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HomeMotocross“Maxxis Tires” – Basic Metal #193 “1987 Honda CR80R” – PulpMX

“Maxxis Tires” – Basic Metal #193 “1987 Honda CR80R” – PulpMX


For this version of Basic Metal, we’re going to have a look again at Honda’s revamped 1987 CR80R. 

Picture Credit score: Honda’s CR80R was the fire-breather of the category in 1986 and Massive Pink had much more warmth on faucet for 1987. Picture Credit score: Honda 

Right now, the product cycle of the typical mini-class machine is measured in a long time fairly than years. In contrast to their bigger counterparts, which generally get a significant revamp each 4-5 years, minis are recurrently anticipated to hold on with little greater than Daring New Graphics for a rare period of time. It’s the solely division nonetheless dominated by two-strokes and the one requested to accommodate essentially the most assorted spectrum of expertise and measurement. The economics of mini-class racing simply don’t help the relentless march of expertise that has been the hallmark of contemporary motocross improvement. 

Picture Credit score: Honda’s first CR80R made its debut in 1980 to a lot fanfare. The smallest Elsinore packed tons of punch however its chassis was lower than operating with the category leaders. Picture Credit score: Honda 

Within the Nineteen Eighties, nonetheless, the panorama of mini-class improvement was very completely different. The advances made within the 80 class have been transferring hand-in-hand with the strides being made by their massive bike cousins. Technological advances like linkage suspension, water-cooling, disc brakes, and variable exhaust ports have been making their debut, and in lots of circumstances, the minis have been getting them on the similar tempo as their larger brothers. Right now’s RM85 is little modified from the machine that Eli Tomac raced within the early 2000s, however within the Nineteen Eighties, in case you have been on a two-year-old mini, there was a superb likelihood you have been bringing a knife to a gunfight.

In 1986, Honda lastly broke Kawasaki’s stranglehold on the mini division with a rocket-fast CR80R. Picture Credit score: Motocross Motion 

Within the case of Honda’s CR80R, it began life as an overpowered and under-suspended also-ran of a machine. Initially launched for the 1980 season, Honda’s first two-stroke mini pumped out tons of thrust from its fireplace engine purple motor however its flimsy body and underdamped suspension held it again from being a contender. 

Honda’s 1986 motocross lineup was some of the dominant within the historical past of the game. Each machine from the pint-sized CR80R to the ground-pounding CR500R had the competitors seeing purple in ’86. Picture Credit score: Honda

Honda rapidly ramped up improvement on their smallest CR, including a scaled-down model of their Professional-Hyperlink single-shock suspension in 1982 and liquid cooling in 1983. Suspension journey elevated rapidly on this period with the 1980 CR’s 30mm forks and 6.7 inches of journey rising to a beefy 33mm and eight.9 inches of motion by 1983. Throughout this time, the CR80R grew to become extra aggressive, including Honda’s model of a “energy valve,” the ATAC (Computerized Torque Amplification Chamber) in 1984 in one more full redesign of the purple minicrosser. One 12 months later, the CR80R was as soon as once more fully revamped with all-new bodywork, longer journey suspension, and a redesigned chassis. This marked the fourth full redesign of Honda’s mini in as a few years. The ATAC remained, however just about the whole lot else was all-new. 

As spectacular because the ’86 Hondas have been, Massive Pink had much more firepower on faucet for 1987. All 4 of the CRs acquired vital updates with the ’87 variations of the purple machines proving much more dominant than the 12 months earlier than. Picture Credit score: Honda

Sadly, regardless of all of this speedy improvement, Honda’s smallest racer didn’t seize the coveted prime spot within the mini-class standings. The CR was aggressive, however it by no means captured the devotion of Kawasaki’s powerhouse KX80. From 1982 via 1985, Kawasaki’s little inexperienced ripper was the unanimous selection as the most effective mini-class racer obtainable. The KX80’s suspension was not as supple because the RM80, and it didn’t deal with with the finesse of the CR80R, however its overwhelming horsepower benefit gave it an unbeatable edge in a category dominated by motor efficiency. 

