XR250R 1986 - 2004
- 12/22/17 version


With MAR's kind permission, I have made this web page based on his brilliant collection of XR250R information. I will add pictures and other information as soon as I can.

Much of the information applies to all years 1986 to 2004. Where information is specific to certain years, it will be so noted. However, some information may be mis-identified due to lack of specific year knowledge. I apologize if this causes confusion. Please let me know if you find any errors and I will attempt to correct them.

NOTE - most of the picture links are broken because the site they were on is no longer in existence. If you have copies of the original pictures, contact me
< ramz [at] rickramsey [dot] net > so I can add them to this page. Thanks.

NOTE - I want to clear up a misconception/misunderstanding. Most of the information on this web page is taken from MAR's original web pages, and most of the opinions and comments are MAR's. My contribution has been to add pictures, technical information, and specifications identified as (ramz). Where I venture opinions, I will also identify them as (ramz).



Topics that have not been updated with new pictures and/or new checked text will have the 'under construction' icon.
(Yeah, I know, there are a bunch of them. There's still lots of work to be done. Mostly tracking down pictures.)

Aftermarket web sites 
Other Web Sites 
Torque Values 

First, a review - XR250R Review
Oops, the review has gone missing; this comparo should serve as a replacement. (ramz)


The XR250R comes pretty choked up from the factory. You can easily modify the intake and exhaust to get more performance.

Exhaust bafflebusy

Remove the exhaust baffle or purchase a less restrictive exhaust baffle.

There are two exhaust baffle designs - A1 and A2 (stamped on outside of end tip).

Here is a picture of the A1 baffle. Notice the entire spark arrestor area is screened as opposed to the A2.

Removal of the A1 baffle. Follow the steps listed in this link: A1 XR250R Baffle removal

Here is a picture of the A2 Baffle. Note: it has a NON removable baffle insert.

It looks like this A2 Baffle/Spark Arrestor

You might at this point either replace the A2 with an A1 or purchase an aftermarket end cap or baffle like the ones listed here:
Ballards Baffle/EndCap - look under exhaust
Thumper Racing - Baffle
Baja Designs - look under Bike Specific
RockyMountainATV - Vortip

Note: If the exhaust is too noisy with the baffle entirely out and you're on a budget, check out Tubo's post on ThumperTalk   HERE (scroll to Tubo's post)


Grind the header weldsbusy

Loosen the bolt where header attaches to the slip-on muffler pipe, then remove the four 12mm acorn nuts that hold the header to the head.
Look where the exhaust flange is mated to the pipe on both inlets.
If there is excessive weld material/metal, remove the excess by grinding it off. Be careful not to remove so much it affects structural integrity.

Here is a picture for reference:  Ground Header Welds








Modify the airbox by removing the inlet snorkel. Removal of the stock airbox inlet snorkel under the seat will allow your XR to breathe better.

Remove the seat and pull upward on the snorkel.

Find a picture of the snorkel.

Install a free-flowing air cleaner. The stock air cleaner is quite a bit more restrictive than others. Many riders like the Uni Filter with a High Flow cage.


Snorkel removed (ramz)


Jet the carb to get the most out of the modifications (mostly ramz)

Stock jetting info as shown in the Honda XR250R Service Manuals:





Carb ID




PDG1A  49-state

Main jet




  132  49-state
  122  CA

Slow jet / Pilot





Jet needle clip position





Pilot screw / Fuel screw

2 1/4

2 1/4

1 3/4

  1 3/4  49-state
  1 3/8  CA

Float level is 12.5 mm for all models.
Idle speed is 1300±100 rpm for all models.

Needle clip positions are numbered from top (fat end) to bottom (tapered tip):
1 top, leanest
3 usually stock
5 bottom, richest

A popular change for sea-level jetting is to switch to a 135 main jet if you have opened up the airbox and exhaust; Honda part number is 99113-GHB-1350. 135 is just a starting number. Altitude, temperature, and humidity affect jetting.

Click on the chart (taken from the Honda Service Manual).

Using your riding altitude and temperature, look up the main jet correction factor. Multiply the correction factor times 132 or 135, as the case may be, to get the correct main jet size for your riding altitude and temperature.

If the correction factor is 0.95 or below, raise the jet needle clip by one position and turn in the pilot screw 1/2 turn.
If the correction factor is above 0.95, adjustments to the jet needle and pilot screw are not necessary.


