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Motorcycle Repair/XL250...a 72 or 73?



I recently picked up a Honda XL250 for $75.00.  It's in ruff shape  but it's all there and in good restorable condition.  But I've spent hours on the web searching to determine if it's a 72 or 73 (owner thought it was a 72).  There's no title and the plate on the bike doesn't state the year just the manufacture date (4/72) and serial number ( XL2501024934 ).  Is there a way to tell or were both years identical?  And does it matter that much(if it's a 72 or 73)?

...many thanks

Kennewick, WA

ANSWER: Steve,

The 4/72 date indicates a 1972 model machine, where they started with XL250-1xxxxxx numbers. From the link below the engine number may show SL250 in the K0 versions.

Honda released the bikes in 3/72 for the US market. Yours is the 24,934th one built from the beginning of production.

Honda seems to have bled the 1972 K0 models into 1973 year, before shifting to the K1 editions.

Always reference your frame and engine numbers when ordering parts, as sometimes subtle changes occur during even the first year's production runs.

Bill Silver

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Bill, much appreciate the info, but are there any small appearance details that can distinguish a 72 from a 73...perhaps a different bolt, switch, or other detail? If, not do you know the exact production cut off dates and/or serial numbers that distinguish a 72 from a 73? That would be very useful expecially
when the engine is not original to the bike...many thanks.   Steve, Kennewick,  WA

Steve, I really haven't spent any time studying the XL250 nuances between the various years.

You can study the microfiche to see if there are any part number changes related to frame serial numbers here: which I gave you previously.

Perhaps you can find more specific information from these sites...

Bill Silver

Motorcycle Repair

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Bill Silver


Need help with vintage Hondas from the 1960s? I am an expert with 250-305cc bikes in particular and most all of the other pre-91 models, in general. I do NOT claim to have a great deal of experience on Gold Wings, Cruisers, ATC/ATVs and dirt bikes.


I have owned/ridden/maintained Honda motorcycles for 35 years. I have written five books on Honda repairs and collecting. I was a service manager for two Honda shops back in the 1980s.

VJMC (Vintage Japanese Motorcycle Club) of North America

VJMC newsletter, as editor for two years and as contributing editor currently.

3 years auto shop in high school, teacher's aide in Automotive Technology in Jr. College, Diesel mechanic course in college, self-taught mechanic and automotive writer.

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