XR250 Tornado Mods

Menu of the mods:

  1. Brighter Headlight Bulb Mod
  2. Handlebars
  3. Footpegs
  4. Carb Jetting Mods
  5. Free flow exhaust mod
  6. The Gasket Mod (free horsepower)
  7. The Airbox Door Mod
  8. Air Filter Mod
  9. 292 Piston kit
  10. Sprocket Mod
  11. Changing The Fork Oil
  12. Rear Shock Mod
  13. Lowering The Suspension
  14. Shortening The Side Stand
  15. Lowering The Seat Height Even More
  16. Adding LED indicators
  17. Adding a Bike Pull Strap
  18. Adding the Best Cell Phone Holder
  19. Adding a Rear Rack
  20. Adding a Windscreen

Headlight bulb mod

The stock headlight bulb is awful. Replace it with an H4 12V 60/55W Halogen Bulb, which is a lot brighter and will not draw too much current on the bike.

The other option is adding LED lights. I am currently using the Tusk H4 bulb replacement, which is a cheaper version of the amazing Cyclops H4 LED bulb. The Tusk bulb works well and is holding up so far (time will tell as it is a Chinese bulb). It has a low-beam cutoff so that it doesn’t blind other drivers and it a TON brighter than stock. The Cyclops is even better (I have it on my KTM 500) in terms of light color, beam pattern and brightness.

I have also seen LED lights mounted on the indicator mounts and the indicators moved upside down to the lower side of the indicator mount.


The stock steel bars bend the first time you drop the bike. Buy some aluminum bars from Protaper or Renthal at your first opportunity. The first time to drop your bike hard, you’ll be glad you did.

  • For reference, the original bars are approximately 770mm wide (A) with a height of 100mm (B), a rise of 70mm (C), a sweep of 90mm (E).
  • For a replacement bar that is similar to the originals, any CR-HIGH model bar by Renthal or Protaper works well. I use Renthal 717 bars and love them.
  • If you’re tall with broad shoulders, Renthal 666 vintage desert bend bars are wider at 850mm (A) and 20mm taller at 119mm (B), which is comfier when standing on the pegs. The extra width also helps when attaching accessories to the bars like phone holders, USB ports and windscreen mounts. The extra width takes a little getting used to and makes me feel like I am riding a 70s scrambler :-). For me (average build 179cm 5″10), the Renthal 717 bars are more comfy.



  • Any pegs for a Kawasaki KLR650 fit fine. I immediately replaced mine with oversize KLR pegs. Pit bike pegs don’t work, so avoid those cheap ones on eBay – they break when you drop the bike.

Carburetor Jetting Mods

Unless you’re experiencing a loss of power or have replaced your exhaust, modding the carb may result in lower power. However, if you’re traveling to high altitudes, you may need to change your main jet for a smaller sized one.

For reference, Tornados have a KEIHIN VE carburetor. 2006 and onwards Tornados come with a 132 size (Keihin) jet stock. 2005 and before Tornados come with a 138 (Keihin) jet stock.

They use jets with the part number 99101-393-xxxx, where xxxx is 1320 for a 132 jet, 1250 for a 125 jet, 1200 for a 120 jet etc…

Here is a list of the main jet sizes and when to use each (for 2006 and onwards Tornados):

  • Your altitude: 0 – 2500m – use a 132 main jet
  • Your altitude: 2500-4000m – use a 125 main jet
  • Your altitude: above 4000m – use a 120 main jet

These jets are common and can be purchased at any Honda dealer and probably most decent motorcycle spares stores.

If you can’t find jets, you can always use strands of 16 gauge electrical wire to reduce the 132 jet opening. This trick was taught to me by a Chilean mechanic. Each strand of wire equals 2 jet sizes smaller. In the Bolivian Andes, I used 3 strands of wires inserted through the bottom of the stock 132 jet and wrapped the outside end around the thread of the jet so that screwing the jet in place clamped the wire between the jet and the jet holder. Those 3 strands gave me the equivalent of a 126 (132-2-2-2=126) jet size and worked perfectly for 3 months. Remember to cut off any excess wire from the bottom of the jet so that the needle doesn’t get damaged by it.

