REPAIR: 1974 Honda MT250 Elsinore

Jarred works on the 1974 Honda MT250 Elsinore...

Jarred works on the 1974 Honda MT250 Elsinore…

There are very few things as cool as a vintage dirt bike.  Of the coolest old off-road motorcycles, the 1974 Honda MT250 Elsinore is at the top of the list.  This 2-stroke beauty came our way through one of Jarred’s friends, needing some love, and a few repairs…

Honda MT250 Elsinore: vintage repairs

In the span of a month, through friends of MotoPreserve, we have seen a variety of bike coming in for some repair work.  Great bikes like the Triumph Bonneville, BSA chopper, a couple BMW R80s, and now this lovely Honda MT250 Elsinore.

The Honda MT250 Elsinore was the enduro version of the popular Honda CR250.  The MT250 came complete with lighting and standard road features.

This bike is a beauty, and I can’t stop staring at it.  The previous owner had done some work to it, apparently rebuilding the top end.  The bike has been stripped of it’s battery, fuel pump and all the lighting.  The new owner wants some lights, to make it road legal, so there is some work to be done.

Gotta love just a single carb on the Honda MT250 Elsinore...

Gotta love just a single carb on the Honda MT250 Elsinore…

In typical form, I was asked to clean and rebuild the carb.  I have to admit, having just a single carb is a dream.  With a kit including all new jets and the gaskets, the carb got the once-over, and was put back together all fresh and new.  The carb cleaned up nice and snapped back together very easy.  The simplicity of this carb is a great feature, especially if you plan to run the bike as intended, in the dirt.

Honda MT250 Elsinore carb clean and back on the bike...

Honda MT250 Elsinore carb clean and back on the bike…

The Honda MT250 Elsinore is a 6v bike, so finding appropriate lights and wiring it all up presents a challenge.  Info on this bike is limited, despite a decent following online.  Figuring out how to run electrics without the battery will be interesting to figure out.

There is some great info on the bike HERE:

Stay tuned…

46 Replies to “REPAIR: 1974 Honda MT250 Elsinore”

  1. hi, i have the same bike, been restored but has no lights. i sure would like to hear from you about how you go about reinstalling them.
    hope to hear from you!

    1. Hey Doug. Great bike! Jarred was the one who installed the lights back on the bike. I’ll ask him what he ended up running – and get back to you. Send us a photo of your bike, we’d love to post it here.

      1. hi, sorry its been a while. i have picked up all the parts i think i need, but don’t really know how to go about putting it back together.
        i would send a few pics but don’t know how to attach them.

  2. Hi I have a 1973 cr Elsinore I recently had the carb rebuilt by local moto shop.Well it runs worst than ever, the bike is high compression head and won’t idle and breaking up at all rpm range I drove it for about 2 hours and it just ate 2 gallons of fuel in that time. I shut off the fuel and it clears up and takes off like a rocket,any help or suggesting would be appreciated thanks again : Dave.

    1. Dave,

      When you say shutting the fuel off “clears” it up – do you mean it runs fine at that point? Or just starts & revs fine?

      If it runs fine with the petcock in the off position (meaning just fueled by gas in the float bowl), it may be some type of vacuum being created by the petcock, restricting fuel flow?

      Is there a proper vent for the tank?

      Is the shop far from you? If you’ve paid to have it cleaned, and it’s running worse, I would take it back to shop and have them make it right.


    1. Hey Fred. Thanks for checking out the site. A quick check at shows that the throttle cable is particular to just that model – just 3 years of manufacture. That will certainly make it tough. Try heading over to and see if anyone over that way has info. They have a pretty cool site, complete with resources. You can also try the folks at . They can sniff out just about any hard part…

    1. Hey Darell,

      The backfiring from the exhaust is combustion of fuel in the exhaust pipe that has not been combusted in the cylinder (the proper place). The fuel is traveling past the cylinder/piston I burned and I to the exhaust where it then ignites when the exhaust is hot enough.

      It could be several things – but the best place to start would be to do the standard maintenance routine (points, valves, sync, new spark plug etc.

