Honda CR series

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CR125[edit]

Honda CR125M Elsinore

Honda started to build the CR125M in 1973. Honda called it the "20 Horsepower Feather". It sold for a stunning $749.[1] It had a top speed of 60 mph and was equipped with a two-stroke 123cc air cooled motor.[2] It was really a sub-par attempt at building a dirt bike. Just like the CR250R in 1981 the CR125 also took a step back. It was really heavy and slow, and had a horrible single shock. In 1985 was when the CR125 got the Showa suspension and had more problems because it was the new technology. They had not perfected the technology they put into the bike and had many problems with parts and operation. Honda was somewhat ahead of themselves when it came to technology and that really hurt Honda for a couple years. Honda was struggling with the new technology which hurt them at the time because the other companies had perfected the old school technology. 1988 and 1989 were the two years that the technology came together and everything really clicked for the CR125.

CR250[edit]

Honda CR250M Elsinore

1973 was the year the CR250M Elsinore had been launched. This 2-stroke was one of the first of its class, and set the bar high for two-stroke motorcycle development. In 1974 and 75 the CR250M didn’t change much. Which gave the upper hand to Suzuki and Yamaha which let them design and develop better dirt bikes than Honda. In 1978 Honda released its newer version of the CR250M. They renamed the bike the CR205R. The "R" in the name stood for Race [3] The fire engine red bike was a real eye opener. This was what everybody remembered about the CR250R this year. When 1981 came around Honda was trying to put better technology into their bike, They wanted to put new suspension on the bike but didn’t know much about the new technology. They went with the new suspension and had numerous problems. The suspension didn’t work correctly at all and the bike had reliability issues. They tried to put too much technology into the bike and it turned out to haunt them. This year was a huge let down for Honda. 1984 was really the next big year for Honda and the CR250R. This was when the bike caught up to the technology that had been put in in 1981. They did add new features such as a hydraulic front disc brake, and a new exhaust valve.[4] All the way up to 1990 the CR250R had virtually stayed the same except for a couple little changes such as hydraulic rear brake, Showa front suspension, and a bigger carburetor. 1992 was when the CR250R took on a newer more aggressive look but had some downfalls. One of the biggest downfalls was the amount of power the new engines were producing and the weak steel frame. This was bad news for Honda. Many riders told Honda to change the frame to something stronger. But successful riders who were sponsored by Honda such as Jeremy McGrath had preferred the old stiff weak frame. 1997 was when the aluminum frame was introduced. Many racers liked this frame but casual desert riders weren’t buying the bike. So Honda had to go back to the development department and rethink the CR250R. The year 2000 was the year that Honda perfected the aluminum frame. It was it. It only got better from here. In 2003 the only real change that was made was the electronic power valve. The Honda CR250 had a 249cc liquid-cooled single-cylinder engine that made about 45 HP.[5] It has a five speed transmission with Showa suspension and a two-gallon fuel tank.[6] In 2007 Honda said they will produce no more two-strokes after that year.

CR500[edit]

1984 was the first year the CR500 was produced. It was nicknamed the "Ping King". The CR500 had a 491cc liquid cooled two-stroke engine that could make 58 HP, the most powerful motocross bike that Honda had ever produced.[7] It was a two-stroke design but since the CR500 had a big single bore it was hard to kick start it. The manufacturers started to jet the bike really rich in order to make it easier for people to start. The CR500 was an absolute monster. The only problem with it was it was terribly hard to ride because of the uncontrollable power it produced. The CR500 was also used for long desert races like the Baja 500 and the Baja 1000. The CR500 was discontinued in 2001. Many people believe that the CR500 was discontinued because of the CRF450 four-stroke. Honda sold the CRF450 four-stroke very well. It could have very well been the bike that put the CR500 out of production. Though the CRF450 was slightly heavier than the CR500 and the difference in peak horsepower was marginal, the power band on the four-stroke motorcycles proved to be much more linear and easier for the rider to use.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Sieman, R. (2002, February ). The amazing history of Honda dirtbikes. Retrieved March 17, 2016, from Honda-Elsinore.com, http://honda-elsinore.alp-sys.com/publications/hondadirtbikes/index.html
  2. ^ "King of the Hill: 1974 Honda CR125M Elsinore". Motorcycle Classics. Retrieved 2016-04-14. 
  3. ^ Motocross, T. (2004, September 9). 2005 Honda CR125R & CR250R specs. Retrieved March 17, 2016, from Features, http://motocross.transworld.net/features/2005-honda-cr125r-cr250r-specs/#MYcD7jZddwBrUBbI.97
  4. ^ Sieman, R. (2002, February ). The amazing history of Honda dirtbikes. Retrieved March 17, 2016, from Honda-Elsinore.com, http://honda-elsinore.alp-sys.com/publications/hondadirtbikes/index.html
  5. ^ "1998 Cr250r Horsepower Specs Motorcycles Repair Manual Download and Reviews". Retrieved 2016-04-14. 
  6. ^ "2006 Honda CR250R Specifications - Honda.com". news.honda.com. Retrieved 2016-04-14. 
  7. ^ MOTOCROSS ACTION’S TWO-STROKE VERSUS FOUR-STROKE SHOOTOUT: 2004 CRF450 VERSUS 2001 CR500. (2012, January 2). Retrieved March 17, 2016, from Bike Tests, http://motocrossactionmag.com/news/motocross-actions-two-stroke-versus-four-stroke-shootout-2004-crf450-versus-2001-cr500