Just FYI, the air mixture screw at the bottom of the carburetor is meant to be 3 turns out (I am assuming that 3 turns is adjusted for sea level, like the jetting sizes are). When changing the jet from 132 to a smaller size, you may need to adjust the air screw as well if idling or low rev power is affected by your altitude. At higher altitudes, you need more air, so unscrew the air screw more than 3 turns. How many, I can’t say. I’d start with 3.5 turns and then experiment with increasing half a turn at a time.

If you want to find the exact jet sizes for your everyday riding location, use the chart below to determine your jet size multiplier. Here’s how it works.

Most jets come from the factory set for riding at sea level at around 20 degrees centigrade. That’s what the 132 main jet on the Tornado is set for.

Let’s say that you live at 2500m and your average temperature is 10 degrees centigrade, you’d multiply 132 by 0.95 to determine your main jet size – in this case, a 125 main jet (132 x 0.95 = 125.4).

Jet size multiplier chart

How To Remove The Carburetor

When changing the jets, you’ll need to remove the entire carb. Here is the easiest way to remove the carb.

  1. Remove the side panels, seat, and tank (removing the fuel hose from the tank).
  2. Remove the 2 Phillips screws from the plate that attaches the accelerator cables to the carb body (right-hand side of the carb). Then remove the cable ends from the carb and place the cables out of the way on top of the cylinder head.
  3. Remove the black tube from the T-junction that joins the 2 tubes attached to the top of the carb on the right-hand side.
  4. Remove the upper black tube from the left-hand side of the carb (above the fuel hose).
  5. From the left hand side of the bike, loosen (the clamp on the black intake boot that attaches the carb to the cylinder head.
  6. From the right hand side of the bike, loosen the clamp on the airbox side of the carb by inserting a Phillips screwdriver near the rear brake-light switch.
  7. With a black marker, mark the 2 bolts that bolt the black intake boot into the cylinder head so that when you reinsert it, you know how much to tighten them (not a lot).
  8. Remove the 2 bolts that bolt the black intake boot into the cylinder head. Keep the left and right bolts separate, so you can re-install them later in their correct place and torque them back to their original markings.
  9. Unclip the idle adjuster.
  10. From the left-hand side of the bike, gently pull the engine side of the carb towards you and remove it.
  11. Disconnect the black drain tube connected to the bottom of the carb.
  12. Remove the 4 screws on the bottom of the carb to access the main jet.
  13. Reassemble in the exact reverse order. If you do it any other order, you’ll get air leaks. Ask me how I know :-). NOTE: Make sure that the airbox side of the carb is fully inserted in the airbox boot before tightening the clamp.

Here is a video of a guy changing his jets on a KLR650, which has a very similar carb to your Tornado (I’ve owned a few KLR650s).? The process is identical on the Tornado carb. Just ignore the part in the video about removing the (black) top of the carb and changing the needle, because you’re not going to do that on your carb. Next time I change my jets, I’ll make a video for you guys.

Free-flowing Exhaust mod

Adding an aftermarket exhaust is a common way to get some extra power out of your Tornado and also shed some weight (the original exhaust is heavy).

It seems that direct replacement Tornado exhausts are only available for sale in Latin America. You can make other brands work, but you’ll need to take the silencer to a machine shop to fabricate a pipe just the right shape to connect to the Tornado header pipe.

I’m told that Santa Cruz in Bolivia has a ton of bike shops with really cheap Tornado parts. If you happen to be passing through Bolivia, make a mental note to buy an exhaust there.

Below is an example of an exhaust made by Carlos Campos in San Isidro, Costa Rica. If you speak Spanish, you can call Carlos on +506-8794-8744 and get him to make one for you.


An expert opinion on jetting for a free-flowing exhaust

I interviewed Toby Shannon of Around The Block Moto Adventures in Peru. He rents Honda Tornados and preps them for touring Latin America. He is also an engineer, so he knows what he is talking about (unlike me).

He buys free flowing exhaust silencers and then fabricates the connecting pipe in his workshop.

He told me that when using a free-flowing exhaust setup, he changes the main jet to a 136 at sea level.

