Everyone has their own reason for starting a project bike, be it an obsession with the marque, a favourite old machine that’s slipped into disrepair or simply something to occupy them over long winter evenings. Only for Midlander Steve Wilson, the reason for embarking on the ‘restoration’ of a mkI Honda CRM250 was quite different…
A few years back, Steve suffered an ear infection which transferred through to his brain, and as part of his treatment he underwent a craniotomy (where the surgeon accesses the brain by removing part of the skull). As you can imagine after such a serious procedure, there was a long period of rehabilitation and Steve wanted a project to ‘exercise the brain and hands’.
Having previously owned a number of enduro bikes, Steve felt that the softer, smoother power delivery of a trail bike would be more useable, and the practical nature of a CRM would allow him to get out on it more. Steve also had some experience of Honda’s popular grey import, as he’d previously owned the second example in the country.
So in October ’06 Steve bought himself a 1989 mkI 250 from eBay, for £650. ‘I should’ve taken some pictures’, laughed Steve. ‘It was an absolute wreck’. Within the month he had it stripped down to the bare frame…
Having lightly modified his previous CRM, Steve knew that there were a couple of areas easily improved - namely the forks and the fuel tank. These weren’t the only mods he had planned, but they gave him a starting point on which to build.
1989 CR125 forks were another eBay purchase and although they’re not a straight swap for the CRM’s parts, the greater adjustability makes the work worthwhile. They were sent off to be fettled by suspension specialist Kevin Bancroft, who had the stanchions rechromed, whilst Steve then had the sliders refinished and new ‘Showa’ stickers added. The clamps were milled to fit the 2mm bigger forks and although the CR legs are longer than the CRM’s, Steve knew he could retain the standard geometry simply by running them pushed up through the yokes.
The change in fuel tank for another early CR125 item not only replaced heavy steel with plastic (thus saving 1.5 kilos), but also gave the CRM a much thinner profile and a flatter seat. As with the forks, the MX part didn’t quite bolt straight on and Steve had to weld a mounting point onto the frame to hold it securely.