'78 or '79 Honda CR250

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7/3/2017 10:25 AM

I thought I'd ask this question for the Experts. I race Modern bikes now in the Vet classes, but also want to get in to Vintage racing too. I want to get either a "78 or '79 CR250. If I'm able to find either one or both, which is the better one to go with? And why? What's a fair, or expected price on a fully restored one? Are parts fairly easy to come by, both OEM and aftermarket? I'm totally new to the Vintage market, but I did ride them back in the day. Just don't remember anything about them, except that if you had a part time job in high school you could save up some money and buy one pretty quick. Thanks in advance for any advice.

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7/3/2017 10:47 AM
Edited Date/Time: 7/3/2017 10:47 AM

78-79 are largely identical, with a bridge added in 79 to the rather massive intake port. If I recall the tests at the time, the 78 was thought to have a little more overrun. There is variation among the ignitions, probably not material to an average rider enjoying 40 year old bikes.

The 80 was the bigger change, but even then a lot of the components cross over, especially the engine (which has a different ignition variation from the 78-79).

New parts are not that easy to find, but it's not impossible. I will confess this can leading to hoarding expense issues. blush This was a three year design with a lot of unique bits that got left behind with the water cooled engines and unishock coming on in 81. Some of the engine parts to the 81-84 atc 250's crossover as the engine was adapted to that use. There's a fair few people who crank out aftermarket bits, including Steve Denton here, VMX racing for plastics, and some others.

Pricing tends to be all over the place, and from whom you're buying. There are guy-cleaning-his-garage buys out there. Given the parts chase, I wouldn't pay more than a few hundred for one that needed work, but they can run up pretty quickly if in good shape, and way more if equipped with rare aftermarket bits, especially Fox suspension, if the seller knows what he has.

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7/3/2017 1:02 PM

Like FTE said, 78 & 79 very close to the same. Forks are a bit different between them.

The 80 model went to a plastic gas tank, FIM side panels and a center port cylinder so top end, pipe etc. are different from the earlier models.

I have seen well sorted race bikes go from $2500 to $3500. Fully (and correctly) Restored bikes will bring considerably higher but it sounds like you are looking for a race bike, not a show bike.

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7/4/2017 6:40 AM

AHRMA361 wrote:

Like FTE said, 78 & 79 very close to the same. Forks are a bit different between them.

The 80 model went to a plastic gas tank, FIM side panels and a center port cylinder so top end, pipe etc. are different from the earlier models.

I have seen well sorted race bikes go from $2500 to $3500. Fully (and correctly) Restored bikes will bring considerably higher but it sounds like you are looking for a race bike, not a show bike.

Yes, I am looking for a race bike. But, at the same time I like to keep my bikes in showroom condition too if that makes sense.

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7/4/2017 6:42 AM

FreshTopEnd wrote:

78-79 are largely identical, with a bridge added in 79 to the rather massive intake port. If I recall the tests at the time, the 78 was thought to have a little more overrun. There is variation among the ignitions, probably not material to an average rider enjoying 40 year old bikes.

The 80 was the bigger change, but even then a lot of the components cross over, especially the engine (which has a different ignition variation from the 78-79).

New parts are not that easy to find, but it's not impossible. I will confess this can leading to hoarding expense issues. blush This was a three year design with a lot of unique bits that got left behind with the water cooled engines and unishock coming on in 81. Some of the engine parts to the 81-84 atc 250's crossover as the engine was adapted to that use. There's a fair few people who crank out aftermarket bits, including Steve Denton here, VMX racing for plastics, and some others.

Pricing tends to be all over the place, and from whom you're buying. There are guy-cleaning-his-garage buys out there. Given the parts chase, I wouldn't pay more than a few hundred for one that needed work, but they can run up pretty quickly if in good shape, and way more if equipped with rare aftermarket bits, especially Fox suspension, if the seller knows what he has.

Thanks for the advice. I could see myself also hoarding parts as well. I always have plenty of spare parts for my Modern bike on hand, I'm sure I'd want even more for a Vintage bike.

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7/4/2017 12:36 PM

Heads up....Beware of East Coast Vintage, the bike's on their website sure can fool a man. Off topic, do you ever ride at Tulsa MX on 56th St ? I lived in Owasso for 17 year's and that was my favorite track. Hope you find what you're looking for.

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There's something happening here, what it is ain't exactly clear.

7/4/2017 3:46 PM

'79 was a great bike , but it had too much frame and front end flex. The '80 model was changed just enough in the front down tube to bake it better. But remember that each of these three bike were 1 year only bike and some parts will be hard to find.