If you never want to touch your jets again, Toby recommends a 125 main jet with a free-flowing exhaust system. He says that this setup can be used all the way from sea level up to 5000m, but works best between 2000m-2500m. If you do run this setup at sea level, it will run lean (too much air in the mixture), which will overheat your engine. To counteract the overheating, Toby runs Motul Fully Synthetic 20w50 oil, which he says helps cool the engine more when you’re riding at sea level. This setup will also run rich (too much fuel in the mixture) at high altitudes, so (assuming that you don’t live at high altitudes) Toby recommends replacing your spark plug every month at high altitudes instead of rejetting, only because it’s much easier than removing the carb and rejetting.

The Gasket (free horsepower) Mod

I recently met a guy in South Africa with a Honda Twister (same engine as the Tornado). He told me about a The Gasket Mod which he claims gives the Tornado Engine 10% more power by increasing the engine compression.

Essentially, you reduce the thickness of the cylinder head gasket like this…

The cylinder head gasket consists of three layers:

1. a top gasket layer
2. a spacer
3. a bottom gasket layer.

If you remove and break apart the cylinder head gasket into its three layers, you can then just reinstall one of the gasket layers (top or bottom). The new gasket is now thinner and effectively reduces the volume of the expansion chamber, increasing compression.

Your bike will run worse with a higher compression if you are using very low-grade bad fuel.

The next time I remove my cylinder head, I’m going to try this mod and will report back.

The Airbox Door Mod

If you remove the door to the airbox, you may experience an increase in power if your Tornado is jetted a little rich (too much fuel in the air/fuel mixture). Removing the airbox door is completely safe. All it does is increase airflow, thereby adding air to the air/fuel mixture.

The only way to know if this mod will work for you is to try it. Fortunately, it only takes 2 minutes to find out.

I often remove the airbox door when above 2000m when I’m too lazy to rejet the carb or am not planning to be at altitude a long time.

Just don’t cross any deep rivers, as water may enter your airbox and ruin your paper filter. Ask me how I know. Once soaked in water, the paper filter becomes unusable, even if you dry it out.

The Air Filter Mod

While the stock air filter is great, a foam filter has several advantages…

  1. It flows more air.
  2. It’s washable and reusable.
  3. If you drown your bike in a river, you can just dry it out and continue riding. With a paper filter, you have to throw it away if it gets wet.

Michael Winger from Costa Rica sent me some pics of his foam air filter with instructions for how to make it.

Here are his instructions:

I bought 5/8′ Uni Filter foam. I had to cut some plastic ribs out of the air filter cage to make space for the foam filters.

Carefully cut the seal from the original paper filter. Glue into place with CA glue, make sure it’s seated in the correct position.

It only needs to hold the seal in place until it is installed, the seal will have a snug fit once snapped into the airbox.

Cut 2 pieces of the Unifilter foam slightly larger than the cage. I also run the original foam pre-filter. You’ll see in the pic that I cut holes in the second layer of foam. It doesn’t need 2 layers of foam for filtration so I opted for less restriction with the holes.

Use a thick grease like wheel bearing grease and cover the inside of the cage walls where the foam will make contact. This will seal the foam to the cage.

292 Piston Kit Mod

When I interviewed Toby Shannon of Around The Block Moto Adventures in Peru, he told me that a 292cc oversize piston kit is for sale for the Honda Tornado in Brazil, Argentina, and Chile. If you have friends there, you might investigate them shipping it to you to get some more power out of your Tornado.

Breaking in your new piston and rings:

It’s critical that you break in your new piston correctly. Toby Shannon recommends using Motul 3000 – Fully Organic Oil for the first 100km.

Ride the bike hard on the pavement for its first 100km revving up through each gear until you max out at top speed.

Then let the bike coast down through the gears until you’re back in first gear. Do this for 100km if you can.

At 100km, change the oil filter and the oil to Motul Full Synthetic 20w50. Use that from now on.

Please don’t email me about running in the bike gently. There is a lot of controversy on this topic, but some of the world’s leading mechanics swear by this method (as does Toby), so read up on it first before you tell me I’m crazy (which I may be)!

