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PROJECT ATV: Duncan Roll Designed Honda TRX250R Lobo

February 29, 2016
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Before Honda came out with the TRX450R in 2004, the 1988–’89 250R remained the king of many circuits, anywhere from the tight woods of the GNCC series to the wide-open deserts of Baja. Since the 250R hadn’t been produced in decades, machines were far from stock. One of the best chassis builders of that time was Doug Roll. Roll, a racer himself, engineered a complete frame and suspension setup called the Lobo that some say was far superior to the competition.

Doug Roll custom-made the skid plates for the Lobo frame. With a chassis this rare, you want to protect it well.
Doug Roll custom-made the skid plates for the Lobo frame. With a chassis this rare, you want to protect it well.

There was such high demand for the parts in the late ’90s, Doug stopped racing to concentrate on the business of Roll Design. Throughout the 1990s and into the next decade, Roll had many top stars riding his products. The same can be said for Duncan Racing International (DRI). DRI has had its own success nationwide and globally with wins in all major series. Today, both businesses are expanding with the times, but still have a passion for the roots of the sport and collaborated on an incredible project machine built by Kevin Avina.

250R_SPRD_9_DSC_0111

Avina, a former racer, has spent the last decade turning wrenches for top riders on the West Coast, as well as building cool project machines, such as this Lobo project. Avina was contacted by Francisco Vera of Rosarito, Mexico, in Baja California about a year ago saying he found an old Lobo 250R and wanted it restored. The find costed Vera around $7500, which is a far cry from what it cost to build machines like this in the 1990s. Racers paid a minimum of $25,000 to have a Roll Design Lobo ready to race. Avina built some of the last Lobos that had success in Baja, so he was a good go-to. With a little help from today’s technology, Avina made it better than it was back then with only minor changes.

A 250R with modern conveniences like Fasst Co. Flexx handlebars help improve the already-protected machine. The power-valve motor from Duncan Racing takes it to the next level in the power department
A 250R with modern conveniences like Fasst Co. Flexx handlebars help improve the already-protected machine. The power-valve motor from Duncan Racing takes it to the next level in the power department

BUILD IT
Avina started with a complete teardown. The machine was literally a mess, he tells us. It was complete and not missing any parts, but it was completely worn out too. Roll supplied new lower front A-arms and bushings all the way around before things were sent off to ECP for powdercoating back to its original red color. More red was added with the new Maier Fighting Red bodywork. Maier is still the number one place to find OE replacement bodywork. And in fact, the bodywork on Honda’s 250R is the most sought-after part, as Honda doesn’t make or sell it anymore. Up front, Fourwerx Carbon supplied a new carbon fiber nosepiece that directs some extra air towards the stock radiator. Yes, the radiator was still in good working order after all these years.

A Ceet-brand, tall desert seat was built on the stock seat base for this restoration. The seat has a retro look and provides more than enough comfort for hours in the saddle.
A Ceet-brand, tall desert seat was built on the stock seat base for this restoration. The seat has a retro look and provides more than enough comfort for hours in the saddle.

Under the rider, Ceet Racing Products recreated their famous desert seat that 30 years ago put them on the map. For long-distance desert racing, a taller seat is a must so the rider doesn’t get worn out from standing and sitting all day. The extra-thick foam for added comfort is a positive too. More comfort was provided with a set of Stage 5 Elka shocks. These were developed by Doug Roll and the engineers at Elka exclusively for this chassis. Wheel travel on this machine is an incredible 15 inches. The Elkas are so tunable that no matter what kind of surface you are racing on, the shocks can adapt.

In recent years Roll and Elka have teamed up for some projects in the suspension arena. The pairing on this desert machine provides a plush ride that is unlike anything you have ever ridden.
In recent years Roll and Elka have teamed up for some projects in the suspension arena. The pairing on this desert machine provides a plush ride that is unlike anything you have ever ridden.