I have been doing some research on XR carbs as part of an effort to update my XR250L page. I started a new XR carb page, and there are now links from this page and my XR250L page that point to the new XR carb page.
Here's the link: XR250R Carburetor Notes


Here is a great carb tutorial video post on ThumperTalk.com by Trailryder42. The video shows an XR400R carb, but the XR250R carb is nearly identical.
Carb Tutorial video post by Trailryder42


Although the CRF230F carb is slightly different, many parts compare and work the same way, just different sizes/part numbers:
CRF230F Carburetor Notes


There used to be a good writeup on setting the float level on an XR400R on the CycoActive web site, but a recent check by me shows that it is no longer available; I have no idea when it disappeared. Here are a few notes that I captured...

The main jet is easily accessed by removing the 17mm hex float bowl plug on the bottom of the carb. The main jet is directly up dead center. Use a 6mm socket and unscrew it. If the jet holder (long brass tube) comes out also, don't worry. Unscrew the main jet from the jet holder. Screw the jet holder back into the carb (use a 7mm socket). Then screw the main jet in. It's not uncommon for them to come out together. The plastic anti-slosh baffle will not come loose with the float bowl still in place.

One note about tightening. Do not over tighten the brass parts or they will break. On the other hand, if you don't get them tight enough, they'll come out, probably while you're riding. I use a 1/4" ratchet and grip it by the head, not the handle, when tightening. I tighten until I hear a soft squeak as the parts seat. Any further and you'll hear another muffled scrunching sound; that's too far for me. (I did break one main jet, back in '81, and have always been extra careful since. -Rick)

Here are a few ThumperTalk links to jetting threads:
XR250 Jetting
Jetting question for 99 XR 250
Gordon Mods......02 XR 250


Engine/Frame skidplate protection

I recommend removing the stock tubular engine guard and replace it with a solid skidplate that incorporates side case protection. This is a great investment as a hard rock can easily crack an engine case. Here are a few links and pictures:
XR's Only   Moose Racing   Utah Sport Cycle

I use the Utah Sport Cycle skidplate marketed under the Ricochet name. I believe the Moose Racing is by them also.


Frame guards

I prefer to run them as constant boot rubbing will simply wear off the paint. Granted some do not care but it sure keeps the bike looking good.
Here is a popular brand:   Works Connection Frame Guards


Handlebar replacement

Steel bars are ok but a good set of aluminum bars offer more. The upgrade to a good set of aluminum bars will get you less arm fatigue, lighter weight, and generally stronger bars.
Here is a ThumperTalk thread where they where discussing bar choices etc:   Handlebar discussion

From most of my reading and researching, taller guys prefer CR HI bend or Jimmy Button bend. Being short statured, I went with Renthal bars in XR250R/600 OEM bend.
Here is a couple of Links to Bar manufacturers:
Renthal   Pro Taper   TAG



Most will agree one of the best mods outside of the freebies is the suspension. I cannot recommend anyone as there are just too many people out there that can do this for you if you can't. I can offer a Spring Rate Guide for you though which may help you determine where to start.





Temperature gauge

A great way to monitor your XR's temperature on those hot days of hard riding is with a temperature gauge that mounts in the oil fill hole; it's just a two second swap!

I believe the XR's Only instructions say below 300F is good. Many though seem to be running around 250-270F on a hotter day.

Here are the links to the Temperature gauges:
XR's Only Gauge   SRC Gauge



The stock footpegs work fine but if you want a better foothold, look at getting wider footpegs. Some like the IMS Pro's (file down the tips a tad or they will trash your boot soles quick) and others like the IMS ProStock (the teeth aren't as sharp). Other have had good luck with XR's Only pegs.

Here are a few links on Pegs:
IMS Pegs   XR's Only Pegs



Most I think will agree the stock tires are not the best. I won't go into what might seem to be the best, but I can list the manufacturers for you and then all you have to do is search: "Tires" on the ThumperTalk XR250R-XR400R forum. That will give you an an idea what people have had the best luck with under certain types of terrain.

The stock tire size is Rear - 100/100-18 59M and the Front - 80/100-21 51M recommended

Here are some Tire links:
Kenda   Bridgestone   Michelin   Maxxis   Dunlop   Pirelli


Larger gas tanks

A larger tank will give you more range. Note that some tanks are very wide and others not as wide, so if comfort is a concern, shop accordingly.

