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camarokid88

buying 1986 xr 250

10 posts in this topic

i found an 1986 xr 250 but am cautious about buying such an old bike ,so here are my questions

1 can i still get parts from the dealer?

2 what years are the same as the 86

3 how do they run?

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In '90, the 250 got better forks and a rear disc brake. Other than that, they are pretty much the same bike until '96 when an overall redesign was done.

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I had an 86. It was a good bike, but I always wished that I had a disc brake on the back, especially when you are flying down a mountain. My bike had a big bore kit and a better progressive spring on the back. The 280 kit ripped, but it was hard for me to start after a crash. Still could get parts just fine, bikes were the same from 86-89. One thing to look at is the mount were the kickstand is welded to the frame, folks start them on the kick stand and the weld gets weak over time. Mine broke and had to be rewelded.

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unless its dirt cheap id look for something 96 or newer and by dirt cheap i mean 500 or 600 for a clean one. the newer bikes are much better all around.

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I just bought an 86' right after christmas. It was cheap, relatively clean, and runs great. I am new to bikes so i wanted something to learn on.

I have done all the basic maintenance to mine and the parts were easily available online.

As far as the bike goes......it is quick and manageable, it's no speed demon though. It has good low end torque and wheelies easily. It's a great bike for woods and trails.

My bike was $600.

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I just bought an 86' right after christmas. It was cheap, relatively clean, and runs great. I am new to bikes so i wanted something to learn on.

I have done all the basic maintenance to mine and the parts were easily available online.

As far as the bike goes......it is quick and manageable, it's no speed demon though. It has good low end torque and wheelies easily. It's a great bike for woods and trails.

My bike was $600.

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My dad just bought an 86 this spring and it has been great so far. He paid $600 for it and all it needed was a front tire and tube.

Even though this bike has the zerk fittings on the swingarm bolt, I would probably make sure it can be easily removed before purchase. If you don't know what I'm talking about, just search for 'swing arm bolt' in the XR250/400 section. You'll see plenty of horror stories. Good luck!

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You can still get Honda OEM parts.

'86 thru '89 were basically the same bikes. Color change in '88 to red. Front brake caliper changed in '87 or '88 to a single pin brake pad. The '86 has two pins for the brake pads. I replaced mine with an '88 model after the caliper pistons froze on my '86. Pads are easy to find.

Things to watch for:

Valves / piston used well beyond their service life

The center of the cam rides on an oil film on the cylinder head and there is no bearing in the center. That area of the cylinder head may gall or get damaged if any debris gets inside the engine and circulates to the top end.

Swingarm pivot bolt corrodes and freezes.

Stipped bolts on/in the engine. Not usually a problem unless the engine has been torn down many times or by someone not using a torque wrench. The aluminum can only withstand so much stress until the threads give.

Seals develop wear grooves on the aluminum suspension components (pivot areas). Dirt and water will get inside and damage the bearings.

Carb vent lines harden and crack.

There is a screen inside the engine to help trap debris. That needs to be cleaned over time but it's not easy to get to. Separate from the actual oil filter.

Rear shock may not have any dampening. Mine went completely away even with semi-regular oil changes. Shock was toast. Replaced it with a '89 model because that was available and compatible with the '86. Even if the shock has dampening, get the oil and seals changed as soon as possible.

Smooth power but definitely not a hp king. Makes it easy to ride on tight trails.

The weight is biased towards the front end. Corners like it's on rails though. Pull the forks up in the triple clamps roughly 10 mm for even better front end bite.

Rear brake will go away when wet. Drag the brake to dry it out.

Suspension is set up for trail riding. Will require mods if you intend to run at decent speeds.

Other than that, typical old bike issues - Bearings? Air filter (dry rot?)? Chain and sprockets? Wear pads for chain and sprockets?

Hope this helps

Chris

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