For controls, Roll Design footpegs give a solid platform for the rider to do his stint, while Works Connection levers and cables provide butterysmooth operation. The Fasst Co. Flexx handlebars were a good addition, since this product wasn’t even invented until well after the 250R ceased to exist. Those bars were connected to a Roll Design steering stem and damped by a GPR stabilizer. What did exist back then were ITP tires. Although over the years ITP’s Holeshot tire technology has improved, these are still some of the best tires you can buy. This setup called for 23×7-10s up front and 22x119s in the rear. All four are mounted on strong Douglas rolled-edge wheels. The rolled-edge wheel is the strongest design you can get before adding a beadlock or strengthening ring.

Duncan Racing has been building Honda 250R motors since the beginning. For this project the Duncan team decided a 305cc big-bore setup with a power valve would match perfectly. The 305 is ultra reliable.
Duncan Racing has been building Honda 250R motors since the beginning. For this project the Duncan team decided a 305cc big-bore setup with a power valve would match perfectly. The 305 is ultra reliable.

TWO-STROKE
Honda’s original two-stroke 250 evolved with the help of the aftermarket, and eventually you could get multiple sizes of this engine, including 265, 305, 310 and 330cc. For this project Duncan went with a 305 power-valve setup. This is a great mix of broad power that has been proven to be very reliable over decades. Duncan rebuilt it with a ProX rod kit inside a PC 2000 cylinder kit ($1895) and added a 39mm PWK carb. An Outerwear covering a K&N filter rested inside a stock airbox. On the exhaust side, a Paul Turner Eliminator pipe and Fat Boy 2 muffler controlled that sweet two-stroke sound ($599). Inside the bottom end, a new Yukon HD countershaft gear set was needed at $599. A complete Hinson clutch kit finished off the lower end ($450). To get the power to the rear wheels, a brand-new RK O-ring chain was added to the 15/38T front and rear sprockets.

Kevin Avina transformed Francisco Vera’s great find into a desert-racing showpiece fit for a museum. In fact, Vera plans on displaying Avina’s work—that is until we convince him to race it.
Kevin Avina transformed Francisco Vera’s great find into a desert-racing showpiece fit for a museum. In fact, Vera plans on displaying Avina’s work—that is until we convince him to race it.

REBUILD YOUR OWN
There are plenty of used Honda 250Rs, Banshees and Suzukis out there for sale. As with this build, you can see the parts are still available to restore any of your old favorites. Companies like Duncan Racing can assist you for sure. Kevin Avina’s build might be at the extreme end of any project you might even consider, but it’s a great benchmark to shoot for. If you do embark on a rebuild, document it with pictures and share it with us. Because who knows, if we like it, we might show it off in the pages of Dirt Wheels, but we will want to ride it first.

What a great time it is when people are restoring every 250R they can find. This Roll Design Lobo chassis has to be one of the most sought-after custom chassis out there. This one was found in Baja, Mexico, luckily in one piece.
What a great time it is when people are restoring every 250R they can find. This Roll Design Lobo chassis has to be one of the most sought-after custom chassis out there. This one was found in Baja, Mexico, luckily in one piece.

CONTACT LIST
Duncan Racing…………..(619) 2586306………..www.duncanracing.com
Roll Design…………………(760) 7315920………..www.rolldesign.com
Maxima………………………(619) 4495000………..www.maximausa.com
Fasst Co………………………(877) 3061801………..www.fasstco.com
Maier Plastic……………….(530) 2729036………..www.maiermfg.com
DWT……………………………(800) racerim………..www.dwtforum.com
Vey’s Powersports………(619) 448.2077……….www.veyspowersports.com
IMS Products………………(800) 2379906………..www.imsproducts.com
ITP Tires………………………(909) 3901905………..www.itptires.com
Works Connection………(530) 6429488………..www.worksconnection.com
Ceet Racing………………..(760) 5990115………..www.ceetracing.com
FourWerx Carbon………(262) 5019696………..www.fwcarbon.com
ECP Powder Coating….(619) 448-3932……….www.ecppowdercoatinginc.com
GPR…………………………….(619) 661-0101……….www.gprstabilizer.com

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