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Old 10-09-2008, 05:11 PM   #1
bpg OP
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'78 XL250, practically free - still worth it?

So I'm trying to work my way into dual sporting (a bud lent me a plated XR650 for a month and I was hooked!). It turns out that I have another friend back home who's trying to get rid of his old Honda XL250, for like $100 .

Here's my take:

THE GOOD :
- CHEAP! If I end up not liking it, no big deal
- Runs great when (finally) started. Starting issues are likely an issue of sitting for a few years on several occassions.
- Has speedo/tach/lights/brake lights/horn/etc. Some of which actually work (see "The Bad")!
- Very lightweight and flickable compared to the BRP, and some other buddys' DR650s and LC4s. Not the bestest, high-zootiest suspension, but for a "2-wheeled jeep" on tight trails, it's just what I'm looking for, especially as a novice.

THE BAD :
- one of the forks is frozen, and obviously both need a rebuild. Can you still get parts for 'em??? Rear shocks are probably shitty as well...
- brake light, turn sigs and horn not working. Probably just a fuse and/or corroded terminal(s); and the bike was never butchered. Abused, yes; but never really hacked into.
- Might have some title issues - as in, lost title.
- probably needs the carbs rebuilt - to be expected. Cold starts are a PITA, but if ridden even occasionally it supposedly kicks over pretty well.

If anything, it'd be a great project to fix up and sell toward something like a DRZ or XRL, and learn a lot in the process. I'm mainly just worried about parts availabilty, and whether this thing will have any value if a do a "functional restoration" to it??

Thoughts?
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'08 Yamaha WR250R (sold)
'78 Honda XL250
'02 Honda CBR1100XX




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Old 10-09-2008, 05:44 PM   #2
Silver King
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Get something that works. Speaking from experience, it's cheaper to buy something running. A XL250 is hardly worth the headaches...even at $100.
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Old 10-09-2008, 06:03 PM   #3
joenuclear
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If you'll get it starting good , fix the suspension and lights I'll give you $200 for it................






























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Old 10-09-2008, 07:39 PM   #4
montesa_vr
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The electrical problems sound like a dead battery. Brake light, horn and turn signals on that bike all very battery dependent. Rebuilding the carburetor is not beyond you, as long as you make notes and don't lose any pieces. You could try a can of Seafoam first. Not sure what you mean by "one of the forks is frozen." If you mean it's rusted so it won't move, that means you need new forks. Not the end of the world, but you'll have to be all over Ebay to get replacements at a price that makes sense for this project.

I guess if you can get the title thing worked out with the current owner, as in, "I'll buy it the day you get a clear title for it", I would do it. The bike will have no brakes, and the lighting is so poor you shouldn't ride after dark, but it will give you 70 mpg on regular unleaded and the CDI ignition will keep you from having to go back to the bad old days of timing lights and ignition points.
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Old 10-09-2008, 07:56 PM   #5
bpg OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silver King
Get something that works. Speaking from experience, it's cheaper to buy something running. A XL250 is hardly worth the headaches...even at $100.
Oh, it's running - very well actually and is a blast to ride! Just has a few peripheral issues - I'm just trying to gauge how serious they are.
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Old 10-09-2008, 08:01 PM   #6
pckopp
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silver King
Get something that works. Speaking from experience, it's cheaper to buy something running. A XL250 is hardly worth the headaches...even at $100.
+ a very big 1 !

I just got a 74 xl250 running. Its a fun bike but as a dual-sport bike it sucks. There may be 3 inches of suspension travel on either end. My Honda Identification Guide says the 78 has a 23" front wheel. PITA.

My 74 is a 6 volt system. Lots of the electrical parts are unobtanium. Not sure when they all became 12v.

There are lots of things you didn't mention:
tires
tubes
chain
air filter
oil and filter
brakes - even when they're good, they're bad.

I had to nearly replace all the inside parts of the carb before it would start and run reliably.

My rule of thumb is any bike project will cost at least $400 and usually more.

Find something that runs and has the correct paperwork.
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Old 10-09-2008, 08:04 PM   #7
bpg OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by montesa_vr
The electrical problems sound like a dead battery. Brake light, horn and turn signals on that bike all very battery dependent. Good thought - didn't have much chance to mess w/ it yet... Rebuilding the carburetor is not beyond you, as long as you make notes and don't lose any pieces. You could try a can of Seafoam first. Yip, just what I was thinking. I rebuilt the carb on my FT500 Ascot already, and re-jetted/shimmed all 4 carbs (!!) on my past V-4 Magna before. This should be pretty simple. Not sure what you mean by "one of the forks is frozen." If you mean it's rusted so it won't move, that means you need new forks. I believe that might be the case; again, not too much time w/ it yet. I just know that either the fork is locked in place or the compression damping is REALLY high!! Not the end of the world, but you'll have to be all over Ebay to get replacements at a price that makes sense for this project.Any other forks that might swap in?

