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Honda GP250R Café Racer

Posted on November 30, 2012 by Scott in Café Racer, Racer. 70 comments

By guest writer Ian Lee.

Inspiration. It can come from so many sources, and affect different people in different ways. Some people take no notice of inspiration. Some people use just their surroundings for inspiration. And some people actively seek out inspiration, grabbing it by the collar and headbutting it into submission. Darrell Schneider from DS Restorations (DSR) is one of the latter. After more than 25 years in automobile restoration, Darrell decided he needed a change, and a challenge. A long history with motorbike riding, with no further thought than fueling them up and riding them, gave Darrell a basic idea of where he could start. The challenge brought up the bike we feature here today, the DSR GP 250R Café Racer. Built mainly around CRF250R components, with inspiration drawn from numerous bike builders, it’s proof that sometimes it’s worth it to challenge yourself, you never know what might happen…

Darrell hit Google hard in the design process of the GP 250R, searching through ‘thousands of project bikes’ before coming to any decisions about build style. Drawing inspiration from bike builders such as Ron Woods, Roland Sands, Richard Pollack & Marcus Motos,  Darrell decided that he knew what he wanted to build. In his own words: ‘the bike had to be a new twist on an old style, nothing show bike fancy, something you want to ride. I wanted the old-timers as well as a 20 year old to think this bike is cool’. Now research was done, Darrell was a man with a plan.

Starting with a CRF250R donor bike, the engine was taken out and fitted to a custom aluminium subframe. Manufactured into the frame is the bracketry for the fuel cell, fuel tank cover, seat, rear fender, air cleaner, and rearset uppermounts. All normal bike stuff, I am aware, but the custom subframe allowed Darrell to not be restricted to CRF250 parts in the build. While playing around with aluminium, the radiator shrouds, lower body panels, fenders and fork covers were also manufactured, with mucho lightness making the bike light in weight, to fulfil it’s sporting credentials.

Bodywork is all custom, with the front fairing, fuel tank cover, seat, rear fender, body side panels and air intake all being produced in house to suit the bike. Each individual panel was made of wood, foam & body filler, refinished, molds made and the current panels being cast from the molds. A lot of effort, but handy should any of the parts need to be reproduced at any point. Using inspiration from his childhood (and from Jack Phinn’s 450 flat tracker), Darrell modelled the fuel tank cover on the Honda Elsinore tank, a bike much sought after when he was a kid.

The CRF250R suspension has been fitted, albeit tweaked by RaceTech Suspension, using their super single setup, triple clamps and fork lugs, a Durelle Racing shock height adjuster has been fitted to the rear. A Honda CBR600 has donated it’s calipers to the build, mounted on custom mounts, working on Brake Tech iron rotors. The hubs are Talon supplied, the Sun rims wrapped in 17 inch Michelins.

Taking care of the exhaust side of things is an Arrow Special Parts titanium dual system, modifiedby Darrell to just have a single outlet. This is due to Darrell’s belief of how ‘fat’ bikes look with two mufflers at the rear. Cooling duties are given to a custom radiator, using AN fittings and hose, to add to the racing image the bike gives off.

Visually, the bike looks like a healthy mix of bike styles. Spoked rims, the Elsinore style tank cover give the bike an old school look, mixed with Moto2 styling, and a hint of Ducati OEM aesthetics rounding it out. To take the initiative to challenge himself, to research his butt off, to have the ability to do the majority of work himself, has allowed Darrell to produce this rolling work of art. Using dirtbike components, with his skills learnt over his time working with cars, the dSR 250R GP is a new age café racer, hand built to please anyone’s eyes. It’s amazing what inspiration can do.

Check out DS Restorations Facebook page for lots more build pics.

  • Chris E.

    Game Changer

  • ShiftToKill

    perfection…simply inspiration at it’s finest. time to change my pants!

  • lmfg

    One of the most inspired bikes I’ve seen in years. Amazing.

  • Akshay


  • $52244477


    i know this bike!
    i’ve watched its progress during the last couple of years…
    bravo darrell!!!

    it’s finally completed…
    and on its way for world wide acclamation!


    cheers dsr

  • arnold

    Excellent thought and workmanship. But, er, what’s it’s purpose?

    • What’s the purpose of any art?

