Here in the USA where torque, big, low-revving engines, and straight-line speed were the order of the day, corner-shredding 250cc race-replicas never stood a chance of being popular. But you always want what you can't have, so quite a cult has grown up around bikes like this little Honda NSR250R.
Powered by a reed-valve, liquid-cooled 90° v-twin two, stroke with a six-speed casette-style gearbox, these are a far-cry from the "learner bike" stereotype often applied to bikes of this displacement. But racetrack-bred handling and a slim powerband mean there's plenty of joy to be found wringing the neck of an NSR on a twisty road.
Stock, these two-strokes were limited to just 45hp, although the MC18 is capable of another 15hp once de-restricted: with just 280lbs to push around, 60hp should make performance suitably entertaining. Improvements over the earlier MC16 included electronic PGM ignition, bigger carbs, and other updates to improve flexibility, something that's generally lacking in two-strokes.
Bigger brakes, wider wheels, and uprated suspension rounded out the package and although the passenger seat and headlight scream "practical transportation" they're largely ornamental and this bike is best for back-road blasts and track days.
From the original eBay listing: 1988 Honda NSR250R MC18 for Sale
Up for sale is a legally-imported NSR250. The bike was imported by me this year along with 2 other bikes, I have decided I don't need all 3 so here is your chance to get a very clean example of a 1988 NSR250 MC18.
The bike runs great, it has 9517 original KILOMETERS (title shows a miles, as that is how they measure here, but is in KM, which makes it about 6,000 original miles from 1988. The bike is clean and has the original fairings which fared well over the years, but do have minimal cracks and scrapes. The gas tank is very clean with no trace of rust inside. The bike starts well and the oil injection works great, I have only used synthetic oil and the 2 stroke smoke is not bad at all.
As for performance, this is a blast. Even though this is a 250cc it is NOT a beginner motorcycle, it puts out a lot of power in the high RPMs (for any of you who rode a 2 stroke are probably familiar with). The bike goes through all gears with no issue, all lights work, it is a good running cycle.
This bike is street legal in Arizona, all turn signals and lights work, etc. The speedometer is in kilometers per hour, there are conversions available, however, I just used a free cell phone application to monitor speed. Please check with your local DMV if there are any concerns regarding the speedometer cluster, etc. A clear Arizona title is provided.
The seller also helpfully includes a video of the bike running.
These aren't especially rare in the UK and Japan, but few ever made it to these shores. With prices on sporty two-strokes low in their original markets and demand rising for them here in the USA where they represent tasty, tasty forbidden fruit, many are finding their way over here in less-than-stellar condition. This one isn't perfect, but minor cracks and bits of wear aside, it looks like a very solid example, assuming the reserve is set reasonably.
It'd be nice to know if the bike has been de-restricted and you should definitely do your homework if you plan to run this on the street: the Arizona DMV may be more permissive than your own.