I guess if you can get the title thing worked out with the current owner, as in, "I'll buy it the day you get a clear title for it", I would do it. The bike will have no brakes, and the lighting is so poor you shouldn't ride after dark, but it will give you 70 mpg on regular unleaded and the CDI ignition will keep you from having to go back to the bad old days of timing lights and ignition points. That's kind of what I was thinking... They seem durable enough from my limited research, and it fits my needs, for now, ad is WAY under budget (so far!)
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Old 10-09-2008, 08:09 PM   #8
exboomer
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If your capible of riding an XR650, the 250 would get boring quickly. Once you get it titled and fixed up, when you sell it, your really not going to make alot of $ on it. I would just get the bike you want and bypass the 250.
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Old 10-09-2008, 08:11 PM   #9
bpg OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pckopp
+ a very big 1 !

I just got a 74 xl250 running. Its a fun bike but as a dual-sport bike it sucks. There may be 3 inches of suspension travel on either end. My Honda Identification Guide says the 78 has a 23" front wheel. PITA.

My 74 is a 6 volt system. Lots of the electrical parts are unobtanium. Not sure when they all became 12v.

There are lots of things you didn't mention:
tires
tubes
chain
air filter
oil and filter
brakes - even when they're good, they're bad.

I had to nearly replace all the inside parts of the carb before it would start and run reliably.

My rule of thumb is any bike project will cost at least $400 and usually more.

Find something that runs and has the correct paperwork.
aha, more excellent points. I'll need to check the voltage and how big a PITA it is to get tires - the front tire is good, but the rear is pretty worn. New oil and filter are an automatic for me with any used bike, no biggie. Chain looked OK and still in the adjustment range, will need to check on the air filter and brakes. Thanks for the input!
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'08 Yamaha WR250R (sold)
'78 Honda XL250
'02 Honda CBR1100XX




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Old 10-09-2008, 08:16 PM   #10
montesa_vr
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pckopp
My Honda Identification Guide says the 78 has a 23" front wheel. PITA.

My 74 is a 6 volt system. Lots of the electrical parts are unobtanium. Not sure when they all became 12v.
The 23" front wheel limits your tire choices, but they are readily available from Dennis Kirk http://www.denniskirk.com/jsp/tpl/cm...=10806&av=5707

The late 70's and early 80's dual sports still had 6V electrical systems.
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Old 10-09-2008, 08:16 PM   #11
bpg OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by exboomer
If your capible of riding an XR650, the 250 would get boring quickly. Once you get it titled and fixed up, when you sell it, your really not going to make alot of $ on it. I would just get the bike you want and bypass the 250.
Actually, the XR650R was a PITA in tight eastern trails, for this rank newb to dirtbiking. I'm looking for something along the lines of a motorized mountain bike, with street legality fr trail hopping. This thing is a riot on the trails I intend to use (yeah, I know, there are numerous choices that are even better - but I'd be paying well over 2-3 grand MORE to get one...)
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'08 Yamaha WR250R (sold)
'78 Honda XL250
'02 Honda CBR1100XX





bpg screwed with this post 10-09-2008 at 08:44 PM
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Old 10-09-2008, 08:40 PM   #12
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Might want to check this site out
http://www.xlintperformance.com/
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Old 10-09-2008, 09:37 PM   #13
Feo y Gordo
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If it's a '78, it's an XL250S.

16 inch laydown shocks, carb w/ an accelerator pump? An "S".

I have an '81. Geared low, it's a trail tractor. I can idle along in first through thick brush using alternating hands to move limbs and vines out of the way. No feathering the clutch or working the throttle. Just move stuff and steer through.

As mentioned earlier, the brake light, signals, and horn need a good, charged battery to work. They're DC, the headlight is AC. The last battery I bought was about 18 bucks, IIRC.

Carb needs to be clean, valves adjusted, and it should start with less than four kicks. Cold. Mine gets started regularly, and it's 1 or 2 kicks, cold or hot.

Fork seals are available, dunno about anything internal to the forks. Ebay. They only seem to be readily interchangable with the 78-81 XL250S and 500S's. Maybe the same years XR's.

Rear shocks were marginal when they were new. Most I've seen only have one shock of the pair with any damping, and not much of that. Your choices are Hagons from Dave Quinn for around 200 bucks or Works Performance for around 400.

Not much good to be said about the brakes. The less you weigh, the better. My 200 lbs produces some sphincter-tightening moments in Houston traffic.

How's the exhaust? Most of them around here have rotted out mufflers. Mine came with a Supertrapp that cost the PO 150 bucks. I have the loudest lawnmower on the block.

Dunno, how much wrenching can you do yourself? Mine is fun, but it is what it is, and it'll prolly never be more.(I have a KDX200 front end w/disc brake I'm eying to adapt, but it won't be simple.)

PM if you've got any more questions.

Mark.
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Old 10-09-2008, 09:40 PM   #14
Feo y Gordo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bpg
aha, more excellent points. I'll need to check the voltage and how big a PITA it is to get tires - the front tire is good, but the rear is pretty worn. New oil and filter are an automatic for me with any used bike, no biggie. Chain looked OK and still in the adjustment range, will need to check on the air filter and brakes. Thanks for the input!
6 volt.

No oil filter.

Rear tire is 18 inch. Easy to find. 23's, less selection.
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Old 10-10-2008, 01:19 AM   #15
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Here's a title possibility...

http://www.its-titles.com/dear74.htm
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