      • arnold

        Art it is. I am glad to see the crafts making a revival.
        Canvas and marble are so yesterday.
        Except poker playing dogs on velvet of course.ald

        • Oldnbroken

          One day those dogs will be worth a lot of money Arnold, you hang on to your collection and one day you will be the envy of the art world mate.


        • Maybe we can put my Elvises and bull-fighters on velvet with your poker dogs and have an exhibition at a local gallery. I’ll even bring the wine and cheese. ;^}

          • Make sure it’s Gallo and American.

          • I always carry a can of Kraft aerosol cheese where ever I go. Great for fixing flats.

          • I thought your bike looked kinda cheesy.

          • arnold

            I do think we should invite cowboy boot flag girl to the gallery opening, Alicia Elving, and Shasta Smith.

            And this woman is definitely A listed to the gallery.

          • Tearing it down is the easy part…

          • Yeah, Tony, but I noticed she didn’t use a hammer – not even once.

          • I’m pretty sure she did. And another person.

          • arnold

            I had a wife once that took apart my old Beezer with a hammer. When she broke that, she finished the job with a pipe wrench. I may have deserved that, but the poor old bike didn’t.

            —American Folk Lore

          • At least it was a metric pipe wrench (I hope).

          • arnold

            Whitworth, inventor of standardized threads.

          • In that case I’d better bring something a little classier than Gallo – a fine Mogan David might do the trick.

          • Oldnbroken

            Please send me a invite as I hate to have to gate crash.


          • We’ll send the limo.

      • One purpose of art is to get one to think, so I can see why you don’t get it. BAHZINGA!

  • Brendan Sullivan

    Spoke wheels, inverted forks, high-strung single cylinder, sexy bodywork

    Absolutely Perfect.

  • Стефан ‘Dobermann’ Петров

    Supermoto front, cafe like seat, and in addition… streetfighter fairing…

  • revdub

    I’m going to be staring at this for a long while. The body work and overall design have me picking my chin off the pavement. I’m left with almost nothing to say. Amazing work!

  • Beautiful job taking a dirt bike to cafe racer. Great stance and proportions. Coolness all around.

  • Now&Zen

    SuperMoto revisited . I mean its nice and all . Well done and cleanly executed , but I’m not so sure what all the excitement is about to be honest with you .

  • mikey

    gorgeous work. i love the completely new take on this idea, and the design is just perfect.

  • Nicholas Warn

    This is the first bike that has forced me to leave the lurker shadows and actually post something. Freaking amazing build. This bike is as close to perfect as I have ever seen. Well done.

  • I have followed this site for a long time and this is the best bike to be posted. Unreal.

  • MotoTrooper

    The skills are obvious but the execution leaves much to be desired. No doubt it is an entertaining ride but visually… I don’t know maybe it is also the white background but the ivory paint is annoying or maybe it’s the red frame. Is that the stock air box/cookiejar? It’s not very attractive black would be better for it. Is the seatpad hidden behind some cloaking device? I understand two-toning the paintwork to visually break up the beaky fairing. Maybe it looks better in the flesh. Really to much going on -just my opinion.

    • Park

      I gotta agree. I really dig the lines of the frame, but the paintjob and fairing kinda make it too busy for my taste. I’m sure it’s a fun bike though.

  • madmusk

    Man, if I didn’t know any better I would say this is the result of frustration at KTM’s refusal to sell their smaller supermotos in the US. Hang in there man. We may get the Duke 390 just yet!

  • ffjmoore

    Unbelievable bike. I love the body work on the frame. For me, to clean the bike up would be to ditch the fairing and also go with a low pipe to clean up the flow of the bike. Besides that Best bike on here for a while.

  • JBB2
  • I agree with many that this is the future of the cafe. Don’t get me wrong; the old bikes will always be platforms for customizing. But as more sport bikes run down and hit the junk piles, we will see more of this. And I’m OK with that (smiley face emoticon.)

  • I’m not sure where the supermoto comments are coming from – it ain’t a super motard, it’s a cafe racer with clip-ons, rearsets, cafe seat and a new take on the bikini fairing. And a really nice one at that. It’s more like a street-going Moto3 than anything else. Like Tony says this is a new way of looking at different platforms for cafe builds.

  • Darrell Schneider

    Thank you for the comments on my bike, I have read them all a few times and it is overwhelming.