      Depending on the last time it was done, it may be long past due.


  3. I have bought a 1974 Honda MT250 elsinore I had one in High school and love it 2 stroke and peppy. having problems with it leaking from carberater.

  4. the one in high school had a red stripe down the tank this one has a blue , but I still love it 2stroke and oil in jected.

    1. Hey! Thanks for writing in.

      You’ve got a damn cool bike on your hands. Unfortunately parts are sorta hard to find (as I’m sure you’ve encountered) and there doesn’t seem to be a specialty shop that has decided to stock these parts – or an aftermarket for them.

      Please let us know what you find – and we will do the same.

  5. Hi,
    I have been restoring a 74 mt250 and have had a challenge finding all the parts needed and I am still trying to find a chain guide even though I didn’t paint it the original color due to the fact I don’t like orange so I painted it with a blue stripe including putting the stripes on the fenders. If you could lead me in the right direction on a chain guide or even an after market one that would be cool. I am aware that I do not really need it but it would better if it had all the parts.

    1. Unfortunately I think you’re going to be stuck with eBay or junk yards. I don’t know of any NOS dealers for these bikes.

      Good luck with the search.

    1. Sorry, it’s been quite a while since we worked on this bike. Which gasket are you referring to? Are you looking for the shaped float bowl gasket?

    1. Hey Jerry. Thanks for checking out the site. I don’t have an MT250 or the schematic in front of me – but if I recall, it might be from the lighting coil. It would likely travel up to the bar switch that houses the lighting controls. Do you have a shop manual with the wiring diagram? What year is the bike?

      1. Need help 74 mt 250 no spark when I got bike was I very poor condition ive sense rebuilt it .I have pluged everything in except 4 wires under tank and 1 in headlight that being big white with yellow stripe where does it go has no coler match could this cause a no spark issue or maybe the 4 under tank have something to do with it dont know someone PLEASE help me

  6. Just wondering about taking the battery out an have no battery
    What are the color wires do i need as i dont need lights
    Its a honda mt250 elsinore 74 model

    1. Do you have a wiring schematic for this bike? That should show you the bare essentials you’ll need to run without any battery/lights.

    1. Unfortunately I’ve never dealt with any carb but the stock version – so I don’t have a recommendation for an aftermarket alternative.

  7. i have a great running mt250 1974, leaks gas out of overflow , tried new seat needle, still leaks, does not flood, just leaks looking for NOS carb finding NOTHING, any sugestions?

    1. Unfortunately, I’m assuming that many (if not all) of the swap meets will be on hold this season. So I think eBay is your only option for NOS carb. You may look into whether people have had luck with replacing it with a modern available carb (Mikuni???). Don’t have any experience with that – but it may be possible. Sorry I couldn’t be more help.

  8. i have a 1973 MT250 and now i can’t figure out where and how i get the kickstart spring on or where it even goes! please help!

    1. Are you talking about the spring on the outside of the engine that attaches to the kicker? It’s been a while since I’ve seen one. You should probably be able to download a manual online that would show you the location in the parts fiche

  9. Hi have a 74 MT 250 . Got out of a barn totally original up to the tires like someone drove it home and parked it great condition nothing chewed by rodents gas tank was empty time capsule status. Lol. So I put new fuel new spark plug rebuilt carb new coil basic tune up every time kick back fire out air filter box won’t start. Why.? Any suggestions.???

    1. Hard to say, but it may be bad air/fuel ratio. I think it’s most often if the bike is running too lean.

      I assume you cleaned the carbs well and that it’s getting a decent amount of fuel? Floats working correctly? Jet passages all clear?

  10. Omg I was passed down an old MT250, almost runs again after over 20 years, and has seen better days but, when I was handed the bike I was also handed a old CLYMER Honda 125-250cc ELSINORES * 1973-1980 service repair and maintenance manual. It has everything you need to know about the bike, fuel ratios, wiring diagrams, troubleshooting not starting, or pre ignition, and everything, it also explains and shows images of how to take apart everything!!! So if anyone even owns one of these anymore and is a little insane of repairing the bike like me I might be able to help

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