Changing The Sprockets For More Torque

The XR250 Tornado comes stock with a 13 tooth front sprocket and a 38 tooth back sprocket linked with a 104 link chain.

An easy way to get 7.7% more torque (without having to change the chain length) is to just change the front sprocket to a 12 tooth sprocket (JT Sprocket Part #: JTF1321.12 – buy on Amazon). I personally change to this setup whenever I’m going trail riding and love the difference it makes.

If you want even more torque, you’ll need to change the rear sprocket and buy a longer chain (or add some links). Use sprocketcalculator.com to figure out the length and % power increase.

Changing The Fork Oil

I’m not going to describe the procedure here. Just look on YouTube for any video on how to change fork oil.

When I interviewed Toby Shannon, he said he uses Belray 10w Fork Oil for male riders and Belray 7.5w Fork Oil for female riders.

After draining, the fork oil capacity is 586ml.

When filling with new fork oil, fill until the oil level is 128mm from the top of forks tubes (with springs out and fork tube compressed fully).

When reinstalling the forks, tighten the lower fork clamp bolts first (to 32 N.m). Then install the front wheel, speedo and brakes. The front axle clamp nuts get tightened to 12 N.m (the top two nuts first, followed by the bottom two nuts).

Then tighten the upper fork clamps to 21 N.m.

Rear Shock Mod

The XR250 Tornado rear shock is perfectly adequate for someone of average weight. I weight 75kg and have ridden all over the world loaded up with luggage on the standard shock.

However, it does not provide any adjustment other than preload. Fortunately, the tornado uses the same shock as the Honda CRF230F, so aftermarket parts for the CRF230F will fit. Yay!

Here are the links you want:

Disclaimer: I have not tried any of the above shocks, so your mileage may vary. Please let me know if you end up buying any of the above shocks. I’ll add your feedback to the site.

Lowering your Honda Tornado

Lowering the bike takes about 45 minutes and will lower the bike 40mm and make the bike handle a bit better (as the center of gravity will be lower). It requires a few spanners or sockets (14mm, 17mm, 19mm) and an 8mm Allen key.

There are two parts to the process of lowering the bike:

Part 1: Lower the rear suspension

  1. Close the fuel tap and lay the bike on its side.
  2. Remove the two screws that hold the black plastic mudguard part (see pic below) that sits between the rear wheel and the rear shock.
  3. Locate the rear shock linkage attached to the lower end of the rear shock. You’ll see three nuts and bolts. From top to bottom, let’s refer to these as nuts and bolts #1 (highest), #2 (middle) and #3 (lowest).
  4. If you don’t have a torque wrench, take a marker pen and mark the position of each nut and bolt head (and mark their mounting surfaces – see my pics below), so that you can re-tighten them later to the same positions.
  5. Remove the nuts #1 and #3 first and then their respective bolts. Then move the linkage down to reveal nut #2 and remove nut #2.
  6. Remove bolt #2 from the rear shock and reinstall it in the hole above where it originally was (see pic below).
  7. Reassemble the rear shock linkage in the reverse order that you disassembled it. Be sure to line up the nuts with their permanent marker marks first and then tighten the bolts to their marks (or use a torque wrench). The correct torque settings can be found in the workshop manual on this site.
  8. Screw the black plastic mudguard part back in.
  9. You’re doing great!

Part 2: Lower the forks

  1. If you don’t have a torque wrench, take a marker pen and mark the position of each of the 8 fork bolts.
  2. Locate the clip wrapped around the top end of each fork, just below the top yolk.
  3. Loosen the clamp around the rubber fork boots just below the lower yolk. Pull the boots down.
  4. With the bike on its side stand, loosen the 8 fork bolts.
  5. Push on the handlebar until the forks slide up in the triple tree. Slide them up until each clip is flush with the bottom of each fork clamp.
  6. Tighten the fork bolts back to their marked positions.
  7. Pull the fork boots up again and tighten the clamp around them.
  8. You’re done!

Shortening The Side Stand

You can optionally also shorten the side stand so that the bike leans over more when parked. For months, we did not shorten the side stand and lived with having to park carefully or leaning the bike down a slight slope. Eventually, I had the stand cut 4cm from the bottom of it and welded on a base plate. Perfect!

