My first thing was to fix the stupid OE riding position. I hate it. Perhaps I am not the target XR250R buyer, maybe they aim it at beginners. Don't know. Anyway, Honda mounts the bars quite rearward, and gives them a lot of sweep, putting the rider back more.
This is done to slow the steering down, and presumably park riders back so they don't get pitched. I feel they need ergo changes that can be summed up by saying "get over the front end". Anyway, the stock XR layout sucks for aggressive riding.
I pay stupid attention to this on these dated-design Honda XRs. They have these huge air cooled top ends, that push the tanks up high, and subsequently push the rider back. Look at side pics of a modern 4T bike, flat tank, seat extends forward, footpegs near the middle of the bike. They have far better weight distribution, and more weight on the front wheel, which is why they turn. Then, look at side pics of these old XRs- especially with a rider on the bike - the rider is back over the seat, footpegs are back, and weight bias is on the rear suspension. It makes the stable, but makes it difficult to quickly pivot the bike. I feel it is critical to get the bars low and forward (as much as you are comfortable with) to change the weight distribution to the front more.
I usually use CR Low or Carmichael bend bars, which are low and have little sweep. I'm not a fan of the Pastrana or ATV bends, which have little sweep, I feel they are too high. In this case I chose a CR High bend. Additionally, I got a new upper triple, that places the bars much more forward:
The clamps move things about 1.25" forward, and the bars place your hands another 4.5" fwd:
I know I am going on about what seems to be a small thing. But so much of riding is changing direction, and so much of changing direction is planting the front wheel.
Anyone who has ever read a Gaspipe build has seen how much emphasis he (a great setup / build guy) places on basics like grease, torque, and Loctite. I don't have his mechanical talents, but try to follow that philosophy. When I pulled the triple off, things were dirty:
That is not rust on the star nut, it is this Norcal clay, more on it later. Anyway, I pulled everything apart, greased all the bearings, and put the controls back on:
MSR (Works Connection) Lever:
I skipped the handguards at the time, will add them later.