The Fast Times

The Build: It’s Time to Break Down the 1993 Honda CR250R

1993 Honda CR250R
Nick Torrens' 1993 Honda CR250R is a dream that's finally coming together. But, as is often the case, the bike had to be stripped down to be built back up.

It’s crazy how motorcycles bring people together, and also illustrate just how similar a lot of people are, no matter what side of the world they’re on. I’m a farmer in my day-to-day life, with bikes being just a hobby (well, for the time being, anyway), so it’s obvious that I’m an advocate for the “No. 8 wire” mentality. But I’m not the only one, as the previous owner of this 1993 Honda CR250R – which, as you would’ve learnt in Part I, is most probably from the deserts of California – seems to have been the same. Stick with me…

The break down continues

So, even though the engine and carb were in great condition, dropping the power plant out of the frame was a little more time-consuming than I’d hoped. That’s ‘cause the original engine mounting bolts were gone, with a couple of galvanised bolts in the place of the OEM parts. It was nothing a punch couldn’t fix, though. Saying that, I really didn’t like getting a hammer too close, as I’m trying not to break anything that can be saved.

The triple clamps also came off with a little encouragement of the dead blow hammer. Obviously, a bit of overflow from the tank – and whatever else – found its way in, but it’s an easy fix, and just another bearing kit to add to the list.

On the other end of the bike – and the spectrum – was the condition of the subframe and airbox. Right away, I could see that the white plastic could be restored. Those parts are no longer listed – from Honda or the aftermarket – so having an example that hasn’t been painted, covered in decals (and glue), or isn’t stained is saying something.

With those parts separated out, we were down to a frame ready to restore.

Less flex than the ’92 but more than the ‘97

The ‘93 was the second year of this particular model, which meant that the flex and breakage problems that Honda had with the ‘92 were mostly resolved. It seems to ring true, as the frame of “Project 93” is only missing a bit of paint. The welds are good, it was fairly dent free, with only a couple of dings under the engine cradle. The next step was to remove the original ID sticker, which I was able to take off in one go, meaning I can keep hold of the original. In its place, a replica will be made and put back on.

That brings us to the great debate on web forums populated by gearheads that love this era of moto: paint or powder coat? As you can imagine, like everything on the Internet, everyone has an opinion.

So, what’s my choice for the frame, subframe and rear spring? It was a simple choice: powder coat. Basically, I made that decision for the simple reason that the one thicker coat would mask a lot of the little imperfections in the frame. The colours were easy to replicate, and Powdercoating NZ have a good reputation for their metal prep, taking special care with threads.

So, with that decision made and those parts out of the way, it’s on to the next step: parts cleaning. That involves vapour blasting, bead blasting, sand blasting, or media blasting… or, you know, a toothbrush and elbow grease.

Scrub, rinse, and repeat…

While the frame and spring were off at the powder coaters, I was left with a box full of bolts in sandwich bags, and a pile of parts that I had to decide what I was going to do with.

Again, I’m trying to keep the bike period correct, and – if possible – rescue and restore as much as possible. For most parts, the general consensus is to do a lot of cleaning, in the hopes of a new lease of life – especially with NOS parts being pretty scarce. That’s not just in New Zealand, but ‘round the world. That’s certainly the best option for me, too.

The parts that need restoring to as new condition were sent to get vapour-blasted at NTB Racing. That’s a process that will gently clean the parts, taking away the dirt, grease and debris. The process only leaves a satin-like finish, one that will stay looking good for years.

While the suspension – both front and rear – were stripped down to be cleaned, it makes sense to service those, right? That was also done at NTB Racing, with Mark and Craig getting some fresh oil the forks and shock.

Them’s the brakes

The rear master cylinder, as well as the front and rear brake calipers were also be broken right down and vapour blasted. That really is the only way to get rid of a quarter-century of brake dust and grime.

Once again, Bits4Bikes have all the parts needed to rebuild the brakes, in the way of the All Balls Racing kits. That’s not just for this generation of CR, either, but practically any rebuild or restoration.

However, I always had something different in mind for the front brake reservoir. See, to match the factory look of the time, the front brake reservoir, clutch perch, and hubs all got a coat of paint.

Now, the front brake and clutch perch were simple enough to get out. But the hubs were a little trickier. That’s due to years of use, which had the things stuck in the wheels pretty tight. Plus, the previous owner’s aforementioned No. 8 wire way of thinking threw in a surprise, too: whoever it was had used duct tape as rim tape, which seemed to still be working, but it did make things a little… uh… sticky.

Going for the full factory look

So, with spokes and bearings out, everything else was bundled off to NV Motorcycles to be bead-blasted. From there, the parts headed across the road in Morrinsville to Summerell Panel & Paint, for a two-pot paintjob of glorious matt black.

With those parts being sorted by professionals, it left me to deal with just the heart of the beast, and somewhat of a head-scratcher. Yes, the engine is in fairly good condition, and was a runner. As I said in the first part of this series, I was looking to split the cases. But, do I really want to split the engine, or leave it intact, and clean it as is?

The big question

Now, I think the actual question should be, what am I doing with this bike long-term?

Ride?

Display?

Like the decision of what paint process to use, this is another question up for endless debate by gearheads. At the moment, I want to ride it every single day I can, so I’ll keep the engine in one piece and clean it as is.

I mean, so far, it hasn’t been too much of a hassle – I mean, a bit of degreaser and a toothbrush goes a long way. With the grease and dirt taken off, I’ve been applying some engine polish, and then rubbing the engine like some “genie” of Nineties moto is going to pop out and take me back to those golden years of racing.

It seems to be working a treat, too, and my wishes are coming true – mostly in the name of parts being delivered from around the world.

That’s progress.

Main Photo: Honda Motor Company, Ltd.

Advertisement