Honda NS 250R


Make Model

Honda NS 250R


1985 - 86


Two stroke, 90°V-twin cylinder


249 cc / 15.2 cu-in
Bore x Stroke 56 x 50.6 mm
Cooling System Liquid cooled
Compression Ratio 7.3:1
Lubrication Injected 2-stroke oil
Exhaust Expansion chamber, RC power valves




Electronic CDI PGM II
Starting kick

Max Power

45 hp / 32.8 kW @ 9500 rpm

Max Torque

35 Nm / 25.8 ft-lb @ 8500 rpm
Clutch Wet plate


6 Speed 
Final Drive Chain
Frame Twin spar aluminum

Front Suspension

Telescopic forks

Rear Suspension

Swinging arm

Front Brakes

2x 276 mm discs 2 piston calipers

Rear Brakes

Single 220mm disc 1 piston caliper

Front Tyre


Rear Tyre


Dry Weight

144 kg / 317 lbs

Fuel Capacity

19 Litres / 5.0 US gal

There's a road in Japan, just two hours outside of Tokyo, that twists and winds through rugged countryside like a ribbon draped over a bush. The turns are tight and banked, the surface clean. And on this road, Honda's NS250R is magic. It can brake deeply into the corners, bank through them at radical angles, and charge out like a for-real roadracer. On this road, the NS250R has no match.

Unfortunately, the bike has to be ridden to this magical road. And riding the NS in traffic can be as miserable as riding it on The Road can be fun.

The key to understanding the NS250R's behavior can be found in Honda's brief history with the 250cc two-stroke streetbike class so hotly contested in Japan. Honda first entered the market two years ago with the M VX250, a V-Three patterned loosely after Freddie Spencer's 500cc GP racer. The MVX was pleasantly torquey for a 250, but not as fast as the competition. Nor did it sell as well. So Honda reasoned that if a torquey, civilized, not-very-fast two-stroke wouldn't sell, the answer was to build the opposite- the NS250R.

Mechanically, the NS seems state-of-the-art, powered by a 90-degree V-Twin housed in an aluminum chassis. The reed-valve engine incorporates some sophisticated technology, including Nikasil-type coated aluminum cylinders and an electric ATAC system (similar to the mechanical systems on Honda's CR125/250 MXers) on the front cylinder only. And in styling, the NS is an authentic replica of a real GP racebike, right down to the optional sponsors-decal package.

But not only does the NS look like a circuit bike, it behaves like one. Power comes in with a vicious kick at 8000 rpm, and the engine pulls hard right past the 10,500-rpm redline. And the NS can flick into corners with a quickness that makes the bike feel more like a grand prix roadracer rather than a street-going motorcycle.

Indeed, but the NS is a street bike, and problems arise when it is ridden like one. It pulls smoothly but slowly up to 4000 rpm, and from there to 6000 it burbles and bucks. It smoothes out again at 6000, but still doesn't pull with authority until it lunges forward at 8000 rpm. So in traffic, the rider has to choose between putting along at low revs while being passed by mopeds, or surging ahead in the powerband for a second before having to back off. And either way, the NR billows clouds of blue exhaust smoke.

Thus, the NS250R is a flawed gem. On a racetrack or the right road, it sparkles; but on the average street, it has all the glitter of a fouled sparkplug.