1985, Honda introduced its new Elite CH250 scooter into its
scooter line. Before that, the Elite line included only three
models--the 80cc forced air-cooled single-cylinder four-stroke
CH80 and the 153cc liquid-cooled single-cylinder four-stroke
CH150 and CH150 Deluxe with the innovative pop-up headlight.
The CH250 was the largest scooter made by Honda and was
targeted for the touring class rider. It was equipped with a
powerful 244cc liquid-cooled single-cylinder four-stroke engine
with a 30mm Keihin constant velocity carburetor and automatic
choke. Coupled with Honda's venerable V-matic automatic
transmission, shifting was a thing of the past and realistic
cruising speeds above 65 mph could be attained. The front
leading-link suspension and dual rear shock absorbers
provided a firm touring ride.
Standard equipment included a maintenance-free solid state
ignition, electric starter, push to cancel turn signals with audible
indicator, folding passenger foot rests, locking storage
compartment and rear carrier rack. The gauge cluster had a full
instrumentation including digital speedometer and clock, analog
fuel and temperature gauges, oil change indicator, odometer
and reset table trip meter and ignition key light. Security options
included parking brake lock lever and ignition switch steering
lock. Larger 4.00x10 tires were added for increased wet weather
traction and carrying capacity. Available colors for 1985 were
candy orchard red and summer blond both with decorative pin
striping. MSRP in 1985 was $2795.
Here's what Cycle World Magazine had to say about it in 1985: "It
is the VMax of the scooter set. Powered by a liquid-cooled,
244cc, single-cylinder four-stroke. the Elite is the largest
displacement scooter currently sold in the U.S. Even with its
1.94-gallon, under-seat fuel tank brimming, the 301-pound Elite
is capable of performance not far below that of the Rebel, which
makes it more than a match for the normal flow of traffic. And
while it is a speed demon compared to its less-muscled
stablemates, the 250 keeps the genre's reputation for miserly
fuel consumption alive with readings in the 75-mpg range."
For 1986, the Honda CH250 mechanics and digital gauges
remained unchanged. Two new pearlescense paint schemes
were added in pearl satin white and pearl gold black. The pearl
gold black came with distinctive gold chrome badging and gold
pinstripe. MSRP in 1986 was 2895.
In 1987 and 1988, Honda made only cosmetic appearance
changes. The gauge cluster was changed from digital to analog.
However, changing the clock battery required the owner to
remove the gauges to insert the battery. The engine and
transmission remained the same. In 1987, pearl gold black was
again available with candy ruby red the new color for the CH250.
In 1988, the distinctive chrome emblem badging on the front
fender was eliminated and the identification on both side panels
changed to a decal. Colors for 1988 continued with the pearl
gold black with white striping and a new color--myth gray metallic
with gray pinstripe as the other color. MSRP in 1987 was 2995
and in 1988, $3195.
The 1989 CH250 was completely new, boasting a steel-tube
frame with longer wheelbase in place of its predecessor's
pressed-steel platform, a near-horizontal cylinder configuration
instead of the near-vertical one for the four-stroke single
power plant, and the fuel tank was moved from under the seat to
beneath the Elite's floor. New bodywork plastic made for a sleek
lower-profiled scooter. The redesign was not to lower the Elite's
center of gravity for better handling, though relocating the 2.1 gal
fuel cell and reconfiguring the engine's top end had that result.
The main goal was to provide room for the storage compartment
under the seat. Such storage is crucial for scooters in Japan's
domestic market. The 32-liter bathtub-shaped bin will hold a
full-face helmet, a jacket, and some small items, but the lumpy
floor (shrink-wrapped over the engine and rear wheel) limits its
usefulness. The 89-90 version remains 244cc, automatic choke,
electric starter, centrifugal clutch, and automatic transmission. It
has a maintenance-free ignition and battery. For '89, Honda
reduced the bodywork overhang, resulting in a shorter overall
length. Highlights include 10-inch aluminum wheels, a fuel
pump in the gas tank, analog speedometer and illuminated
ignition key switch. In 1989, only one color was offered--starlight
blue metallic and for 1990, granite blue metallic. MSRP in 1989
was $3299 and $3399 in 1990.
Honda offered a various assortment of optional Hondaline
accessories for its Elite CH250 for the 1985-1990 model run. A
glove box mounted AM/FM Kenwood stereo with handlebar
mounted control and power booster could be ordered to take
music with you. Other popular options included a windscreen,
rear trunk, backrest, rear basket, seat cover, floor mats, side
molding, a stripe kit and storage cover.
Randy Pozzi (rev. 6/04)