    • Vikki

      I am from Russia and I want to say that your work is amazing.This mototskil

      Thank you very much for such a work of art and a little more inspiration to

    • Vikki

      Darrel, I run a small blog dedicated to motorcycles and customizing .130,000 subscribers
      .Maybe you will agree to give us an interview?If you do not mind, send me an
      email please.

  • Is there a second pipe peaking out beneath the bike? I love this thing. It’s like an express pass to a run in with the sheriff. Definitely built for short, fast trips, judging from the seat. Simple and mean. Bravo.

    • Darrell Schneider

      Yes there is a second pipe underneath, good eye.

      • Oldnbroken

        Well done with that second pipe, I did not see it until I looked at your site and the build pics.


  • Ivorybull

    Beautiful bike and looks well executed. Maybe my ex race Kramit 250 smr might get a face lift. The colour scheme makes me think the designer might like a can or two of Murphys Stout!

  • This a major undertaking and I’ve seen pictures of it all along it’s design and build-up phases. No part on this bike was starved for attention. There is huge value in a bike being built by someone outside the bike world! None of the pipewrap, Firestone, cookie-cutter rat/cafe style that saturates the internet. There is a mountain of fresh thinking, innovation, ideas, skills and execution in this bike. All plus’s in this world of bike building sameness. Incredible job. No, the chopper guys won’t get it. But people that actually understand engineering and pride of build are/will be impressed beyond words. Great job!

  • I am so overexposed to custom motorcycles these days… I usually scroll my feeds with nothing catching my attention from day to day. This grabbed me by the balls. It hurts. I want to burn everything in my garage and start again.

  • Oh yea, it could use a little seat padding I think!

    • Darrell Schneider

      I do not even notice the lack of a seat pad, it did need the grip tape to keep from sliding up on the tank during braking. It is built for short fun runs.

      • You mean to tell me that this is NOT a cross coutry bike????

  • Oldnbroken

    I love the idea of turning a dirt bike into a road bike, it is in fact exactly what I am doing for my first build but while I am aiming at 60’s styling you seem to have hit 2020’s retro with total style.


  • Mgmue mgmu

    What a beauty. Beautiful enough it would not have been surprising to see Bimota stamped on the side.

  • itsmefool

    Yep, love this one, too, and I was fully prepared to hate it since I’m not a fan of these types of bikes. Great job! I’m just worried that rad isn’t big enough!

  • Mister Oddjob

    As someone who owns 3 bikes all under 450cc, I love this bike. I’be been thinking about building a cbr250r based cafe for my next build. I’m also thrilled to see a bike that mixes old style with modern technology. But I do have one nit to pick. The shape of the headlight nacelle in profile is something seen on a lot of modern bikes and it just looks awful to me. Harley spent $1M developing the V-rod headlight and when I saw it I thought it was a lot of money to design something that resembles a saggy breast. Now I see this design language everywhere and I’m surprised I’m the only person who doesn’t like it.

  • Janus Motorcycles

    Well done. The aesthetic concept is extraordinarily complete, and it sounds like the performance matches as well. Congratulations on an fantastic and original build.

  • Hamish Lamont

    This is just awesome Darrell. So much thought has gone into it, and following that an equal amount of attention to detail! I haven’t seen anything quite like it. Visionary and totally fresh. Truly impressive. Mule summed my thoughts up perfectly.

  • Nick Trocano

    Darrell! STUNNING build quality and looks like a blast on the track! How much $$ and time is into this build? Great job!

  • barneyfife

    Nice building skills…shame about the radiator….hate them.

    • I wonder how the split radiator style of the V-Rod would look on this? Anything to get rid of that big black box on the front.

  • Bryan Cox

    I need to do this to my 450, excellent craftmanship

  • Bryan Kerswill

    This is one stunning bike with the attention to detail beyond reproach. Having read the write up twice you read it again to take in the work that has gone in. Well done Darrell you have raised the bar….i,d bet this is a hoot to ride….please

    • Darrell Schneider

      Thank you.

  • And how is this not in production and being sold to the public???

  • cdean

    If it is a single outlet arrow system why does there appear to be a second can under the bike?

