Honda CR series

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The Honda CR series was a range of off-road motorcycles made by the Honda corporation from 1973 onwards.


Honda CR125M Elsinore

Honda launched the CR125M in 1973, branded as the "20 Horsepower Feather". Offered at a low price of $749,[1] it had a top speed of 60 mph and was equipped with a two-stroke 123cc air cooled motor.[2] It was a very popular motorcycle, and it dominated motocross for a while.


Honda CR250M Elsinore

1973 was also the year the CR250M Elsinore was launched. This two-stroke was one of the first of its class, and set the standard for two-stroke motorcycle development. In 1974 and 1975 the CR250M design changed little, giving the advantage to Suzuki and Yamaha whose dirt bikes came to be seen as superior to the Honda. In 1978 Honda released its newer version of the CR250M. They renamed the bike the CR250R (the "R" in the name stood for "race").[3] The fire engine red bike attracted a good deal of attention. In 1981 Honda attempted to introduce a new suspension on this model, but due to their unfamiliarity with the new technology, there were numerous problems. The suspension did not work correctly and the bike had reliability issues. In 1984 new features were introduced such as a hydraulic front disc brake, and a new exhaust valve.[4] Between then and 1990 the CR250R underwent only minor changes such as hydraulic rear brake, Showa front suspension, and a bigger carburetor.

In 1992 the CR250R was given a newer, more aggressive design, but a disadvantage was the amount of power the new engines were producing in relation to the weak steel frame. Many riders advised Honda to change the frame to something stronger; but successful riders who were sponsored by Honda such as Jeremy McGrath preferred the old stiff weak frame. In 1997 the aluminum frame was introduced. Many racers liked this frame but the bike was not selling to casual desert riders, so Honda undertook a redesign and in 2000 introduced an improved aluminum frame. In 2002 the only real change was the electronic power valve and 3rd Generation Aluminum frame. The Honda CR250 had a 249cc liquid-cooled single-cylinder engine that produced about 45 hp.[5] It had a five speed transmission with Showa suspension and a two-gallon fuel tank.[6] In 2007 Honda announced that they would produce no more two-strokes after that year.


The CR500 was first produced in 1984. It was nicknamed the "Ping King". The CR500 had a 491cc air cooled two stroke engine that produced 52.8hp, 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 enriched the fuel mixture in order to make it easier to start. The CR500 was a powerful machine, but its excessive power made it hard to ride. Overall, the CR500 was an attempt to copy the Maico 490 but Unfortunately they did not succeed. The CR500 raced in long desert rallies like the Baja 500 and the Baja 1000. The CR500, which was a two-stroke, was discontinued in 2001, and replaced by the four-stroke CRF450. Although the CRF450 was slightly heavier than the CR500 it was mounted upon a modern chassis consisting of a twin-spar aluminum frame, frame geometry of the Maico so handling was superior, and although peak horsepower was slightly reduced the machine was much easier to control. The power band of modern four-stroke motorcycles has proven to be much more linear and easier to ride, especially in the larger ranges of cylinder volume.


  1. ^ Sieman, R. (2002, February). The amazing history of Honda dirtbikes. Retrieved March 17, 2016, from,
  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,
  4. ^ Sieman, R. (2002, February ). The amazing history of Honda dirtbikes. Retrieved March 17, 2016, from,
  5. ^ "1998 Cr250r Horsepower Specs Motorcycles Repair Manual Download and Reviews". Retrieved 2016-04-14.
  6. ^ "2006 Honda CR250R Specifications -". Archived from the original on 2016-04-24. 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,