Paw Paw

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7/4/2017 6:49 PM

ledger wrote:

Heads up....Beware of East Coast Vintage, the bike's on their website sure can fool a man. Off topic, do you ever ride at Tulsa MX on 56th St ? I lived in Owasso for 17 year's and that was my favorite track. Hope you find what you're looking for.

I've heard about them, not so good. There's a place in Coweta that's big in to Vintage bikes & restoration. I've seen some of their work in person and up close. They do good work, and their close. Yes, I do ride some at Tulsa MX. I ride much more at Jandebeur's Motorsports Park in Okmulgee. Excellent facility, he's got 5 tracks there plus a 3 mile trail loop. He had an AHRMA race there last year. Everybody that came really liked the place. He's got a full service Clubhouse as well. If you have a chance to ride there when you're close, you'll be glad you did.

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7/5/2017 7:58 AM

Depending on the quality of your build, be prepared to spend lot's of $$$ to make things right. Lot's of these core bikes are wd-40'd up and sold as "good core" bikes for restoration. The cheaper you can acquire one for, the better. Lot's of them have steel liners in the cylinders from old mishaps as the technology was not available to properly re-plate them. I am in the process of building a '78 CR250, and threw away all the receipts so the Mrs. wouldn't find them.......wink

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7/6/2017 7:13 PM

oldsocalmxr wrote:

Depending on the quality of your build, be prepared to spend lot's of $$$ to make things right. Lot's of these core bikes are wd-40'd up and sold as "good core" bikes for restoration. The cheaper you can acquire one for, the better. Lot's of them have steel liners in the cylinders from old mishaps as the technology was not available to properly re-plate them. I am in the process of building a '78 CR250, and threw away all the receipts so the Mrs. wouldn't find them.......wink

Sometimes you gotta keep the peace any way you can!

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7/7/2017 12:22 PM

ledger wrote:

Heads up....Beware of East Coast Vintage, the bike's on their website sure can fool a man. Off topic, do you ever ride at Tulsa MX on 56th St ? I lived in Owasso for 17 year's and that was my favorite track. Hope you find what you're looking for.

j368 wrote:

I've heard about them, not so good. There's a place in Coweta that's big in to Vintage bikes & restoration. I've seen some of their work in person and up close. They do good work, and their close. Yes, I do ride some at Tulsa MX. I ride much more at Jandebeur's Motorsports Park in Okmulgee. Excellent facility, he's got 5 tracks there plus a 3 mile trail loop. He had an AHRMA race there last year. Everybody that came really liked the place. He's got a full service Clubhouse as well. If you have a chance to ride there when you're close, you'll be glad you did.

I agree with you about Jandebeur, he's a great guy that's passionate about mx. I've spent a lot of time there, mainly on the mx track, also spent a lot of time at Pat's Archery, two of my favorite hobby's within a rock throw of each other.

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There's something happening here, what it is ain't exactly clear.

7/12/2017 1:12 PM

Hi, I own 5 of the 79-80 CR250s,,,I have built a few before this as well. The changes year to year have been identified above.
The thing that I see happen with these bikes somebody gets ' a deal' on a prettied up one with repo fenders,levers, grips, sray can tahitian red and $40 seat cover,,ect,, but either stock shocks or progressives...then realize how the stockers suck(progessives are no better than stock in my book) and they want want foxs,ohlins,wp(500-1100) on back,, then the forks(37mm) are the next sucky thing after the shox are straightened out and they want 43mm 82-83 CR250/480 front end with double leading brake(used 250+ on ebay/400-500 rebuilt) and a aluminum swingarm(750) and some gold rims laced up with buchanons tires tubes(1000)....then they look inside motor and it needs replated(200) ,,clutch basket is steel and notched (300 aftermarket),,crank is loose on right side(replace or hard chrome plus rebuild rod). The kicker is also a flopper with rubber band to tuck it in...send out for repair ($),V-force,,mikuni carb,,ect
Stock they are pretty and ran well in their day....but anyone that races them, especially after riding a modern bike,, will be hunting all the 'good stuff' later if his came stripped-- not equipped.
I have/had multiple C250s where the initial 'cheap' $500-$800 purchase price was the cheapest part of the project.
If you buy one look past the bling of shiny fenders and seat covers and consider the other stuff there and not there.
Brian

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7/12/2017 6:22 PM

Yup, what Brian said. They aren't cheap bikes to build into a good Evo racer. Stock they look cool but anyone that raced them back in the day bought Simmons forks, a fox swingarm and fox shocks. To replicate that today is not easy on the wallet. I'm slowly collecting all I need for my 1980 CR250 and just building a race bike not a show queen

