Sin­gle-minded Andy

Old Bike Australasia - - OUT’N’ABOUT -

Bris­bane Ad­ver­tis­ing man ANDY BIRD is keen on Honda’s CB250RS. “OBA read­ers with a soft spot for the Honda CB125S fea­tured last is­sue may also be fond of its big­ger brother the CB250RS re­leased 1980-82. The RS (Road Sport) has the 249cc en­gine with twin ex­haust out­let from the XL250S of the era, though they dif­fer in some de­tails, and fea­tures nice touches like al­loy rims, plas­tic pan­elling and guards which con­trib­ute to its light and nim­ble na­ture. Over­all, a well bal­anced, qual­ity pack­age that some­one in Ja­pan put a lot of thought into get­ting right when many 250 four strokes at the time were heavy and slow. I re­stored my 1981 ex­am­ple about 7 years ago with the in­ten­tion of cre­at­ing a clas­sic com­muter and it has proved to be a re­li­able friend ever since. The RS is ul­tra slim for split­ting lanes, has enough power to win the drag from the lights and works sur­pris­ing well on the hin­ter­land roads out­side of Bris­bane where it rel­ishes a good neck wring­ing and re­wards with a lively ride that won’t get you ar­rested. While not per­fect, my RS is fairly orig­i­nal and ev­ery­thing was straight and fit­ted when found, though pretty rough cos­met­i­cally. The once fash­ion­able black paint ap­plied to al­most ev­ery bike dur­ing the 80s was in a par­tic­u­larly nasty state of en­demic cor­ro­sion. Bucket loads of lethal in­dus­trial strength paint strip­per re­vealed the vir­gin al­loy be­neath on the en­gine, fork legs and hubs, which was brought to a beau­ti­ful shine us­ing mul­ti­ple grades of wet and dry and lots of el­bow grease. Dur­ing restora­tion ev­ery­thing had to be stripped down and cleaned of rust, grime and ox­i­da­tion, along with cob­webs and a long aban­doned mud wasp nest in the air box. How­ever, and for­tu­nately, the tank, side cov­ers and go-fast duck­tail, com­plete with handy stor­age com­part­ment, only needed a good pol­ish­ing. The spongy stan­dard shocks were re­placed with YSS units, a lusty Bri­tish Mo­tad 2-1 ex­haust sys­tem was fit­ted, and the sad­dle re­shaped to ac­quire cheaper sin­gle seat reg­is­tra­tion. The CB250RS is a wor­thy sib­ling to the CB125S and other much loved Honda sin­gles of the 70s. While the Amer­i­can flat tracker styled FT500, com­star wheeled XBR500 and oddball CBX250 came out a year later, the only Honda sin­gle road bike in re­cent times has been, I be­lieve, the CBF250 com­muter re­leased in 2004. While it’s fairly easy to slot an XL500S en­gine into the RS frame for ex­tra ex­cite­ment, a pur­pose built, mod­ern spec large ca­pac­ity Honda sin­gle with the same re­fine­ment and spirit of the CB250RS would be most wel­come to­day.”

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