Lowering the seat even more

I cut some foam out of the seat of my wife’s Tornado to lose an extra 40mm or so of seat height. This mod will make the seat a little harder, but it seems to be even more comfortable for my wife than it was before. Go figure. One one of our lowered seat Tornados, we didn’t bother recovering the seat, and that worked fine too (even if it didn’t look very professional).

First, I removed the seat cover. Then I used a marker pen to outline where I wanted the seat cut. If you can, use a XR150L seat as a template. I used a rasp (I think that is what it is called) to file away the foam until it looked the way I wanted it. Be sure to round off the seat edges. Now, when I press on the foam, my finger can push down about 40mm I guess.

The finished result

Adding LED indicators

Unless you have good reason, I recommend sticking with the original indicators and bulbs. LED indicators require using an indicator relay for LEDs. If you use the original indicator relay, the LED bulbs will flash too fast to be useful.

In most bikes, swapping the relay is simply a process of replacing the old relay with a generic LED one. However, the Tornado relay is built into the digital dash and replacing it requires cutting wires. However, should you still want to go ahead and use LED indicators, you can buy generic LED relays at most bike shops or eBay.

One of our readers, Michael, made this video explaining how he replaced the indicator relay.

Here’s what he wrote about it:
“It involves running a wire from the gray wire in the instrument panel harness (and cutting the wire so it doesn’t go into the instrument panel), wiring that to the Load side of the blinker relay, then running a wire from the B side of the blinker relay (B stands for Battery) to the red/yellow wire right before the fuse box (so it gets power and is protected by the fuse). I bought a LED blinker relay for 2 bucks so it is much cheaper than going the instrument panel route.”

Bike Pull Strap

Trying to pull your friend’s bike out of the mud or sand is hard work. Pull on one fork and the steering pulls to the left or right.

My solution was to get some strap webbing from my local hardware store and get a local clothes repair shop to stitch two loops, each with a diameter of 45mm. I then dropped the forks (using a similar procedure to the one above) and fed the loops over the top of the fork.

The strap now sits on the fender below the headlight in the perfect position to pull a bike out of the mud or sand. They have come in very handy.XR250-tow-strap.jpg

Add the Best Motorcycle Phone Holder

Having tried many, the RAM Mounts Quick-Grip Phone Mount With Handlebar U-Bolt Base is by far the best cell phone holder for motorcycles I have used. It’s much better than the RAM MOUNT x-grip holder because you don’t need the rubber band. Inserting and removing your phone is a 1-second process. And if you’re using your phone for navigation and taking pics, you’ll know how much time this saves removing and reinserting the phone. It’s also bomb-proof. I’ve crashed the heck out of mine and it keeps on going. Make sure that you buy the METAL (not plastic) RAM balls attachments. I mount a piece of rubber between the phone holder and the ram ball to act as a form of vibration dampening for my phone’s camera. These day’s I use a dedicated rugged phone for navigation duties and keep my Samsun on my jacket pocket.


Adding a Rear Rack

I have only ever seen rear racks for the Tornado sold in Latin America. Most clip on to the passenger handles.

This company makes lovely Tornado accessories (including rear racks, side racks and bash plates) in Columbia. They do ship internationally.

Alternatively, I’ve read many great reviews of the Green Chili soft rack. It will fit on any dirt bike.

I have seen people improvise rear racks by taking their bikes to a local welder and getting one made. Here are some pics of the simplest one I’ve seen. It’s bolted on to the sub-frame, just in front of the rear indicators. A top-box was bolted to it. Seemed very sturdy to me. Click each pic to enlarge it.

Here’s another option from a reader, who took a rear rack from a scooter and welded it on to the passenger grips.

And here’s another:

Adding a Windscreen

I bought a great handlebar mounted windscreen in Chile for $20 on Mercado Libre. It lasted through 10 pretty bad crashes before it collapsed, but it worked so damn well that I am going to buy another. I had to be creative with the mounting. Here are some pics.

I think that any screens for the CRF250L will fit just as well.

