So, instead of starting the race with
a rolling roach, we had the cleanest
attention magnet of the race. Nothing
generates goodwill like an older
two-stroke. The combination of the
best motor and the best frame in the
CR250R’s history was a winner. In the
later years of the Honda’s existence,
it was pushed to the back burner by
Yamaha, KTM and Suzuki, all of which
had better 250cc motors. The Honda
actually handled better than any of
them, though. If Honda had kept the
last of the mechanical power-valve
Honda motors, it would have stayed
closer to the top of the two-stroke field
(when you compare stock machines).
But, when you measure our Honda
against the current 250cc two-strokes
from Yamaha and KTM, it comes
up a little short. The power is a little
softer. The clutch pull is a little harder,
and the bike just feels a little older.
Handling is another story. Frankenbike
is magic. It’s lighter and has better
suspension than the new two-strokes.
And, it turns! The Honda was always
incredible in corners. Back in the day,
we used to complain about head-shake, but that was completely eliminated by the steering damper.
As for the race, it could have gone
better. Frankenbike suffered a race-ending crash early in the 24-Hour,
forcing the crew to turn to the back-up bike. But, all of our riders would
have preferred the two-stroke. The
good news is that the bike is still
fresh, ready for its next race. Was
it a cost-effective project? The total
in parts was around $3000, plus the
initial cost of the bike. That’s what it
would cost to get virtually any two-stroke restored to new condition.
You can do a little better if you buy a
less-destroyed core, and a two-stoke
project will still cost way less than a
brand-new four-stroke. And as with
any project, the journey is as much
fun as the destination. ❏
By absorbing abuse in a
natural motion for your body,
Flexx Handlebars allow the
rider to focus on riding,
instead of holding on.
“I love Flexx Handlebars!
They absorb a lot of impact,
especially on small chatter bumps.
After years of abuse racing at the high-
est level, it’s hard work to get through
long, rough motos. Flexx Handlebars
help with that tremendously!”
— RYAN SIPES
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