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Quarter-Liter Screamer: 1990 Honda CBR250RR MC22 for Sale

Small-displacement, entry-level sportbikes are a tough sell here in the USA. With an emphasis on big bikes, no licensing limitations, and lots of cheap used machines available, there’s little incentive for new riders to pick up something like today’s Honda CBR250RR. Which explains why they were never sold here in the first place, although examples have recently been finding their way over here, mixed in with the other, formerly unobtainable two-stroke exotica that often features on this site.

Produced between 1986 and 1996, the CBR250RR was intended mainly for the Japanese market, although some found their way to other countries as grey market imports, obviously in places where someone might spend the premium required for such a relatively sophisticated machine.

The spec sheet reads like a much bigger bike, with four tiny pistons and sixteen valves operated by gear-driven cams, with a six-speed gearbox putting 40hp to the rear wheel. The wet weight of 350lbs isn’t quite as light as one of the better-known 250cc two-strokes, but you do get that sophisticated metallic shriek as the bike winds around to 19,000rpm and the bike has excellent handling.

From the original eBay listing: 1990 Honda CBR250RR for Sale

The 1992 Honda CBR250RR MC22 is from a golden era of sportbikes. With a water cooled 4 valve per cylinder inline 4 with dual overhead gear driven cams that redlines at 19,000rpms. I cannot think of any modern small displacement bike that comes with an engineering feet such as these bikes. Honda was at the top of their game in this era. Not only does the bike rev to 19,000rpms  but it is the linear progression and feel when you’re doing it that is truly unreal.  few bikes that share the sensation of riding this bike. I’m always amazed when I look down at the tach and see I have 10,000 more rpms before I hit redline. Haha. Weighing just above 300lbs and having 45hp it is actually lighter and has more power than a brand new CBR300. I have a few friends who claim they are only about 10 of these bikes in the states. I don’t know if that’s true but I only know of about 8 of them. Most in private collections. 

The bike in the auction was legally imported from Japan and is currently registered in my name. When I got this bike the fork tubes were pitted and the seals were shot. I purchased brand new fork tubes from GF Racing and the forks were completely rebuilt with all new seals and bushings. All the fluids were flushed and replaced…..brakes bled, oil and coolant changed and etc. New tires were installed and the carbs were cleaned. Brand new battery. Brand new chain and sprockets. 

The seller also includes a video of the bike being started and running. This particular CBR250RR looks to be very clean, with less than 4,000 miles on the odometer and just a few minor scuffs and bits of surface corrosion. The problem with the little CBR is one of value for the money: for all that sophistication and complexity, you’re still looking at a 250cc four-stroke so power is predictably modest, even given the bike’s light weight. Here in the US, it’s a very sweet little novelty bike that’s probably a lot of fun to thrash, with that stratospheric redline and cam-gear whine but, as asking prices have crept up, they make less and less sense. Obviously, not everyone agrees with me on this: bidding is very active on this bike, and up north of $6,000 with just about 24 hours left on the auction.

-tad

14 Comments

  • Have you ever ridden one Tad?

    • Not yet! Why, do you have one I can try out?

    • You know I do

  • Ultra rare? Check.
    Iconic style? Check.
    Over the top engineering? Check.
    Super clean example? Check.

    The low-displacements-aren’t-desirable argument is a silly one. People shopping for one of these likely already have a few large displacement bikes. This is for someone who knows and loves motorcycles and not a “beginner bike.” 250cc at 19,000rpm is definitely going to put a smile on your face—and isn’t that the point?

    • Totally on point

  • Nah, it was never sold in the States for a different reasons. Kind of the same way that US never got FZR600 with proper aluminium frame. Or Fz600R didn’t get water cooled engine, while 400cc brother was water cooled. Or, during the golden age of race replicas, US never really received all the highly-strung machines. For the same reason that we’ve ever gotten things like (proper) Ford Escort, or DOHC CR-X Si. You know what I’m getting at? These are fantastic little machines, sure not as invigorating as 2-stroke nutcase of the same era, and nowhere near as fast, but beautifully made, pleasurable machines to ride.

    • Exactly

  • It could just be me, but I’m always skeptical of grey market bikes with such low miles. There’s no easy way of really telling if they truly are low mileage bikes or if the odometer was swapped sometime/somewhere between Japan and the US.

    • Good point on being skeptical of low mileage grey market bikes. If the machine is honestly low mileage, there’s an easy and simple way to back that up and prove it to potential buyers. That would be to provide detailed and close up pictures of the bike with the freaking bodywork REMOVED! So simple, so obvious, and removes much doubt. No one seems to have a clue or be willing to spend the time to do so, including this seller.

      You can easily hide the real story underneath all of the plastic of a sportbike and just make a show of some superficial exterior scuffs, flaws, and scratches. How about revealing to bidders close ups of the engine, underneath the suspension, underneath the seat, around the steering head, the bottom of engine, bottom of exhaust. You can’t fake or detail away mileage, corrosion, or use there- but you sure can hide it by never showing it.

    • I guess next time I sell a bike I’ll remove the bodywork so everyone, including people who aren’t interested in purchasing, will know the odemeter is real.

  • A little birdie told me that was a bit spotty condition at a September ride.

  • Yep, it did need some fork seals and a few things, it’s all been correct now though. I also think that some little birdies like to talk down bikes they’re jealous of. Haha

  • This looks like a very nice cbr250rr example. Low miles nice and clean, I think the low mileage is correct, the footrests and the area around the gauges looks clean, plus the body work is definitely original which is huge plus. i have been drooling to buy one of these but noticed that a lot cbr250rr bikes for sale tend to have aftermarket bodywork… I personally think it’s a great bike, I wish I had the funds at this time to bid on one of these…

    • Cool, somebody who actually knows how to tell if a bike has miles on it with it being taken apart down the the crank. haha

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