43 thoughts on “XR250 Tornado Mods

  1. Bruce, I have a Tornado here in Kathmandu, Nepal. I use it for home to office because the roads are bad. But when the roads are muddy after a rain, mud sprays everywhere because of the high fenders and both me and the bike are a muddy mess. Is there a kit or modification to lower the front fender?
    P.S. This is a resend because I don’t know if the 1st post was accepted by WordPress.


    • Hi Robert. I’ve seen people cable tie street bike fenders to the forks. You could them attach a flexible rubber piece (like those used in pickup trucks behind the wheel) to the fender. The only thing I’d be careful of is mud building up under the fender and seizing the wheel movement. I went riding in mud once with a friend on a dual sport bike with a low fender and his front wheel completely seized against the fender. Perhaps just attach some hard plastic to the frame behind the front wheel to block the mud? Hope that helps.


    • Hi, you can adapt the inferior fender of the Honda XRE 300 on the Tornado. You can see the result on youtube. Search for Honda XR 250 Tornado Tuning.
      Excuse my english,


  2. Hi Bruce!

    I love your write up on the XR. Great work!

    I ride a CBX Twister and also from SA, however I need advice on my carb setup. I have an aftermarket exhaust on the bike. However, when I bought the bike, the exhaust was already fitted, also had a 142 main Jet in it. According to what I have read, 142 is standard, but your post suggests WAY SMALLER. Anyway, I am having bogging issues when I take it over 6500RPM. Under that, the bike runs like a swiss watch. Perfectly. There’s no air leaks, There is nothing else wrong with the bike, believe me, I have checked and rechecked and re re checked.

    I went up to 146, 148 and 150 jets, all of them are the same. bogging.

    Yesterday I went smaller than I ever have with a 140. Still bogging.

    Do you think that I am still over fueling the bike? I got my hands on a 132 main, gonna try that this afternoon.

    Looking forward to your reply!


  3. Hi Bruce

    Thanx for your very prompt reply!

    Bogging is hesitation over or underfeuling causing the bike to sputter and cough.

    Very interesting and hence my extreme headache, your schematic indicates a 150 Main (but my bike feels horrible with a 150. its feels worse that any of the other jets). On other forums I’ve seen, they say 142 is stock but Honda indicated to me that a 136 is stock. I suppose this is the reason I have been struggling to get to the correct spec. I think you’ll agree that there is a massive difference between a 136 and a 150 main.

    Anyway, after reading your post Yesterday I decided to stuff everything that I have read op to this point and follow your post (loosely).

    I installed the 132 main jet Yesterday. What a difference! The bike feels like a different bike!

    There is still a SLIGHT hesitation at 7200 RPM but it is really, very slight. After I took the bike for a ride, I took it home and removed the washer under the needle (I have installed a while back while thinking I’m under-feuling it). I also read somewhere that it makes a huge difference with the aftermarket pipe when you remove the fine mesh around the air filter. It is wrapped twice. I did that too.

    There is still a slight hesitation so I have one more jet to try.. A 128 Main.

    I am at 1700m (5577ft) altitude so I think a bit smaller than the 132 might be the cure. Unfortunately I don’t have a 130, however if the 128 is too small I can get a 130 which should work!


    • Interesting, Andre. I know that on the Tornado, models before 2008 had 136 jets and models after 2008 had 132 jets. Perhaps the same happened with the CBX. Check all the schematics for your year and use the altitude chart on the mods page.

      Glad it is running better. Don’t forget to check the fuel filter in the tank too.

      The only thing that is confusing is that with a freer flowing pipe, you’ll need more fuel, not less. UNLESS, you’re NOT in fact flowing more air, and your air filter is clogged or an air passage in the carb is clogged. Next time you clean the carb, take some aerosol carb cleaner and stick the spray tube into every nook and cranny you can find and blast that thing (after first removing all rubber parts and o-rings).

      One last thing. Have you changed the spark plug? Try that too.

      Anyhow, good luck and keep me posted!


  4. Hi Bruce!

    Ok, well let’s start off here… The bike is exceptionally well maintained, especially since I’ve had it. The dirt trap in the fuel petcock is clean, the carb is, well its basically the cleanest carb I’ve ever seen. During the time struggling with it I am sure I cleaned it more than 20 times and also blew it out with the compressor.

