Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Featured Bike - Honda CB250RS 1980-84

For Sale. Very good condition for 37 years old.

I recently saw a Honda CB250RS for sale locally. This brought back fond memories of an RS I owned many years ago. Well, not exactly owned but…

In the past the 250cc class was big in the UK. Between 1960 and 1983 learners (ie those who hadn't passed a test) were restricted to under 250cc bikes. Honda's main bike in this class was the CB250N Super Dream. The RS was added in 1980 using an engine based on the XL250 trail bike. This was a sohc air cooled single with balance shafts. In the RS it produced a nimble lightweight roadster with good performance and little vibration. In my opinion preferable to the tubby Super Dream.

My girlfriend Gwen had got into motorcycles in 1981 with a Honda CG125. The RS followed in 1982. I can remember riding to a tenement flat on Glasgow's south side to look at and buy a very nice two year old bike.

The RS soon after it was bought. Note Gwen's "L" plate below the number plate

In 1984 we bought our first house together and the RS became our commuting bike carrying the pair of us to work year-round. It fulfilled this role reliably for eight years. As well as commuting the RS was also a fun little bike to ride. It had reasonable power, good handling and the willing little single cylinder engine had lots of character. 

August '90 - Resprayed white by this time
The bike was kickstart only. This wasn't a problem, the bike had an automatic de-compressor. This momentarily opened the exhaust valve when kicked giving an easier action. In 1983 Honda added a "Deluxe" version of the bike with an electric starter. This had a significant addition cost and was therefore rare. The bike was replaced in 1985 by the CBX250RS that had a twin cam engine. This bike was not a success because, by that time, the bottom had fallen out of the 250cc market due to licence restrictions.


There was another version of the RS. The CL250 "Silk Road". This was a semi off-roader. I'm not sure that it was ever sold in this country.

CL250 "Silk Road"
By 1993 the RS was suffering the ravages of commuting year-round in the Scottish climate. I sold it to my brother's friend David who breathed new life into the little machine. He reads this blog so perhaps he'll respond with his memories of the bike.

I eventually replaced the RS with an MZ ETZ125. Not a step up you might say and I'd have to agree.


My current "small bike" is a CBF250. Very much a similar concept to the RS and a bike I very much enjoy riding. 


You can tour on a single (as my brother doesn't say) I just found this photo. It’s Gwen and the RS failing to make the crossing to Lindisfarne in July 1984. We wanted to go away for the weekend but my GSX750 was under repair so we took the RS. We're travelling light with just a small bag on the back of the bike.

1 comment:

  1. Loved this story! I went on to own the bike for many years. It took me to work every day and to numerous trips around the Scottish Highlands. I changed its colour to green, must look out a picture. After owning a Yamaha RXS100 the CB250RS seemed super fast and nimble and made a lovely sound. Have great memories of that bike! I eventually sold it to Bill Busby (a local motorcycle shop in Paisley, Scotland) and bought a shiny new Honda NTV650. That old Honda certainly shaped my future of motorcycling, cheers Stuart for passing it on to me :-)