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Motto of the VTR250 ChickenHawk

"To crush 600cc sportbikes being driven by yokels...
To hear the squall of their brakes as they panic and blow their corner.
To hear the laughter of their friends as they realize they've been blown away by a 23-year old 250cc 4-stroke..."

Mission Statement

Don't let anyone hand you any crap about riding a VTR250. This little bugger is the most fightin' hardest-cornerin' 4-stroke 250 ever made. Despite producing about 25 horsepower in stock form, this little monster will hold its own with anything in the twisties. Seemingly incapable of lowsiding, this beast will pull 70 mpg with careful driving, and still top 100mph.1 Top speed isn't everything--maneuverability is, and that's where the ChickenHawk (because it was obviously the predecessor to the 1000cc SuperHawk) shines. To paraphrase Cypress Hill:

I'm a ChickenHawk, looking for a Chicken. Better go for cover when you hear my valves clickin'

1downhill, with a tailwind, in full tuck, with luck

Ramblings and warstories

7/31/2012: Some of the VTR250 experts have a forum up at VTR250.org. I recommend stopping by -- I'm on there, and it's a good place to get questions answered.

7/31/2012: The VTR is back on the road. I replaced the Regulator/Rectifier (the cause of those problems back in '04 and '05), and she's humming along. I'll finish getting the bodywork on tomorrow, and on Thursday, I'll head out to First Thursday with it. Should be a hoot, and Thorwald has even volunteered to tag along.

10/21/2005: The VTR is safely stored, long-term, in my dad's granary. Angela had the baby, and all is well. Likely, the VTR will get pulled out of storage next May or June, and Angela will start cutting her teeth on it again. The thing ran well out to the farm, but that battery was so fragged that I had to jump-start it every time I let the engine die, which was every time she got below 2000 RPM. Joy.

5/03/2005: The VTR250 got rolled out of the far corner in the garage, and the battery has a charge again. Angela is due in September, so I don't think she'll be doing much riding this year. I'll start alternating between the VFR and the VTR when commuting to work, so the VTR gets some more miles. She's really holding up, though. Back in the summer of '03, I had some entertaining times getting a plug put in the rear tire, and after 2 years, the rear is finally holding 32 psi reliably.

8/15/2002: I put about 220 miles on the VTR on 8/13/2002 as a shakedown run. Absolute blast. She purrs like a kitten and roars like...well, a housecat. Corners like she's on a rail though.

8/10/2002: Fuel petcock failed. Was passing gas (hehehe) even when set to 'off'. Cost $131 from Cycle-parts.com

4/14/2002: All carb jets replaced (cost about $25 in parts from Honda). Pirelli MT08 and MT09 tires fitted. Galfer stainless steel brakelines, and Green pads (see Parts Page). Air filter cleaned. Fork Springs replaced (see Parts Page). Don't try to remove the speedometer cables from these. They're absolute bitches. I'm considering getting a different front wheel setup. Don't care for the inboard disc brake.

All I did to my VTR from '90 (when I got it) to '99 was put new chains and sprockets on, change oil, and mount a radar detector on top of the brake fluid reservoir--with simple adhesive velcro. I ran the power cable (it's a normal automotive detector--too quiet to be useful at highway speeds, but fine in town) direct off of the battery, and snaked it up under the fairing, then used cable ties to cinch it down as it went out along the handlebar, and up the mirror stalk. Note that I never use it anymore, since it's generally easier to talk one's way out of a ticket when you _don't_ have a radar detector evident.

My old tank bag was a modified backpack--made in the days when I was a college student, and too poor to buy one. One day, though, something sharp poked through it, and made a 1" scratch in the pretty blue paint of my gas tank. All I did for the backpack was to cut off the shoulder straps, and sew a 2" loop of webbing on to either side, in the middle. To fasten it to the bike, I use a short bungee to hook the top loop around the forward mount of the gas tank. I then take a longer bungee, and fish it through the bike--under the frame but above the engine, and hook it into the two aforementioned loops. Since the hooks _could_ scratch the plastic, I bought a $2 pair of nerf-like toy nunchaku, and cut the foam rubber off of one, cut it in two, and slid the foam over the two bungee hooks. Voila! Poor man's tank bag.

I've now added a black-and-purple Eclipse sport bag to the VTR. It looks phenomenal, and holds one whole hell of a lot. I got it from Motorcycle Accessory Warehouse. Note that you have to regularly tighten the hell out of the straps since the VTR's tank is too narrow for most any tankbag.

Doing a classically stupid thing the summer of '99, I twisted a bolt off into what I thought was the block. Thankfully, I had only broken the bolt off in the upper half of the camshaft holder. The VTR250 features replaceable cam shaft holders, so I only had to replace the one part--which was a mere $46. The replacement bolt was another $25 or so...

There's just enough space under the seat, in the rear cowling, for a bungee net. I carry one in there all the time, so that when I pick up some movies or some such, I can toss them under the cargo net.

The tool kit is, of course, mostly garbage. Buy a regular $29 Leatherman instead, and you've got pretty much everything you need. When you do need a wrench, you can use the original tools, but for any screwdriver like applications, the Leatherman is far superior.

According to Rob McKinnon of the VFR mailing list, the brake lever off of a '98 CBR900 will fit right on the VTR250 w/o modification. This means you can get an adjustable brake lever for about $20. Quite the deal, eh? Thanks Rob!

I was told, quite INCORRECTLY, that the front sprocket from the '88 and '89 were interchangeable. Who gave me this half-considered snippet of advice? Why, my local Honda dealer--Hopkins Hitching Post. These are, btw, the same gents who refused to replace a rusty gas tank for a bike they sold less than 3 weeks before the complaint--a zero mileage, brand-new bike. Customer service, thy name is not Hopkins Hitching Post. Honda USA eventually backed up the warranty, and got my buddy a new tank--but not before seriously dissing my pal. Hopkins Hitching Post basically told the Honda Rep that Michael was a whining pain in the ass. When the rep actually LOOKED at the bike in question, he IMMEDIATELY offered to replace the tank. Damn, I hate hitching post. They seriously suck. Back to the VTRs: The bikes actually use slightly different mounting--the 89/90 front sprocket uses a single bolt, down the center of the sprocket, while the '88 uses a pair of bolts to hold it in place. Do _not_ attempt to convert your '89/'90 to 520 chain. It is a major pain in the ass, and mostly it just plain doesn't work.

For front sprockets on the '89 or '90, most everyone will tell you that there ARE no aftermarket models made. When they do this, promptly hang up the phone and call Nicky at Honda of Milpitas, at 1-800-734-2639. This guy is da bomb. He found parts for me, and hopefully I'll get them fast :) . He was kind enough to inform me that Sprocket Specialists DOES make an aftermarket front sprocket. I didn't order one, because SS was out of them, and he could get me an OEM front sprocket sooner. Note that the front sprocket lasted 10 years for me, with only some wear showing. There was 3 inches of chain spooge packed in around it, though, which was causing remarkably short-lived chains. ONLY USE WD-40 on your O-ring chains!

Specs