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7/14/2017 8:46 AM

riv187 wrote:

Hi, I own 5 of the 79-80 CR250s,,,I have built a few before this as well. The changes year to year have been identified above.
The thing that I see happen with these bikes somebody gets ' a deal' on a prettied up one with repo fenders,levers, grips, sray can tahitian red and $40 seat cover,,ect,, but either stock shocks or progressives...then realize how the stockers suck(progessives are no better than stock in my book) and they want want foxs,ohlins,wp(500-1100) on back,, then the forks(37mm) are the next sucky thing after the shox are straightened out and they want 43mm 82-83 CR250/480 front end with double leading brake(used 250+ on ebay/400-500 rebuilt) and a aluminum swingarm(750) and some gold rims laced up with buchanons tires tubes(1000)....then they look inside motor and it needs replated(200) ,,clutch basket is steel and notched (300 aftermarket),,crank is loose on right side(replace or hard chrome plus rebuild rod). The kicker is also a flopper with rubber band to tuck it in...send out for repair ($),V-force,,mikuni carb,,ect
Stock they are pretty and ran well in their day....but anyone that races them, especially after riding a modern bike,, will be hunting all the 'good stuff' later if his came stripped-- not equipped.
I have/had multiple C250s where the initial 'cheap' $500-$800 purchase price was the cheapest part of the project.
If you buy one look past the bling of shiny fenders and seat covers and consider the other stuff there and not there.
Brian

Lol..... I resemble that remark. Here's my 78 build in progress. Started out to be a racer, but it's getting to be a borderline garage queen..... jury's still out.blink Photo

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7/14/2017 9:33 AM

Thats pretty nice,,,whose shocks are those?
I got carried away on my 1st one,1980 CR250, that came with fox arm and shocks,,,I was scouring the country salvages, internet, motorcycle back rooms..and hoarded fox forx, 2-3 sets of simons,not 1 but 2 DG heads for CR250,,DG swingarm,pipes,foxs and more foxs. carbs seats tanks clutch baskets,sun rims,more fox swingarms. more 79-80 CR250s....this hunting process led to me buying other brands and other sizes from 50-480,,,I can blame the 'piles syndrome' on buying that first 1980 CR250. The wife has accepted I have a incurable disease ...she said sell some! our garage is full...I bought another house with 2nd garage out back..now thats full..she says sell some...no, now Im building a huge pole barn that'll hold them. Be careful old dirtbikes are addictive and can harm your health.

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7/14/2017 9:36 AM

I see noleen on the sticker. I have some fox atv shocks that I plan to use that are as modern as you can get with high/low compression adjusters and rebound adjustment. smile

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7/14/2017 9:44 AM

450exc115 wrote:

I see noleen on the sticker. I have some fox atv shocks that I plan to use that are as modern as you can get with high/low compression adjusters and rebound adjustment. smile

I saw a fellow use the snowmobile foxs on a can am MX6. Interesting idea. I called Fox and got a list of part numbers and lengths trying to find a good swap too. The adjustable one may have the canister in bad spot with frame? The length on most of them is real long..and I didn't see a limit bumper at end. If you find a model that works please share it!

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7/14/2017 11:29 AM

There are a few flavors of shocks that could work with both remote and attached reservoirs. I have both on the shelf just waiting to be tried. One of these days I'll get the frame stripped and painted to work out any issues. I know the units with remote reserviors are 17 1/2 and the others are 17 3/4 but a properly placed delron spacer I can hit the correct length.

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7/14/2017 12:31 PM

riv187 wrote:

Thats pretty nice,,,whose shocks are those?
I got carried away on my 1st one,1980 CR250, that came with fox arm and shocks,,,I was scouring the country salvages, internet, motorcycle back rooms..and hoarded fox forx, 2-3 sets of simons,not 1 but 2 DG heads for CR250,,DG swingarm,pipes,foxs and more foxs. carbs seats tanks clutch baskets,sun rims,more fox swingarms. more 79-80 CR250s....this hunting process led to me buying other brands and other sizes from 50-480,,,I can blame the 'piles syndrome' on buying that first 1980 CR250. The wife has accepted I have a incurable disease ...she said sell some! our garage is full...I bought another house with 2nd garage out back..now thats full..she says sell some...no, now Im building a huge pole barn that'll hold them. Be careful old dirtbikes are addictive and can harm your health.

Correct....they are Noleen. You have to watch the pipe/silencer clearance. Clark was sure they would fit, but they don't. Have to shorten the DG silencer body and slightly curve the stinger portion of the silencer. If you opt out of the piggyback configuration, it's not an issue.

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