But, finding a rare 2001 CR250 for a reasonable price in
good condition is like finding an honest man in Congress.
Low supply and high demand have resulted in a seller’s
market. MX-Tech scoured the globe until they found a gem
on eBay. According to the description, it was in good running condition, and the photos showed a fairly well-kept
machine. A reasonable $1400 later, the goods arrived. Upon
initial inspection, however, Jeremy and Pete were shocked
to find a hole in the piston. They thought they were getting
a diamond in the rough, but got a cubic zirconia instead.
Luckily, the cases and cylinder were in good shape, and a
new top end had been on the list from day one. Pete went
to work rebuilding the tired engine from the ground up. He
ported the cylinder and sent the crank to Crank Works to
be balanced to reduce the vibrations.
EXPERIENCE GOES A LONG WAY
There are a lot of two-stroke engines that have been
stuffed into new-age aluminum frames. Many of these
bikes have questionable origins and shaky engineer-
ing—you don’t want a frame that was cut and welded
by a guy who bought his torch the day before. However,
located just across the way from MX-Tech’s Illinois office
is A.J. Waggoner from Service Honda. A.J. has two
decades of experience under his belt building special
aluminum-framed projects. It was a simple decision for
MX-Tech to trust A.J. to shoehorn the 2001 engine into a
2015 CRF250AF chassis.
The four-stroke engine was removed, and when A.J. was
done, the 2001 two-stroke powerplant fit like a glove. Are
we saying you have to find a used CR250 engine, order all
the parts to rebuild it, buy a used Honda CRF250 and then
pay Service Honda to mate the two together? Yes and no.
On the no side of the equation, Service Honda can handle
everything from the git-go. They specialize in building exotic, aluminum-framed two-strokes as complete machines. All
you have to do is write a check for $13,499. On the yes
side of the deal, if you bring your own engine and chassis
to Service Honda, the price will vary. Either way, deep
pockets are required.
INGENUITY BREEDS CHANGE
Now that the engine had found a cozy home, it was
time for MX-Tech to do its thing. In MXA’s testing experience, the Service Honda AF’s handling has been an issue.
Some bikes and engine combinations are great and some
are lackluster. The challenge for MX-Tech was to pull all
the pieces together. First, they had to find the right frame
geometry. To do this, they used a Merge Link Knuckle that
stabilized the rear end without compromising steering;
however, the forks were the key ingredient to making
real magic. MX-Tech took the CR250 forks and reworked