Hodaka SL250 ?

Discussion in '2 smokers' started by sjc56, Oct 24, 2014.

  1. sjc56

    sjc56 Long timer

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    Anybody have any experience? There is one for sale, 90% there, in my town. I know about the Road Toad and Dirt Squirt etc. but never have read anything about the SL250 and can't find much info on the old web.
    #1
  2. stainlesscycle

    stainlesscycle Long timer

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    although hodaka claimed sl stands for street legal, i know sl stands for slow and lumbering... heavy and underpowered.
    #2
  3. sjc56

    sjc56 Long timer

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    I check it out today, it's a neat bike but yup it felt heavy. It's a big bike compared to a DT250.
    I took a pass on it.It seems to have good compression, but has no key missing lights so that tells me it was just used off road so it would probably need a full overhaul. But on the plus side it is all there minus the lights.
    #3
  4. woodgrain

    woodgrain In-Dented Savant

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    I believe it was called the Thunder Dog. We had one sitting on our shop floor forever before someone finally bought it back in '78.

    Woodgrain
    #4
  5. sjc56

    sjc56 Long timer

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    I just read it weighed 300lbs and made 18hp yikes! My F7 175 would crush it! I'm still thinking about it being that it is pretty rare.
    "he 250s were the last of the Hodaka line and are not too well received by the Hodaka faithful, but can be modified to be great performers. Parts availability is not like the earlier models, but not bad, with new parts being produced by some suppliers.

    The "collectible" ones are by personal preference. I prefer the Chrome-Tank models to the painted tank ones, so they're more collectible to me. The later painted tank bikes are faster and better handling, as befitting what Hodaka had learned over the years.

    The 250s were among the last made and for what they were, they were too heavy and underpowered. They were designed at 216 pounds, but after the Japanese got through 're-engineering" the frame to stiffen it because they thought it was too flexy, it weighed in at almost 300 pounds. Typical of Japanese frame design ethos, they threw a bunch of gusseting and extra tubes at it. The 250s were nicknamed the "Trail Whale". The engine didn't have much more power than the 125 models, only putting out about 18-19 hp, and even less when they got hot. And they DID get HOT because the cooling fins on the head are "comparatively" tiny to allow for the exhaust expansion chamber. Aftermarket or custom heads and custom exhausts fix it.

    However, the 250s take well to modifications and make a good platform for a custom MX'er. Harry Taylor, the old head of Hodaka's R&D department and Racing department currently has a 250 that weighs in at the original 216 pounds that he designed it to back in the '70s.

    The later bikes also had "Primary Kickstart" which means they can be kicked over just by pulling in the clutch, regardless of what gear you are in, so no need to find neutral and then kick."
    #5
  6. jim825

    jim825 Adventurer Supporter

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    I could be wrong, but it appears all the comments are from people who never rode or actually owned a SL250. I bought one in 1978. Up until then I was just barely hanging with far better riders on my trusty Hodaka Wombat. As to the bike I bought, it weighed right at 250 pounds and was fast, very fast. As the least skilled of the riders in our group I soon found that the horsepower made up for my lack of cornering ability, after all , the corners are connected by straights.

    When my Thunderdog came on the pipe, I had better have it pointed where I wanted it to go. It would hang with a Penton 250 on the straights but the handling wasn't as good as the Penton. Over all, a very very good bike imho.
    #6
  7. stainlesscycle

    stainlesscycle Long timer

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    ah, but that wasn't your cornering ability, it was the low mounted footpegs that made it impossible to turn without dragging them in the dirt :)
    #7
  8. sjc56

    sjc56 Long timer

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    Wasn't the Thunder dog dirt only and the SL was the street legal version ?
    #8
    osbo likes this.
  9. MZRider

    MZRider Neo-Luddite

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    #9
  10. GP MX Fan

    GP MX Fan Been here awhile

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    In the mid 90s I had a 250 Thunderdog. It was the orange enduro version with great power and good handling but somewhat overweight. Do I regret selling it,and would I buy it again? YOU. BETCHA!
    #10
  11. 1wicked55

    1wicked55 Been here awhile Supporter

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    32CB578D-A7CE-4D38-8B8D-2C618B581B0C.jpeg I just bought a collection of vintage hodakas and bultacos
    And bike are unrestored

    Attached Files:

    #11