Honda XL250 1980
This 1980 Honda XL250 is finished in Helios Red, the only colour offered for that year. Showing just over 5,000 miles on the clock it is in very good condition for the year. This one could perhaps be tweaked by its new owner although it is a good candidate just to register and enjoy as it is. This bike has just had a new battery and new levers too.
These bikes certainly attract attention and when visitors call at our workshop it always seems to be the trail bikes which catch the eye. Running costs should be minimal too.
The Honda XLs were a series of trail bikes (also known as dual-sport or enduro motorcycles). They first appeared 1972 and continued until 1987. During that time they went through many changes and several variants were produced.
Up until that time, two-stroke motors had been the order of the day for off-road bikes with Honda bucking that trend with the SL series of bikes featuring twin cylinder motors from bikes such as the CB175 and CB350.
The Honda XL250 is widely recognised as the first modern four stroke enduro to sell in large numbers. When it was introduced in 1972 it received a great deal of praise from the press. Compared to the other bikes of the day it performed well, producing good acceleration from its torquey motor. It was also quite a good looking bike with a purposeful styling and a good standard of manufacture.
The 250 was a single cylinder four stoke using a four-valve overhead cam motor driving a 5-speed gearbox. The engine produced around 24 bhp which, with a weight of less than 300 lbs, was enough to make the bike interesting if not fast. Fuel capacity was limited, as might be expected, with a maximum of just less than 2 gallons. The bikes were simple, using no hydraulics and only kick starting, but fairly rugged and certainly reliable.
Like all trail bikes, the XL 250 was looking to offer both on-road riding and some off-road capability. Being a compromise, the bike was never going to perform as well on the roads as the equivalent road bike but for a reliable and nimble bike which could also perform well enough on most green lanes, it was a good option for many bikers.
Many other variants were added to the range going up to 600cc. Styling changed through its life of course but the essentials remained the same, a lightweight, single cylinder, reliable 4 stroke trail bike which would provide a lot of fun and enjoyment for not a lot of money.
Today these bikes have become collectable, possibly because they were a bike from the days of someone’s youth or because they offer a simplicity and classic styling not really found in the modern bike market. They cry out to be ridden and enjoyed though so we hope not too many will be tucked away because, perhaps oddly, they attract more attention outside the coffee shop then many more expensive road bikes do!