An all-new entrance finish for 1987 included beefed-up clamps, 2mm bigger fork tubes, and a 0.6-inch improve in suspension journey. Picture Credit score: Honda 

In 1986, Honda lastly broke Kawasaki’s stranglehold on the mini division by introducing an all-new motor that propelled the CR to the highest of the highest of the 80cc horsepower hierarchy. Visually, the ’86 CR80R appeared practically equivalent to the ’85 model, however on the monitor, the Honda was a really completely different machine. The guts of this transformation was the CR’s all-new 83cc energy plant which deleted the ’84 and ’85 mannequin’s ATAC exhaust gadget in favor of a a lot easier design. Kawasaki’s KIPS (Kawasaki Built-in Energy-valve System) would finally show the price of exhaust resonance chambers just like the ATAC when used together with a variable exhaust valve just like the YPVS (Yamaha Energy Valve System), however its effectiveness as a stand-alone system was far much less conclusive. By deleting the ATAC, Honda was capable of decrease prices, simplify upkeep, a present a much less encumbered exhaust design. The all-new cylinder additionally featured Honda’s first manufacturing utility of Mahle’s “Nikasil” nickel silicon-carbide cylinder coating. In use on their works racers for a number of years, Nikasil was prized for its excessive hardness, lowered friction, superior oil retention, and improved warmth switch properties. It was additionally lighter than a standard iron cylinder liner. These enhancements allowed Honda to run tighter tolerances and better compression within the prime finish with out worry of warmth or friction-related failures. Along with the brand new motor, the ’86 CR80R featured refined modifications to the using compartment to offer extra room for bigger riders, elevated power within the body, a bigger and stronger swingarm, upgraded wheels, a bigger airbox, a brand new entrance disc brake, and up to date graphics.

In 1986, Honda moved to an all-new motor design that deleted the ATAC “energy valve” employed on the ’84 and ’85 CR80R. The brand new engine was lighter, simpler to service, and much more highly effective than the outdated design. Picture Credit score: MOTOCross 

On the monitor, the ’86 CR80R proved to be by far the most effective mini-class racer Honda had ever provided. Its energy was extremely broad, with tons of snap off the road, an enormous hit within the center, and simply sufficient on prime to maintain the competitors sucking its vapor path. Its clutch motion and shifting have been the most effective within the class and the motor was each extremely quick and straightforward to experience. Quick guys beloved its blistering acceleration and lots of felt the CR was sooner than a few of the competitors’s 125s. It was an absolute rocket that demanded respect, and this did make it a handful at instances for much less skilled riders.  Smaller and slower riders have been most likely a greater match on Yamaha’s extra novice-friendly YZ80.  As earlier than, its suspension motion was much less stellar than Suzuki’s RM80, however for many severe racers, the CR80R was the last word mini-class machine in 1986.

An all-new shock for 1987 added a “Bilstein kind” damping system, a revamped leverage ratio for the Professional-Hyperlink, and a further 0.4-inches of journey. Picture Credit score: Honda 

After wresting the mini class laurels from Kawasaki in 1986, Honda was decided to maintain the 80cc division seeing purple in 1987. As soon as once more, visible modifications have been minimal, with up to date graphics being essentially the most distinguished replace for ’87. The entire bodywork was a carryover, with the identical Flash Pink and blue shade scheme Honda had been that includes on their motocross machines since 1983. Chassis modifications for 1987 centered across the up to date suspension which provided barely extra journey, improved damping, and elevated rigidity. All-new forks improved dealing with by rising the diameter of the tubes from 33mm to 35mm and by including 0.6 inches of journey. New clamps provided elevated rigidity and repositioned the forks 2.0mm farther aside for an improved steering really feel. Internally, the Showa forks featured all-new settings, however they lacked the extra refined cartridge damping system and exterior adjustability discovered on the CR’s bigger siblings. 