There are several manufacturers:
IMS Tank   Clarke   Acerbis



Fork brace

I have heard nothing but great reviews about the SRC fork brace. Best of all you can incorporate it with Mudskins and tricker looking Fork Guards.
SRC Fork Brace with Mudskins and Fork Guards



Steering stabilizer

Probably a great choice for the more serious XR rider. By helping to stabilize the front end of your motorcycle, the rear of the motorcycle will track straighter allowing the rest of your suspension to work the way it was designed to. In addition, the stabilizer eliminates that sudden thrust effect of having the handlebars pulled from your hands after unknowingly hitting sharp edged rocks, tree roots, or ruts. It has also been proven to help minimize rider fatigue. Here is a link to Scotts:  Scotts Steering Stabilizer


Upgraded hand guards

The stock hand guards are just mud/small rock deflectors. You can upgrade to heavy duty plastic hand guards or to super sturdy aluminum hand guards. The later are a good choice as they offer better protection for your hands and your perches and levers! Here are a few links although there are many hand guard manufacturers:
Moose Aluminum guards   Acerbis Hand guards







For those that may want to change their gearing for higher speed be it for dual purpose or street or the rider who would like to make his 1st gear a walking tractor, I offer up a gearing chart:  Ratio Chart

The stock gearing is 3.69 (13T front and 48T Rear). I have researched and found going to the 12 tooth front is fine but, keep an eye on the chain slider on the Swingarm as wear might increase. The stock chain is fine with the 12 Tooth.

For the rear sprocket, you can go up to a 51 tooth using the stock chain guide. Of course, going to a 51 you will need a 2 link longer chain.

I might add it is recommended to swap out sprockets and chain together although there are many users/riders who do not. I would simply say inspect for obvious wear and if there is wear, replace all 3 as a set. As far as sprockets there are quite a few manufacturers out there. Here are a few manufacturers and some offer chains:
Talon   Sprocket Specialties   Renthal Sprockets

As far as chains there are also quite few manufacturers. But here are a couple:
RK   DID   Tsubaki   Regina


Maintenance (all MAR)busy

First off if you do not have a Honda Service Manual, pick one up.
They offer a great wealth of insight into maintenance, repair, and troubleshooting.
Online versions are available, but they are not as convenient as a paper manual.
Honda XR250R Shop Manual, 1996-2004 at   The Flight of the Platypus

Oil and Changesbusy
I won't get into the "what oil is best debate" but, I will say the best oil is the frequently changed oil.
The Owner's Manual and Service Manual suggests:
API class: to meet or be higher then SG
JASO class: MA
Honda recommends: Pro Honda GN4 or HP4 WITHOUT MOLY
Viscosity: above 32*F use 20w50 and below 32*F use 10w40
Also you can use suggested oils that are equal to SJ but, that are NOT marked Energy Conserving.
As far as how often to change the oil, the manual recommends every 30 days of riding or 1,000 miles.
I personally change mine about every 200-300 miles and use Honda HP4 it is a Synthetic blend.
Whether you choose Synthetic, Synthetic Blend, or Dyno Oil stick with a Motorcycle specific oil.
It is cheap insurance!

As far as Filters go simply using the Stock Honda Filter cartridge is fine.

Note: If you purchased a used bike it might be a good idea to remove the Oil Screen that is made into the bottom Oil Line to Frame Banjo Bolt.
It hopefully will be clean. The torque spec is 40 ft. lbs on this bolt.
Do not exceed the 40 ft lbs.

There also is a Square Screen that lays down on inside of the right side case.
If the down tube screen was dirty/restricted for sure do the Case Screen
The Factory Service manual shows you exactly how to inspect, clean and replace.

Also the specified Oil Capacity for 96-04 are:
1.37 qts at draining
1.47 qts w/Filter
1.79 qts. at disassembly

Checking the Oilbusy
You hear so many ask this question.
Its simple to get an accurate reading by following these steps.
1. Warm up bike (at least 5 minutes)
2. Make sure Bike is upright vertical and not leaning on its side stand (just sit on it for best results)
3. Make sure surface is level.
4. Once warmed up and following steps 2 & 3 immediately shut off bike and unscrew dipstick. Set dipstick back in and pull out (Do Not Screw In).
This will give you a correct reading.
If its on side stand, cold, unlevel etc all these will read an incorrect level.

Air Filterbusy
Simply Clean it after every few rides or if in severe dirt and dusty conditions after every ride.

Simply put just Lube it before each ride.
I usually clean my bike after each ride and then Lubricate the chain.
The Chain should have 1 1/4 -1 5/8 play.

