Bike of the Month - September 2012
1976 Honda CR250M\'76 Elsinore

Mark Wheat

Houston, TX



Hi, this is my 1981 Honda CR250M\'76 Elsinore.


A while back I purchased two NOS '76 CR250M\'76 engines. Yes, NOS. The engines were used in a tech school and had never been cranked or put on a bike. I had my mechanic split the cases and thoroughly clean all the gears as well as replace all the inner seals and gaskets. He was delighted to tear one down that was actually brand new (just 36 years old)! Side covers were missing on both engines so I found used replacements and powdercoated them.


I found a '76 roller and did a complete restoration. The bike came out beautiful but when I went to ride it I realized why so many Honda enthusiast love to hate on that year model. I was pretty sore overall and my wrists and shoulders were aching.


So I located another roller and set out to build a second bike that I would modify to overcome all the suspension problems the stock bike had in my opinion. Here are the photos of my 1976 CR 250M\'76 "modified" bike.


Overall I wanted to raise the bike up 4 inches. I looked around for aftermarket swingarms and couldn‚t find any for this model so I installed a '78 Suzuki RM 250 swingarm and rear wheel with little modification. The rear shocks had to be relocated inward a bit to match the new swingarm. I slightly laid the shocks forward by adding the plates to the frame you see on the upper rear shock mounts. A front chain roller had to be added to the frame right behind the left footpeg to accommodate the travel on the swingarm. One the front end, I installed '82 Honda XR200R forks. With the raising of the bike and longer forks the wheelbase and rake were now out of whack. Next I cut the neck to change the rake back to 27.5º, bring the wheelbase down to 60%, and correct the trail to 3.5%. Everything was professionally welded back.


To finish it off I had Circle F Exhaust fabricate a custom downpipe. The sunburst head is authentic DG (stamped on the underside) off a Honda Odyssey of all things. I used a front fender off a '79 CR125 only because I thought the larger fender fit better. The front number plate is an old original DG item my brother came across. The frame is powdercoated Tahitian Red and everything you see on this bike that is gold is powdercoat (included the carb). The only gold paint is of course the tank.


I rode it this weekend for the first time. As you know, when you show up at the track on any regular Saturday most of the old timers will come admire these old bikes but the kids don't seem to care much about them. I gave it hell but I was still getting lapped by all the 12 years olds on their KX 85's!!


Here is a link to a slideshow my son and I made of the resto/mod: Click Here