The XL250 K3 at the Honda Collection Hall Japan January 2014
The Honda Collection Hall is a transport museum housing a collection of Honda consumer and racing-oriented artifacts including motorcycles and cars. It is in the grounds of the Twin Ring Motegi race track located at Motegi, Japan. It opened in 1998.
The XL250 k3 at the collection looked great sitting in front of a second floor window with the sun streaming in (not great for photos though as my iPhone camera had problems adjusting the exposure, so I took more later when the sun had moved round) but with very few staff present, it was easy to step over the exhibit perimeter and have a better look.....naughty but easy, I had after all travelled a bit to see it and the other exhibits.
The bike description plate for the exhibit dates it as 1975, though we know it as a 1976 model, and makes reference to the later XL350 export model.
The bikes are held in a rear wheel frame taking the rear wheel off the floor, and the front is held in a metal chock under the front of the front wheel so the steering won't turn. The frame has the US style front steering lock.
There is a cut out on the rear european style rear chainguard behind the damper, not seen before.
The bike is not new but has been restored having 9,362 km on the odometer. Talking of clocks, the ones on the bike are cosmetically not a pair,see photo below. The tacho is newer. The same can be said of the handlebar switches, the right one is old and sunlight faded and the left one is new.
For reasons unknown (I did ask but the place seems to be run by girls who speak little or no English and know not much about cars and bikes) the carb was missing as was the inlet manifold, and the air intake to the carb from the air cleaner had paper towel in it.
I imagine that the carb is off for service as all the bikes and cars are alleged to be runners. This bike was the only one missing parts I noticed on any of the many exhibits.
A couple of items to mention, are firstly that the toolbox looked brand new but looked like it had been powder coated (as did most of the black frame etc) but the "nearly always missing" frame clamp (part number 50358-358-000) was indeed missing as was its bolt.
I did try to have a word and told them that if the restorer really wanted one, I would send them a new one from my spares. They have not been in touch yet... I'm not sure the girls really understood, but everyone is too polite to say so, lots of smiles, nods and bowing instead.
In Japan If you get held up by roadworks when you get to go, even the dude in the high viz jacket and hard hat will bow to you as you pass. That is unless he is a robot....
Secondly the bike had different choke cable bracket to any I have seen before, see photos.
I'd like to get my hands on a Japanese parts book, but all I have is a picture of the cover, sigh...
because the bracket between the handlebar mounting bolts is extended and not only houses the normal choke cable knob end but also a fairly large red warning light lens mounted above it.
I imagine that this was a domestic market item, as other bikes of the period like the 1972 XL250K0 had the same light, but I have no idea what it is for. Update - see new wiring schematic on home page.
Tonight I emailed the nice man in Japan from whose site I found the wiring schematic. This was his reply
"OK, Richard san.
That is Red lamp at a speed warning light, through the speed warning unit, and is connected to the sensor, which is built-in speedometer.
In Japan, the legal speed bike on the highway at 80km / h up to October 2000, I drew attention by lighting the red lamp it is more than 80km / h."
His website is HERE or even better, just Google http://www.geocities.jp/burattoclub/ then you can get Google to translate it when you open it.
By the way 80 kph = 49.6 mph.
SO NOW WE KNOW!
The usual headlight shell main beam light was there, but no 'main beam' label and the toolbox was missing the tyre pressure and tyre size sticker or Mark tyre caution (part no. 87505-386-670). Also missing was the battery vent sticker. I did have a quick look inside the toolbox and as with so many of these toolboxes it was indeed completely empty.
I think the tank was refinished as the stripes are a little out of line with those on the nearside side panel. The red parts of the side panels both had several scuffs.
The rubber grommet where the stator wires exit the stator side cover was also split.
In my humble opinion the rear number plate holder had been re-chromed.
All the screws and cables on the bike also looked new. The rear brake switch cable is silver that too should be black. Methinks someone has had their hand in the parts bins at Honda.
One anomaly was the cream coloured part of the rear mudguard/fender was stained and a bit crazed by age, where the number plate bracket screws went through this being a mix of rust stain from the fasteners and the little steel tube in the middle of the grommets, and brown from the rubber grommets themselves.
With the mudguards being self coloured, ie not painted but colour impregnated plastic it is a matter of personal choice to leave these parts cracked/crazed/stained, or to repaint in the correct colour. Personally I would repaint, if I couldn't get a new or better one.
I did notice that the little black painted bracket (part number 80110-312-000 ) with two holes in it that is meant to go between the rubber grommets and the plastic mudguard on the top to spread the load on the plastic was mounted underneath next to the inner metal mudguard support plate where it serves no purpose. This fitting does appear to be right in the parts book order the way they set out the bits (and is a mistake easily made) but it is wrong according to the dealer setup book available somewhere on this site. Can't be bothered to find it? Ok, it is below. It is called Fender Patch.
you can't see it in this photo where you should be able to
but you can in this one where you shouldn't be able to. I have to confess mine is wrong too. Haven't got round to changing it yet....
This doesn't go here......
If I was nit picking I also think the fasteners used are far too long, much longer than the originals but were Honda bolts. The wheels have been respoked or replaced. There are quite a lot of new parts on the bike.
The fork legs have been re-polished.
In conclusion the xl250 bike in the museum is good, but not at all 'out of the crate' perfect by any means, certainly not concours. I am pleasantly surprised to be able to say that my on the road bike is as good in many respects as a true representation of what the model is; I have the tools in my toolbox too.
(Current exchange rate 268,000 yen is £1,577.12) - In 1976 there were 300 yen to $1 now 300 yen is $3. That would (I think) make the bike $893 in 1976.
Just out of interest I asked where the work was done on the exhibits and was told that whilst they used to have a workshop on site behind the exhibition building the work is now done elsewhere, off site.
Suffice it to say we very much enjoyed the visit, but surprisingly the Twin Ring race track at Montegi is not very well sign posted, even when really close and with English speaking satnav (writing still in Japanese so you set it by entering a phone number which the satnav then looks up. If it can't trace the number it takes you to the location of the area code) it's easy to miss the south entrance.
We stayed to watch the Asimo demonstration (as seen on QI on TV), which was cool but again only in Japanese. All the various Asimos Honda have built are on display in chronological order.
There can't have been more than maybe 30 or 40 visitors there at the same time as us so it was very unhurried. There isn't a cafe but some drinks vending machines and a place to eat a packed lunch, next to a library of motoring related books.
It's free to get in, you just pay for car parking. Lovely Wife bought me a Honda Collection coffee mug from the gift shop.
I bought some more JIS screwdrivers in Tokyo. You have to. It's the law.
I hope you found this interesting, happy riding!