While Honda does have a well-deserved reputation for technical innovation, they sometimes seem to intentionally eschew certain formats or technologies, only to swoop in and produce world-beating bikes late in the game, as if to say, “See? Weren’t kicking your ass using a v-twin because we didn’t want to…”
The same is true of two-strokes like this NSR250R.
Back in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, the Japanese manufacturers’ lightweight sportbikes were often two-strokes like Yamaha’s RD400. Two-strokes lend themselves to this kind of bike, providing a good power-to-weight ratio and compact dimensions, along with a narrow powerband that rewards rider skill and involvement. During that same period, Honda’s small and middleweight sporting motorcycles were sophisticated overhead cam twins and even four cylinder motorcycles like their CB400. But when Honda did begin producing two-strokes, they didn’t so much dip their toe in as dive straight into the weird end, producing bikes like the MVX250F and later NSR400R that featured Honda’s advanced torque-enhancing ATAC system for their weird little V3 two-strokes. The original MC16-version NSR250R was introduced in late ’86 as an ’87 model and was most commonly available in the red-and-white color scheme seen here, although blue-and-white bikes exist as well. Designed to ape the look of Honda’s 250GP bikes, the bike used a 90° liquid-cooled 249cc v-twin with a six-speed cassette-style gearbox that made track-side gearing changes much easier for the highly-strung little sportbike. The bike used aluminum for its frame and swingarm, and weighed in at under 300lbs without fuel and oil.
From the original eBay listing: 1987 Honda NSR250R for Sale
Just imported through US Customs this summer, this 1987 NSR250r comes with a US title ready to be transferred into your name in your state.
This NSR250 is showing just 11,146 original miles (17,937 kilometers) on the odometer so it is a clean, lower mileage bike but the sun has not been kind however as the bodywork is paint faded and the stickers, etc. faded too. A light color sanding or polishing compound will bring back the paint and plastic polish will restore the windshield so a little elbow grease will go along way with this NSR. The fairing bodywork is original and un-cracked and the seat is in good condition too. Newer tires front and back, triple drilled discs and a hidden dual seat option make for nice features on this bike. There are 2 small dings barely visible in the top of the tank (probably from a tank bag), I tried to get them to show up in the pictures but they are small so you really can’t see them. All in all a very clean used 250R, I have 5 more pictures that eBay won’t let me upload-send me your email address and I’ll get them to you.
The seller also helpfully includes a video of the bike running. Although there is stunning performance potential in the NSR250R, many of these have been imported originally from Japan, meaning they would have initially been limited to 45hp. This one comes most recently from Canada, but it might be worth a quick email to the seller to verify that it’s been de-restricted. As the seller mentions, this one needs a bit of cosmetic work to really make shine, although “that’ll buff out” seems a bit cliché… Bidding is just north of $2,000 with the reserve met, with five days left on the auction, so this might be a good chance to pick up a nice, running NSR for a relatively low price, and then spend a bit of time getting the cosmetics up to snuff. Or just ride it!