Motor modifications for 1987 included revamped porting, a reshaped head, freer-flowing reeds, a remapped ignition, a redesigned piston, and a retuned exhaust. Picture Credit score: Motocross Motion 

Within the rear, an all-new Showa shock added a Bilstein-style damping system that separated the damping chores into two separate valving stacks. This new “devoted operate” setup handed fluid via one set of washers on the compression stroke and a separate stack on the rebound. The brand new shock delivered 0.4 inches extra journey than in 1986 and featured exterior changes for compression and rebound management. Bolted to the revamped shock was a Professional-Hyperlink linkage that was redesigned to offer a extra progressive motion and fewer bottoming for 1987. Body modifications for ’87 have been minimal, with most being geared toward fine-tuning the geometry to match the brand new longer-travel suspension. Honda felt the smallest CR was already the best-handling machine within the class and the goal was to keep up that benefit fairly than change any of the machine’s fundamental dealing with traits. 

Energy is the secret within the mini division and Honda had the firepower to take expert riders to the entrance in 1987. Picture Credit score: Motocross Motion

On the motor entrance, Honda appeared to construct on the ’86 machine’s momentum by boosting top-end energy and bettering reliability. In 1986, one of many CR80R’s few weak spots was the motor’s sturdiness. The brand new single-ring piston Honda transitioned to tended to wear down in a short time and the motor’s efficiency noticeably suffered if its upkeep was uncared for. Clutch life was additionally disappointingly quick with the inventory parts in place. The motion was buttery clean, however the inventory springs and aluminum drive plates had a tough time holding up underneath the abuse the little motor’s prodigious energy output delivered. 

The mini class of 1987 provided a broad assortment of chassis sizes and efficiency ranges to accommodate the wide selection of aspiring racers discovered within the 80 class. Picture Credit score: Grime Bike

To spice up sturdiness and efficiency, Honda made a number of upgrades to the CR80R’s clutch in 1987. First up was an all-new meeting that moved from aluminum to metal for the CR’s drive plates. This elevated longevity and added a little bit of further inertia to the Honda’s drivetrain. All-new fiber plates for 1987 provided further grooving for improved oil move and new stiffer springs offered a extra optimistic engagement. Adjustments to the decrease circumstances additionally allowed the CR to hold a further 50cc of drugs oil to maintain the whole lot within the backside finish cooled and lubricated. Apart from the extra oil capability, the CR’s glorious close-ratio six-speed transmission was unchanged for 1987. 

In 1987, nothing within the 80 class had the CR’s mixture of broad energy and blistering efficiency. Sooner than some 125s, and blessed with a flawless transmission and clutch, the CR’s 83cc powerhouse of an engine was the last word in mini-class efficiency. Picture Credit score: Honda  

The highest finish of the motor was up to date as effectively with all-new porting, a reshaped head, a redesigned piston, and an enlarged consumption with reeds that opened wider for elevated move. The piston remained a single-ring design however the ’87 model provided improved sealing and elevated sturdiness. The brand new head lowered compression barely with the ’87 model coming in at 8.1-to-1 in comparison with the ’86 CR’s 8.4-to-1. An all-new growth chamber featured a reshaped profile designed to offer a stronger pull on prime and a retimed ignition appeared to fill in any dips within the Honda’s powerband. All informed, these modifications added as much as a whopping 19.3 horsepower on Grime Rider’s dyno. This was one horsepower greater than the 1986 CR80R and practically 2 horsepower greater than any of the Honda’s 80cc rivals. 