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  • SoyBoySigh

    Meh – I’d really rather not have the “Roland Sands Inspired” bodywork and almost as fugly modern suspension & brake components etc, and just go for a straight-up vintage replica powered by the new motor. And that motor be under as much cover as possible, maybe even a full fairing in ’60s RC-series guise. But if you’ve gotta see the motor, might as well be a replica of the Elsinore, or a good SL100 CL100, XL75 type of deal. ‘Cause those were some beautiful bikes. And classic retro-fried will always trump name-drop-designer nouveau, With a simple back-bone frame & an upgright engine cylinder there’s potential for a CB160 replica with toaster-tank, or CB350 what-have-you. Ideally, using a big drum hub, at the very least a rear drum but a front drum would be even better. Or if you’re going all-out vintage road racer, something like the CBX550F inboard-disc hub, the way folks are doing wire-spoke conversions these days. Only do it with a PC800 Pacific Coast front wheel, for dual 276mm rotors. With some retro-fried DIY rotor shrouds of course. If there’s gotta be a disc then definitely an early CB750 296mm rotor, cross-drilled and thinned down, two of ’em in that ain’t enough. And for a fork, avoid the USD stuff as far as possible, but if you’ve absolutely gotta have it, then paint it to match the bodywork for a CB350K/CB350F fork SHROUD look, and avoid the nasty billet radial caliper mount bottoms on said USD fork. That shit’s just too damn ugly for words. I’d love to see how the converted PC800 converted “Faux-Leading-Shoe” fake drum hub weighs up on the scale, and I’m sure it’d be a no-brainer to put cast-Iron rotors inside of it, better pads, any old calipers you’d like if they’re within the shrouds so wtf maybe this one could incorporate some of the most hideous modern anodized billet calipers yet devised – and the 20mm axle of this hub would allow some flexibility with fork selection, especially if the earlier 15mm axle forks get a 20mm axle mod. ‘Cause there are 39mm and 41mm maybe even 43mm forks which can pull off the look of the ’70s SOHC-4 era. Buchanan’s is an awesome wheel builder, I’ve got their stuff on my bikes but I’d still insist on a proper vintage rim, too. OR – if you’ve gotta go with the Excel/Sun rims at least polish the living heck out of ’em or better yet chrome the damn things to look like OEM steel rims from the ’60s & ’70s. Of course, I’d really rather go whole hog, and just ride an actual classic, but I guess the whole point of the exercise is to show how the modern bikes needn’t look like such a pile of crap, that they can actually have a bit of class – AND that the dirt-bike motors could be employed for a series of practical street-bikes with the timeless appeal of a vintage original, where one needn’t dress up in their Cos-Play science-fiction plastic armor just to match with the bike. In short, to lose all of the random angular plastic crap off the cutting-room floor, the garish stickers & the day-blow paint schemes. Of course, I’m not saying shit about the knobby MX tires, ’cause the modern street-bike TIRES look like garbage too, a problem affecting even the classic re-builds these days, where you’ve got people building a nut-for-bolt replica of an RC-181 race-bike from Hailwood’s ’67 Grand Prix fame, but can’t find anything better to “Shoe” that horse with, other than the same crappy Bridgestone Battlax rubber that looked hideous enough on my ’82 CB900F let alone a classic beauty like the RC-181 – So yeah, just sayin’ – I might even keep the knobby tires given the selection of street rubber these days. I guess so long as you keep the wheels turning it’ll always be a sight to behold. Park it in a garage, don’t let people snap pics of it sitting still, and it could be passed off as a jewel of a motorcycle. Until somebody comes up with a decent replica of a vintage Avon racing tire, in fatter widths appropriate to the ’90s Sport-Touring radial sizes and even 17″ diameters which are so popular with custom builders these days. I’m hoping there will be a pair of 110/80ZR18 & 160/60ZR18 ‘s for my “CB900K0 Bol Bomber” otherwise it’s almost not worth stripping off the Comstar rims when the most beautiful wire-spoke rims I could build for it are just gonna be wrapped up in hideous Crotch-Rocket rubber. I mean, yeah – there are still a few tires out there for the WM3 2.15″ rims at the widest. But I’d shudder to think what would happen if I ran a bike that big & heavy on a pair of rims that skinny. Still – almost worth it. I’m sure the thinner rims & tires would make for one heck of a light-weight rim-set. Tempting. Anyway yeah – you can definitely see why the RC-181 / RC-166 replica builders opt for