1972 Honda XL250 Motosport Motorcycle
Launched in 1972, Honda’s groundbreaking XL250 was notable as the first mass produced motorcycle to use four-valves per cylinder technology, setting the standard for all future four-stroke enduros. Hugely popular with off-road riders wanting a street legal machine, the XL250 remained in production for the next 15 years with only minor updates. The XL250’s over-square engine (with a bore and stroke of 57.8mm by 74mm) produced around 24 horsepower from its single cylinder, endowing the bike with plenty of power; fuel was fed by a 28mm Keihin carburetor while a flywheel magneto providing the ignition. The Honda used state of the art suspension technology including adjustable Ceriani forks and dual shocks at the rear, a 21-inch alloy front rim and an 18-inch rear wheel. The six-volt electrical system operated a combined speedo/tachometer, the turn signals and lights, which could easily be removed for off-road use. Despite weighing a little more than its opposition, the Honda was able to “pull like a tractor” according to contemporary road tests, while the powerful brakes were also singled out for praise. The Motosport edition was sold in just one colour – metallic silver – with a red and white muffler emblem, red tank and mudguard stripes. The XL250 became one of the best selling off road motorcycles of all time and a favourite with collectors today.