Kerker’s dyno informed the story of Honda’s motor dominance in 1987. The CR out-torqued its rivals down low and ripped previous them to the tune of practically 2 horsepower on prime. Picture Credit score: Grime Rider  

On the monitor, this energy benefit was instantly obvious with the little Honda as soon as once more laying waste to its rivals in any contest of velocity. Low-end energy was sturdy for a mini of the time with the CR pulling arduous from the primary crack of the throttle. The midrange energy was simply as explosive because the 12 months earlier than with tons of hit and white-knuckle acceleration. Prime-end energy was stronger than in 1986 with the CR pulling more durable and longer. For skilled riders, it was the proper energy band; broad, versatile, and extremely quick. It was nonetheless a bit too aggressive for much less skilled pilots however for anybody aspiring to victory, the CR provided the last word motor of doom in 1987.

The CR’s all-new 35mm entrance forks provided lowered flex and improved damping over the 12 months earlier than. Sooner and heavier riders would have benefited from heavier springs, however they labored effectively for many riders within the CR’s goal demo. Picture Credit score: Honda 

Regardless of utilizing bodywork that dated again to 1985, the CR remained one of many best-looking machines in its class. Picture Credit score: Karel Kramer

On the chassis entrance, the CR was thought-about a wonderful handler in 1987. Right now, the bike would really feel tiny, however in 1987, the Honda provided a mid-sized bundle that was roomier than the Yamaha however much less spacious than the bigger Kawasaki and Suzuki minis. This made it a superb match for all kinds of children. General dealing with was very aggressive with the CR providing the tightest and most sure-footed turning within the class. Like its bigger brothers, the CR craved the within line and will carve underneath all of its mini competitors with relative ease. The brand new bigger 35mm forks and stronger clamps addressed the flex sooner riders had complained about in 1986 and the Honda felt much more exact when pushed. Aerial manners have been excellent, however care needed to be taken to not seize a bit an excessive amount of increase on takeoff. With its huge hit and quick wheelbase, it was very straightforward to loop out the Honda, a reality much less skilled riders rapidly found. Excessive-speed stability was by no means one of many CR80R’s sturdy fits and the ’87 model continued this pattern. The machine’s aggressive geometry meant the Honda could possibly be a bit twitchy at velocity, however it was far much less of a Tilt-A-Whirl than its massive brothers. It was not as rock stable at velocity because the KX and RM, however it was secure sufficient to not terrify Junior and usually didn’t get away into violent suits of headshake just like the full-sized CRs.

Goldilocks: With its midsized chassis the CR slotted in between the diminutive YZ and extra spacious KX and RM. Picture Credit score: Grime Bike 

The opposite half of the Honda’s dealing with equation was its new suspension. In 1987, half the category was nonetheless utilizing 33mm forks (YZ and RM) whereas the opposite half had moved on to the beefier 35mm tubes (KX and CR). Whereas this did give the Honda and Kawasaki a bonus in dealing with accuracy underneath heavy hundreds and on arduous impacts, it didn’t assure the most effective total damping efficiency. On this case, that award went to the RM80 and its “old-fashioned” 33mm Kayaba forks which delivered the smoothest damping and finest total efficiency within the class. Quick guys nonetheless observed a good quantity of flex within the entrance finish however nothing within the class was as plush and well-controlled because the forks discovered on the RM in 1987. 

When contemporary, the CR’s new Showa shock delivered a well-controlled experience in most situations. Sadly, its efficiency deteriorated rapidly in case you uncared for to have it serviced recurrently.  Picture Credit score: Honda 

Whereas the RM was a standout, the Honda’s new 35mm Showas have been removed from a disappointment. General damping management was excellent, and the inventory spring price labored effectively for anybody wanting a pint-sized Rick Johnson. Within the rear, the brand new Professional-Hyperlink delivered a well-controlled experience that allowed riders to assault the monitor. The adjustable compression and rebound settings permitted the rear finish of the CR to be dialed in for all kinds of riders however testers did word that the damping efficiency of the CR’s shock appeared to deteriorate rapidly with use. As with the forks, the shock was a bit softly sprung and underdamped for larger and sooner riders however most pilots throughout the CR’s goal demo have been prone to be pleased with the inventory suspension. 