Valve Adjustmentbusy
It is recommended you inspect clearance every 600 miles.
Without getting into a long story simply purchase a Service Manual.
You can't beat it.
But here it is for you:

Ensure the motor is cold.
Remove the fuel tank, fuel line, seat and side covers.
Remove the four large valve inspection bolts with a socket the same size as the rear axle nut.
Remove the spark plug, place a clean wooden dowel through the hole and rest it on the top of the piston.
Remove the timing inspection bolt on the LHS engine case.
You want to adjust the valve clearance on the compression stroke, that is when the intake valve has opened and air has been sucked in, then the piston rises up compressing the air. Rotate the motor with the kick starter so that the exhaust valve has just open, and then shut and the intake valve is just about to open. You will feel with the screw driver that the piston is at TDC and the "T" mark will show through the LHS inspection hole. This is not the correct TDC. Rotate the motor a little further and you will notice the intake valve open up. Keep rotating slowly and you will feel the piston rise again to another TDC. This is the correct TDC to adjust the valve clearance from. If you look through the LHS inspection hole now, you should see the letter "T", but it might not be perfectly lined up the groove in the case cause the kick-starter spring won't let it sit perfectly. I used a length of string to hold the kick-starter at the perfect angle to line up the two marks. There should be play in all the valve arms at this point. There are several marks, so be sure you have the 'T' mark.. The key things to remember are the T mark must be lined up, and there should be some play in all 4 of the rocker arms.
With your feeler gauge, (intake is .010mm and exhaust is .012mm), use a smaller feeler gauge finger (ie .005mm) just to see how the clearances are at the moment on the intake valve. If you can't get it in between the bottom of the adjusting screw and the sub rocker arm, the clearances are to tight and need adjusting. If the .005mm fits in and is quite loose, try the 0.010mm. If you can get it in without struggling and there is just a light grab on the finger it is perfect so don't adjust it. If it to tight or loose, adjust it. Check the exhaust clearance using the relevant gauge fingers.

ADJUSTING THE VALVE CLEARANCE: using a 12mm ring spanner, loosen the locking nut. Using a flat head screwdriver, screw the adjustment screw out just enough for you to slide in the correct gauge finger. Screw the adjustment screw back in so it is just applying a small amount of pressure to the gauge finger. You should be able to still slide the gauge finger around, but it should feel like it is grabbing a little. Screw the locking nut down to secure the adjustment screw. When the locking nut is tightened, it appears to raise the adjustment screw slightly and reduce the amount of grabbing on the gauge finger, so experiment and get it all tight but with the slight grab.
Continue this for the remaining three valve clearances.
Adjust the decompression system if required so it is not affecting the rocker arm action and only touches the rocker arm when you pull the decompression lever. The decompression system cable mount on the cylinder head may cop a few hits and could be bent, so check this, as it will affect the way the decompression system works. Then recheck the clearances for peace of mind
Replace the four large valve inspection bolts and the timing inspection bolt on the LHS.
Replace the tank, fuel line, side covers and the seat.

Swingarm Pivot Bolt and Axle Bolt Lubricationbusy
Simply put a neglected Swing Arm Pivot bolt can and will seize if not lubricated.
Its an easy process and will save you a ton of grief in the long run.
Follow the Factory Manual process of pulling Rear Wheel (great time to lube the rear axle). Remove the two Shock Arm nuts (right side) then remove the Swing Arm pivot Bolt.
Re-install after lubing.
HERE is a picture of the 2 Shock arm Nuts and the Swingarm Pivot Bolt/Nut

The specs are:
Swing arm Pivot Bolt 65 ft. lbs
Swing Arm to Shock Arm bolt 51 ft. lbs
Shock Arm to Link Arm bolt 33ft. lbs.
Rear Axle Bolt for Rear Wheel 69 ft. lbs
The Front Axle is an obvious easy task to Lube.
The specs on it are 54 ft. lbs on the Front Axle Bolt and the Axle Holder nuts are to be torqued to 9ft lbs.

