AHM concocted a brilliant idea—build a hop-up project
bike and ask the MXA wrecking crew to test it. MXA
rejects the majority of bike-test offers we get, but we
agreed to test the AHM Honda because a host of Pro
riders recommended that we give the bike a shot.
MXA’s project bike was not a beauty queen.
Instead, Justin and Brandon scoured Craigslist for a
2014 Honda CRF250 that had relatively low hours and
wasn’t thrashed. The CRF250’s Unicam engine would
cut down on building costs, and Brandon wanted to
test his handiwork on a powerplant that produced the
least amount of horsepower in the 250 class. Luckily,
they found a diamond in the rough. It had 50 hours
on the engine, but otherwise the bike was in decent
shape. It had belonged to a Beginner who wanted to
sell the CRF250 because he was enchanted by the
Showa SFF TAC fork that comes on the 2015 model.
The first order of business was to gut the CRF250
and go through every part with a fine-tooth comb.
Brandon directed his expertise at the Unicam engine.
His goal? To make it powerful while toeing the line of
durability. It’s no secret that high-strung powerplants,
such as those found in the bikes of teams like Pro
Circuit Kawasaki and Geico Honda, do not stand the
test of time. In fact, an AMA National race engine
typically lasts around two hours before getting rebuilt.
Peterson didn’t care about creating more work for
himself. The CRF250 was his muse. He would learn
about the intricacies of building a highfalutin engine
package as he went along and tore it down, every so
often checking valve clearances and other tolerances.
Justin Lewis followed the same philosophy on the
Showa suspension. He was responsible for getting the
suspension tuned to perfection. Secondary to this was
getting the CRF250 chassis balanced and handling
properly. A simple re-valve might have done the job,
but that’s not AHM Factory Services’ style. Instead,
Lewis went whole hog; the only performance
modification left out was a titanium shock spring.
What was done to the AHM Factory Services Honda
CRF250? A more apt question would be, what wasn’t
done to the bike? Below is a list of mods:
Engine: Peterson didn’t leave a single part of the
engine untouched. He installed a stronger and lighter
balanced crankshaft. A JE high-compression piston
was used in conjunction with titanium intake and
exhaust valves, heavy-duty valve springs, a high-lift
camshaft, custom-ported cylinder head, and DLC-coated
buckets and piston pin. He also created a special ECU
map setting, getting as precise as changing the
mapping at 500 rpm increments along the entire curve
with a Vortex ignition. As if that weren’t enough, the
AHM CRF250 received a tumbled transmission and an
FMF Factory 4.1 RCT titanium/carbon exhaust with
Maybe it would be advisable for us to gloss over the
retail cost of the fully modified AHM Factory Services
CRF250, but we’re not going to do that. Why? There
are serious racers out there who desire the best performance that money can buy. To these folks, $5000 is
a drop in the bucket—and that is the exact cost of the
engine mods made to our project bike. If your heart
skipped a beat after reading the price tag, fear not;
AHM has engine packages starting at $699.99. They
can get the most out of your powerplant without
putting you in the poor house.
Suspension: Justin Lewis took the suspension
apart and installed stiffer fork springs (up to 0.50 kg/
mm from the stock 0.46 kg/mm rating). He re-valved
the fork shim stacks and shock damping with the goal
of balancing the chassis. AHM also installed a lowering base plate in the shock, because in stock trim
the rear end sits very high. FS1 coatings were applied
to the suspension for less friction and a factory look.
While a standard re-valve starts at $150 per end, our
test bike had $2200 worth of suspension mods. We
should reiterate that AHM Factory Services offers
cheaper packages, but they wanted to flex their
muscles with the MXA bike test.
Other services: AHM Factory Services isn’t only
focused on engine and suspension alterations. They
can also perform services such as turning down hubs,
lacing wheels, installing clutches and building complete bikes. Peterson and Lewis did all of those things
on the project Honda CRF250.
How did the AHM Factory Services Honda CRF250
perform? We think that the modifications were worth
every penny—for a rider with pennies to spare. Every
MXA test rider came off the track raving about the
project bike. The overall impression can be summed
up with a statement from one of our testers: “This is