The Gas Gas’ rear master cylinder was mounted on the frame and the Honda lever adapted to fit. Why not just mate the Honda pump to the Gasser’s caliper? Well Ian was concerned that although both marques used the same brand of brakes the master cylinders may run different bore sizes. And so to ensure that the Gas Gas brake worked as intended he used the bike’s master cylinder. Makes sense, really.
Over the winter Ian stripped and rebuilt the engine, giving it a little more pep along the way. The piston is a Wiseco hi-comp part and the ports and head have been polished. The valves were reground, a new clutch fitted, and an eBay-purchased FMF can slipped onto the stock headers. There’s a little more ‘burble’ than stock, but it’s still as quiet as a modern day enduro machine.
Firing the freshly fettled lump into life, the starter button switchgear is ‘something that was laying around in the garage’ and Ian’s fitted it (upside-down) on the left-hand-side of the braceless bars. Why? ‘There’s no room on the right,’ he explained, motioning towards the throttle housing and brake master cylinder assembly. ‘I’ve left the switches on the brakes so that should someone want to put it on the road they can.’ Indeed, Ian’s left enough of the wiring in place to hook up the necessary lights and switches should the need arise.
The Long and the Short of it
Ian has no real intention to make the bike road legal just yet though - he’s got the other XR for road and occasional green lane use. Instead the Honda is intended as a racer for when the tracks are really snotty. But surely his EC200 is perfect for that? ‘I really like the 200 in the dry but I wanted something that’d really chug through winter mud and find traction on the climbs. This will haul me up slippery hills where the 200 just spins.’ And without radiators to tweak or boil over the little 250 is pretty indestructible to boot.
With the longer forks and a lengthier swingarm the wheelbase has actually stretched 45mm over stock, but at 1465mm it’s still short for an enduro bike. The seat sits pretty high, but it’s by no means towering. ‘I think I got the linkage wrong’, exclaimed Ian when I first stepped into his garage, ‘it’s way too soft.’ So there’s a little work left to do in order to get it set-up for racing, but with any luck it won’t be too long before the bike’s being used in anger.
All-in the ‘Gassonda’, as his mates call it, cost Ian roughly £2200 but by selling off various parts it only owes him £1800. ‘If I sell all of the unused bits, then it’ll be £1300,’ he claimed. Is there anything else he’d like to change? ‘Being picky I’d like to fit a black airbox, some new frameguards, and sort it so that the front numberboard doesn’t sit proud of the fender’, he admitted. ‘Oh, and fit a hydraulic clutch. I’ve got the master cylinder [from the 400 Gas Gas] but I need a slave cylinder. If I can sell all of the spares and bits then I’ll do it, I’ll buy a kit. But otherwise it might be an Ian Davis special!’
It took a while to get there, and in a roundabout way, but Ian’s finally got what he wanted: an air-cooled four-stroke racer with modern ergos and chassis spec. Which sounds just like the kind of bike a number of people have contacted us about - railing against modern hi-tech machines and their strict servicing regimes. And suddenly adding two inches to the wheelbase of an XR250 doesn’t sound such a strange thing to do…
Ian would like to thank Stuart at Brightweld Fabrications (01454 324199) for the welding, and www.s2aerospace.com for the linkage plate.