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Have Prices Peaked? Very Clean 1990 Honda NSR250 MC21 for Sale

1990 Honda NSR250R MC21 R Side

Although the Honda NSR two-stroke sportbikes were by no means “starter bikes” and were very high-performing motorcycles, they were still relatively affordable and often bought by riders not flush enough to afford the taxes on bigger bikes. Basically: young hooligans bought them. Because of this, nice examples are pretty thin on the ground in their home markets.

The recent flood of affordable “grey market” Japanese two-strokes here in the US offers up our first real opportunity to sample bikes that still get the British motorcycle press all dewy-eyed and nostalgic. Unfortunately, caveat emptor is the order of the day, since many of these little nippers were thoroughly thrashed when new.

1990 Honda NSR250R MC21 L Side

The NSR250R featured a 90° liquid-cooled 249cc v-twin backed up by a six-speed cassette gearbox and, from the factory, these were limited to 45hp by Japanese regulations. But there is plenty of additional power waiting to be unleashed by a US owner and, with a sub-300 lb dry weight, this could certainly embarrass many bigger sportbikes in anything but a straight-line race.

This MC21 wasn’t just a continuation of the earlier MC18, it was a ground-up redesign and featured a banana or “gull-arm” swingarm, PGMIII electronically-controlled carburetors, and 17″ wheels at both ends, making tire choice a bit easier today. Although the bike used carburetors, the PGM system created a three-dimensional ignition map for each cylinder, based on throttle-position, revs, and gear.

1990 Honda NSR250R MC21 Gauges

From the original eBay listing: 1990 Honda NSR250R MC21 for Sale

I am selling my 1990 Honda NSR 250R MC-21 two stroke motorcycle. For those unfamiliar with this bike, it is the street version of Honda’s legendary 250cc Moto GP race bike, the NSR250. Despite it’s small displacement, this is not a beginner’s motorcycle! The two stroke engine is very powerful for its size and the bike weighs in at less than 300lbs. On a twisty road, it will leave larger displacement bikes in the rear view mirror. Plus the sound, feel, and power delivery of the two  stroke engine is unlike any four stroke motorcycle. The MC-21 model was brand new in 1990, and was a huge step up from the earlier MC-16 and MC-18 models. In addition to new body work and the super sexy gull-arm swingarm design, the MC-21 utilized the PGMIII ECU from the RC30 superbike, giving it true 3D ignition. Suspension was upgraded and the rear wheel diameter was decreased from 18″ to 17″ to fit the most advanced tires. The bike is in overall great condition, with 11,117km (<7,000 miles) on the clock. There are a few minor scratches on the bodywork (see pictures) but no other significant damage. The bike kick starts from cold on the first try and runs/revs very smoothly.

Honda never sold this bike in the U.S. as the EPA banned most two stroke powered road vehicles in the ’70’s. As such, they are extremely rare. There are a handful of these bikes in the U.S., some here legally, and others illegally. In general, two strokes less than 25 years old are still banned by the EPA, so use caution if you are looking at a similar bike that is newer than 1990. This bike was imported legally by myself directly from Japan, and I have all the US Customs paperwork to verify its legality. I also have a clean and clear Virginia title in my name, which has an 11 digit VIN that matches the bike’s frame number.

Photos: The first seven photos show the bike from various angles, front & rear tires, the speedo/odometer in km. The remaining photos show the following marks & scratches: left front fairing, right lower fairing, right upper fairing, left lower fairing, right seat fairing, left seat fairing, and right handle bar.

1990 Honda NSR250R MC21 Front Fairing

This bike isn’t in showroom condition, but looks very clean and appears to start easily and run well from the included video. There’s a bit of surface rust on some of the fasteners and some scuffs at the edges of the bodywork, but nothing jumps out that should scare off potential buyers.

There are just four days left on this auction, with no takers yet at the starting bid of $5,000. Considering these were virtually unobtainable just a few years ago, has the market been flooded?