    The air filter is as new, I have removed the wire mesh around it also for better flow. I installed a new spark plug last week (most expensive spark plug I’ve ever bought).

    Yesterday, I installed the 128 jet I got. I believe the problem is fixed!!! The bike revs straight to 10 000RPM for the first time since I’ve had it! I am SO relieved!!

    I need advice on how to adjust the mixture screw though, It is at 2 and a quarter turns out as per the manual


    • The mixture screw adds air. It only affects idle to 1/8 throttle. The higher you are, the more air you want to add to the mixture. You add air by turning the screw out. The Tornado stock is 3 turns at sea level. I’d experiment with a 1/4 turn at a time.


  5. Hi Bruce,
    thanks for your writings, they are very helpful. Do you remember where you bought the windscreen in Chile?
    Best regards,


      • Thanks! As i live in Vi?a del Mar, i think it will be worth a one-day trip. If you have any other information: finding the things you mention to even better the Tornado on the streets in Santiago (foodpegs from Kawasaki etc.), it will be highly appreciated. I?ll buy a Tornado this wednesday…
        Greetings, Martin


  6. Hi Bruce, This is so amazing and exhaustive… its like i found a gold mine… I just bought Honda tornado and i feel i need more power for trail riding and bit of sand riding and not too much highway riding :

    What do u suggest to do to increase power to max and reduce weight to least?



    • Hi Sujay. I’m glad that you’re enjoying the site!

      To increase power, the easiest way is to install a 12 tooth front sprocket. If you increase the rear, you’ll also get more power, but that can sometimes require a longer chain.

      To reduce weight, buy an aftermarket exhaust and a lithium battery. That will save you 2 – 3kg I’d guess.

      Hope that helps.



  7. Thanks Bruce, Appreciate your response mate… I changed the sprockets and luckily exhaust was already changed by the previous owner.

    You mentioned a 292cc upgrade kit. Searched a lot but was unable to find a seller can you direct me to where can I find them mate?

    Thank you


  8. Hi Bruce, What a great resource! Thanks! I just picked up my 2010 Tornado and have already completed many of your “Mods/Upgrades”. Do you have a recommendation for Hand Guards? I assume that they are generally universal but would appreciate your thoughts.
    Thanks Andrew


    • Hi Andrew. My favorites are the Highway Dirt Bikes ones, but they are heavy. Upside is that they never bend. Otherwise Cycra and Acerbis make good ones and then there are the cheapies on eBay that bend a lot.


  9. Hi Bruce

    Im also from SA and I love this site for this motorcyclebut I have three simple questions:

    1: My Tornado is very straight when its on its stand, is the stand stock like that because in your photos on the bottom of the page, your tornados aren’t so straight as mine when on ita stand

    2:We have a aftermarket pipe on the bike but it melted the one turn signal off and we mounted new turn signals and we went on a off-road trip ti Tankwa and the turn signals rattled off what must i do to keep my turn signals on my tornado!

    3:When I hit 100km/h the bike will make a heavy wobble and freak me out, I have knobbles on the bike so is that the reason?

    Thank you


    • Q1: Is your shock in the LOW position. That would make the Tornado stand upright.
      Q2: Loctite. The aftermarket pipe is angled down and will met the indicators. So, if you keep the pipe, then buy smaller indicators and relocate them.
      Q3: Balance your tires first. Then, check the oil level in your forks.


  10. Amazing site, great work! Comforting to find some English feedback on the Tornado.

    Tires – Do the new 2022 bikes come with the same Metzler Sahara? Not picked mine up from dealer yet.

    Bearings – Do they need doing on a new bike? If so, all three? Wheel / Steering / Swingarm??

    Fork Oil – replace even from new?

    Springs – The Tornado is about the largest bike we can buy in Nicaragua. Aside from the XRE300, which is pretty similar I believe, just bored out to 290cc or so with some different panels and parts. My wife is 95lb. I am 180lb. We’ll be travelling light for short trips, just a small backback of maybe 20lb. Outside of that, often riding WITH a pillion with no luggage. I am not sure I can get the replacement shocks here, but will look into Costa Rica maybe. How much difference will the fork oil make???Also planning the headlights bulb and new bars (if I can find bars here or Costa Rica).

