Red Rocket

Honda are rightly famous for their prowess in four-stroke technology. Almost as renowned, is Soichiro's disdain for the humble two-stroke engine. Yet for racing applications, a two-stroke's lightweight, power, and mechanical simplicity cannot be denied – hence the famous Honda Elsinore dynasty of motocross machines.

honda cr250r

Code-named the 335A, the first Honda CR250M’s arrived in US dealer showrooms in 1973, and Honda duly won its first U.S. National Championship with Gary Jones. In that first year of production, the Honda 250 two-stroke was a complete game changer, and it promoted other manufacturers to up-the-anti creating a boom in two-stroke MX machines that lasted for decades.

Unfortunately, the CR250M didn’t keep pace with the awakened competition and was offered almost unchanged in 1974 and 1975 receiving no more than a conservative makeover in 1976. That allowed Yamaha, suzuki, and European makers to regain the high ground. In the meantime, Honda’s factory racing team was riding something completely different.

In 1978, Honda released a stunning new 250cc two-stroke, renaming it the CR250R. It had a Euro-style engine with an output shaft on the right and a reed valve intake. Probably the most memorable aspect of the bike was its striking appearance. Everything, even the motor, was fire-engine red leading to the nickname “Red Rocket”.

The following year Honda decided to manufacture the Elsinore in the USA at their Marysville plant in Ohio. Lightweight aluminum alloy components such as rims, wheel hubs, and leading axle front forks were added to the handling.

Much was borrowed from the successful RC250 Works factory race team machines that competed in world championship outdoor Moto-Cross racing and the kick start lever and gear change pedal were crafted from aluminium to save weight. Liberal use of Magnesium in the motor had the engine weighing in at a mere 56 lbs.

Confidently predicting the desire for “statement machines” in the huge American off-road market, the Red Rockets in both 125 and 250cc guise put Honda firmly on the motocross map and paved the road towards the eventual adoption of four-stroke machinery in the class…. a man like Soichiro always got his way in the end!

At CMSNL we scour dealer shelves for hard-to-find original Honda parts so log into our website now and see if you can track down those Red Rocket parts that will make your bike a blast to ride!

issued: Tuesday, April 23, 2024
updated: Tuesday, April 23, 2024

link to this page:

more honda news

CMS is an independent supplier of spare parts and has no commercial link with Honda, Suzuki, Yamaha or Kawasaki.