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madcap

1972 XL250 Restoration

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I've had my XL since new and last rode it in 1995....doesn't seem that long but sadly it has been. I'm not an experienced mechanic but have some basic knowledge and used to do my own maintenance such as an XL250  required if anything. It's been sitting covered up in the garage way too long and I'm pulling it apart and trying to replace and repair what I can.

I know I'll need help and advice so hopefully some of you guys will be available to guide me through the process. 

Current details/state of restore:

1972 XL250 - All original no mods or upgrades

27,00 miles - mostly highway

Present state of restoration: all Wiring, Seat, Speedo,Tach, removed - basically down to frame except cables and wheels

Tank in in pretty good shape - slight dents - easily bondo'd -  paint is stripped now - in process of electrolysis to remove internal rust - have matched the paint and have new decals 

Need to paint frame - have self etching primer and semi gloss acrylic lacquer 

No clue on state off engine yet - still in frame

Factory service manual ordered

That's it for now  - hope it may spark some interest an support during the time it takes.

Thanks!

 

 

 

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Pictures of your bike?

1972 I was a sophomore In high school and the xl250 motosport was my dream bike. I got to test drive a new one right out of the showroom and it was amazing to me. I was riding a 1968 Honda CL90 at the time as my daily driver.

I bought a clean, low mile one back in 2013, and I was underwhelmed at its performance. Having been riding modern motocross bikes since the late 70's has changed my opinion of what's amazing, bikewise. I still like the old bikes and collect a few of them.

Here's mine.

image.jpeg.a8829c0437fe85765b94c805963f3891.jpeg

Randy

 

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Hello Randy.... Your reply is very welcome. The picture of your XL makes me jealous. I remember riding my new XL when I bought it outside Salt Lake City and how proud I was. One of the bike magazines back then had a cover story of it and I had to have one.

I'll post some photos later on today of what how it looks disassembled. Not very pretty but hope to return it to it's glory asap. Can't believe some parts are so outrageously expensive now. Fortunately I bought some NOS stuff a few years ago.

Glad to find this forum....I'm sure I'll need some help once in awhile when when the time comes...no telling yet what surprises lay in store. Thankfully I found a factory service manual on eBay that was comparatively reasonable.

Stay tuned...

Dick (aka madcap)

Edited by madcap
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My first race bike, MX street class. Use to beat up on the 2 strokes with it. Rev to 8,000rpm, drop the clutch and shift 3 times before it dropped RPMS. It’s too bad it didn’t have an oil filter instead of the centrifugal thing on the end of the crank to collect the dirt or slug. Plus the oil back then,  It would of lasted allot longer. Heavy bitch but solid, would run 85mph on the gravel roads and fun to slide thru the corners. ????

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Those centrifugal filters were a good idea,  much better than the sludge traps built into the cranks of old British thumpers that required tearing the engine down and splitting the crank wheels to clean out.  Honda used them up until the 1979 CB and CL500T.

 

When I was in school in 1974 a friend had a used 1972 XL250.   I owned a '67 Ducati 250 scrambler.   I couldn't get over how doggy and top heavy the Honda was.    Yeah, the Honda had much better suspension, a 4 valve head, magnesium engine cases,  and yet they built a barge of a mild steel frame as heavy as the one on SL350's.   My Duc would just run away from that bike on any smooth dirt.

 

Edited by YamaBump
....
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My 1st "real" dirt bike was a modified '72 XL250. The previous owner was an "A" enduro rider. He had tricked it out with Preston Petty fenders, Don Vesco "Skinny Fat" tank, Konis, a fork brace, small taillight, grooved brake shoes, and a custom seat on an aluminum pan. I rode the wheels off it for several years, including several winters riding to work, as it was my only means of transportation. I still have the Hippo Hands.

It only let me down once. We were trail riding at Myles Standish State Park in MA in heavy rain and I lost the spark after hitting a deep puddle. We towed it back to the campground, and I rolled it into the relatively dry Mens Room and dried and cleaned camshaft mounted points. It started right up and never missed a beat the rest of the weekend.

I put block pattern tires on it, went down a few teeth in the back, and toured all the New England States and 2 Provinces of Canada in 1976. I carried my canvas pup tent under the headlight like "Then Came Bronson", with my backpack bungied to the seat behind me. Lotsa good memories. Bob

IMG_0975.JPG

XL250Rain.jpg

Edited by husabob1
Add a photo.
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All you guys have me at a disadvantage since my experience is so much less. My very first bike was 200 Bultaco Metralla. It was  a powerful little monster none the less and I rode it like a dirt bike sometimes but I'll never forget the power that two stroke put out. A close friend used to raced a Montessa during the early 70's and I don't know why I never raced. I liked the rush and was interested but just never did.

That Metralla was sweet little stick of dynamite but had to trade it and $200 for a '57 Ford F-100 with a four speed. I loaded the XL and all my worldly possessions in it and left Salt Lake City in 1974 for the Texas Hill Country....where the hell did the time go....but that's another story. 

