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sprouty115 12-01-2012 05:40 PM

Advice on an RD 250 build
Hi All,
I need some help - about a two months ago I went looking for a first bike for my son. I found a clean '76 RD 250 with 6K miles. The story sounded good - 100% original with low miles, a clean title, and in running condition for $1,600. So I checked it out, and everything seemed perfect: It was super clean: no rust in the tank, rims were perfect, lights, gauges and signals worked, new fork seals, it even started on the second kick. I drove it around for a bit and it sounded and handled fine. We settled on $1,400 and I figured I had a keeper.

My plan was to go through it over the winter and then give it to him as a present in the spring. So I started poking around and the first thing I did was compression test. Found both cylinders around 120. Based on what I read here that sounded slightly low so I figured I'd let a local shop go over the entire bike and at least than I'd have an idea where to focus my attention.

They confirmed the compression readings, then pulled the exhaust to see if there was any scoring on the pistons (there was a little) so they started looking deeper. Got a call today: broken stator, bent crank, etc. They said they could do the work but it's essentially a full rebuild and probably close to $2K.

So my question to you guys who've been down this road: is it worth it? Does that price seem reasonable? Are there any other options?

A bit more info: I'm pretty set on having an early RD for him (it was my first road bike and I have a real soft spot for them) also I'm pretty mechanically inclined, but I'm just a bit busy, so depending on how difficult this rebuild is maybe I could do it myself? Thoughts and suggestions would be appreciated and don't hold back, I can take it...


spo123 12-01-2012 05:42 PM

$2,000 for the motor is VERY HIGH!

sprouty115 12-01-2012 06:06 PM

Just to be clear: the $2K is for the entire motor rebuild: new crank, rods, bearings, pistons, seals, re-bore, the stator, etc. Also pulling it from the frame and re-installing it.

So if that is high, any recommendations on where to send it would be welcome as well.

JonnyCash 12-01-2012 07:29 PM

2k for a full engine rebuild, including taking it out and reinstalling it in the bike is actually pretty fair, I'd say. It cost me quite a bit less than that on my RD350, but I did everything except the press work on the crank, and the boring myself. While there's nothing very hard about any of it, it is a lot of work. If you want to give the bike to your son, and have it be a learn to ride experience, and not a how to work on bikes experience, it would probably be a good choice.

If it were me, I'd be on the lookout for a ratty RD that runs, and swap that engine into it. They go cheap, but still, you'd have a 40 YO engine in there. I've got a very nice, very modified RD350 that will be up for sale soon. The bottom end, I rebuilt about 2000 miles ago, and the top end had about 500 miles on it. Why am I selling it? I picked up an old Guzzi that has a long list of needs.

Is your bike really a 76? In the states, there was no RD250 in 76, just a 400. There was a 250 from 73-75. 74's were brown, 75's white, I don't remember what the 73's were.

sprouty115 12-01-2012 08:21 PM

Thanks Johnny. First off, yes it is a '75, it's white with red tank stripes. I looked at a
of RD's, must have gotten the year mixed up. Second, I also already have lead on an engine but it sounds trashed and like you say even if it runs it's still 40 years old and a gamble. It seems there are bikes and engines around but nothing in great shape, but I'll definitely keep looking.

And...If it's as much work as you say, I probably don't have time to get it done before spring if I do it myself.

My intention was for this to be a nice stock bike that I went through so he didn't get stranded somewhere and that he could customize himself. I'm still leaning in that direction, but if you want to send me some info on yours once you decide to sell, I'd be happy to consider it.


LasseNC 12-02-2012 10:08 AM

Replace stator, if you think it ran fine, then just keep riding it. When/If it breaks. replace it. You don't know if he will like the bike. If he does, then throw money at it.

sprouty115 12-02-2012 03:47 PM

Well it looks like the engine I had a line on turned out to be a dead end. It was originally listed as coming out of a running bike but when I started asking questions it's suddenly seized. So now I have a crank and stator from someone else I'm looking at for $120. Just need to ask some more questions. If it turns out the used crank/stator is decent then I'll see what the new bill would be and make a decision then.

Will need to think hard about this. I would really love to give him this bike but it can't be a time-bomb. Thanks.

pdxjim 12-02-2012 04:46 PM

Broken stator? Bent crank? On a running bike?

Sounds fishy to me. Get a second opinon.

sprouty115 12-02-2012 04:52 PM

I'm pretty sure they're trustworthy but I'll be heading back down to see the bike this week. Just trying to sort out my options and get as educated as possible before I go down.

stainlesscycle 12-02-2012 05:26 PM

2k is crazy money. typical labor on a 2t 2 cyl is about $400 + parts.

whisperquiet 12-02-2012 06:51 PM

Go here for a lot of info.

sprouty115 12-03-2012 02:33 PM

Thanks for the link. Also looking at the 2strokeworld forums. There are some posts by Lyn Garland about cost, so I have some more data and I make sure of what the shop is planning on doing I'll have an idea if the cost is reasonable.

Sort of leaning towards taking a gamble with the used crank to try to minimize the cost as LasseNC suggested and see if he likes it.

stainlesscycle 12-03-2012 03:32 PM

still don't know what bent crank means. a crank rebuild with new rods and all bearings is another $400-500. that's assuming your 'bent' crank is completely bad.

so that's about $900-$1000 for a bottom end rebuilt if you send it out.. that's assuming the trans is good.

you could do it yourself for about $300-$400 in parts and whatever the crank rebuild would cost if you supplied the parts - starts at about $100 depending on what you want done/who you have do it...

or you could spend 2k to fix your running bike.

sprouty115 12-03-2012 06:16 PM

I definitely hear you, it's a lot of money. I'm headed down this week to see exactly what's going on in-person. Should know more in a day or two. Just remember though the $2k is for top and bottom plus pulling and reinstalling the engine. I'll repost again when I sort it out a bit more. Thanks, appreciate your input.

Shocktower 12-03-2012 11:17 PM

That is very high, and if the bike runs, I would question the shops Rep, here's another link for some great help 2stroke world has tons of help and parts for them bike's

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