With its explosive energy supply, the CR might show to be fairly a handful for inexperienced riders. The Honda preferred to loft its entrance finish out of each flip and grabbing a bit an excessive amount of throttle on takeoff was a sure-fire recipe for a loop out. Phot Credit score: Motocross Motion 

On the detailing entrance, the 1987 CR80R was a mixture of typical Honda excellence with just a few un-Honda-like disappointments. On the plus aspect have been the superb shifting, flawless clutch, completely becoming bodywork, absolutely detachable subframe, high-quality fasteners, comfy controls, glorious ergonomics, crisp jetting, and matinee idol appears. There was no energy valve to mess with and the brand new clutch was rather more sturdy than the overworked ’86 model. In 1987, nothing appeared, match, or felt as refined as a Honda.

In 1987, the RM was the most effective suspended, the CR was the quickest, the Yamaha was the most effective for newcomers, and the Kawasaki was the most effective machine for bigger youngsters making an attempt to squeeze out yet one more 12 months on the minis. Picture Credit score: Grime Bike 

On the flip aspect of that coin have been the CR’s lackluster brakes and disappointing reliability. On the time, these have been classes usually dominated by Honda, so their inclusion within the CR’s faults was doubly disappointing. Neither of the CR’s brakes was very spectacular with the entrance being most notable for its mushy really feel. The rear drum bought the job performed, however by 1987, Kawasaki had already moved on to a way more highly effective disc for the rear of the KX80. Including insult to damage was the truth that some CRs have been reportedly produced with improperly manufactured brake footwear resulting in damaged footwear and destroyed rear hubs. Ugh…

Usually a Honda power, the disc/drum mixture discovered on the CR80R in 1987 was surprisingly mediocre. Most testers blamed the Honda’s flexy plastic brake line for delivering its mushy really feel and lackluster energy. Picture Credit score: Grime Rider

Up entrance, the CR’s braking efficiency was primarily hampered by the flexy plastic line Honda spec’d for the machine. It delivered a spongy really feel on the lever that detracted from an in any other case glorious system. The disappointing entrance disc and mediocre drum within the rear weren’t an incredible mixture to must decelerate the quickest bike within the class. For those who changed the entrance line with a braided metal different then the braking really feel improved enormously, however in inventory situation, the CR’s entrance and rear braking efficiency was disappointing. 

  Some CR cylinders in 1987 suffered from machining points and it was advisable to have your cylinder inspected and the ports chamfered earlier than hitting the monitor. Picture Credit score: Motocross Motion 

Along with the unsatisfactory brakes, the Honda’s motor proved to be disappointingly fragile. The CR’s plated cylinder couldn’t be bored if broken and the single-ring piston continued to wear down exceedingly rapidly. If ignored, the Honda’s efficiency deteriorated rapidly and quite a lot of (together with journal take a look at models) have been recognized to grenade for no obvious motive. Improperly chamfered ports on the manufacturing unit could have been the offender and it was advisable to have your CR’s cylinder checked out by a educated tuner earlier than taking it to the monitor. As soon as the cylinder was cleaned up, the CR’s motor was largely trouble-free so long as it was torn down and inspected recurrently. For those who stored the air filter clear, ran good high quality oil, and religiously serviced the top-end, the Honda was a decently dependable machine.

Blazing quick, glorious dealing with, effectively suspended, and exquisite to behold, the CR80R was the machine of selection for aspiring mini execs in 1987. Picture Credit score: Honda 

Ultimately, the 1987 CR80R turned out to be an expert-level machine that demanded an skilled stage of care. An absolute rocket of a motorcycle, it was sooner than some 125s and an excessive amount of machine for some mini pilots. For them, the white, yellow, or inexperienced machines could have been a more sensible choice, however in case you have been seeking to experience the quickest, nastiest, and gnarliest mini round, then going purple was the plain selection in 1987. 

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