  I'm a retired romantic adventurer, pilot, artist, actor security consultant that never made much money but traded that off for some life experience. I've been living on fixed income now trying to understand this bizarre country we live in so I thought it past the time to roll the XL out and give 'er a makeover.

Hope you guys can hang in there with me on the journey....I'm sure I can make good use of any support.

Later,

madcap

edit:  husabob I totally relate to that photo....I rode from Western Upstate NY to Petersburg, VA on mine packed the same way....

Edited by madcap
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3 hours ago, madcap said:

All you guys have me at a disadvantage since my experience is so much less. My very first bike was 200 Bultaco Metralla

First bike was a 74/75 Bultaco 250 Frontera - another great reliable machine

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Those were some really good old days I used to hear about. Now, they are them.....

Nothing more done on the XL today. Had to prepare a frame for a new garage door. Hot and humid as it never needed to but received some additional parts for the bike from eBay anyway. Trying to find NOS stuff is a challenge anymore. Thankfully I don't need that much so far but will at some point maybe.

Tomorrow, framing should be finished and a Honda XL 250 Factory Service Manual should arv in the mail. Can't wait to start studying it. I plan on removing the motor and stripping or sandblasting the frame for repaint asap. Does anyone know if the motor for the '72 was painted that light green or the magnesium case anodized, or what? I'd like to refinish it as original as possible. 

Thanks, Dick

 

Edited by madcap
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It's funny but it didn't take much to wake up the XL250  There were Rocky hi-comp pistons, some custom exhaust makers and PowRoll in Bend, OR made bore and stroker, and cam regrind kits for just about all the Honda singles from the late 1960's onward.  I had bought a CT90 from a co-worker that he had installed a 125 cc PowRoll stroker kit with a hot cam.  It was so hard to kickstart ( I believe it was 11:1 ) that you had to do a big British single start routine by pressing through the kickstarter so the engine slowly came up to just past TDC on compression, then kicked forcefully and hoped the crankwheels would accelerate fast enough to carry it through the next compression cycle and fire.  Trying to kickstart it without starting on TDC would make the clutch plates slip. 

This was the time that 4 strokes started making inroads on the performance of 2 stroke bikes, mid to late 1970's.  Honda's XL were starting to win races in enduros, flat-track and scrambles.  Cycle World declared the Honda XL175 as the bike of the year in the dual sport category after they worked over one for their spring and summer 1975 issues.

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Found  a really nice original Honda XL250 Service manual on eBay and  hope it can help in the process but doesn't go into much detail so I'll see how it goes. Been looking for an NOS or good condition foot gear shift (pn. 24700-329-000 or 24700-356-000) and original 1972 Choke Cable with "C"in the top ( 7950-356-700) if anyone has one for sale or knows of a source. No luck anywhere so far on the net.

Thanks!

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58 minutes ago, S.O.A.N.Z said:

7950-356-700 or 17950-356-700 ?

Thanks for the links on the shifter but both are way out of  my price range. I appreciate it though... (both the pn's are  suppose to be correct for my bike)

Edited by madcap
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Thanks very much for your help - looks like I located a good used gear shift lever on eBay for a good price.

The choke cable for my bike has a "C" on the top instead of "CHOKE" and hope to find that particular one if possible. I know, it sounds picky, but I want as original restoration as possible.

IMG_0001.JPG

Edited by madcap
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madcap, I had THAT bike.  A '72 XL250.  About the case color, the magnesium side cases WERE painted that pale green color.  I was told the reason for that was to give an extra alert to anyone who would try to weld it, thinking it was aluminum.  My memories of it were: It was NOT an mx BIKE.  It was heavy with all the power down low - although it DID rev out pretty good.  Good for dual sport with light duty trail use.  Exhaust note was very quiet at idle.  The common thing I hear from guys trying to restore a high miles one is the cam wears into the head.  Incentive to change oil often!  I wish we would have had good synthetic oil back then.

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Back in 1972 I was going to the U of Utah in Sal Lake and a feature article on the XL250 appeared in one of the bike magazines. The bike fascinated me and I had to have one. I'm one of those people that doesn't get rid of stuff too easily and usually takes care of what I have. Unfortunately I waited a little too long to start restoring my XL but it's not in too bad of shape overall. Some of the chrome is spotted with rust on the tail light mount and a few other places but I can deal with it for now.

Thanks for the information on the cam. I'm going to pull the engine and take the frame to be sand blasted. While I'm not an  experienced mechanic I'll plan on having a look at the engine or find someone I can trust to help out. Meantime the carb is going to be cleaned and rebuilt.

The speedo and tach will be cleaned up and repainted maybe today and  a seat cover ordered from Thailand that is  as close to original as I could possibly find. It looks perfect but we'll see. The real problem with the seat is finding the correct shaped foam. 

 

That's it for now....

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