1990 Honda NSR250R MC21 Rear


  • A bit dog eared but the STP key fob more than makes up for that! Fun bikes… And now the golden question: Title?

  • We’ve all been through this before on this site, haven’t we? Take a close look at that very revealing and scary picture of the gauges/triple clamp area. It clearly gives a glimpse of the corrosion level of this 25 year old machine. Wonder what it looks like underneath all of the bodywork? Why doesn’t the seller show the whole story and actual condition underneath? If it was clean and good, why doesn’t he show it as a selling point?

    Let’s review: seller has just about no established reputation (2 feedbacks), no specifics are given on legal/title status, corrosion issues apparent but not completely or fully disclosed, no history of maintenance given or hinted at- because nobody knows. Who would pay $5K+ for this?

    • Totally on point! How can anybody say prices have peaked with all the strikes against you mentioned. Thank you for pointing out the facts.

  • “Have the prices peaked on imports?” The answer is no, they haven’t. The general masses have no idea which grey market bikes have value and which ones don’t. This bike, is pretty nice and it’s worth what he’s asking but people in know will hold out for better models. People who know nothing about how awesome these are have no idea why the asking price is what it is. Plus, it’s well known that this is the worst time of year to sell a bike. Are you going to buy a motorcycle for yourself or Xmas presents for little Timmy in Nov and Dec? Post this bike in the spring and people will be saying its the deal of the century.

  • I agree with greg not the best time of the yr to be selln bikes…i would say spring time right around tax return season followed by summa time it seems to have a virgina title i think this bike is worth between 6 to 6 and a half if it was plated here in the peoples republic of cali …,dont know about virgina or or rest of thr u.s

  • I’ll bet under the bodywork it looks like a bitchin MC21 two stroke 250 Honda NSR, with expected corrosion for its age, mileage, and crappy factory finish/coatings typical of ALL JDM gray bikes… Now hate on…

    • The corrosion and age such can be fixed with some sweat equity, I agree its not the end of the world. But it is a let down not to see it without fairings to see how much sweat one is getting into. Also not keen on the low ebay feedback. With those two things it becomes a red flag.

  • the biggest drag DOWNWARD on the price point is the lack of de-restriction to my mind. the mc21 is a pain in the ass to bring to full power not to mention expensive

    • It’s the MC28 that is the pig to derestrict.

  • Derestriction is very simple on the mc 21…nsrworld.net covers it…its just a matter of stripping about 5 wires and resoldering them to different wires from the pgm unit very easy to do

  • I’m looking for one close to me in the midwest as a track day tool and after some quick research found this:


    65hp doesn’t look too expensive but maybe the next 10 horses to get to the 75hp they’re capable of is.

    I would gladly part with 4.5K for this and supe it up and call it good.

  • The poster Shad might have this confused with the MC28 which is a little trickier to derestrict. I had an MC21 years ago. Derestriction took all of an afternoon including chambers, reeds, and jetting. It was always known that the MC21 is the NSR to have to go fast on. The 28 was the one to admire for it’s techno trickery and good looks.

  • The idea that there are tonnes of 75hp NSR250 STREET bikes running around is worth a laugh. Understand the RS250 (Honda customer race bike, not the Aprillia/Suzuki RS) of this generation (1990) was a 75hp bike.

    The only 75hp NSR’s are the ones kitted with F3 race parts (essentially NSR kit RS-like bits). The cost and effort of maintaining an F3 spec NSR 250 is the same as an RS250 – it then becomes a track only bike, no matter what NSR-world says.

    In real life these are 45hp entry level bikes that handle like a dream. After 25 years ANY JDM 250 stroker is an exercise in patience and frequent rebuilding if not maintained. Not impossible to manage, but a chore. They are not for everyone, which is why they get handed around like a college dorm slut 🙂

    • In real life these are reliable 60-65hp bikes. Not 75 hp like the RS, but simple to derestrict.

  • I’ll take a two stroke water cooled over a dorm slut any day! Besides, a NSR would probably leak less fluids all over the living room floor.

  • Lmfao

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