Mule Motorcycles presents the Impenetrable: A Pristine 1972 Honda XL 250

The Honda XL 250 is a legendary motorcycle known for its reliability. When a 1972 XL 250 arrived at Mule Motorcycles, owner Richard Pollock was tasked with making performance upgrades and cosmetic changes. However, he found that the engine only needed some timing adjustments and a carburetor rebuild to run smoothly.

Richard emphasizes the importance of starting with a good donor bike, as it greatly affects the quality of the final product. He recalls working on XL 250s when they were brand new, as his first job was in a Honda motorcycle workshop. While the XL 250 is a good trail bike, it is not suitable for motocross due to its stock features such as a 250 cc engine, a 6V electrical system, and drum brakes.

In its modified form, with upgraded motor output and lightweight frames, the XL 250 remains popular in vintage flat track racing. However, the customer requested a more modern look for this particular build. Richard, who is known for his flat track builds, is a versatile motorcycle builder with ten projects in the works across different brands and styles.

The Honda XL 250 receives a number of subtle changes to enhance its appearance. Richard starts by stripping the bike down, cleaning up and sand-blasting the frame and swingarm. He stretches the swingarm by 1.5 inches, trims and loops the subframe, and adds new steering stops. After coating everything black and reassembling with fresh suspension components, the bike gains a sleeker vibe.

For the front wheel, Richard combines parts from various sources. The 21″ wheel is from a Yamaha YZ450F motocross bike, while the axle and brake caliper are from a Triumph Bonneville. He makes a custom bracket for the brake caliper and installs a 300 mm Yamaha rotor onto a custom-made carrier with Brembo floating bobbins. Shinko provides the retro trials-style rubber.

The bodywork, with the exception of the fuel tank, is designed to look period-correct. The saddle is custom-made by Corbin, combining classic enduro bike chunkiness with modern gripper fabric. The fenders are reproduction Honda CR250 items, while the front fender doubles as a headlight mount. The rear fender features a classic rectangular taillight, and both fenders come without turn signals but have reflectors.

The cockpit features replica CZ 360 handlebars, Renthal grips, a Nissin brake master cylinder, a new throttle, and essential switches. The ignition is now on the left, and the choke is located in front of the bars. The cables are supplied by Xlint Performance, a company specializing in OEM parts for XL-series bikes.

While the engine did not require any internal work, it received a brand-new look on the outside. The covers were coated with a tungsten-colored Cerakote finish, and the carburetor was rebuilt by Randy Troy. The XL 250 is now set to last for many more years. Additional features include CNC-machined parts and a bold exhaust system with a stainless steel header pipe, short MX-style muffler, and custom-made exit pipe that doesn’t muffle much.

The finishing touch on the XL 250 is a crisp and traditional livery by David Tovar at SBK Paint, creating a shiny appearance. However, there is an undeniable desire to see the bike covered in dirt and ready for action.