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Review of the 1981 Honda CB 250 RS:
1981 Honda CB250 RS
Author: Ropbert Moore, 2007-12-27|
I bought my 250 RS in 1981. I owned it for 9 trouble free years before some lowlives stole it. The quickest 250 4 stroke in that era, it was light, economical and had good performance in the city and occasional bursts on the freeway. Very popular with city couriers.
I bought my irredescent blue Honda CB 250 RS in 1981 after reading reviews and seeing it at the Sydney Motorcycle Show.|
After purchase in late 1981, my first impression was ´wow, this is a fast little bike´.
The handling seemed fine with only 128 kg + rider it was a good performer. The engine was derived from Hondas XL/XR offroad range so had a good flat torque curve from idle to its 9,250 rpm redline.
I occasionally saw 10,000 rpm but generally it was all done by 9,500 and it´s best power was between 6,000 and 8,500. It was more than enough for other four stroke 250´s of the eighties and frequently punched well above it´s weight.
A rival late in it´s life was the Yamaha 250 SRX sports single and the Kawasaki GP 250. Suzuki and Honda also sold 250 twins but these were heavier and less sporty than the 250 RS.
The frame was a single downtube and spine with the engine as a stressed member. The forks were adequate and shocks were adjustable for spring preload. Overall the handling and roadholding was very good. It was rare to scrape the footpegs.
Lighting was adequate and the alternator had the capacity to increase headlamp wattage a little.
The build quality was the usual high Honda standard.
The head cracked around the exhaust port at 20,000 but this may have been to my hard riding in very hot conditions.
Chainlife was not good because of the inherant nature of single cylinder power pulses and the harmonics of the 250 RS chain and sprocket. A replacement at the time was a nylon rear. It was a popular choice for couriers using this machine.
Fuel consuption was about 5 litres/100 km ridden hard or as little as 3 litres/100km riden gently.
Instruments were clear and legible, easily visable at night and the 12 volt electrics gave good indicator and lighting performance. The headlight could be more powerful but is limited by battery size and alternator output.
The hydraulic single disk front and mechanical twin shoe rear drum were good but not outstanding.
Pad life was about 12,000 km.
The standard 3.00 from and 4.10 rear tyres were a good match with a number of popular brands available. Tyre life was 8-10,000 rear and 15,000 km + for the front.
The RS 250 has a reputation for toughness, light weight, good handling and reliability. There are many examples running the street even after 26 years. A great bike very much underated with clean and attractive lines.
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