a better performing tire, a slightly wider rim etc. You wanna be able to ride a bike like that, balls out, on a track with approval from the track management etc. Being that it’s a just heavy enough bike that you wouldn’t wanna hop the fence with it ha-ha. And if you try that kind of riding on public roads you’d wanna get away from the fuzz. So it makes sense, from that hemisphere of the brain. Yet at the same time, there’s a reason for building an RC-181 replica rather than simply riding a modern crotch-rocket, and from THAT perspective, or rather even a synthesis of both – it’s a damn pity there isn’t a prettier vintage-tread TIRE to suit a bike like that. Back to the original subject matter as well – there’s a wider market than ONLY the priceless vintage race replica builds, but modern retro-fried pseudo-vintage or vintage-LOOK builds, heck anybody who’s restored an original classic who’s planning to ride it using as sticky a set of modern rubber as can be found, using 17″ Super-Moto rims etc – even they’d buy just the one set for the first photo-shoot of the finished bike. With so much interest in vintage bikes there are all of these replica parts being built – the TIRES are just about the very last frontier and we need to push for it. ‘Cause seriously, even a bike like THIS thing could be vastly improved by the legit classic street-cred of authentic looking tires. The Pirelli & Michelin rubber off the first few years of Ducati Paul Smart Replica and Sport Classics etc, now THAT showed some potential. For a time there, they were making ’em in the same 110/80-18 & 160/60-18 sizes I’ve specified. Too slow on the draw, I suppose. Took me some time finding the appropriate vintage Akront RIMS to suit ’em. Doubtful a 10yr-old pair of tires would be worth riding on but damn would they look good. If I could find a pair for cheap I’d slip ’em onto the rims for a photo-shoot and slip ’em back off again. Ha-ha. No really though – depends on how cheap! Depends on how stiff & crusty they are, whether I trust somebody to press ’em onto my rims without gouging the alloy rims though I guess that goes for any other tire as well. Truly though, those tires only skimmed the surface of what I’d like to see. Something just like the early Honda SOHC-4 BRIDGESTONE tires would be a damn good start. But something with the tread pattern of those famous Avon race tires, with the steep triangular profile, from early ’70s Formula 750 racers, now THAT would be a heck of a thing. Whoever makes ’em in an appropriate range of sizes, they’ll have the entire classic bike AND modern retro-fried bike market by the short-hairs. They’ve just gotta make ’em in a range of widths, in 16″ for rims of widths from 1.20″ through 6.00″ for the scooters through big-bore V-twin choppers, in 17″ for rims of 1.20″ for the Honda Cub etc, through 6.00 or even wider perhaps – for the Crotch-Rockets. Heck maybe even a 7.00×15″ rim – Or was it 8″ wide? For the Ducati Desmosedicci? Now THAT’S a bike which needs a good retro re-design, in the vein of the original Ducati V4 the APOLLO – Oh yeah. And of course, I’d want to see 18″ stuff for the skinniest 1.20″ rims on little Duck 125cc singles from the ’50s, all the way through the WM1 & WM2 rims of the CB400F’s & the WM3 sizes … Here I suppose there’s a question of whether you make some special 19″ front tires for the CB750K0 Sand-Cast and Kawasaki Z1 enthusiasts OR if you force ’em to lace up the sportier 18″ front rims – ‘Cause it’s a slippery slope before you’re offering those same ribbed front tires in sizes for 1.60×21″ rims for CHOPPER use, at which point the big-wheel guys are gonna want ’em in 23″ and GAWD knows how much bigger in future. Myself, I’d really prefer to stop with the one size of 19″ tire ’cause I’m not a huge fan of the ‘Frisco choppers and maybe some beautiful 16″ tires could force people to build a nice bobber instead. Truly though, to offer a fill range of 18″ widths with the classic tread patterns, folks would be encouraged to retro-fry the most TupperWare ’90s Sport Touring rigs ever made, into beautiful wire-spoked lovelies. Or at the least, some ’80s Superbikes like my Honda 985, or the Goldwing and/or V65 Magna/Sabre that I wanna build next, and to the same configuration as my current Honda project, as ’70s era endurance racers for the Bol D’Or Classics, heck there are a TON of bigger more powerful ’80s & ’90s bikes that would benefit from a ’60s-’70s make-over, to render ’em less unsightly & they could be dragged out from moth-balls heck maybe even the junk-yards. Best case scenario, a person doesn’t HAVE to go to such lengths, as the manufacturers would just give us a good looking high-performance bike in the first place. Ha-ha. Anyway I’m not holding my breath.