Honda XL250 Motosport

Welcome to my latest aquisition. Another restoration project, even if it doesn't quite look that way. It is, as already mentioned in the title, an XL250 Motosport - Honda's legendary first 4-valve 250cc single dirtbike. Massively popular in the US at the time, and massively unpopular as, well, probably most oriental bikes at time, in the UK. It wasn't actually that unpopular in the UK but even then, the majority of dirtbikes were still old Brit iron. Of course, the fact that tis bike was actually learner legal and thus could be ridden by any 17 year old who hadn't even passed their motorbike test ensured that very few Motosports actually survived.

This bike is a genuine UK model and the registration date suggests that it may have been one of the first bikes sold in the UK. Oddly enough, I bought another early XL250 Motosport as a donor bike about six month later and it was registered the same day, albeit in a different part of the country judging by the reg number.

The bike itself is an unfinished restoration. As the saying goes, it's 90% finished, so all I need to do is take care of the other 90%. Someone has invested a hell of a lot of money in the bike as it's brimming with new parts including a few of those that are incredibly hard to find these days. A couple of bits and pieces are still missing - namely, the sprocket cover, choke cable assembly, battery and indicators - but most of them are already on the way from David Silver.

Anyway, in absence of any better photos, here are two taken just after the bike was loaded onto Paul's trailer, ready for its long journey from York down to London:

And in the next installment, I'll get to play MOT tester, wandering around the bike scribbling down notes on a clipboard. Expect much Sucking Of Teeth in the process.

Added 16th October 2005

Well, it doesn't run. That seems to be the main problem. It does have some semblance of compression, it turns over, it's got enough fuel to wet the plug and some kind of a spark - not much but it should be just about enough to ignite the mixture. But it doesn't. Ho hum. I can see some in-depth investigation over this winter.

On a more positive side I've managed to assemble most of the missing parts either from David Silver or from ebay auctions in the US. The market for parts in the UK appears to be almost non-existant... And yes, I even managed to get an NOS sprocket cover.


Added 20th December 2006

And more than a year on, it still doesn't run. Granted, I've move house since, which didn't help as it pretty muc stopped all my restorations in their respective tracks. Nevertheless the main problem with the bike not running turned out to be a distinct lack of compression. Oh, and fuel, at least to a certain extent. Throwing some more money at it did at least lead to improvements in the sparks department but I ended up buying a donor bike with a supposedly running engine. Now remind me where I've heard that one before?

Oh nevermind, the other engine actually as compression and I managed to get it running for a couple of minutes. Of course it has resisted all further attempts at making it go...

Another few months later, I managed to find a pristine, unrestored XL250 Motosport that was registered in 1976. Indeed it is so complete and original that it still carries its indicators.

This bike was a bought as an MOT runner and I actually managed to ride it home on a pleasant, hot summer day. Since then it has also refused to start and is displaying the same symptoms of not getting any fuel as the original restoration object. I guess a full clean overhaul of the fuel system is in order now.