    Any other ‘new bike’observations?


    • Thanks man.

      1) Metzler Sahara, yes.
      2) Bearings don’t need lubing if new unless you really want to (because you’re going to be crossing a lot of rivers). They are not cheap Chinese bearings.
      3) Fork oil is fine stock.
      4) XRE is 10kg heavier. You don’t need new springs or a new shock. They are not soft like on the CRF300L. The bike carries a passenger just fine. You can just add preload at the rear shock.

      Hope that helps.



      • I have another question. I am just running the bike in. Was told 500kms and am on 220km currently. Even at the dealership the idle seemed a little low. The little black dial on the engine (gear shifter side) seems to adjust idle. If I blip the throttle I also get a loud knock from the engine – just once before the revs go up.

        It is not cold here. 26 to 30 C usually. Should the startup idle seem a little stutter? The idle does seem low, but a bit smoother once warm, but I get that throttle ‘blip’ knock. Other than that the bike seems fine.

        The manual states 1400rpm +/- 100rpm. But, without a revs needle, I am not sure what revs my bike sits at.


      • You can get a rev app on your phone to measure the idle speed with your phone. The idle speed adjuster is on the left side of the carb. I live in the Caribbean (hot) and my Tornado idles perfectly from start.

        I’d clean the in-tank fuel filter and the one in the petcock. Then clean your carb (and check that your jet is the correct size for your altitude). Also, replace your spark plug and air filter.

        Failing that, you have a possible air leak.

        With regards to the knock, I have no idea.


      • Haha, well, that’s very handy. Might reduce my range somewhat by a shot glass or two.

        The manual states:
        “.. Your motorcycle is designed to use Research Octane Number (RON) 91 or higher ..”

        Even my Africa Twin takes regular (manual states 86) as it’s lower compression compared to most. And the Tornado isn’t high by all accounts.


  11. I always like to follow up just in case anyone has a similar issue, share the experience so to speak.

    I adjusted the carb dial so that the bike sounded nice on idle. Sounds good warmed up too. The ‘knock’ has gone. I read a few forums and they said that this type of ‘thumper’ engine can have that but that low idling can cause the problem or make it worse, which seemed to be the case for me. Now blipping the throttle just makes the revs rise with no knock. Haven’t tried the whiskey yet but will keep you posted ?


  12. Hi. Did you get that rack at ENIMOSA in Managua? I have a new Tornado in Granada and I am interested in a rack. Thanks for any info.


    • Yes, at Enimosa. Ask to speak to Rossy Spencer and tell her that you saw it on the English couples bike, she’ll probably remember us as we only purchased it a couple of months ago. For some reason they initially did not know of one, then the accessories guy found this. It’s a good size, not too small to be useful or too big to look out of place. Easy to bungee as well as it has lots of ‘pins’ underneath for the bungee hooks. They also had a small steel front rack and steel handlebar guards, but they looked a bit clunky.

      I ordered some Acerbis guards from the US. https://www.acerbisusa.com/p40166-rally-pro-x-strong-handguards?uid=40166%3Acolor%3D%2523ff0000


  13. Has anyone added the Acerbis Rally Pro Handguards. The comments on the sale site all suggested that it should fit anything as it comes with all the necessary adapters. I haven’t got fully into it, but on first inspection, it looks like the brake and clutch levers foul the hand guard.


    • I’m using the Acerbis X-Factor guars. Most straight guards will fit if you but the levers shorter. I have a friend using the Cycra Pro Bend guards and they fit too. For good, but cheap ones, try the Tusk D-Flex guards.


      • Thanks. Shame I may have to cut. I think there may be a little room if I move the lever assemblies a little further down the bar. I will see how that goes. Failing that I might cut the balls off the end of each lever … or look for some short levers. The OEM levers seem quite long and sweep away a fair distance from the grips. I have quite large hands and it’s a stretch to get the end of the lever as it is. Thanks again.


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