Spark Plugbusy
Simply put this is not a 2 stroke and Plug replacement isn't needed often (unless there is a problem).
I would pull and inspect as the Manual suggests every 600 miles minimum.
the Factory plug is a CR9EH-9 or a Denso U27FER9
If you are riding in cold weather (the Manual says below 41*F)
a 1 size lower heat range is ok.
That would be a CR8EH-9 or a Denso U24FER9 (don't forget you are running this plug as Temperature increases).
The manual suggests you Torque the spark Plug to 9 ft lbs. but, I as one do not Torque a spark plug.
It only needs to be tightened hand tight then, a slight tap of your palm while holding the wrench is sufficient. You over tighten it and you WILL strip the Head. The Head is the Softer of the two metals (Plug threads vs Head threads).
Also the recommended gap for the 96-04 is 0.8-0.9 or (0.031-0.035in")

Spark Plug Wire Resistor Modbusy
This is a simple Mod that replaces the small resistor inside the EndCap of the Plug Wire with a more conductive piece of Metal.
Simple to do try and see for yourself if you think its worth it.
Unplug Spark Plug Wire
Look inside of End Cap you will see a Slotted Screw Head.
Remove the Screw and out will fall first a Resistor then a Spring.
Get a small piece of Brass of the same diameter (great conductor) or steel rod and cut it to the same length.
Put Spring back in then new Piece of Brass cut to Resistor size and re-install the Screw.
This is supposed to offer a hotter spark.
It makes sense as a Resistor makes resistance and even though the Brass rod will have a resistance value it should be far lower.


Aftermarket web sites

Be sure to look at the Thumper Talk Store First (TT Store)

A-Loop - plastics
Acerbis - plastic
Baja Designs - accessories
Ballards - XR specific
Cemoto - plastic
Club Spark Plug - neat link for your plugs   
DeVol Racing - accessories
Dennis Kirk - accessories
Factory Effex - graphics
FMF - pipes
Four Strokes Only - tips & accessories
HotCams - camshafts
IMS - tanks & pegs
JustXR - tips & etc
Maier - plastic
Monkey Butt - accessories
Moose Racing - accessories, skid plates
MX South - accessories
NGK - plug info
Off-road - accessories
Polisport - plastic
PowerSportsPro - microfiche online
Pro Moto Billet - billet accessories
Renthal - bars
Rocky Mountain - billet gas cap, accessories
Scott Summers Racing - accessories   
Scotts - steering dampers
SealSavers - fork seal protection
Service Honda - oem parts
SideWinder - sprockets
Southern - accessories
Sprocket Specialists - sprockets
UNI Filter - air filters
Utah Sport Cycle - accessories, skid plates
WER Racing - suspension
Works Connection - perches, frame guards
XR's Only - XR specific


Other Web Sites

Honda (website)
MotorcycleUSA (reviews etc)
4Strokes (tips & reviews)

Honda XR250R 1996-97 specifications (actually 95/96)

2004 XR250 vs DR-Z250 vs KLX300R 2/12/2004

3 Honda XR250R Reviews

Web Shots Rides
92 Honda XR250R pictures from motorcycles photos on webshots



Nice chart to identify model Year   VIN Chart
If you are looking at a used XR, this can help you determine what year it is.

A good place to find a used XR - CycleTrader



MAR of course, started it all
TT sliderscraper, UK


Specifications (ramz)

Honda XR250R Specifications  1996 - 2004

Engine Type 249cc air-cooled dry-sump single-cylinder four-stroke
Bore and stroke 73mm x 59.5mm
Compression ratio 10.2:1
Valve Train SOHC; four-valve RFVC
Horsepower & torque Peak HP - 20 at 8600 rpm; peak torque - 14.4 ftlbs at 6700 rpm
Carburetion 28mm piston-valve, xx pilot, xxx main '04
30mm piston-valve, xx pilot, xxx main '06
Ignition Solid-state CD with electronic advance
Transmission Six-speed
Final drive #520 O-ring-sealed chain; 13T/48T
Front suspension 41mm leading-axle Kayaba cartridge fork with 20-position compression damping adjustability; 10.6 inches travel
Rear suspension Pro-Link Kayaba single shock with spring preload, 20-position compression and 20-position rebound damping adjustability; 10.6 inches travel
Front brake Single disc with twin-piston caliper
Rear brake Single disc
Front tire 80/100-21
Rear tire 100/100-18
Wheelbase 55.1 inches
Rake (Caster Angle) 24.8°
Trail 3.6 inches (92mm)
Seat height 36.0 inches
Ground clearance 12.4 inches
Dry weight 240 pounds
Fuel capacity 2.4 gallons, including 0.5-gallon reserve
Color Red
California version differs slightly due to emissions equipment.


Torque Values - '86-'95 (ramz)

Right-click and save, then print each page.




Torque Values - '96-'04 (ramz)

Right-click and save, then print each page.