Additional photos of this Honda NSR250 MC18 are available here for your perusal.
In the mid-to-late 1980s, the small-displacement race replica market in Japan was booming. Legions of bright-eyed young riders were lining up to fork over their hard-earned yen for competition-derived road-legal runners like Yamaha’s TZR250, Kawasaki’s KR-1, and Suzuki’s RGV250. Manufacturers on the island were battling it out on the race track and in showrooms in an ongoing arms race to produce the most trick race bike for the streets. In 1985, Honda launched the NS250R MC11, laying the foundation for its line of quarter-liter oil-burners that followed. The NS featured a box-section aluminum frame and swingarm, disc brakes, full GP-style bodywork inspired by Honda’s RS250R factory race bike, Honda’s Astralight rims, and a liquid-cooled, 249cc, 90-degree V-Twin engine, two-stroke engine that made 45 hp (at 9,500rpm) and utilized the ATAC (automatically-controlled torque amplification chamber) power-valve system.
The NS was well-received, but it was up against some fierce competition. So Honda quickly went back to the drawing board and released the MC16 in 1986, then the MC18 a year later. The first MC18 (aka the PGM-1) used a redesigned two-stroke 90-degree V-Twin, though it boasted the first digitally-controlled two-stroke carb setup on a production road bike — a feature only bolstered by the RC valve system.
The MC18 also got a revised pentagonal section aluminum alloy frame with a removable subframe, dual drilled floating 276mm discs bit by cast aluminum four-piston Nissin calipers (and a single 220mm disc in back), telescopic forks with preload adjustment, Pro-Link rear suspension, and six-arm aluminum alloy Enkei wheels. The MC18’s bodywork also received a minor facelift based on the 1988 season’s NSR500 GP bike. Japanese restrictions meant horsepower was still capped at 45 out of the box, though the MC18’s potential was a lot easier to unlock. With a few simple modifications, 60 hp could easily be achieved.
Three months after the initial release of the PGM-1, Honda released the up-spec’d SP edition. Short for “Sport Production”, the SP was available in a works racer-style Rothmans livery and came from the factory with gold Magtek magnesium rims. The seller acquired this bike from a Japanese importer three years ago and restored it as a “SP Tribute” with replica bodywork and genuine Magtek wheels.
Before listing it on the auction site, the seller had us go through the bike and perform the following: replace the fork seals, clean and sync the carbs, clear a carb vent line, adjust the pipes to clear the bodywork and rear turn signals, install a front brake lever, and install a battery.
Currently located at our facility in Santa Monica, California (please make an appointment for an inspection), this NSR250 is offered on a clean California title with registration current through November 2021 (the seller is mailing us the current tag sticker).