1986 Honda VT250FD

Summary:

Cracking little bundle of complex fun

Faults:

Marked camshafts.

Failed thermoswitch.

Corroded radiator.

General Comments:

Think round bends, turns in on thought power alone due to the 16" wheel.

Very comfortable for a 6'2" 15 stone old duffer.

Needs to be revved for best performance, but cruises happily at 75 ish.

It is not easy to work on, compact and complex, 3 hours to check valve clearances. Once set they seem fine.

Some spares are gone, but others are relatively cheap and available.

I have two, my sons graduating to them after passing their tests.

Fast enough to be fun, frugal enough for an engineering student. Sounds pulls and handles like a little Duke. At 25 years old and £300 they are a bargain!

Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 2nd July, 2010

1985 Honda VT250FD

Summary:

A complex quarter litre that is too sophisticated for its own good

Faults:

When I bought the bike as a DIY project,

it was in tatty condition and the engine half assembled.

The previous owner had removed the rear cylinder head because the cam chain tensioner had broken. Luckily, a new one was supplied with the bike, just as well because I have heard that they are pricey.

Both cylinder heads had the eight valves removed and examined. It was discovered that the two inlet valves on the rear cylinder head were bent, due to the faulty tensioner (pricey). Also someone had omitted the four inner valve spring seat washers for the rear head. Again these washers were ridiculously over-priced to say the least.

The frame needed welding at the bottom right hand engine mount boss.

The frame was sanded down and repainted in the original red (does look good).

The rear suspension I am concerned with, because oil is leaking from the hose attached to the gaiter.

The headlight cowling required a repair and respray. A damn-sight cheaper than renewing it.

The head light fasteners were discarded by the previous owner. Trying to get new ones was a challenge because the dealer did not seem to understand my request.

The fasteners for the screen had also been discarded. A quote for these fasteners took the biscuit. Yet again over-priced. I will not pay that. Small alternative fasteners will do just as good.

The fuel tank had gained a repair at some stage in its life.

I finally managed to get the motor to run after being baffled by the misleading timing marks. To time this engine up, you get the rear piston (number one) on compression, align the IN1 and EX1 marks with the top of the head. Fine. Then time up number two cylinder (front). This is where it started to go wrong. You don`t then align the camshaft marks (EX2 and IN2) on the front cylinder. Instead you carefully rotate the crankshaft so that T2 mark on the starter clutch is aligned with the notch. Then you, bizarrely, need to remove the camshaft bearing caps on the exhaust cam to align the EX2 mark with the top of the head. The reason being is at that point in the engine cycle, the exhaust valves are open. Then finally align the IN2 mark with the top of the head as normal. I was baffled by this, therefore wrote to Honda and they confirmed that they issued a diagram regarding this dilemma. The diagram illustrates what I have explained.

General Comments:

The VT250F was introduced in 1982. The early model had engine problems such as crankshafts and timing chains. Honda then introduced the VT250FD, which is what I own. This model was fitted with a revised crankshaft and timing chains. Hopefully, the engine problems should be history with this model.

Also electrics can go nasty with age. Usually, it is the metal connection on the solenoid that tends to break, thus causing total electrical failure.

I have not had the chance to ride my VT250 yet, therefore I am unable to comment on the ride. Although, I have had it running. The oil pressure light goes out as soon as I crank it over. It doesn`t seem to be burning oil and it doesn`t rattle. Good.

Beware when buying a VT250FD. They are not trouble free. Look out for notchy gearboxes and bad clutches. With regards to the engine, look out for rattly ones. These are expensive to fix as I learned.

Honda introduced the VT250F as techno roadster in the early eighties, and it remained in production only for a short time. In its day, it was ahead of its time, and is still advanced compared to many quarter litre machines available today.

Maintenance can be a chore because many of components required. They're inaccessible and require primary dismantling work.

Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 12th June, 2005

11th Apr 2009, 07:45

I am the narrator of the review and can gladly say I have ridden the VT250F. It is a lovely engine to work with. Power delivery is smooth and progressive. When the engine reaches 7000rpm, it takes off and you'll be grinning ear to ear. They are pretty reliable and start first time on the button. The riding position is comfortable. For a 250, it is quite quick and will do a 100 and sit at 70 or 80 all day no problem. Maintenance can be a bit of a pain, especially with spark plugs and carburettors etc. Most things are difficult to get too. Parts can be a bit expensive as well.

5th Jun 2012, 16:36

Hi, do you still have the Honda, or did it die/pass on?

And if you've still got it, how has it stood up?

I'm looking at one, and I'm very, very tempted, but nervous about the tech/reliability side.