kit from Spec Bolt. This is a super-handy assortment of nuts and bolts and other fasteners exclusively selected for your particular machine. All the bolts are as strong or stronger than OEM bolts. If you were to source these bolts at the local hardware store you would pay double and probably triple at the dealer. Spec Bolt has bodywork, suspension and engine assembly bolt kits as well. Some bolts, like the swingarm bolt, we had to get from a different bolt supplier. The swingarm bolt was totally roached, so we sourced a new one from Lonestar Racing for $65. Another $74 was spent on a new seat latch also from LSR. The stock seat had a big problem with popping off unexpectedly. OMF Performance has a 250R seat latch too. The seat itself received brand-new foam and a custom-embroidered cover from Fourwerx Carbon.
More products are on order from Lonestar Racing, and we will be installing them in part three of this project. Up front we are using sport A-arms, which will be 2 inches wider and 1 inch further forward from stock. This will extend the wheelbase numbers and give the quad more straight line stability. The wide, front A-arms will be matched with a stock-length swingarm also from LSR. At both ends Elka Stage 4 shocks will be bolted up and provide a huge advantage over the stock non-adjustable shocks.
The A-arms retail for $675 and come with new ball joints, bushings and longer tie-rods. The swingarm has a $675 price tag and will be outfitted with an LSR bearing carrier ($185) and Axcaliber axle at $449.
LSR has all the parts you would need to rebuild any classic. From hubs and brake components to suspension arms and complete frames, you can find what you need for any brand machine. Plus, through their website at www.lsracing.com, you can order all of the components exactly the size and color you want with easy drop-down menus and a payment center. Very impressive.
To upgrade the footpegs we turned to another expert in 250R products— Rath Racing. Owner Daryl Rath has been racing and building trick 250Rs for all of his career. One of the best products he sells for 250Rs are his Pro Peg footpeg and nerf bar combo. You see, back in the 1980s Honda didn’t use heel guards or nerf bars. They installed the footpegs on one pivoting chunk of metal welded to the lower part of the frame—sort of how they do it on dirt bikes—so it’s really hard to find good footpegs for this machine. Rath’s Pro Peg provides a big, solid standing platform and connects to a set of heel guards out back and complete nerf bars up front. The package is well worth the $430 price.
You will see when the project is finished that we left the stock bodywork intact. The red OEM plastic is so rare, it sells for close to $1500 on eBay. The used machine we bought had an all-original body that was untrimmed and we figure will add value to the build for sure. To make the machine a roller, we will install a full set of new tires and wheels underneath. Our list of parts on order is still not finished, but we are getting close to the end. For the final installment of this project series, we will get the machine fired up and ride it. No, we are not going to keep it tucked away in the Dirt Wheels museum. It will, like all of our project machines, be ridden and ridden hard. We can’t wait.
Lonestar Racing: 800-4LS-RACE, www.lsracing.com
CT Racing: (562) 945-2453, www.ctracing.net
Bare Performance: (765) 744-0320, www.bareperformance.com
Rath Racing: (320) 234.7223, www.rathracing.com
Spec Bolt: (770) 363-6580, www.spec bolt.com
FourWerx Carbon: (262) 501-9696, www.fwcarbon.com